Posts Tagged ‘Trump’

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.

 

 

 

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Cheerful.

August 15, 2018
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Helvi said, just out of the blue. ‘You are not so cheerful lately, Gerard’. ‘Is something the matter?’ I am suspicious of too much cheerfulness. It can be exhausting to be with people who are so busy being cheerful. What are they hiding? Anyway, I took notice of what I was told. I promised to look into  it.

Part of the problem is the news. Women can be so nasty. I can’t believed how Emma Husar was treated.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-24/embattled-labor-mp-emma-husar-takes-personal-leave/10030986

Women can be nice and caring to other women as long as they are not prettier in looks or higher up the professional scale. They are more ruthless in their bitchiness than men. Men often support each other, even giving the other man a bit of a leg up. I know they can be bastards too. But for backstabbing and demolishing; in many cases women outdo men.

Of course, for a while the ‘Me Too’ movement had me convinced men were the worst of the five sexes. I could hardly look myself in the mirror. I am so careful  at the check-outs at Aldi’s. I keep at least three feet away from the trolley in front if a woman is in charge. I now look at onions instead of a cleavage. I don’t want to be hauled away by the police.

Female bitchiness start young. Even at school age they can’t wait to claw and tear into each other. Mother and daughter relationships are often more volatile than males. In the bullying on-line, it’s the girls that seem to outdo the boys. Females are supposed to be the nurturers. But why is that so often lacking between the women? Perhaps they are forever competing with each other. Wanting to be better dressers, better mothers, better shoppers, better looking. I don’t think men do that. If a woman notices  the same dress being worn by someone else, they feel mortified. Can you imagine a man noticing another one wearing the same jacket, tie or shoes? They could not care less.

On the other hand one can hardly enthuse about Trump or cheer our own version of Malcolm Turnbull. Hardly role models for compassion and effusive caring or sharing. It is so difficult. By now I ought to have firm views about those matters. With ageing there is no clearer insight. Perhaps cheerfulness is poisoned by news.

I did feel cheerful this morning at about 8.20 when the news came about that the senator who used the term ‘final solution’ to strengthen his idea of banning all Muslims from entering Australia was condemned by all parties. My cheerfulness lasted more than twelve minutes.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/aug/15/mps-widely-condemn-fraser-annings-final-solution-speech

Can you believe it?

Movies on Demand.

August 4, 2018

The above music will be instantly recognized by those who have watched the Swedish drama ‘The Bridge’.

We bought a TV that can show movies that are not broadcast in the normal way. You ‘download them’ via your WiFi. Downloading is now very much in. I never thought I would reach that level. I am almost on par with one of my grandsons. He downloads all day. It is a bit of a worry. There have been wagging fingers on TV warning parents of dire consequences of too much downloading. I remember in the fifties we were warned about the evils of writing with ball-points! It was the ruination of youth and education.

With IT downloading comes, according to the experts, a disregard for authority with one finger gestures and many young saying ‘fuck you’. Mind you in the US and elsewhere those rude undisciplined young people are now our only hope of getting rid of Trump, Duterte and other unbalanced narcissists on course to wreck the world. Our parents and their parents were taught to unquestionably and passively accept what they were told at all times by authority. Civil disobedience is making a comeback. It might be our only hope.

‘Eureka Street’s blog caught my eye, especially this article.  ‘Cry the murderous Country.’  The Jesuits do good things.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=56136

But back to ‘downloading movies’ It was far more complicated than I thought. Like anything with modern technology. It doesn’t allow for mistakes. Buttons on the remote-control of this special smart TV have to be pushed in the right sequence. Even following the right order almost to the nail-biting finish; one wrong button and one is back to square one. But apart from the technological aspects there is more. Some movies that are advertised as having 10 sessions, might just have 4. We found out by watching a really fantastic movie called ‘Trapped’. An Icelandic movie made in Iceland. Now Iceland is a country that always fascinated me. That bitter cold and those windswept glaciers and mountains. Yet, heating and hot water of the capital Reykjavik and some lakes is achieved by geothermal means. Most people speak very good English and many non-English speaking people from other parts of the world go and learn English in Iceland. Perhaps that is the answer for the young here?

