Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you!

Cyprus is the 4th European country to feel the effects of the Greek fiscal crisis. The debt has been spread through various banking institutions and of course they do not want to lose money on these loans so.....they in essence “screw” citizens of other countries when they have to refinance their own economy because of less than intelligent decisions made by the politicians of said country. What the bankers did is really wrong. In order to get funding, well, of course the innocent citizens of Cyprus have to pay the piper. The banks imposed a new tax on all citizens that have their savings in bank accounts. Those with less than 100,000 Euros will pay a 6.74% tax and those with more will pay 9%. And it is a done deal and the funds were frozen by the government under cover of night and are gone from the accounts.
So, now a government taxes your income, you bank the money and then they tax it again.
Yes, really, and please tell me why this is not: a)wrong, b) immoral, c) evil?
And do you think other governments are not watching this closely and hoping to sneak this into their countries as well?
Of course politicians and bankers can and always do raise their wages without regard for anything or anybody so such disgusting taxes never affect or bother them.
Have you read in Canada about another insidious trend in politics that is emerging where politicians when caught abusing the public purse or parliamentary law, merely say “oops, not my fault” or the “rules were vague” or “someone gave me wrong approval” and then repay the money and stay in the job? The odd one may resign but immediately throws their hat back into the ring to get re-elected.
No criminal charges for these people.
What the heck is going on here?
Is there now officially one set of rules for politicians -i.e. no punishment, and another set for the average citizen – you break the law and at a minimum you pay a fine?
Look at British Columbia where a top government staffer and a cabinet minister purportedly broke the laws about the proper use of government money in regards to work for the people and the work for the party-and the punishment was being allowed to resign. No recommendations of pressing charges and law officials were also strangely mute.
Some Federal Government Senators have abused their housing allowances and it seems that having been caught, all they have to do is repay the money and they keep their jobs.
Tell that to the small company bookkeeper that took money from their employer to pay for a gambling habit that now resides in provincial jail (an actual case in Saskatchewan).
Where is the fairness in that?
I do not know about you, but I am so tired of the constant bleating of so many groups of how they have to be paid so much in order to stay in their field and in the employ of whatever company or government department they work for. To list a few professions – how about Lawyers, Teachers, University Professors, Nurses, senior Government Executive Managers, Doctors, Police etc., - tell me again who held a gun to their heads to force them into their career and who forces them by what law to remain there? These same people blithely look at other people working their butts off and say to them – well if you do not like your job-change professions. Maybe they should look into the mirror and use their own advice. Maybe society is slowly getting tired of being held hostage by these self entitled groups.
And remember this, the taxpaying base is shrinking due to more and more taxes and the money pot is and will continue to shrink.
So the new Pope is wanting to direct the Church towards caring for the poor. Hmmm, I kinda thought that was always supposed to be the goal of the Catholic Church. Perhaps the top folks there have for a long, long time chosen to ignore this concept while living large through incredible amounts of money (non trackable-how cool is that?) from the over one billion supporters?
Just like the top dogs at the UN, International Olympic Committee, large Banks- get the picture?
So in America fiscal ruin still has not emerged as a result of the Sequestration Act. It is early yet but maybe the impact will not be as traumatic as predicted by the White House?
Time will soon tell one supposes.
And it is rather ironic that the Republican Party that for so many years defended a strong, ever higher funded military has completely changed policy and now almost gleefully endorses the cuts to the armed forces budget and programs.
Why has the hate for the President by the Republicans been allowed to damage that great country to the effect it has to date and it definitely will even more in the future?
If for example the dreaded Obamacare Act is so wrong, why not work to elect a Republican in the next Presidential election and then repeal it?
Probably because almost all opinion polls reflect a cruel reality of life. Almost all citizens want the pluses of government largesse because they believe that somehow they really do not pay for that but at the same time will also support any and all efforts to curb government programs that do not benefit them. A case of wanting your cake but not wanting to pay for it and politicians pander to this in order to get elected.
And other countries should not be smug about this – look at the money being poured into the Canadian Health Care system with poor results and accountability. Same thing. France with its vacation policy. The list goes across the board.
Ewald Heinrich von Kleist, a former German army lieutenant who took part in a failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, has died at the age of 90. It is important for history and people to remember that indeed there were some courageous Germans that stood against the evils of Nazism and not for people these days to pretend that the Holocaust and the Second World War did not happen for the reasons that they did and that the horrendous toll of millions killed and murdered ever be forgotten.
In France, in what is sadly, horribly poor judgement by the judiciary because of the leniency of the sentence, a man in Brest was sentenced to a one year suspended prison term after he was found guilty of placing a camera phone in the toilets of supermarkets in the towns of Brest and Quimper and taking over 1500 photos of women in the stalls.
What the hell is the matter with the judge in that case?
A slap on the wrist for this?
Many would say, but of course, that is the French for you – blasted sexual hypocrites.
Many would agree.
Spain is raising the early retirement age from 61 to 63 and will save 5 Billion Euros (6.5B Canadian) a year. One has to wonder as to the retirement system in Europe. Is it totally dependent on state funds to the retiree? If so, no wonder the economies of so many countries are being stretched to the breaking point.
In North America (both Canada and the USA) people can retire when they want to and at any age. In Canada there is a state funded pension but that is paid into by the citizens and the employer to be paid out based on total lifetime contributions started at a reduced rate if wanted at age 60 or at full rate at 65. There is also a supplementary pension available starting at 65 regardless if one collects the aforementioned one, but that is not enough to live on but intended more as a supplement to existing pension income. More importantly, there are many options available to the individual to invest into self funded retirement saving programs and money markets that for many can and do form the foundation of their retirement income with the state pension being a supplement to those.
In America, I am not sure as to what the system is in terms of government participation but there is a private component available. Perhaps someone can let me know?
Speaking of bright spots in the world, in Pakistan, the government has reached the end of its 5 year term and has peacefully stepped down in advance of new elections. This in a country with a long history of military coups. Positive news indeed.
On the other hand, the President of Afghanistan comes out with the bizarre accusation that the Americans are collaborating the the militant Al Qada to overthrow his government.
Right, the Americans who have fought this bloody endless war for 12 years are actually working hand in glove with the enemy?
Sadly one has to wonder why the Yanks ever went into this place in the first place. No good ever seems to come out of that semi feudal land – ever.
Just ask the British and the Russians.
What is in that country worth the cost that these countries have paid?
Whatever it is or was, it does not excuse imperialism does it?
North Korea is testing short range missiles and warning once again about nuclear fire – what is with them anyway?
Back here in Canada, poor old Saskatchewan got socked again with a couple of late season snow storms, really – enough!
Let the melt begin, please?
Not to say too much but next week I will get in my second game of golf – tee hee...
Finally, I lost another friend this week. One of the sad parts of when one is no longer a young person but slowly aging is that people you know slowly leave you behind. He was a good friend of my parents and I had the pleasure of meeting him a number of times, not as many as I wanted but he lived a world away in Europe. So this week is dedicated to F.B. In Germany, rest easy and in peace.............

take care out there my friends,

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