Posts Tagged ‘Portugal’

A Euro party and a stolen car

May 16, 2017

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More people watched the Eurovision song contest than at the coronation of Donald Trump. What does that say about US politics? On top of it all, China overtook America as the biggest economy at about 12.33 am last Sunday. It was almost at the same time the Ransomware attack was being plotted.

The Eurovision champion Portugal won on keeping it simple without wind storms or thunderous noises.  No jigging about or manic acrobatics on stage, still as a thought. He just sang. As for China. Watch the Silk Road. They’ll have it built in less time it takes Trump to get impeached. Usually a drawn out affair taking years. It just can’t go on. A drunken sailor comes to mind, lashing out left right and centre but more to the right than left. How did it ever get to this in the US? Is democracy at fault?

In Australia we have a discussion about Sydney’s second airport every four years or so. I was told it has been brought up since the 1940’s at every election. Our government is twisting and turning to stay in power. It is running deficits, yet promises tax cuts. They too have their coterie of drunken sailors. The big-end of town are getting another tax cut costing 50 billion a few weeks ago but has now gone up to 64 billion Aus dollars. To pay for this, they are cutting pensions, and add more water to their soup allocations as dished out by the salvation army. The queues at soup kitchen are lengthening as I write.

The good news is that the stolen car belonging to my daughter has finally been sorted out. It took a year. The car was discovered soon enough and returned to my daughter by police. She drove happily around till she found out the registration could not be renewed cause it was transferred in the thief’s name. He had forged her signature. Can you believe it took another 7 months of Court appearances, jailing and subsequent appeal by the thief and final sentence before she could register her car again. Who was the victim here? I lent her our car in the meantime, but…how come all this misery?

One of those Week-Ends

April 20, 2013

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One of those week-ends

Even though half of the week-end had passed, I dreaded the next half. All day it was all over the media about the two brothers allegedly responsible for the planting of explosives that killed three people including a young boy. Hundreds of millions world- wide were glued to their Apps and Iphones getting the latest. The two brothers are supposed to be ethnic Chechen who arrived in America aged about 7 and 12.They grew up in America. Some years later they plant bombs! What happened in between? One could ask the same about the man responsible for the massacre at Sandy Hook; what happened? They used to be lovely little boys not long ago. I suppose Klara thought the same of her little boy, Adolf.

I decided to (resolutely) to try and shake my gloom by taking a walk with my wife and our incorrigible Jack Russell ‘Milo’ to our little river at the back of our complex of eight town-houses. I call them ‘units’ but some also refer to them with the rather more grandiose name of ‘villas’! Coming from Europe, I hesitate to call them villas seeing they don’t resemble anything one would find facing the sea at Monaco or the waterfront French Riviera with 50 metres of swimming pools and helipads with Portuguese maids dressed in white uniforms serving Dom Perignon in tall stemmed glasses.

Years ago soon after arrival in Sydney and aged 15 I was desperate to investigate a Sydney suburb named ‘Palm Beach’. Having grown up in Holland and seen the occasional movie with waving palms and people lounging in hammocks while sipping from a coconut with skimpily dressed Hawaiian girls swanning about I was desperate to soak up and make real my vision of waving palms. I thought the hoola girls can come later as a concession to a possible disappointment. (Even then there were already creeping in shadows of doubt or negativity about my possible unrealistically enlarged projections of fantasized distant futures, dreams or visions.)

I was right to be skeptical; not one fucking palm. I walked along and noticed a garden facing the sea. It had a profusion of white peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) which I knew in Holland to be tropical indoor plants. I can still see my dad bending over them with a small watering can. I thought, well, at least something tropical at last. But…here my skepticism and previous negativity came to the rescue once more; on touching them, leaning over the white picket fence, ( just like dad bending over his indoor plants) they turned out to be plastic. Can you believe people spending time to plant plastic greenery? What sort of country had my dad migrated to with locals having the hide to call their suburb Palm Beach with no Palms and gilding the Lily as well? I have found out that the English speaking world is somewhat over-generous with naming things that are only just skirting along the edges of ‘truth’. They sell fresh-cream apple pies with the cream oozing out being a grainy mock cream and the apple probably plastic grown at someone’s Palm Beach garden. They advertise ‘free gifts’. Electrical shops are named “Good Guys”!

