Sunday, 4 June 2023

2023 Cuban Missile Crisis

1962 Kennedy / Khruchchev rematch

How many were alive in 1962 to see and hear the standoff between John Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev which came close to nuclear war? It was a defining moment for both. The good news is that both men backed away while still saving some face. America blocked Russian ships bound for Cuba in exchange for removal of certain missiles from Europe.

This has been burning away inside people like Putin ever since. Are we at that point again? Cuba is weak and needs help. Russia wants to provide it but at a severe cost. Sergey Lavrov is already hinting at missiles in Cuba again.

Some big differences exist. Kennedy was a young and very smart President. Biden is smart but old. Premier Khrushchev was old and full of bluster. Putin is young and means business. In 1962 both leaders remembered the recent effects of atomic bombs dropped on Japan. Neither wanted a repeat. Both have proven nuclear weaponry today. Castro is gone. Russia has nuclear subs that can strike America and transport missiles to Cuba. Trump is still a reckless and untrustworthy possible future President. If Putin is overthrown, any number of ambitious extreme military men might replace him. The nuclear option would be very real. Several other powerful countries also have them and would take sides.

The biggest contrast is that NATO has done exactly what Kennedy feared but in reverse. Now it is Russia that fears missiles on their borders in NATO countries. It would be difficult for America to take the same stance as Kennedy if Putin tried again to set up bases and missiles in Cuba as Khrushchev attempted to do. It would be hypocrisy at its worst. Putin would feel entirely justified. We hope that Cuba still wants its independence enough to draw a line at that, especially seeing what is happening in Ukraine. Who would help Cuba?

I don't look forward to the largest fireworks display the world would ever see. It would be the last.

Final point I have raised before. Would female world leaders have brought us to this point? I suspect not.


Sunday, 21 May 2023

Self-destruction of Free Enterprise

 How long will Capitalism last?

If you read the title or heading of this post and then Google any similar phrase you will find how difficult it is for a blog like this to compete for readers. The search engine(s) discover hundreds of millions and sometimes billions of hits on similar topics.

It seems safe to conclude however that there is a clear divide here. You are either a pure unfettered Capitalist who exists to attain as much wealth as possible with zero regard for consequences, or you are a "Socialist" - especially in America. 

Later I will reference an interesting and eye opening article by John Horgan in Scientific American on the same topic. Although it and the documentary it features are frightening, they also require some reading. That is a big problem which I continually face. Today's average citizen no longer wants to read more than a Tweet. They want funny entertaining platforms like TikTok or Instagram. This topic is too big for a Tweet. Most will probably leave this post before the end but I hope you read on.

Trends are indicating that Free Enterprise Capitalism as we know it will self-destruct. It will happen right under our noses because those who are most negatively affected are too apathetic to take action. As well the very wealthy who control politicians will use all of their wealth to preserve the status quo. They will be long dead when any apocalypse occurs. Remember the phrase "History repeats itself!"

There have been many great revolutions depending upon how you define them:
Russia 1917 - 1923; French 1789 - 1799; American 1785 - 1783; Mexican 1910 - 1920; Spanish 1936 - 1939; Chinese 1949 - present day; Greek 1821 - 1829; Cuba 1953 - 1959. Some empires like the Roman and Greek and many dynasties lasted for centuries. Look at those dates - this has been happening for a very long time, not one or two generations.

One thing to notice with all of these is that the common people - the workers and have nots finally had enough. Death became a risk worth taking for their descendants and to finally punish those who had all the wealth and kept it for themselves. Another thing to note is that none of this happened overnight - it took many years of battle and carnage. T
oday I fear that those years are not far away .

I could cite the Industrial Revolution as the worst of all. Despite the comforts it has given many modern societies, others still struggle to merely survive. Once more, a few at the top have learned how to use industrialization to become obscenely rich, despite what it has done to our physical world and its environment. Also remember that after the environment declines to the point that most of us will not survive - and it will - the rich will prevail. They can afford to move and to buy or simply take the necessities of life from the rest of us.

So is there any hope? We have two choices.

1) Some will attempt to repeat history through a violent revolution. In America, why do you think so many want to keep their assault rifles - to shoot ducks?

2) The rest of us have to get off our asses, do the research, and vote. Start watching and reading something meaningful for a change. TikTok and Instagram are not going to fix this. YOU have to vote out the bad guys and vote in the good ones. This is the one thing missing in most of those eras mentioned above - the people didn't HAVE a vote.

Stop wasting yours.


PS: Here is a link to that article, It mentions a documentary on Netflix that I will certainly watch. You should as well. 

Friday, 5 May 2023

Fascination with Other Peoples' Problems

Cameras in Courtrooms and Dr. Phil.

Why do we have such a fascination with the lives of others? Celebrities; Judge Judy and clones; Dr. Phil? If we spent an equal amount of time on bettering our own lives we wouldn't have time to bother with other people. Maybe that is the key. Being entertained is much easier than spending time improving oneself. I have no time whatsoever for celebrity gossip, Hollywood's latest, Kardashians, or who's zoomin who. Obviously I am in the minority or maybe I AM the minority.

In this post I highlight two outstanding examples of this obsession. The first is courtroom drama. The second is doctors airing their patients' problems - most notably Dr. Phil.

As stated in previous posts, I am against cameras in a courtroom. Here in Canada it is not permitted which I strongly support. With soap operas like Judge Judy (is she still on?) and Hot Bench, courtroom officials end up performing for the camera. Why? Because it is a TV show and they have to compete for ratings. More drama - higher ratings.