After watching the first 4 episodes of ‘Trapped’ we could not find number 5. We were channelling up and down on our smart TV amongst the hundreds of available movies; no number 5 of ‘Trapped’. And  this Icelandic movie is the very essence or epitome of those Noir dramas that Scandinavia seem so good at creating. Who could forget Swedish TV series ‘The bridge’?

“The Bridge (Danish: Broen; Swedish: Bron) is a Scandinavian noir crime television series created and written by Hans Rosenfeldt. A joint creative and financed production between Sweden‘s Sveriges Television and Denmark‘s DR, it has been shown in more than 100 countries.“[1]

Afters  torturous channelling on the TV we finally got a keyboard displayed on the screen on which one can ask information of a particular movie. I typed in ‘Trapped’ and it showed 4 sessions. It did not tell us about the 6 missing sessions. Are they still coming? Who knows? Next time we will make sure to find out if the movie is shown with all its sessions.

The round-trip to the clinic.

April 24, 2018
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Table setting. Hand coloured etching.

 

Today we drove for the 7th time to a special clinic for radiation. There and back is around 140KM. We drive at around 100km an hour. The car has speed control. However, the use of it gives my foot a cramp. I prefer to keep working the pedal. There is also something frightening of a car going on its own volution. I am not sure about sitting in a self-drive vehicle. In any case we will be driving for many days yet, with a total of 25-35 radiation treatments.

The clinic itself is a jolly experience. This is surprising. Most or all of the patients have some kind of cancer. Perhaps the fear of getting cancer has at least been relieved by the certainty of the patients’ diagnoses. There is no more doubt. Still, jolliness and having cancer seems an oxymoron. The clinic has two waiting rooms. One has a TV which is always on, droning on a commercial channel most of the time.  The inane dribble on channel 7 by incessantly smirking presenters will do no good to any patient, not even those that are jolly and in remission. I change it over to the National Broadcaster’s news, ABC, channel 24. This gives News. Even there, the announcers seem to be laughing all the time too. I wonder what do they suffer from? Is the news from the Trump’s US or Syria so hilarious? Perhaps the TV bosses tell the announcers to be cheerful despite the carnage shown.  It surprises me that no one protests when I change the channel. Mind you, no one watches it much. They prefer to talk.

The other waiting room is a better place. They have bookshelves with many books to either read while waiting or take home in exchange for books patients might like to swap with. In any case, both rooms have patients waiting for treatment. Most have a specific given time and as the treatment only lasts a few minutes, many are in and out quickly. The undressing and re-dressing takes more time. The atmosphere is of geniality. I suppose there is a solid common bond. They all have cancer. The radiation perhaps also aids with a kind of warming glow. Shared problems together is a great binder and the laughter in the waiting rooms reflects this very well. Each time we leave the clinic we are both in great spirits.

Maarten is one of the patients whose time of treatment coincides of that of Helvi. He is Dutch born and 82 years old. He arrived here with his parents in 1953. I did in 1956. His Dutch language is still fluent and so is his brain. His parents settled in Wollongong with his father building a house there. He told me he created a Dutch choir in Wollongong which is still ongoing. Maarten also plays a recorder  and when well enough attends courses run by U3A. http://sohiu3a.org.au/   I think he likes classical music. I will ask him next time.  I am a sucker for classical music.

We meet each day at the clinic together with many others. Many arrive by Community buses with carers. Some are in wheel-chairs. We met a couple. The wife gets her nose radiated. She suffers a melanoma and hopes the treatment will prevent losing her nose. Perhaps in total, we spend at the most 45 minutes at this clinic.  We drive home and sometimes take a lunch at the Sushi take away in Mittagong or the Thai place back home in Bowral.  The daily trip means we have to put travel on hold. But, the experience each day at the clinic is a good compromise. Perhaps not a holiday but a good unexpected bonus of joy with strong people on the edge. The snippets of social exchanges between other patients is very exhilarating.

We  like the daily visits.

Trump-Turnbull and refugees. Full Transcript of phone conversation.

