|SKULLTRIPPER: BLOG OF DOUG|
global economic and political issues
Got some peaches and cream and some eggs at the store and went to the counter to pay. There was this trucker there ahead of me and his perfume must have been essence of pig farmer/sewage technician/I haven't had a bath in forty years!
His aroma filled the front part of the store. It was probably the worst thing I have ever smelled in my life and I have smelled liquified dead hog and dog's who roll around in that, soaking their fur, horse manure (which I kind of like), and horrible rancid underwear (sometimes my own)
He weighed 200 kg if not more. I don't mean to mock the poor guy just describe the odious qualities of the man.
I came near to vomiting and hours later I still had it intact in my mind. I think it was on my clothing as well.
Back home it was all over me still. It took all the enjoyment out of eating the peaches and cream with sugar.
I should have immediately left the store without the peaches. If this man ever had a bath all the fish downriver and every living thing including birds passing overhead would immediately die.
What a walking reminder he is to everyone to change their underwear!
And the weirdest thing is that he is oblivious to his "sphere of influence" extending miles around him in every direction including up! How is this possible??
And Imagine the inside of his truck! His Rolling Accommodation. I sincerely pity any hitchiker he picks up or any mechanic unfortunate enough to have to repair his truck!
I should have had the human decency to tell him, "Sir, you are the worst-smelling object I have met in my life! But all I could think of was putting as much distance between myself and "the source" as humanly possible.
Perhaps no one ever told him but how is this possible? That a man could be that filthy and no one ever hints at it? Yet surely there are clues! You walk into a restaurant and patrons immediately flee and cleaning companies for miles around drop whatever they are doing and dart for the place the moment you walk out the door?
And just imagine his social life, everyone fleeing the moment you appear. What must he think of people when Everywhere you go you see people doubling over, gagging and vomiting! And still it doesn't cross your mind. "Maybe I should grab a shower. It's been forty years"?
We hear this word a heluvalot these days. It is as if equality was the perfect moral target held high in our day. What do we strive for, people? Equality! Equality!
Should we perhaps consider the meaning of the word before setting it on display with full regalia as our national dream?
Are we talking about everyone weighing the same amount, which could certainly not be done without some nasty surgeries taking place, perhaps in some cases even fatal surgeries?
Are we talking about gender equality? Also cannot be done without surgery.
So then, is it financial equality as in totalitarian socialism? In that case I'd venture a wild guess that those beneath the average would want this and those above probably not, so some struggle would be required to achieve this new utopia, probably, again, involving some level of surgery and bloodshed.
Perhaps "fairness" would be a better word then? And if this is the real moral principle we're after, let's go for it, for who could possibly be against fairness??
Now then, let's discuss fairness-equality thingy. I'm picturing a Canadian 26 year old, slightly plump waitress, whose boyfriend left her when she suddenly became pregnant with twins and would not "terminate the pregnancy" "for the sake of the children". She works nine hours including the walks to deliver and collect her kids from the daycare and pays 30 percent combined federal and provincial tax on her minimum wage income, Gst on most everything she buys, even Gst on the stamps she buys for the postcards she sends to her mom in Hungary.
Ok, so I made this poor Hungarian woman up in my head. Yet millions of such parents exist and the fruit of their tiring physical labour is being confiscated whilst this is being typed so that failing banking conglomerates and failed businesses can be bailed and failed politicians can receive their generous severance packages and their gilded indexed pensions continue to flow unimpeded.
In realities harsh light then, how dare any politician in Canada mouth the word "equality" as if we had made even the slightest awkward stumbling step towards it?
On another level, we fail on "equality" when we confiscate, (steal, take by force) a working person's property and dish it out to the one who refuses to work. What exactly is fair about that? Should the satellite dish game show expert receive the same benefit as the rig-hand who rolls out of bed at 4 AM and puts in 16 hours in the -40C temperature of northern Alberta? If you can answer "yes" to that, you just might be a liberal!
