Posts Tagged ‘Thoughts’

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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I’ve been saying it for a long time – and now the President of the United States agrees with me – he doesn’t know WTF he’s doing!

Obama on Syria - we don't have a strategy yet

I can’t say as I take much satisfaction from his admission though.

The US President is the most powerful man in the world and he has at his disposal the most powerful military organization in the world.

Yet he doesn’t know what to do with it, when to do it, or even who to aim it at!

A bit of it, belatedly and half-heartedly, is now pointing at ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. Yes, you’re right, they are the very same Islamic terrorists he was funding for a while in Syria! He says he wasn’t, but in practice he was.

Confused?

You should be.

Because the Obama Administration certainly is!

Indeed Obama’s team of idiots have confused themselves to the degree that they don’t know what to do and are afraid to do it even if they did!

The situation is not being helped by the noise coming from the equally ill-informed politicians in the Republican camp either. Some cynics would say they are doing a lot of it with the November elections in mind!

Political Elephant and Donkey Cartoon

As I’ve said before on this blog, America has never been good at foreign policy. There are so many examples over the years to prove this beyond any and all doubt (Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, now Syria). But this latest debacle could turn out to be foreign policy failure on a grand scale.

This is simply down to the fact that, even yet, the Obama administration clearly does not understand the severity of the problem. They haven’t managed to process the long term threat that a well armed, well supported and well funded group like ISIS can become.

Everyone – except the President and his people apparently – knows that these terrorists will not be content even if they are allowed to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state in the Middle East. Their hatred of anything and everything in the West is total.

In fact, as we have seen in Iraq and Syria, their hatred even extends to fellow Muslims who they do not consider to be ‘militant enough’ and they have attacked and murdered them in just the same ways as they have attacked and murdered Christians.

In Syria, which is none of our business, the Obama team thought they wanted the Assad regime removed, and to get that done they thought they could support ISIS (or the anti-Assad fighters of whom ISIS were always destined to be a big part).

Now the US may well find itself on the same side as Assad in a fight against the terrorists. And that may be the crux of the US Administration’s problem. They made the wrong move, at the wrong time, in the wrong place, for all the wrong reasons and correcting the mistake will require a major volte face and sizeable portion of humble pie.

Are they big enough to swallow it?

We’ll see.   

humble-pie

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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A few weeks ago I wrote a post that I called “Why are the bureaucrats destroying what made America great?” (if you want to refer to it please click here

In it I posed the question as to why a self-defeating wealth-distributing philosophy is taking the place of the business-friendly environment that America is famed for and that made it the wealthiest nation on Earth. And why the bureaucrats are trying to make it increasingly more difficult and expensive for businesses to operate in the US rather than offering more incentives and encouragement.

drop business incentive programs

The example I gave in the previous post was the huge pharmaceutical corporation called AbbVie, which was relocating from Chicago, Illinois, to Europe and thereby effectively cutting its tax bill in half – a significant saving when you are generating billions of dollars in revenue each year.

Now the latest corporation to show its frustration with the way things are deteriorating in America is the Miami based fast food giant Burger King. It is currently in merger talks with Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons, in a deal that would allow Burger King to relocate out of the US with a view to trying to cut its “big whopper”  of a tax bill too.

Since the new company would be headquartered in Canada, Burger King would no longer be liable for punitive US taxes which are now regarded as the highest among developed economies.

It’s another high profile example of what is called an ‘inversion’ deal, a strategy that allows US firms to lower their tax bills by merging with a foreign company, and then relocating to the new country.

tim hortons logo

The Obama administration’s response has been predictable  –  cry foul, say it’s not fair, and tell these corporations to forget about the best strategy for their business and just wrap themselves in the Star Spangled Banner.

“My attitude,” the President declared in July, “is I don’t care if it’s legal — it’s wrong.”

It’s great to love your country, but it’s tough when the government of your country doesn’t love you back! And it will take more than bogus emotional claptrap to change the minds of hard-headed businessmen.

What Obama and his henchmen should be doing is asking themselves why it is happening and what THEY are doing wrong that makes these giant wealth creating corporations want to get out of America as fast as they can.

