A Lesson In National Leadership

“Putin can opt not to sign constitutional amendments if citizens don’t back them” – TASS

Do you want to see an example of democracy in action?  Get up to speed with what is going on in Russia just now.

There is no greater democratic statesman anywhere in the world than Vladimir Putin.  A man who takes the people with him in new and exciting directions.  Directions that will ensure the sovereignty of Russia for ever – or as long as there is a civilisation of mankind that can support nation states.

No Western leader would take such risks – or have the courage and mental acuity to even dream of such things. Although I don’t think he is a gambler. He must be pretty sure that the Russian people will back him up. But that is also something that Western style democracies do not possess – a united people. Western democracies generally survive on not more than one third of the people’s preferences – which is democracy in name only.

Good Apples; Rotten Apples

“Russia’s UN envoy: accusations of Russia, Syria at UN SC totally groundless” – TASS

The UN must stop using or even professing to use unfounded information from dubious and unnamed sources on civilian casualties in Syria’s Idlib province.  The true situation is nothing like that offered by UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, a British economist and civil servant.  What can he possibly know of war or terrorism?  Or even who to trust as reliable informants?

The UN of course is a composite body comprised of a whole barrel of different people, and as in any barrel of apples there are good apples and rotten apples.  The rotten apples must not be allowed to contaminate the rest of the barrel.  Lowcock, while he has a distinguished record of public service, is obviously one of the rotten apples, either by allowing himself to be misinformed or by his representation of a whole other barrel of similarly sourced rotten apples – the UK government.  

How do these people get to be in positions of power and influence?  There is obviously something very wrong with the way this world is run. 

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, I should add, is one of the good apples – which is not surprising since the Russian government is full of those – having recently undergone a cleansing to oust any suspect bad apples – and is prepared for a brighter future than many other nations, while making concerted efforts to lend a helping hand to many of those nations – especially those plagued by the influence and duress of bad apple nations.

Before I leave this theme I seem to have wandered into, while Australia is well known as the originator of the saying “she’ll be right”, there is another lesser known saying that Aussies use, with the same meaning: “she’ll be apples”.  It is unfortunate that by association with other bad apple nations, Australia appears to have its own homegrown government (and opposition) rife with rotten apples – though some of them, I suspect, are simply misinformed – and therefore possibly curable.

‘Deal of the Century’? Which Century? Not This One

“UN remains committed to MidEast settlement on basis of previous resolutions — spokesman” – TASS

It is good to see the UN standing up against the US for once, and rightly so. Trump’s new magic formula, or “deal of the century” as he calls it, is going nowhere.

The UN cannot diverge from its long held position – that’s what ‘resolutions’ are made for – independent ‘wheelers and dealers’ don’t get to dictate UN policy, and the Palestinians won’t have a bar of it either. Neither party will settle for anything less than pre-1967 restoration.

Think again, Donald. If you want to make deals, they have to be inclusive deals made jointly by all parties. No Johnny Maverick stuff allowed. Don’t you read history?

Here, read this. It couldn’t be stated more plainly, in words that even you should be able to understand:
“Palestine ready for talks with Israel only under Middle East Quartet mediation — Abbas” – TASS

And while we are on the subject, Russia should keep its nose out of the pie also – except to back up the UN if it feels that it should. President Putin is a brilliant statesman but his misguided religious leanings (I probably shouldn’t have said that – but it is how I feel) tend to make him favour Israel far more than he should. And we don’t want interference such as this to start up:
“Russian lawmaker says it will be ‘common success’ if sides start talks on Trump’s plan” – TASS

So, it looks like it is time to stand up for the right solution. And that is the one held by the UN for many years. This can only lead to tensions in the Middle East region, as sure as eggs are eggs.

Well, it is 2020, the year when everything will tend to blow up in somebody’s – or everybody’s – face. So why not? We have already narrowly escaped – although it may come back – Iranmaggedon. Then there was Bushfiremaggedon. We are bang in the middle of Coronamaggedon …and we are not yet out of January 2020!!

So why not add ME-Dealmaggedon to the list? At least that one is geographically situated in the right spot for all things ‘-mageddon’ – if you are so inclined to that sort of belief scenario.

