Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday musings

Lots a news a popping so away we go....
In Italy, disgraced and convicted, but still in parliament Silvio Berlusconi had members of his party resign from the coalition government in protest. Ostensibly this was done as a result of the direction that the government was taking but a closer look makes it seems like a majour pout from Mr. B. As he seems determined to prove that the laws of the land apply to everyone else but not him.
Arrogant attitude one could say, yet the fellow enjoys widespread support from the populace. Many observers says this support is indicative of the malaise of corruption and indifference that permeates Italian society these days.
An agreement was reached between Ghana and Argentina this week in regards to the brigantine navel training warship, Libertad that Ghanian authorities impounded last year at the command of an American hedge fund. The hedge fund was/is pursuing claims against the Argentine government for its default on loans years ago.
Kind on an interesting way an American company can run a foreign country isn't it? Reminds some of the way Dole and DuPont were factors in the Batista Cuban Government decades ago. Anyway, the ship was held “hostage” until some form of deal was reached. It is assumed details will soon emerge.
In America, well, the old spectre of the government running out of money as one party holds the country hostage in its opposition to the reformed Health Care Law (termed by these opponents as Obamacare) and is prepared to have the government stop paying its legal fiscal obligations as a result of no more money being made available to all agencies. In simply terms, going broke.
Too bad for people and companies and countries owed money by Uncle Sam is their mantra. That will teach Mr. Obama. The question is, what will it exactly teach him? He, as they, will still get a paycheque throughout this mess. Just people like the military, teachers, pensioners, government employees, welfare recipients, doctors – one could say all of American society will be dealt a fiscal body blow. But not those pompous political fat cats. They have principals – just ask them. Did not a famous American once say that politics was the art of compromise? Seems every ELECTED person in Washington has conveniently forgotten this lesson and instead thumbs their nose at their employer – the VOTER.
This is beyond sad isn't it? And the irony of it is that this saga has dragged on for far too long. In comparison, wasn't Iraq invaded and conquered by America in less time than this debacle?
And yes America, the world and the world's financial markets are watching with apprehension and bated breath – what will you decide?
So, Mr. Obama phoned the Iranian President Rouhani while the man was visiting the Useless -oops – United Nations and they had a “brief” conversation. The first diplomatic contact (excluding the usual behind the official scenes clandestine contacts) in over 30 years. Some see this as a sign of weakness on the part of Mr. Obama, others say it shows his grasp of Foreign Policy while the Iranians are proclaiming they are the “victors” in the contact – whatever the heck this means. If this is the start of a process to remove the nuclear arming of Iran by peaceful means, then that is nothing short of a miracle and all should rejoice.
Time will indeed tell the tale won't it?
Also in the Middle East, the Assad government says it will comply with the Russia initiative on turning over its stockpile of chemical weapons. Some governments – hello Canada – openly scoff at this report. Wouldn't it be ironic if this actually happened? What many western “observers” decry as an evil government – that of Russia – actually achieving something for the betterment of the planet? Can this be possible?
Time indeed will tell the tale.
Back to the Useless Nations, oops again, United Nations, it released a report this week saying that it is 95% probable that mans activities has affected the planet. How much did this brilliant piece of deduction cost anyway?
A 3 year could have told you the same thing for free.
No other creature on this planet impacts the environment like man. How many hummingbirds have built skyscrapers? How many turtles have created huge garbage dumps or as it politically correct speak these days, landfills? How many rose bushes have built dams on rivers or clear cut old growth timber? And yes, I am making an absurd point here but it has to be made. Man will always impact the environment, the true test of humanity is from here on in, what will mankind do to minimize and remedy this impact? If man fails, the penalty is simple – extinction of all life on the entire planet including man.
But remedies must be done intelligently and completely otherwise they waste resources and goodwill of the population, which is crucial to any program. Here on the Island, the capital city decided to make dumping of food scraps illegal. The citizens were “educated” to either self compost or bag the scraps separately for pick up by personnel who would take the “stuff” to an approved private enterprise facility for conversion to compost. It seems that the smart folks that came up with this plan forgot a couple of really, really important details. First off, there is not much money to be made in mass composting so hardly any companies are in that business. Then there is the matter that mounds, nay, mountains of food scraps stink and the odour floats over populated areas affecting large amounts of a once supportive populace. So the proposed “temporary” solution is to dig a big hole in the ground and leave the scraps there until someone eventually digs them up and composts them. Sorta like dumping them isn't it? And yes, you can stop laughing now at this lack of thinking but it really is, can I suggest, dumb? More taxpayers money wasted with no redress. And the next time someone suggests composting or the like, wags will say”remember the last time”.
In Germany, the government of Ms. Merkel was re-elected and the economic powerhouse of Europe looks set to continue to chug along. The influence of her government on the operation of the European Community will only continue to expand. 70 years after the complete destruction of the German state run by that mad man Hitler, intent on ruling Europe, we now have a democratic state seemingly doing exactly that.
A report from the Canadian Government indicates that 2 years after the great tsunami devastated Japan, the debris field will finally hit the west coast of the country in the province of British Columbia. Already over 7 invasive species of sea life have been washed ashore and more are expected. This shows you how small this huge planet really is.
In 1997, Burger King (the American fast food chain) closed its last location in France but now reports indicate that Le Whopper will resume its battle with the Big Mac in the French capital of Paris when Burger King opens an outlet again this coming December. Food purists may moan, but in the end, the consumer gets what the consumer wants – correct?
In what can only be termed a horrible report, it seems that prisoners in the time of Chile's Augusto Pinochet were constantly bombarded with recordings of music by Julio Iglesias – oh the inhumanity!
Well, on my Island, life is returning to what might be called normalcy with the departure of our friends to their abode on the Prairie flatlands. And what a time we had with them. We toured our little corner and walked many, many kilometres in a large number of parks and woodlands. We visited the small, picturesque town of Chemainus and had one of those moments where the world stood still. The rain was gently falling as we walked into a small park near the local museum and were surprised by the faint sounds of a pan flute issuing from the woods. We walked into the area and beheld a small natural shaped amphitheatre that had a lone musician standing on the stage playing to an audience of none. Not a single person, not a one. We sat on the rough hewn log benches and listened enthralled by this gifted man. Slowly but surely, more and more people drifted by and stopped and then sat down to listen as well. The musician went from being alone, to the 4 of us in the stands and then to having a small crowd of happy listeners. At the end, we purchased a CD of his music and went our way feeling that we had been part of some small “happening” as the slow smile of joy that emerged on his face as the audience grew became bigger and bigger and lit up a grey day.

Of course during our friends visit, way too much food was consumed forcing me to contemplate starting a diet (never gonna happen!) and as mentioned before, golf was played albeit not up to PGA standards by any stretch of the imagination but still a lot of fun. We look forward to returning the visit to them next year and for sure I will have figured out a more fool proof way of creative score keeping!
take care out there,
flatlander 52

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