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

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

Fake News Too

For years now we have been bombarded by marketing campaigns.

marketing-shoutVitamins, insurance, bullet blenders, carpet cleaners, supermarket value, lawyers, housing developments, cruises, charities… the subject is endless and of unlimited creativity.

All of them polished and exaggerated, shined up to make you like them – the thin edge of fake news and not so fake news. Vitamins and health remedies are apparently not what they are made out to be, insurance overcharges with pitfalls in fine print, bullet blenders destroy healthy fibre, carpet
cleaners only work on some carpets…

overwhelmedI remember the riots and looting in London a few years ago; with speculation that the have-nots were so driven and manipulated by marketing that they quickly resorted to marketing-tornadotheft when mayhem let them off their leashes. I thought then and think now that it is bad and immoral to dangle steak in front of hungry dogs, knowing that only the very few top dogs will be able to enjoy it.marketing-pressure

Advertising drives acquisition into addiction – one has to have the latest iphone, music, earphones, news, cars, jeans, sneakers, piercings, tattoos, hairstyle…  All of which is unnecessary shit.

Now the fake news and alt facts confrontation testing journalistic ethics the world over is hopefully a wake-up call to society in general to shake up our values.st-malachy

It is the right time for a new Testament which will show us a way through the lies and blather! St. Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh forecast in 1132 that Francis would be the last Pope! Brace yourselves non-believers… maybe Armageddon is at hand.

But wait – maybe that was an early version of fake news!

Just to juice up a current debate, let the news seeker become a news xenophobe: only trust those sources you know are reliable. And here’s the rub: how do you authenticate these reliable sources? They are not necessarily (and are very unlikely to be) those that produce stuff you like and agree with! Seek out and examine dissent and contrary views.

Get back and examine your basic values and principles and work from there. Remember distrust of new and different things is not all bad, it can be appropriate.