But they won’t do that.

That would make sense –  and sense is the last thing that the bureaucrats want to apply to any situation.

So they’ll continue to spend money they don’t have, on things the country can’t afford and probably doesn’t need, and then pass the bill on to the tax payers.

Their short term solution to these corporate inversion deals will be to try to legislate to make them illegal. Good luck with that, I have never seen legislation drafted by an idiot bureaucrat that a team of top corporate lawyers couldn’t drive a coach and horses through.

So rather than stopping the exodus, it’s more of a question of what will be the next corporation to leave???

drive a coach and horses through

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hello and welcome to another fact feast day on the fasab blog.

The usual selection of random facts, but with a few extras thrown in as a tribute to the late, great, and apparently much troubled Robin Williams.

Enjoy.

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did you know2

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In spite of the larger-than-life legends,

the Pony Express only lasted 19 months

(April 1860 to October 1861)

Pony Express

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According to a published Star Wars encyclopedia,

the real name of the Star Wars robot known to us as ‘R2-D2’,

is actually ‘Second Generation Robotic Droid Series-2’.

Star Wars robots R2D2 and 3CP0

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Robin Williams was awarded a star

on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

in Hollywood, California

on December 12, 1990.

Robin Williams Hollywood Walk of Fame

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The first chocolate bar

suitable enough for widespread consumption

was produced by the Fry’s chocolate factory,

located in Bristol, England in 1847.

Fry's chocolate factory Bristol

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Of the ten deadliest wars every fought,

seven were fought in China

More people died in each of the two largest

than in WWI

war in China

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Up until the 1800s dentures were often

made from the teeth of dead soldiers.

dentures

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Robin Williams devoted much of his time and energy to charities.

For example,

he supported St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

and helped to rebuild the city of Christchurch

after the 2010 earthquake in New Zealand.

Robin Williams; Whoopi Goldberg; Billy Crystal

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In Archi,

a language spoken around the Caspian Sea,

each verb can have up to 1.5 million different conjugations

Archi_pic

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During medieval times animals were put on trial

and sometimes sentenced to death

Medieval animal trials

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Robin Williams co-owned the Rubicon restaurant in San Francisco

with his friend Robert De Niro and

fellow Bay area resident Francis Ford Coppola.

Rubicon restaurant in San Francisco

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You have roughly 70,000 thoughts

every day!

thoughts

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Dung beetles can use the Milky Way to navigate.

(My stars!)

Dung beetles can use the Milky Way to navigate

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The title, “World’s luckiest unluckiest man”

belongs to Frane Selak, a Croatian music teacher,

who has literally escaped the jaws of death seven times.

On January 1962, a train he was on flipped off the tracks

killing 17 passengers. He survived.

In 1963, he was sucked out of a malfunctioning plane door

and landed in a haystack; the plane crashed killing 19 people.

In 1966, a bus Selak was on skidded off the road and into a river

where four passengers drowned.

1970 and 1973 his car caught on fire;

1995 he was struck by a bus

and in 1996 he drove into a gorge.

Frane Selak

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In 1911, French tailor Franz Reichelt

decided to test his invention,

a combination overcoat and parachute,

by jumping off the Eiffel Tower.

It didn’t work.

Franz Reichelt Eiffel Tower

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Robin WIlliams is also the author of many

both humorous and serious quotes such as:

“Reality is just a crutch for people

who can’t cope with drugs.“

Or

“No matter what people tell you,

words and ideas can change the world.“

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Farnborough Airc Show 2014 logo

In the summer in Farnborough in Hampshire, England one of the biggest events in the aviation industry takes place. It’s call the Farnborough Air Show.

I remember when I used to work in that industry helping to prepare invitations, information packs, and all the usual PR stuff. Farnborough is THE place to meet and greet both those who buy aircraft and those firms like Boeing and AIrbus who build them and provide tens of thousands of jobs for smaller companies.

So it is an important event.

At this year’s show they named the world’s best airline, in fact they named the top ten best airlines.

