Managing Safety Is A Personal Matter

Perry Gamsby

Enjoy the blog posts here. They are an eclectic collection of opinions, events, experiences and sadly a few tragedies. All are true and have happened to someone, somewhere. Just about all of them were avoidable.  Visit every page on the site but come back here regularly as there will always be something new to read and hopefully learn from. Remember, few things in life are ever actually fatal.

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Same Sex Same Old Same Old

Personally I don’t care if two blokes or two sheilas want to get married; none of my business. Or is it? The whole same sex marriage debate is a political hot potato at the moment. The idea of a plebiscite versus a vote in parliament is a debate unto itself. At first I was all for the vote, after all, what did we elect them for if not to do this kind of thing. Then I heard arguments from those who wanted their say in the changing of a law that is fundamental to our society and its makeup. OK, fair enough, even if the majority of those wanting to vote seem to want to vote against other people being able to do what they already can. They seem, in the main, to be opposed to same sex marriage on religious grounds, as if their religion matters to me or anyone else not of their persuasion.

No it seems we now have the poor relation to a plebiscite… a postal plebiscite! Non-compulsory and like the full blown plebiscite… the government doesn’t have to obey the will of the masses! So what’s the point other than justice being seen to be done and all that? Isn’t that enough? If you think about it, same sex couples have been able to legally partner up as de facto couples for donkeys years, so why the big deal about the word, ‘marriage’? I can only think it is because that is the current, socially accepted title for union. Anything else doesn’t have the same authority and power and could be construed as sending the message that same sex people are lesser in value or somehow not as good as heterosexual couples. I wouldn’t think that but I can see how they think some would.

I do wonder about the real agenda here. Our society has been progressively ‘lefted’ in recent decades. We have identity politics and gender politics and race politics thrown at us constantly. Coupled with the PC brigade usurping all our words and telling us we can no longer use them for the meanings we have always used them for and it all gets a bit tiring. Diversity is another issue. I agree diversity is a good thing but… only if it does not mean a diverse range of white people, right? Especially not males, heterosexuals and particularly Anglo-Saxons. You can have five Africans, each from a very diverse cultural background and that is fine but if you have an Englishman, an Irishman, A Scotsman and a Pole… that is racist. I refuse to cringe or cower because I am who I am and had no say in that. It’s like gay pride… I don;t get it. What is there to be proud of? I ask that because if one can be proud of something then obversely one can be ashamed of the same thing and why should anyone be ashamed their sexual orientation is what it is. Again, like nationality, ethnicity and gender… you had no say in it. It was not a choice so no need to be ashamed and similarly, nothing to be proud of, either.

When we have the USA pre-positioning troops in over a hundred countries around the world, bombing anyone who needs a bit of freedom and basically invading sovereign nations at will, the question of whether two people in love should or should not marry isn’t that big a deal. Except to those two people, of course. Like I said, none of my business. I’m not about to divorce my wife, turn homosexual and marry another bloke. If two men or two women marry each other, how does that affect me and my life? But if the USA keeps throwing its weight around to further advance the business interests of the corporate fascists running our world… that might have more of an affect on my life than two people of the same gender saying “I do”.

Corporate Fascism

“Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power” Benito Mussolini

 

Corporate Fascism, not Capitalism

I read once that the USA is the home of capitalism and that capitalism and democracy is the only really fair system of governance. The sad reality is that the USA today is not the country I looked up to as a child in the 1960s. Of course it has never been the white hat country Hollywood had me believe it to be. The USA has always been all about making money for the rich elite… but name any other country that was or is any different? Some are just more rampant and rabid than others. We’ll discuss democracy later but the truth is the USA isn’t a capitalist country. True capitalism is a level playing field where everyone can, through hard work and luck, make a go of it. Market forces and supply and demand actually mean something and so long as you buy low and sell high you can’t lose.

