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

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.



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!


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.


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.



Thursday 23 March 2023

Contaminated Water and Camp Lejeune

What is more Contaminated - the Water or the Lawyers?

How long has it been since you saw the first Lawyer commercial about tainted or #contaminated water at Camp Lejeune? At least a couple of years for me. The last one was today. There will be more.

As lawyers so often do, once the first one recognized a big opportunity to make a mint on fees everybody else jumped into the ring. Each week there was another Law Partner claiming to be the first and most knowledgeable on the subject.

To set the record straight this is a serious issue for America's heroes. Their military brass and the politicians should have had their backs once a problem was identified. Instead? Deny, deny, deny! None of them should be suffering from drinking or even being around a camp that caused them chronic health issues. Nobody should. Everyone should support them.

However this post is about lawyers, not marines. The phrase "Ambulance Chasers" is very appropriate when it comes to certain lawyers and their firms and has been around a long time. You can extend it to include their pursuit of other victim groups affected by: asbestos or other hazardous materials; employment terminations; drugs - legal or illicit; governments at all levels; insurance claims; sexual harassment and many more. It is a very ugly image for individuals who are supposed to represent the penultimate professionals.

Apparently these guys have no shame. What is even less professional is when they try to save a few bucks by doing their own commercials. Stop being so cheap and hire another group of professionals counsellors - models and actors. At least they could sound sincere.

Soon we will be hearing that if you have ever: driven by Camp Lejeune on a windy day; made a delivery or pickup there; shaken hands with a former resident; allowed a pet to run free on the grounds; or flown over it in a jetliner you should contact Makeabundle, Makeabundle, and Makeabundle, right away.

Remember! You won't have to pay a dime unless they recover money for you. That one started a long time ago too and then they all jumped in.

The only prominent client I have not seen them chasing is Donald J. Trump. Surely even lawyers are too smart for that. HUGE cash retainer or certified cheque up front please. No exceptions.

Don't you miss Perry Mason Perry Mason (TV Series 1957–1966) - IMDb; Denny Crane Boston Legal (TV Series 2004–2008) - IMDb, Ben Matlock Matlock (TV Series 1986–1995) - IMDb and the lot?


Saturday 4 March 2023

Alex Murdaugh Shoots Himself in the Foot

Murdaugh and American Justice System

YIPIKAYE. I am one of the many who think Big Alex got exactly what he deserved! And it certainly wasn't an Oscar.

After the verdict some of the speakers talked about the American Justice System. One borrowed from Churchill in calling the system terrible but better than anyone else's. Can't agree with that but it certainly came through this time. Cameras in courtrooms turn them and all their officials into the Jerry Springer show or Tiny Talent Time. Everyone is performing for the camera during and after the trial. Just recall the OJ trial. What a joke. Then everyone makes a fortune writing books and doing the talk show route - even jurists.

Having watched specials about the Murdaugh family, it reminded me of the Trumps; Joseph Kennedy and his sons; and even TV series like Dallas and Dynasty. The wealthy generally own the politicians and get what they want - when they want it. The poor only manage to scream this at protests.

At least three generations of his family owned their town and surroundings. They really did think they could get away with anything. They didn't. So The Christians finally managed to slay one of the Lions in the public coliseum called American justice.

I didn't watch all of it but enough to form an opinion. Ironically that is the main reason I don't like cameras in trials. It becomes another form of social media - everyone is an armchair judge, jurist, prosecutor, or defence lawyer. This time even I was and I distrusted the guy from the start without really knowing any of the facts. 

Another reason I don't like trial specials is that it almost teaches the public how to bamboozle a court if they ever do end up in one. When you don't witness this, courts and trials are intimidating as they should be. You hope you never have to face one and just maybe this affects your behaviour.

Having confessed however, here are a couple of my armchair thoughts. 

Worst of all I thought he looked and acted guilty. It's OK for the jury to conclude that but not the viewing public who don't hear all testimony and instructions from the judge. My bad.

