Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday musings

The government of Venezuela announced the other day that Mr. Chavez is now “fighting” for his life and undergoing another round of chemotherapy, now in Caracas. Many see this as almost the last stage in the life of the President and worries about the future stability and direction of the country mount.
Sadly many “pundits” in America are almost gleeful with the prospect of his death. Perhaps the conveniently forget that he was responsible for many years of the continuing shipment of oil to America during the winter months for almost next to nothing for conversion into heating oil for people on the east cost while their own government ignored the same people.
If Chavez does die soon, the stability of many countries in South America and even the Caribbean will be affected. The most likely one is Cuba who has a large trade/services infrastructure relationship with Venezuela. In exchange for much needed oil imports, the Cuban government sends large numbers of doctors and support staff in exchange programs to help the Venezuelan people. If a new regime discontinues that program, both countries populations will suffer as a result.
Speaking of Cuba, Raoul Castro, the President has announced that he will, as his brother Fidel did, retire from office (2018). This has infuriated many American government officials and expatriate Cubans, the majority that live in Florida and have a large electoral influence. Imagine that, that the Castro brothers will not be forced out of office by economic or military means but rather by old age – the injustice of this offends them.
If this does happen, who will they attack then?
As well, what fate will befall the political direction of Cuba?
I think many Americans and ex-Cubans imagine that life in Cuba will revert to the old days under the dictator Batista who ruled with a fair amount of American support. As well many rich Americans and American companies ran parts of that island like their own little kingdom with disregard for the rights of the people. One suspects that no matter what happens in Cuba after the Castros' are gone, those “good old days” will not return.
Brazil announced this week that it intends to build a new shipyard capable of constructing French designed nuclear submarines. Somehow one never equates that country with navel might. One has to wonder as to what water borne threat they want to defend against with such a vessel.
Oh well, as everywhere, politicians love to spend money and try to divert the peoples attention from mundane things like roads, taxes, pollution, graft and the like.
Italy had the general election I mentioned last week and as predicated, bugger all got resolved. Maybe the Italians, Greeks and the people from Quebec have it right. Spend money without regards as to where it comes from and never intend on paying it back, once you get in debt so large, who will dare to bankrupt you and lose their lent money as a result? Look at the large banks and car companies in America in the last few years, they did the same and the government gave them money instead of locking their doors and throwing them out on the street – which is what would happen without a doubt to the average taxpayer if they defaulted on their mortgages or bank loans.
And in America the long forecast “sequester” has become a reality.
I find it strange that the President keeps going forth on all forms of media as to how national parks, border services, military support staff, schools, food programs and the like will suffer harshly but not saying that this will not happen in a day or so but more like within a month. And that in reality the cuts amount to a 2% cut in budgets all across the board. Now if you are like most people, if someone said that you will have to reduce your expenses by that amount, I suspect that most likely you could. Indeed some people say that government could fly less, and definitely go coach fare and not first class. Government could also reduce some purchases and see if they can start to tender out these purchases rather than sole sourcing as many as it does. And maybe the ignorant finger pointing butt covering politicians should have their pay cheques stopped, their gold plated pensions and office perks cut by 50% and stay that way even after this mess is resolved. And what about limiting the terms of these politicians to a maximum of three? Maybe they would actually work to deserve their wages because it may surprise these folks but they work for the taxpayer, not the other way around as so many seem to think.
So the Pope is now retired. Or is it the ex-Pope?
Anyway, he leaves the Vatican to a really nice castle in Italy to be in seclusion and, well, not really sure what he is going to do.
But then again at age 85, does it really matter?
That being said, one wonders if he left the Catholic Church better or worse for his rule?
Time and history will be the judge.
One day though, the Church will have to face the evil of the abuse its priests sexually inflected on young people and do something honest about it. Also the issue of gays, women priests and birth control will not go away and the sooner it moves into the real world, the sooner it can reclaim its relevance and legitimacy and attract people to it again.
A good first step would be the election of a modern day style Pope in the coming weeks – but one doubts that result.
Remember how North Korea exploded another nuclear device underground a couple of weeks ago? Reports are coming out where Japanese and American scientists cannot find any evidence of radiation from the supposed test. This means that the North Koreans have either developed a new type of bomb, or found a way of hiding all traces or maybe just blew up a bunch of explosives and pretended that it was a nuclear weapon all in an attempt to get concessions such as food from the world community (read: Americans).
Also in Japan, fish caught in waters near the Fukushima Nuclear power plant (it had that partial meltdown almost 2 years ago) display incredibly high amounts of radioactivity. Some power plant officials suggest that this is a result of other sources and not from potentially another leak into the water from the plant.
Right, maybe they are correct, maybe not.
Here in British Columbia the ruling Provincial government has been under intense scrutiny and scorn over a leaked document showing how it was to use (and apparently to some degree did) both party and government staff in a plan to document and enlist swing ethnic groups of voters in the upcoming election.
Wrong, wrong and probably illegal but definitely immoral. That being said, you have to believe that all political parties everyone have a similar policy paper securely hidden from sight that they use.
That is just the real world unfortunately.
Not right, but the real world.
Here on the Island, the open air market that I was led to believe was to open this week actually will be opening mid month.
But on the plus side I went to a local golf course and booked my first game of the year for next week. I find that a little strange as usually on the Prairies golf starts in late May, but what the heck, I do not mind in the least. Bad part of this is this gives me more opportunities to lose even more golf balls over the year – an expensive thought!
Take care out there,

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