The reality is this is not how it is. Corporate fascism is the way things are. Big monopolies crowding out the small time competition is the Amurricun way. Just look at Wal-mart, K-Mart, name any major chain you like. We have it in Australia with the duopoly in the supermarket trade. Colesworth don’t want opposition and while they accepted IGA as a necessary evil, if only because they covered regional areas that were uneconomical for their retail model, the invasion of Aldi really got them miffed. How dare they steal a slice of their pie! Time to diversify! It was around the time Aldi arrived that Woolworths entered the petrol station business and petrol prices have never been the same since. Before their entry into the market there was no ‘discount day’. There was no ‘price cycle’. Coles came on board and grabbed their share of the action and ever since we have been paying more for our fuel than we should. But it’s good for the shareholders and that is what corporate fascism is all about. Them, not us. Sure we can buy a few shares with our piddling super or savings but the real portfolios are held by big corporate investors. We, the general public, the working classes, are useful, a little annoying but overall not enough of a nuisance to stop us buying a few shares and thinking we are making money.

One Sided Customer Service

Corporations today pretend the customer is important; but we aren’t. We have value because without us they have no revenue. But don’t let the marketing hype and the press releases fool you. If they could make profit without having to have customers, they would. In fact they do via various ways and means, but that is a blog for another time. We are a necessary evil. Look at the scales and who has the power? Our one and only card we can play is our custom. If we don’t like the way they do business, we can take ours elsewhere. But if there is only one player, that means we have to take it and like it. When there are two players, we switch to the opposition and soon find out they are the same, perhaps even worse. So what then? As soon as a little guy pops up and offers a viable alternative one of three things happen.

First of all they can be forced out of business by the sheer buying power of the big guys who take a loss on some lines but make it up on others. It doesn’t hurt their bottom line but the little guy loses out and goes broke. The second way is they buy him up. Mergers and acquisitions. The third way is they use their leverage and regulate him out of business. They get the governments they have bought and paid for to make laws that are simply too expensive for the little guy to afford to abide by. This happened in the US some years ago when they instituted laws to regulate the online dating scene, specifically the ‘foreign brides’ or ‘mail order bride’ sites. They tacked legislation onto the back of another Bill that was a thousand pages long, pushed it through in the early hours of the morning and made it compulsory for men to disclose their personal details, including any ‘criminal history’ (and in the US they have arrest records so even if found innocent they can say you have been arrested), or else the dating site was penalised. Now, it didn’t apply to the biggest online dating sites, only the little guys!

The big guys have all the power because it is very much a take it or leave it proposition. just today I copped this when I rang the service agent for Euromaid to arrange repairs to our oven. I was told by a recording as I waited to speak to a human that call out fee was $99 and then $22 per ten minutes, plus parts and if I wasn’t there when the service guy arrived it was $45 for wasting his time (my words). I was told I couldn’t be given a specific time, only a period and I wouldn’t be told that until the morning of the scheduled call… by text at 8am. So I wouldn’t know if I had to stay home in the morning or afternoon until 8am. And if the time was for, say, 8am to 10am and I had to get my kids to school for 9am and he lobbed up then; it would be $45 and a new booking! When I mentioned how this was unfair and why couldn’t they tell me now what time slot he would cover I was told that didn’t suit them and I could take it or find another repair agent. I was then told this is how they have been doing it for 25 years so too bad, buddy (my words).

You see my point? It is all about what suits them, not me. Not the customer, the reason they have a business in the first place. Nope. When that gadget goes down, I need them and since lots of gadgets seem to be going down, we need them more than they need us. They are inflexible, unwilling to compromise and if you don’t like it, stiff. How is that ‘customer focused’? This attitude starts at the very top and trickles down through the ranks. This screw you, you are just a working class nobody mindset is prevalent among the rich and the hangers on to their coat tails. The minions and middle management types who aspire to one day be as arrogant and entitled as their bosses.

Will We See Change?

