Showing posts with label Current Affairs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Current Affairs. Show all posts

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Russian People in Democratic Countries, Please Speak Out!

Let's Hear some Russian Free Speech!

Years ago I worked with many Russian people who had immigrated to Canada. I don't recall which international crisis was happening but it involved Russia. A female colleague's strong nationalism showed when she declared that the West only likes Russia when they think she is weak. True. She wanted her motherland to regain its former glory and standing as a world force to equal America. She got quite heated about it.

I didn't ask her why she remained here and did not return to Russia but her feelings were understandable. We on this side of the ocean forget that Russia and many other countries overseas have histories of rising and falling, conquering and expanding, rebelling against and recreating their leadership hundreds of years before anyone even knew about our far off lands. We are mere babes in arms or perhaps babes with arms in the military sense.

However since many people have immigrated to more democratic countries and presumably enjoy their ability to speak and write freely, let's hear from some of them.

Surely those who live here now and have seen the horror of Ukraine through the lens of western media and not the fake news of the motherland, they must have seen some kind of light. For sure you can refer to many American transgressions in other lands but I don't think it was ever to wipe out an entire people.

When has Ukraine ever attacked Russia or the Soviet Union? This is somewhat like American forces attacking native North American tribes again as they once did when settling the new west. It was wrong then and would be unspeakable now.

In addition surely they would be the best means of getting the truth to relatives at home. Unfortunately we have heard of some family ties being broken when those back in Russia refuse to believe their own families who now live in the USA

Western media would love to give you a platform or soap box from which to repeat what Putin and his forces are doing. Why are you so silent?

Do you also believe that Ukraine is not and never was a nation? If nothing else you should now understand why so many believe that Ukraine should indeed be part of NATO.
Ditto for Finland and Sweden.

Please make use of the freedom to speak which you now enjoy.


Sunday, 1 May 2022

Press Corps Dinner

Again Biden turns Trump into a Chump    

Anyone who watched President Joe Biden and Trevor Noah last night had to be impressed. Trump could never have pulled it off.

Once again however it was Noah - who stems from another part of the world - who made everyone watching and everyone present appreciate how important it is to enjoy free speech with no consequences. Trevor opened by making the point and closed by reiterating it. Then we all enjoyed and had a laugh because of it in between.

Imagine indeed what would happen to any Russian who pulled the same punches on Russian media. He or she would instantly transform from stage stand-up comedian to prison
sit-down comedian somewhere in Siberia, never to be heard from again.

In all of the major wars including this one in Ukraine, how did the rest of the world really know what was going on? Where would we be now if those early warning systems had not triggered potential and real victims to band together against the aggressor? Thankfully we appear to be doing it again.

Except in one place in particular - the aggressor nation itself, where there is no freedom of speech. There are probably a few others as well, all authoritarian regimes.

The scary part for me was that Trump and his cronies at Fox were attempting to move America into a similar system. I have no doubt if Trump should ever get back in, that he and his puppets will try to change the law to allow a President to stay as long as he/she wants. The other branches of government would be ignored, just as Putin is ignoring established norms.

Every day we are finding out more about how the Republicans and the right tried to fix the last election in their own favour. It was never the Democrats, and the world knows it.

How do they know this? If I have to explain I have failed dismally to make my point in this post.


Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Will Smith has to Pay the Price

The Slapshot that "Rocked" the World!

Will Smith needs to learn a hard lesson from his stupid act. So far none has been administered.

People are now echoing the fact that the whole world saw it live. Replay the video but watch it from the beginning. The first thing we all heard was Chris Rock aiming jokes at individuals in the audience during a presentation. In the past there have been several cases of Oscar hosts being criticized for their poor taste. Because it is supposed to be funny, they often receive a "get out of jail" pass.

Sometimes the target of the misplaced humor grins and bears it - sometimes not. This was one of the "nots." We all saw the look on Jaga's face - she was not amused. There was an awkward moment as people made the connection with "G.I. Jane" and I for one, felt sorry for her just from the look on her face. I had no idea about her illness. In that same moment, Will Smith was laughing openly along with many other people. Then he saw the stunned look on his wife.

Not much has been said about this. Had he started expressing his disgust with Rock immediately without the laughter, he might have garnered more sympathy. His violent reaction would still be wrong but slightly more sincere. He could have dealt with Chris later, off camera. Instead once his wife gave him the stare, he did a 180 degree about face.

His next action was just grandstanding. Imagine someone during a televised session of the U.N. walking to the stage and mooning the world or slapping someone just like Smith. If you walk up to a very busy police station and throw a rock through the window, what do you think is going to happen? What if this happened in any public sporting event? 

Smith knew that world camera was on his back as he paced off the short distance to the stage and Chris Rock. He knew it would be a slap that "Rocked" the world, pun intended.

