Sunday, October 10, 2010

Can Heros still exist?

With the world so blinded and cynical today with so much falsehoods and ignorance, is it possible for a true hero to exist in our society? If there is truly a hero out there, would they want to rise up to help this society that will greet him/her with nothing but indifference, hate, or fear?

Humans today would not give the benefit of the doubt, in fact it would be the opposite. They would face this hero with everything that is bad and ugly about humans. The hardest fight this hero would have is with the very people he/she is trying to save.

Why would the hero bother?

I hope I am wrong and that people are better than what I give them credit for.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Perpetual Children

It seems that for many people, growing up is a process more complicated then they're able to handle. Even with time, maturity doesn't seem to be guarenteed.

Examples of this can be easily seen in how people think politically. Let me break it down for you.

Libertarians / Tea partiers - these are the classic emo kids. They think everyone is out to get them, and that no one understands them. Somehow, they believe they live in isolation from the rest of society and they just want to be left alone writing their crappy poetry/shooting off their guns and not be responsible for anything or anyone else. They seems to have a short memory when it comes to where they actually get all their stuff or the freedom that they enjoy. They enjoy being the outcasts, yet they band together in small exclusive groups trying to anti-social (not knowing that by banding together in small exclusive groups, you are being exactly what you supposivley hate). All of their political ideology are based on the world revolving around them.

Republicans - these are the generic immature high school kids. They think they know everything and have a sense of entitlement. They think they know what's best for themselves and for the rest of the world without taking into account anyone's perspective on anything. They think in terms of black or white, right or wrong. As is popular with most kids at this age, they have a sign that says 'keep out' on their bedroom doors without realizing who pays for the bills in the house they live. Being stuck at this maturity level means that they are quick to judge and change their mind with little idea about hypocracy or the big picture.

Democrats - these are the idealist youth who believes that they can save the world and that there is indeed still good in everyone. They believe to a fault that everyone tries to do the right thing and that everyone believes in fairness. Like the Republicans, they too also believe they know everything. They can be naive in their thinking as they don't understand that not everyone has the best intentions. Not everyone believes in the greater good.

As long as we're stuck with these groups in government, there is not that much chance there's going to be any progress in society.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Dangers Facing Progressive Thinking

One basic problem to progressives is this. Progressives tend to view issues from multiple sides, hence they will critique the argument (even their own) from multiple angles. However, conservatives lacks the understanding and ability to see any fault in their own thinking and hence will only attack the opposition. For the average person who doesn't think critically and just listen to others (even if it's from both sides), they're going to hear more negative points about the progressive argument because they will hear progressives arguing both sides and conservatives purely attacking the progressive view while fully supporting their own views. Mathematically, there will be more negative views on a progressive viewpoint vs. a conservative one.

There is a big difference in arguing and attacking a view which has really been blurred or ignored in today's politics. You can be objective and disagree with a view without attacking it blindly. This is a big difference that most people just doesn’t seem to understand. They think all criticism is bad, and if you discuss any points that automatically mean you're against it. Also, the idea that you can't change your mind is absurd. Being completely inflexible in an opinion doesn't show strength, it show ignorance in accepting other views.

A big reason for this lack of understanding is that in our educational system and society in general, critical thinking is not often taught or valued. We’re taught information and for the most part, are asked to regurgitate the information and nothing more. Very rarely are we asked to question this information or to discuss the origins or possibility that it might be wrong. It is not just a fault of society, but it is also a problem with people today. People today are amazingly connected with information through the Internet and because of that, have become lazy in turning information into thoughts or ideas. They simply read a headline here or there, never getting to the details or think for themselves the meaning of what they’re reading.

Today, each individual has more information thrown at them than ever before, but how much of that is actually used? We all seem to know more information, but it doesn’t seem to be making us any smarter or wiser in decisions or discussions. You still hear the same idiotic and naive discussions out there and worse yet, most discussions are just talking points from other people. So while we have more information, it's not being used at a higher level than simple data.

