Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose

So sang Kristofferson and Joplin after Bobby McGee left them heartbroken and bereft.

That may be true in the sense that relationships and possessions carry obligations which are fetters on your freedom.

Throughout Africa, freedom from colonial rule has led to continued corruption and tyranny, the destruction of agriculture and plunder of natural resources without regard for posterity and a disregard for welfare of the people, which will soon leave nothing left to lose.

In the supposedly more civilised ‘western world’, increased freedoms have led to the inability of governments to curtail or restrict the increasingly conflicted demands on the fiscus and the disempowerment of Police, Border Control and Armed Forces. Soon they too may have nothing left to lose, because everything is free.

But I digress.

I have recently done a course on What Works in Development Aid strategies

corruption funnel

The course started off by saying that not many aid strategies worked because of the rip-offs by the empowered elites in recipient countries.

Somalis, Sudanese and Ethiopians are still starving after how many years and dollars of aid . In addition, because the development aid in health has been so successful, there are many more people doomed to hunger!

We are talking big money: $135 billion in 2014 spent by OECD countries alone!

The United Nations sustainable development goal number 1 is: to leave no-one behind by 2030. Cute, hey?

trickle down effectPerhaps consideration should be given to the existence of the development aid industry as a whole: from UN agencies, to government ministries, to universities to aid workers and supply chain operators – is it worth the significant expenditure of taxpayers dollars?

Should foreigners be intervening in sovereign states to prolong life expectancy in a world where natural resources are being depleted and destroyed by too many people?

Or is the development aid industry too entrenched to re-consider its roots. The disguise or suspicion of imperialism and market growth will remain.

Should we continue to shore up tyranny by removing the desperation of their populace, who eventually must be the authors of their own liberation? The alternative is the one that communism and agencies like the CIA instigated: arming people to enable them to confront abuses. Is the morality not the same?

The survival of our world is threatened by the wholesale destruction of our environment by unrestrained economies with burgeoning populations. The survival imperative is to safeguard resources. Economic and political interventions are apparently tenuous and entail the appeasement of tyrants for success, which is morally unpalatable.

Military intervention to impose and sustain appropriate institutions and practices is an alternative, but failed in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somaliland, Syria and is much more expensive and politically sensitive!

However, my putative rant hit a brick wall.

A little more research and thinking about the topic suggests that it is in fact very necessary expenditure:

  • On average, the richer states spend only about 0.7% of their gross national incomes on aid (relatively insignificant)
  • it curbs global spread of diseases
  • it buys friends, allies and access to resources
  • it provides markets…
  • the aid industry employs many people at home and abroad; e.g.: in the US all aid supplies must be made in the US.

In 1990, 1.9billion (36%) of the the world population of 5.3 billion, lived in extreme poverty. In 2010, only 1.2 billion (18%) of the increased population of 6.8 billion, lived in extreme poverty. Aid is believed to have significantly contributed to this reduction in poverty and increased life expectancy and the eradication of a number of diseases.

It also definitely contributed to the 28% increase in population.

 

There are other secondary (or maybe primary objectives), like the renewed

scramble for Africa, illustrated by the numerous and significant projects

china aid.gif

funded and manned by China.

 

 

It is ironic that China was one of the main supporters of the spread of communism in Africa, until its loss of credibility.

 

 

 

However, over 150 countries (of the 196 in the world) have committed

themselves to the United Nations Development Programme’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

 

This is where our hopes lie, as signatories can be held accountable to their commitments.

Here’s hoping!

global goals

 

 

A new campaign

Our current campaign is a global war against that yoke of uniformity, the nenoose tieck tie.

There can be no logical explanation why people continue to tie strips of cloth tightly around their throats and then dangle them on their chests. 

This was blogged on 16 October 2005, but the real campaign against the necktie started in practice in the 90’s with the wearing of silly socks on Fridays. The more radical followers of the movement also began wearing outrageous and unseemly ties to draw attention to the folly of the fashion convention.

The recent neck-naked appearances of those prisoners of convention and foremost icons of the stiff upper lip Society, HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, KG, KT, PC, ADC(P), HRH Prince Henry of Wales, KCVO and the Obamas indicates their clear support for the campaign and clearly demonstrates that the campaign is all but won. (The speculation that they read this blog can not be confirmed.)

no necktie nobles.jpg
Long live the revolution!

We will not be distracted by celebrations of victory but rather dedicate our considerable efforts to a new campaign.

