Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday musings

So you may remember that last year when the President of Egypt, Mr. Mubarak was overthrown in popular revolution, many experts hailed this dawn of a new democratic era in the country.

Then free elections were held and a Mr, Morsi was elected in his place. At the time many pointed to this as an indication of the evolution of democracy in Egypt.

I was soundly criticized by many for pointing out that Mr. Morsi was the candidate of a party that was founded on extreme Islamic principals with a goal of imposition of Sharia law and the repression of woman's rights and those of other religions as well. Some said I was seeing problems were none existed.

This week Mr. Morsi issued an edict assuming dictatorial powers far more than Mubarak had before him. The judiciary has been muzzled and opponents to him are now in jail. All the while members of his party celebrate and urge even more controls be placed in his and their party's hands. In essence, suspending or actually eliminating all democratic processes and rights in Egypt with Sharia law sure to follow.

Riots have occurred in protest and the future seems bleaker now than it did a week ago.

And, one can assume that the United States will sit by and not say anything because it seems that as long as the American government believes that they have a leader in Egypt that will follow existing peace treaties with Israel and as in the case last week, was part of the process (majour part actually) to sealing a truce in the latest violence between Hamas and Israel, that is good enough. At least they have someone they think they can control one assumes.

Not too sure if this is good idea.

And speaking (writing) of the conflict between Hamas and Israel, is it just me that finds it strange that while Hamas has killed a half dozen or so Israelis in its rockets attacks on Israel while having over 100 plus killed as well as a senior leader by Israel in return, as well as incredible infrastructure damage - that Hamas claims victory in this peace accord? And their people actually believe and celebrate this?

That kind of logic would make Monty Python proud.

Over in Europe, the people of Greece must be livid over recent budget meetings by the European Union. It seems that this political entity has no desire to impose fiscal restraint on its own staff. Heaven forbid that the free education for their children at exclusive schools should be paid by the parents - oh no, let their employer pay that. Raise the pension retirement age like many countries are being forced to do? Oh no, that will just not do. Have the employees contribute to their pension plans? Oh no, that would hurt them financially, that would be cruel. Delay or eliminate the construction of a multi million Euro museum dedicated to the history of the European Union and its employees? Oh no, the world needs to appreciate the oh so hard work of the overpaid, under worked, over entitled rulers of all of Europe.

Can you believe that?

No wonder the Greeks are rioting.

Argentina reports an increase of 15.5% in groceries sales over the previous year. Price increases for power utilities increase by 12.5%. All this points to an economy crumbling under, apparently government policies and inflation fueled by the policies. The subway system in Buenos Aires has been handed over to the city by the state with no funding at all causing massive increases in fares and reduction in services and maintenance programs. Some critics suggest this is the result of the combination of the personal beliefs of the President, Ms. Kirchner and that of the worst of socialism. Even though for many commentators from the United States, socialism is evil on a par with communism thereby denying the fact that many countries throughout the world use modified forms of socialism. especially in fields like health care where countries like Canada spend about $4,700 person a year on health care services compared to over $7,200 in the States.

Whatever the reason, this country is facing really tough times right now and and in the months and years ahead it seems.

In the United States with the looming fiscal cliff only short weeks away, the country is not seeing any action  among politicians and affected parties towards some solution and compromise that actually helps the average voter, but rather a deluge of advertising from special interest groups angrily defending their entitlements and demanding that some one else feel the pain, just not them. From companies dedicated to supplying the military to various large unions to the association (read: union) for retirees the battle is being waged. If they all would put this much money and effort into solving the problems instead of turf protecting, maybe something would get done. Instead it would seem that the only thing to emerge will be a bill passed to "punt" the day of reckoning down the road for another 6 to 9 months in the hopes that something, anything will emerge to distract the voter and somehow make the problem just magically go away without them having to actually do their job and then being held accountable for doing so.

Some people might call this cowardly.

So a lawsuit launched in Russia against Lady Gaga for issuing a statement in support of gays on the grounds that it would harm the youth and affect the birthrate has been denied. Good for the Russian legal system which has been suspect on many issues in the recent past.

Russia would be a great place to visit. Sadly, probably not in my time - that is unless some mysterious benefactor invites me - right, as if that would ever happen!

Meanwhile in Germany there is a sad story emerging about flawed governments (being polite here) and banks. Back in the 1970's many "guest workers" from the then Yugoslavia saved their earnings in a bank in what is now Slovenia. When the country dissolved, the banks assets were transferred to a new legal entity bank but not its liabilities with the approval of the Slovenian government. There are millions of Euros lost as a consequence, Thousands of people have had their savings and retirement lost with only a hollow legal victory that has no teeth for enforcement.

This is wrong, but in all probability nothing will be done as the victims are not politically powerful - they are just ordinary citizens.


In Spain, the once powerful terrorist group Eta has said it is ready to disband and willing to enter into talks with the French and Spanish governments. The government has rejected the offer and indeed a top Eta leader has been arrested by French authorities. Meanwhile tension increase in Spain in the Catalonia region where talk of separation has intensified.

So today dawned bright and sunny and we decided to go to the harbour front to see Santa come into town via a float plane.

It was an interesting time to say the least. I am used to Santa coming to town with lots of snow and ice on the ground accompanied by bitter bone chilling temperature and wind. Nor walking around with a light sweater on while sipping a hot chocolate and then walking on green grass along the waterfront later.

Strange feeling.

Then we watched a float plane take off and that was a first time event for us.

Finally starting to get an idea of Christmas gifts for the better half. One thing she mentioned that she would not mind waking up to on Christmas Day was Johnny Depp – I don't think so!!!!!
take care out there,
flatlander 52

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