The walk along our little river or bubbling brook is always a restorative event. Milo goes berserk sniffing out the ducks while nervously cocking his hind legs alternatively every few metres. He is clearly eternally optimistic in breaking loose and murdering a nice duck, no matter how strong the leash is, he jumps around and is  enjoying jumping and bucking about. I don’t allow him his duck but as a concession to murder, I will let him loose at the church yard where he  chases the occasional wild rabbit and even killed one. Rabbits are in plague proportions, so…

Good boy Milo.., Good boy.

Idealism in Chaos ( A Greek Tragedy)

May 15, 2012

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Another big fall in world markets, billions will be wiped off and Greece is tottering on the brink of total economic collapse. Good morning!

Some European countries which were supposed to be examples of how society ought to distribute wealth more equitable are now being lined up to fall like a row of dominoes set up on the dining table of good and well intentioned but un- equitable sharing of the rich Euro baked pork dish with crackling good social security till the grave.

What went wrong? Was it the apple sauce?

The answer might well come from the dining table itself. The excessive ladling out of all those goodies without balancing it to an equal generous increase in taxation revenue was always dodgy. The expenditure didn’t match the income. A classic case of economic delusion that one can live beyond means was always a premier lesson at the kindergarten of economics. If you keep scooping the sand out the sandbox will finally be empty.

The lure of getting more with less income seemed to have overtaken the world of capitalism. Election after election the sound economic principles of setting expenditure to income was eroded away. The voters swallowed it like marsh-mellows on a stick held above the fire of greed and avarice. Right wing governments took over with the promise of more for less and we were all seduced by this ugly Judas kiss. And look at us now? Will there be blood on the streets once again?

With Portugal and Spain queuing up after Greece with youth unemployment at a staggering fifty percent it seems to be hovering on a similar precipice into economic collapse.

In Australia we keep rubbing hands together with glee in how we seemed to have escaped the GFC turmoil with our scooping up of mineral resources. In the process we seem to forget that this is due to luck much more than sound economics. Take out China, and we too would be lining up at soup-kitchens.

Are we too taken in by the lure of more for less? Notice the upheaval in the suggestion of raising taxation on our resource mining companies. Notice how the Three hot headed Musketeers of our resource companies have taken on Australia and its citizens daring to utter getting paid a fair share of the economic resource pie. Notice too, how the principal of taxing those that defile our environment is fought against tooth and nail. Millions are being spent in advertisement opposing this very sound and principled way of making the environment spoilers pay for it. We too are cruising for a bruising being taken in by the fairy floss of more for less.

At least in Europe there seems to be a return to the left with new governments willing to find a solution in bringing the rich back to the kitchen table of give and take.  In France, the rich will have to pay much more tax and many are questioning how anyone should have more than they can possibly need. Capitalism has gone berserk and the masses are paying for the sins of the rich. The poor, for too long have been denied a share for which they have worked just as hard as the rich, which, in the majority of cases inherited the wealth enabling them, with the regimes of lower and lower taxation, to keep on exploiting handy taxation loopholes and fattening themselves on the pork crackling of lenient taxation laws.

It is not for nothing that the collapsing economic capitalist world is looking anew at Scandinavia. They were always looked at askance and with suspicion. How could a taxation regime of over fifty percent continue to thrive giving its citizens a world of social welfare that would sooner or later end in total collapse and disaster? Well, the Scandinavians did not and now seem to own the only beacon of light and insight in perhaps having a solution for those countries on the brink of economic disaster.

We should perhaps look anew at those prophets of lower taxation being the only way forward. Just look how, with the new budget, we have delayed Foreign Aid? We have the top three wealthiest in our society owning over 30 billion. Or is it 40 billion now?

How just is our society and how moral when we can’t support foreign aid anymore and at the same time support not raising taxation for the obscene wealthy?