Sunday 29 October 2023

If The Globe had a Hernia, it would be in The Middle East

Bad Marriage or Bad Divorce? Who Cares? It's BAD.

The controversy continues. This is as reliable as the sun rising and falling except that we can't live without the sun - we can live without the controversy. Why do we have to?

With almost any military attack in the world, there are at a minimum two sides to the conflict. It takes hours to read about and absorb the history here - it is ancient. I can see both sides but there are a few unanswered questions.

1. Since the majority of the people in the entire area spanning several of the wealthiest oil producing nations are Arab, why are surrounding countries not providing non-military assistance to their Palestinian brothers which they can surely afford? They need to answer this question.

I suspect that they are happy to let the battle continue because they also hate all Jews and this struggle unites a lot of the world against Israel. It is a perfect approach for them and costs nothing. In addition historically they have never wanted to absorb Palestinian people and never will.

2. Why are the leaders of resistance movements like Hamas living in safe havens like Turkey? This is a no-brainer. They are politicians and not military leaders. They can enjoy wealth without bullets.

3. Why has the world at large historically hated Jews? There are anti-Semites almost everywhere. There seems to be a stereotypical notion evolving from the likes of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice - that Jews control the money. People always resent this idea, especially have nots. My recent readings have shown that historically Jews were prohibited from the trades like furniture making and home building, so they became merchants and were good at it.

4. Do Jews really consider themselves a chosen people? They do seem to only marry and do most business within the faith. No doubt the constant discrimination has forced this - united we stand, divided we fall. If so how is that any different from other religions, races, or nations doing the same thing? In addition to this people always try to blame others for their own failings. Jews are just a favorite target.

5. Why do some Arabs want to kill all Jews when there has never been a reciprocal policy from Israel? In fact, there are many Arabs living productive and peaceful lives in Israel. The reverse is not true. Why? It would be easy for Israel to rid themselves of this segment of the
 population. They don't.

The IDF and Israeli politicians are constantly saying that human casualties of all types are just reality during war and that this IS a war. During the Great Wars, portions of entire cities and their residents were being demolished and killed every day - for years but it was happening all over to all combatants. Certain structures like power plants and munitions factories were targets but collateral damage was inevitable. In this case the focus is on one small area and the rest of entire world is merely observing. The same is still happening in Ukraine.

Even if this is war, it is difficult to accept when a hospital or camp is deliberately targeted and helpless, innocent people are blown apart. Tough as it is, Israel is not helping its reputation by doing this.

In summary this conflict could end in a relatively short timeframe if surrounding, rich Arab countries took in their brothers AND provided permanent housing and training.

I am not going to hold my breath and neither should you.


Saturday 28 October 2023

More Second Amendment Crap

Guns Don't Kill People, People CARRYING Them Do!

After more American carnage by Robert Card you know we will hear it all again: "Guns don't kill people - people kill people". Really? Was that fake news we all saw in the bowling alley and bar the other day? Were the family members pouring their guts out and shamefully displayed on CNN and other networks just actors?

It IS true that this asshole slaughtered at least eighteen people for his own sick reasons. However, MY eyes told me that the object he was carrying was not a sling shot, baseball bat, or bow and arrow - it was a GUN. Moreover, it was designed to mow down as many people as possible in the shortest time and with maximum damage. My eyes also saw that the targets were innocent PEOPLE including youth - not pheasants, ducks, deer, or moose.

Oh yes - I live outside of America and - well - I just don't understand. I am the ignorant one.

I have said this many times and will say it again. Guns were invented to kill - purely and simply. That would not be so bad if the targets were indeed game for consumption, or predators of live stalk and crops. Not so once again. The primary targets were always human beings. So let me say it before anyone else does - Americans have the right to carry arms. The Second does not mention purchases or types of weapons but that's another debate.

I assume that I have the right to purchase a Mack Truck to take my kids to school, soccer practice, or to drive to work. I don't buy one. Why? Because they were designed for a different purpose and are very impractical for me. If I were to use it for commercial haulage it would be a perfect fit. So now I ask the same question I have also asked many times. If assault style weapons are designed only to rapidly kill people, if you own one or intend to buy one who do you intend to kill? Where and when do you intend to use it?

