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Sunday, 21 July 2013

G8s, Middle Eastern politics and conspiracists


 Basic map


I recently enjoyed watching our world leaders at the G8 summit 2013. The snippets of political news footage broadcast in Australian media reminded me of my kindergarten years when I tossed sand from my clenched fists into Thommy Schmidts' face after he called me 'big nose.' It's amusing to witness fundamental aspects of human nature played out by grown men with big responsibility. There are feigned friendships being acted out by highly educated power brokers who clumsily attempt to control our humble little world. As I reminisced about my past sandpit adventures I couldn't help but feel jealous and left out when I realised Australia wasn't invited to the party. Why not? I looked up what constitutes an invite to the G8 and this is what I found:
We just aint rich enough. Our teeny economy just doesn't cut it. Phooee. :-P

Australia missed out on participating in the long walk endured by leaders at Lough Erne resort and witnessing first hand Putin and Obama at loggerheads over Syria. The US are really cranky their turncoat intelligence spy, Edward Snowden, is being looked after by Russia, China, Ecuador and any nation that wants to know dirty little American secrets. (I mean those nations who believe in freedom of speech.) These antics are so similar to my sandpit days it's almost funny. I too would bury and hide other children's Matchbox cars in the deep tunnels of the kindergarten play area when I was four years old. I would laugh when my fellow sandpit buddies couldn't locate and retrieve their toy cars. The frustrated boys would stamp their feet, threaten physical retribution and ultimately cry.

The last few years of Middle Eastern politics has made me wonder if we are being trained and manipulated into being anti-Muslim. Is the media controlled by governments or tricked into broadcasting US government setups? Middle eastern politics is a minefield of religious and ethnic differences and generational hatreds intertwined with Western nations who are just as deceptive, self-serving and power hungry. I find it difficult sometimes to understand what is going on. The US supplies weapons to allies who become foes who become allies again. The borders are murky and it is hard to distinguish who is friend or enemy. Amid all the confusion many conspiracy theories have emerged. Some are most likely fact and others are so outrageous, facts must be hidden amongst the rhetoric. Remember the Benghazi attack:

The Chechnya terrorists

The Boston bombers:

These are just three conspiracy theories. There are hundreds. Every world event has concocted a conspiracy theory. Is it the US maintaining control by causing confusion, fear and hatred?

I decided to try to simplify the Middle East and explain the mechanics for 'Dummies' like me.

To understand the Arab world you need to understand the Muslim faith. Like Christianity there are many interpretations of Islam, mostly referred to as 'factions.'  Sunni and Shi'a Muslims are the main two factions. Hezbollah is a militant Shi'a Islamic group and political party based in Lebanon. This is a facet of Islam that is different to Christianity in some respects- politics and religion combine; in fact you have to acknowledge the tremendous dedication Muslims have to their beliefs and politics. Religions in the west like Catholicism and Anglicanism are generally not so intertwined with government and overall we are fairly lacksadaisical compared to our Qu'ran reading neighbours although the US is extremely God conscious and fanatical in some states.

The main political figures and their countries are as follows but forever subject to change:

Iran- Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. President Hassan Rouhani - friends with Hezbollah and Syrian Bashar al Assad. Formally known as Persia this is the most interesting Middle Eastern country to watch regarding US relations. Take note of the countries that border Iran.

Libya- President  Mohammed Magarief - kind of friends with US.

Saudi Arabia - King Abdullah kind of friends with US. In 2010 the US sold $60.5 billion dollars worth of weapons. 9/11 saw the US angry as most hijackers were Saudi however 60.5 smackeroos is hard to knock back.

Syria - President Bashar al Assad - friends with Iran - enemies with US. Causing alot of fuss due to civil war. Strategic position for the US as it borders Iran. The US has Iran in their sights and have systemically militarised all nations surrounding Iran.

Israel - President Shimon Peres - US allies. Palestinian enemies

Palestine - President Mahmoud Abbas - Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah- US does not recognise Palestine as a state so relations do not exist. A tiny unrecognised nation built on a couple of rocks covered in bloodshed.

Lebanon- President Michel Suleimen - friends with Iran. Armed and financed by Iran

Tehran- capital of Iran.