August 5, 2017
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Asylum seekers on Manus Island.

There are about 1800 refugees on Manus and Nauru facing their fourth year in detention.

“Australia maintains one of the most restrictive immigration detention systems in the world – Australian Human Rights Commission.”

http://www.smh.com.au/world/full-transcript-donald-trump-and-malcolm-turnbull-telephone-conversation-20170803-gxp13g.html

 

“The President: Mr. Prime Minister, how are you?

Prime Minister Turnbull: I am doing very well.

The President: And I guess our friend Greg Norman, he is doing very well?

Prime Minister Turnbull: He is a great mutual friend yes.

The President: Well you say hello to him. He is a very good friend. By the way thank you very much for taking the call. I really appreciate it. It is really nice.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Thank you very much. Everything is going very well. I want to congratulate you and Mike Pence on being sworn in now. I have spoken to you both now as you know. I know we are both looking to make our relationship which is very strong and intimate, stronger than ever – which I believe we can do.

The President: Good.

Prime Minister Turnbull: I believe you and I have similar backgrounds, unusual for politicians, more businessman but I look forward to working together.

The President: That is exactly right. We do have similar backgrounds and it seems to be working in this climate – it is a crazy climate. Let me tell you this, it is an evil time but it is a complex time because we do not have uniforms standing in front of us. Instead, we have people in disguise. It is brutal. This ISIS thing – it is something we are going to devote a lot of energy to it. I think we are going to be very successful.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Absolutely. We have, as you know, taken a very strong line on national security and border protection here and when I was speaking with Jared Kushner just the other day and one of your immigration advisors in the White House we reflected on how our policies have helped to inform your approach. We are very much of the same mind. It is very interesting to know how you prioritize the minorities in your Executive Order. This is exactly what we have done with the program to bring in 12,000 Syrian refugees, 90% of which will be Christians. It will be quite deliberate and the position I have taken – I have been very open about it – is that it is a tragic fact of life that when the situation in the Middle East settles down – the people that are going to be most unlikely to have a continuing home are those Christian minorities. We have seen that in Iraq and so from our point of view, as a final destination for refugees, that is why we prioritize. It is not a sectarian thing. It is recognition of the practical political realities. We have a similar perspective in that respect.

The President: Do you know four years ago Malcom, I was with a man who does this for a living. He was telling me, before the migration, that if you were a Christian from Syria, you had no chance of coming to the United States. Zero. They were the ones being persecuted. When I say persecuted, I mean their heads were being chopped off. If you were a Muslim we have nothing against Muslims, but if you were a Muslim you were not persecuted at least to the extent – but if you were a Muslim from Syria that was the number one place to get into the United States from. That was the easiest thing. But if you were a Christian from Syria you have no chance of getting into the United States. I just thought it was an incredible statistic. Totally true – and you have seen the same thing. It is incredible.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Well, yes. Mr. President, can I return to the issue of the resettlement agreement that we had with the Obama administration with respect to some people on Nauru and Manus Island. I have written to you about this and Mike Pence and General Flynn spoke with Julie Bishop and my National Security Advisor yesterday. This is a very big issue for us, particularly domestically, and I do understand you are inclined to a different point of view than the Vice President.

The President: Well, actually I just called for a total ban on Syria and from many different countries from where there is terror, and extreme vetting for everyone else – and somebody told me yesterday that close to 2,000 people are coming who are really probably troublesome. And I am saying, boy that will make us look awfully bad. Here I am calling for a ban where I am not letting anybody in and we take 2,000 people. Really it looks like 2,000 people that Australia does not want and I do not blame you by the way, but the United States has become like a dumping ground. You know Malcom, anybody that has a problem – you remember the Mariel boat lift, where Castro let everyone out of prison and Jimmy Carter accepted them with open arms. These were brutal people. Nobody said Castro was stupid, but now what are we talking about is 2,000 people that are actually imprisoned and that would actually come into the United States. I heard about this – I have to say I love Australia; I love the people of Australia. I have so many friends from Australia, but I said – geez that is a big ask, especially in light of the fact that we are so heavily in favor, not in favor, but we have no choice but to stop things. We have to stop. We have allowed so many people into our country that should not be here. We have our San Bernardino’s, we have had the World Trade Center come down because of people that should not have been in our country, and now we are supposed to take 2,000. It sends such a bad signal. You have no idea. It is such a bad thing.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Can you hear me out Mr. President?

