Happy Day

Its already a year on since I wrote my appreciation of Australia Day.

It seems that my opinion is not shared by all. There are some that say gday mate

celebrating  the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales is not OK – that ultimate New Age condemnation.

 

 

So sadly, there will be some people who will say that celebration of the arrival of a different culture is in fact a celebration of the subjugation of the Aboriginal people who were already in Australia and apparently owned all the land and resources thereon.

This is a common theme of native populations who were affected by the arrival of more technologically advanced and powerful colonists. It is a sad fact that in Australia and the Americas, by and large, the people who were there were defeated and subjugated and those who were not successfully incorporated into the new societies still suffer diminished and pathetic lifestyles and the disappearance of traditional cultural practices.

In Africa and Asia, the colonists were expelled after a century or two of domination and exploitation, leaving modern technology, knowledge and infrastructure and some vicious struggles to achieve power and the benefits that flow from the dispensation of favours. The eventual collapse of economies and reversion to tribal conflicts is frequently blamed on the historic, invasion of the colonists.

That is a digression which may make some people hot under the collar – we don’t really need that as the southern part of the continent is stricken by a heatwave, leading to the cancellation of many functions. But let me hasten to add -NOT THE CRICKET!! australia day cricket

(On second thoughts, given the success of the Australians against the Poms, maybe it should be cancelled as a threat to national morale.)

No doubt this viewpoint of the mainly left wing and some indigenous people will  gather momentum, like the #Me Too movement, notwithstanding Germaine Greer‘s opposition. (Who would have thought of her on the right side of the spectrum…?) .

Me? I am not an Aussie mate, but I love the country. I thought the day was meant to celebrate Australia, not some ancient event invested with political significance.

Pick a day which doesn’t create too many bleats and change it. Celebrate the day like the popular song says:

Australians all let us rejoice 
For we are young and free 
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil 
Our home is girt by sea…

Look forward, not backwards!

Why is Bigamy still a crime?

…The Attorney-General’s office says the government is not considering amending the laws, or in any way recognizing polygamous marriage.

This is from an old article on Voice of America news:

Polygamy unofficially exists in traditional Aboriginal communities in Australia’s Northern Territory – and that these relationships are recognized when the government grants welfare benefits.”
… in the United Kingdom … the British government said it would grant welfare benefits to all spouses in a polygamous marriage, if the marriages had taken place in countries where the polygamy is legal.bigamy synonyms

Australian social security law recognises that multiple partners are assessed exactly the same as any other person, with no additional payments for having multiple partners
While bigamy is a criminal offence (under section 94 of the Marriage Act 1961), it is not an offence to have multiple simultaneous de facto relationships. (Wikipedia)

Monogamy… is not “natural.” That is, hardly any species practice it, except for birds (and, reportedly, cockroaches)… only about 5% of the 4,000 or so mammal species on earth hang around with just one mate. (These include wolves, beavers, naked mole rats and meerkats.)

… of 1,231 societies from around the world noted, 186 were monogamous; 453 had occasional polygyny; 588 had more frequent polygyny; and 4 had polyandry.

In fact, most of Africa is polygamous including the King of Swaziland and President of South Africa. The Muslims practice polygamy as do the Aborigines.

So… if the majority of societies allow polygamy; there is no sanction for multiple ‘partnerships’; our own government pays welfare benefits to polygamous partners and  recognises polygamous marriages from other countries …WTF?

Values are changing very rapidly: not long ago Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for sodomy, now he could be Queen. Eve and Eve can marry and have children of their own. If you are a Somali refugee with three wives, all four of you could receive welfare payments and if you are a woman with five children by different fathers, you will also be supported by the State if you are too busy breeding to work… feminist slant

Bigamy is such a yesterday issue … the only problem is …politics. We recently saw the song and dance over gay marriages.