And despite the United States building some of the best airplanes in the world, and despite the United States having some of the world’s largest and busiest airlines, do you know how many United States airlines made it into the top ten?

The title of this post probably gave it away. The answer is….

None. That’s ninguno, aucun, keiner, zero!

Even the regional category for North America was won by Air Canada.

cartoon intrusive airport searches

Apparently, not only are air travelers in America to be treated as potential terrorists, herded and prodded and scanned and humiliated when they are trying to get on to an airplane. But when they do, the comfort and service they can expect will be second rate.

I think that’s a disgrace. America should be leading the world in the standard of their airlines. They should be at least one, if not more, of the top ten list every year offering a consistently high standard that their customers (that’s you and me) deserve.

And this award is decided by the votes of millions of travelers, so customers’ opinions do count.

So time for United States airlines to ditch those bureaucratic bean counters who decide that they can squeeze just another row of seats into an airplane so that everyone is uncomfortable. In the long term this kind of thinking doesn’t save you money, it loses you money. And when your customers vote for the best airline, they don’t vote for you!

For those of you who are interested, this year’s best airline was the Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific. They were voted best performer across all types of travel, economy, and luxury.

Cathay Pacific World's Best Airline 2014

Cathay Pacific World’s Best Airline 2014

Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines placed second and third respectively in the global category, with last year’s winner, Emirates, slipping to fourth. Fifth to tenth places went to Turkish Airlines, ANA All Nippon Airways, Garuda Indonesia, Asiana Airlines, Etihad Airways and Lufthansa respectively.

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Pierre-Joseph Proudhon – What It Means To Be Governed.

Posted: May 25, 2014 in Current Events, Inspirational, Politics, Rants
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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I had intended to indulge myself today with a bit of a Sunday Sermon about the increasing intrusiveness of government.

But then I found a quote from a Frenchman named Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and I decided to let him use my pulpit on this occasion.

He didn’t know about the “En ess a” snoopers who have been listening to our phone calls, reading our emails, and spying on the leaders of nations that are supposed to be friends and allies of the United States, because he was speaking about what it means to be governed more than two hundred years ago.

Nevertheless, his words ring eerily true.

Nothing, it seems, has changed.

In fact today’s technology has made things far worse.

This is what he had to say all those years ago….

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To be governed is to be

watched over,

inspected,

spied on,

directed,

legislated at,

regulated,

docketed,

indoctrinated,

preached at,

controlled,

assessed,

weighed,

censored,

(and) ordered about,

by men who have neither the right, nor the knowledge, nor the virtue.

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To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction,

noted,

registered,

enrolled,

taxed,

stamped,

measured,

numbered,

assessed,

licensed,

authorized,

admonished,

forbidden,

reformed,

corrected,

(and) punished.

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It is, under the pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be

placed under contribution,

trained,

ransomed,

exploited,

monopolized,

extorted,

squeezed,

mystified,

(and) robbed;

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Then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be

repressed,

fined,

despised,

harassed,

tracked,

abused,

clubbed,

disarmed,

choked,

imprisoned,

judged,

condemned,

shot,

deported,

sacrificed,

sold,

betrayed;

and, to crown all,

mocked,

ridiculed,

outraged,

(and) dishonoured.

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That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.

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The man knew what he was talking about.

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Portrait_of_Pierre_Joseph_Proudhon_1865

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, (1809 – 1865) was a French politician, the founder of Mutualist philosophy, an economist and a libertarian socialist. He was the first person to declare himself an anarchist and is among its most influential theorists. He is considered by many to be the “father of anarchism”. He became a member of the French Parliament after the revolution of 1848, whereupon and thereafter he referred to himself as a federalist.

(Bio source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre-Joseph_Proudhon )

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Many Happy Returns Webby!

Posted: May 10, 2014 in bankers, Business, Computers, Current Events
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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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World-Wide-Web

The World Wide Web, created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, turned 25 years old this year, 2014.

There has never been anything like it before, certainly not as regards the impact it has made on society and the way we live our lives. Many of those changes are good, many are not so good and a few are downright annoying.

Here’s my take on some of them.

