Saturday, May 23, 2015

She is a 'nuclear spring.' She is a Jack Russell!

Sometimes I wonder what Jack Russells are made of. Well, at the very least they can be described as a 'nuclear spring,' one that winds up whilst resting, and even that state is to say the least, perilously close to 'non-sleep!' Yesterday was one of those days, when one just does not want to go out; indeed, I spent the majority of the day inside, happily reading, watching TV, doing a few minor chores and watching the rain, smacking against the neighbours'' roofs. Perdy, for her part, slept, checked out the weather and even when I took her to the bay, for a few minutes of running and a quickly paced poo--under the bloody fence of course, then she was back in the car, heading towards home, where the 'nuclear clock' added up a debt---that just had to be paid at some stage. Today the weather took a more kind character, allowing us to head on down to the bay. Perdy exploded out of the car and headed onto the sand, leaping with joy, exuberant to the max, a definite smile on her face. Any dog, yes ANY, was her friend. She sniffed , jumped, cavorted, ran those crazy circles, attracting attention from afar and chased her ball. She couldn't get enough--it was endless. I wondered if she would ever tire! Well--she didn't, but at least she released some of that pent up energy, that tension that if left to 'boost,' is stuff made for chaos--once one returns home. Thank goodness, she is now resting in the couch, awaiting another manic run this afternoon. Better enjoy it little girl, because nest week I may not be taking you anywhere, depending on wether I am selected for the actual Jury service. My dog walking neighbour will of course take you for a turn around the block, but nothing beats the bay. It's all about the 'Bay' and that beautiful little beating heart that loves to run.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Death penalty for the Boston Bomber!

I have a problem with the death penalty, especially in nations where corruption is the norm. Recent cases re a 'not so far away neighbour,' come to mind. I also feel very strongly about individuals who construct a bomb and cause the death of innocent bystanders. So many people are affected and they have to face the daily reality that a loved one has been taken from them. How someone arrives at a position whereby they think that their cause outweighs the rights of others to enjoy life, and then goes on to cause the deaths of so many people, is beyond me. Taken to extremes, we see the actions of extreme grouping of such people, in the form of ISIS, Boko Haram and others. I acknowledge those who think nations states, too, are not above such actions! Today the judge and jury handed down the death penalty to the surviving Boston Bomber. No doubt we will see appeals to this decision, and the suffering of family members will continue. This of course would not happen in countries where the right of appeal is one that is not so clear, as in China. I live in a country where we do not have the death penalty. I am sure that may would agree that if such an action occur in New Zealand, then the death penalty would be appropriate. So far, we have not seen our streets made so unsafe for our citizens. Let's hope and for those who do, pray that we never do! I close by asking you to think of the victims and all those who love them. Now, a young man must come to terms with his evil deeds and ----well---that's over to him.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A missing police dog makes the headlines in New Zaland!

How can it be that when a police dog goes missing in the New Zealand bush, that the event replaces the headlines about other issues currently facing the nation? Social media and mainstream outlets were united in their response to the plight of ‘Thames,’ the beautiful dog.’ He went missing during a training exercise in a rugged bush area not too far from Palmerston North in the North Island of New Zealand. For a week, every paper in New Zealand and many FB posts expressed concern for Thames. The New Zealand bush does not have dangerous snakes or other predators, other than the odd rogue pig that can do some damage, given the ’wrong’ circumstances, but other than that, deaths occur more for being caught out without cold weather gear or through injury. Thames had survival skill and even though he was a bit hungry when found, he probably scored a few rats and unsuspecting possums, earning him some ‘brownie points,’ from conservationists. Hopefully, he left the Kiwis alone, had he chanced upon them! Many a kid (OK---I’m one of them!) went to bed each night, asking their parents if Thames would be OK. ‘Yes dear, Thames will be fine,’ came the reply from a not so sure adult but Thames did survive, true to the nature of his breed. When the news broke, we can be dammed sure that a few tears were shed; tears of genuine joy. ‘WHY---- It’s just a dog,’ you say. I can’t answer that with any real knowledge. Is I that part of us has this needs to love something that does not represent opinion, anger, hurt, destruction and generally is seen as an extension of family? The relationship between dogs and humans goes back thousands of years. Ask most dog owners how their dog is after an accident or sickness and you may well see a tearing up. My own feelings re my dog are very strong, to say the least. That she could go missing is the stuff of nightmares. Night after night, we have witnessed the very lowest of human behaviour, re other human events, not the least being a revolting video of an ISIS ‘execution’ a young man—the reasons way beyond anything I can relate to. It is ‘news’ like that and other reports around man’s inhumanity to others, which usually takes the slot. Are we so sickened by that, whereby we search out something more---healing?’ I think so. Dogs and other animals represent an innocence, an escape from the nasty side of humans. When we hear a story as reported in the last week, we latch onto it and it gives us hope when we hear a happy result. It is this hope and consequent happy ending that we yearn for. Hope---the missing factor in so many lives and a humble dog fills the gap!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

VE Day in Europe and Russia's commemorations are ignored! Wrong?