It may be common sense but it may be politically impossible: one imagines that only One Nation would be thick enough to take on this potential hot potato; especially with the glitter surrounding gobshite rabble-rousers like Milo Yiannopoulos whose party tricks include turning petticoats into straitjackets or vice versa.female polygamy

So? What’s your point, you say. It is not actually that bigamy is an obsolete crime, like buggery.

My point is that the law is obsolete and needs changing but can’t because the political process is obsolete and too slow and doesn’t work!

 

elon muskWe need a political Elon Musk who is talking about tours to Mars and travel from Sydney to London in under an hour. Someone who can use technology to create a political system that excludes blather, insult and delay and quickly brings about simple laws that regulate our society.

 

Noble Lies

Please forgive me – I was wrong to suggest that post truth, alternative facts and all that stuff was outrageous. It seems that it was all my fault for not believing.

Post-truth resides not in the realm of the production, but in the realm of reception.  Lies, dissembling, spinning, propaganda and the creation of bullshit have always been part and parcel of politics; what has changed is how publics respond to them.

Facts are social constructions. We construct facts to convey information about the world. They are always relative to the overarching paradigm: facts in one paradigm are not recognised as facts by adherents of alternative paradigms.

Obviously the sin lies in our gullibility.  Being gullible means:

easily persuaded to believe something;  credulous, over-trusting, over-trustful; trustful, easily deceived/led, easily taken in, exploitable, dupable, deceivable, impressionable, unsuspecting, unsuspicious, unwary, unguarded, unsceptical, ingenuous, naive, innocent, simple, inexperienced, unworldly, green, as green as grass, childlike, ignorant; naive, foolish; unsophisticated; unsuspecting; wide-eyed; being a sucker; believing; easily taken in; easy mark; falling hook line and sinker; green;  kidding oneself; mark; silly;  sucker; susceptible; swallowing whole; taken in; taking the bait;  tumbling for; unskeptical….

Perhaps innocent would be an appropriate summary. then shit happened

Hmmm! Obviously no longer a virtue!

This is an edited version of a longer article by Colin Wright in ‘The Conversation’ 

It seems that the action comics of our youth about Social Justice Warriors (SJW) were wrong too. These days according to Wikipedia, SJW is “a pejorative term for an individual promoting socially progressive views, including feminism, civil rights, multiculturalism, and identity politics. The accusation of being an SJW carries implications of pursuing personal validation rather than any deep-seated conviction and being engaged in disingenuous social justice arguments or activism to raise personal reputation, also known as virtue signalling.”

new look for sjw.jpg

We must have shifted into a new paradigm without realising it! That explains Trump, Brexit and Zuma!

 

Blockchain? Bitcoin?

Lawks! It’s 6a.m. on Friday and I haven’t written a word!

The Youf of today!

They have no dithipline..!

Hold on while I put my teeth in… but… I’m not anymore a youf!

Yeah! … but I got no dithipline either!!

blockand tackle

What has been buzzing about in my head is blockchain. The name evokes in me an image of a block and tackle, which is a marvelous system giving great strength to allow the lifting of heavy weights.

Well, there is no system heavier than our economic and financial systems which seem to cater well for only 4% of the world, the rest of the world bends and buckles and starves…

Spurred on by the financial calamities and failures of corrupt financial institutions bitcoinin 2008, Sakoshi Nakamoto devised the bitcoin and the blockchain system to enable its implementation.

 

 

Trying to understand all this stuff nearly blew my few remaining fuses, but I think it is important stuff to know, so here is a YouTube explanation which may help.

Essentially bitcoin is digital currency with a limited number, which is digitally protected from double use and the blockchain system verifies it.

The blockchain is a totally secure public record or ledger of verified transactions which cannot be changed or altered.

What it does (You have to watch the video a couple of times) is create complete trust in the system. The implications are huge and will see banks shrink and many accountants fade away – the system will become a totally accurate bean-counter, which can tell you in real time how and when every bean was utilised. Because individuals can use the system, handling fees disappear, time delays are no more, records become totally reliable…

In early 2017, the Harvard Business Review suggested that blockchain is a foundational technology and thus “has the potential to create new foundations for our economic and social systems.”