This is a big reason why there is a growing number of conservatives out there. The conservative argument is much more easily digested than a progressive argument. Conservative arguments are simplistic. Typically, it's either for or against. Period. It only requires a headline to be repeated over and over again to get into their people’s mindset. They don’t need or want you to get to the details as there is often nothing there. They simply repeat a message that's simple to understand over and over again. People digest this simple one sided argument and that becomes the basis for their thoughts. In today’s society, this is perfect as it's how to best influence people in the digital age.

On the opposite spectrum, progressive arguments are very difficult. It's difficult to describe, it's difficult to discuss, and it's just difficult all around. Progressive argument not only requires a great deal of basic knowledge into a subject, but it also requires you to think about the information to get to the conclusion as there is not just one answer. The progress argument typically have to account for multiple viewpoints so it requires a great deal of insight both into the issue at hand and of yourself. This takes a lot of time and effort. Unlike conservative views, it’s almost never just right or wrong, black or white. It’s never just good or bad. Progressives understands that this is a complicated world and that answers to solve its problems are complicated.

Unfortunately, this is where progressives will lose the majority of the population. People don’t want to think about problems. They have enough of their own problems to think about complicated global issues. The last thing a person wants to do is think about other people’s complicated issues. It also takes a very special breed of people to enjoy thinking and discuss problems. This is why you hear less and less progressive thoughts out there. It’s just too difficult to have discussions with people when they only want to talk in bullet points and not really engage in a discussion.

In today’s society, people just want to hear an answer. Much like when you google something, you just want to get an answer. We’ve become that society in all matters of life now. We want whatever we desire quickly and easily. Most people don’t want to think about things, just tell them what to know/think. Typically, whatever is the loudest and most simplistic will get the ears of the people (think top 10 links in a google search). With this mindset in people today, that’s why conservatives are winning the minds of people.

I wish I could be more positive and have a solution to this issue, but it seems quite daunting. How do you make people think when everything around them is allowing them to think and do less and less? The next generation will be inundated with even more information and they will be able to get it even more quickly. What will happen to them? Will they be more resilient than I give people credit for? I guess only time will tell.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Church and Guns

This strong connection between right wing Christians and guns really confuses me. These right wingers argue with each other about how Christian they are and try to out do each other on being Christian, but when it comes to things like wars and guns, they will support it to the end of time. There are a lot of things that we can argue about Jesus, but I think its pretty universally agreed that he wasn’t really one for the violence.

During this week, the governor of Louisiana signed a law that allows people to carry guns into churches. Really? Cause you feel that unsafe in your own house of worship? What exactly do you actually think your religion is all about? You argue that other religions might be hiding things in their places of worships. So instead of showing people how a religion should behave, you're just going to be just like them?

Besides the absolute contrary views to Jesus you are showing by bringing a gun to a church, you’re probably too ignorant to understand this, but you are questioning your faith in your own religion. I understand you're not the best about understanding that you can't have everything your way, but you are going to have to decide one or the other. You cannot have it both ways in this case. Either you believe that Jesus is all powerful and will protect you (especially in a church), or that he is not all powerful and that you need to protect yourselves by bringing a gun. You can’t believe in both as they're contrary and if you think you need a gun in church, well, that's not giving much credit to your sworn lord and savior.

Have we become that mistrusting of a society that there is no refugee anywhere anymore? Must we be armed everywhere we go? How far is the paranoia going to go?

One thing that proponents of these juvenile laws rarely understand is that their paranoia is generally based on their own efforts to legalise guns and allowing them to be carried everywhere. This paranoia that everyone else has a gun and that you need to carry one to ‘protect yourself’ is a gun fantasy that is perpetuated by organisations like the NRA. It also shows your immaturity in understanding that what you see in cartoons, movies, and tv isn't the real world. These is just gun fantasy and is just not the case in real life. Guns hurt the innocent much more often then they hurt an intended target.