You might think "What do you expect? It's The Oscars." Lots of crazy things and political statements have been dramatized on this, the most infamous drama stage of all. It is still wrong. What next - a gun? Hopefully everyone is scanned for this including handbags upon entry - but I doubt it.

What message did this send to everyone, especially with Putin's slapping down Ukraine? If there is not severe punishment it means that violence is acceptable - if you are mad enough. You shoot someone and your excuse is "Yes but I was just mad - I lost my temper." Please. If you are thinking this, give yourselves a slap.

As for his tears during his own acceptance speech, if they were phony, he deserved the award. They were real but only because the gravity of his situation was starting to sink in. As for his ramblings about the Williams family, that was over the top - an attempt to deflect and somehow justify his actions.

His public persona is a jovial, likeable guy. It is now shattered in what should have been a rational moment that went horribly irrational.

Other celebrities have done and said things in their private lives that spoiled their Hollywood image and paid the price for a long time. Eventually they are forgiven. This was not during Smith's private life but during ours.

A slap on the wrist is not enough.


Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Is Putin Copying Hitler?

Ukraine a Prelude to World War III?

Fortunately neither I nor most of you lived through World Wars I or II - the lead up; the horror itself; and the aftermath. I hope we never see the likes of them again. My hope is becoming more faint.

History is not my strong point but I seem to recall that:

A very clever, selfish, and ruthless Hitler worked his way into a leadership position in Germany between the two Great Wars. He pandered to and fired up the spirit and fervor of the German population. Ditto Putin and the Russian people.

He reminded them of their former glory and inspired extreme nationalism predicting such glory again in the future. The people were suffering economically. They still felt resentment from their defeat in World War I. They believed in and backed this leader. Those who opposed him suffered. Ditto Putin and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

He sought allies such as Italy. He sweet talked, lied to, and called the bluff of would be enemies. He then started his attacks, one at a time. Russia has a strong ally – China. Putin says anything Britain/America want to hear. He is attacking Ukraine.

Other countries huffed and puffed but did not want to pay the price of arming themselves up front so as to be able to ultimately defeat Hitler if it became necessary. Ditto America and its allies today. America even said it would not do battle with Putin over the Ukraine. Sound familiar? Germany signed a Non-Aggression Pact with Russia and then attacked Poland. Ultimately Hitler betrayed Russia and invaded her also.

It took years of talks between Britain and America and an attack by a rogue nation - Japan - before America realized she had to help defeat Hitler before she herself was attacked, after most of Europe was defeated. Japan once again was driven by national pride and felt it was her time to rise to her rightful place over other nations. Will a rogue nation - Korea? China? - attack America today for the same reasons? In the end Russia gained more territory through the spoils of World War II. Will that happen again with Putin?

Of course there are some huge differences between then and now. More countries have an immense military. Some of the biggest differences ironically resulted from World War II. Rocket power resulted in missiles, and satellites provide guidance and surveillance. Lasers are used to precisely guide bombs and those missiles. Nuclear powered vessels can stay at sea and under the sea longer.

The biggest of all has to be the former atomic and now nuclear bomb. The major players all have them. Their destructive power eclipses that of other weapons. The entire world could be destroyed or made uninhabitable for years.

In the time of Kennedy, fear of mutual destruction was a dual deterrent when only the USA and Russia were the main players. The league has expanded since. I doubt that America has the military power or the will to defeat Russia conventionally anymore. Her track record since World War II - Viet Nam in particular - has not been impressive. Is Putin still counting on America’s unwillingness to press the button?

How ironic since America is the only power to have dropped the bomb offensively, wreaking immense horror on Japan. Today’s H-bombs could destroy a country and every building and form of life in it.

We can only hope - some of you should pray - that hitting Putin and his cronies in the pocketbook will work. Doing so will hit our pocketbooks as well.

Are we willing to pay?


Friday, 18 February 2022

Violent behavior on Aircraft

The New Five Mile High Club. Lock 'em Up!

Once again another wild (probably drunk) passenger had to be bodily subdued on an airplane. These assholes threaten hundreds of lives.

Such people should be arrested upon arrival. If it is in a foreign land they should be immediately returned to their homeland and arrested again. Forget the luggage. Maybe it arrives some day, maybe not. They also pay for the return trip.

This is totally unacceptable behavior.

Punishment at home should be severe. Since they disrupted the peaceful travel of others, they should lose their right to drive for a long period. If they don't drive they pay a big financial burden.

I feel for the airline staff but not the airline. My guess is that many of these passengers have been into the booze. Airlines could reduce a lot of this by simply not selling booze on board and forbidding the consumption of any personal alcohol.

It would be a shame since most people including me enjoy relaxing with a drink on a long flight but this is too dangerous to allow it to continue. Another approach is rationing drinks to one or two per passenger. How this is enforced is their problem. Solve it.