Well, that seems to be a step above fake news to me…

The use of blockchains promises to bring significant efficiencies to global supply chains, financial transactions, asset ledgers and decentralized social networking (Wikipedia). The blockchain is being used for identity and voting systems, real estate and insurance, payment systems and crowdfunding… all because it creates TRUST and reliability. Banks are scrambling to assess its impact on them and how they can adapt or they know they will die.

A bitcoin’s price at the moment is $7738(US$, I assume). An article in Forbes 2 days ago says:  Before the average Bitcoin investor sells … Bitcoin prices could reach very high, $196,165 per coin – roughly 30x the digital currency’s current value.

I think I am going to buy a bitcoin….

Sorry to complicate your day … but I think it is important to know about this stuff.

I hope my accountant daughter and Nat who is a new age logistics wizard read this!

A mutter of discomfort?

‘British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon resigned from the government on Wednesday. Fallon has become embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal that is washing over Britain’s government. Fallon admitted to and apologised for placing his hand on the knee of journalist Julie Hartley-Brewer in 2002’

Just a murmur of discontent, an expression of discomfort … no disrespect intended – do forgive any perceived insult… (it’s called a disclaimer grovel).

Yeah, right! I feel like screaming over the inanity of our current First World cultural approbation of incidents involving people who raise a hullabaloo over uninvited sexual overtures a long time before. Nothing more than overtures.

They were too timid or intimidated or ignorant to raise a hue and cry until motivated years later by the possibility of media celebrity – I mean they are far too principled to do it for the money, I am sure!

In this age,  there is a media hunger for any salacious event involving people which may invoke the interest of the hoi-polloi, the bourgeoisie or even the upper crust.

There is a scale of demand:

  • If the event is very salacious, the participants need not be famous or prominent in society.
  • The inverse applies: if you’re a big wig, a fart becomes very smelly.

While courage, charitable acts and intellectual achievements are important, they do not beat salaciousness for current media value. The appetite for impropriety is insatiable: there seems to be an irresistible need for people to be able to indulge in a superior tsk! tsk!; a holier than thou moment. As we have seen lately, there has been a rash of terrible people outed for uninvited sexual overtures.

Where does the fault lie? The Media moguls will say: “we are just giving our consumers what they want” or “our viewers have a right to know”.

I say the media must be compelled to take responsibility and beware of the likely impact of the diet they feed consumers. Every diet must be reasonable to avoid gluttony and obesity. Editors and publishers control the media fare. “They want …” is not justification.

prudence opposite

One of the cardinal virtues is prudence and that should be required of those who control media content.

As well as those making amorous advances.

How many of us have been tantalised by an attractive person and in hope, made an advance and failed?

How many have spurned unwanted advances and been castigated for it?

How many have wanted to make advances or wanted advances made, to no avail? – Certainly a lot fewer these days, when such incidents may cost a dollar or two in the future!

While my irk is about the hyperinflation of amorous advances in Western society, the extremes of female subjugation, genital mutilation and sexual slavery practiced by a far greater number of people, mostly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East is horrifying and a most appropriate target for our outrage.

We need strong media attention aimed at preventing those cultural practices flourishing in our squeaky clean Western societies.

 

 

 

It’s a topsy-turvy world we live in

Do not for one moment think that the Establishment exists for your benefit or that the government or the opposition or doctors or bankers are right.

 

Check the facts – make your  own mind up.

 

With that as a theme I reviewed some articles I had saved and these are a few quotes that I found thought provoking from an article called Intolerant Liberals by Tucker Fitzgerald 

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”Isaac Asimov

Do not accept everything you are told by the Man:

There is no such thing as an outright political lie. Instead there’s distortion, exaggeration, misrepresentation,deception, half-truth and overstatement. The assumption is that the risk is worth it.