For sure a big one was that Alex said he was nowhere near the murder scene when it happened and then had to stand on his head. He also stated that the dogs were quiet. These were hunting dogs. If anyone other than family was anywhere near that kennel they would have been going nuts unless they had been silenced. Thirdly the defence tried to maintain that there were at least two shooters. This was because there were 2 types of guns and two angles of attack or bullet trajectories. To me that was just another case of Alex deliberately carrying out shootings in such a manner so as to lead to such a false conclusion. The guy was a lawyer - not a very good one apparently - but very clever. The drug angle did nothing for me. I am not even sure they proved his consumption and addiction was as abnormal as he stated.

Lastly ballistics told exactly what kinds of weapons and ammo were used. The family had such weapons but guess what - they had magically disappeared - both of them!

Other than this monster rotting in a cell somewhere and facing prison justice, there are a couple of other positive outcomes. Firstly I think the dogs will get a good home somewhere. They are celebrities after all! The remaining son is probably no saint either but all this will have such a horrible effect on him that he will never follow in his father's footsteps. Instead, maybe he will become another reborn man like Ebenezer Scrooge. Also there might ultimately be some financial benefit to the hundreds of families and individuals from whom Alex stole money, even if his land and properties have to be sold. That will be a different trial so stay tuned.

We can all hope that somewhere other individuals who think they have conceived of the perfect murder(s) will think twice. 

Now let's bet on the date of first book, mini-series, or movie to hit the market. Only in America!


Tuesday 21 February 2023

Will theThird World War be nuclear?

Nuclear or Nucular? Same result.

The last President Bush had a habit of mispronouncing the word Nuclear. If there is ever an actual hostile firing of these weapons between or among nations, we are toast - nuclear OR nucular.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has raised the prospect of a Nuclear war again. We can only hope not. The world would become quite uninhabitable if many of these exploded. I think it is safe to say that if one nation targets another who also has weapons, it will be like a snowball fight between countries. Snow forts won't exist.

We have become almost blasé to national disasters for years. There are many causes: fire; hurricanes and tornadoes; floods; tsunamis; and recently once again earthquakes. It is worth doing a search for what has been written and the horrible visuals recorded when Fat Man and Little Boy were exploded by America over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was hell on earth.

Now remember that these were crude and small atomic devises. Today the nuclear arms race has produced bombs that are more powerful by factors of 10. They have also been perfected. Their use on Japan has been debated many times. It did bring Japan - who had vowed to continue the war in the Pacific - to its heels months after Germany had already surrendered. This was also after prolonged fire bombing of hundreds of Japanese cities which did even more damage to buildings and people than the two big ones. We can only be thankful that Germany did not acquire the knowhow before the U.S.A. although they were trying.

There are very eerie similarities between the Ukraine situation and the last two world wars. Some are: growing economic crises and the differences between rich and poor; scapegoats being named to justify acts of war; despots in control of powerful nations; desire for the expansion of borders which are illegal land grabs; nations forming sides and alliances.

Today there are some major differences that make these times worse. As mentioned, the weapons are capable of destroying the planet and its people.
Britain is no longer a big player but IS and she has not made her position clear. North Korea and Iran could jump in. India's position is not clear either but by proximity siding with China would be very attractive, especially economically.

Adding to all of that, the American people are getting tired of being the world's police officers and paying fortunes to others. American politics is in turmoil and getting worse. Some people in other nations were overjoyed at 9/11. Many would like to see America with a bloody nose.

The one hope is that the madmen in power today have seen what would happen in a nuclear exchange. They would not be immune themselves.

Perhaps one of the worst ironies is this: Mankind and science is learning more about the power of the atom and the sun. New energy sources are being researched and tried. China claims to have new hypersonic glide vehicles that travel at Mach 5 and with much greater efficiency.

So just when all of this knowledge and power should be combined so that future generations can travel to distant heavenly bodies, it would be a shame if it were all used to target and destroy each other. We will become just another distant sphere probably covered in dust and water with a radioactive atmosphere that would kill any alien visitors who managed to leverage their own technology to reach us after we failed.