Finally the no fly status of such a person should be automatic, international, and it should be long in duration.

Welcome to the new Five Mile "High" club!


Monday, 31 January 2022

The No Government Society

No Government? Think About I!

We have all heard protestors yelling "Down with Government"; "You can't trust government" etc. Really?

Let's depict what might be a typical day in the life of Joe/Suzy Citizen. The bracketed numbers represent services provided by taxes. Taxes are collected and spent by whatever level of government. Who or what will take their place?

Here is the list of services we encounter:

1. Electricity                               13. Education Standards
2. Water                                     14. Court System
3. Sewage                                 15. Justice System
4. Gas                                        16. Traffic Laws
5. Oil                                          17. Issuing of various Licenses
6. Roads                                    18. Local, State, Federal Laws 
7. Airports                                  19. Police and Law Enforcement
8. Ports                                      20. Parks and Recreation
9. Infrastructure Maintenance   21. Social Benefits
10. WEB, Broadband, Internet  22. Rights of citizens  
11. Education                            23. The Military
12. Teachers College

The alarm goes off (1). You reach out to flip on the lights (1). Then you plod off down the hall or into the ensuite to turn on more lights (1). You use the toilet (2) and then flush it (2,3). Moving over to the sink, you wash your hands (2,3). The house is too cold/hot so you crank up the heat or air (1,4,5). You use these services several more times while cooking before you head out the door. What did you eat? Every item came from a store or market, including the stove and fridge. How? (6,7,8). This only happened after all of these were cleared of ice and snow (9). You get dressed into clothes. Where did they come from? Stores (6,7,8,9). Ah but you bought these online (10).

Now you are out the door. You drive the kids to school (6,11) in your purchased/leased vehicle (6,7,8). There, they are taught by teachers, who were educated at colleges often assisted or provided by government (12) to attain qualifications that are set by regulators (13).

During that brief commute, you are hit by an unlicensed driver and vehicle. You are properly licensed (17) and have to take them to court (14,15) to be tried by a judge and jury (14,15). You are both represented by lawyers who must be properly educated and licensed (13,15,17) so as to be able to enforce the law and your rights (18).

When you return home (and we haven't even covered your typical day at work) you find your house has been burglarized, so you call the police (19). Now you have to go to pick up the kids at soccer (20) and day care which you could only afford because of child benefits (21). Finally you sit down to read a newspaper and watch a ball game on TV which you can enjoy because of free speech (22). Most of it is about war and conflict (23).

I could carry on but you get the picture. Who provides any of this without government? If you say other non-democratic countries have similar things you are wrong at least in scope. But in those societies, good luck changing or increasing such facilities. Do you think private enterprise and entrepreneurs will fill the void? They might fill their pockets, but not the void. Who will manage and enforce all the private contracts with your best interests in mind? To whom will you complain when something is wrong?

Too much government might be bad but none is just a pipe dream. in another society if you smoke the wrong thing in that pipe you might be shot.


Monday, 24 January 2022

The New CNN and Who Replaces Cuomo

Will CNN Become the FOX of the left?

There has been much debate about who will replace Chris Cuomo on CNN at a time when the network is about to have new owners again. Discovery - owned primarily by media mogul John Malone, is taking over from AT&T. The new company will be headed by CEO David Zaslav another career media savvy entrepreneur. I know little about these men but they face many challenges

Chris was one of the top guys at the network and will be hard to replace. He was brash - some might say aggressively so, opinionated and well spoken. This is ideal for his type of show. I am enjoying the current strategy of slating a variety of talented guest spokespeople in the cherished 9:00 pm slot. I have been impressed by Michael Smerconish; Laura Coates; and Brianna Keilar to date.

Articles I read pointed out that morning audiences are a lot different than evening ones. Perhaps their states of mind change throughout the day - lighter stuff in the morning. Brianna for example was not doing well in the morning slot but she has been refreshing as a stand-in for Cuomo. CNN has a large cast of talented personalities who could do the job including their regular guest speakers and analysts.

Apparently the decision will be on hold until the new owners weigh in. This makes good sense. Some big picture decisions remain.

Should they give the nod to a woman? Almost any of the existing prominent CNN females could do a great job. Should there be another person of colour in the slot or both - like Laura Coates. So far the indications are that the new owners want to preserve the CNN image of high integrity news - not the entertaining but often blatantly false and fake diatribes posing as news on FOX among others.