Egypt - Acting President Adly Mansour. - A kind of US ally. Appears to have recently cut ties with Syria. Mostly Sunni. Its parliament (what parliament?) is not currently working.

This excerpt by Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhill explains everything so clearly:

In a disturbing article entitled When War Games Go Live , Chossoduvsky quotes from retired General Wesley Clark’s 2003 book Winning Modern Wars regarding the role of military intervention against Syria and Iran in the Pentagon’s grand Middle East strategy. According to Clark, the Pentagon has been making preparation to attack both countries since the mid-nineties. On page 130 of Winning Modern Wars, Clark states
“As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.”

The reliability of these predictions, despite a 2008 regime change from George Bush, the so-called neocon hawk, to Barack Obama, a supposed soft power advocate, is uncanny. The US persists in its occupation of Iraq, in addition to major military engagements in Somalia and Sudan. Presumably the military intervention in Libya is complete, now that the new US-friendly regime has agreed to privatize Libyan oil for the benefit of US oil companies.
According to Chossudovsky, countries such as Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Iran and Sudan became US military targets because they refused to play ball by allowing Anglo-American oil company unlimited access to their oil resources. In contrast, oil-poor countries like Syria and Lebanon are current targets because of strategic alliances with oil-rich Iran.
So it all boils down to the sandpit analogy. Except in this case it is the oil underneath the sand that is the impetus. I find it amusing when the words 'peace in the Middle East' appear. I think it is a contradiction in terms. Perhaps when the oil reserves have been depleted there could be a reason for peace.



Saturday, 15 June 2013

You've been hacked



Hacker:
noun
1. a person or thing that hacks.
2. Slang. a person who engages in an activity without talent or skill: weekend hackers on the golf course.
3. Computer Slang.
a. a computer enthusiast.
b. a microcomputer user who attempts to gain unauthorized access to proprietary computer systems.

Whistleblower Edward Snowden has a lot to answer for. The only problem being he is nowhere to be found. (Last seen in Hong Kong where all honest whistleblowers hide) He has a cheek accusing the US of hacking government and business networks globally. The CIA might secretly think itself smart and sneaky breaching China's cybersecurity however China has been hacking the world since 2003- years ahead of the Central Intelligence Agency's bald headed eagle buttoned spy club.

I find it absurd the US could be implicated in this scandal. Anything and everything the US does illegally is in the interests of national security. Hypocrisy and the USA- never. As long as you don't count Bill Clinton winning 'Father of the year' when he should have been awarded the 'adulterer of the decade.' Disregard the US military supplying weapons to Al Qaeda to fight Bashar al Assad in Syria. It's justified on account of Syria using chemical weapons against it's own people. I think Obama found that info on a Facebook status exactly like the one that caused the unfounded invasion of Iraq years ago by George Bush.

Accusations of hacking have reached the sacred site of social chitchat mega web site Facebook. It has been revealed high-ranking CIA officials have formed an addiction to Candy Crush saga that has caused hacking on a scale never before seen since the Internets inception. Sweet. General Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, appeared before a US Senate panel testifying the NSA's innocence of cheating in the popular Facebook game:

General Keith Alexander, NSA director and head of US Cyber Command, briefed some senators behind closed doors on Tuesday. He was joined at the budget hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee by other cyber security officials." Our nation has invested a lot in these people. They do this lawfully," General Alexander said." They take compliance oversight, protecting civil liberties, privacy and security of this nation to their heart every day." Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against top US government officials to challenge the legality of the surveillance program.
I personally blame the Internet. What goes online stays online forever. Doesn't the NSA know that by now? Why should people be held accountable for their actions and their public statements? Who would have thought Al Qaeda would be useful as an ally to the US?  Maybe peace is just around the corner with Russia backing the current Syrian president.