What about the actual implementation of this rule? When you see a gun in public or a church, how will you know if that person is suppose to have one or not? Should they look a certain way? Is it ok when some white dude is carrying a gun? What about a young black male carrying a gun? Will you call the police? What about someone of a Muslim descent? How will you act then? Will you just shoot first and ask later?

By supporting these laws you show your utter ignorance for your religion, society, and your basic understanding of how things work in the world. This world is complicated and has complicated answers to its problems. Your simpleton responses don’t help or fix anything. It’s time you let adults who know how to think handle things.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Proliferation of Poker and the Beginning of the Financial Crisis

Yes it's true. I know it's a bit out there. You think it's just another crazy pup theory. How can a little Poker hurt the entire world's economy? Well, I'm glad you're here for me to explain it to you.

Poker was first seen on the television as an annual sideshow. The World Series of Poker. Through movies and various marketing, the existence of this event was popularized outside of the world of professional gamblers. The event grew as ESPN began showing the event on their network and attacting a great deal of new followers. Marketing it like a sports event with announcers, creating poker 'superstars', story lines within the game among players and with the invention of the table cam (that little camera that shows what cards the players have), Poker official became a spectator sport.

In order to legitimize the game, the announcers talked of theory and the math behind the game which is all true. There are indeed a lot of theories and math behind playing this game. Pretty basic human behavior 101 stuff, but nevertheless, legit discussions on what the poker players were thinking and how they were behaving. What these announcers knowingly or unknowingly were doing, was steering people away from the fact that at the end of the day, poker is still a gambling game. The very definition of winning or losing in gambling is that a lot of it is based on chance. Not due to any specific formula or theory. No one wins in a casino because they were smarter than the casino. You were merely more lucky than the casino for that period of time you were there. Given more time, the house will always win.

Most of us have seen someone make the most ridiculous bet in a casino and for it to come up a winner or something playing completely against 'the book' in blackjacks and yet they win. Was that person smart for making that bet? Did that person calculate their chances and decide that it was a good idea to bet? No, more than likely, they were impulsive or drunk or probably both. Putting down a bet that had very little chance of winning. Yet they do and they won. They were not smart. They were lucky.

By focusing on the 'skills' of these Poker players, the announcers avoid the other I would say 80% part of the game of Poker. That which is luck. Watching it on TV, it always shows a player's chance of winning. A player could do everything 'by the book' and they will still lose. In a real game based on skill, if you do everything perfectly, there is a very little chance that you would lose.

For example, if poker was indeed a skills game, you would see the same people in the final table in all the tournaments like in other skills games, but you don't. In most major tournaments, there are always several amateurs. This would not happen in a game that was based more on skill then luck. It would be a miracle for an amateur to appear in the finals of the Wimbledon or say the World Cup. In poker, however, that would be a norm.

So the idea here is that with proliferation of poker, we are blurring the line between gambling and statistics in the world. People believed by relying solely on statistics, they could predict the outcome of something even though in reality, there is still a great deal based on luck. This is the mentality that has driven the world into the financial crisis.

Traditionally, Wall Street looks at the fundamentals of a stock to determine if it is a good idea to invest in the company. They took the time to investigate the company’s books, their strategy, and their customers. They did this in person, and they did this by getting to know the people that ran the companies. With the advancement of technology and statistics, this practice began to slow as investment firm began running statistical models on companies and basing their evaluation on that information. No longer is it a matter of knowing what a company did, how they did it, and who they have doing it. It’s now just plugging in a range of key numbers and statistics and plugging it into a math model.

I’m not against the statistic models. I think they’re important and very useful. I’m not commenting on Wall Street’s practices either. What I am concerned with, is the people at Wall Street and their shift in mindset. It seems that they feel safe with these statistic models and in turn that has made them more bold in making risks. As now, with statistic models, all counts as calculated risks hence it’s ok. You could always blame the model if your investments goes bad. As we saw with the financial crisis, these statistic models created these derivatives that started the downwards spiral, and greed grew this problem to crippling the world.