Perhaps YOU should be on a red flag list.

This time would some rational American gun owner/lover please explain? I suspect the rest of the rational world would also like to hear.


Wednesday 18 October 2023

Humanitarian Crises and God

Should We Fear God or Doubt God?

October 2023

Whenever the news is dominated by supremely horrible events, I am often one of the doubters. Recent events include the ongoing invasion of Ukraine; the invasions of Israel and Gaza (again); and several earthquakes, floods, and fires causing massive death and destruction.

To be generic and inoffensive, I will refer to a Supreme Deity rather than a God. THE God has always been portrayed as a man - a white one - and that alone could offend some.

Another incident also triggered my choice of this contrversial topic. While in the washroom at the gym, there was someone in one of the cubicles listening to a voice on his speakerphone. It was reciting some verses from unknown passages I assumed were from scriptures. It mentioned something about "warming the anus of the earth!" and then came a reference to grasshoppers and several other totally obscure verbal meanderings. Not only was I annoyed by this inconsideration, but I could not believe what I was hearing.

I tried Googling scripture references to both. I failed but some of the quotations from the Christian Bible were astonishing. I had to ask myself "Who wrote this stuff?"

Firstly it was all phrased so as to be impossible for any common person at the time to understand. Consider Shakespeare, Entire classrooms discuss his true intent and meaning. He wrote it that way deliberately. So did those who wrote the Holy Books. The gist of them was clear however. You would suffer unbearable torture in unspeakable ways from the Lord and God and any number of other powers if you did not perform as directed!

Most Holy Books are like that. Basically: honour me, obey me, and do what I say - or else. The "else" is always designed to make an audience tremble. I say "audience" because only the upper crust in society - always men - were permitted to learn to read or write. The masses whom they commanded had no means of disputing or questioning the orders they were issued.

If you want to find blatant examples of sheer hypocrisy, look to the great religions - all of them.

Supreme Deities are usually portrayed as loving and kind. They are forgiving. They will accept you into some mystical paradise - IF you pay sufficient fees and blindly obey. Take the case of Christianity as an example. Jesus dressed as a poor man and lived among his peers. Look at today's men of "the cloth". They drive limousines and live in palaces. Their "cloths" are dripping in gold and jewels. They oversee obscene fortunes. They abuse children. They break their own vows.

Surely a Supreme Deity would make a point of striking them dead long before us! Please include certain American Evangelists in that group. Why would a Supreme Deity allow innocent babies and children to be butchered? Why are there so many living in absolute poverty and others living more extravagant lives than the Pope himself?

o me It breaks down into a few simple thoughts:

- You either believe all of this - blindly - or you don't. For the above reasons and many more I don't. Even if we are lab rats in an experiment conducted from afar, we are failing.

- If a Supreme Being created my brain, surely there can be no surprise when I choose to use it in this manner. I wish more would and express their thoughts.

- Throughout history - recorded or not - hundreds of millions of precious lives have been lost in the name of religion. Most often the high priests and their cohorts survived - and profited. The followers were the ones who perished.

We are told that we must have faith! You go first.


Saturday 7 October 2023

Congressional Turmoil a Sign of the Times

Megatrends no American will Accept

Like it or not the way things are going in America, China will indeed take over the world. I don't like it any more than you but too many signs indicate that this is currently inevitable.

Every now and again I come across an article that always gets me thinking this way. The latest featured the longest above and below water bridge on the planet. It blows me away. So did building in a week, move in ready condos and hospitals, both impossible in the west. Here is one such article: china's world's longest bridge - Bing images. See for yourselves.

So now you are all (How many? I have no idea but wish it were more. Please pass me on!) saying or screaming something like:

- yes, but they stole the technology from us (sometimes true, not always)
- yes, but they were educated in western universities (possibly, but who accepted them as students?)
- yes, but we put the first man on the moon (Yes but with German technology - true!)
- yes, but do you want to live in a dictatorship? No, but something better change or we will be. See if you can TRUMP that statement!
- etc., etc. America has never accepted that some people and countries elsewhere in the world kick its' ass. Just look at how their athletes behave overseas when they lose - like spoiled bratty teenagers. Other western nations feel the same.