The ramping up of US military operations against Syria is accompanied by diplomatic efforts to bring about a post-Assad government on terms favorable to US imperialism. Secretary of State John Kerry has sought an agreement with Russia, which would pave the way for a power-sharing arrangement.
Isn't it nice how they are going to share power? : -)

So what does all of this mean? Well someone in the CIA might be reading this very blog. Maybe he/she might decide I'm a national security threat and some kind of droney looking remote warplane could fly over my house and blow up my contents. Some may think this is a good idea. Others would say it's a breach of civil liberties. My neighbours would post a great status update on Facebook. Awesome snapshots would appear on Instagram. A video of the explosion would be uploaded on Youtube and relayed on News networks around the world. China would attempt to make a productive business deal utilising any manufacturing contract from the fallout. The US already knew about the whole deal because it hacked the computer the Chinese idea was stored on. The CIA would deny any involvement and I would simply Tweet #Ouch.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

The problem with seagulls in sport

Actual image of a seagull. 2013.


The recent dilemma faced by MCG officials got me thinking about effective seagull deterring 
techniques. 

Trained wedge tailed eagles are failing to prevent seagulls from landing on football grounds around Australia. (Actually the MCG) The sea-birds annoy the paying public whilst flying to their next port of call- horse racing tracks where they have been known to fly into jockeys dislodging the riders from their mounts. McDonalds patrons have a lot to answer for by throwing their cold French fries into car parks causing the coastal birds to venture from their natural habitats. I have formulated a few eradication ideas for consideration:

*Why not try an old fashioned shotgun? (No offence to our friendly wedge tailed raptor friends. Shooters need to pass a compulsory bird identification test before firing at any feathered body.)  You would only need to shoot a few hundred gulls and the rest would steer clear. Unless of course they start eating their pellet ridden siblings.


*Perhaps invite Clive Palmer to a seagull roast dinner. He looks as though he enjoys a few seagulls every now and then.


Clive before

Clive after



*Ask Eddie Maguire to dress up in a gorilla outfit and wave his arms around. Maybe public humiliation would kick start his brain freezes.

Eddie before


Eddie after




*Or, paint a fluorescent sign with an arrow stating "this way to the beach."

*We could offer a Tender contract to an American under 18 male who has social problems. They are bound to bring their military assault rifles. This method may be more effective than the previous shotgun theory.

Aaaargh, get these @#$$ off me



*Maybe electrify the newly erected wires that have been tethered across the northern and southern stands of the MCG skyline. The falling feathers and ashes at half time will entertain the crowd. Plain wires are never going to scare those rats of the sky. If gulls don't care about a wedge tailed eagle soaring above their heads they're not going to be bothered by a strained wire.
(I hope on Grand Final day officials remember to cut down the wires so the parachutists don't get tangled.)

There is no need to worry about the MCG wire trial. The strands versus birds has been approved by independent consultants according to: http://www.mcg.org.au/News/News/2013/June/Seagulls.aspx

(Who the heck is an independent seagull consultant? Is that really a career?
"Hi there,
My name is Barbara Maskell, Independent seagull consultant.")

Cute looking footballer on wrong team
Officials are concerned the avian pests are diminishing the aesthetic appeal for spectators. Im sorry, you can't diminish this guys appeal.
And I don't barrack for Collingwood








*I believe the most effective seagull good riddance technique is to employ 'bird boys' somewhat like the tennis counterparts and have them shoo the pests away. With tennis racquets.










Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Eat, pray, what is death?


The questions we ask can sometimes reveal the answers we already know. For example, if someone were to ask an intelligent maths question it would reveal to the questionee the probability the questioner has a sound knowledge of maths. Using this logic I wondered what are the main questions human beings generally ask themselves and what does this say about our society. Of course we cannot overlook Google when we search for an answer. 'Just google it,' has become the most answered answer to life's conundrums. Here are my findings to googling verbatim 'what is the most asked question?'

On Ask.com the number 1 asked question is: 'What happens when I die?'
Second- 'Would you like fries with that?'
And third- 'Do you know the muffin man?'

 I may have added some poetic license to this result.

What does this data say about our society? Are we are all eternal existentionalists that are obsessed by food and celebrity.

The most scientific question on this website is, 'why is the sky blue?' Oh derr.
'How do you make pancakes?' And the old time favourite- 'What happens when I die?' Again food and death is the main theme.

