Being Somebody – My Musings During the Melbourne Cup

Yesterday Melbourne was in a grip of a racing fever. There’s been a lot said over the past few days about the Melbourne Cup all over the internet and traditional media, so I’m not going to talk about it. I’ll leave it to others to talk about the winning horses, or talented trainers, or incredible jockeys.

Zap Fitness gym

Inside one of Zap’s many locations

I want to talk about something completely different. At about the time when Race 7 was stopping the nation, I was in a middle of my own race – on a treadmill in my local gym. Coincidently, there was a lot of people around me, who cared very little about the races, but who cared a lot about deadlifts, bicep curls and reps. While running, I was listening to  Lay Me Low – a great song by an extremely talented Nick Cave. I must’ve been hearing this song for the hundreds time, but for some reason, this was the time when something about the lyrics attracted my attention. In particular, these lines:

They will interview my teachers (Lay me low)
Who’ll say I was one of God’s sorrier creatures
They’ll print informative six-page features
When I go

 

This made me think – how many of us will merit a six-page feature when we go? How about a one page? Or even a single line? Too many of us go through life without really doing anything outstanding, without caring about what’s happening around them, without being a Somebody.

Freedom of thought

Engage your mind.

I remember years ago, as a young man I was working with a cynical old-timer. He used to tell me “Never get a reputation”. I asked him once, “Don’t you mean never get a bad reputation?” “No” he said, “never get a reputation of any kind. You will be expected to live up to it”.

Now decades later, listening to Nick Cave, I remembered this conversation and thought that I would rather, in a words of a song, Make a Stand. I would rather get a reputation.

Be known for something. Be known as someone.

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Greste and his al-Jazeera colleagues are criminals who potentially endangered the lives of people of Egypt

Once again, I couldn’t help but laugh at the hypocrisy of the left-wing media.

Peter Greste in a nutshell- embarrassed to say "thanks" to his government

Peter Greste in a nutshell embarrassed to say “thanks” to his government

The same people who jump up and down at every opportunity – and often without one – to scream at us about the importance of free choice, democracy and the right to decide without undue interference, the same people are now shaking their fists at big bad wolf who almost swallowed poor innocent Little Red. I’m referring of course to the news of Peter Greste being sentenced by Egyptian authorities to 3 years in prison on terrorism charges.

It’s the Bali saga all over again. Australian citizens go to an independent sovereign country, break that country’s laws, get convicted, and this creates an absolute cacophony of voices trying to convince us that our fellow Aussies are just innocent victims of hostile foreign powers.

Am I missing something here? Greste decided to make a career as a journalist. Instead of doing something safe, like reportage from a chess championship, or from Melbourne Spring Festival, he chosen to travel to the country known for its instability. Regardless of what we might think of that country, it is a free, sovereign state with its own set of laws and its own judicial system.

Do the crime, do the time

Do the crime, do the time

Greste wasn’t triad by a kangaroo court. He went through the comprehensive investigation, discovery process and a trail.

It is a common knowledge, that not knowing the law does not free you from being accountable under that law.

Greste and his left wing cronies might think that he is an angel dragged down by the evil power, but in the eyes of the host country he and his two al-Jazeera colleagues are criminals who endangered the lives of people of that country.

Egypt is doing its hardest to combat the terrorist group known as Muslim Brotherhood, and arrogance and ignorance of media “professionals” like Greste doing a lot of damage to the long and hard process that the people of Egypt are currently undertaking.

People Who Live in Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones, or Is This The End of English Monarchy?

‘The Sun has sunk to a new low’, ‘British public reacts with fury after tabloid publishes 80-year-old pictures of the seven-year-old Queen and the Queen Mother being taught a Nazi salute’ – these are just some of the headlines following publication of the current Queen of England performing Nazi salute 80 years ago.

There is a lot of talk about banishing The Sun, and about restricting Murdock’s rights of entering the UK. While I understand the sentiment behind it, I disagree with the idea. UK is a free, democratic country. The Sun, while being an absolute rat rag, published a factually correct story.

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

Instead of calling for heads to roll and for banishing people and businesses, the English establishment should stop and think about what this really means to them.

The way I see it, a 7 years old girl had been brainwashed to become a Nazi sympathiser. Instead, she grew up to be a woman of good stature and a reasonable Queen. She had shown the strength of character befitting of a monarch. If anything, the English should see it as a feel-good story.

On another side of the divide, there are loud voices calling for the end of monarchy and for introduction of a republic.