Monday 6 February 2023

Classified Documents: Governments' and Yours

Do you have confidential documents in YOUR house?

Not to belittle the phrase which is profoundly important, but is there going to be a Me Too trend for confidential documents in someone's garage, library, or basement? What a joke this has become. 

One evening on CNN I believe it was #MargaretHoover who hit the nail on the head in my opinion. She opined that it was simple: once out of office people take files home to add legitimacy while they write memoires and books, hoping to make big bucks as authors. If this is true it makes the act even worse. Making money from country secrets is deplorable. In the case of Trump I think he had other reasons.

Having said all that I know that I have violated similar protocols at a corporate level in the past. I also had good intentions. I was taking work home - unpaid work - to get something done in a quiet environment with no interruptions. I felt confident that they would remain safe and secure until their return. This is probably true for many people - until they leave their briefcase on the bus or subway!

It was becoming laughable in America. Instead of spending millions on spy technology, satellites, balloons, and drones, China and aothers should just break into a prominent politicians house or garage. This is grab bag at the highest level - international Cracker Jack! White House fortune cookies!

If you have a Safety Deposit Box at a bank you know how secure procedures are. There are 2 keys required. You have to sign anything in or out. In this case nothing has to be returned but there is a record of visits. It should be easy to do something similar but even more strict within a government. 

Stuff should be read in a locked facility if possible and when finished with them materials should go straight back into a vault, double locked by administrators. If the volume is such that it must be taken from the reading room as homework, records have to be kept including the signature of the reader and a return date has to be agreed upon and tracked.

How does an administrator control or even reprimand the President or Vice President of the country without fear of job loss? How do authorities?

Drop the file Joe a put your hands behind your back! On the floor - NOW! We'll help you back up Mr. President.

Biden: "I had no idea there were any classified documents in my house. I'm serious. No this is no joke ... no joke. Really. Really. I mean this. I'm not being fasetious - fatecious - fasillyous ... I'm not kidding. Just ask Jill."

Trump: "This is another case of the deep state - the FBI gone wild. I read hundreds of documents every night - thousands of documents. More stuff than any President anywhere in history. That's because I have a higher EQ than any other President by far. Besides if there are any they are MINE. I unclassified them. I can do that you know. I can do anything as President. I can just grab them without even asking."

Mike Pence: "It has been recently brought to my attention that it is possible that certain select missives might have been identified in locations that could reasonably be associated with my person. I might not disagree with your contention but I want to assure you that the former President had nothing to do with this and that all procedures and protocols are always followed by my staff. I have also directed them to immediately ..." . Wait. Where are you going?"


Sunday 16 October 2022

Incubators Instead of Abortions or Forced Pregnancies?

Is Incubation an Alternative to Abortions?

With all the controversy about banning abortions and forcing women to carry an unborn to term I began wondering something and apparently so have others. As with most new ideas more than one individual has had a similar thought.

My question was whether in the early stages of pregnancy an embryo could be successfully transferred to an external incubator for normal develop? Here is an article I found on the topic which is already being researched. China is doing experiments on the concept:
Scientists Have Created An Artificial Womb To Grow Babies From Conception To Birth | by Carlyn Beccia | Sexography | Medium

Since the technology is far beyond me I will leave it to others but the acceptability of the practice poses questions. It seems to me that if it is accepted that couples - who can't have their own child - turn to use of a surrogate mother or In Vitro Fertilization then this is simply another alternative.

Extremists will probably not agree with this as long as the natural mother could have carried the embryo/fetus to full term. Surely the idea represents a compromise. The child could be adapted by others unable to conceive or perhaps after even more research could be transplanted into a different woman for a normal birth. It seems better than a so-called abortion pill as well.

Government subsidies into such research could be provided to universities etc. for research on this side of the pond. The couple who did not want to be unplanned parents; victims of rape; the unborn embryo/fetus; and the receiving mother or couple all benefit.

