Monday, July 9, 2012

What a terrible dilema for Australia.

Australia is a vast nation, geographically--- a beacon for those who live in countries where they are less than cogs in a machine. It has a history going back tens of thousands of years and the more recent colonization period leading to the modern day Australia shows what a nation can do to develop into a ‘lucky country.’ Yes--- there has been pain along the way, especially for the Aborigine People. I am not going to write a treatise on that subject, other than to acknowledge that sad history. I would be hypocritical, given New Zealand’s less than perfect nation-building stage.
Australia had developed a reputation of ‘people who can fight; the forces of nature and the idiocy of ‘mankind.’ It has stuck up for the ‘little person’ and the ‘nations who have been dealt a bad deal.’ Together with New Zealand and others, it has voiced concerns on the world-stage, batting way above its size in population terms.
Perhaps Australia has been too successful. Others notice and then Australia becomes a destination of choice, for those who see no future in their own countries. Thus we have the dilemma that Australia now faces; it is a victim of its own success and the flow of immigrants and refugees threatens to create an almost unsolvable problem.
Australia encourages legal immigrants, much like we do in New Zealand. It chooses those who would most benefit the continuing nation-building process and discourages those who would queue-jump and then face the tragic situation we have seen off the coast of Australia’s Northern and Western shores.
Unscrupulous criminal ‘people smugglers’ take advantage of this situation, and send hundreds (sometimes even themselves) to their deaths. It is the ‘middle-men,’ scattered throughout Asia who reap the rewards while their victims face the dangers of the ocean.
What can Australia do to stem this flow of hopeful people? The politicians are playing games because they do not have the answer. Australia alone cannot solve this issue. It is a regional problem, if not an international one. Australia needs to have excellent relations with its northern neighbour, Indonesia, who itself is a victim, placed unfortunately on the ‘road to hope’ for the refugees.
Indonesia does not encourage such people movement. It has many thousands of people in camps that it can ill-afford to feed and care for. Imagine being a poor Indonesian, barely managing to care for your family, only to see refugees being looked after, while your family suffers. Luckily, Indonesia is growing and developing a large middle-class and is better able to cope.
The Nations of Southeast Asia (including Australia and New Zealand need to act together. Of course if the problems in the countries of ‘source’ (Afghanistan, the Middle East in general) did not exist, nor would the refugee problem, but that is wishful thinking.
One fact remains. Australia I (and NZ) is that beacon of hope and people will continue to set sail in dangerous boats. That after all was how the modern day Australia came into being. The best Australia can hope for is that this ‘flow’ is controlled and does not continue to be a political whipping boy.

Opposition to the resumption of whaling gains momentum in South Korea.

Great--- the media in South Korea are coming out against the abhorrent practice of whaling for so-called ‘Scientific’ purposes, just like Japan has done for decades. Perhaps they can ignite public opinion in this proud nation and really make a difference. Hopefully that will ‘spill-over’ to Japan and the nations of Europe (Iceland and Norway) who needlessly slaughter these magnificent beasts.
None of these nations are dependent on this ‘protein source’ to meet the needs of their people. Now that the issue is firmly in front of the South Korean people, I am sure that they will act in ways that we have seen in the past, when democracy was in its infancy. They will not shirk their responsibilities to stand firm against their Government’s plans.
There is a uniquely Korean way of making the thoughts of the ‘people’ known. Just think of those images of brave students and workers, lining up AGAINST THE POLICE, striving for a better life for the Korean People. I think that South Korea has ‘come of age.’
When a nation cares about the ‘denizens of the depths’ and puts into action a process to challenge their government, well--- there is hope for us all. Carry the flag and know that many in other nations are with you. One day we will be able to relax in the knowledge that the only shooting of whales is with cameras, but in the meantime, all strength to the forces that matter in South Korea.

'Bath salts'--a nasty new kid on the block!

If you thought that ‘P’ (Methamphetamine) and various other drugs were bad, then think again. “Bath salts,’ an innocuous name for something really nasty has arrived in New Zealand. The USA has been aware of it for up to a year. When I read my friends’ ‘posts’ in the USA (from the Liberal Thoughts group I am in), talking about ‘people eating off someone’s face, I thought they were kidding in some bizarre way. You know what we sometimes think--- ‘only on America.’ Well I was wrong to think like that and I apologize to my friends.
They were describing the ‘act’ of someone thought to be on that terrible new weirdly named synthetic new drug—Bath salts--- the street name. It is a synthetic drug with the power to lock into the brain the effects of something much like Cocaine, but it takes ages for the person to ‘come down and the high is much more intense.’
The person on it can have superhuman strength (much-like but worse than ‘P’) to the point that New Zealand’s first reported case needed to be tasered twice, pepper sprayed and then put into restraints in order to protect themselves and the police trying to control him.
What is it going to be like for the friends, families and workplaces and God help us--- the classrooms, if this revolting new drug becomes the ‘drug of choice’ for those misplaced, stupid and unknowing young (and not so young) people seeking new ‘highs?’
President Obama today signed a Bill outlawing all of these synthetic drugs that have appeared in the shops in the USA. Good for him and for the USA.
We need our politicians to act now (today) and immediately outlaw this drug here. Apparently it is freely available.
Yes--- not everyone reacts in this over the top, dangerous way, but we cannot standby and talk about ‘freedom of choice’ and see yet another mean and nasty substance, poison the lives of our people. I know that Peter Dunne was quickly onto other substances and had them banned, but the ‘manufacturers’ just change the makeup of the drugs and they are out there on the streets and in our shops (We call these local convenience stores--- Dairies in NZ)  very quickly.
I know that Peter had come in for some flack on other issues (Asset sales etc.) in NZ, but on this he has been pretty good. So--- come on Peter Dunne--- get your act together and ban this evil substance and keep up with the play.
We don’t need people eating one another’s’ faces off here. Hell, we have enough who are ‘off their faces’ as it is!

Kiwi rail--- job cuts

Here we go again---job cuts at Kiwi rail. After the sad history of cutting and selling from the past, is it any wonder that this organization is facing ‘issues’ yet again. Of course the policies are driven by the Government and we all know how they see things. The image of a huge sharp knife should be added to the national Party logo and permanently embossed because they show little sign of changing their perspective.
We have seen Labour and National stuff around with our national rail carrier. All it has meant is asset stripping, selling off and then claiming that the service no longer meets its goals. If we really want the railways to work for people and business, you don’t keeping chopping its heart out. There are now many areas that are isolated from the rail service as lines have been progressively cut.
Politicians have long sought to make the rail service profitable. What a senseless aim. Our population and typography work against that ideal. Our railways are a service and maybe we can’t make it a ‘golden goose/hen’ but we can use it to lesson our dependency on roads, fossil fuels and the subsequent problems that causes.
I am not a ‘Greenie,’ although a lot of what they say makes sense, but I believe that we have to subsidise our rail service before it disappears altogether, other than in a few cities and one main trunk. No matter how much you cut off the trunk, the rail service will always look a bit like an elephant.
Gone are the days when nearly every town was within hearing the whistle of the trains as they chugged their ways up, down and sometimes across the New Zealand landscape. Gone or going are so many secondary lines. Are we going to regret the demise of our once proud system, profitable or not?