Maybe it's time to put this word "equality", finally to bed then. Let it toss and turn there, forever fretting fitfully about how to make things more equal in a grotesquely unequal world. How to build millions of identical houses for millions of identical same-gendered equal people who don't exist anywhere, whatsoever. Isn't it the differences between us that make life interesting and entertaining, after all?
Ho hum. Another day. Another terrorist attack. And while the assault we endure in the Yukon every summer by the tourorists goes on with very little in the way of physical carnage the terrorists increase the level of mayhem in the world at large, today in the form of a van allegedly running people down on the London Bridge in London.
When will it end? Why are these multiple "extremists" so very unhappy? These men surely must realize their lives may quite suddenly end during or after the event of the attack. They could simply go to the nearest pub instead and enjoy a fish and chips with ale, but instead... this is happening.
How to understand what goes on inside the mind of someone who makes a decision such as this? Perhaps for a start, we might want to imagine how we would react to a country which continually profits from bombing our own civilians, killing our wives and brothers and children at will from the comfort of the cockpit of a jetfighter. To us, then, on the ground in Aleppo the dead piling up around us are not "terrorists" but relatives, friends, acquaintances. People we've known and respected all of our lives.
And so, from that perspective it shouldn't be so very difficult to see why many of these people are hellbent on revenge. But as understandable as their anger may be, I kind of like my kids and don't really want my guts spread out underneath a car either.. The larger question, the question we all face today is what are we going to do about it?
Many in the west are willing to accommodate people who are truly, desperately in need, maybe even going beyond tolerance to the realm of helping them! Their hearts go out to families who have lost everything they ever valued, who arrive with nothing and face the insurmountable hurdle of earning a living in a land which is completely foreign to them, whose culture is unlearnable, whose ways and customs are beyond understanding. Imagine arriving in Saudi with nothing, crawling up the beach from the sea and beginning a new life in Abu Dabai, white as a seagull and with every eye suspicious of your intentions.
But again, what should be done? The situation, if these attacks are real, and not faked to get the public to support the war-profiteers, appears to be quickly spiraling out of control. With the situation becoming evermore desperate, something needs to happen to prevent a massive public physical backlash against any and all migrants, the vast majority of whom clearly want nothing to do with violence or they wouldn't have made the treacherous trip to escape it in their own homelands!
We could, perhaps, restrict entrance to children under six and women over 60, leaving the most likely age group for a terrorist attack to find another destination. Of course, the unfairness of this for all those who do not fit the safe profile would be an awful injustice, but the benefits might outweigh the costs of such a decision. As a parent myself, the thought of my own children being able to have a chance at a peaceful life would very likely over-shadow my own desire for safety, so i could imagine accepting the reality that this new land fears me enough to keep me out while accepting my young children, and the aged, the most at-risk people, after all.
And yes, of course, this is raw discrimination at its finest. But don't we all 'discriminate' every time we shop? Whatever we choose to accept results in an automatic rejection of something or someone else. And to repeat myself yet again, the situation does appear desperate enough to demand a desperate solution. A desperate solution to prevent a much worse scenario than the one we are today experiencing. A crazy idea? Your call. (And no worries. i have a lot more!)
That famous and amazing scene in the Monty Python classic, "Holy Grail" explores the issue of authority, its origins and likely outcome.
Now if I were to claim ultimate authority over a tract of wilderness due to the fact that i had adopted a unique uniform and a commanding viewpoint and a booming voice, it might be possible to cowe someone into obedience to this "authority" of mine. In fact, i was once told in a children's camp to act like i was in authority and the people would obey me, which i found to my astonishment to be absolutely true!
As many others have pointed out, we are all indoctrinated from our youngest days to respect "authority" and bow in obedience to it. Doubt this? Next time you're in a crowd, speak in a commanding tone and order the people around you to line up in this or that fashion, and watch them hasten to comply. (But you're on your own with this one, because i have no idea what you may order, to whom you give your instruction and what the recipients of your commands will choose to do!)
Obedience is actually quite an interesting human phenomonen and really makes you wonder what the reason might be for this built-in propensity to carry out the will of another perceived to be in authority.