The President: Yeah, go ahead.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Yes, the agreement, which the Vice President just called the Foreign Minister about less than 24 hours ago and said your Administration would be continuing, does not require you to take 2,000 people. It does not require you to take any. It requires, in return, for us to do a number of things for the United States – this is a big deal, I think we should respect deals.

The President: Who made the deal? Obama?

Prime Minister Turnbull: Yes, but let me describe what it is. I think it is quite consistent. I think you can comply with it. It is absolutely consistent with your Executive Order so please just hear me out. The obligation is for the United States to look and examine and take up to and only if they so choose – 1,250 to 2,000. Every individual is subject to your vetting. You can decide to take them or to not take them after vetting. You can decide to take 1,000 or 100. It is entirely up to you. The obligation is to only go through the process. So that is the first thing. Secondly, the people – none of these people are from the conflict zone. They are basically economic refugees from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. That is the vast bulk of them. They have been under our supervision for over three years now and we know exactly everything about them.

The President: Why haven’t you let them out? Why have you not let them into your society?

Prime Minister Turnbull: Okay, I will explain why. It is not because they are bad people. It is because in order to stop people smugglers, we had to deprive them of the product. So we said if you try to come to Australia by boat, even if we think you are the best person in the world, even if you are a Noble [sic] Prize winning genius, we will not let you in. Because the problem with the people –

The President: That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am.

Prime Minister Turnbull: This is our experience.

The President: Because you do not want to destroy your country. Look at what has happened in Germany. Look at what is happening in these countries. These people are crazy to let this happen. I spoke to Merkel today, and believe me, she wishes she did not do it. Germany is a mess because of what happened.

Prime Minister Turnbull: I agree with you, letting one million Syrians walk into their country. It was one of the big factors in the Brexit vote, frankly.

The President: Well, there could be two million people coming in Germany. Two million people. Can you believe it? It will never be the same.

Prime Minister Turnbull: I stood up at the UN in September and set up what our immigration policy was. I said that you cannot maintain popular support for immigration policy, multiculturalism, unless you can control your borders. The bottom line is that we got here. I am asking you as a very good friend. This is a big deal. It is really, really important to us that we maintain it. It does not oblige you to take one person that you do not want. As I have said, your homeland officials have visited and they have already interviewed these people. You can decide. It is at your discretion. So you have the wording in the Executive Order that enables the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State to admit people on a case by case basis in order to conform with an existing agreement. I do believe that you will never find a better friend to the United States than Australia. I say this to you sincerely that it is in the mutual interest of the United States to say, “yes, we can conform with that deal – we are not obliged to take anybody we do not want, we will go through extreme vetting” and that way you are seen to show the respect that a trusted ally wants and deserves. We will then hold up our end of the bargain by taking in our country 31 [inaudible] that you need to move on from.

The President: Malcom [sic], why is this so important? I do not understand. This is going to kill me. I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.

Prime Minister Turnbull: With great respect, that is not right – It is not 2,000.

The President: Well, it is close. I have also heard like 5,000 as well.

Prime Minister Turnbull: The given number in the agreement is 1,250 and it is entirely a matter of your vetting. I think that what you could say is that the Australian government is consistent with the principles set out in the Executive Order.

The President: No, I do not want say that. I will just have to say that unfortunately I will have to live with what was said by Obama. I will say I hate it. Look, I spoke to Putin, Merkel, Abe of Japan, to France today, and this was my most unpleasant call because I will be honest with you. I hate taking these people. I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.

Prime Minister Turnbull: I would not be so sure about that. They are basically –

The President: Well, maybe you should let them out of prison. I am doing this because Obama made a bad deal. I am not doing this because it fits into my Executive Order. I am taking 2,000 people from Australia who are in prison and the day before I signed an Executive Order saying that we are not taking anybody in. We are not taking anybody in, those days are over.