Okay, so now I google "what happens when I die?" I had to select realityuncovered.net because the name says it all and this pearl of wisdom is what it offered:
  "To understand what happens when you die, we must first understand what death is. The dictionary definition of death is as concise at it is stark: The end of life; the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism."

Thank-you realityuncovered.net for informing your readers the end of life is death.

There are heaps and heaps of Internet users, so many it's tricky getting reliable figures as to how many people are surfing the information highways. The main query the estimated 1 billion users can come up with is how to find and cook food and how to lose weight once we've eaten too much of it.  Followed by 'what is death?'

According to Wikipedia (nobody goes there without a question) there are over 300 million Internet users reading blogs similar to the crappy one you are reading now. There are also over 1 billion google searches a day. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet and that's just google. We have to ask if anyone is getting any closer to finding any answers?

Why are there so many questions being asked and what does it tell us about ourselves, and our society and humankind as a whole? Food, God, the meaning of life, how to lose weight and celebrities- that's our most asks. Should we change the way we inquire about the world around us? Well that's just another one of those questions.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Parental quandaries or, the things they do not tell you before you have children



Things to consider before you procreate:

  • To immunise or not to immunise, or, Autism versus any number of deadly diseases
  • Pacifier, dummy, or, the other option- insomnia
  • Breast or bottle, or, sags versus bags
  • Cloth or disposable nappies, or, rash versus environmental disaster
  • Public versus private school, or, illiteracy versus bankruptcy
  • The truth about Santa- Hey I still believe in the red fella'
  • Pocket money or poverty, or, earn versus free load
  • White bread, or, wholemeal- either way if you eat the crust your hair will curl
  • Smack or not to smack, or, brat versus bruise (I personnally find twisting ears works wonders)
  • Mobile phone or not to mobile phone which leads to monthly plans or pre-paid
  • XBox versus Playstation- Dad will ultimately decide and usually buy both
  • Social media or social retardation- Facebook versus Myspace versus Skype etc etc
  • Computer games (chewing gum for the brain) versus books- no brainer
  • Driving lessons- fork out a professional teacher, or, fork out inflated insurance premiums

By the time you consider all of the options your kids will either be getting married or leaving home or both. This will allow you to start planning for your grandchildren.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Gun Control. Who is in control?



Australia has had its share of gun law reform. Our former Prime Minister John Howard banned pump action shot guns and semi automatic rifles in 1996 instigated mostly by the Port Arthur massacre. Since those reforms were passed there has been no mass shootings in our nation.

The law reforms affected my husband who is an avid deer hunter. He owned a semi automatic rifle for the purpose of his sport and three days after successfully obtaining his license the banning of those weapons was introduced much to his disappointment. A lot more deer sleep easier since 1996 as the old bolt action rifles allow stags more fleeing time. Oh well, hunters around Australia have had to get better at aiming and maybe American hunters need to change their attitude too. (Keeping in mind hunters do not use military assault rifles to shoot deer).

However, is it fair to compare our nations' firearm laws to that of America?
It is beneficial sometimes to remind ourselves how these types of topics are all about perceptions. It all depends upon how you look at things and where you stand. For example our planet could be viewed from space like this: 

America, you are now down under.

I do not want to make light of this topic. The ABC's Four Corners profiled Adam and Nancy Lanze- an excellent perception in regard to Sandy Hook. The story can be seen here:
http://www.abc.net.au/iview/?series=2303988#/view/38895

From my perspective America suffering another mass shooting has become commonplace. The recent Mother's Day shooting in New Orleans was received without reaction amongst my friends and family. The lack of shock concerned me. The attitude, 'Oh its just another shooting in America,' has become the USA's reputation.

From my perspective it leaves questions to be raised that only the people of America can answer:
  • How can the USA invade countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq under the pretense of freedom and justice and democracy? Who would want those kinds of freedoms and rights? The democratic right to kill children en masse. From my point of view it seems highly hypocritical and you can keep that style of democracy.
  • How can a nation be under the control of weapons manufacturers?
  • How can a person with a history of mental illness have unlimited access to military assault rifles?
  • Why should any person, sane or otherwise, have access to weapons of mass killing potential.