And of course, as with anything in our world, there are those who will exploit this human tendency for their own purposes. Some of the worst of the worst, must have severely soiled themselves laughing in private at their underlings willingness to obey their commands, even stacking authority in ever-increasing layers for their own amusement, demanding the most ridiculous services for little or no personal reward, except to laugh at the stupidity of those beneath their command.
And, naturally enough, others have orchestrated mass murders in the millions of people. Estimates seem to range between 60 and 80 million people murdered under Mao Tse Tung's roguish command, during peacetimes! Quite a sick accomplishment to be sure! And an indication that maybe we should rethink obedience a bit! It was the obedient after all who carried out these murders! Ever thought of disobedience as being a virue? There are times it certainly is! A new thought? That's too bad and indicates a real bad case of control compliance inside of your own brain.
What if there was a ground-swell of disobedience to evil commands? A lot of things could be made right in a hurry!
I'm obviously not talking about disobedience for its own sake but a willingness to say "no" to commands which one finds morally reprehensible. We all need to give a lot of thought to this: blind obedience to any and all commands is definitely not a virtue, nor is glibly accepting the authority of another without questioning the source and value of that authority.
It may cost an individual everything he holds dear to stand up to evil. And counting on the support of friends and family in such a case is not wise. Expect if you take such a stand, to lose whatever you hold dear, but expect at the same time to gain a great level of self-respect and dignity in a decaying society. A self-respect that cannot be taken from you, even in death. A self-respect not gained by the compliant mass of men.
You're ten years old and sitting at your desk, wishing with all your heart you were anywhere but in the most boring language arts lecture to which a human has ever been subjected
You risk a glance out the one small window and notice some tall grass blowing in the breeze. Your mind drifts out, away from the wretched indoctrination centre and over the open prairie to the sea. An island, a Sandy island with pirates all about. Pirates with shovels burying a large wooden crate filled with what?
Plastic Canadian 20 dollar bills with Queen Elizabeth in her finery?
Not bloody likely!
No, it's filled with jewels of course, and silver and gold, silly! If it were full of plastic bills in a few years they'd all be worthless because of govt-driven inflation, and what real pirate doesn't know how that scam works?
And that's the point I want to make! How is it possible that a one ounce silver coin can be had for 20 bucks and a cup of coffee? Hasn't every kid dreamed of finding a chest full of silver and gold coins? And yet we deposit digital currency in the bank where inflation immediately begins eroding it's buying power. Worse, should cash be declared illegal, (as certain notes notes were recently in india) your stack of Queen Elizabeth's between the mattresses would not even make good toilet paper!
Why is silver so cheap? Is it because there is tons of "paper silver" out there? So much so that if everyone determined to collect the physical silver at once there would be a LOT of disappointed faces in the room!!
No matter what happens to paper money, property titles, silver certificates and all paper claims on any sort of wealth, physical silver or gold should always have real intrinsic worth, all the more so as it is being consumed in jewelry and electronics as a super-conductor.
Old Chinese proverb I just made up: Ten-year-old not so dumb! Maybe should listen to him!
Since returning to the Yukon in '98 I have, with one exception, provided the firewood for the local campground every summer..
At the beginning, the work was done on a handshake; make wood, submit the bill and we're done. It worked well. It's a bit different now!
This year In order for me to deliver dead wood to my local campground here is what is required:
- 2 million of commercial liability insurance
- Workmens Compensation (even if self-employed)
- Valid business license
- Proof the dead wood is cut legally and all fees and stumpage have been paid
- Even if the dead wood comes from outside the yukon, proof the wood is legally cut is required
- You must bring a large amount of dead wood almost immediately but cannot start too soon or deliver between 9pm and 9am.
-(nope, still not done.) You will also need an import stamp from Energy Mines and Resources
- A 4 car garage, red rubber boots and 6 Caucasian kids who never steal (ok I made that last one up)
- Next you must bid lower than anyone else to get the contract. Done all that? Now get to work!
This is in order for me to haul firewood ten miles from my yard the local campground. Now without speculating on who might behind this legal shmoozle, it is a fact that tweeking the law to benefit large contractors is a well-known tactic in the oil industry.