I watch CNN a lot throughout the day and evening and have criticized some of the following areas in the past. How about changing:

- Cutting guests off for giving views that are too right and not what the CNN bosses or sponsors want to hear. Most CNN people are guilty of this - Chris was notorious for it. If you invited them let them finish their point.
- Repetition of the same old stuff over and over. Different viewers won't be able to watch until later in the day but knock off the continual "Breaking News". It might be breaking when it is first broadcast but after that it is just today's news. Things happen 24/7 so there are lots of opportunities for each time slot to "break" some news.
- Not giving credit to the Republicans and other networks if they are correct about something. Keep your leftist views but report rightist views as well without making out anyone who supports them to be crazy. Your own viewers know where you stand overall. Give them credit for having the grey matter we know some FOX fans lack!
- Don't choose Don Lemon to replace Cuomo. He is better where he is - then we can choose to retire or listen to his often maudlin melodrama. Personally I am tired of it.  Lemon is in my opinion over-rated and very predictable. His show has become a soap opera.

All networks face the same big problem as politicians the world over. The majority of TV viewers don't want to have to think - they just want entertainment. For example this is what drives the huge advertising dollars for sport. When they vote - same thing. They vote on last minute emotion and a candidate's charisma and appearance. It is sad but true.

So CNN and other legitimate media companies can still serve a useful purpose. For a democracy to work, the truth must be available to the people who actually think before they vote. There will always be liar networks and liar leaders. People who don't want to think or are incapable of it will occasionally elect liars and cheaters from both sides of the aisle. My hope is that when a thinking electorate gets the facts and elects a thinking leader, the chances of them making good decisions which benefit everyone are better than the alternative. In the long run the average person will experience these benefits.

In summary to Donald and co.: "You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

If I'm wrong, America is toast.


Thursday, 20 January 2022

Ukraine and Russia

Could the Russian-Ukrainian Conflict Start World War III?

I can't answer this question - it is well beyond my grasp of history and peoples' patriotism. Try to Google the history of the Ukraine even since the start of World War II and your brain will feel like it is watching a Wimbledon final. What I read was full of back and forth, separation, unification, corruption, conflicts, death etc.

What it does make clear to me is that we in North America are mere babes in arms, barely weaned from mother Britain. Almost any European country has a history as long as your arm which only historians could detail. So understanding the emotions involved in the potential invasion of the Ukraine by Russia is difficult.

If Great Britain attacked either Canada or America with a view to taking them back under her reign, you would have a small taste of what citizens over the pond have experienced for centuries.

Here is my attempt to place this in perspective:

Let us assume - and this is not entirely unrealistic - that Texas declared its independence from America. I don't know if that is possible legally but if they wanted it badly enough the law would not matter. Let us also assume that they succeeded without war erupting between Texas and the other 49 states. Soon Texas might want to join NATO as a full member, expecting support if America crossed its northern border.

It is likely that America would try to get Texas to re-join the union. Now let us say that Russia, or China, or North Korea for example then sent massive forces to the northern border of Mexico in support of Texas, even though there was no Texan / American state of war.

America would have a 100% butt out attitude. This seems to be what Russia is saying. There are those in the Ukraine who want to re-join Russia and those who do not.

Not long ago America would have sent massive military forces to take on Russian troupes. Would that happen today? I doubt it. There would be economic sanctions but Russia would never give back territory it overtook. Also many European countries need Russian oil and other resources.

In this one area Trump had it right. Most Americans no longer want thousands of their sons and daughters losing their lives on behalf of yet another country. America would finance most of it. As usual many other nations would fail to contribute their share. 

Although there have been Ukrainian referendums before on whether to join Russia or not, perhaps another under international control is needed. Then whatever action others took to support Ukraine, it would be tougher for Putin to justify his actions.

He will likely be happy to follow the old policy of taking one small territory at a time calculating that none of the small actions is worth total war. Eventually he or his heirs will succeed

There again Biden could promise help on condition that Zelensky give up some dirt on Trump!


Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Ghislaine Maxwell Verdict the Right One

There's Hope for American Justice Yet!

There have been a few crucial trials in America this year that seem to have gone the right way. The trial of Jeffrey Epstein's girlfriend / spouse / ally was one of them. Most of their major trials turn into the Jerry Springer show and I think they are a joke. O.J. was a prime example.

I didn't really follow it but have to admit I felt she was guilty of something for sure. How could she possibly been as close to Epstein and part of his inner circle without knowing that something very, very wrong was going on? If she did then she had a duty to report it to someone at a minimum.

Try Googling "Prominent American Sex Offenders". Then try "Prominent American Political Sex Offenders" - the list is long on both sides of the aisle. Many have to do with children. You can insert "Global", "Celebrity", "Religious", "Coaches" and other filters but you will still find lots of offenders.

You tend to think of ancient societies and empires when it comes to depravity - British Kings and Queens; the Roman Orgies; Chinese Dynasties, and even the
Church to name a few. It turns out you don't have to look very far to see that sex, pornography, and child abuse are still with us. Unfortunately they always will be.
Apparently it is always there just below the surface.

So much for moral codes and religious dogma. Many of these people - especially the politicians and leaders, cultivate a public image of being good churchgoing people. You have to wonder if any such offenders have children of their own. Are they abusing their own children?