I’m not saying that there aren’t lots and lots of other reasons for the crisis as well, but I believe this mentality is the root cause of a lot of the other issues. When you believe you can predict the future simply by complex statistical equations, and then add to that the greed that is inherent on Wall Street, this is exactly the result of the outcome.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

South Australia - Clara Valley

This weekend, Tess and I went on a weekend trip down to South Australia to tour the wine valley in Clara. There are several wine valleys in South Australia near Adelaide. Clara was about 1.5 hr drive north and a good distance away from the city.

Before leaving for the wine valley, we stopped off at a food market in the middle of the city. This was a must do in Adelaide. The market was wonderfully full of fresh food and meats. There were freshly baked pastries and every type of cheese imaginable. There were sausages as different as the number of stalls there. Sadly, we couldn't take too much, but we did manage to grab some great olives, a few slices of very delicious Italian cured meats, a few pastries, and some hot roasted peanuts (beer nuts) that was incredibly delicious. Never had fresh hot roasted peanuts like this before and y'all know I like the peanut.

It was a gorgeous drive once we left the city. It's amazing how quickly things change from city to rural in Australia, and it's especially evident here.

We had a booking for lunch at a winery, but we were in the area early so we decided to stop by a winery first. We first went to Taylor Wines. Taylor is a large producer of wine here in Southern Australia. We got to try a few different types of wines that we didn't typically see in the bottle shops, but for the most part, not that exciting as it's a lot of wines we typically drink anyway.

It was time for lunch and we went to Skillogalee Wines and Restaurant. We decided to do a little bit of wine tasting before lunch. The wines here were not too bad. A Riesling that was great. After tasting all they had to offer, it was time for lunch. We had a wonderful table outside looking at the vineyards. It was a perfect afternoon with the sun and plenty of cloud cover. We shared a bottle of the Riesling and had a great lunch. The service was pretty inattentive though. After lunch, we took a short stroll around the vineyards.

Now it was time to get serious on the wineries. I'll just list them.

Kilikanoon Wines - Wonderful wines here. Bought quite a few bottles. They had vines all over the valleys as well as getting some from France.

Sevenhill Cellars - This was a pretty interesting place. It was traditionally run by Jesuits. They started by producing the wines for the churches around the area. Now they have a cellar door for people to come in and taste. The wines were not too bad and very reasonably priced. Nice underground cellar that you can walk around.

During our visit, there was a senior/year 12 formal taking pictures there. Nothing of interest here really, just that they look so incredibly young and I was that creepy old dude watching them holding a box of wine.

It was getting late and the other wineries have all closed by now. We decided to go to the hotel and prepare for tomorrow.

The next day, we got up relatively early and was on our way. There are the other wineries we went to.

Annie's Lane - Like Taylor's this was also another massive winery. One thing about these massive wineries is that there are so many wines to try. This was all good as we were the only people there so it they were very attentive and we had great pours (I know you're suppose to spit it out, but I think that's wasteful so I was good and tipsy after just one winery). Got a couple bottles of Mascote. Great for a warm summer day/night. Very refreshing and a little bit sweet. Can't wait for this summer to drink this one.

Tim Gramp Wines - This was a small boutique winery unlike Annie Lane and Taylors. The wines were pretty good in my option, but they had the worst person selling the wines. Generally, they're nice and knowledgeable. They typically talk a lot to get you interested. Not this one though. It's a one answer per question limit for her. We got a couple bottles here because it was good, but I'm sure I would've picked up more if she was more friendly.

Clos Clare - This was another small boutique winery. This was a bit opposite of the Tim Gramp experience. I thought the wine was ok at best, but the person working there was great. Very friendly, approachable, and knows his stuff. We got a bottle just for that. I think after sitting this one for a while it'll probably be great.