And what these exciting new rules ultimately achieve is this: By squeezing out the hippies with the old Fords and the babies crying in the kitchen, there's nothing to stop a big company from charging $800 a cord.
But why should you care? Because all you hippies with the old fords end up paying these bloated bills through higher taxation which is rather "unequal", I would say. Another name for this craziness is "fascism", (the unholy union of business and government) and it has all but destroyed this resource-rich country by driving us all into unrepayable debt.
But Im not all that upset. This is how this world spins and I can occupy my spare time doing something much more interesting. However, you may be impacted when you go off to your fav campground in a few years for a weekend outing and find firewood is not free anymore. If this should happen, you will know the reason. It became too expensive because of fascism, the unholy marriage of business and government. You're welcome.
Now in fairness, it is hard to argue with the basic premise that the one who can provide the service to the public in the most cost-effective manner should be the one to do the work. Could this principle be carried over to the the public sector? Should federal employees have to provide evidence of compliance with all requirements as well as bid for their public positions? I don't know.
Stepping a bit farther back and viewing the globe from a distance you would see that what i have just described is but a microcosm of what is going on all over the globe. Business has embedded in government to such a depth that the two have become inseparable like an extremely old couple, deeply in love. It isn't a problem for those reaping the rewards but it sure is for the rest of us. Ultimately we all become slaves to ever-increasing government debt, owed to central banks which are privately owned. We don't really notice or complain when taxes are added to our restaurant tab or the price at the pump seems a bit high or, or, or.... But the reality is that really what is being unjustly extracted from us is our time, the time it takes us to earn the money to replace what has been "extracted" by force.
The source of the problem is our currency and that is where the solution lies. In avoiding the use of it wherever possible. We need to re-learn the ancient art of barter and provide as much as we can by our own work. Alternatively, we could just prepare to live a much more humble life in the future as more and more time is extracted from us and our grandchildren by force to feed the global debt machine.
Switzerland: cheese, chocolate, mountains and money; all of these are there in great profusion, but on my second visit I found a few more things!
I've come to the conclusion after 20 years in the yukon that November through the first half of January are the months to leave to the wolves and the mouth-breathing lunatics who willingly stay without considering their options.
And so when the opportunity came to spend 6 weeks in "the island without oceans" I didn't hesitate, nor was I disappointed! What switzerland lacks in sharks and starfish it more than compensates for in splendid scenery, hiking trails everywhere, excellent food, friendly people, skiing and hockey
If you choose to pay the Swiss a visit, bring money. My first small cup of Starbucks pike (and last) cost right around $7 Canadian! However, there is no cause to panic because with a little effort, deals like good quality bakery bread for a couple of francs can easily be found.
This is a partial list of what my friend and I did in the region of Biel, near the French border:
We attended a hockey game with 17000 fans, most of them standing shoulder to shoulder thru the entire game, and yes there was yelling.
We hiked up to the "Grand Canyon of Switzerland, the great Creaux de Van and took too many pictures of the cliff and the "Ibex" or "Steinbok" which dwell there. We camped up there on new years eve and enjoyed a birds eye view of the fireworks in the countryside below.
We hiked three canyons near Biel, we pedalled around Biel lake one afternoon, about a 40 km jaunt, good for me!
We visited Lucerne, Bern, Zurich and Interlaken, all enjoyable and interesting places to visit. And of course, we visited Eigar, Jungfrau and saw some skiiing but way too much fog to see the mountains! These things happen in January sometimes... I was repeatedly told that January is not the best time to visit Switzerland, but if it is the worst, it is still not all that bad!
The political system operates quite differently from our "choose your dictator" for the next four years nonsense, with seven people ruling the country rather than just one. The other major difference is that every expense over a certain threshold triggers a referendum, and although this can slow decisions, it is also an effective way of preventing authoritarian rulers from running in ways contrary to the public good. We would benefit from such a system here in the west!