Ban the Bag 

plastic jelly fish

The New York City Sanitation Department collects more than 1,700 tons of single

turtlefood
Turtle Food

use carry-out bags every week and has to spend $12.5 million a year to dispose of them.

Clean up Australia informs us that plastic bags have been around for 30 years now. It is estimated worldwide that 1 trillion bags are used and discarded every year.

 

plastic picnic spot
Protected picnic place

Australians use 3.92 billion plastic bags a year, that’s over 10 million new bags being used every day. An estimated 3.76 billion bags or 20,700 tonnes of plastic are disposed of in landfill sites throughout Australia every year. Australians dump 7,150 recyclable plastic bags into landfills every minute or 429,000 bags every hour.

We know that we can do without them; they are a recent invention – we used baskets or boxes before, we can use them again. Aldi has none and we flock there!

ACT, Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania have banned single-use plastic shopping bags. Why do Queensland, NSW, Western Australia, Europe and the World not follow?

This is one way we can contribute to saving our world – work on it, work on your politicians, teachers and children: you can do it!

Start by taking your own carry bags to the supermarket and greengrocer – don’t use their bags. Not that easy – you have to put on your Crusader’s armour everytime you shop!

biobag-I personally will have to work out a solution to picking up dog poo, but I will try too.

I wonder if the Princes are good to go on this? (Not the dog poo bit, but lending their weight to a plastic bag ban…)

Our destiny is in our own hands! Seize the opportunity and strike a blow for everyone of us!

whats your vote

What’s okay?

blank okMost of my readers know me for a delicate, sensitive, if not always sensible sort. I must confess though, that I am given to slightly warm feelings when irked in particular, by banal, inappropriate or feeble utterances.

seeing red

So when I heard a television talking head describing some deed, word, action or inaction which I do not recall, as “not okay”, my hackles rose a tad.

However, being a man of experience and some sagacity, I approached the matter with my usual caution; something whispered in my mind: Beware! Here be dragons!

What did it, was the not okay bit. Not okay was not okay with me: it is banal, bland, fence-sitting, wishy-washy, bunny hugger drivel. It is the other end of the spectrum of revolting language usage from awesome!

Before I slip into full rant mode and start frothing at the keyboard, let me say that I did some research into okay. The word apparently originated in the US (where else?). It was the initials of a facetious folk phonetic spelling abbreviation for ‘orl korrekt’ representing ‘all correct’. It was absorbed into the common usage as a verb, adverb, noun, and interjection and spread worldwide.

It has morphed (not sure about that word either) into one of the English words most utilized in all languages.

I was flabbergasted to discover that 14 September is R U OK? Day.

That nearly set my fuse off too! Just invent a cause and appropriate a day! You can start a website, market merchandise and away you go! Hmpfff!

Just in case you missed it, today is National Chipotle Day – May 5th is dedicated to the chipotle, a smoked, dried jalapeno pepper. I kid you not!

Anyway, back to okay/not okay. R U OK? Day was started by the relatives of people who had committed suicide. Its purpose is to encourage people to check on their loved ones by asking them that simple question. In this context not okay is a sad, terriblok oke and terrifying condition in which to be. I strongly endorse the practice of checking your loved ones’ mental strength. Asking shows you care and provides an opportunity for a release or a cry for help.

What I object to is that the expression not okay has been incorporated to signify anything that may not meet the rapidly replicating rules which require society to behave in such a way as not to miff anyone who might be sensitive about something.   Like, it’s not okay to call some behaviour gay (or a person gay unless he/she is…).

Ever since I saw West Side Story in the 60’s, the word ‘gay’ has been one of my favourite words. ‘Gay’ used to mean cheerful, cheery, merry, jolly, light-hearted, mirthful, jovial, glad, happy, bright, in high spirits, joyful, elated, exuberant, animated, lively, vivacious, buoyant, bouncy, bubbly, perky, effervescent, playful and frolicsome. Now tell me that is not a delightful word!

If you check the lyrics online now, you will find that the word ‘gay’ has been scrubbed from the song and replaced with ‘bright’. Is that okay?

Do the gentle, inoffensive, protectors of those that they think may be easily bruised, have the right to change the language icons of our past, because gay now refers to things homosexual. Why has that lovely word been appropriated for the exclusive use of such an historically fraught set of people?

Granted, buggers was not a nice label, nor was queers or poofs.