Apparently, even the young Princess Elizabeth escaped for the evening when the Brits hit the street parties on the night of commemorations to celebrate VE day in 1945.There were parties and ceremonies remembering the deaths from that terrible war, all over Europe yesterday. Russia too remembered the huge numbers who died in that tragic time. (They had more people killed than any other nation)Very few 'Western' leaders attended, choosing instead to travel to a ceremony in Poland. They state the reason for their non-attendance on Russia's stance in Ukraine. That is a snub and in my view insensitive to the memory of a former allies' efforts to fight an evil foe! Sure, much has changed since 1945 and we have witnessed the Cold War era, but one can not change history, although interpretations can be re-written. If we take the argument about present actions by one particular country and ignore past history, then we are on shaky ground. Surely the 'West' missed an opportunity to build bridges with Russia. The Ukraine situation is far more complex than we are led to believe via the protestations of Western politicians. The present leadership in Ukraine is tainted with the very forces we once fought against. Getting a consensus is difficult to say the least on this vexing question. That Ukraine's leadership is leaning towards the EU is not enough in itself to steer Europe and the USA (with its allies)towards ignoring the history of Russia's huge losses in WW11. I am not excusing or heaping praise on Putin, by taking this stance. I have been uncomfortable with his 'gathering' of more and more power to himself and his cronies, nor do I support any leader holding power in any nation for more than a set amount of time. (It does not happen often in NZ, but maybe we too need a limitation on how long one politician can hold the reins of power)Russia used the occasion of VE day to parade its resurrection of military power in quite a provocative manner. It is not of course the only nation to exhibit that tendency! In short---have we missed an opportunity to unite re our remembrance of the deaths of so many people? Does this add fuel to the premise that we have entered a new 'Cold War?'

Friday, May 8, 2015

Australia---is 'terrorism' getting closer to you?!

In the last two weeks we have seen young people in Australia becoming involved in the 'troubles' we normally associate with areas nearer to the Middle East. That young men are being influenced in a manner that has them planning attacks on policeman or attempting to (and succeeding in some cases) leave Australian shores to join the fight in Syria and Iraq, following their 'heroes' in the ISIS forces, is indeed worrying. I do not doubt for a moment that some of these 'teens' are being influenced by a combination of what they are 'tracking' online and by adhering to the words of some of the 'clerics' who reside in Australia. Sure there are 'new Australians' and their children who have not benefitted from the move from their homelands and there is an element of desperation, fed by the messages of those who would bring the 'holy war' to Australia. Australians do not take these actions lightly and the response from many Aussies is not one that is willing to listen to the 'grievances, real or imagined, expressed by spokes-persons for the former. Now we are seeing an increase in the 'attempts to terrorise and in the level of response from Australian police and other 'agencies.' Aussies do not take kindly to criticism of their 'Aussie ways.' This feeling will be exploited as politicians, mainly from the right, will use this as an excuse to bring in more draconian laws,' citing 'security' and 'freedom' as the justification for their actions. All Australians will be the losers for this. Somehow, I cannot see a meeting of minds over this and the scenes we have witnessed in the last few months are going to be more common. The war--far way, will continue to cast its influence on this great land---eventually spreading to its neighbour--'The Land of The 'Long white Cloud.' I want to be wrong!

Help-------Israel has hit my blog again!

When I look at the 'stats' for my blog, for the day and see that there are 2700 hots from Israel, I just know that something 'seedy' is going on, much like the Dead Sae' rip-off agents, who NZ sent packing last year, type of situation. I am not that well informed about such matters but to put things in perspective, my blog usually has about 20 hits a day, sometimes more and often less. Most of the action for me is re my FB posts. What worries me is that someone will be doing things 'in my name,' and I have no idea how, where or what! I wold love some advice and help re this vexing and troubling issue. The bottom line?----if the hits were genuine, I would be seeing action re downloads for my book, ROSKILL. Well---that is not happening, so----get back to me, my 'real' friends!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Europe faces an impossible situation re refugees.