We see this in every aspect of corporate and industrial life; we see it in the public service and government once the salaries hit six figures. There are research papers published that document this entitlement mindset that comes with wealth, privilege and position; whether actual or assumed. The income inequality gap is widening, also.  The rich get richer and the poor get poorer and never more so than today. Joe Hockey, the former Treasurer in the Abbott government was a prime example of a rich, privileged gobshite. He led protests against having to pay for his university education in the 80s, yet was all too willing to put the cost of a degree well past the reach of most Australians. He said all you needed to do to buy your first home was ‘get a good job that pays good money‘. As if you had a choice between a well paying one and a job that paid poorly. Talk about out of touch with mainstream Aussies! He now makes $370K a year as our ambassador to the home of corporate fascism and also pockets a whopping politicians’ pension. Meanwhile his wife rakes millions in every year as a banker. We just got rid of that oxygen thief of an Australia Post CEO pocketing $5.4 million of our dollars every year while making us pay more for less postal services. I could go on and on and on but I’d start calling everyone ‘brother’ and ‘comrade’.

Will we see change? I don’t think so. I don’t think enough of us care to do more than vent on Facebook or blog like this. We feel it is pointless to badger our elected officials because they are part of the problem, with a very few exceptions. As George Orwell wrote in his 1936 book, ‘The Road To Wigan Pier’, “Here you come upon the important fact that every revolutionary opinion draws part of its strength from a secret conviction that nothing can be changed.” Has anything changed in the 81 years since he wrote those words? A world war, a cold war, umpteen other wars and nearly two decades of a ‘War on Terror’ that we are assured will go on for decades to come and yet still his words, written on the eve of his departure to the Spanish Civil War, ring true. Let me end with some more of his words from the same book because these are just as true today as they were then.

“This business of petty inconvenience and indignity, of being kept waiting about, of having to do everything at other people’s convenience, is inherent in working-class life. A thousand influences constantly press a working man down into a passive role. He does not act, he is acted upon. He feels himself the slave of mysterious authority and has a firm conviction that ‘they’ will never allow him to do this, that, and the other. Once when I was hop-picking I asked the sweated pickers (they earn something under sixpence an hour) why they did not form a union. I was told immediately that ‘they’ would never allow it. Who were ‘they’? I asked. Nobody seemed to know, but evidently ‘they’ were omnipotent.”

Today, ‘they’ are the corporate fascists, the bankers, the hyper rich, the politicians lining up their consultancy roles for when they finally sicken of the public trough. We outnumber them and we have a voice; social media. We need to use it.

 

Happy Birthday George Orwell

To celebrate the birthday of George Orwell (real name Eric Arthur Blair), two Dutch artists are putting party hats on CCTV cameras. I love it. It reminds us just how much of Orwell’s dystopian future described in ’1984′ has come to pass. The man was ahead of his time in more ways than just one novel, or even two if you throw in ‘Animal Farm’. Read his essays and think about what he is saying; it is so relevant to our society today.

What Will They Think Of Next?

Hot off the Facebook Presses from the UK where car thieving is at the cutting edge and they are forever coming up with new ways to be nasty:

On Wednesday, I approached my car from the passenger side to place my computer bag on the front passenger seat.
As I reached to open the door I noticed there was a hole right under my door handle.
My first thought was, “Someone has shot the car !”
I began to think about it and inspect it a little closer and the “light” slowly began to dawn.
I phoned a friend who owns a body shop, and asked if he had any vehicles with damage to the doors that looked like a bullet hole.
“Yes, I see it all the time. Thieves have a punch and place it right under the door handle, knock a hole through, reach in and unlock it, just as if they have a key. No alarms, broken glass, or anything.”
I then placed a call to my insurance agent and explained it to him. I was puzzled that they left my GPS and all other belongings.
Here is where it gets scary !
“Oh no, he said, they want the break-in to be so subtle that you don’t even realize it. They look at your GPS to see where “home” is. Or check your address from Insurance and Registration documants in your glove box. Now they know what you drive, go to your home, and if your vehicle isn’t there they assume you aren’t, and break into your home.”
He said they will even leave a purse or wallet and only take one or two credit cards. By the time you realize there has been a theft, they may have already had a couple of days or more to use them. (I didn’t realize my situation for two full days!) They even give you the courtesy of re-locking your doors for you.
Periodically, walk around your car, especially after you park in a shopping centre or other large parking area.
Report thefts immediately….your bank w/missing cheque numbers, your credit card agencies, police, and insurance companies, etc.
Below is picture of what the hole looks like.
One would have to look pretty darn close to notice a hole like that. If the hole was on the passenger side I would never see it.

