Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’

Sugar Tax? Yes, please.

January 28, 2019

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Even though Australia is one of the fattest countries in the world, it still obstinately refuses to seriously consider a tax on sugar including sugary drinks and sugary foods. Twenty eight countries so far have put a tax on sugar. Mexico, another country with enormously large people, introduced it in 2014. Seven US cities and several US states also introduced some form of penalty on sugar.

Anyone who has ever visited Australian shopping malls could not but have noticed the rapid increase in morbidly obese people. They also are getting younger. It is now not uncommon to see large swollen babies in prams being pushed by very obese parents. While there might be other contributing factors for this obesity epidemic, sugar certainly is one of them. Lack of exercise another one!

It is estimated the obesity problem is costing Australia 5.3 billion a year. Even a modest increase in the cost of sugar would return $ 500 million annually.

I could not have been prouder as a Dutch-born Australian than when Australia tackled and won a battle against the giants of the Cigarette and Tobacco industry. Australia was now leading the world. They gave us us a well deserved standing ovation. It was Julia Gillard and her minister, Nicola Roxon, who decided to  stand up for the health of its voters and won. It cost the Gillard Government almost 40 million to fight Phillip Morris.

Gillard and Roxon surely would have to be best politicians of all time. How many lives have they saved from the dreaded lung cancer? Why is this government so loath to follow suit? Thousands of people are getting diabetes of their addiction to sugar. The law to package cigarettes in Logo free and drab brown coloured packaging is helping to prevent and reduce smoking. Many countries including the European Union have followed Australia’s lead in controlling tobacco sales.

The same could be done with sugary drinks. Have them logo free and the liquid drab brown coloured. Put a tax on them equal to cigarettes and watch the shopping malls return to having a more svelte looking shopping crowd…

Of course there will always be large people around, and genetics, as with so much else, has a lot to do with that. This article is to do with the morbidly obese. People who are still walking around but are dying of obesity. Surely, a responsible government could follow so many countries that are now reaping the benefits of sugar tax and have a healthier population?

Sadly , our opposition, the Labor Party is opposed to a sugar tax and feel that personal choices should be made. But walking around, it is obvious that people’s healthy choices against the might of the sugar industry’s advertising might, fails miserably.

https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-07/calls-for-a-sugar-tax-are-back-so-it-is-going-to-happen/9309386

 

 

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Is democracy a failed experiment?

November 9, 2018

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It seems strange that Donald Trump is so opposed to things foreign. He has had two out of three wives  from Eastern Europe. He has German and Scottish genes in his background. Yet, he so desperately wants America only for the Americans.  Perhaps he is answering my question about his anti-foreign behaviour by wanting another women. This time a real good one, an American. Who knows? Something seems to bug him. He has a reputation as a misogynist. Remember that awful conversation he had about grabbing women?

He is also an unashamed liar, a bully and sociopath. Yet, he has passed two years as President, which most critics said he would not. I did not really want to venture into Trump phenomenon but his attack on the CNN reporter Jim Acosta  was so telling. It gave unassailable proof of his inability to see things away from himself. I just can’t figure he was chosen as a president.

Just going through his background and how his father formed the Trump empire. It was all built on tax avoidance, dodgy deals and schemes, transferring properties to his children well below their true value.  A true lesson in achieving riches through terminal materialism. An example in becoming a money driven spiritually dehydrated man. He directed the estate agents to not rent out his properties to black tenants! His son, Donald Trump is now the President of America. His father’s son through and through.

But, it is not just in America. There is a move to extreme right happening in many other countries again. Germany is veering towards anti-foreigners, and so are Austria, Hungary, Poland, Holland  and even Sweden, Italy, Greece. All are again flirting with excluding people based on colour and ethnic backgrounds. There is a movement to nationalism that attracts those that are dissatisfied. A longing for what has been.

America wants to be great again. But great again, based on separating children from their parents? Locking up those with a different nationality? Deporting those that don’t fit in? Shoot at those desperate people running the US border, the country of freedom?

Taking away the pass of Jim Acosta to practise his profession is how Trump responded to a question of why he used the racist card to advance his political position in the latest voting.

Acosta wanted to know about the (ABC Wires) “anti-immigration dog-whistling during the campaign, and specifically why he had referred to the so-called “caravan” of migrants moving through Mexico from Central America as an “invasion”, asking the President whether he had “demonised migrants”.

What will Trump do if he really gets pushed into a corner? It doesn’t bear contemplating. Trump is a ruthless megalomaniac and in my opinion competing with North Korean Kim Jong Il.

Australia is the same. The children that were catatonic with suicide ideation will be returned to Nauru soon after finishing their hospital treatment. The prime mister confessed ‘crying on his knees’ praying for the children but… he said; we must stop the people smugglers! And locking up people for years on end seems to be alright after you said your payers.

All is forgiven in the name of democracy. It seems. I don’t get it.