Prime Minister Turnbull: But can I say to you, there is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal. Look, you and I have a lot of mutual friends.

The President: Look, I do not know how you got them to sign a deal like this, but that is how they lost the election. They said I had no way to 270 and I got 306. That is why they lost the election, because of stupid deals like this. You have brokered many a stupid deal in business and I respect you, but I guarantee that you broke many a stupid deal. This is a stupid deal. This deal will make me look terrible.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Mr. President, I think this will make you look like a man who stands by the commitments of the United States. It shows that you are a committed –

The President: Okay, this shows me to be a dope. I am not like this but, if I have to do it, I will do it but I do not like this at all. I will be honest with you. Not even a little bit. I think it is ridiculous and Obama should have never signed it. The only reason I will take them is because I have to honor a deal signed by my predecessor and it was a rotten deal. I say that it was a stupid deal like all the other deals that this country signed. You have to see what I am doing. I am unlocking deals that were made by people, these people were incompetent. I am not going to say that it fits within the realm of my Executive Order. We are going to allow 2,000 prisoners to come into our country and it is within the realm of my Executive Order? If that is the case my Executive Order does not mean anything Malcom [sic]. I look like a dope. The only way that I can do this is to say that my predecessor made a deal and I have no option then to honor the deal. I hate having to do it, but I am still going to vet them very closely. Suppose I vet them closely and I do not take any?

Prime Minister Turnbull: That is the point I have been trying to make.

The President: How does that help you?

Prime Minister Turnbull: Well, we assume that we will act in good faith.

The President: Does anybody know who these people are? Who are they? Where do they come from? Are they going to become the Boston bomber in five years? Or two years? Who are these people?

Prime Minister Turnbull: Let me explain. We know exactly who they are. They have been on Nauru or Manus for over three years and the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people to come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in. If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here.

The President: Malcom [sic], but they are arrived on a boat?

Prime Minister Turnbull: Correct, we have stopped the boats.

The President: Give them to the United States. We are like a dumping ground for the rest of the world. I have been here for a period of time, I just want this to stop. I look so foolish doing this. It [sic] know it is good for you but it is bad for me. It is horrible for me. This is what I am trying to stop. I do not want to have more San Bernardino’s or World Trade Centers. I could name 30 others, but I do not have enough time.

Prime Minister Turnbull: These guys are not in that league. They are economic refugees.

The President: Okay, good. Can Australia give me a guarantee that if we have any problems – you know that is what they said about the Boston bombers. They said they were wonderful young men.

Prime Minister Turnbull: They were Russians. They were not from any of these countries.

The President: They were from wherever they were.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Please, if we can agree to stick to the deal, you have complete discretion in terms of a security assessment. The numbers are not 2,000 but 1,250 to start. Basically, we are taking people from the previous administration that they were very keen on getting out of the United States. We will take more. We will take anyone that you want us to take. The only people that we do not take are people who come by boat. So we would rather take a not very attractive guy that help you out then to take a Noble [sic] Peace Prize winner that comes by boat. That is the point.

The President: What is the thing with boats? Why do you discriminate against boats? No, I know, they come from certain regions. I get it.

Prime Minister Turnbull: No, let me explain why. The problem with the boats it that you are basically outsourcing your immigration program to people smugglers and also you get thousands of people drowning at sea. So what we say is, we will decide which people get to come to Australia who are refugees, economic migrants, businessmen, whatever. We decide. That is our decision. We are a generous multicultural immigration nation like the United States but the government decides, the people’s representatives decides. So that is the point. I am a highly transactional businessman like you and I know the deal has to work for both sides. Now Obama thought this deal worked for him and he drove a hard bargain with us – that it was agreed with Obama more than a year ago in the Oval Office, long before the election. The principles of the deal were agreed to.

The President: I do not know what he got out of it. We never get anything out of it – START Treaty, the Iran deal. I do not know where they find these people to make these stupid deals. I am going to get killed on this thing.

Prime Minister Turnbull: You will not.

