To wit, it seems like yesterday folks were talking about the end of winter and now - gasp - it is the start of August!
Where has the summer gone?
Like, geez Louise - that ain't fair.
As my father and indeed my father in law as well used to say "well son ( or son in law as the case called for) this is the end of the first week of August so that means it is time to order coal for the winter! And they both would start to mutter darkly about frost, winter tires, mustard plasters - oh the horror!
And last evening on the Interweb news from the Flatlands, word that the wheat harvest is less than a month away.
I repeat, the horror!!
The Ebola crisis in Africa continues to spread despite the valiant efforts of governments, international agencies and medical personal and no cure on the horizon. And late in the week reports stated that one of the 2 Americans infected was to be flown (this did happen Saturday) back to America in a specially outfitted airplane for treatment in Atlanta at the world renowned CDC (Center for Disease Control). One truly and fervently hopes that the infected individual recovers but more importantly to all of North America and South America that some "accident" does not occur and spread the killer disease from there. That would make the Black Plague of the Middle Ages or the Spanish Flu of the last century pale in comparison.
Argentina defaulted -by order of an American judge by the way - on its international loan debt payments. This marks a giant step in the future of the financial world and few governments seem to understand the huge implications. In 2001 the country declared bankruptcy and stopped payment on all international loans. Over the years, it met with many creditors and worked out a repayment program that gave the creditors partial payback instead of a complete write off. Except for one American billionaire who purchased legal title to a vast amount of debt from the creditors (and not at face value but for pennies to the dollar) and through what some term, a biased judge in a lower USA court, got a judgement demanding full payment. So - he paid a lot less for the face value of the debt but a judge awards him the full value - gotta love the American mindset. And sadly, this seems to be the way the Yanks always play in the world markets. They love using the rules as long as they benefit but if the opposite happens, well, then laws are whipped through Congress to change the game! Look at the way they bully Canada on softwood lumber. Hey, their highly subsidized wheat farmers complain - so blame Canada. Imported meat from New Zealand bugs producers in America, well slap country of origin on them and make the product too expense for the consumer. Can't have free enterprise for any country except America according to easily "swayed" (dare one say bought?) politicians.
And that is too bad for that great land that many countries try to emulate..
Anyway, back to Argentina, so the country defaulted which means getting loans is now almost impossible except for ones with almost criminal interest rates (wonder which country will supply most of those as if we need to ask?) And that means to all countries that borrow, well, the days of forgivable loans or any type of restructuring are gone.
Countries that are struggling now, like the Ukraine, are in trouble enough without this.
And before one says, that a debt made is a debt that must be repaid - remember that part of the cause of the Second World War was the onerous debt charges imposed by the victorious Allies on the defeated Germans. Whereas after the Second World War, the Americans were brilliant in the implementation of the Marshall Plan . A plan to give over 12 billion to Europe. Its goal was to rebuild war-devastated regions, remove trade barriers, modernize industry, and make Europe prosperous again. A case where investment rather than loans paid off in huge amounts for the entire globe.
Speaking of the, seems like investigators have been allowed to visit the crash site of the downed Malaysian airliner - you know the one that must have just fell out of the air instead of being hit by a Russian supplied missile - at least according to the Russian spokespeople. Anyway, it seems that the good folks living in that area have looted the wreckage and are busily using credit cards, debit cards, cell phones, clothing, make up and the like from the passengers - and they call themselves civilized?
Scum might be more appropriate to those ghouls.
This August marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
The War to end all Wars.
Sadly mankind absorbed that lesson for about a decade.
Our future will never see an end to conflict and that is the reality of life and that is sad but it is the truth.
The only thing we as a species have gotten better at is mass killing - compare the death toll in the last 100 or so years to any other century and you will see what I mean.
On to happier items, such as on the Sandwich Island of Oahu at the Blaisdell Centre where hundreds of keiki participated in the 39th annual Queen Lili'uokalani Keiki Hula Competition this year. Halau from the islands and all the way from Japan took part.It's hard to believe that once upon a time, the art of hula was forbidden, but those days are long gone. Over on Maui, Maui police issued more than 800 citations in a week-long speed enforcement project. About 633 citations were for speeding, 16 alone for excessive speeding or driving at least 30 miles per hour over the posted limit. The rest were for items such as cell phone usage while driving. That is one efficient police service and in the couple of interactions I have had with them (usually being lost in the pre-GPS days) a very helpful and courteous cadre of professionals.
Good on them!
Speaking of those fabulous Islands (second only to my own here on the West Coast), it looks more and more certain that another return in the new year is on the horizon. if so, then it will take all of 3 minutes to pack - that I can guarantee!
Here on my Island, we will see the start of the local Exhibition/Carnival in a couple of weeks and we are looking forward to seeing it for the first time. I might actually dare one of those blasted Ferris wheels!
take care out there,