The US has grown as a nation on the back of litigation lawyers. Sue damnit. Litigate and be proud. Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory, USFA, the list is endless. Where have those suppliers displayed their duty of care? Those companies manufacture and trade products that injure and kill people. If they made a toy that choked a child they'd have their butts sued off.

Connecticut has taken the first step in gun law reform and I think its' people and leaders are bravely pioneering the way- and that is what it will take. Good old-fashioned people power. People who will not be dictated to by the NRA and leaders capable of sensible law reform. 

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Household Hit List



10 more things I love to hate around the house:



1. Second hand dental floss on the bathroom vanity.
2. No food in the pantry even though you just spent $200 on groceries.
3. The TV remotes' whereabouts or lack of TV remotes' whereabouts.
4. Toe nail clippings randomly dispersed in living areas.
5. A sink full of dirty dishes and not one of them is yours.
6. Telemarketers calling whilst cooking dinner
7. Telemarketers calling anytime
8. Fingerprints on TV and computer screens
9. Picking clumps of hair out of the drain in the shower
10. Picking hair out of your sandwich

Crowd surfing without the crowd and other political election rally stuff ups.

Imran Khan is a Pakistan hero and I was really scared for the cricketing legend as he plummeted to the earth after falling from an alleged stable forklift. Someone's going to be in trouble for that campaign stuff-up. The whole episode, though slightly embarrassing yet oh so painful, can be viewed via Youtube here: (I certainly am sick of the footage so don't feel obliged to view it.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH_ouzFyg1k


I so do wish Julia Gillard or Tony Abbott would take a leaf out of Imran's book and try to crowd-surf without the crowd. We all know what Abbott would be wearing. The whole episode made me wonder why politicians do these election fiascos when all they really need to do is keep quiet and allow their Opposition to fail. I also wonder why Gillard announced an election 7 months in advance. Kissing babies, shaking hands, being a rotten-egg-throwers' target practice, intense media grillings, relentless travel, lies, promise back-flips and forever sucking-up to random people is the life of our pollies during election campaigns. I'm not tempted at all to join the public service.

American presidents should moonlight as comedians during their elections. Especially George Bush who has more comedic material than Chaplin, Allen and Hope combined.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8WlkHeUcBk

If what a pollie wants is votes then he/she should do the right thing and simply buy them. Forget the campaign trail and just pay voters a nice sized retainer for their vote. Taxpayers can pay because taxpayers pay for everything pollies do. Or, we can go back to the forklift model and learn some valuable campaign lessons.
-Never trust Pakistan forklift hire companies.
-Never descend from a forklift until it has grounded its' forks.
-Never retire from international cricket and then use a forklift as a dais,
-Never let your bodyguard ride your forklift and then pull you down to the ground by the neck when it randomly fails.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

burqa versus bikini versus hypocrisy

In Australia some people are offended by the wearing of this attire and say it should be banned:
















Though some people think this is okay?:
















Of course art has always upset and offended


















Not sure if we should laugh, cry, be offended or jealous:









I wonder what this lady thinks? 








Here is the definition of offensive according to the free dictionary


of·fen·sive  (-fnsv)
adj.
1. Disagreeable to the senses: an offensive odor.
2. Causing anger, displeasure, resentment, or affront: an offensive gesture.
3.
a. Making an attack: The offensive troops gained ground quickly.
b. Of, relating to, or designed for attack: offensive weapons.
4. (fn-) Sports Of or relating to a team having possession of a ball or puck: the offensive line.
n.
1. An attitude or position of attack: go on the offensive in chess.
2. An attack or assault: led a massive military offensive.



For me- I personally can't stand the wearing of this:










Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Over the rainbow a witch is alive. Let Thatcher RIP


The Munchkins' recording of Ding Dong the Witch is Dead has sold 29 000 copies since the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died on the 8th of April 2013. Are those cute little singers getting their share of the royalties I wonder? If so I bet they'll also get their lollypops taxed off their sticks.  As a child I was taught to "never speak ill of the dead." Anti Thatcher lobbyists should show a little bit of tact and consider her families grief. Perhaps they should be singing the other Wizard of Oz classic- 'If I only had a brain?'

