Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday musings

The death toll continues to mount in the Philippines and emergency aid arrives by the hour. News reports show clips of airplanes from nations around the world with supplies. At the forefront, yup, those Americans that a lot of the world reviles.
 Well, maybe the news media just “forgot” to show pictures of the planes arriving from, hmmm.....Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, North Korea – you know, those champions of the rights of all people? Somehow, one suspects that this is not the case.
Yet those darn Yanks, somehow they always seem to help people enduring disaster don't they?
Sorry, but the Americans, especially compared to a lot of other sanctimonious countries, are a pretty good lot by and large. Yes they have problems, but yet, there are many that would rather have them in their corner than any other.
Anyway, the death and destruction there is too much for the average person to comprehend and yet everywhere one sees reports of groups gathering together across North America to raise money and dry goods to send for relief to the affected peoples. Perhaps you have also made a financial donation, if so you have the gratitude of those folks.
Thank you.
Remember all those protests from the recent past about those “evil 1%” folks who shirk their duty to society by avoiding taxes and the like? Well.... a report out of England says that the top 1% of English taxpayers are now paying almost 30% of all income tax. And yet, it seems to be the desire of many to destroy the wealth and wealth creation (read employment of folks as a result). And yet these same people, well, they do not want to pay more in taxes to support others less fortunate in society or improve roads. Heck they say “oh no, not me – I deserve special treatment."
Seems more like a bunch of these folks just want a free ride at the expense of others doesn't it?
Just like the folks they accuse.
Interesting eh?
Things are heating up again in Libya these days. 
After the overthrow and execution of the late Mr. Gaddafi, a form of democratic styled government was imposed by the coalition forces on the country. While a laudable effort, it was probably doomed to failure as democracy imposed on a country trained to live under a dictatorship usually “spins” its wheels as no order survives as no one group assumes authority. Too much freedom without training and education causes that. A 48-hour state of emergency has been declared in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, after a fresh wave of clashes broke out following a deadly protest against armed groups. Tripoli is on edge since the deadly clashes that also left more than 500 wounded, local news agencies report the Interior Ministry as saying. The fighting followed demonstrations on Friday, in which imams, during weekly Muslim prayers, called for protests against armed groups and former fighters who refuse to disarm, which then degenerated into deadly clashes continuing through the night. This “long night” will take a long time to resolve and many will die sadly, as a result. And really, these is nothing the rest of the international community can do to help, nothing.
Life, not always fair and just is it? 
In Argentina, President Cristina Fern├índez de Kirchner “is recovering in an excellent way” from surgery for a brain clot caused by a fall recently. Indeed reports speculate that she will be able to start campaigning in the National election coming up in that land of beauty and mystery.
What a marvelous place Argentina is, as we spent a month there last year in the city of Buenos Aires and what a treat that was. The people are so gracious and kind to those who stumble in poorly spoken Spanish, as I can attest to. The buildings have a beauty and charm that enchants one. It shows how striking a city like Havana could and should be as it also has similar architecture but under the rule of Communism, it seems as if everything is slowly crumbling into dust and faded glory. Indeed, as noted Cuban Blogger Yoani Sanchez ( ) points out, all the fabulous Havana fountains no longer spout water as the pumps have been stolen and the copper lines removed by thieves.
Oh, poor Cuba, what lies ahead for you?
In Canada we have a political party named “The Green Party” and it supposedly is one that is on the side of the common person (hmm was not the NDP – New Democratic Party – supposed to wear that crown? And yes , I digress) and Mother Nature.
It is opposed to Big, Bad Oil. WIFI in schools, fluoridation in water as well as that nasty old GMO stuff.
So.... the official Green Party blog refers to evidence of “abiotic oil” (yes, a concept from Stalinist Russia- that era of great free and rational thinking) which believes petroleum is not derived from biological matter, but is rather a geological substance.
WIFI – well, health agencies such as Health Canada have not felt the need to sound the alarm against the much-weaker radiation coming from WiFi routers, which also carry the added health benefit of not being routinely held next to the human brain such as cell phones which most “Greenies” proudly sport.
Hypocritical ya think?
And bad old fluoridation?
Again, Canadian dental organizations, Health Canada and the World Health Organization call artificial fluoridation the “most effective public health measure for the prevention of dental decay.”
Who is right and who is wrong?
GMO – you know, the food products which so called responsible media trumpet the buzz words created by opponents – Frankenfruit, Frankenburger etc. Supposedly the 5th Horseman of the upcoming Apocalypse to the worlds food chain? Once again, we have the case where Aaron Larsen, a Canadian-born Harvard post-doctoral fellow, declared “Just to be clear, there has never been a single reputable, peer-reviewed study that has found any link between the consumption of genetically modified foods and adverse health effects”.
All this proves that like all the political parties that the Greens oppose, indeed they also have no shame in twisting truth to their own agenda.
As in life, there is no absolute truth in politics and no one party has the “only right way”, no matter what the say, do they?
A couple of tidbits from Italy for you.
First, showing that the recession of 2008 still is affecting that country, reports indicate that the Italian economy, the third-biggest in the eurozone, contracted by 0.1 percent in the third quarter in the ninth showing of such shrinkage in a row. Indeed, the data also showed that over 12 months the economy shrank by 1.9 percent. Not a hopeful sign for the future is it?
Secondly, Italian men are often portrayed as “mammoni” or “mamma's boys” and a report from the Italian National Institute for Statistics (Istat) show that in 2012, 52% of Italian men between 25 and 34 lived with their parents and that the number is increasing. much for the land of “la dolce vita”!
Passages this week include Mavis Batey.
Who was she?
Well, she was an English garden historian who worked as a code breaker in England (at a super secret site called Bletchley Park) during the Second World War. There she worked as an assistant to Dillwyn Knox, and was closely involved in the decryption effort before the Battle of Matapan. That battle has the distinction of being the last fleet action of the Royal Navy in the war. Incidentally, due to her work, the British decisively defeated the forces assembled by the Italian navy.
It has been a while since I talked about life here on my Island and with fall almost over with, figure a few notes might be in order. Sadly almost all the leaves are off the maple trees and have been gathered and removed to compost stations. But... our winter plants are starting to blossom and that still is kind of unsettling for a former flatlander I have to say. It seems strange to have things bloom at this time of year when on the Prairies everything is hunkered down under the cold and first snow falls. Indeed, I was on my daily walk the other day and happened to glance at the rhododendron plants in our area and saw that there were flower buds forming already! My better half, who is well underway to getting Master Gardener status from the local University informs me that these buds will grow until late February next year and then burst forth into flower – February not June for crying out loud!
Even now going into our second year here, the growing patterns amaze and bedazzle me. I hope this joy of discovery never dims for me as the years fly by.
I went for a shoreline walk the other day, all the while carrying my obligatory West Coast cup of hot chocolate (truth be told, it should have been coffee to be authentic, alas, I have never been a coffee aficionado) and took a snap of a marvelous sunrise, hope you like it!

take care out there,

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