Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday musings

Now in Canada.
Twice in recent days, incidents happened in Canada, that caused reverberations around the land.
Both were done by mad men.
Mad as insane.
Crazy.
Pick your word.
Both, lonely, lost men.
They grabbed onto a religion in the hope it would solve all their problems.
They forgot that solving ones problems starts with the individual not society.
Both flamed out against representatives of an orderly society - the military.
Both murdered a member of the military.
Both also are dead.
One made it as far as the inside of the Canadian Parliament Buildings before his life and insanity was ended by a hero.
Media says - this is the day Canada changed forever.
Not really.
Groups of people congregate and light candles and sing the national anthem.
A sign of today's society that is lost without a beehive mindset of inter connectivity to make sense of things and removing personal responsibility and maturity from the discussion.
A sad reflection on the diminishing of the human spirit itself through technology.
The military for now is told not to wear uniforms while out in the public.
Mistake.
Just like the murder of those innocent women years ago in Quebec or the murder of First Nations women in Canada - Highway of Tears, the incidents from 9/11 - this will fade not disappear over time.
To say that this is a result of Islamic terrorism - not really even if the blowhards that hide so cleverly online say so.
Even if the media desperately tries to say so.
Even if some frightened politicians say so.
Two insane folks clinging to anything, something to justify their failed lives committed murder.
We cannot shut down Parliament buildings as a result.
We cannot shut down the military as a result.
We cannot trample the liberties of some groups in a knee jerk reaction as a result.
We cannot allow cowards to spray paint mosques under the cover of darkness as a result.
We are Canadian and we stand proud, free and cowed by no one person, group or country.
Period.
Yes to confiscating passports of Canadians that become foot soldiers in terrorist organizations in other countries - but also help start the World Court to try these war criminals as well OK?
Yes to sharing intelligence with other countries in this fight - but have intelligent guidelines and effective review of what our intelligence departments accomplish. Does every e mail ever transmitted need to be kept forever or can items like that have a "shelf life" before they are forever deleted?
Yes to a well prepared, supplied and financed military - no more leasing equipment or ships or airplanes or tanks. But also build an effective military with enough ships,guns and planes without buying multi billion dollar toys. One needs to see how effective terrorist groups are with little in the way of obscenely priced airplanes etc. to see that throwing money at projects may not be the best use of the money.
Canada is a little sadder now.
Canada is a little wiser now.
Those losers and other of their ilk never had and never will, have a chance of succeeding - ever.
I also know that this is, indeed a time of sadness.

video

We all need to take care out there,
flatlander52

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday musings

The world never learns does it?
Specifically in the instance of the Ebola scourge.
Just ignore it and it will go away.
Honestly, that was the reaction of the world community at large.
As long as it killed - and let us be honest here - blacks in some part of Africa - who cared?
The so called wonderful WHO (World Health Organization - headquartered in Geneva of course) now kinda says, oops, maybe, perhaps, possibly, someone, somehow in our org. screwed up in this mess.
And in America, Canada, Europe - well now that, due to incredible incompetence of front line health care workers in Dallas, officals and folks are going nutbag crazy over fear of this "epidemic".
Now that middle class folks might be at risk - now it is a problem.
Too bad for all the black folks that died because no one cared - right?
Ebola is horrible and why is it only now that governments are pushing researchers to develop a vaccine for it?
You and I know the answer right?
Sometimes being a human being is nothing to be proud of is it?
And one of the early big selling Halloween costumes in North America is - yes guessed it, a HazMat suit for trick or treaters.
What the hell is the matter with people and the parents of young kids that allow this?
Maybe, but one doubts it, people will learn how this disease is truly transmitted and act accordingly. But the drivel and pap spewed by news media is so full of lies and distortions - fear mongers in search of ratings and advertisings dollars.
No more and no less.
Greed.
Great folks, these "servants" of free speech.
Joseph Goebbels would have been proud of them.
Strong words yes - but fear mongering and sanctioned disregard for safety cannot be excused -period.
 More and more governments are adopting a strategy of passing laws to enable them to confiscate identity papers of suspected jihadists and like minded terrorists.
And of course some civil libertarians will decry this supposed erosion of individual rights by the "state".
So what?
Did they think for even a second that these evil doers flourish because people like the "liberty at any and all cost" have systematically dismantled rules of civil conduct under the guise of "freedom" of the masses?
And these staunch defenders always live in countries that have sacrificed lives to protect their freedoms?
They never live or move to such free lands such as Ethiopia, North Korea, Iran - want a bigger list or do you get the idea?
Yah, thought so.
Have you heard of "crowdfunding?"
If not, it is mostly a social media driven item where a cause or item is flogged to the general public for funding. An electronic way of "begging" for money in a way. Sometimes the cause is truly noble. Cases where money is needed for health care/operations for people lacking in health coverage or too poor to have any savings at all to pay or have used up all savings and need help in the most drastic way.
And that is a good thing.
And then sometimes the appeal is for a product that banks will not dole out loans for because it is deemed "too risky".
And for some deserving items, crowdfunding is a good thing.
And in some cases, well, it is for something silly and people give money - well, just because.
Soooooo.....anybody out there want to start a crowdfunding project on my behalf so that I can fly first class to Australia???
Yah, thought so.
Maybe I will rent a travel DVD instead...sigh...
The stock markets tanked this week amid fears of Ebola, dropping oil prices, ISIS, and a toilet paper shortage in Bremen, Germany.
OK, joking about the shortage in Bremen, but it does show what a mugs game the stock market is. A whisper here and there and prices surge or drop and many times for no reason except trading companies have been allowed to computerize ordering based on algorithms and to hell with logic. All to make money and lots of it.
So, on Friday, all the "cheap" stocks were snatched up in a round of profit taking by the same outfits that sold them.
The losers?
Not the traders - no, just the taxpayer and by that - you.
Remember the phrase used so much recently about banks?
"Too big to fail"
Yup - bailed out with your tax money and your net worth decreases because of it - not theirs.
The old saying about storing your money under the mattress seems a lot more reasonable these days.
 Now for your Hawaiian word of the day - ikiiki and it is a cool one at that as it means sticky or humid!
And of course the German equivalent is  feucht
Quite similar in spelling right?
Well here on my Island, ahhhh.... life goes on quietly and I still enjoy my solitary walks in the woods as the leaves change colour and the slow advent of some rainy days starts.
All in all, not a bad life for an old fart! 
And we have a new "member" of the family...


