Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday musings

Malaysian airline Boeing 777  jet shot down by a missile - the edge of conflict to come or ho hum?
And that is a serious question.
This is, at least the 3rd downing of a jet by military means in my memory and in each of the preceeding times, what ever resulted?
Correct, nothing.
The South Korean jet shot down by the Russians in 1983?
The Iran airlines plane shot down by the Americans in 1988?
El Al flight 402 shot down by Bulgarians in 1955?
You notice a pattern there?
Forget the outrage and horror of a large number of people.
The hard truth is that in all likelihood, the world will shrug its collective shoulders and turn back to watching some "reality" show about rich hillbillies and their duck call business.
Just as the world (that includes you by the way) looks on in titillated fear over the carnage happening in Gaza fueled by the Hamas folks and the Israeli response.
Nothing will happen there one way or the other as long as America shelters Israel with military arms and political support  and Russia supports however tacitly the other - will it?
And honestly, I do not definitively know which side has "right" on its side or whether it even matters.
Look at history - it is littered with cases of people being unjustly treated by others.
To the point of extinction.
That is humanity's legacy and future.
Want examples?
The Roma.
The Beothuks.
Endless list.
Man is not a good creature by and large and those with rose tinted glasses thinking so are sadly, fools.
Sorry, but that is reality.
If the United Nations cannot stop war in Ethiopia, Sudan, Iraq or change twisted regimes like that in North Korea but instead issues finger wagging notes about mean countries like Canada or Spain, well, what can you really expect?
So what will happen over the plane?
In all probability, bluster, posturing, cranky words, a bit of economic sanctions (they usually hit the ones most in need - not the dudes in big houses with fancy cars and loads of money) and then, the matter might just fade from memory after commission after commission is started to look into how such a "calamitous evil" could occur.
Numbness by commission and thousands of pages of meaningless drivel.
That being said, a whole lot of folks will make a ton of money on this.
But then again - some pundits liken the event to the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand that was part of the sequence of events that led to the partial global conflict of 194 - 1918.
We will see.
I suspect my version, while jaded, might be the one that does happen.
People leaving their homelands for work, illegally, continues to plaque the world.
More than 7,400 migrants have been arrested in the French Channel port of Calais for trying to illegally cross the Channel into Britain in the first half of 2014, more than double the figure a year ago, officials said this past week.
Isn't it ironic that the countries that a lot of the world loves to hate and vilify - well, they are the ones people want to live and work in.
How come no one packs boats and tries to get into places like Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan or Lesotho?
The ruling of the European Court of Human Rights this month to uphold France's 2011 ban on wearing the burqa and niqab veil in public has reignited the debate in Germany too. Many politicians say that in a pluralistic society, hiding ones face is wrong. They say that to live in an open and democratic style of country, one cannot pick and choose the parts of society they accept and reject the rest.
Interesting concept.
All or none.
Some might say this should also apply to those in North America that have become adept at using any and every means of public assistance and welfare to maintain a lifestyle without working. Thereby depriving the truly needy and disenfranchised of assistance. Many people know of generations of families that live a life on these programs and have adopted the belief that this is their "right" and society owes this to them.
Speaking of annoying spats between so called civilized countries - when are the Argentinians and the Brits ever going to resolve the hissy fit over the Falkland/Malvinas?
Or the Spanish and Brits over Gibralter?
Or all of East Asia over the Spratly Islands?
Probably never.
Anyway, over in Waikiki, this week saw the staging of the worlds longest running ukelele (44 years!) festival at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand and boy, would I have loved to have been there to hear that fabulous music. Derided by many as a toy - well, listen to some masters play and be prepared to change your mind. People like John King, Herb Ohta Sr. and the incomparable Brudah Iz are true masters. You might be surprised to know that Doris Day, Pete Townshend and even ol' swivel hips - Elvis also played the Uku.
And on Maui, proving once again that fireworks and people are a bad combination, a fire caused by careless use of them in a backyard on OE Street in Kihei burned down a house worth in excess of $520,000 USD. I recall being there this winter and seeing pallets of fireworks for sale in department stores and young folks buying them with little regard by the sales staff about permissible age requirements.
Something like kids buying cigarettes in convenience stores that happen all the time.
Funny how you never see outraged parents picketing those places at all?
Easier to picket an aquarium or zoo one supposes.
Not as tough on the conscience is it?
Here on my Island, the Capital city once again shows how not to lead as it had done in the waste water treatment saga I have relayed to you. Now... because some folks dislike cars at any speed - the city has decided to limit vehicle speed from 50 KPH to 30 KPH on a select number of roadways. Logic and clear thinking have been trumped by over vocal trumpeting of  "for the kids" and NIMBY efforts of a few folks. To heck with the majority - what they want, well - they seem to get. Just like the pedestrians and bike riders in that city - the law is on their side so the blasted cars had better watch out for them instead! Looks nice on the headstone - I was in the right! Somehow being right in a collision with a motor vehicle gives me cold comfort when a little common sense and courtesy would work the best for all involved.
Oh well, such is life here on the Left Coast.
And....only 5 more months until Christmas!
take care out there,

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