To concentrate on the good parts first, the one thing the www has done, for those who can use it effectively, is to give access to information that was previously only available to the elite few who managed to claw their way into the lofty heights of academia, or who worked in places where information was readily available. Now the same information is accessible at the touch of a button to anyone and everyone with a smart phone, tablet or computer.

Another benefit, in my view anyway, is that is has sent a massive wake-up call to telephone providers world wide, many of whom were fast asleep, content to rake in healthy profits from antiquated systems. No longer do we have to settle for slow and temperamental data transfer lines. Nowadays, particularly in the last few years, people are demanding systems that can cope with download streams in the gigabyte range. If you are old enough to remember the first modems you will know you wasted too much of your life trying to download at 12Kb/sec., sometimes less.

Freedom is also a welcome by-product of the World Wide Web.

The freedom to work in any country in the world, from virtually any country in the world is one big plus – it is for me anyhow. Another one I particularly like is the freedom to watch TV programs that I like, when I like, no longer tied to the schedules of some brainless bean-counter working for a broadcasting company. And the freedom to have your say on things as and when the mood takes you – they call that blogging don’t you know! – is also a great advantage to the ordinary person.

www words

As is the freedom to disseminate information across the globe instantly, as Mr Snowden ably demonstrated, although I would hazard a guess that the powers that be would not agree with me on that one.

Indeed, this is the one aspect of the www that really bothers big brother.

China for example is one country where access is controlled by the state. Coincidentally this year also marks the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, you’ll find articles about that if you do a search, but probably not in China. They get away with it because they are not a democracy and do not pretend to be one.

In other countries, like the good old Land Of The (Not So) Free (Anymore)), the powers still like to con their people into believing that they are living in a democratic nation and that the people have the power to vote for this or that. But think for a moment, when was the last time you got to vote on whether to start a war, or whether to give $billions of your money to the greedy banksters to pay themselves huge bonuses and gamble away the rest?

It is because they need to keep the pretence of democracy going, that they do not yet have the confidence to start overtly censoring the internet. But they do all they can to snoop on what people are reading, or writing, or looking at.

This is where the freedom the www and associated technology provides can also be a negative, when it is used by governments to surveil us and record every piece of data they can. If they were doing this selectively and targeting terrorists and criminals no one would be too worried. But they are doing it to all of us, guilty and innocent alike.

big brother is watching

They are also doing everything they can think of to impose taxes on internet commerce – of course they have to coz they’re stoney broke.

The www has revolutionized business practices and created all sorts of new commerce opportunities, Amazon perhaps being the best example of a company that has gone from nothing to a multi-billion dollar business in just a few years.

Communication and social interaction are also areas where the www has liberated the ordinary person – first with email and more recently with social media. In the near future expect to see social media expanding to become much more than individual platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. We are already seeing many new applications that are allowing people to communicate more widely, more easily and more often.

social media

Another negative is that the World Wide Web has unwittingly facilitated the proliferation of pornography and violence, and is teaching a generation of morons all the wrong things. Things that will ensure they become a burden on society, not an asset.

And it has also opened a whole new environment in which criminals can operate. Millions of dollars are being stolen every day through scams, confidence tricks and outright theft.

You could say (and I frequently do) that people dumb enough to fall for these scams deserve all they get, or all they lose, is perhaps a better way of putting it. You know, the idiots who believe they really have won a lottery they didn’t buy a ticket for, or who think that Dr Umbungo Watanga from Nigeria is being truthful when he tells them that someone they never heard of has left them $25 million and all they need to do is send all their personal details and a few thousand dollars to unlock the fortune that awaits them. There really is one born every minute it seems!

All that said, and twenty-five years on, the www is still in its infancy. We have come a long way in the past 25 years, but we have really only scratched the surface as regards what the web has the potential to do to further improve our daily lives.

Where the vision to develop the www will come from in anyone’s guess. The only thing we know for sure is that the initiative won’t come from governments or their bureaucratic servants, simply because the people we elect to those positions do not have the required intelligence.

So its up to you. If you have any great ideas you want to share, send me an email.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the World Wide Web.

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