After this we had time for lunch before heading to our last winery. Lunch was quite good at Cygnets at Auburn (name of town). Tess got a chicken pot pie which was especially good.

Eyre Creek wines - This was another small boutique winery. A very nice couple owned the place. They were not winemakers, but they did grow the grapes. I thought that whole dynamic was interesting. There were those that just made the wine, some that only grew the grapes, and some that did the whole operation. Never thought about all that when I'm drinking the wine.

The wine here was a hit a miss. There were some very delicious ones and some that were not really ready. We got 2 bottles at the end.

One great service that all the small boutique wineries did was ship your wines for you. No matter who you bought them from. They all said that the last place you visit would do this for you. This was such a great idea as there wouldn't be any way I would carry so many wines on a plane. Hence the wine shopping spree. The shipping was only about $11 per case which was awesome as well.

This will be a great winter with dinner parties and great wines!

Monday, April 26, 2010

I'm Back... (Hopefully)

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted anything on here. Going to try to do a lot better in the coming months. Will try to get back on writing more of the fiction and stories instead of the usual political bashing as nothing ever gets changed on that front.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Random Thoughts.

In a capitalistic society, money equals power. Wall street controls the majority of the money in the US society. Why don't people understand who is actually controlling all the power here? And yet, you keep blindly defending wall street like they needed your help or cared about you in return.

Society in most major developed countries has become soft and weak. I believe this is especially true in the US. If anything doesn't go perfectly in one's way, you'll hear complaints or even law suits. Listen jackass, things happen. Sometimes things happen that doesn't go your way. Honest mistakes happen. Just suck it up and stop being a damn 5 year old.

I CANNOT stand it when I ask people about politics and they say oh I just don't pay attention to it. What in the hell is wrong with you. This affects everything that you do. It affect the very society that you live in. All the rules and laws. Everything that your society stands for.
This is why democracy doesn't work. If people are not interested in politics, then you cannot allow the public to vote because they are NOT informed. If you do not have informed voters, all you have is a mob.

There are a lot of over privileged people that really needs to learn what it means to really be discriminated against. Just because others don't agree with your insanity doesn't make you the target of some kind of discrimination. It just means you're a dumbass.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Where are the jobs?

Let me tell you a little secret. If you’re waiting for the old jobs that has been lost from the economic crisis to come back, don’t hold your breath because they’ll probably never come back. It doesn’t matter what the government does, or doesn’t do. These jobs will never come back.

The common folk will of course blame the government as they don’t really know any better. Meanwhile, wily financial and other large corporate companies will try to get some sweet deals from the government so they can increase hiring which they will have no intension of following through on.

So why is this happening you ask? Let me tell you.

Many corporations were forced to fire people as a result of the economic troubles. However, corporations did not just fire the necessary amount, but they fired as much as they possibly could. They took advantage of this opportunity to greatly reduce their workforce in order to reduce costs. They knew that they would be able to get the remaining people to do the work of 2 or 3 people, and they would be too frighten to complain. Companies also knew these people had nowhere to go as there are no jobs elsewhere. Hence, they’re able to push people to work harder without looking like the bad guy. At the same time, they will go back to their all mighty master (Wall Street) to report that they’ve done a wonderful job in cost cutting and hope to be rewarded.

So instead of facing this economic mess side by side with their employee to work through all the hardships, many corporations have taken this opportunity to make sure they come out on the other end looking good to the only group that they care about anymore. What’s worse is that this has become the norm for all corporations to behave because that’s what the culture has become on Wall Street. If your company doesn’t do it, others will and it’ll make you look bad.

Wall Street doesn’t care what the situation is around the world. It only cares that you reduce cost and increase profits any way necessary. If you don’t, you will be severely punished. End of story.

If corporations were to hire again, it would show in their bottom line that they have increased costs. Even though their employees are probably mostly burning out by now from the workload and stress, they know they’re still too afraid to complain to go elsewhere. The corporations know they can get the work done without hiring more people now, and there’s no way they would increase their operational cost at the fear of upsetting their master. You would be seriously mistaken if you think corporations care more about the well being of their employees over the views of Wall Street.