Some will say that this is tampering with nature; some that super beings will result; some that eventually you will be able to buy such a product at Walmart or Costco. Yadda, Yadda. If we keep firing off spacecraft the sky will fall.

I have said this before and say it again. Men - whether clergyman, mate, judge, or legislator - should not be dictating mandatory births to women. I also said that any do gooders who claim any kind of moral high ground on the issue will quickly change their minds when they are involved in an unplanned pregnancy. Just observe the claims and counter claims of a certain ex-football player who is now running for office. There will be more.

Feel free to comment.


Saturday 8 October 2022

Trans Gender Controversy

Get a Grip Folks. Where does it End?

Two days ago during a golf tournament dinner, a friend from Waterloo, Ontario informed us of a current and ongoing controversy in his city at the school board. We all thought he was joking. Sorry to those who will be offended by this post but I am just relaying the facts. FYI most of us in attendance were raised in the '50s.

I have since done some Googling and the "issue" has come up in other parts of the world as well. My search included the latest list of gender choices such as LGBTQ2 plus and it was not in the list. (Nobody ever mentions it but neither am I: M-Male nor my spouse F-Female. I am OK with that.)

This issue has to do with - there is a term for it - "Furries". These are apparently kids (in this case) who identify as CATS, as in feline. Some articles claim that the next part is just a scam but it is said that certain school boards are actually being pressured to supply kitty litter for these kids in school washrooms. Seriously! I can only assume why. Initially I thought this might be for support cats just like support dogs who accompany an adult or child. I was wrong. It was for the student.

Where will this end? I will admit up front that I am about to be facetious (there being no catetious). What about dogs? Do we need fire hydrants in the washrooms? Are there kids who think of themselves as Pandas? Bring on the bamboo. If you identify as a full scale lion or tiger, what next - raw meat for lunch? I hope there are no seals because the stench would be overwhelming.

I want to say that if you are a parent of such a child I am sure that everyone including me wishes all the best for you and your offspring. But somewhere a line or lines have to be drawn and it seems to me that Trans Species is one of them. If I had a child who thought they were some type of animal I would not try to place the responsibility on the school board. They have enough to do.

This requires a special kind of help in a special kind of place which is NOT a school. If your school taxes are actually being spent on kitty litter for the washroom you have a right to protest - loudly.

People have compared me to a puppy dog in the past. Newspaper will do for now and later on Depends apparently work just fine.


Monday 12 September 2022

Elizabeth II: A Royal Example to All

Elizabeth II. None Like Her Before, None After

I am not a big fan of royalty but it is as close as I get to watching celebrities and all the garbage they often represent. Taking in something educational about this remarkable lady is not a waste of time. Watching anything to do with other Hollywood types and the talk shows and gossip columnists who make their living from them - is.

I can't imagine filling the Queen's shoes for a day let alone some 75 years. If you have watched any of the excellent documentaries or movies about her life you will understand why. Following a close second for unfilled shoes would be the monarch's spouse - Phillip in this case - who has even less power. For a man of his pride and background he could not escape the image as the most famous henpecked husband in the world. Even his children could not take his name. America will experience this some day if there is ever a First Gentleman.

The Queen had no real "power" but her affect on peoples' lives is probably up there with the Pope. She was pulled in a dozen directions every day by "duty"; the Prime Minister; tradition; her relatives; her own natural wisdom with relatively little formal education; and the mysterious "courtiers" to mention a few .

Do a little research on a courtier. I Googled it and am still not clear who they really are or where they come from. It seems to include almost everyone in authority at the palace - all of the palaces - and you can apply for a job to work for the famous Windsor family any time you wish. If you spend your life devoted to them and are VERY organized and clever at manipulating people, you could some day influence the King or Queen yourself. Since all her residences are ancient, you'd better be able to deal with four legged vermin as well as the two lagged variety.

In no way can I justify the untold wealth the family possesses. Most of it comes from taxpayers and looting back in the colonial days. You can't really have a royal family living in a duplex across from a variety store which they frequent in their pre-owned Land Rover but their wealth is obscene.