My general impression is that the Swiss have things well under control with a high quality of life. In six weeks I don't recall seeing a single homeless person. If they are, it is only because they choose to be. Probably as a consequence, crimes occur only sporadically; the streets, trains, buses and buildings seem well-maintained, and the people I met were polite, friendly and helpful. I very much enjoyed my time in S'land and definitely intend to return!
We sit near the window, in a parisian city bus, taking in the sights and sounds as the bus waits for a light at an intersection. I watch with interest as a lady with a can of soap approaches a stopped car, blowing kisses to announce her love for all. Unbidden, she slops soap and water over half the drivers windshield, totally obscuring his view. Irritated, he gestures she should leave but she continues in her mission, even after the wipers are activated. Clearly, it's a ploy to garner a little cash, though likely ineffective in this case, though it obviously works occasionally and is probably more effective than merely appealing to random stranger sympathy, thin soup at best..
My visit to Paris was different this time. The first time I saw it was in th 80s and we visited mainly the tourist spots. I was impressed with Napoleans exploits and also his fantastic tomb. The tower never fails to impress although the rudeness of the girl selling confections who made it clear she was not a fan of english-speaking men lingers. Notre Dame, the Louvre, Versailles and a trip on the Seine were all enjoyable but what struck me the most at the time was the War Museum. Powerful, stirring images of the tragedy of war still affect me, prompting me to do my bit to prevent a repeat if at all possible.
This time we made our way to Gare' Est and stayed in the Killiad Hotel. The room was clean and well done. The building a relic from centuries past. A great marriage of past and present. We travelled in the vicinity of this "gare" or train station over the next few days discovering an excellent crepery with my friends name, "Lulu" painted on the glass of the front door. And we visited what could be called "little India" where I had a taste of being in the minority and where cries of "Marlboro! Marlboro!" pinpointed sources of the local favourite smoke. I felt no particular fear in this crowded foreign market and in fact saw mostly only faces eager to return my smile or engage in conversation, even if it was only to sell me a belt or a cellphone.
And we found, after some searching, an access point for the old abandoned railroad which encircles Paris. We spent a little time there, photographing the amazing grafitti in surrounding buildings and stone walls. I found the little spots where homeless people had "camped" particularly sad and wouldnt have been surprised in the slightest to find a cadaver wrapped in a plastic sheet, curled up in a forgotten inset in the concrete tunnels the traintrack ran through.
I expected to find more desperate refugees in paris and may have, had we travelled through the right spots in the city. However, about the worst example was an Arabic woman with two children begging in a subway station transfer point. It was heartening to see a man returning with a supply of food and drink for the woman and her kids. However, I was warned that some of these are setups to defraud with men running the beggars almost like prostitution rings...possible I suppose but wht to do? Seems best to provide real goods rather than cash, for this reason and also to prevent possible substance abuse.
Paris: friendly faces, reasonable prices, interesting architecture, and great crepes!
For 25 years now i've cut and hauled firewood. It keeps me fit and i imagine, preserves my "youth" while keeping the bill collectors out of work. It's a great business, fun, dangerous enough to be interesting, though not very profitable, but that's not what this story is about.
I delivered some wood to an 81 year old man yesterday. He worked vigorously alongside me and we talked when the saw fell silent. He had grown up in Berlin in the late '20s. His family was told, f** your contract, get out of this house! So they spent the winter in a cabin and burned the floor to stay alive. He remembers going to school in mismatched shoes through deep snow, no socks. Said it taught him not to be wasteful. Some of us have yet to learn that truly valuable lesson.
There is a total disconnect between what we are hearing about global warming and what our leaders are doing. Have you noticed? In Canada our new PM is all wet and sweaty about adding a carbon tax to the working man's bulging pack of rocks. Simultaneously (and also at the very same time even!) we continue to escalate and involve ourselves in nearly every conflict on the planet. Has any research been devoted to the effect warfare and particularly nuclear warfare has on the planet? What about the fuel burned to move an aircraft carrier across the seat? What about the heat generated by just one hellfire missile? What would a few nukes do to my garden greens i wonder? Any numbers? All I've heard from the lamestream media on this topic is crickets but then, i've ditched almost all television many, many years ago. How about you? Have you seen a single report on the question of how war affects the temperature of the planet?