Put your political differences aside Anti Thatcher people and allow her family a bit of time to mourn before attacking her reputation. If our great leader Julia Gillard got a massive cold-sore I wouldn't be rejoicing. Julia is multitudes times worse than Thatcher as a leader so take some nice-pills you Imperialists. In your lesser colony- Australia, us lowly convicts are going to get slugged with more taxes and levys white-washed with "Ohhh, there's another levy on your health-care for the National Disability Scheme." Phooee. We don't need to pay more levys, we need a government that uses the money it generously has attained to provide infrastructure and services to its people who already pay through the nose. The government can make up a huge array of taxes and say, 'well, it is for child health care, or old people and sick animals the starving artists etc' but ultimately it is taxpayers paying for the Labour governments'  financial incompetence.

Follow the yellow brick road if you want to find the Emerald city. It's a road slugged by taxes and levys, full of crater sized potholes devoid of maintenance and if you think you're going to find some great and powerful wizard mind to solve your problems, think again. The witch is well and truly alive. She's not some political figure but rather a system that's failing dismally.  (I would never call Julia a witch.) Somewhere over a black coloured rainbow blue birds are getting jacked off because their nests are getting charged stamp-duty. Another tax that was supposed to be abolished by witch government. Which old witch? The Liberal witch. 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Hit List. What we love to hate





Things that have annoyed me this week:

*I hate it when someone butters their toast and then sticks the knife back into the butter or margarine. By the time I want to use a dab on my sandwich there's more smudgee crumbs in the tub of yellow goo than actual butter.

#Band-aids are racist. I was thinking about it the other day when I had to use one on my finger to cover a splinter. What if I had dark coloured skin? I have never seen hues of plaster strips to match people of colour. The beige pigment of regular band-aids are way out of place for anyone with even a shade darker than pinky-brown. Get with it Johnson & Johnson- we are not all coloured like Malibu Barbie.

*I really need new feet. Mine are really stuffed. They are huge and impossible to slip into anything resembling a feminine shoe. I rarely find a size for my flippers in the regular shoe stores. My sister recently holidayed in Thailand where they provide flesh-eating fish to exfoliate dead skin from your heels to your toes. You simply step into a pool of water infested with piranha type fishies and they clean up your feet for a small fee. I need that service tripled.

#What about tail-gaters? A year ago I had the pleasure of a maniac driver rear-ending my car. The crash has made me paranoid and I can't stand anyone within 10 car lengths of my backside whilst I'm driving. Probably this peeve is in my top ten. Not only is it dangerous to tailgate it's unnecessary.

*I hate trying to manage people. I'm useless at it. Ultimately I always end up doing the work because I can't be bothered asking the same people to perform the same jobs. There's got to be a way to get compliance but I haven't got a clue.

#I hate my bathroom. It hasn't been renovated since the early seventies. How do I know this? The tiles are mission brown, and falling off as I write. The mould is impossible to remove. The taps are plastic. The heater doesn't work. The shower screen is cracked and frosted and the shower door no longer exists. Hmmm. Might do a slideshow as I renovate. 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Hit List. What we love to hate.



I can not understand the point of testing nuclear weapons. Please- someone explain it to me. How can governments not realise when you detonate one of those suckers they make a really big explosion?
Mr. Kim Jong-un (and anyone else who may be confused. This includes nearly every government that is nuclear capable) here is one they prepared earlier:




If you are wondering what happens if you detonate one of those babies underwater I can help again:



Notice how it makes big war-ships appear really little. Tested at Bikini Atoll. You can find more information here:http://petapixel.com/2013/02/18/photos-from-the-worlds-first-underwater-nuclear-explosion/

And in case you're wondering- this is what happens afterwards:







This information can save you a lot of time and money. 




Friday, 19 April 2013

Why do we pay taxes????????


I was recently driving down the South Eastern Freeway which is a taxpayer funded road and I am forced to pay a toll to use it. Basically I have to pay for it twice- tax and toll- maybe even three times if you count the tax extracted through the petrol bowser. While I was in the midst of a traffic snarl the size of Los Angeles I began to wonder why every time I drive on that particular road I am involved in vehicle flavoured jams. Whilst I morphed into boredom mode I asked myself why I actually pay taxes and what is my money being spent on? I concluded my money hasn't been invested in bitumen.