This just makes me cringe. I wonder if these same individual protest all and any political and/or economic dealings with the US government, which was quiet happy to acknowledge the French Vichy government as the official government of France. The fact that it was Hitler’s little puppet didn’t seem to bother anyone in Washington.

In all fairness, France  and USA weren’t the only ones who openly (or secretly) embraced the Nazi regime. Russia had signed a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, aimed at carving up bits of Europe.

It Is also a well-known fact that Muslim Brotherhood’s leader Hassan al-Banna, was an ardent supporter of Nazi Germany, as was a Grand Mufti of Jerusalaem.

It wasn’t just the political and religious leaders who willingly cooperated with Nazis.

There was a lot of money to be made, and some big businesses couldn’t contain their greed.

Nazi Concentration Camp Tattoo

Nazi Concentration Camp Tattoo

That’s why I wonder how many of these same republicans that call to abandon the monarchy, simply because a 7 year old girl gave Nazi salute, are driving Fords? Henry Ford was Hitler’s close friend and the only American who received Nazi Germany’s highest honour – the Grand Cross of the German Eagle. Or how many of them use IBM equipment? Remember those infamous tattoos that Nazi victims were given upon entering concentration camps? They are the serial numbers that were fed into IBM’s accounting systems to insure efficiency.

The list of the companies who made their fortunes by cooperating with Nazis is quite long. Some of them made (or at least attempted to) make amends for their dark past, some are completely happy and comfortable with their history.

I guess what I’m saying is that before calling for the heads to roll, and for monarchs to be toppled, the instigators should have a good look at themselves and make sure they are not tainted.

Destroying Our History…. and Confederate Flags

For the past week America has been busy. Busy burning flags, editing them out of movies, removing references to Confederate flags, getting ready to demolish statues and rename the streets named after the Confederate leaders.

Why? It follows the tragedy of the shooting at Charleston church. The shooting suspect has been seen in a photo holding the Confederate flag.

Confederate Battle Flag was simply just that. A battle flag. It was never even a National flag, so how could it have flown over a slave nation or represented slavery or racism

Confederate battle flag

Is the Confederate flag a symbol of racism? Maybe. Does is have anything to do with the church shooting, or the murder of blacks in America that seems to be an everyday occurrence?  I doubt it.

In fact, of all blacks murdered in USA in 2013, over 90% were killed by other blacks. So we are not looking at wide-spread, racially motivated phenomenon here.

My first thought when I’ve heard about this idea of editing the flag out of history – “It’s just like Orwell’s 1984!” Not really surprising, considering the current political climate in America.

My second thought was – why is it, that displaying an ISIS flag, or a Hezbollah flag is perfectly fine, and Amazon selling ISIS flag, but removing Confederate flag is also fine with everyone – apparently it’s all about the “freedom of speech” and “freedom of expression”, but displaying a Confederate flag is suddenly an act of evil?

On emotional level I can understand the reaction. Innocent people dying is an ugly, horrifying event. An event that is sure to affect people’s ability to think rationally. However it should never result in us erasing our collective history. It’s amazing though, how often we engage in this kind of destruction of our history.

Lenin

Founder of the Communism in Russia

From the Tatars burning orthodox churches of Russia and Ukraine to the Communists destroying everything related to the Tsar family, to the current Ukrainian government destroying statues of Lenin and all things Commy, to the ISIS destroying mosques in Syria, to the Americans destroying their history of slavery, the story is always the same. Regardless of who’s holding the torch (or controls the demolition ball), from Golden Horde to the Communists, from Nazis to terrorists, from Whites to Blacks to Yellow, we are all engaged in one common action – destruction of the history of the humanity.

So maybe next time we stumble across something “offensive” or “undesirable” from our past, before we start looking for matches, I suggest we stop for a minute and think not about “here” and “now”, but about how erasing this particular part of our past will affect our future.

Our history, good or bad is what brought us here. Just like a tree cannot grow without its roots, the humanity cannot move forward without knowing its history.

Australian Greens Enter New Era Under New Leadership

And so it happened. After just two years at the helm of the most useless (or is it the least useful?) party in Australia, Christine Milne has announced her resignation as the leader of the Greens Party of Australia.

The media is abuzz with speculations as to why she decided to resign so unexpectedly – the official version is to be with her family, and who the man who became a successor really is– apart from having an uncommon name of Di Natale, and what’s he really about.

The question is – do we really care? I mean it’s not like we are talking about a party of substance, a party of progress. Greens have always been an “I Object” Party, making it their goal to create as much noise and enter into as many political speculations as possible.