The President: Yes, I will be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in my first week by these people. This is a killer.

Prime Minister Turnbull: You can certainly say that it was not a deal that you would have done, but you are going to stick with it.

The President: I have no choice to say that about it. Malcom [sic], I am going to say that I have no choice but to honor my predecessor’s deal. I think it is a horrible deal, a disgusting deal that I would have never made. It is an embarrassment to the United States of America and you can say it just the way I said it. I will say it just that way. As far as I am concerned that is enough Malcom [sic]. I have had it. I have been making these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Do you want to talk about Syria and DPRK?

The President: [inaudible] this is crazy.

Prime Minister Turnbull: Thank you for your commitment. It is very important to us.

The President: It is important to you and it is embarrassing to me. It is an embarrassment to me, but at least I got you off the hook. So you put me back on the hook.

Prime Minister Turnbull: You can count on me. I will be there again and again.

The President: I hope so. Okay, thank you Malcolm.”

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?

Plain Packaging of McDonalds and Coke!

May 4, 2017
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Grapes, strawberries and figs.

It’s not often that good news greets one on awakening. I was still rubbing my eyes expecting the usual diet of slaughter of innocents or Trump tweets news on my IPhone when I read this article;http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-05/australia-wins-landmark-wto-tobacco-packaging-case/8498750

I nearly broke out in a celebratory waltz. Sorry for the link but let me give you the more salient bits saving you to click on the link.

“Australia’s tobacco plain packaging laws are a legitimate public health measure, according to a World Trade Organisation dispute panel ruling reported by Bloomberg.It cited two people close to the situation as saying the panel had rejected a case made by Cuba, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Indonesia, which argued the laws constituted illegal barriers to trade.Such a ruling from the WTO has been widely anticipated as giving a green light for other countries to roll out similar laws, not only on tobacco but also on alcohol and UNHEALTHY FOODS.”

The higher-case my own.

The plain packaging on tobacco products has been in place for a number of years with enormous success. The poor die-hard addicts are now forced to go to the counter and whisper their brand to the sale girl, furtively looking around for any witness to their evil habit.

With Australia’s enormous obesity problems having overtaken the tobacco scourge, I hope to have enough years left to see a similar approach to unhealthy foods. The experts are pointing out that poverty and obesity are linked. Social disadvantaged rural communities having the largest proportion of overweight people. In cities it is the same, with suburbs far flung from the city-centre and cheaper to buy into, showing the same problems.

It might also be that educational differences play a role than just levels of wealth differences. I disagree that the obesity is just a matter of the poor not able to afford healthy food. A family of four eating at McDonalds with a ‘ Big Mac’ at $6.95 each, could easily buy them a bagful of  nutritious foods. But, at the local supermarkets awaits unhealthy food traps as well. It is not for nothing that the lay-outs at the supermarket usually puts the healthy choices well past the stacks of more profitable Coke cases, sugar laden rubbish with simmering sauces, instant foods, pre-digested microwave snacks etc. before the shopper gets to the vegetables and fruit section. Row after row of breakfast choco-pops, corn flakes, sugar muesli, soft drinks. Even babies are now corrupted readied to obesity when mothers can squeeze a kind of sugar laden ‘health’ pop-in tube inside its squealing little mouth.   All those tempting instant foods has to be trudged past in order to arrive at the apples and cauliflowers.

It is just as criminal as tobacco before the plain packaging came into place. Will it come to  killer foods being treated the same? Just imagine McDonald addicts huddling under railway bridges  secretly munching out of plain grey paper bags on their sugar and fat hits. The shy KFC merchants plying their pernicious wares from behind the counter all hidden and in plain packages from cupboards like cigarettes. Dietary advisers inside super-markets steering shoppers to good healthy foods. Clear simple labelling and according to their nutritional values. People can still buy sugar and fat laden foods but at their own well informed peril.

I am not so sure about those Strasbourg knobs or Salamis, Brat-worst and Black Pudding. Perhaps they ought to be excluded or given a neutral rating. I would definitely give 5 stars to Butter Milk.

What do you reckon?

What price Freedom?

