In America, the once mighty city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy protection this week. Interestingly this announcement seems to hardly created a ripple in the minds of the citizens, economists and even more importantly – news media and their reporters. Instead the media focus is more bent towards the impending birth of a child to a couple in Britain. So does this mean that this news is not news at all and means little in the “real” world? Or that the public is done with news of this type? Where is the reaction of the President and big shots of the Federal Government?
Does it make sense to you?
The culprit(s) in the demise of Detroit have been identified as the last number of Mayors who plunged the city deeper and deeper into debt by spending more and more borrowed money to buy labour peace by increasing the number of city employees and ever increasing pension plan money payments and benefits while watching cash flow dry up from the exodus of ever increased taxed businesses and individuals. The city is a shell of itself in terms of population and businesses and the bills keep mounting. So now the city has filed for protection that means suppliers get stiffed for overdue payments, employees get laid off, pension obligations get dropped or radically reduced – oh and the banks and governments are protected and are first to get money owed plus interest down the road.
Something like Canada where if you shut your doors as a business owner, all creditors and employees have to stand in line for any crumbs of money in the liquidation of the firms assets but only after Revenue Canada, and other Federal agencies and banks get their money first.
So at one time not so far back, the default of a tiny city in California sent ripples through the American economy and financial world, and now it seems like very little is happening. But maybe it is still early in the process and events will show different in time.
We will watch and see.
A week has passed in America since the acquittal verdict in the murder charges brought against a Mr. Zimmerman. His victim was a black man named Trayvon Martin. Many expected riots and extreme violence to erupt throughout the United States in response to what was seem as a white man killing a black man and getting away with it. While there have been demonstrations, for the most part, they were peaceful and most commentary has been thoughtful and reasoned. Perhaps the future relations between the blacks of Americas and the rest of the country will change for the better as a result. Human nature being what it is, do not expect big dramatic changes but rather, small, hesitant steps forward. Rarely does humanity make giant leaps forward in social thinking, that just does not happen. We can only try to do our own little part to make life better for all people – regardless of colour.
Speaking of man's humanity – or in this case lack of same – remember the reports of the train crash last week in France? It happened near Brétigny-sur-Orge, and a police report has emerged that indicates that in the middle of the death and carnage, thieves strolled around robbing victims and pelting police and medical personal with rocks when they showed up to aid the injured and bring order to the scene.
It would be easy to pick on the French people for this, but you know, one has to suspect that this would occur in many other jurisdictions don't you think?
Good news may be indeed emerging from Italy about the state of its economy. Industrial orders in Italy rose for the third month, official data showed on Friday, in a tentative sign that nearly two years of recession could be nearing an end. The same type of report has also come from Spain and that is really, really something the global economy has been waiting for. If this does continue, hopefully a trend will start in other European countries and that means more employment, more revenue for government coffers and better times ahead for many people.
One can only hope so.
In Rome, a man dressed like the late Pope John Paul ll and posing with tourists by the Coliseum was arrested and charged with “usurpation of title” and stripped of his costume. One police officer was quoted as saying "If he had been dressed like Tutankhamun nothing would have happened."
Sigh, only in Rome apparently.
And people thought the influence of the Catholic Church was waning?
Not in Italy it seems.
In a little reported event, the European Union has notified Israel that future EU money for Israeli projects will be tied to the condition that it doesn't end up in Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories. And that Israel must agree to that condition in writing. This could signal a majour change in support away from Israel and a new commitment to Palestine. And that definitely has the Israelis and their biggest supporter and ally, the United States talking.
This bears a closer look – wonder whether the media will explore this at all or remain fixated on the latest exploits the rapper Kanye?
Easy answer isn't it?
But, the bigger impact on the world will flow from what happens as a result of the EU decision – no question and yes once again the media gets a big fail for their indifferent lack of effort and integrity in matters like this.
Speaking of stories that consumed us and now are gone – what happened to the massive debris field from the tsunami in Japan from March 2011? Not a single reports is available through normal search engines on the InterWeb it seems. And yet the original floating debris field was 75 miles long – so what happened?
This week saw the 95th birthday of Nelson Mandela, and this icon still is clinging to life and the news is that he seems to be improving. If so, good news. Let's hope that this is not disinformation to buy the government time to prepare for his death. They have had years to do so and to not be prepared is to dishonour the man.
Also, this week would have seen the 79th birthday of my Uncle KHK in central British Columbia. Not world famous, but a great and good man to many people.
We went on a short drive to the small town of Comox this week and really were impressed with it and the people there. Indeed, this whole Island is incredible and I know we will never have enough time to see and do all the things and places that we want to in the years ahead of us.
Take care out there,