The bottom line. Making as much money as possible when given the chance without care for anyone involved. This is the mantra of capitalism. This is what happens when you believe corporations will simply behave and regulate themselves in the best interest of everyone. This is what happens when you believe uncontrolled and unregulated capitalism is good for society.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


The world is in a mess and is in trouble right now. The amount of bad things that are happening far outweighs those good things. So much of the world seems to be coming apart at the seams. Some of which are uncontrollable, but many of which are controllable and caused by us.

What world needs is a hero now more than ever. It doesn’t have to be one person that saves the world at once. It can be a person that helps out one other person when they were in need, and that person helping another. With enough heroes, we can push back this encroaching darkness that seems to be spreading.

For 2010, be a hero. Do your part to help the world. Don't standby as violence, famine, injustice, suffering and misery grow around us. Don’t standby as the helpless falls prey to the darkness. Stand up and fight. Lend a helping hand, a smile, and show that you care. Fight for yourself and those around you. This is not a fight we can afford to lose. Do something positive for the world and for someone else. Always remember that we are all in this together.

Be a hero.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

You Sir, are Disgusting.

How could anyone, at this time of world tragedy, when so many of our fellow man needs our help, do you dare criticize those that are helping? How dare you criticize the president for having an immediate response to this tragedy? How dare you take this opportunity to falsely claim a country as having 'made a pact with the devil'? I cannot say how utterly you disgust me without filling this page with swear words, and so I will let Keith say what I think.

To all those that are in the front line or being sent to the front line to lend their help and expertise, all the best wishes to you. Do your best as you remind the world the best in humanity. Remind everyone that there are still those of us who think of others first and the fact that we help each other when in need. You are all heros to me.

To those who are suffering through this tragedy, I'm very sorry for your loss. Know that most of the world have you in our thoughts and wishes you our deepest condolences. To those that are still trapped or are awaiting aid. Help is on the way. Stay alive. We will find you.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What you should know right now

How ironic that with the spread of technology, and the ability to easily have information at our fingertips, I think more than ever, people avoid information and even more so, facts. Perhaps because there is just too much information and it’s too difficult for many people to filter through the noise, or maybe many people have the information, but lack the key ability to translate information to higher order ideas or see patterns. Maybe there're too many talking heads that are confusing everyone on what're facts and what's personal commentary. Maybe our society has become so complex that the average person is incapable of understanding most of what’s going on. Maybe we’ve all mostly just become so self absorbed with our own little worlds that so many have ceased to care about anyone else. Whatever the reason, I see people ignoring the big picture problems. Not the symptoms that so many are confused with, but the actual problems that’s plaguing society.

So to help you out, here are some for you to consider. Facing the new year and the upcoming new decade, these are the roots of all the major problems we will experience. It would be nice if you knew what they were.

Wealth Gap – Thanks to the global financial crisis, which funny enough, is caused by the greed of the very wealthy people on wall street to make more money on bad bets, has made the wealth gap around the world even worse than before. As is the case in most financial downturns, the rich will get exponentially richer because they have the resources to not only survive, but to take advantage of a financial crisis. They use their vast resources to take advantage of others while they are down. Basically, the rich gets rich when things are going well, and when things go bad, they get even richer.

This is not just a problem of having the top .01% of the population owning the majority of the wealth in the world. If you look at all the other issues in the world, most of it ties back to financials. As I’ll point out in the next few issues, it all ties back to this one. Next time a major problem pops up, don’t just look at the problem in isolation. Look at all the things that led to this problem. Looks at the ties it had. I bet the majority of times you’ll trace it back to financials.