This year is going to get a heap dirtier and a whole more dangerous and imflammative* before it… goodness, it’s far too early to talk about the year ending – though we may wish for that to happen soon.

*Yes, that’s a word. I checked. Even though the spellchecker doesn’t know about it and many major dictionaries render it as its rather less satisfying modern near equivalent – ‘inflammatory’.

‘Deal of the Century’? Which Century? Not this one.

Syrian Arab Army Continues Run Of Victories Over Terrorism

Marvellous news for Syria as its successful army (SAA) liberates the city of Maarat al-Numan and surrounding areas from the NATO backed, al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and various other ignominious groups.  You lose again, NATO.

Also being cut off and surrounded is the third (out of 12) Turkish observation posts in the area – this one only recently being set up in the last few months.  What were they thinking?  The success of Syria’s soldiers was obviously not part of the plan.

The victorious SAA continues to push westward to cut off any remaining terrorist forces in southern Idlib province, which they have made several unsuccessful attempts to do from the more difficult terrain from the west over the past year.  I’m glad they have realised that it is no good banging your head against a brick wall when there is an open window around the back.

There will soon be no place to hide for the remaining terrorists in Syria.  I suppose that means many of them will opt to be sent to Libya by Turkey.  They have been queuing up at the Turkish border for some time now to do that.

“IN PHOTO: SYRIAN ARMY TROOPS IN MAARAT AL-NUMAN” – Southfront

See also: “GOVERNMENT FORCES CONTINUE ADVANCING IN SOUTHERN IDLIB, WESTERN ALEPPO AFTER LIBERATION OF MAARAT AL-NUMAN” – Southfront

“Syrian army enters Maarat al-Numan in southeastern Idlib” – TASS

Facing An Unknown Climate

The latest visible effect of climate change – no monsoon season so far this year for southern hemisphere – surpassing all previous records.

“Latest monsoon onset for Darwin on record is now a certainty despite recent rain” – Australia ABC News

We haven’t seen anything yet of course on what the full effects of our disturbed global climate will bring, and not all of them will be visible in the early stages.  Actually, I don’t think anyone knows just what lies ahead for us at this stage.  We have estimates and opinions, but I think when we get to experience the reality we can be assured that we are not going to like the conditions we have to live through and many of us, perhaps even most of us, will have curtailed lives directly as a result of it.  We certainly will not be living the same way that we do now.

And I have to say this yet again – it doesn’t really matter whether we try to assuage the worst effects through climate action. You can’t stop 200 years of built up climate abuse in a few years of even determined effort – and the total human effort so far to prevent or even diminish what we think will occur, is far from determined. In fact you would be challenged to actually find any effective action anywhere.

Trump’s World – It’s Only Make-Believe

“2020 Starts With the Plain Prospect of Rising Heat” – Tim Radford via The Titanic Lifeboat Academy

The UK Met Office, based on measurements and forecasts by the Mauna Loa Observatory, estimates a 10% increase in global atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations for 2020.

US President Trump, of course, suggests that we ignore such forecasts coming from what he calls these “prophets of doom”.  Well, I am happy to be thought of as one of those “prophets of doom”. 

Trump lives in a make-believe world where America is thought of as a great country, everything is sweet and everyone who matters is an optimist. Nothing needs to be done other than to protect America’s economy. 

I live in the real world where America is a pain in the butt, the world is in turmoil – rampant with disasters of all kinds – death and destruction is everywhere and a catastrophically changing climate is increasingly impacting people’s lives.  Nothing can or will be be done and the least important thing on anyone’s mind is the state of the American economy. 

Even so, I would rather live in my real world, thank you.

Looming Defeat For US Imperialism

Pressure is mounting on the US to leave Iraq.  Their position there surely cannot remain tenable for long.  The position of the Iraqi government itself is also on equally unsteady ground.  Iraq is ready to assert its sovereignty as a nation that has been deprived of that since the US invasion of 2003.

This is likely to turn out to be another US Vietnam – with helicopter lift-offs from embassy roofs in yet another defeat for US imperialism.  Will they ever learn?