Dearie me, I do get easily distracted.

What I want to say is that not okay should not be used when there are many, far more appropriate words such as indelicate, offensive, awful, inappropriate, unacceptable, extraordinary, extreme, bad, abnormal, impolite, unreasonable, bloody rude …oops!

Here is a little guide – hope it helps.

Different-forms-of-saying-Okay

ok in bath

The abuse of privilege

I have once again been irked by an arrogant journalist, bemoaning the fact that the media has been denied access to a coronial report, until such time as the coroner has made findings. “After all it’s our right” he expostulated to smarmy nods from news anchors.

These are the vultures who pitch up on the doorsteps of grieving families for a tragic The press as vultures.news bite and travel to other States when there’s no house fire, road accident or crime of sufficient horror to merit news in their own state.

They apparently have the right to pronounce on evidence before judicial officers and the right to demand statements from accused criminals, family members and supporters.

media changes

The Police do little to prevent these leeches from swarming around these stressed people, seeking some blood or tears. It was likely this ilk of journalistic parasite that hounded Princess Diana into her tragic fatal flight. They are the ones that intrude and pursue public personalities exaggerating their lifestyles and often their own opinions of themselves.

Editorial discretion and journalistic integrity have been lost in the fight for ratings and first headlines. Now anything people will pay for is media fodder: “if it bleeds it leads”! first bad newsThen there are the reality shows … scripted productions where people mimic courtship and marriage to the detriment of those once hallowed and personal treasures.

Not to mention the ‘fake news’ phenomenon which has cast doubts on the veracity and reliability of every media publication, because some spray extreme and sensationalist stories without rigourous research and scrutiny to verify them or consider the impact on society at large. Thus the total output has become contaminated and should be treated with great scepticism, which most fail to do, so they become affected by the ‘fake news’ disease.

Television especially has an exceptionally privileged position in society: they have access to nearly every household. Their output is available to all at the click of a button. this is the newsIt is reasonable to expect some awareness of and responsibility for the material they broadcast.

They have the opportunity to build the appropriate culture and values which show people how to behave. Instead, they promote false and distasteful realities which many unsuspecting viewers are unable or unwilling to discern and base their dream worlds and behaviour upon.

It and the internet have replaced the traditionally revered positions in our society that judges, priests, doctors and bank managers held. These figures and their images have been lampooned and trivialised by media series.

Where are the heroes and models of good behaviour.  real idolGovernment regulations require us to barricade swimming pools to prevent danger to children, but they don’t require barriers to television or internet to prevent access by children.

The ordinary voter is not inclined to the exercise of judicious or temperate thoughts and deeds. Just like the political and economic systems, the freedom of the press needs curtailing and review, because democracy has failed.

media control

Would Jesus have escaped his fate in 2017?

The manner of Jesus’ death was not unusual for the times, in a conquered country ruled by powerful Roman overlords, who would have required Hebrew authorities to maintain a peaceful and calm populace.

Pilate washHowever, the attempts to evade responsibility for the decision to execute Jesus, suggest some uneasiness.

Jesus preached radical views and evicted the moneylenders from the Temple in Jerusalem and defied the Pharisees and Sadducees. He gathered crowds around him and had clearly attracted quite a following. He also defied the Sanhedrin – these were the power brokers of the times.

There would have been some who recalled the 12 year old boy Jesus,
who had displayed advanced scriptural knowledge in discussion with the elders in the Temple and who even then said he was about his Father’s business.

As a man, in accordance with custom, he read the scripture of Isaiah in the synagogue in Nazareth, and claimed to be the fulfillment of that scripture. No doubt there were reports about miraculous cures and the wonderful feeding of thousands and other miracles. Certainly 1000’s gathered to follow him and listen to what he said.

The Pharisees and Saducees were obviously sceptical and disbelieving and examined him. He remained obdurate and popular – a clear threat to the hegemony of the local government of the times, who had also caused the execution of John the Baptist who had announced the coming of the Messiah.

PalmSundayIn the book of Zachariah it was written: “The Coming of Zion’s King – See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey”. It suggests that Jesus was declaring he was the King of Israel to the anger of the Sanhedrin when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, to great popular acclaim.

revol doctrineNow these are acts which are of a political consequence. Here was a potential challenge to existing authority. The claim to be the Son of God was surely false.

coming of christ

Surely, God would inform his priests and give heavenly indication of His Son’s arrival,  by attending Him with Archangels, Seraphim and Cherubim?
So a political decision was made to remove the radical upstart who had attracted a large following and threatened their autonomy. The execution was conducted, comparatively humanely for the times, as his legs were not broken to hasten his demise, but he was stabbed in the side with a spear.

