My Soap Box -

Here is my chance to say my piece without interruption - but of course, not necessarily without argument! Please feel free to email me with your own sentiments on these issues - or if you have an issue of your own, throw it to me also...

 

PUT A LID ON IT ALL.

When is a law not a law? When one is enacted but which no one seems to take seriously - not even the legislators or enforcers.Such is the law relating to cyclists wearing helmets in Queensland, Australia. Intended to help reduce the number of serious injuries or death caused from bicycle accidents, it has become a virtual joke - and one which does not bode well for future generation's respect for the law.Despite being in force now for many years, every day you can see people of all ages riding without helmets... and still the Police ignore them

Why should children have any respect for this law, when they argue that helmets are not comfortable or fashionable, so their parents give way to them, their teachers ignore the fact that they ride to school unprotected, and Police drive past them in their droves with nary a glance at them breaching the law. Suggest to these riders that they are endangering themselves AND breaking the law, and you are greeted with the one-finger salute &/or verbal abuse. Yet it is not limited to just the younger, immature riders who flaunt this law - adults(sometimes with their own children riding alongside) also don't feel the law is worth any regard. They should know better!

The comparable law of seatbelts in vehicles is generally accepted as being perhaps uncomfortable, but compelling when one accepts that they do save lives, and Police fervently uphold the practice of wearing them --- why then, the difference in attitude and acceptance. The law either is valid and therefore enforceable, or it is unnecessary and so should be repealed.

So, what does all this say for the future? If you don't think a law is correct, just ignore it - be independent, be yourself.If enough people think like you, it will exist but not prevail. A phantom law - today bike helmets, tomorrow - who knows..!

And another example of Police inaction with regard to flagrant disregard for the law (sometimes at risk to other motorists) is the increasing frquency of cars travelling at night with BOTH headlights and driving lights sometimes euphemistically called "fog"-lights but far brighter and larger than their standrad headlamps!). The law says only two lamps and if "fog"-lamps are in use, headlamps should be off. Do the Police enforce this? NO! Even when being pulled over for random breath testing, such vehicles are allowed to move on without being told to turn off their lower lights. When I challenged a policeman at one such testing point about the car immeidately in front of me, he said they were onyl interested in the breath testing. What the..?

 

OUR YOUTH GO UP IN SMOKE.

Another, seemingly pathetic law is that relating to children smoking. The law declares that no person under 18 years of age, should have access to cigarettes. Tell that to the 12 year olds puffing a weed on the way to school. The obvious greed of shopkeepers who choose to poison our young and take a dollar profit, rather than deny them the chance to hasten their deaths, is shown day after day.

What does the government do? Despite the public cost of supporting a person dying of throat or lung cancer is in the tens of thousands of dollars each, they decide a fine on the shopkeeper caught selling the fags to minors will be about $1,000.

They don't want to be too tough, since they rely on the revenue from tobacco to help fund their budget, but then, if they were to increase the intensity of the policing of the very law they have implemented, they could realise a veritable gold mine in fines - oh, but then the volume of cigarettes sold would, no doubt, rapidly decline, and then where would they be..?

Isn't it now time for governments to get serious with the root cause of all this - the tobacco companies themselves - and levy them the millions of dolars annually allocated to the treamtment of smoking-related sicknesses? And further, just as licenced clubs will face total smoking bans from July 1, 2006 - perhaps now the authorities should stiffen the penalties for selling tobacco products to our youth?

 

LET'S GAMBLE WITH OUR FUTURE.

As if the Government hasn't exploited it's citizens enough with tobacco revenues, since the prognosis of a recovery in that sector of funding does not appear good, they have now broadened their attack on the people by not only collecting revenue from gaming pursuits - so called recreational hobbies - but they even promote and sponsor such activities. Want some land, an historic building, or maybe just lots of easy access to people through newsagents or pubs - here you go then, is that enough..!

First we had government sanctioned horse racing, then we were given the TAB - the easier assault on our wallets, and then came Lotto. Next, the declaration that pokies would never be seen in Queensland - whoops, did we say never? We mean eventually - yes, and here they are now, in abundance - and government controlled. Oh, and if you want someplace more inducive to blowing you payroll - come on in to our casino's...

While businesses fail daily in this state, and government espousing how active our local economy is, we see more and more debt-related problems appearing amid families, due directly to unrestrained gambling through all these avenues for government backed fund-raising.

One might even say that, one day, we might as well simply buy a lottery ticket to see if we work this day, then another to determine what we will earn, and yet another to decide whether to just gamble the income on a double-or-nothing throw of the dice, to see if the day was a success or not. Now that is really good for the economy isn't it!

With Government itself, now becoming the all-consuming behemoth which appears to be destroying it's own lair and food source, what hope do we, as a society and community, have of surviving it's own demise. Self-interest, short-term gain, long-term neglect do not generate the correct atmosphere for a healthy environment, whatever it is. Instead, a government committed to the welfare, success and growth of it's community is what should exist - within a realistic budget, derived and supported from positive energies and income streams. Any suggestions on what these might be?

As at Januarey 2006, Australians gambled and LOST about $720 per capita each year (over US$1,100 pa each), with most coming from machine-based gambling. That's almost $8 billion a year, of which the government takes billions as well - why should they move to restrict the addiction - it's just too good for them.It might be horrifying to know the returns today.

Our great national leader (aka John Howard) told the world in January 2006 that Australia had the dubious claim of having 20% of the entire world's poker machines (no less than 200,000 machines) - yet we have but 20 million people in this grand nation, in a world of 6 billion ---> that's just 0.3% of the world. Now isn't that simply disgusting.