Personally I admire the level of decorum, morality, and self-discipline she set. At the commoner level there are precious few of these left among us. The "F" bomb is dropped everywhere except perhaps in her presence. Kids' dress codes don't really exist anymore nor the parental ones from which they should have derived. Adults' dress codes are no better. What used to be considered "Blue" movies or porn are now commonplace. It appears that self discipline has gone the way of the dial phone. Violent behaviour has become a daily occurrence.

The Queen and family have shown us all that civility is still possible. I try to model some degree of all this for two reasons: 1) that is how I was brought up and 2) to prove to myself and others that I still can. The crass behaviour I see today still makes me shake my head.

Great empires and civilizations throughout history have fallen as these practices collapsed. Today many of our societies are headed in that direction. America in particular could use a model family like hers. As we have recently seen, the one in the White House is seldom a shining example.

Let her standards long reign over us even if her daily examples no longer can.


Sunday 28 August 2022

Moon Shot Artemis: Goddess of a lot of things

" One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"

Who can forget those words or where they were in 1969 when uttered by Neil Armstrong on the moon? Given the state of the world today, I have to lean towards the small step aspect since it was over 50 years ago. We have been somewhat pathetic on the leaps for mankind front both at home and abroad. 

I happened to be on a post-university tour of Europe before deciding on a career. My girlfriend and I were in a campsite in France listening to the broadcast in French on a transistor radio which sat on a fellow camper's car roof. That was another small step - the transistor. (If you read this girlfriend, I'd love a copy of our pictures!)

Have we come a long way? Was that and the Challenger and all it cost in money and lives worth it? Some would say yes in the same vane as the War of Independence; the Civil War; and all World Wars were worth it. Lives are always lost in accomplishing greatness and historic change.

So in trying to decide what to write about today I glanced again at the headlines. The next moon shot was front and centre (British spelling folks. Chill out.)
Why "Artemis?" Who is this? In case you don't know (I didn't) she was a Greek goddess (Roman counterpart was Diana). Look her up: ps://; Artemis • Greek Goddess of the Hunt and Moon - Facts and Information ( Apparently she is a goddess of the hunt , the wilderness, wild animals, nature, vegetation, childbirth, care of children, and chastity. As Diana, she was a virgin Goddess of wildlife (how did they know?) and patroness of hunting; She is twin sister to Apollo and daughter of Zeus, God of Gods!

No wonder religion is still in a mess and believers of one fight believers of another. No wonder women are better multi-taskers than men. Anyway NASA seem to have chosen a great name especially the sister of Apollo element and Goddess of the moon.

Now for the good stuff. Should we even be going there again? Some would say that all of those resources should be utilized here on Earth to help solve today's problems. There is one thing for certain. If this immense effort of time, resources, people, and money is necessary to send even a few people to the moon, God help (which one?) us all if we have to escape this planet because we have made it totally unlivable.

Only a very select and very rich few will be able to live on other planets. This is not often discussed but figure it out for yourselves. Most of us will be stuck below decks here on Earth just like the Titanic. And THAT is why it should not be done. How many people could all that money and technology solve here on Earth?

The other reason for focusing our attention here is that only international cooperation will solve Earth's problems. Once that is achieved it will be much easier to conquer space by combining our knowledge and brainpower.

Will this happen? Look at Russia and Ukraine. Look at China. Look at the USA tearing itself apart. It won't be in my lifetime but would you really want to live in some sort of capsule? Would you want to put on a complex space suit just to go "outside?" It won't be for fresh air - that's for sure.

Wise up people. If our leaders - and WE elect them - keep kicking the worst problems down the road for the next generation, VERY soon there won't be a next generation.

Who knows? Maybe deep down there beneath all of those dinosaur skeletons we keep discovering this has all happened before. Perhaps one rocket series should be named Atlantis.