Rumour has it that the Australian taxpayer is the highest taxed person in the world? I couldn't find solid evidence to prove that statement and the data I found was inconclusive. Perhaps it's a government conspiracy or, it could be impossible to accurately decipher the endless taxation systems and laws controlling the different nations of our over-taxed world. We can present comparisons however- Germany versus Australia. Germany has survived the GFC relatively unscathed. Australia has faired okay compared to countries such as Greece etc. I must admit my bias. I am of German heritage and I will use my hard working German mum as an example. She still receives a German taxpayer funded pension similar to superannuation even though she has been an Australian citizen for 45 years. This suggests to me the Deutcshe superannuation scheme is terrific and working well.  Clever investing and policy adhered to over the course of time has caused a successful outcome for German retirees. When I retire in twenty odd years I will receive zippo. Zero. Zilch from my government.

In Australia- hospitals and educational institutions, the defence force and police force are all taxpayer-funded services. A logical kind of normal person is obliging and willing to contribute to their operation. I wonder though, what we are actually getting for our hard earned dollars. I pay local council rates but receive no rubbish pickup, no water connection or sewerage service. You can safely assume I live in a rural area and therefore it's my bad postcode choices that caused my infrastructure to be non-existent. It still makes me wonder on a larger scale though about public servants and politicians. What exact percentage of the federal and state budget goes into their bank accounts on our behalf. Just how much do we pay them? Mywage.org states Julia Gillard earns AUD $495,430.00 per annum. http://mywage.org.au/main/salary/celebrity-pay/politician-pay The same web-site claims Bill Clinton is collecting over AUD $12,000,000. If Julia hits the public speaking circuit after she gets the boot this election she could be earning 24 times more finances talking about what she failed at whilst being a tax payer funded employee. Top federal public servants earn around five times the average wage. Why? If I failed providing a service I was paid to perform at work I would get sacked. Instead of sacking incompetent pollies we have an election. Of course we paid AUD $51,347,774 for the 2010 federal election. http://www.aec.gov.au/About_AEC/Publications/electoral_pocketbook/2011/ep-costs.htm



According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics there were 1, 843,500 persons, or approximately 16% of the entire Australian workforce working as public servants in 2010. The ABS quotes their three main functions:
"- Policy advice
- The oversight of policy implementation and
 - The provision of the administrative machinery required to deliver the policies of the relevant government or agency." http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1301.0~2012~Main%20Features~Public%20service~91
So that makes it all clear as mud. What does a politician actually do? I want a simple graph explaining exactly how much money is spent on whom and I want to sight their work diaries. This is what I found when I googled this very question answered by a very happy tax payer funded worker: "35 hour work week. 
9 day fortnight. 
20 days annual leave
. 1.5 bonus days off
. 3 days off in a row for sick leave with NO medical certificate. Heaps of days off for 'training'

could life be any better....?"
Hmmm.

Do politicians have any idea what it feels like to be tight with personal cash flow? Have they ever experienced being unable to pay the phone bill? To not know where the money for groceries is coming from or school fees or sports fees for the kids. Don't mention the vet bill for the dog. Have they got any idea how tough it is just to get by for most people?

And that brings me back to roads. The South Gippsland Highway (my highway) is the most prolific for potholes in the state of Victoria.  The bitumen is in constant need of repair. My road is littered with crater-sized potholes that love to blow out your tyres or crush your suspension and shame your wheel balance. How stupid am I? Why do I pay for road repairs and maintenance that I fail to receive? I know I am having a whine. If you compare my circumstances to that of a third world person I live in luxury. But third world citizens probably don't pay tax at the rate I do.

I really should just take Centerlink payments in whatever form it would come but I know some poor taxpayer is funding it. Centrelink by the way is the largest employer of public servants. ;-)

Friday, 29 March 2013

Let's talk about text



Online chatting and text talk- what does it mean? If you have anything to do with teenagers you may feel text talk is a kind of secret code. '9' means a parent is watching. 'BTW' -by the way  '99' means they're gone. 'Tbh' - to be honest - I don’t hate text talk but here is something to consider. Our language, in fact all language has evolved over the course of countless generations. New words and phrases appear as suited to humankinds needs for communication in every aspect of our lives. We may as well go with the flow 'gwtf' and learn to accept change is inevitable. Some text talk is funny and you can get caught up in its allure and ultimately find yourself using it.