Almost every day for a few months now we have witnessed tragic scenes as thousands of refugees are drowned in the Mediterranean. That these people are so desperate to risk this dangerous journey, having paid a great deal of money to unscrupulous ‘human traffickers,’ says much about the lives they are leaving. The criminals who prey on them have much to answer for and there seems to be no end in sight re the people lignin up to come. I have heard estimates of one million waiting in Libya alone. Europe is not united in its response to this human tragedy. The politicians do not have an answer and the people of Europe are also divided in the way they see the issue. Opinions range from ‘humanitarian in nature; those wanting to help and accept the migrants, through to a growing number, who wish to have nothing to do with the ‘arrivals. Political parties are staking their fortunes on their response, hence the rise of extreme policies that would stop the ‘flood at sea,’ well before they arrive on European shores. The next test for that is in day or so as the UK goes to the polls. Expect a rise in numbers voting for parties wishing to tighten up on ‘entry to the UK.’ Europe is not going to be able to ‘fill the needs of this modern day exodus!’ The driving force behind the flow of refugees needs to be addressed. People have always sought new futures; indeed I am the product of such desires, so it would be disingenuous of me to claim that others cannot seek a better future, but the fact remains, that Europe is possibly going to take a stronger stance, given that many European economies are also ‘stretched,’ to say the least. What drives the refugees? One hears the term ‘failed nation states,’ a term that accurately describes swathes of Northern Africa and the Middle East. Political struggle, religious divides and wars and an endemic feature of the region. Look back to not so distant events in Europe to witness similar vast movement of people, so we are not dealing with a new phenomenon, more one that is prevalent at the moment. Can we turn to the obvious body that should be seeking solutions to these issues---the UN? Yes, but it does not have the will or the teeth to bring about solutions. Can we trusts ‘coalition-of-the-willing,’ to find a way forward? No----given the results of recent attempts to solve regional issues, militarily, thereby feeding the rise of extremism, in the form of ISIS Boko Haram and similar groups. Would massive ‘economic aid’ to the ‘countries of origin,’ of the refugees work? Not unless those with the political control can work with their populations to forge a better future. I see little evidence that pouring aid into these countries will deliver hope to the people who need it most. The divisions, both historical and more recent, brought about by a combination of colonization and much older divisions, continues to create barriers to peace. I feel pessimistic about just what the future holds, given the history of both Europe and the regions I am discussing. August bodies like the UE, the UN and other power groupings have failed. Now more sinister groups are attempting to forge their own solutions, ones that will impact on Europe and wreak havoc upon the people beyond the shores of the Mediterranean. Underlying this, are those who gain from such ‘permanent chaos—those who manufacture and sell the ‘arms’ that kill and destroy. They are the real constants in this terrible dilemma. No-one else benefits!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Extremism has hijacked 'religion!

I do not take sides re religious debates and the ramifications of such ‘divides.’ One does have to look too hard back into history to see religion used as the excuse to ‘conquer, enrich and divide, politically. The carnage created always results in mass movements of people, if they manage to survive at all. Various extreme movements have taken over large swathes of several regions of late, all under the flag of religious extremism. Much finger pointing has resulted as to the creation of these movements, ranging from those saying that the USA is to blame, whilst it follows its own foreign policy goals, then losing control of the’ produce’ of that policy. Whether it was to counter the influence of the former Soviet Union or to prop up a client state; the debate will go on for many years. Yesterday we witnessed yet another example of ‘extremism ‘and its ramifications. A suburb in Dallas saw the coming together of the two strands in the USA. On one side we have the ‘so-called ‘hate group that was promulgating its own message, using the banner of ‘freedom of speech. That it chose to use a cartoon competition in a manner that could only cause offense, should come as no surprise and the support it got when the ‘proverbial hit the fan,’ in the form of a ‘possible ISIS attack within the USA was the result. The ‘whacky right,’ aligned with some religious groups in the USA was hell-bent on using this occasion to taunt extreme Islamist groups, knowing that doing this would get some sort of response. They achieved their purpose, bringing death to the Dallas suburb. The ripples from this action, will be felt throughout the USA as yet more ‘adherents’ are drawn to the flags of the opposing factions. The vast majority of Americans want no part in this; preferring to stay away from ‘mad religion,’ but the ‘stupidity witnessed on the streets will cause fear. It is fear and feeds the flames. It is the ignorance that goes with such fear that propels people towards the opposing camps. That is the aim of both factions. One will claim ‘loyalty to an ideal, that is the UDA and the other will call the ‘adherents to the faith,’ to revenge the insult to the ‘Prophet.’ Where does this all lead? Simple---more of the same. Now is the time for rational responses, for people in the middle to speak out, for moderates to come to the fore. It is not the time for yet more ‘hate speech and knee-jerk reactions.’ Sadly, going by the posts I see on FB, it is the latter that feeds the frenzy. If there was ever a time for a considered approach, then it is now. The answers of course will involve looking at the bigger picture as to what nurtures these dangerous divides---it is not religion. It is the inequalities; the same ones that drive people to take desperate voyages across oceans, searching for a better life, because their own countries have also been hijacked by those who seek power, but use religion as the excuse to bring people to their selfish causes. Little has changes over the course of human history!

Friday, May 1, 2015

#IACCUSEJOHNKEYOF__At the end of the day!

Of late, many NZers and increasingly those overseas who have had the 'pleasure' of meeting PM, have had to suffer that much overused 'introduction'---AT THE END OF THE DAY--- to yet another announcement or explanation for some weird behaviour the latter has perpetrated. He bored us to death during the election campaign that he won, indication that Kiwis are devils for punishment, or they just don't give a stuff. OOK, he won the election but the vestiges of his many 'uses' of that phrase continues to linger. So many others have taken it up and now every time In hear it I want to head for the dunny! Hardly an interview goes by without the dreaded utterance been thrust upon us. IN itself, there is nothing wrong with it, but day after day, it seems to be a reminder of what we failed to do---send the bugger to Hawaii, his other home. Oh well, at the end of---FECK---now I'm doing it. OK--send me to Hawaii until he arrives!