There is some speculation that Epstein was murdered in prison. Isn't it ironic that it takes some of the most hard core criminals to finally administer true punishment when it comes to men who abuse children and often women?

Perhaps Maxwell will suffer the same fate.


Saturday, 4 December 2021

#CNN Chris Cuomo. School of Hard Knocks

Blood is Thicker than Ratings!

I have written about CNN, Chris Cuomo, and a few others like Lemon on the network before. Long ago with several others I also suggested at the beginning of COVID-19 that Andrew should run for President. That was long before any of his harassment woes. I was often critical of Chris but only because of his tendency to interrupt his guests. This was a phenomenon of most CNN anchors - as though they had to do it on command.

That being said I totally respect the network, even more now and Chris himself. I didn't realize he was their top anchor but I am not surprised. He is very articulate and obviously intelligent possessing a knowledge of grammar and vocabulary lacking in many of his co-patriots.

It must have been tough for the brass to cut loose one of their top attractions but to do so demonstrates integrity. Right wingers and FOX could have had a field day with their ridicule if he was permitted to stay. We all wish FOX would cut loose more people. Chris also goes up a notch for his loyalty to his brother and family. This has come through many times on his show. I guess it is part of the Italian personae. He must have known that it could get tepid for him. He shied away from any coverage of his big bro which was proper but I think it was a given that he would have tried to help Andrew however he could and vice versa.

He always said "I love you" to Don Lemon but this was the real deal. If you dare to badmouth Andrew in his presence then, lawyer or not, you'd better duck or run.

There is no doubt in my mind that he will land squarely on his feet. How about Andrew and he starting a new slightly more right Democratic Party? With any luck there will be a slightly more left Republican party. Imagine four parties in America from which to choose.

That just might calm the waters. Politicians would finally have to work for your vote, not just tell lies for it.


Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Ahmaud #Arbery Trial

What About the Victim's RIght to Defend?

In this prominent case a lot has been said about whether the accused had a right to defend himself. The Prosecutor explained in detail that there was no citizen's arrest taking place and therefore since the accused had a weapon his right to self defence did not exist.

It was also pointed out that the victim was being chased by the three accused who used trucks in their pursuit. One even referred to trapping Mr. Arbery "like a rat."

I do not recall hearing anything about Mr. Arbery having a right to defend HIMSELF. Why not? It might be a foolish strategy to pit your own fists against a man pointing a loaded shotgun at you but with his retreat route cut off what else could he do if he feared being shot in the back as he fled? His defence strategy is not on trial here. He is dead so can not express his fears and feelings at that moment.

Put yourself in his position. Do you not have a right to try to push the gun away or even to grab it out of your attacker's hands?

This is like going in to rob a bank with a loaded gun; encountering an armed guard; killing that guard with your gun; and then claiming it was self defense.

Welcome to the U.S.A.


Saturday, 20 November 2021

#Rittenhouse Verdict

#Rittenhouse Should be Behind Bars

So the kid gets off on all charges. What a joke. However after the O.J. trial we knew the American court system is sometimes like the Jerry Springer show on which the Rittenhouse judge would have been an excellent guest. There should be another annual awards show for lawyers, judges, and prosecutors. Rittenhouse carrying his assault rifle should have made his guilt a slam dunk from the beginning. Thank you Judge - one who seemed to be incapable of completing an entire sentence on his own.

Look out America. Now any bullied kid in a schoolyard can just pull out a gun - however young he or she might be - and blow the bully away if they feel that their lives are "endangered." Rittenhouse deserved to be found guilty on at least one of the charges and should be serving some serious time.

This reminds me of the Trayvon Martin case in which George Zimmerman who also considered himself to be a neighbourhood watchman walked away a free man after shooting Martin, an unarmed black youth. As I write, the Ahmaud Arbery case is in progress in which once again some white men took it upon themselves to be vigilantes and proceeded to kill an innocent unarmed black man.

There is no question in the minds of most non-Americans that the American system is stacked against non-white minorities. Many Americans - white ones - claim that this is not true. Many others know that it is.

My point today was not to get dragged down the racial rabbit hole. It was to lambaste the American justice system. Here in Canada we do not allow cameras into the courtroom. How can you receive the best from court officials who are performing for an audience? When the entire world saw O.J. hold up that glove the prosecution's case was dead. It could have been managed much better off camera.

I have two suggestions from all of this. Firstly, go ahead and record proceedings visually but NOT live. Do not stream them in real time. The recordings should only be available for appeals so that the public can then form an opinion as to the merits of the appeal and the reasons for it.

These trials are not sporting events. Top athletes might do a victory dance or throw a temper tantrum for the viewing audience, but when they are actually competing their mind is on only one thing - winning by utilizing the best of their abilities. There is no time for drama. In a live courtroom lawyers, prosecutors, and even judges are also using their best skills but they do play to their world audience as part of their performance.