February 27, 2017
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Mum in Holland with a Hoover electric vacuum cleaner. (not cordless)

We are all not so sure anymore if it is safe to visit the US. A pity. We have never been there. Perhaps it might be possible take a cruise and visit New York without getting off board and risk going through Border Control and be detained. When Ali Jr hardly got through how about anyone with a non-Anglo name? I visited Egypt back in 1961. This might well come to punish me. No doubt the FBI or secret service have kept a tab on that visit.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/02/25/customs-alis-son-wasnt-detained-because-hes-muslim/98419924/

While ‘Oosterman’ doesn’t sound Arabic, it does smack of something sinister. Oost is easily an East, and we all know what that means, don’t we? And what about that ‘man’ at the end?  A man from East? Say no more; detain him.

All kidding aside, and with all respect to my US based friends rest assured that the same is going on here in Australia. We don’t detain for a few hours, our prime minster Turnbull detains people for years if not life on Manus and Nauru. Woe those daring to enter Australia and not having drowned. You will be punished.

When I visited Egypt so long ago it was still allowed and possible to get right inside the Pyramid of Cheops. There was a tunnel that led one right up into the Queen’s chamber. It was quite a hike up and then down with a never ending stream of tourists doing the same. Afterwards there was the obligatory camel ride. I took a bit of stone from the pyramid and kept it for years together with a fez that I had bought in Port Said on our migration trip to Australia in 1956. So, our involvement with the middle East started early. The fez and pyramid piece of stone have long gone, possibly pinched by our children when young, showing off to their friends how well travelled their parents were!

http://www.guardians.net/egypt/gp4.htm

Rumblings of Turnbull’s demise and Trumps impeachment are growing fatter and gets richly fertilized as time goes by. We shall see. In the meantime I am still kept busy with another type of freedom; the Hoover cordless ‘Freedom.’ I have just done ( vacuumed) our whole house with one charge. What do you think of that? Of course, the battery is a lithium. It is now the new catch word in electronic jargon. People ask ; How are your lithiums going?

We were in Sydney yesterday having a lunch with daughter and one grandson. The other one is fighting with his mother over not being home ‘on time’ as promised. We know that problem well. However, it is their turn now. We are old and beyond feeling guilty about grandchildren behaviour, especially teen-grandchildren. There are lots of books about teen problems now. Just don’t read them.

Ever since we started brushing Milo, the hair load on our floor has eased. We brush him twice daily. He likes it and actually leans against the steel rubber tipped hairbrush. I then have the job of unpicking Milo’s hair from the brush. It is quite a job. (twice a day) I was surprised therefore that even with all that brushing I had to empty the ‘Freedom’ cordless twice as the canister was chock-a-block with Milo’s dust and hair. Milo just studies my vacuuming and then yawns.

That’s freedom for you.

 

Go and figure this one out!

February 5, 2017

 

Most of the world knows about  refugees. Italy alone took in 180 000 during 2016. More than three years ago anyone trying to reach Australia by boat would from then on be locked up. Manus and Nauru were the places agreeing to house refugees. Australia vowed never to let those into Australia.There are  more than 1200 refugees still on those Islands. Most have been granted refugee status.

The cost in housing refugees has been in the billions. Private contractors are the main beneficiaries as well as New Guinea  and Nauru. The idea in not letting the refugees ever into Australia was that letting them in would result in an armada of refugees coming to Australia, clamber over our dunes, take our jobs or bludge of welfare! They would covet our  women and make cliterectomy compulsory for all.

The idea of locking the refugees up had to be seen as harsh enough to deter the so called ‘people smugglers.’ At present refugees trying to flee to either Europe or elsewhere in primitive boats have a chance of 1-100 in drowning. We know that many are desperate enough to take that gamble. The Australian Government knew that risk of drowning wasn’t enough a deterrent. The idea was born that the punishment for not drowning had to be far more severe. Teach the survivors a lesson they won’t forget. More importantly, the message would go out. “Don’t think of coming to Australia.”