Lynda Poulter

Oh, Now They Call It Daish!

I have wondered for some time why that Islamic terrorist group is called by an English language title. ISIL/ISIS/IS. Now a few outlets are referring to it as ‘Daish’, as if to pay lip service to my social media posts asking why. I note it started as the Islamic State of iraq, Syria and the Levant. Then someone must have remembered the Levant includes Israel and as there is a good chance they are somehow behind the creation, funding, training and arming of this mob to destabilize the region to their benefit… they changed the name. I noted how ISIL never once threatened Israel in any way. Still haven’t. Huh? Every other Islamic terrorist group has sworn to blow Israel into the mediterranean, wipe them off the planet. But not ISIL . This does not make sense.

So they became ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Now just Islamic State. We know as fact the US have trained them when they were officially known as ‘moderate’ opponents of Assad in Syria. Moderate? Al Qaeda cut their ties with them for being too barbaric and vicious! Senator McCain has parleyed with them, so too John Kerry and others. We know the US supplied arms to Libyan ‘rebels’ to oust Gaddahfi after he tried to create an African IMF and their own currency as well as sell oil off the US ‘petro dollar’. Same reason Assad is copping it. The USA doesn’t give a tinker’s cuss about his alleged human rights violations. Never bothered them before. But he pals up with Putin and offers oil off the petrodollar and wham! Regime change is called for. Same reason the Ukraine is bubbling and Putin is being made out to be a demon. The US object to losing their petrodollar hegemony because their economy is built on FIAT currency (made up money) and debt.

Petrol is so cheap at the moment because the US and Saudi Arabia are playing games with supply. Hurting the Russians, sure. But they don’t care as it is cheaper than an all out hot war. IS are all Wahhabists, a Saudi centred Sunni sect of real nut jobs. So the Saudis fund IS who are upsetting Syria, a once stable, secular Arab state, but a threat to Israel and the US (via the petrodollar). Meanwhile, millions of ordinary people suffer. As always. The Turks could wipe IS off the map but instead buy their stolen oil. Since they pay with US petrodollars, the US doesn’t use its drones to wipe out the tankers delivering the oil over the Turkey-Syria-Iraq borders. Off course they can monitor these deliveries! If they can murder an entire wedding party in the Yemen with one Maverick missile, they can surely take out a tanker on one of the very few roads that can be used to smuggle the oil out on.

Make no mistake, we are being screwed over. Our own idiot PM, the Knob, loves to play lap dog to the yanks. Probably sees himself as a crusader fighting the evil moor. We are spending our tax dollars bombing people the Americans, Saudis and Israelis created so that their rich buggers can stay rich or get richer. Don’t swallow the Kool Aid, people. Even if there isn’t much we can do right now, at least let them know we aren’t stupid. We know what they are doing and we don’t like it, even if we can’t do much to stop them. Yet.

Don’t Cry For Me, QANTAS Airlines

QANTAS is cutting 5,000 jobs from its 33,000 or so workforce and everyone is once again aghast. Our national carrier, the flying kangaroo! Oh dear, how can this happen? Well, part of the problem is the Irish Git, Alan Joyce. The $5 million plus a year hatchet man playing CEO. He was brought to Australia some years ago when that other airline, ANSETT, ended its days. He then took his golden parachute and baled out over Ireland, or wherever he went once the dirty work was done.

Then he is brought back to oversee the ripping apart of QANTAS. You see, he isn’t an Australian and while I am certain we could have found someone with sufficient talent and expertise to manage the company from our own ranks, he, or she, would then become something of a pariah in their own country. Far better to use a foreign mercenary, something the French have been doing since the 1860′s with the Legion Estrange. The airline has lost $252 million in the first half of the current financial year. So how are they still in business?