Remove the audience.

Secondly this jury should definitely have been sequestered. Do you really think none of them watched the news, social media, or discussed the case at home? Give your heads a shake.


Monday, 15 November 2021

Judge Bruce Schroeder

What planet does this judge come from?

His court reminds me of Night Court or The Gong Show! At least those were deliberately funny! This is not. While composing the instructions to the jury he sounded "distant" - not all there. He is supposed to interpret the law for jurors. Who interprets this Judge for us - journalists and their guests it would appear.

I lost count of how many times he was - LOST! He lost his place. He lost his train of thought. He lost his temper. I did not notice if his robe was on backwards or his glasses were upside down.

I hope there is an appeal and more sound minds call him out. They also need to throw him out. The courtroom should have had those yellow triangular warning signs prominently displayed with an image just like those for deer crossings or falling rock.

These would contain an image of a Kangaroo!


Thursday, 11 November 2021

Kyle Rittenhouse Case

There is More at Stake with Rittenhouse than his own Future

There is a lot riding on the monumental trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. I have no doubt in my mind that his breakdown was real. If he was acting then every Oscar ever awarded should be returned and given to him. He can display them in his cell.

I have not seen the entire trial so I don't know to what degree the following vital facts were covered in it. However from what I read he was in violation of both Wisconsin and Illinois laws since he was only 17 at the time meaning that he could not have owned a legal permit.

This is under investigation but surely this is also a case where common sense should come into play. We have to ask ourselves why a 17 year old boy would cross state lines to acquire an assault type of weapon if all he wanted to do was give first aid and put out fires. He knew he was not supposed to be carrying that weapon and he even stated that he took it to protect himself.

If he is acquitted here, then any kid in America is going to be able to carry a firearm and kill someone if he thinks his life is in peril. That would undoubtedly cause an increase in such violent events.

In my opinion he convicted himself by his own testimony. Would he even have been threatened if those he shot did not see his rifle? Since when does a kid have the responsibility to assist legitimate police to protect property and quell violence? Could this have come from being a "gamer" most of his life? Did that mentality exist at home?

His lawyer had to know that he would break down as he did. It probably happened quite innocently in the lawyer's office and then he realized that if it happened again in front of a jury, they would feel sympathy.

Kyle must pay a severe price even if under age as a strong disincentive to others. It might not be possible in this gun thirsty country but he should also receive a lifetime ban on ever owning or possessing another weapon anywhere in the USA.

It is sick enough that so many adult Americans still think they are Wyatt Earp of Marshall Dillon but if this illness is ever going to be cured it has to start with the next generations. In too many cases the kids get it from their parents.

I have said this before and this is a good example. If America can not change or eradicate the infamous 2nd amendment itself there appears to be nothing to prevent her from defining VERY sever penalties for using those arms. There is a big difference between carrying and using.


Friday, 1 October 2021

American Citizens Tired of Same old, Same Old

The Presidency Needs a Kick Start

Trump became President because the people were tired of status quo politics in Washington. Who can disagree with that? Trump was just the wrong agent of change. Hopefully rational people will realize that in 2024. OK, make that before 2024.

But the need for a change is still there, much as I like Biden. The old guard are all getting older. What is needed is the right guard, pun intended. After all - things have smelled in Washington for a long time.

Here are a few suggestions which I have discussed in the past.

1. It is time for a female at the helm. Look at: Margaret Thatcher (Great Britain); Golda Meir (Israel); Indira Gandhi (India); Angela Merkel (Germany); Jacinda Ardern (New Zealand) to name a few. Some corporations have also done well under female leadership. Men love to bring up the "bitch" word or the "time of the month" syndrome. Any man who parrots this is not worthy of being a leader. Men have started and continued most of the great wars of the world, not women. If you want to stereotype, women are logical, organized, and actually communicate with each other on a much more basic level than men.

2. A younger person would be welcomed. The world and its cultures have changed a lot in the last few decades. Younger people if left on their own have less racial bias or gender bias. They know that the environment is in a mess and fixing it is a top priority. They also know that the gap between the super rich and the rest of us has to narrow.

3. Eisenhower was the last General who became President. There are arguments for and against having a military man in control but having a lawyer in control was seldom much better. Generals know the consequences of real war and are used to giving orders and dealing with those who don't follow them.

4. Third party. It is time for a true center party in the United States. Combine this with youth and a female and you might hit a grand slam. This party must share some values of the left and right but know how to compromise and appeal to the majority. It would force the other two to smarten up, or keep losing. The Tea Party was not a good example. It was too far right and Sarah Palin was too far wrong!