'Idc' -I don't care I hear you say.  It aint proper English this strange abbreviated talk. Here are a few of my favourites. '?4u' -I have a question for you as opposed to '?' which still means a stock standard question.
'Yolo'- You only live once as opposed to 'oloy' -only losers obey Yolo. Apparently swag means secretly we are gay. I thought it meant to have attitude -my gaffe has caused some laughs on Face book. We all know wtf? '143' means I love you or 'ILY' means it too. '1432' is right back at you. Opposingly '182' is I hate you and '2g2bt' is too good to be true. '404' is I haven't a clue but that's okay because '@teotd' at the end of the day text talk is still a form of communication. 'Hoyew' hanging on your every word.

If you want to learn what's being said and what it means try:

Or, just Google text talk.

Consider the latest mobile 'app' -application, which was sold for 28 million to Yahoo. It summarises lengthy amounts of news into bullet form concise information- hence its name Summly. I think it encapsulates what is sought after by almost everyone who is breathing. The apps' advert states:

"Beautiful and concise summary
Simple, intuitive and elegant. Summly redefines news for the mobile world with algorithmically generated summaries from hundreds of sources. Innovative gestures, animations and great summaries make reading news fun: easy to use, easy to scan, easy to read, clear and concise."



There is so much information for people to process it makes sense that new forms of language are being generated. Consider handwritten letters of old being comprised of lengthy sentences and formal tones. Mail took days or months to reach their destinations. Modern day communication comprises of instantaneous conversation over long distances and we still can't get our speech out quick enough.


'Ty'- thank-you or '10x' and 'ttfn'- tata for now'. I’ve 'g2g'- got to go and don’t forget to use those emoticons. :-)  Smiley face…. because with this new abbreviated language how does anybody know what anyone means? :-(  (Unsmiley face).

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

ON MY SOAPBOX



Human beings are experts at waste, wastage and wasting.

Consumers in the Western world waste food at alarming rates. Some statistics suggest 50 per cent of food in the world is wasted.


It is estimated that the average Australian wastes 200kg of food a year.


I personally take food for granted and hardly consider what I throw away at the end of the week. Some of it I feed to our chickens. A large proportion is thrown into the bin. I wonder how careful I would be with rationing if I were starving.

Not only is food being tossed. There are whole islands of plastic waste in our five oceans. The South Pacific, North Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic and Indian Ocean have gyres that consist of plastic rubbish. I help form a part of those vortex's of garbage. I use and discard plastic at a shameful rate. I rarely consider where my household rubbish ends up. I can reasonably assume most people are not that different from me.  I wouldn't know how to live without plastic packaging as it has been wrapped around my food ever since I can remember. Plastic products appear everywhere in my house.


We waste resources we waste our time. We trash and sabotage, pollute, wreck and ruin. We tear down habitats and waste their products. We bring species of flora and fauna to its knees and all the time we sit in our air-conditioned homes, wasting power, throwing away clothes a season old and kidding ourselves we are developed and civilized and superior.

Not only do we waste resources but we are also adept at wasting life. How many lives have been wasted at war? World war 1 saw around 37 million civilians and military deaths. World war 2 caused 60 million casualties. Although these two wars are pivotal in our history there have been thousands more conflicts through the ages. As time progresses our effectiveness at wasting life has multiplied. How many lives are wasted through drugs and alcohol? How many people are murdered every year?

I wonder why our race takes so much for granted. We are users and abusers; we discard, reject and destroy. We take and pillage and spare little thought or consideration about the consequences of our actions. We barely care about the impact we have on our world or the people living in it. We selfishly consider our own personal wealth and standard of living. We tend to care for our own self and family and rarely consider anyone else. Our survival instinct has seen our race expand and dominate and succeed but at what cost? 

Perhaps our planet is reacting to our actions. Perhaps it is already too late to change our way of life.