Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday musings

Here in Canada, over the last few months, 2 stories have slowly developed that in the one instance filled me with a mixture of cynicism and impotent rage.
The second, only with sorrow.
In the first, played out on a national level, the saga of 3 Federal Government Senators accused - but not tried, let alone convicted- of a number of abuses of their positions of Parliamentary privilege saw them suspended without pay for a maximum of 2 years from their “jobs” as a result. Cynicism as this type of abuse of power has been a hallmark of the Senate since the day that this retirement ground for lackeys of the ruling party was founded. But these days, it seems that because the Prime Minister has been linked - once again by innuendo not fact - to these bad folks, the hammer of justice has actually been wielded and punishment swift and severe.
Really Mr. Prime Minister?
You, when in Opposition were going to abolish the Senate and now when in power continue to reward old friends and hacks?
Yes, you, Mr. Prime Minister.
Impotent rage - what the hell can one citizen do anyway?
Other than vote and that is one privilege that I will never let lapse, probably nothing at all.
Oh Canada….
The other story?
Well, Canada has a mega city, one that because it is so darn successful has bred animosity from the ROC (Rest Of Canada) by those folks more inclined to sit and whine than go out and do...but I digress…
This city is Toronto and for months now the slow, twisting political demise of its Mayor has been the fodder of late show comics and gossip focused “responsible” media worldwide. In a nutshell, claims of a video purporting to show the Mayor smoking an illegal substance were made earlier this year and now months later, the local police confirm the existence of said video. Then another video of the Mayor in a drunken rage surfaces. One has to wonder about the integrity and cowardice of such a “friend” of the mayor to film, save, and then later “leak” this video. Indeed, memory says that Julius Ceasar had friends like that once.
Following months of denial, now the mayor says yes, he did smoke that substance and indeed, was drunk when the other video was made.
Why I feel sorrow is twofold.
First, sadness for the citizens of that great city based on his conduct. They deserve better from their elected officials, as all people with elected government at all levels do.
And then, more importantly, sorrow for the mayor.
Not because of what he is accused of doing.
No, he is a grown man and all choices good or bad, well, he made them of his own volition, no one else did that to him. The sorrow is based on the fact that I once was where he is now. If indeed all the accusations are true, then he has a drug and alcohol addiction/dependency - call it what you want. That being said, it is so painfully evident that he has not hit the “wall” in seeing what he is doing with his life. After all, he is still mayor, earning money, has press following him (addictive stuff in itself - ask the Kardashians!) and in essence, has not lost a damn thing.
So why admit or change anything?
Only when one “awakes” can any attempt be attempted to remedy the life of that person. Because no matter what is available, whether through medication, counselling, anything, nothing will been worth a darn unless the person involved takes responsibility for their recovery. Otherwise it is a sham. Look at all the people in Hollywood for proof of that. That place is full of professional rehabbers who cannot wait to flee from recovery services to the closest enabler and lord, there are so many of those folks just waiting for them.
This story will not end well I am afraid to say.
Wish that I were wrong…….
Trust is a precious commodity isn’t it?
A person can take it for granted and yet once it is lost/betrayed, it can never be really rebuilt or restored. There will always be a kernel of doubt and suspicion sadly.
I think we all have experienced this in our lives haven’t we?
So, in the Philippines, a large (no way will I stoop to using dumb words such as “super typhoon” “typhoon of the century”, “mega monster storm” - that I leave to trash seeking media “experts”) typhoon slammed ashore with initial accounts of 1,000 dead but later reports suggesting possibly 10,000 or more. And the remnants of the storm are now headed towards Viet Nam. How does one grasp the enormity of such death and destruction while sitting on a comfortable chair in a dwelling safe and secure? Is it possible? Will the region ever really recover? Look at places such as in Japan where the Fukshimal Daiichi nuclear plant ruptured after the massive (darn, used a descriptor word!) earthquake- there now exists a ghost town, never to be rebuilt. Look at Chernobyl - another ghost town. In America, the flooding of the east Coast last year - savaged shoreline and destroyed businesses and housing slowly recovering, but long term - who knows?
Other than the victims, will or does anyone care?
Another example of where people want anyone but themselves to pay for things emerges from the land of lederhosen and bratwurst - dear old Germany - where German shepherds are calling for sheepdog subsidies to help them protect their flocks from wolves which are steadily reclaiming ancient territories - and treating themselves to lamb suppers.
The Chairman of the Berlin and Brandenburg sheep breeders' association called for the state to subsidise dog costs, telling the Berliner Zeitung newspaper it could cost as much as €2,000 a year for food and veterinary care for each one.
Come on, it is your field of income - YOU invest in it not everyone else OK?
One expects better of Germans.
Off to France we go and see a wonderful example of ‘free trade” at work. It seems that most of the emblematic red hats worn by members of the “Bonnets Rouges” protest movement weren’t made in France, according to reports this week. Some 7,500 wooly caps sold to patriotic and anti-transport tax demonstrators were imported, of all places, from Scotland.
Of course the hats were taxed - oh the irony of it all!
I have occasionally mentioned the former Prime Minister of Italy, Mr. Berlusconi, and now reports emerge where he is quoted as saying he blames his tax fraud conviction on persecution by magistrates, and his children "feel like the Jews under Hitler."
Someone tell this - person - to ask Jewish Holocaust survivors if his excessives and criminal acts resemble the hell they went through just for being Jewish OK?
Is there no shame for these people?
In America, a gunman murdered a federal government employee at the Los Angeles airport this week. And sadly, the refrain of guns do not kill people but people kill people is brandished by gun advocates throughout that great country. In an ironic twist of reality, there in the land of free speech, an Editor of a national gun magazine who suggested that maybe, just maybe some discussion should take place of gun ownership policies was fired immediately for this viewpoint.
Sadly this smacks of “free speech when it agrees with my views” and I do not think that this is what made America what it is - do you?
I have always seen it as a country that thrives on vigorous debate, but maybe this is no longer the way it is anymore.
That would be the worlds’ loss - not just Americas’
Another quality person went away this week.
Chana Mlotek, a noted archivist of Yiddish folk music and an impassioned collector of Yiddish songs from the shtetls of Europe, has died at age 91.
The world will always need people like him or our history will drift away in the mists of time.
This year, as in years past, we will take a day (November 11th here in Canada) to celebrate the lives of those that fought to preserve our way of life and democracy through wars and police actions. The Great War. the Second World War, Korea, Suez, Cyprus, Bosnia, the list goes on and on.
Heros all, survivors and the fallen.
They all deserve our gratitude and respect.
My father fought in the Second World War and he is one of those heros.

take care out there,

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