Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday musings

A couple of horrific train accidents, continents apart and a horrific airplane crash in the United States headlined the news this week unfortunately.
One train wreck was in Canada in a small town called Lac-Megantic where unbelievably, a unmanned, run away train comprised of oil cars carrying crude oil crashed into the town centre with an ensuing fireball causing deaths of at least 33 and possibly another 17 or more as authorities work hard and tirelessly to recover and identify any and all remains. The other crash was in Paris, France where a passenger train derailed and at least 7 died.
The plane crash in America was caught on video and amazingly only 3 people lost their lives, one by being run over by a firetruck arriving at the scene apparently as the plane wreckage was being engulfed in flames. A very low death toll in what was a horrible crash.
It is indeed tragic when people die in cases like this but many forget that in the bigger context of train travel train transport and airline travel, the amount of deaths and injuries is very small compared to the number of people traveling and total of all goods shipped by rail.
In this micro magnified media run world these days, the clamour invariably emerges to ban shipping oil by rail, putting super safety measures on planes and trains for passengers.
But is this really realistic?
Don't think so.
Pretty soon all the softies in the world will demand that governments all over issue people with inflatable cocoons to travel/walk/drive/fly in to ensure that no one ever gets a boo-boo.
A noted Canadian eco spokesman made an interesting statement to an interviewer this week in regards to his opinion on the value of immigration to Canada. He seems to say that the country has no more capacity for more immigrants (yes, Canada is the third largest country in the world, but I digress...) and indeed, that Canada is guilty of stealing the cream of the crop from countries where the immigrants come from thereby intellectually impoverishing those countries.
So Canada should not welcome immigrants and refugees as well?
I guess using that logic and the way apologists all around these days are, maybe Canadians that were not born here should return to the land where they came from? That means everyone except first nations people right? And would this “learned” person lead the way by finding out where in Japan his ancestors came from and return there? No, that really would be wrong and as we all know, 2 wrongs do not make 1 right in any way, shape or form.
Sadly one must conclude that his views in this subject are just wrong – period.
And let us just leave it at that. And not extend the disapproval to his other views, which, in my opinion, some are not always correct, but all are valid and deserve discussion and where consensus is reached, generate positive action for the environment.
So at the end of July, the nation of Zimbabwe under the rule of Mr. Mugabe goes to the polls in a general election. The last one was held 5 years ago and featured total corruption, intimidation, terror tactics, brutality and murder. Now the country is even poorer if that can be imagined (cronyism and theft by government supporters-AKA looters) and the same litany of abuses will prevail again. What a terrible downward spiral of a once proud and extremely prosperous country.
And nothing is done by the rest of the world.
Easier to attack countries like the USA, Canada and the like isn't it?
Speaking of news that is happening but most people are blissfully unaware of it because the media has decided that it is not “cool” enough, things are happening in Bulgaria these days. For the past month demonstrations have occurred daily throughout the country protesting the corruption in the government and calling for the resignation of the government even though it has only been in power for 2 months.
So here you have a country in turmoil but here in North America – not a peep. Indeed there is more coverage of the lifestyle of Justin Bieber and the pathetic antics he is involved in. More interest in a spoiled brat instead of the struggles of an entire country – how wonderful eh?
And the members of the media wonder in self pity why people distrust them these days?
Not like they deserve it is it?
In the last 10 – 15 years the corruption of the once proud and independent, analytical media by new ownership driven by audience ratings and also reflecting, in many cases, the extreme far right personal political leanings of the new owners, has destroyed the credibility of them.
And that is so sad and tragic.
And the news people get is filtered through biased short bursts on the InterWeb.
No wonder people are confused and distraught these days at times.
Remember how in France this last year the President, Mr. Hollande, declared that he was going to increase the taxes paid by the wealthy? Well as a result of this declaration and the passage of some laws, there is a parliamentary report being issued this week that indicates that almost 3,000 wealthy French citizens stashed close to $5 billion in HSBC accounts in Switzerland. Wealthy people by and large have no problem in paying what they believe is their fair share of taxes but really have a problem when they believe that they have been targeted unfairly by their governments. And sometimes it is hard not to agree with them. As the number of lower income people are dropped off tax rolls and the uncontrolled appetite for money by all levels of government continues, it is so easy to target the wealthy. Many forget that the wealthy pay a large amount of taxes already and that business and industries are developed by the wealthy and they employ many people who in their turn pay taxes and feed their families.
Here in British Columbia, a recent example of government ineptitude shows why government waste has to be brought under control – perhaps the lawmakers should be held legally liable for spending more money than they have – similar like what happens to you when you stop making house payments when you do not have enough money – you lose the house. Perhaps a fiscal penalty or even jail time might make the do their job properly. Anyway, getting back to the example I mentioned... the BC Ferry Corporation has been losing money like crazy over the past number of years and as a result has increased fares to incredibly high levels causing ridership to drop (go figure that one out!) and needs funding bail out as a result. So... in a stroke of brilliance, they decided because work staff days off due to injuries had declined in the last year a bit, to award a $300 credit card to all employees to use toward joining a fitness club or buying fitness wear.
You have to shake your head at this folly.
But if there is no fiscal penalty for incompetence, then why should anyone care?
The running of the bulls this week in Spain has produced casualties of course, darn fools....
More worrisome is the report that shipyard workers are on strike in the Ferrol estuary in Spain as word comes that the European Union is considering whether or not to demand repayment of some $3 billion Euros given to the industry during the years 2005 to 2011. Many fear the death of the industry with job losses exceeding 87,000 jobs.
Do you get the feeling that way too much power seems to be in the hands of faceless and nameless bureaucrats in the EU corridors? It is like no one cares that there are real people being devastated by the continuing onslaught on the working class.
Does anyone care anymore?
In the United States interesting news emerges in the murder trial of a Mr. Zimmerman accused of taking the life of a young man, Trayvon Martin. Last year when the story exploded on the public media, mass demonstrations erupted as many accused Mr. Zimmerman of killing a harmless black boy. Clearly, in the eyes of many, a racial killing. Even the American President chimed in that if had a son, that the boy would be like Trayvon Martin.
The obvious implication was that the accused was guilty – period.
So, now the a verdict comes in – not guilty.
So, to quote a wise man, I expect all Hell to break loose in the coming week.
That is something to talk about next blog time I think.
Great story in that the girl who was cowardly shot by thugs from the Taliban, Ms. Malala Yousafzai, addressed the United Nations Youth Assembly this week on her 16th birthday. She has done well recovering from terrible head wounds and her message of hope for all young women is incredible.
The world needs more people like her.
Here on the Island, life continues its slumberous way for us .
And that works jut fine for me.... however another link in the saga of the 10,000 step torture emerges...I unwittingly agreed to a “SMALL” walk around a lake/beach site in town here this day. Well it seems that my definition of small differs vastly from that of my better half. 17,000 steps later I dragged my sorry butt back into our vehicle for the tortuous ride back home. I swear that there should have been defibrillators installed on that walking path for people like me!

And those pictures were of the “level” parts of the path!
Speaking of gardens, we had our first home grown tomato this week.
A wag suggested it would be great with caviar on a cracker.....

Take care out there,

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