This sort of double-dating would be sad if it were not so funny! Punish me for driving 20 kms to work whilst provoking Russia with sanctions, anti-Putin propaganda, moving troops back and forth across the sea, droning tonnes of terrorist babies at will from the comfort of your air-conditioned bunkers and selling vast arrays of weaponry to virtually every bullying dictatorship on the planet?
Talk about "do as i say, not as i do"! It seems that christians aren't the only ones on the planet who are guilty of hypocrisy and double-standards! But as Kermit the frog says in those famous memes of his, "that's none of my business."
Weve spent a lot of time and energy discovering and discussing the problems of global indebtedness, corporate involvement in governing, taxation, and legislation schemes favoring these corporations. It's pretty clear what is gong on. Politicians jump when the money walks in and all their previous assertions that they are there for the little guy are promptly forgotten.
In contrast, not a lot of solutions have been put forward. Due to the incredible powers governments have handed themselves, even criminal offences go totally unpunished in the ruling elitist clubs.
Military corporations thrive on conflict and huge money is made through the destruction of lives, homes and public infrastructure. Again, what to do. What to do...
Can the lowly potato offer a solution?
Most of the evils of our time can be traced to the "love of money" It may further be noted that what passes for money these days is mostly nothing more than numbers on a screen and that these numbers are totally disconnected from any direct comparison of value. They have exactly the value that the possessor feels they have and no more. The value of fiat currency is constantly fluctuating based on the amount there is available for purchasing purposes. In fact, most of what we call money these days has been borrowed on a future we can only hope will meet our expectations. In these areas, governments, military and other corporations are extremely vulnerable.
Every gardener has probably noticed that what he produces in his own yard is free of taxation. He can grow his own food, harvest it, cook it and eat it in his own home without triggering a tax. Not so if he harvests his crop in the local grocer! The money he spends on the food from the store is not the only money he gives up as he has first to pay to travel to work to earn it, pay the income tax and all deductions and only then can he use the funds left over to buy his food. The same of course applies to hunting, fishing, berry-picking, fuelwood harvesting and so on. A huge indirect benefit for the hunter-gatherer. A side benefit is you get to make a little cut in the funding of the military industrial complex.
The same thing applies to bartering. Your neighbor and you can conspire to produce products you are unwilling to produce for yourselves and simply swap without triggering taxation. And again, a little less revenue flows to the empire.
Now, I'm not suggesting that if we all grow potatoes, wars will cease the world over and bluebirds will sing in every tree. Far be it from me to hint at such a lofty result. In fact, all manner of evil is likely to go on through the bloody future of this thing called mankind. Central banks would simply inject more cash into the banking system, resulting in higher and higher paper profits for the wealthy and hyper-inflation for anyone requiring their products.
My point is really, that the more independent we can as individuals become, the more difficult it will be to simply tax us all into slavery to a government gone mad with power. We on the ground need to pull together a lot more in the future and not let ourselves be divided by those who profit from division and conflict.
what if we could get to a point where we ourselves could become independent from the financial system to the point where we would refuse cash for our services and request payment in useful products or hard silver, gold or copper instead? Now wouldn't that be neat? No income tax!
Of course, this sort of mass disobedience would surely result in a counter-assault of some kind such as escalating property taxes payable immediately in public currency and that sort of thing. The beast will not be happy. Yet it's becoming clear enough to anyone even half awake that our world leaders are leading us into worldwide famine, mass public uprisings and likely nuclear conflict. Something has to be done.
So Rrrroll up your sleeves and grow some spuds !
Well, just let me say I've definitely taken the road less travelled. From a farmkid in Saskatchewan to commercial fisherman, welder, machinist, log builder, wilderness tourism guide, Ive got a wealth of memories but still often manage to forget some pretty basic things! I currently operate a fishing charter/canoe trip business in the southern yukon. Check my site! http://www.nisutlinoutfitting.com Oh and by the way, opi