This addiction to gambling just keeps growing and growing, with the government tacitly feeding the greed of the common people, endorsing the fever for "Jackpot" draws in Lotto, etc. Yet the people fail to understand that these mega-prizes are coming from their own pockets - the government and the promoters cetainly aren't sacrificing their shares to provide shuch windfalls - they are simply the outcome of the growing investment of people's hard-earned money in these games of chance, and again the government simply sits back and waits as their profit share continues to roll in.

 

THE RAPE OF OUR ENVIRONMENT.

This world was created by an extremely knowledgeable entity, and it has managed it's own continuum for millennia.

Along comes one of it's dominant inhabitants - humanity - and within a few short centuries, has now managed to eradicate whole species of life, turn good lands and water courses into desert, raze huge oxygen-generating forests into waste lands, pollute oceans, clouds and lands with nuclear radiation, toxins and heavy-metals; all along placing the well-being of future generations of all the world's creatures in clear jeopardy. Much of this has been brought about through our ignorance and carelessness - but much more has been deliberately incurred in the search for profit or material gain.

Every country has it's share of the blame, but if nothing else might unite all the world's people, despair and hopelessness in a destroyed landscape surely could. It is up to this generation to help forestall such a calamity - from the youngest to the oldest and the richest to the poorest - every one of us can do something to help the future life of this planet.

Reducing waste, eliminating the use of toxic chemicals and reducing fuel emissions, preventing the mass slaughter of creatures without regard for the survival of their species - only taking that quantity needed for food, preventing the mass exploitation of mineral, agricultural and land resources. There is no real room for complacency in this issue - we all will reap the results of our activity or inactivity - no one can escape the outcome - let us all therefore hope that the future will be a good one and not one of despair.

 

YOU CAN BANK ON PRIVATIZATION AND BANKS - FOR SURE.

Recently, the topic of "does privatization of public utilities benefit society or not" came up amongst my friends. We decided that if you are a shareholder of the new privatised entity then probably "yes", but otherwise - definitely no. The reason: Since it is the prime motive of all private business to generate profits, maximizing the rate of return etc, it is not feasible for such entities to simply be content with the "public" motivation of break-even delivery. Therefore, despiet any promises or expecations of cheaper delivery should not be accepted.

The same goes for banks. Once upon a time, a bank was deemed to be the guardian of your money, who used it to generate an income, in return for which they paid their depositors a dividend, in the form of interest, in compensation for the use of our money in making them money. Today, this has changed too, with banks now charging depositors for the use of their own funds, penalising them for not spending enough, and reducing effective access to those funds, or increasing the cost burden to the depositor to access their own funds -- all producing now, meteoric profit and growth for all of them. Only 5 years ago, a bank would declare a profit of $500 million per annum - now they are posting profits of more than that PER QUARTER - or $2.6 billion per annum. Where does that sort of money come from? You and me - and can you do anything to stop them grabbing more and more of your money - not a chance - so enjoy what you have, while you can.

 

THE (ILL) LEGAL SYSTEM.

Much has been written by contemporary authors about the demise of truth and justice in the legal system which has now evolved in Australia. We have adopted what is termed the "adversary" system of determining the victor in a dispute. This is great news for the legal profession, since it means you do not actually have to be the victim to win the dispute - all it now takes is a damn good lawyer, lacking in morals and ethics (there are plenty of them available!!), bags-full of money and you are a winner. A popular adage circulating at present is "my client is innocent until proven broke" just about sums it up.

I won't bore you here with any of the sordid tales I can personally recount, except just to say that I have now concluded that the only way to come out of a ligitation dispute, with you shirt still on, irrespective of your position in the matter, is to not start it and keep the lawyers out of it. I have had over 13 years personal experience in this field and wish I had had less than 13 minutes - even that much is expensive and useless.

 

911 - HELP OR HINDER

911 has long been the American phone number which has produced help for its citizens and been the savior of so many. September 11, 2001 has changed that forever - sadly. From this day forward, many people of the world will remember it for pehaps the most horrible and sad terrorist act committed on innocents.

Any disaster brings to mind the immense sadness of the loss of life and future dreams of those involved, directly and indirectly. When it occurs on such a massive scale, the enormity only serves to deepen that sadness.

What makes this case even more sad is the almost implied obligation that retaliation must be forthcoming - and inevitably involving even more innocents. We should know by now, that the deaths of more do not compensate for the deaths of the first. Retribution often transcends simple revenge and can also be bounded by other issues like greed, politics, religion genetic, racial or other factors - or any combination of these.

All I wish to say on this matter is that I pray that common sense shall prevail by all nations and their people, to limit acts of aggression against others, irrespective of motivation, and to quickly adjust people's focus back to those who have died and the losses to all innocents in this matter. Love needs to shine victorious today through these storm clouds and blow them away. Compassion must flourish and blossom in this time of distress.

 

WHAT'S MORE VALUABLE ? OIL OR WATER?

Oil prices continue to rise worldwide, for any of the myriad of reasons contrived by the oil companies and the source countries. Australia now regularly pays well over $1 per litre and we yell and scream and demand government action.

But does anyone question or bother to think about why is can cost $3.00 for a 600ml bottle of natural spring water from so many retail outlets?

Petroleum undergoes enormous refining and processing to produce unleaded fuel, but drining water entails simply filtration and bottling. Oil is a finite resource, whereas water is, theoretically, renewable. So how come this anomaly in pricing?

When you think that bottled aerated soft-drink, like Coke, is say, 90% water and 10% sugar-based flavouring (and also water-based), and sells for the same or even less than straight water, why the premium for something so fundamental?

And then also think that the same company often produces the water and the soft-drink, maybe even via the same plumbing, it just doesn't make sense, does it! Of course it does make cents and maybe there's the answer...

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this far... have a wonderful day... may good health and happiness be with you always..!

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Last revised: January 26, 2006