In the US, so much emphasis has been put on Wall Street and how it has become this institution where you can make so much money without actual work. Sure, you talk with your fancy figures (that you make up, and deliberatly make confusing so no one understands), and your fancy words and acronomes, but in the end, you don't actually do anything productive. Wall Street is basically just a big casino where the rich always takes the house. Of course, I don't want to call Wall Street a big casino cause that would be an insult to casinos. In casino, there are actually rules that the house obides by.

I don't understand where this trust of Wall Street come from. Wall Street cares for one thing and that one thing is making money. It cares not for ethics, for doing the right thing, or for the greater good. It cares for making money however possible. It will do everything in its power, legally or not, to achieve their only goal, and that's to make money.

Human Trafficking – One excellent example of how the wealth gap is the root of so many other problems is in the case of human trafficking. Human trafficking is one of the most offensive and common problem that has arisen with the wealth gap issue. With the concentration of so much wealth lying in the hands of so few, everyone else is stuck with fighting for the scraps. When a situation like this appears, the scum of the earth will rise to take advantage of them.

Generating an estimated $32 billion dollars annually, human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal activity in the world today. It is also the most lucrative. According to a 2005 International Labor Office (ILO) report, just a single female held for sexual exploitation yields an average of $67,200 annually in Western Europe and North America.

Whether it is for manual labour, or at worse, in the sex trade, human trafficking is growing and will continue to grow. Human trafficking targets women and young children. Many times, they are lured and lied to about job opportunities, and sometimes, knowingly sold by their own families. This is how awful a wealth gap symptom can get. While there are hundreds getting multimillion dollar bonuses on wall street for gambling with the world’s money, others are stuck to live in a world they are bought and sold like animals in this ‘civilised’ world we live in. While a group of people thinks about what ridiculous mansion they should buy next, another lives in a hell every day of their lives.

The Military Industrial Complex – President Eisenhower warned in his farewell address that ‘we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.’

Sadly, just like so many things, we are doomed because we ignore and lack the ability to learn from history. Eisenhower’s warning is exactly what we’re experiencing today. It is the norm now, to hear from the president, that his foreign affair decisions will be made from advice from the military leadership on the ground. This is exactly what the founders of the country wanted to avoid when they set up the government. The head of state/chief would not be someone in the military, but would be a civilian for the sole purpose to protect the country from becoming a military runned state.

One thing that people seemed to have forgotten is that the military exists for conflict. They are in the business of war. Their survival and continual growth depends on there being a conflict. Like any other self preserving being/group, they will never say that there is no longer a conflict for that would essentially end their own existence. No general in the military will ever suggest not using the military for that’s what gives the military their life and it’s what gives them their purpose. The military will always say that there is a military solution to any problem. To ask and rely solely on the advise from the military about foreign affairs strategies is against everything the founders of the countries wanted.

Along those same lines and back to the wealth issue, there is a lot of money in continuing conflicts and the use of the military for the private sector. It is estimated that in 2010, the budget for the military will be between $880 billion and $1.03 trillion. The lobbyist for wall street and the private sector who caters to the military no doubt will do their best to ensure that this country stays at war for as long as possible. What do you think Wall Street will do to the stocks of these huge corporations if there were suddenly peace all over the world?

One thing people don’t seem to realise is that the people and organisations who have become obsessed with wealth cares for nothing but money. People and organisations who profits off conflicts and wars doesn’t care who they’re selling the guns to. Have you ever wondered who these 'terrorists' gets their weapons from? They don’t care that by perpetuating conflicts, more people will continue to suffer, and more people will die. This doesn’t matter to them. What matters is that they continue to have huge profits to show Wall Street. Wall street has become the all powerful that everything bows down to. If it takes continuing wars and for people to continue to suffer and die, so be it. All is well as long as Wall Street is happy.

This combination of the military and the private section is what we were warned about. Together, they can and will create propaganda to make sure we perpetuate wars and conflicts. They will sell fear, and sadly, with the citizens of the US becoming less knowledgeable in the world, we will buy this fear. These companies will profit while the rest of the world will suffer the consequences of war.