Saturday 18 June 2022

Irresponsible Car Ads KILL

Promoting Horsepower Wastes Precious Lives and Energy

In a world where we love to rant about energy crises, climate change, violence, and guns to name a few fav's., car company ads are completely vile.

For decades there have been debates about violent video games and programming causing kids to turn to violence in later years. We also have debated the role of fossil fuels in ruining our environment and dooming the future of the planet for our kids. Both are legitimate concerns and the campaigns should continue.

To expand upon this car companies and their advertising should occupy a special place in hell. What do you see on virtually all of them? Typically it is the promotion of overpowered speed machines with enough horsepower to pull a freight train! They are all guilty. It is one thing to argue which pickup truck can pull the heaviest load with its super horsepower and torque. It is quite another to show their cars roaring down the highway with both men and women playing the role of professional race and stunt drivers.

BMW: Supercharged BMW M3 7:25 Nürburgring Sport Auto lap - YouTube
Ford: 2021 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Commercial/Advertisement - YouTube
Dodge: DODGE UNCAGE / 2021 Commercial - YouTube
GM: Corvette C8 Commercial || 2022 - YouTube
Mercedes: Mercedes-EQ 2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS Commercial "Advisory" - YouTube

Mercedes is already coupling electric vehicles with speed.

Most adults respond to this just like the kids do with the video games. Muscle cars are apparently still king with car companies. Almost none of these influenced adults know how to drive fast - they have never been trained.  Despite all the lame duck arguments to the contrary, speed kills.

When are they likely to demonstrate their newly acquired rocket's power over others on the road? Unfortunately it is when they are also under the influence of two other things - substances like alcohol, and road rage both of which reduce their abilities ever further.

Apparently car companies don't care. They wimp out by saying that they are only producing what people want. That's the same argument cigarette companies used in addition to outright lying. The same can be said for gun manufacturers and drug labs. Car makers should be promoting responsible driving, not depicting public roads as drag strips, rally circuits or Daytona 500 speedways.

As to the second point in the title the claim about energy waste shouldn't even require justification. Nobody needs a high revving engine with several hundred horsepower to commute to work or go shopping. Car companies should be promoting low capacity and more efficient engines.

There is a role for governments here as well. They already tax the hell out of fuel. What about giving rebates and tax refunds for low capacity engines or higher mile per gallon vehicles AND taxing further the cars with lousy mileage? They could also limit the capacity of passenger vehicle engines and put heavy duties on cars that people try to import to skirt the limitations.

This is no longer about wealthy people arguing that they worked hard to create their lavish lifestyles, can afford big cars, and therefore should be able to drive them. That is like saying that with their wealth they should be able to hoard drinking water when thousands are dying of thirst. It is about limited, extremely necessary global resources that belong to all of the people.

Some car makers are indeed starting to advertise or promise future electric vehicles. Many engines are now available that are smaller and more efficient but that is not good enough. Pulling from the same analogy, tobacco companies offered small cigarettes and packages, and smaller and larger cigars, but took no initiatives until forced, to encourage smokers to quit.

One car company won't break from the pack and lose sales as a result. If governments force their hands, they will all have to conform.

Smaller engines alone won't stop the carnage due to speed. Stiffer penalties are also needed. Such engines will certainly help to lessen the energy crisis.

Instead of competing for fastest, they should push most efficient. With government incentives, it could make a big difference.


Monday 6 June 2022

Election Apathy

Canadian Problem Shared by other Democracies

A recent Canadian provincial election for the Premier of Ontario was pathetic. Although the existing Premier - Doug Ford - was re-elected in a landslide, the turnout for voters was a mere 40%. This says a lot, none of it good.

I suspect the same problem exists elsewhere but the one in which I just voted brought it home.

Those of us who live in a free society - even with what we are witnessing in Ukraine where Russia is trying to remove freedom, we are ignoring the very thing that keeps us free. Even in American elections the numbers should be much higher.

To me it is a reflection of just how spoiled we in the west have become. Fortunately my generation have never been forced to go off and fight, possibly never to return or to return a different person, mentally or physically. Apparently we take this freedom for granted.