 What can I say??

take care out there,
flatlander52


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday musings

Sometimes one has to chuckle over the  screaming headlines on some  web based "news" sites and I want to mention two that I came across this week.
Both were on the one site, a "news' organization that has bureaus around the world and takes itself rather seriously even though the pages contain the odd fluff piece that one would find in gossip sites like TMZ.
Anyway, one headline screamed out that you better watch your wallet because a "T Rex of a winter" could send home heating costs sky high.
Sigh, of course if a winter is extreme and long, does it not stand to reason that fuel supplies will run low and prices will rise because the market will bear it?
Nowhere in the article did it SAY that the winter will be brutal.
Nope.
So.... dramatic lead line promising high costs IF/WHEN..... and then the story peters out.
This is news?
The second story warned of dramatic price increases in food stuffs in the Canadian province of British Columbia as a result of the drought in California limiting crop production. And tossed in the the usual twaddle about governments should be doling out tons of $$$ to local producers to up their production - you know the refrain - grow local. well, maybe someone should tell the scribes at this news outlet that the California drought has been on for more than this summer OK? And that prices rose quite a while ago thank you. And for the refrain of grow local - you ever notice that the local growers charge a blasted premium for their products? And not because it is better, heck no - because they match the price of imported products and not the actually cost of production. Remember, they do not have to ship fresh produce from South America to a port and then truck it to a local grocery store. Heck, they can and do dump it into a truck and drive it maybe a maximum of 50 miles to the grocery store or depot where it is then dispersed.
Farmers are smart and matching prices just gives them more money.
And can someone tell me how organic products cost more when in theory less chemicals etc. are needed in their production?
You charge more for less?
And this is news?
Maybe that is one of the problems we face these days in that we might get too much news all the time. And the media folks have no choice in this 24/7/365 world but to publish any and all items that might have a scintilla of newsworthiness to them.
Thereby dumbing us all down.
Back in the late 60's to late 70's of the last century, Canadians had access (in the main) to only 2 or 3 TV news outlets and a local newspaper and the news articles were filtered for worthiness and importance - not for ratings.
I daresay that while we knew less, we actually knew more!
Speaking of technology, do you remember the painting I showed last winter near Christmas of a winter scene by a noted Saskatchewan artist?
Well, this summer he took the plunge and entered the wacky world of the Interweb and purchased an IPad.
And now... he sends e mails.
He takes and sends pictures.
He does guided tours via FaceTime.
He downloads.
He Facebooks.
He is having fun doing this.
And I think that is so darn cool.
So yes, technology can indeed be a good thing.
And he is a source of pride and amazement to his little sister (my better half!) and now she mumbles about her going on Facebook!
So... here is another painting of his done on a piece of clay pipe and it is pretty darn cool.
The drums of war continue to pound in the Middle East and yet... something strange is happening with the price of oil. For the last few years, or so it seems, that every time a refinery had a shut down or a country rattled its chains against anybody or thing - that the price of oil jumped about $20 a barrel immediately?
But now it is falling?
What the heck?
Do you think maybe those conspiracy folks might just have a case when they postulate that crude oil increases are nothing more than market manipulation by some wealthy stock manipulators that know exactly how to panic folks and squeeze maximum profits out of a non event?
Ya think there are greedy folks out there?
Ya think?
And governments stand idly by.
No question.
Enough to make you weep.
But if someone misses paying income tax by $5.00 - well they hound the heck out of them and even charge interest or take the money from their bank account.
Of the People, For the People - well, maybe not so much anymore.
Speaking of that workers Paradise - North Korea, it seems that their fearless leader has not been seen in public for a few weeks.
And tell me, why would anyone care?
Because.. (are you ready for this?) unnamed officials from both America and South Korea, are worried about some unknown successor rather than the "devil they know".
Yup, this dude may be crazy and evil - but we can live with that!
Man, that is so brutally honest and terrible at the same time isn't it?
Sometimes, just sometimes... the world gets things right and for a moment... a short moment... there truly is a hope for mankind....I speak of the news that this week, the 2014 Nobel Peace prize recipient that was rumoured to be possibly be Mr. Putin of Russia (hmmm, interesting thing that!) or the Pope (thought that was part of the job description) was a surprise and somehow the Committee got it right.
Co-winners, one from Pakistan and one from India - 2 countries that despise the other.
Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.
Both heroes.
Period.
We need more like them.
Period.
And now for your German word of the week.
How about sodbrennen?
Give up?
OK, not what you think, it actually means heartburn!
And the Hawaiian equivalent is haoa!
I wonder how Tums translates?
Over on my beloved Island of Maui, a story that shows that this little corner of tranquility has bad moments comes from a report where a Lahaina man has been charged with the attempted murder of a woman who complained about the odor from his mother's cooking.
Just a little extreme wouldn't you say?
On the plus side, this week at a ceremony held by the State this past week-- plans were announced to PRESERVE Maui's historic Lipoa Point. A truly beautiful area filled with the mana of the islands, this is indeed a great thing. Below is a screen grab of KITV 4 TV's newscast on this.
Once areas like this are lost to development - they are gone forever.
Something the folks on my Island could embrace.
Speaking of my Island, folks are settling down for Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and for many, this is truly the start of the Fall season and soon, the TV ads for Christmas shopping will inundate us.
Sigh.......
take care out there,
flatlander52

