Appointment at Metro West: Jousting with Max and Sarina

One of the volunteers greets a staff member from Sarina Russo. “Hi, Dan, how’s it going?” Dan mumbles a reply and avoids eye-contact as he heads for the escalators. “He used to be my case officer” says the volunteer loudly.

I really like the bit above – the Union volunteer was a bludger before, and now that he’s with the Union, he’s still a bludger!.

What’s that saying….something about leopards and spots?

Source: Appointment at Metro West: Jousting with Max and Sarina

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Is it time for UN to Follow in the Footsteps of the League of Nations?

While all the news channels have been working overtime, providing in-depth coverage and analysis of UN’s decision that Julian Assange has been detained unlawfully in Ecuadorian Embassy, I couldn’t help but laugh at the “power” of UN.

Let’s leave the issue of whether Assange is being guilty or not aside. (Just for the record – the guy should be sitting in jail as far as I’m concerned). What I find incredible that it took UN 44 months to come to the point of making a decision, and once the decision actually has been made, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on!

For those who didn’t follow it too closely, I’ll remind that the UN’s decision is not binding, and therefore both UK and Swedish governments immediately responded by not recognising the UN’s decision as valid and even calling it “ridiculous”.

UN - United of Nothing

UN – United of Nothing

Once again, the UN proves to be a toothless tiger, a gathering of useless bureaucrats whose main task is to move papers from one side of the desk to another one.

There is nothing new about countries not recognising UNs decisions. It’s almost expected that states like Iran, North Korea, Syria, Russia, Pakistan to name a few, would ignore the whining originated from the leather armchairs of UN’s offices.

However to hear the rebellious rhetoric coming out of the government offices of UK and Sweden is entirely different matter.

These events make me ask – why do we need UN? Is there a point in pouring billions of dollars in supporting organisation that is unable to do or change, I mean REALLY change, anything?

Maybe it is time that the UN follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, the League of Nations? LN has been founded in 1920 on a back of the Paris Peace Conference at the end of World War 1, functioned (sort of) for about two and a half decades and then fallen apart just before the World War 2 started. The League failed in its prime goals – achieving peace and disarmament.

Shortly after the World War 2, the UN has been formed, and it has been functioning (if it can be qualified as functioning) for the past 70 years. In my opinion, UN is way past its due date, and the only thing it is now capable of, is producing unsavoury smell, just like most “out of date” products do. It needs to be taken off the shelf of the world politics and buried deep inside, only accessible by people with special clearances, trained to withstand large amounts of hot air and bad gases.

Let’s be real – UN General Assembly can make all decisions in a world, but they are not binding and therefore the very existence of Assembly is pointless. UN Security Council does have a bit of a muscle, but most of the times the decisions are blocked by either US/UK camp, or by the Russia/China camp. So the Council spends most of the time in a deadlock, unable to make much use of its powers.

Guardians of the Galaxy - a better choice

Guardians of the Galaxy – a better choice

I think it’s time to cut our losses, admit that the humanity failed, once again, to achieve utopia and find better use for the hundreds of millions of dollars we spend every year flogging a dead horse.

I’m tipping, Guardians of the Galaxy crew or a Green Lantern would do much better job. Alternatively, if we could find a way to neutralise Loki, we would find Thor more than capable of keeping the peace on good old Earth.

ASIC – a toothless tiger of financial industry

Last night I was looking for some light reading, so I’ve turned my attention to the Money Management website. On it, I found an article telling us that ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) purposefully does NOT take action against misleading advertising by Industry Super Funds.

Former Faceless Man, now in a running to become our next Prime Minister

Union cronie, wants to be our next Prime Minister

For anyone who just came back from extended travels throughout the Phoenix Cluster galaxy and might not be up to speed with things here on Earth, Industry Super Funds are effectively owned by the Unions and for all intents and purposes are untouchable.

According to ASIC’s own website, they “contribute to Australia’s economic reputation and wellbeing by ensuring that Australia’s financial markets are fair and transparent, supported by confident and informed investors and consumers.” Again, in their own words, one of their strategic priorities is “Ensuring fair, orderly and transparent markets”. They should add “unless it involves Trade Unions, in which case we tuck our tail between our legs and play dead”.Don’t get me wrong, ASIC isn’t just sitting idly on its hands. It jumps in and investigates and sets rulings and cancels licenses and banishes businesses….. Only last year they banned a finance broker from Lidcombe, NSW. They banned Commonwealth financial planning adviser for not providing a paperwork within specific timeframe. They banned adviser of the Magnitude Group. They banned insurance broker of Leedam Pty Ltd. The list goes on and on and on. Mostly ASIC came down really hard on small to medium size businesses.

real people are the victims

-thejournal.ie

Don’t get me wrong, ASIC isn’t just sitting idly on its hands. It jumps in and investigates and sets rulings and cancels licenses and banishes businesses….. Only last year they banned a finance broker from Lidcombe, NSW. They banned Commonwealth financial planning adviser for not providing a paperwork within specific timeframe. They banned adviser of the Magnitude Group. They banned insurance broker of Leedam Pty Ltd. The list goes on and on and on. Mostly ASIC came down really hard on small to medium size businesses.