Because democracy isn’t the only value we hold. We don’t accept the 51% enslaving the 49% by popular vote. Because Hitler was brought to power by a democratically elected government. Because American slavery was legal.

lenin deception

The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”

Gary Kasparoff

Now  – getting closer to the point I want to make:

More people are recognizing that the economic paradigm that guides our global system today is deeply misaligned with a thriving future.

The Neoliberal economic system is a cultural construct. It has a particular history and espouses a cogent set of core beliefs, social values, and organizational practices. There is a narrative coherence to notions of “freeing” markets from regulation, letting wealth “trickle down” from the coffers of the rich, and a “rugged individualism” that pays too little attention to the social factors that shape economic outcomes.

Joe Brewer

Soreefersmetime last week Queensland news was filled with the successful busts by police of numerous marijuana growers who had rented suburban houses and converted them to grass growing hothouses. A number of serious statements were made about these heavy criminals.

 

There have been over twelve million cannabis arrests in the United States from 1996 until 2013.

35.6 percent of 12th graders in US and 67% of medical students had used marijuana during the year prior to a recent survey

Also last week, I received an article from an investment advisor heavily tipping investment in marijuana projects listed on stock exchanges.bank of ganja

The United States Marijuana Index (a stock exchange index) has jumped from a level of 48.39 a year ago to the current level of 70.83, an increase of 46%

Enjoying a growth rate of 77% over the last few years and an estimated 700% growth rate by 2018, it’s bigger than corn, bigger than cotton, and bigger than wheat.

In fact, according to UN data, it’s valued at about $142 billion. To put that in perspective, the global coffee market is valued at about $80 billion per year.

Possession and cultivation are Federal offences but lawful in over half the states in US. It will be totally decriminalised in Canada next year. Possession is lawful in South Africa and Netherlands. Medical marijuana can be lawfully prescribed in Australia.

Now how about that for a disconnect in values?

I am not a recreational user (yet), but I may well become an investor.

How does one reconcile that with being a law abiding citizen?

 

And just to see if you are awake and did read this to the end, I have included a quotation which should make most of my African readers grin.

This is a gentleman’s affectionate description of his donkey:

“most fokkin fency-schmency blerrie fokkin perd on the whole of the Cape-Flats, eating epples from fokkin Woolwurths.”

donkey grin

Random Views

 

“Democracy is popular because of the illusion of choice and participation it provides, but when you live in a society in which most people’s knowledge of the world extends as far as sports, sitcoms, reality shows, and celebrity gossip, democracy becomes a very dangerous idea.

democracy

Until people are properly educated and informed, instead of indoctrinated to be ignorant mindless consumers, democracy is nothing more than a clever tool used by the ruling class to subjugate the rest of of us.”

– Gavin Nascimento on Collective Evolution

desperate pol

 

Politics will eventually be replaced by imagery. The politician will be only too happy to abdicate in favour of his image, because the image will be much more powerful than he could ever be.

Marshall McLuhan

Now this is an attractive thought!

A representative who is a server (pun intended) that:

  • will be fully informed on all relevant information, legislation and current affairs
  • cannot deviate from principle, without electorate approval
  • can consider rationally every submission made by electors, evidence in committee and Parliamentary utterances and vote in accordance with his electors’ wishes
  • can attend multiple meetings in hologram simultaneously
  • is not subject to suspicions about national loyalties
  • is not distracted by things politicians should not be distracted by
  • is not corruptible
  • does not need expenses

We need to find better ways to rule ourselves – people are just too human and unreliable!

well thought out pol

You’re the nigger, baby

(Watch the video)

James Baldwin puts the finger on racial epithets. So sad that the lesson hasn’t been accepted in the US yet, let alone the rest of the world.

all same

In the meantime, we hope that somehow or other, control over the big, nasty toys is removed from the nasty little boys.

us korea

 

 

 

 

Another Myth

Once upon a time, less than 40 years ago, I sent people to gaol for growing hemp; reeferswell, the recreational type of it. In those days it was used as a drug for purposes of pleasant intoxication and it was verboten!