5. Publication of a President's tax return should become mandatory, not voluntary.

6. Here is one more change also discussed in the past. Pathetic as this is, American elections now need impartial international observers at all polling stations. Republican states are already cooking the books. The "fix" Trump referred to is within his own party. It is too bad that observers will never happen. No American would admit that things have declined this much in the ultimate democracy but they have.

If things keep going the way they are in America it is doomed. This is like road rage at the highest level. If there were horns in either chamber, they would be blowing constantly.

The world has changed. Attitudes have changed. Climate has changed. It is time for leadership to change as well.


Wednesday, 15 September 2021

FBI and Co. GUILTY in Nasser Probe

Somebody has to pay for those female athletes' abuse!

This Senate hearing into the abuse of young female athletes at the Olympic level and elsewhere was flawed before it began.

You could not help but feel for and admire the four athletes who spoke to the Senate hearings on behalf of many, many other girls. It is a travesty that so many responsible people in the FBI and Olympic groups ignored them. Somebody other than the girls must pay.

The problem I see with the Senate Hearing is that the optics were bad from the start. Why on earth are women not controlling these hearings? How can we say we understand when the athletes ended up facing a bunch of old men who look like they wouldn't understand sexual abuse if they tripped over it? These men were older than the victims' grandfathers. When most of them were as young as the girls, touching, kissing, feeling and ignoring such pleas were par for the course. The poor women had a large handicap before they even got up onto the tee. Who wants to lay it all out there for their Grandfather?

They should have been speaking first and foremost to other women. Nasser should have been behind bars after the first complaints - years ago. Those in the FBI and other organizations who ignored things, told the girls to keep quiet, or simply kept stalling must be punished.

Two additional things come to mind. Today in the realm Trumpism and the pandemic, we keep hearing people that sound completely zingy talking about demonic celebrities who are trying to capture and consume our children in some satanic ritual. This gives those dingbats ammunition to say - "See! We told you they are out there!" The authorities including the FBI are accessories in this matter.

Secondly, what I did not hear about was how on earth Nasser was ever hired or put into his position without appropriate screening. Surely anybody who is in constant contact - physically - with attractive and fit young women - too timid to scream as loudly as adult women might - must be screened at a much higher standard before being hired or appointed. This same standard by the way has to be applied to any of the so-called "support" groups and individuals to whom the girls are referred for treatment. Otherwise you could be rescuing these girls from the wolf and tossing them to a jackal. 

Those who ignored the complaints or covered them up must suffer severe penalties, because they deserve it and to set a precedent for others.

These are brave women who will forever be remembered. Sadly it is another broken cog in the already flawed American justice system. Let me guess: some people will say that the solution is to arm young female athletes with pistols so they can defend themselves in the future. The second amendment solves another problem!


Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Tarnished American Image

Black Eye for Biden

Afghanistan is in the news - again. Which area of the world will America disturb next?

This current affair is tragic for so many people. Bottom line for me is that the U.S. should have learned from the Soviet Union's invasion of the same country in 1979. They were big and powerful but lost to rag tag militants in a type of war they did not know how to fight. They got out relatively quickly and cleanly. What on earth made America think they would do any better? They might argue that this is different but is it really? Tell that to the thousands who will be slaughtered by the Taliban.

I am still a Biden fan compared to Trump. Hell I'd support Donald Duck for President over Donald Trump. But Joe slipped up on this one. Yes Trump signed the deal with the Taliban but did not bring troupes home. He had campaigned on ending the war. Biden followed through on this but is left holding the bag. Was that clever of Trump's people or just another broken Trump promise?

The fact still remains Biden could have done a far better job of providing for safe passage for the thousands of people who helped America. It will be a big stain on his legacy which is a shame. The Trump camp must be overjoyed.

This is only part of a much bigger picture. Trump did a lot to ruin the reputation of America abroad with broken agreements and his total lack of Presidential qualities. Nations actually laughed at him. America however, has a long history of invading and sticking their nose in the business of other places where they don't belong. It is one thing to respond to a world need such as World Wars I and II. Viet Nam, Cuba, Iraq, and Afghanistan to name just a few were not undertaken to save the free world in alliance with others.

America always has an ulterior motive beyond saving the locals and spreading its own version of a so-called democracy. Not everyone wants the American version. Again as I have said before, read "Teahouse of the August Moon" a 1951 novel by Vern Sneider. I was in high school but the mockery of America and its ways did not escape me even in the 1960s.

If America wants to be great again it should do more of true humanitarian work in disaster areas. To be fare, so should many other rich nations. They could have quickly ended slaughters in Africa - for example Ruanda's genocide. Areas of complete famine could be assisted with housing and clean water and agriculture.

In these circumstances America will argue that it can't invade a foreign nation. The truth is that if there are no diamonds, oilfields, or strategic military positions to be gained by America, it turns a blind eye. Invasions and conflict are also good for its own munitions business and for strengthening the military. Charitable efforts are not.