I have heard the pathetic excuse for too long even from friends and family that one vote won't make a difference. Of course not but that is not why they don't vote. If thousands of these people got off their asses it would make a difference. The truth is that for most people the whole political process is boring. This is true but it is better than what Russia or China has.

People - especially with today's entertainment forms, would rather watch an event on TV. They claim that they don't understand issues or know the candidates. Again of course not if you ignore them deliberately every day.

With today's media this is no longer a valid excuse. You can see and hear about the issues, parties, leaders, and platforms in any number of ways - but not if you are watching football, hockey, or the Amazing Race.

This reminds me of people - usually men - who won't work in the garden because they don't know the weeds from the flowers. Some have even destroyed plants deliberately to remain a couch potato themselves. The same men could probably identify every player in a major league of their choice and quote tons of statistics as well. It is a matter of participation. If you planted the flowers enough times you would remember what they looked like.

I don't know the stats but I suspect most of those who did see active combat and survived DO vote in elections and are pissed at others who don't. They are why you can sit on that couch eating chips and drinking.

I am not suggesting that we all watch Parliamentary debates but ten or fifteen minutes of news or reading a day is all you need to make an informed decision. You will probably learn to hate certain politicians in which case you will have an added incentive to vote them out!

Vote at times when your favorite show is not on. You can vote online, by mail, or early if you don't want to stand in line. You owe it to those who did die for you.


Wednesday 25 May 2022

Uvalde. Another School Day in U.S.A

One more Flight over the Cuckoo's Nest called United States

Another day in the life of America. Nineteen children and two teachers are butchered. The world watches as the same old things are said about the American virus Loveofguns 22. It started right at home folks - you can't blame any other country.

What follows has all been said before - the claims and counter-claims and all of the logic and illogic associated with the crazy illness that is unique to America. Still I can't help it - I have to repeat them again. If it changes one high profile person's mind it will be worth it.

Let's first reiterate the usual bullshit and then ignore it again.

1. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." Tell that to the parents. This dingbat kid didn't use poison darts, a crossbow, or any other weapon - he used a gun. So did Kyle Rittenhouse.
2. "The solution is more guns." Arm the teaching staff, janitor, gardener, bus driver, even the cooks if there are any. Not worthy of a reply.
3. "The second amendment gives him the right." Balls. Does it say a six year old can carry a weapon? No. Why not? Because the Constitution assumed a degree of common sense back when most Americans had some. That has all changed. It also says nothing about how those arms can be used, just that one can "bear" them and nothing about their nature, purpose, or ammunition.
4. "Any change to gun laws is an attack on my individual rights." So are men telling women they can't have an abortion whether stated in the Constitution or not. More bull.

The list goes on.

I have not heard one sensible argument put forward which justifies an individual citizen's ability to buy and possess assault weapons. Likewise what is the argument to permit gun merchants to sell them? What is next - tanks and/or a cruise missile in every driveway? Tow bars to pull your Howitzer behind your SUV for a picnic?

Some readers right now are probably reacting by saying that 70%-90% of Americans do want change. The other side probably have their own statistics. Who cares? If such percentages want change then they should get together and fire - vote out of office - their Representatives in either House who keep rebuffing any changes to gun laws. Most of them are paid by gun lobbyists.

For months now most of us have found Putin's actions in Ukraine repugnant especially when innocent citizens and children were murdered. How could he be so callous? How can your fellow citizens who are gun lovers be even more callous when children's bodies are torn apart by another American shooter?

The Red flag law of Florida does not prevent qualified people from purchasing and owning guns. red flag laws - Google Search. It does give police the right to seize existing weapons from those who pose a threat to themselves or others and has been used many times. Similar laws should be instituted and enforced in all states.

The other day someone said it was now easier to get an assault rifle than baby formula. What a powerful statement!

Some American leaders in both government and business apparently value their guns more than those poor kids' and their two teachers' bullet riddled bodies.


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!