Successful dictatorships have always produced the latest and greatest things - usually weaponry. They can force their best to produce or pay severe consequences.  Hitler started wars with superior battleships, submarines, and long-range weapons. He almost had the atomic bomb and moon reaching rockets but in these cases it was America who stole the technologists and technology!

Now you can say that eventually the allies caught up, surpassed, and defeated him. However, it took world wars and the loss of millions of lives and billions of dollars in damage to get us to that point. 

This is likely to repeat itself.

Why? Just look again to the west and America as the prime example. Her system of government(s) is not just showing cracks but suffering major destruction. They are out of date and need drastic change. Ironically, it might require another war - international OR civil, to make her wake up.

In the west unless special war measures are passed in a rarely bipartisan Congress, it takes years to accomplish anything! This includes:
- taxing the super wealthy to pay their share
- punishing the worst of citizens and politicians (you know the guy!)
- building and repairing infrastructure
- moving away from oil
- closing the borders in a reasonable fashion
- strengthening the military
- establishing and enforcing equal rights for all citizens including the vote
- providing decent national health care
- defending the Constitution
- and God forbid - trying to change it!

I can just hear the establishment - the ones we recently learned only put in a few hours at a time before going home. The ones who enjoy above average taxpayer funded incomes, benefits, and pensions. They will go on about how the system has existed since the Founding Fathers created it so it can't be bad. Not long ago women were not "persons" and could not vote or become doctors, lawyers, etc. Yes, the system was bad and to some degree it DID change - after decades. We no longer have decades.

Our best hope is with the younger generation both in the west AND in the dictatorships. The saddest part of all is that many of them will hate their ancestors - US - for creating the mess while we maintained the status quo so the wealthiest were able to live obscene lives.


Sunday 1 October 2023

Another Debt Crisis Averted - for Now.

Cash Tree in the Garden at the White House

The game continues. Just like the World Series, Superbowl, or Word Cup, the American government's big game has just been played. In this case instead of a winner or loser until the next season, the game ended in a draw - until the next crisis 45 days from now!

We witness this spectacle annually in the USA and most democracies across the globe. We don't know about dictatorships because we are not allowed to see inside them. Keep this in mind if you intend to vote for Donald Trump again.

If you or I go to a bank for a loan we have to prove: the reason for the loan is sound; we have the ability to make payments - the longer the better for the lender; and we have a good track record for doing so, among many factors. If we fail there are plenty of secondary lenders who are happy to charge an arm and a leg for another loan. There are also sharks who will indeed take that arm or leg if you renege on your payments to them. 

Then there are credit card companies who are more than happy to give you more credit even if you have to declare personal bankruptcy. Again lots of debt resolution firms will bail you out for huge fees over a very long time and a vastly reduced lifestyle.

Now let's turn to democratic governments. The choices are similar but the solutions are more severe. They have 4 main choices: printing more money which is always bad; borrowing more money which is easy but also bad; reducing expenses - painful for all of us; or increasing taxes which they often have to do. Too bad the last option always targets the middle class and the poor avoiding the super rich to keep their own government incomes.

This spectacle pulls me in two directions. I am a Conservative at heart and believe in balanced budgets. Governments can only live on endless credit until the next war. 
So far this has not happened to America. Most of the USA's is with China. Go figure. So when the GOP says it wants to move to more responsible spending and reduction of the debt, they have been just as guilty as their counterparts on kicking the problem down the road when they were in power.

By the same token as a senior retiree I do have a need for government assistance on things like Medicare and pensions, which I paid for during my employment years. If push came to shove I am willing to work for anything extra, especially if funded by the government.

The common factor for both the private sector and governments is that there is no money tree in the back yard. Both have to stop pretending that it exists and that it bears fruit whenever they need it.

Such fruit will turn rotten very quickly. In the USA the fruit is already falling to the ground and they are running out of trees!