If America wants to re-gain the high ground, it should be pressuring its allies and its foes to do more in the way of charity for the have not nations and peoples.

It won't happen. Greedy American billionaires behind the politicians and who really wield the true power will never allow it.


Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Blue Origin Space Shot

Oh Yeah? Well Mine went Higher!

A week ago I wrote about the Branson space shot (see "Virgin Galactic Space Ride, July11). Branson said that this was not a race, still puffing after rushing to re-schedule and beat Bezos with a launch! If you believe that, book a ride with me and my time machine. I will take you back to pet a dinosaur and then, after discovering fire, we will return safely with the first twig ever deliberately set alight by man.

The previous launch got me thinking and so did this one. As far as the race is concerned, Branson's ship looked more cool but let's face it, to make a name in space, height and (and distance ) is what counts and Blue Origin wins on that front. If size mattered (ladies can smile now) maybe Branson would have won. In this case it doesn't. In fact smaller is probably better.

As far as marketing goes, you might expect an Amazon founder to do well there also. He did. How cool was it to take up a piece of canvas from the Wright brothers' plane - the first flight ever! Then he topped that with goggles worn by Amelia Earhart. He also gets an Oscar there. Even on names he chose well. Most people know what an "Origin" is but come on Richard, what the hell is a "Virgin?" Just kidding - but I guess he can only fly with that name once! Now he has to change it.

What I did not mention in the last post was that Elon Musk has beaten them both. His rockets have propelled many people into real space, even to the International Space Station. He has also brought rockets back to earth and to ships. Let's not forget he invented one of the most advanced electric vehicles, powered by flashlight batteries!

So what is the big deal with two guys who barely escaped our atmosphere for a few minutes? It seems to me that the most relevant thing is that now three private citizens are using their own money to make the space race competitive. Competition breeds innovation and private companies don't drown in bureaucracy and inefficient the way governments do as they waste  our funds.

I think all this is a good thing and probably the only way the USA will beat or at least keep up to China and possibly India in the future. Yes the Chinese effort is a government one but their form of government - bad as it is - is more efficient.

I doubt if I will ever be able to afford such a thrill. Perhaps that is where governments could  contribute. They could run lotteries for the rest of us with the grand prize a space shot. They keep a small admin fee and the rest goes to private space companies.

What do you think?


Sunday, 11 July 2021

Virgin Galactic Space Ride

JFK vs Richard Branson

It was in 1961 - 60 years ago - that JFK committed America to a moon landing. Today I just witnessed Richard Branson and his Virgin Galactic making its first space shot with himself and others onboard.

While watching, many were saying "What's the big deal?" The shuttle did this for decades. Astronauts have done it longer. He barely touched the edge of space.

The big deal has two elements.

Firstly they took off aboard a conventional albeit unique aircraft using a runway and wings to become airborne. It also carried ordinary citizens. It landed by conventional means as well, as did the shuttle. Most space shots for the moon and beyond use huge rockets to lift off which in itself is a very dangerous undertaking. This launching technique is safer and cheaper. The moment of release from the mother ship then becomes the critical moment. The risk here is also minimized to the craft itself and those inside.

Secondly the money and resources were primarily from private sources, not government taxation which everyday citizens fund. This is the biggest benefit in my opinion. The cost of any non-human loss or failure is not born by the taxpayers.

So what would JFK have said if he were still with us? He surely would have spoken when such private dreams were first revealed. I suspect he would have preferred the government approach. It generated far more jobs and general research and development in many areas. It also put the country and its administration on the map, not a person and their company. One fear might have been that a private company or citizen could pack up and leave, taking their big boy toys and technology with them.

There is also the question of whether this immensely expensive undertaking is only available to the super rich. Rich/poor disparities are hardly a new debate. Kennedy and his family were  super rich but hardly in the multi billionaire category so I think he would not have seen any problem in that regard.

The entire subject of obscene wealth existing in our society is another topic for another day. It has always existed and is getting worse. However surely it is better that these people use their wealth to further technology - something we might all need one day. It is better than purchasing another yacht or opening another account with idle funds just making them richer which is what normally happens with the super wealthy.

The real question now is - and those of us alive today will not witness the answer - whether only those super rich will be the only ones able to escape a calamity or apocalypse on earth if it is needed. This is like the Titanic. I suspect the answer will be that most of our descendants will be locked below deck awaiting our fate.

In closing the best approach in my opinion is to put that wealth to use saving the damn planet we all share. Bill Gates is taking that course.


Friday, 2 July 2021

Amazing Architecture.

 After Surfside What About These...

Somebody sent me the video below. You have to wonder after the disaster in Surfside just how any of these buildings will be standing after 40+ years. Architecture has come a long way.

It is difficult to imagine the horror if some of the highest you will see came down.

Wonders never cease.