“Iraq: 3 Rockets Hit US Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone” – Telesur

See also: “Over 1 Million People Join March Against US Presence in Iraq” – Telesur

Supporting Something Useful

Every year I donate $20 to the Wikimedia Organisation, the home of Wikipedia, which I use extensively as a primary reference tool, not expecting anything back other than the service they provide.  I don’t support many things financially (never give to charity) but something useful, like Wikipedia, is Okay by me – if only to hopefully keep it ad-free.

This year, as a thankyou, they sent me this link to some beautiful nature photography, and since it is freely available on the web I thought I would share it. 

“Imagination becomes reality in the winners of the 2019 Wiki Loves Earth photo contest”

Panorama of the winter dawn on Ai-Petri

Just A Matter Of Time

“How long until drought-stricken towns run out of water?” – Australia ABC News

We are living in the end-times of modern human civilisation.  I have said this many times before of course, always with complete conviction, yet also always mixed with a little faith in the inevitability of that.  Today, in 2020, not so much faith is required, as increasingly the various signs and pointers begin to more strongly impress on the social consciousness that things really are moving in that direction. 

Soon, perhaps before year’s end or shortly thereafter, we will be able to discard faith entirely, and an unsettled assurance will begin to dominate human thinking accompanied by either blind panic or a resigned acceptance and a beginning of addressing the need to dramatically alter our way of life and our means of subsistence.  We may even be forced by circumstance to actually do those things.   

Fires, storms, floods, drought, heat, cold, conflict, internal and external geopolitical and financial pressures, food and water shortages, even (already raising its ugly head right now) potential deadly disease, all form a not exhaustive list of troubling factors that alarmingly begin to impinge on day-to-day living. And even though real and contradictory events may lull some of us into retaining a belief that, well, this may all just be temporary and foster a “she’ll be right” attitude, over time – and the time for that is fast running out – even the hardiest skeptic will need to readjust their thinking to more reflect a reality that has teeth, and bites.

I could wrap those comments around any number of shared articles covering many of the subjects mentioned, but today I chose this particular story from the ABC News.  You cannot retain community without a water supply, for long.  This is true all over the world, and the opposite – too much water (floods and storm surge) – is also true, and universally applicable. 

Many times have I mentioned that Australia is in the unfortunate position of needing to increasingly abandon large tracts of its interior for the first of those impacts and perhaps not so much just yet (but the time is coming), its vulnerable coastal regions (Australia being entirely surrounded by ocean and sea) for the second.  That has not yet sunk to any depth into the Australian psyche – which is the birthplace of the “she’ll be right” mindset.  It will sink in, soon.  Perhaps this year, as we begin to move through it, it all being just a matter of the progression of time.

Leading Western Nation Has To Guess Its Own Flu Death Count

Western hypocrisy over the China coronavirus issue is laid bare by Jeff Brown on the Titanic Lifeboat Academy,

25 deaths in China gets national and international attention – 6,600* deaths in USA goes unnoticed and without any kind of unified governmental action.

I hesitated to share this post initially because the figures are too fantastically high and in no way match the official figures, until you think about where they came from and the circumstances surrounding the subject.

*Actually, the latest figures for the current week estimate deaths at 8,200. This from the CDC website – see the blue ‘Key Points’ box:
“CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 15 million flu illnesses, 140,000 hospitalizations and 8,200 deaths from flu.”

“Estimated deaths”? Why ‘estimated’? In a supposedly ‘developed world’ nation? It’s because, well partly because, such reporting of disease as there is, is voluntary in the US. But mostly I reckon, because so many Americans can’t afford medical and hospital treatment. So basically it is just a guess. The official death figures, which lump pneumonia along with flu, are very much lower – hiding the problem.

So, the US has no real idea how many of its citizens die from illness each year. But I think they would certainly know, without having to scramble around for data, exactly how many tanks, planes, ships, soldiers, bullets, shells, bombs and missiles they have – or what they pay for them. It’s a question of priorities and individual human citizens don’t figure too highly on that scale.

Yet most Americans would still be of the opinion that their country is a role model for democracy, is my guess.

In China, 25 out of some 1.3 billion matter. In the US, 8,200 (and that figure will rise every week until possibly September) out of some 300 million, don’t seem to matter at all.

What more is there to say?