 

 

 

Mexican Boiled Bull’s head taco, yummy.

March 31, 2018

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I thought I would tear myself away from cricket and yellow plastic tape. We know what our PM Turnbull said about it all. “We all work … “We’re very quick to damn nations that cheat in any way or go beyond the rules. “It’s black and white. This clearly is against the laws of the game and we’ve just had our national captain admit they sat down, premeditated, pre-planned a way to cheat. “I’m not going to accept behaviour that is dishonest. “It needs condemnation”. ” A shocking error of judgement.”

Now with the thirtieth poll out soon with 29 of those polls negative to the present Government and in favour of the opposition, we shall see if Father Turnbull will also stick to his mantra of honour, respect etc., and resign. After all, that was the reason given by Turnbull why the previous PM had to step down. Mr Abbot had lost 30 polls. It will be untenable if Turnbull does not step down. The present furore over the cricket will be nothing compared if Turnbull does not step down.

Here is something that will restore calm and serenity to our nation. During times of disquiet and tension, eating a nice meal is always welcome.

I was surprised and much relieved about this lovely recipe of boiled bull’s head food, wrapped inside a taco shell. The recipe comes complements of the well know author Lily Brett.

  1. Get a nice large, virile, and proud looking bull’s head (preferably from a bull reared on the plains of central NSW and having covered at least 150 heifers),  and boil it in a large container. The horns must be kept on.

2. Have at least one kilo of brown onions and garlic to taste, mixed in.

3. Some salt, lots of dry coriander and chillies.

Travelling through Mexico most boiled bull’s heads look much the same, but taste can vary enormously. Most people queue up at their favourite stalls. The boiled head is stripped bare including its eyes, cheeks, tongue, brain and outer skin. The resulting bits and pieces are wrapped in the tortillas or taco shells.

One can also order the tortillas with specific parts of the bull. You can order bull’s head eye tortilla, or just tongue taco. The choices are really endless but it is a much favoured dish by the Mexicans. They eat it with side dishes of lemon wedges, chilli, tomatoes cucumber. At the end there is nothing left of the bull’s head except some white bones, teeth and perhaps the horn.

Try it.

 

Rhubarb; a Crumble or Pudding?

January 11, 2014


Excitement is mounting in this Bowral household. The rhubarb is on the ‘cusp’ of turning into a ‘crumble’. We have had the debate about what the differences are between the delights of puddings and cakes. There is now a new girl on the block; the ‘crumble’. (The word ‘cusp’ seems to have sprung up suddenly and conquered the world within days. In 2012 it was all the rage with ‘new paradigm’. Everyone all of a sudden wanted to ‘find’ their ‘new paradigm’. I lost mine in George Street, Sydney. No one has found it even though it had my name scribbled on it with Mob phone nr.)

Apropos pudding, cake, and now crumble, the debate still rages around the world from Gibraltar to NY city, Mexico to Sydney what the differences are. It is now generally conceded, even acknowledged, that one is steamed or boiled while the other is baked. A Christmas pudding is steamed or boiled in a cloth like other puddings. What about Yorkshire pudding? (steamed in a cloth 😉 ) There is black pudding in a net or cloth, and in the case of G getting an invitation years ago in Whitby to go ‘out for pudding’ this meant a cup of tea with a muffin in a sea-side Tea establishment. Kippers at Whitby was something totally different, it was neither. For a Europhile it remains all a bit like cricket, very esoteric.

The stalks of the rhubarb in our garden are still green. Helvi reckons not all rhubarb turns red. Last year it was green too. I then made a delicious crumble with apple, some muesli and lots of butter. The apples were the green ones, very tart but snappily juicy. The addition of cinnamon and a couple of cloves did add some spice although H reckoned the cloves were a bit over the top.

Anyway, the word crumble must indicate the looseness of it all. It crumbles. I am sure no-one could call it a pudding or cake. I have seen it being called a pie. I don’t know. I suppose there are meat pies, apple pies, pumpkin pies, mince pies, why not rhubarb pie?

Yes, I googled rhubarb and the stalks can be green, green fading into pink or bright red. It is a fact of varieties and not of age or soil. Anyway, all stalks turn green when cooked. What a revelation!

untitledrhubarb crumble

I am struggling trying to make this tale amusing but I am not sure if rhubarb lends itself to humour as in lost socks or the profoundness of Pierre Cardin’s lost pyjamas, the pathos of a little boy’s lost train ticket.

Last night we had dinner at the local Royal Hotel. My favourite was on the blackboard ‘fresh pepper calamari’ with H’s choice being the ‘flat-head fish fillets and stringy chips’. A bottle of fine white ‘The Royal Chenin blanc’ in an ice bucket made it to our table as well.

Both meals were honest without pretence or concerns if they were puddings or cakes. I now will look at my rhubarb cooking results tomorrow and will call it either a cake or a crumble depending on its consistency. A cake, if it stays together, or crumble, if it crumbles. However, if it is all runny I leave the option open to call it a ‘slushy’
The RHUBARB SLUSHY.
It will take the world by storm. Phew…I made it!