In modern times, rumours of poisoning of citizens in Syria, have attracted swift retribution from powerful military overlords. Yet the decimation of rural population with murdered citizens being thrown down old mine shaafrican-tyrantsfts by an African tyrant, did not even attract condemnation from the same military overlord who had installed the tyrant in years gone by.

Politics is a dirty game, in which compassion and tolerance are hindrances, not given any countenance.

Not much has changed. Even now, I wouldn’t be surprised at the same thing happening again to Jesus – save that His miracles would have gone viral. Mind you they would probably be written off as fake news !

Profanity palls

I cannot claim to be angelic in this regard; I admit that I sometimes blurt profanities in theangry words company of those that dislike such language. I always regret it,  but this little streak of perversity persists.

But if we pause to look at profanity, we see a bunch of stale words which have not evolved much except in the mouths of those seeking to offend or draw attention to their meagre presence and vocabulary.

I subscribe to an omnibus blog digest (Medium) which presents individual views on ‘anything goes’. I follow topics on art, cooking, creativity, history, politics, productivity, psychology, racism, religion and technology.

Much space is taken up by angry people. You may not believe how much is written on racprofanity Tism, feminism and anti-feminism. Vitriol and profanity spew out!

Profanity usually accompanies extreme displeasure or discomfort. It has also become some sort of sign of manliness. Big boys use profanity to impress little boys with their naughtiness and daring.

Some women seem to believe that they are liberated by their profanities. How sad! People striving to emulate others in every way destroy their uniqueness and charm.

What is also very sad is the proliferation of profanity.history_of_swearing_in_hollywood

It seems now that coarseness has become an indicator of equality, maturity and defiance. Users seek to shock perceivers and inspire the same sort of admiration that big boys sought from little boys.

Unfortunately for them their audience is different and is discerning and scornful of such puerile and pathetic efforts.

It would be tragic if the economics and rationale of media moguls prevailed anprofane sponge bobd
we are faced with further entertainment perversions, worse than Married at First Sight (#@&%!!) and presented with ‘real life’ scenarios in childrens’ hour

twain profaneGenerally speaking, I believe that, if used, profanity should not be spoken in the presence of parents or children (or by them) or indeed, anyone who would be offended by it

 

no interest profane

Ouch! But that is a stern test for big boys and girls!profane crutch

 

Nuff said!

 

Feathered Folly

racing pigeonTwo farmers in South Africa recently paid R4.9 million (A$490K) for a racing pigeon. A few years ago the Deputy President bid R18 million for a buffalo.

buffalo bull

These fantastic transactions occurred in a country racked by the pain of the huge gap between rich and poor. Those are the premiums placed on leisure activities in our world today. The gap is prevalent in most countries of the world today and apparently has always been there!

The wealthy top 10% of the population own 85% of the world’s wealth; the poorest 70% own just over 3%.

Now that does suggest the failure of an equitable economic system. It is also testament to the success of the entrepeneur and the inability of the majority to get ahead.

However, is the real test not whether the quality of life has risen over the ages?

 … the last few centuries have seen us banish starvation and famine from a large part of the Earth. In the most successful countries, the average citizen now enjoys a material standard of living that would have made the greatest king of two hundred years ago turn green with envy.

Even for the poorer areas of the Earth, the growth of the last fifty years has been quite remarkable. Excluding the developed nations of North America, Western Europe, and Japan and focusing only on the so-called Third World, we find that per capita economic growth, improvements in life expectancy, and declines in mortality from disease and malnutrition outstripped the performance of the most advanced nations of Europe, Britain, and France, during the Industrial Revolution of 1760–1860

So the noise about the gap is just squealers trying to get more without working for it? This is probably what I feel about the cacophony raised by all those groups claiming unfair discrimination and victimisation: there has been great progress in improving the position of the downtrodden, but don’t expect to change cultures overnight!

Unfair discrimination is now illegal in most countries.

It also says quite a lot about the Third World countries claims that they have suffered greatly as a consequence of colonisation which occurred just after the Industrial Revolution.

It’s about progress and improvement – not so much about the gap!

(Phew! Where did that all come from?)