In more serious cases Like OJ, George Floyd's killers, Ahmaud Arbery, the same thing applies. How can a judge focus on the intricacies of the law, the case, the evidence, the jury, (if there is one), the testimony etc. knowing full well his/her every word is being heard by millions? It is like singing in the shower vs. singing at Carnegie Hall. Americans love the cameras and think this is true democracy and transparency. I think it would be like preaching from a pulpit knowing that the Pope and every Cardinal are just out of site listening to every word you say. Observation is the job of the jury, not the public and social media.

But in America the almighty dollar (maybe not so almighty anymore) still rules and boy does it generate jobs and employment! Is that really what true justice should be about? Should the trial of the century be motivated by book sales and the big chance to be a star?

I think not but please comment below.

The second focus is on shows which feature airing one's most intimate and profound problems in front of hundreds of millions of people. I am using Dr. Phil as an example because I just don't like that show or quite frankly its stars.

Obviously the show, the good doctor and his wife, the network, and the whole gang are covered legally upside down an backwards. I assume guests must sign something akin to the Magna Carta to be on the show. That also begs the question "Why do they do it?" Is the driving force financial? To me it is fundamentally wrong to have people - who might or might not be the host's patients - baring their souls to the world. How can this be medically ethical? Almost every type of doctor with which I am familiar, who has met rigorous standards to earn his/her certificate to practice, swears to keep their patients' conditions and problems confidential. Period.

I am sure those profiting from the show (note that word - show) will argue that transparency is good. It helps people to relate to symptoms and situations from which they might suffer themselves. Surely this can be done anonymously using actors rather than real people. Why not? Because the old advertising slogan "Tiny Tears cries REAL Tears" is still alive and well. Just as journalists want to get real tears in a tragic situation (the public has a "right to know") these shows make millions on other peoples' misery.

Shame on them all.

Disagree? Please comment below.


Monday, 1 May 2023

Gun Target Practice in your Yard

Letting off Steam by Firing Guns?

This will be brief. No-brainers usually are.

After a recent killing of family members by a man who is now being sought by hundreds of police, a startling statement was made by people being interviewed. The incident occurred after neighbour 1 asked neighbour 2 to move his target practice to the opposite side of his yard. The noise was upsetting babies in the house 1. Result? Take one of your weapons to house 1 and slaughter the complainants.

Only in America. I don't even bother ending that phrase with an explanation mark any more.

The statement that was startling to me was that it is quite common to hear people firing weapons including automatic ones in their back yard. This often happens Friday evening after a week of work. Here is the kicker - frequently they are drinking and "Just letting off steam!" Now THAT deserved and exclamation.

Let's get this straight. In America if you are drunk and drive a vehicle I presume you can be charged. But apparently you can fire off your automatic weapon in your yard while drinking. Are there ANY restrictions? Does it require a shooting range that meets some basic codes? Are there any time restrictions? Was he drinking in this case?

How about Federal laws that prohibit use of any firearm with the same amount of alcohol in your system that would be illegal while driving? Certainly enforcement might be difficult but it would be one more restriction that might save lives. I would go so far as to say that the guns should be confiscated just like cars can be and repeat offenders should suffer consequences including the forfeit and prohibition of guns

Take it one step at a time. No guns while drunk. No guns for mentally disturbed. No guns for minors. No firing after dark.

Please comment below. This should be good!


Thursday, 27 April 2023

What's in a Gender?

America is behind the 8 ball, AGAIN!

This post is about gender - at least I think it is but I fully expect that somebody will tell me I just don't GET gender. I think I do. On the other hand, gender "preference" - that is new to me.

So let me just lay down my cards. I am, always have been, and always will be a male heterosexual. I like, love, and make love to females - full stop. As I grew up there were only 3 sexual preference terms: hetero for male/female (and female/male - don't want to upset anyone), and homo meaning male/male or female/female relationships. At some point the term "gay" became an alternative. 

When I was a teen, the term "homosexual" was commonly used. It is unacceptable today because the short form "homo" became a slur or slander. I think it was long overdue that people were able to "come out" and be, associate with, love, and marry a person of their choice. Great - why should it matter? The negative attitudes came from parental stereotyping and conditioning.

My generation, those before, and one or two after found these to be profound and difficult changes but acceptance and transparency are becoming the norm. Good on that.

History reveals that people with feelings which were different than mine have always existed. Tragically being something other than traditional male/female could have gotten you tortured and/or killed in the past. We hope that will disappear but it still exists in some societies.

Now "preference". I believe the practice of deciding who or what you want to be in terms of gender and openly discussing this is relatively new. Again - this was long overdue. During my lifetime it took years to get society to accept  that whatever your feelings of gender you were BORN that way. With that recognition came the acceptance that this is NORMAL. Thus red hair, no hair, tallness, shortness, different gender feelings etc. might be statistically less common but have always been normal - one more progressive milestone.
It might be later in a person's life that they recognize their feelings are different but possessing and experiencing them is not a choice.

So the rationale behind the heading is that many American politicians still don't get any of this. They are still trying to stereotype, condition, and "fix".

Now let me hypothesize. If I were to choose to become a transgender woman, there is no way that the public should foot the bill whether in prison, in the military, or anywhere else. However this is because I happen to know as stated above that I was born without ambivalent feelings about myself. I was male and happy being so. Changing gender would be MY choice and I should foot the bill.

So that leaves preference. If you were born with ambivalent feelings or clear feelings but inappropriate body parts, should society and its medical programs pay for a change? 
 Anyone can experience an involuntary broken arm or defective heart and medical plans (maybe not all of them - again wake up America) pay for them. Can we expect them to cover a person who decides to change their gender?

Many will argue yes, others no.

Feel free to comment below - you can do so anonymously if you wish.