That’s why the conditions for refugees locked up  indefinitely had to be far more stringent and better thought out. The refugees were not charged with any crimes. They just had to be kept locked and deprived of the most essential need of all. A future to look forward to. For children not to grow up in freedom and get an education. Teach them a lesson.  After several suicides and many incidents of self harm, even by children, the Government rejoiced and proudly stated that no boat had arrived. The prime minister Turnbull was jubilant; “We are the envy of the world dealing with refugees,.” he announced proudly.

It was decided that after the UNHCR, the UN, and Amnesty International had become vocal in condemnation that Australia tried to fop off the refugees elsewhere. Forty million dollars was spent to bribe Cambodia in taking just three refugees. Two have since left.

Now Trump and Turnbull ( Trumble) have locked themselves into horse -trading over allowing 1200 refugees from Manus and Nauru  into America. The vetting will be extreme. Americans are justly asking why Australia can’t take them in. It must be a mystery. Per capita Australia has far more space than the USA. So what about that deterrent?

If you dare to come to Australia you might go to America?

More importantly, what about those people? You know the people on Manus and Nauru?

Go and figure!

Back to school for the monsters, and wedded bliss

January 28, 2017

 

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wedding photo of my parents with mum’s brother and sister.

The end of the holidays is for mothers always the best part of a holiday. That is what my mother thought. With six children she was always happy to see us walk back to school. I am sure many mothers today feel the same. Holidays for adults were rare. Dad went to work to earn the food and rent. Mum stayed home, darning socks, washing clothes and cook the food. Millions of tasks. It was normal. All over the world it still is.  Sometimes we were taken for a single day or so. A circus with clowns or a day at the beach is what I remember.

“Have you packed your schoolbag?” “Yes, mum.” This will be echoed around  suburbia this coming Monday morning. I wonder if school lunches are still being made? I suspect many children buy their lunches. In Australia the summer holidays are spread around Christmas. This year it has been hotter than ever and the Nuclear clock has been wound-up to go off in a matter of global minutes. A pessimism is spreading the world which is when I feel most elated. There isn’t a great deal that I can do about Trump or our own coterie of paper mache politicians. I might as well enjoy the ride and make the most of it.

It is just as well that Helvi is the opposite, boundless optimism and full of cheer. Peals of laughter can often be heard. A pretty good match if you can find it. Last Saturday there was the annual Wedding show at the Bradman Cricket Oval. ‘It is huge, a world’s best, that is so true.’ The grounds were taken up by over seventy virginal white marquees with one huge ‘big top tent’ smack in the middle of the oval.  Every now and then the wedding march would boom through loudspeakers. Keen  sparkling eyed girls practising the coming event. Dreaming swirling around, eyes agog, it will be magic, ‘it will be the best, weddings first, love after wilting. It is so true.’

Have a dekko at this lot.

http://www.southernhighlandsweddingfair.com.au/

It is too late now, seeing the event is over, but I might set up my own wedding marquees next year on the Bradman Oval. Show them some real cricket! I want to give balance. I would serve cautionary tales and serious advice, perhaps with video footage shot at Family Courts. Close ups of bitter wives and warring husbands , fighting tooth and nail. Sound would include their sobbing’s with white rage. The marquees would have tables groaning with wedding albums torn to shreds. Photographic evidence of chucked wedding videos. Bins full of wedding gowns and other wedding paraphernalia. It would also have copies of lawyer bills running into tens of millions. The flotsam of real weddings would be om show.

I will also present conclusive proof that there is a strong correlation between,  the more money spent on the wedding the shorter the duration of wedded bliss. In fact, consumer affairs have long thought of banning weddings or at least give it star ratings. I am sure that if fridges failed at over forty percent, they would be banned.

I noticed that minced meat is now also given a star rating. I generally go for the three star mince quality but Helvi prefers the more leaner and optimistic four star beef mince. I like a bit of fat. It keeps me on my toes.

I am going to barbeque some potatoes wrapped in foil, char-grill a few red capsicums and make some patties of my minced beef (3 star) with cumin, garlic and some pepper. It is still too hot and I shall wait till about 6pm when the temperature drops to about c20. It will be so good, so great…the best barbeque and that is true.