Monday, August 24, 2015
Thursday, August 13, 2015
|Nanga Parbat: Rupal Face|
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
|Bald Eaglets on Saltspring Island, July 2015|
The Gulf Islands, in British Columbia, lying off the Eastern coast of Vancouver Island, are of outstanding natural beauty and ecological importance. Eagles soar above Arbutus and Cedar, and Orca whales fish in the Southern areas.
I'm surprised. What I witnessed in my latest visit there was negligence and decay.
The islanders are laid back, smiling and very pleasant. They think they are protecting the environment, but their demeanors change when you start to suggest they clean up their individual acts a little.
The rest of BC hardly helps them. Logging masters BC. Pulp mills pollute the air. Anchored tankers grace the sounds. Overfishing depletes Chinook salmon (the Orca staple).
Canada has become environmentally unconscious, it seems.
Sad, for such a breathtaking land.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
OK, who do we back in the Middle East conflicts? I mean, we’ve got to back SOMEONE, haven’t we? We have to remain true to our values, don't we?
This year is the 50th anniversary of little-discussed, but classic example of these values, when the US backed the genocide of about a million “Communist” villagers by the Indonesian military, with the CIA supplying lists of names to the perpetrators. The genocide was celebrated by many over here, and by Time Magazine as “the West’s best news for years in Asia.” 10 years later we went one better, supplying not only political backing but also 90% of the military equipment Suharto needed to massacre another 100-200,000, this time in East Timor. And it wasn’t just a Cold War anomaly, because Western support for that regime continued well after 1990, into the Clinton years.
Don’t expect our choice of who to back in the Middle East to be influenced by such petty considerations as the potential genocide of those who live there.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
So we're all delighted that FIFA appears to finally be getting its come-uppance for long-established corruption. Now what about Britain? The above book convincingly demonstrates that the country of my upbringing has, over the last 30 years or so, become ruled by an oligarchy of sickening corruption, an unaccountable network of people who wield massive power and reap sickengly huge profits at the taxpayer's expense. Case after case of multi-billion dollar thievery from those running the state-corporate nexus is documented and referenced. Now, unlike the author, I am no socialist, and do not yearn for the 'good old days' when the unions held the country to ransom. But privatization only works when real and fair competition brings efficiency up and prices down. In Britain, time after time, enormous monopolistic government contracts have been awarded to companies who simply raise prices to cream off profits with no investment. Those doing the awarding get their rewards in the revolving door system.
And the hypocrisy of what's said and done is incessant:
Here's one of my favorites:
Tony Blair, Chicago speech of 1999: "We cannot turn our backs on the violation of human rights within other countries....."
Tony Blair, 2011 onwards: Paid more than $13M for advising the dictator of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev (who massacres strikers, bans and attacks by arson any press criticizing him, tortures and kills the opposition etc etc) on how to present his country to the world in a positive light.
Monday, June 22, 2015
Sissies! Throw yourselves at her, guys! You may get eaten but it'll all be over quickly and you only live for two weeks, anyway.
Saturday, June 6, 2015
So the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN is about to start looking for "dark matter"; that is, apparently, the 85% of the matter in the universe that exists but is, err, NOWHERE TO BE SEEN. I think that is a very good idea indeed. Moreover, I know 85% is about the right figure because that is about the percentage of the things I have owned that have, over the years, mysteriously disappeared.
So I have sent an e-mail to the LHC guys, asking them to please locate that pair of spectacles that inexplicably went missing on a flight from Bangalore to Hyderabad a few years ago. I mean, I looked in the seat pocket and under the chair and everywhere, and there they were - just GONE! After that I am asking the LHC wizards if they could kindly return the about 20 sweat shirts that have mysteriously disappeared in various trains, buses and restaurants. Then, finally, there's that lamb chop that was on the dinner plate last week that vanished into thin air when I had to pop out to answer the phone. I would be so grateful to get it back intact. Grady (our lemon beagle) did happen to be in the room at the time but insists he had absolutely nothing to do with it.