 

I am the first to congratulate ASIC for cleaning the industry from the dodgy operators. I would congratulate them even more if they actually dared to face up to the real bullies of the industry.

2015 – The Year of Terror

As this year draws to a close, I look back and remember all the things that happened in a last 12 months. Unfortunately, the memories that come to the front are far from being pleasant.

I remember about thousands of people being murdered in terrorist attacks. I remember that over half of the population of the Earth live in countries exposed to terror. Countries where murder committed by terrorists is a daily occurrence. We tend to ignore the terror when it happens in “one of those places”. Terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, or anywhere in Africa are of little consequence to the rest of us in a Western world and barely score a mention somewhere on page 9 of a daily newspaper.

terror at Lindt Cafe, Sydney siege

Lindt Cafe, Sydney siege

But this year it’s not just the “usual suspects”. This year we have seen terrorists blowing a Russian passenger jet out of the sky.We’ve seen terrorists killing a police employee on a streets of Sydney in Australia. We have seen them spilling blood in Ukraine. Exploding bombs in Paris. We’ve seen an ISIS-inspired execution in Japan. We’ve seen car bombs exploding in Aussies’ favorite holiday destination – Thailand. We have seen shootings in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We’ve seen people being murdered on streets of United States.

They say numbers don’t lie. Well, here are the numbers. As at the time of writing this blog, we experienced 338 terrorist attacks. That’s 1 attack every day. No longer it’s something that only happens sometimes, a couple of times a year or maybe once a month. Terror is a daily occurrence in our lives.  Terrorists performed their heinous acts in 35 countries. Combined population of these countries is 4.2 billion people. That’s 59% of an entire world’s population living their lives exposed to terrorism.

Drug Cartels

Drug Cartels

 

On a side note, the only continent that didn’t really get affected by terrorism this past year was South America. Coincidently, we all know about how strong the drug cartels are in Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico and Bolivia. I guess cartels are scarier than American Navy Seals, Australian SAS or French Foreign Legion? Maybe instead of spending millions of dollars by sending our troops in Syria or Iran, we can just ask Cartels to “take care of business”?

What is the cost of a human life?

What is the cost of a human life?

On a surface, it’s a simple enough question. After all, a human life is all we have, is the only thing we care about. I mean really care about. Human life is priceless, right?

Well, it depends. Depends on whose life it is. Over the past 5 years the world has seen lots and lots of people die. In Syria alone, 250,000 people died. What did the world do about it? Nothing.

Syrian  conflict - 250,000 people dead

Syrian conflict – 250,000 people dead

Sure, we sent some troops in, we dropped few bombs, we ran few news reports, but largely, this remained something that was happening to some random people in a part of the world where someone is always fighting someone else. So we really didn’t give a shit.

Not until terrorists killed 224 people on board of a Russian plane and 130 people in Paris attacks.

Suddenly, the whole world is outraged. Russia, France and the USA talk about tough measures to stop terror. They talk about retaliation. They talk about being at war. Things just got real.

French soldiers patrol near the Eiffel Tower in Paris

French soldiers patrol near the Eiffel Tower in Paris

And so now, we can try to answer our question about the cost of a human life.

One Russian life cost about 1,116 Syrian lives. One French life cost about 1,923 Syrian lives.

The world has to come to realisation that a terrorist act is a terrorist act regardless if it happens in Middle East, Europe, Bali, or anywhere else in a world. The world has to come to realisation that a terrorist act is a terrorist act regardless of a weapon being used. It can be a nervous gas, or a Kalashnikov, or a bomb, or a knife, or a rock. The victims of terrorist acts don’t care how they got killed.

The families of victims don’t care how their loved once got murdered. What they want, what they really care about is for us to get real and to stop the terror.

Who is providing support to ISIS terrorists?

Isn’t is ironic, that USA and UK are in top 10 countries from where the ISIS supporters are tweeting from?Infographic: Where are ISIS supporters tweeting from? | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista

Perharps America, England and all the other Western democracies should get real serious about cleaning up their own backyard?

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.