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday musings

OK, remember the number of times I have "bleated" about the obscenity called the Olympic Games - not so much the athletes but the corrupt "royalty" that runs it?
And the incredible ransom they demand from host countries for the "privilege" to run these events including lavish never to be used again facilities?
Well... news emerges that Olso has dropped out of the race for the 2022 Winter Olympics because the population would not agree to spend boatloads of money on this nonsense thus leaving China and Kazakhstan as the 2 countries left in contention.
Well... congratulations to these two countries for wanting to blow their fiscal sanity to the winds in order to appease their leaders bloated sense of importance in the cosmos.
Could have spent the roughly 50 billion on pollution control in China.
Could have spent the roughly 50 billion on feeding the people in Kazakhstan.
Could have but won't.
What is wrong with people anyway?
In a sad statement on the deadening of outrage by the instant gratification brought to you by social media and the 24/7 news cycle - the latest beheading of a British captive by the thugs of ISIS barely rated a line in the media and usually in a minor column - so different from the world wide horror of a few short weeks ago.
Guess most folks care more about photos of the big rear end of some ex porn star than they do about evil and tyranny.
What is wrong with people anyway?
So the Ebola virus has been diagnosed in America. A mini hysteria fit has swept that mighty nation totally driven by irresponsible "news" reporters. Did you know that any one victim can only infect 2 people and that is by fluid contact only? And a noted black leader in the States has solemnly declared that the Ebola virus was created by white men to kill blacks?
I am sorry, but he is a fool.
And a racist of the kind he hates.
What is wrong with people anyway?
Interesting news from America this week in regards to employment and wages.
It seems that the unemployment rate has dipped below 6% for the first time since 2008 but that the average wage earner in the States has had virtually no real increase intake home wages since 1999. At the same time, the infamous 1% wealthy apparently had their net worth increase by 28%.
Wow.
Wonder what the rates are for Europe and Canada?
Maybe it really is some for some to pay more because one might argue that the trickle down theory of wealth creation is no longer valid and a larger segment of society is actually subsidizing a small (wealthy) group via tax cuts and subsidies with zero return on investment.
Remember - there is only one taxpayer and when the pool is reduced by preferential treatment - services and quality of life suffers for the majority.
So, will the politicians have the courage to do the right thing?
Or more of the same?
I bet you the Hunt brothers in America and their equivalents in Europe and Canada are just a shaking in their boots.
Ha.
Did you know that it was 25 years ago that the start of the destruction of the Berlin Wall occurred and the re-unification of the two Germanies begun?
A wealthy West absorbed a impoverished East with massive debt and devastated economy and landscape with a large amount of skepticism and angst. And while problems are still abundant, the progress has been nothing short of remarkable.
Incredible.
The Head of the Central Bank of Argentina surprised many by abruptly resigning this week and predictably the Argentine Peso dropped against the American dollar to a new record low. And for a country blessed with s much, this is just another setback in its struggle to control a rampant inflation cycle and controversial debt repayment scheme.
One can only hope that this wonderful land soon emerges from this latest set back.
Now for the Hawaiian word for the day - AWE pronounced aw-way and that means backpack!
And at Kihei on the Sandwich isle, for the 79th year, the local County Fair was staged and by all accounts, yet again was a well attended success.
And for your German word of the day -  Frostschutzmittel which means automobile anti freeze. Thankfully that is not needed on my Island!
 Indeed, here we are in the midst of selecting our "winter" plants to be bought and put outside to tide us through 'til Spring arrives in late February.
Oh well...


take care out there
flatlander52