The ‘Body Corporate AGM meeting with imposing Table.

August 20, 2013

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If your life ever gets to a point where you need to take a break from neck breaking activity, intellectual (pouring over nothingness) or otherwise (pouring concrete), consider going to meetings, especially official meetings. We went to one yesterday, and I have never felt more ready for action than afterwards, any action.

As we entered the meeting room some people were seated already. There was a nod and a formal murmur of ‘morn’ from people that we see almost daily. Do AGM meetings make people change into frozen officious beings, trapped into a pre-destined kind of ‘meeting type?’ The metamorphosis from ‘normal being’ to ‘meeting being’ happens as soon as one is within the range of a large oversized table with the ‘minutes of the last meeting’ distributed out for all the members to ruminate over. The table is so large and intimidating that all seated around it immediately appear much smaller than usual.

The sensible thing to do would be to appear incognito. I wondered what the reactions would be appearing in my Batman Outfit, mask and all. A hushed silence followed with a move away from my chair? Would procedures cheer up a bit? I cannot fathom the rigidity of the ridiculous format that AGM’s or any meetings really seem to adopt.

No wonder they don’t work. There is never an excuse for doing things the most stifling, the most mind bogglingly boring way. Do they hold meetings like that in Cuba or Bali, Mexico?

Anyway, someone asked if there was a ‘quorum’ present. Yes, someone enthused. Ok, let’s start with the agenda. No, not yet. Why not? We haven’t passed the last minutes from the last meeting. Ok, they are now passed. No they are not. We haven’t asked if there are any objections to the last minutes. And so it goes on and on and zzzzzz…

Item 1 on the agenda is the report on Fire Hazards and archive fees. Ah great, really, really great stuff, can’t wait for Item 2.

May I ask you for a dance? Shall we visit the local morgue, a bit of tap-dancing, feed the ducks?

No; Item 3 now. Anyone thought of passing Miscellaneous Expenses?

Dutch News. “Us and Them.”

November 10, 2012

Annemarie van Gaal: Developing countries

Thursday 08 November 2012

Developing countries are catching up fast. Development aid can be more of a hindrance than a help, writes Annemarie van Gaal

We are cutting the development aid budget by €1bn a year and this is a good thing. The inequality in the world is no longer a matter of ‘us’, the industrialised world, and ‘them’, the third-world countries. Inequality is mainly a problem within the countries themselves and throwing money at it is not going to solve it. If anything, it will make it worse.

In 1990 the Dutch gave massively to ‘Help the Russians through the winter’, as the slogan had it. We were bombarded daily with images of desperate Russians in empty shops, shivering children and long queues outside soup kitchens. Sonja Barend hosted a programme from a shabby little studio in Moscow and the Dutch donated generously. The whole thing was a great success and the Russians were ‘saved’.

Free market

In fact, there was no lack of food in Russia. The only problem the country was struggling with was its rapid development. Russia was emerging from a communist regime and had trouble adapting to the free market. Under communism, goods were produced and trucks trundled back and forth according to a fixed route. Nobody asked whether the goods were actually answering a demand or whether the trucks were going to the right place.

Moreover, Russian officials had no intention of giving up their comfortable positions, so they preferred to keep the food-laden trucks waiting at customs for weeks instead of promoting a quicker flow. The real problem was a lack of compassion from the haves for the have nots, the division of wealth and the inequality between the different layers of Russian society itself. No amount of money was going to solve that.

Gap

On Ted.com Hans Rosling, one of the founders of Doctors without borders, compares our perception of third world countries with the reality on the ground. According to Rosling, third world countries are catching up fast. Some differences remain but these countries are developing at a much quicker rate than any western country.

He supports his comment with a graph showing child mortality on the y-axis and the gross national product on the x-axis. If you look at these data over time you will see that third world countries are gaining rapidly on the industrialised countries.

A century ago the gap between a country like Chile and the United States and Western Europe was huge. Right now, Chile’s economic welfare level is comparable to that of the US in 1957. But because the Chilean economy is growing at a faster rate than that of the US, Chile could well be replacing the US on Gosling’s graph in twenty or thirty years’ time. Ghana is now where Sweden was in 1900. In 1920 Sweden was where Egypt is now and in 1950 the Swedish economy was at the level Mexico is at right now.

Healthcare

Former third world countries in Asia, the Middle East and South America already have better healthcare systems than the industrialised nations. It won’t be long before they beat us economically as well

Rosling thinks the term ‘third world countries’ should be scrapped. If we didn’t hold them back by handing over our money – which ends up lining the wrong pockets and keeps the wrong people in power -these countries would develop a damn sight more quickly than many a western country. The greatest problem that these countries have to tackle is the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’ within their own borders.

Annematie van Gaal is head of publishing company AM Meda. She is also a writer and television personality

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