It seems that marijuana was caught up in the prohibition legislation years when all intoxicants were demonised and prohibited: liquor, morphine, heroin, etc.

Before that industrial hemp was a major crop: even George Washington grew it, as did the ancient Egyptians. Henry Ford said: “Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?” 

Big business seems to have had a hand in suppressing the cultivation of all types of hemp.

These days we are slowly rediscovering the wonders of hemp (including marijuana). All that is necessary is to re-educate ourselves. Even legislators are grudgingly relenting on the illegalities of cannabis, persuaded by its undoubted medicinal benefits.

We are all educated to a high level now, so we can get over the mythical monsters of past propaganda… even communism has been deflated as a 20th Century bogey.

So … get your mind around the fact that industrial hemp is a wonderful and highly useful plant:

  • 75-90% of all paper in the world was made with hemp fibre until 1883. One acre of hemp can produce as much paper as 4 to 10 acres of trees over a 20-year cycle, but hemp stalks only take four months to mature, whereas trees take 20 to 80 years.
  • Clothing & Fabrics: One acre of hemp will produce as much material as 2-3 acres of cotton
  • Hemp can be made into various different building materials, hempcrete, fiberboard, carpet, stucco, cement blocks, insulation, and plastic.
  • Hemp plastic can completely replace oil based plastic materials that we are using today… and is completely biodegradable hempstalk_diagram
  • Hemp can be made into fuel in two ways: biodiesel, or ethanol and methanol.
  • Hemp seeds are very high in protein, containing 25% protein content. Along with magnesium, potassium, dietary fibre and almost every vitamin and mineral that the body needs, they contain high amounts of essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
    • In Australia it fetches above the average price of grains that are currently grown.
  • In Canada, industrial hemp has become a booming multi-million dollar export.

So check it out for yourself. You will find that like butter, hemp is good stuff! Become a new age hero and promote hemp as a replacement for paper and fossil fuel.

Not as easy as you may believe. Common sense has other opposition:

hemp joke

This is the new age challenge: rooting out fake news and reviving buried treasures of the past: Remember Nikola Tesla  – his inventions are now being realised as the treasures they are!

There’s a kick in Silly Socks!

no necktie noblesThose of you who have followed the doings of the sillysocksonfriday school/movement will know that victory was recently declared in the campaign against the necktie and a new target was identified: plastic bags!

no use bag

Well now, you may be as surprised as we were when within a few weeks of our declaration, the big supermarkets announced they were banning the horrible thin bags and would promote re-usable bags.

sugar snakeAs you will recall we also targetted the sugar snake recently and there are increasingly loud calls for a sugar tax as a prelude to a stronger campaign to reduce sugar usage.

no sugar cokeCoca Cola have now released a No Sugar Coke and are moving into the bottled water market.

Tell me that is not mega-impact!

So where to now? We need a Goliath to tumble!

don quixoteObsolete windmills or naked emperors are the preferred targets for a quirky tilt, but occasionally some dumb stunt will prompt a rant or a sunny day an ode to the good life.naked emperor

Please add your ideas and targets in a comment below.

namaste.jpg                                                           Namaste!

Because it played on Pandora today and it has always moved me, I have added this little gem  from Crosby, Stills , Nash and Young for y’all:

Teach your children    (click on the link to hear the song)

You, who are on the road, must have a code that you can live by.
And so become yourself because the past is just a goodbye.
Teach your children well, their father’s hell did slowly go by,
and feed them on your dreams, the one they pick, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
so just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

And you, of tender years, can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
and so please help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well, their children’s hell will slowly go by,
and feed them on your dreams, the one they pick, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you would cry,
so just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

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