Pandemic – I don’t think I need to say too much about this. There will probably be a pandemic soon, and there will probably be no stopping it. With the world becoming smaller due to air travel, the hopes of stopping a pandemic is quite small. Also, with the current global financial crisis, governments would not have the resources to respond to a wide spread pandemic.

I thought this was interesting. During the Swine flu scare during 2009, there was a great shortage of vaccines to go around. Health professionals were busy trying to vaccinate the high risk populations (kids, pregnant women, etc.). With the demand so high, many high risk individuals didn’t get their vaccines. It was then reported that firms on Wall Street was able to get the vaccines before hospitals was able to. This is how bad things have become. Even in a case like a pandemic, as long as you’re rich, you’ll be fine.

Climate change – there’s probably enough talk of this that I won’t go into it. There’s a country that’s going to disappear in a few years because of the rising ocean levels. Go tell them there is no such thing as climate change.

In case you're feeling the cold this winter and doesn't think there is a global climate change happening, let me remind you of the difference between weather vs. climate change.

Weather is "the conditions in the atmosphere in a certain place during a certain time. Weather is always changing."

Climate is "what the weather is generally like over long periods of time, such as years or decades in a particular area. A place that has little rainfall has a dry climate, and a place that has high temperatures has a hot climate."

Your insanely short attention span is probably getting in the way of anything useful you may have to add to this conversation.

Let’s give this a try in 2010. Let’s not just take care of ourselves this year, take care of those around you and those that need help. It doesn't just have to be the people that you know. We’re all people and we’re all in this together. Only by working together will we be able to get through this.

Friday, January 01, 2010

2009 Year End Wrap Up

It's amazing. I probably say this every year, but where has the time gone? It seems not that long ago that I decided to move to Australia. Now, a year and a half later, I'm so settled and comfortable here. I would've never though that I'd be here, and I'm still a bit amazed by it every day.

In the last couple of years, I was hitting a bit of a wall in all parts of my life. There was a lot of the same ol' same ol'. I needed change and the opportunity came up. Pup and I packed up and moved around the world. Still amazed by that.

This year has been filled with so many new and exciting adventures. I've been staring at this post for quite a while now. Not quite sure what exactly to write about. I've gone back and re-read a lot of my old posts. Trying to find a continuing theme to write about or perhaps to get some ideas. None of which are really coming to me at the moment.

I understand this is probably not the best well thoughtout post.

As I was looking back, I also noticed the number of posts has greatly declined over the last few years. I wonder if it's because I have less to write about? Maybe my ideas are drying up? Maybe just getting lazier? My theory is that I just have so much more other things going on now. Writing these posts were an escape for me for the last few years. Now, I'm in the place that I want to be, and I guess I just don't need to be in this space as much.

I do miss these posts though. I'm glad when people take the time to read these posts, but mostly, I write them so I can read them later. I really like reading the things I was interested in the past and if anything has changed. This is a good record of that.

I generally reflect on what happened the year before, but as I mentioned, there was a lot that happened. There were a lot of fun, a lot of dancing, and a lot of good times. The bad times were kept to a minimum. Overall, it was a good year for me.

Here are some things that I am looking forward to doing in 2010:

Make at least 2 major travel trips - Now that I have someone to travel with, I'll be sure to make some travel plans to visit some new countries. It's strange. Speaking with people here, it seems that everyone, and I mean everyone, has travelled more than I have. This is so different than in the US. It just seems people's priorities are different. I will also make these trips a bit longer. I've always been a bit nervous and amazed at others who take long holidays, I think I'm getting over that now. Think it's about time I take more trips for longer periods.

I know I say this every year, but I will finish the screenplays this year.

Most importantly, I think I'm going to work on enjoying right now. Right now is very good. I will try to enjoy it as much as I can and worry about other things as they come up. I'm going to focus on now, and enjoy it now.

Happy New Year everyone. Have a wonderful year. Take those chances, take the dive. Make it a year that you will be proud of.