Encourage people-smugglers to bring more illegal immigrants into Australia? Greens vote YES! So what if a couple of thousand of them get drowned on a way? There’s plenty more where they came from, and it makes for a great news story.

Australian Parliament

Australian Parliament

Protest back-burning of bushland in ACT? Greens vote YES! So what if houses get destroyed by raging fire and people die? We have lots of people in Canberra, and it makes for a great news story.

Sending a Sea Shepherd to board a sea vessel flying a flag of an independent country in international waters? Greens vote YES!  So what that by doing so the lives of people put in mortal danger? There is plenty more people on high seas, and it makes for a great news story.

If the Greens are to be taken seriously, they should take a good hard look at themselves and decide if it’s time to leave behind its questionable past and move into the future where most of us reside already. Not that I’ll be holding my breath waiting to see the Greens turning into political party of the 21st century, but it is encouraging to see that they started with one thing that made sense.

Lenin

Founder of the Communism in Russia

The fact that Adam Bandt, the only Lower House MP got effectively dumped, is an indication that Greens leadership is taking the right approach and moving away (at least on a surface) from being an openly Socialist Party (Adam Bandt) to being a quasi-progressive party (Richard Di Natale).

 

 

From now on, only time will tell. We would have to make ourselves comfortable, get some pop-corns and get ready to watch the never-ending tragicomedy that is Australian Politics.

Prime Minister is holding a vigil for a couple of convicted criminals

Now I’ve seen everything! PM of Australia Tony Abbott and the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, accompanied by other MPs are holding candlelight vigil for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, due to be executed in Bali. For those living under a rock for the past few months – Chan and Sukumaran are a couple of scumbags, who used to make money by destroying people’s lives

I wrote about the Bali pair last month here, and I argued that drug traffickers deserve the strictest punishment available under the law.  But at the time, I was only angry at all those little people living inside my TV and talking nonsense all the time.

Australian Parliament

Australian Parliament

Today I’m absolutely dumbfounded by the fact that my Prime Minister displays same level of stupidity (and yes, I know that the accepted, politically correct word is compassion) as the talking heads inside of my TV. I am absolutely dumbfounded that the Opposition Leader found the issue of prosecution of a drug trafficker, drug kingpin, drug-ring leader the only issue worthy enough to show solidarity and support with the current Government. Not the issue of improving our economy. Not the issue of dealing with the raising terrorism threat, not any of the other real issues affecting millions of people of Australia. No. The one and only issue that united Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten is How we can save lives of people whose chosen life path is destroying other people’s lives?

I am speechless. I have no speech. Both Libs and Labor are very lucky that we are not going into an election any time soon, because even that Muir dude, the one that spends his time throwing faeces at his mates is looking pretty good right now.

Bali 9, Drug Smugglers and Capital Punishment

The other day at work I have been listening to SKY News repeating over and over the same bit of news: “The last hope for two Australian drug smugglers on death row in Bali has been dashed”. After hearing this for what must’ve been a twentieth time, I found myself arguing with the TV.

Do the crime, do the time

Do the crime, do the time

I argued that I fail to understand why Australia is so keen on having those drug smugglers pardoned. They went to a foreign country. Country known to have a very strict anti-drug laws. They have been found guilty of their crime in that country’s court. How dare we interfere in an independent country’s internal affairs, or presume that our legal system is superior to theirs?

SKY dragged out some chick from the Amnesty International, who went on and on about how Capital Punishment should be abolished everywhere on Earth. Great idea in theory, a noble one. Really stupid in practice. For once, there is no AI chapter in Indonesia, so how can they possibly know and judge the laws, customs and values of that country? Secondly, I am a bit sceptical about an organisation that acts all-righteous and screams from its website that they do not accept government funding, yet they accept hundreds of millions of dollars from various governments around the world.

But going back to the drug lords, or drug mules or drug-whatever-they-called-today, the bottom line is really very clear.

I’ve always thought that there is a certain hierarchy in heinosity of various crimes.

The worst of the lot, the absolute scum of the Earth are pedofiles, closely followed by rapists and any other sex offenders. Ranking next on a criminal ladder are all the people making money on drugs. Drug growers, drug traffickers, drug dealers, drug anything…

Drugs destroy lives

Drugs destroy lives

So I guess what I’m saying is that the world would be a better place without those trying to poison our society and the only involvement from the media should be live broadcast of the sentencing and execution, with the hope that it will stop another dumb, down on luck kid from ever touching that shit.

Now I’m gonna go and argue with the TV a bit more….