First of all it depends on how you do the accounting. Secondly, QANTAS is a very cash rich company as everybody pays in advance for their flights, while the company pays on 30 days or more. Well then it must be the competition? Virgin Australia are allowed lots of foreign ownership and so can tap them for cash whereas the QANTAS Sale Act means QANTAS must maintain a local majority shareholding and thus can’t attract the foreign investment. They have asked the federal government to either guarantee their debts (in other words the tax payer gives welfare to a huge corporation) or they change the Act and allow more foreign ownership.But to hold on to the landing rights in foreign countries at ‘national carrier’ rates, QANTAS must maintain majority Australian ownership, so how will they compete?

Like Virgin, they can form a domestic airline and an international one. Two separate companies, both using the same livery. Virgin Australia and Virgin Pacific did this. They could stop competing with themselves via their other company, JetStar but they have just sunk money into JetStar Asia and their grab for some of the lucrative business flying out of Singapore.

They are selling their lease of Brisbane airport and then renting back the facilities they need. This brings in cash and the rental is a huge 100% tax deduction. They might sell their frequent Flyer loyalty progam and make more than the company is valued at! This is only the second first half loss in the last 20 years, so they have plenty of money in the bank. Like I said, don’t cry for QANTAS. So what do they do? They slash jobs, 5,000 of them. It begs the question how will they operate? If they can operate with that many less staff, then surely they have been overloaded and have a lot of redundant roles. When Ansett went there was much gnashing of teeth and tears but all of those people found new jobs. The same will happen with QANTAS as will no doubt the assembly line workers at Ford, Holden and Toyota when they stop manufacturing here after the last few million of tax payer funded bailout money is paid to their executives and shareholders.

Don’t cry for QANTAS, they are a corporation. The employees have for decades enjoyed well above award wages thanks to their very powerful unions and of course, they have had the cheap flights perk they are always very quick to brag about when you meet one at a social function. The air traffic through our airports won;t decline, it is growing all the time. So the ground staff will still be needed, just wearing a different uniform. They will be taken up by contractors who will be paid in dollars QANTAS can write off as a legitimate cost of business, much cheaper than paying wages and superannuation and all the other benefits they currently cover.

If the airline can’t compete then it needs to shut down like any other insolvent business. There will be others to fill the vacancy, have no fear and no doubt they will scoop up the staff. As for Joyce, he will get his bonuses and his stock options and his golden parachute and move on to the next corporation someone wants to strip and sell off. Do I care? I haven’t flown with that airline for years and never will unless it is a code share and even then I doubt it.

 

International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation

February 6th is the International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation. I will be releasing a new edition of my short story, ‘The Cruellest Cut’ as part of a compilation of short stories in order to help raise awareness of this abhorrent practise.  It goes on not only in third world communities, but here in Australia, the UK, USA, Canada, you name it. I will be donating part of the royalties from sales of the book, soon to be available on Amazon.com to a worthy charity that not only addresses the problem, but doesn’t waste money paying huge salaries to CEOs. Kind of cuts out the Red Cross and any religious based group but I will find a worthy cause.

David James Sperring – Conman

It seems I was too generous with David James Sperring and Winbase Equities. I have been contacted by a group of former US Military retirees who were conned out of $25,000 by Sperring and Winbase Equities. No doubt there are many more. This criminal is a nasty example of the low life that exist and prey on the public. Make no mistake, he is very good at what he does, all successful conmen are; it is how they make their tainted livings. I have made some inquiries with my contacts in various places and he will soon be finding he is going to have to either face the music or go on the run once again.

He currently works at a car dealership, Pine Belt Cadillac in Tom’s River, New Jersey; yet his work permit ran out some months ago. He has assaulted his US wife, abandoned their baby and is wanted for serious assaults in several places. He claims to have been a former professional boxer and something of a bad lad in the UK. Gee, I’m terrified. Well I would be were I an unsuspecting drunk in a bar or a woman trying to protect her child. The David James Sperring’s of the world are not the kind of person to face you and take you on in a fair fight. He is nasty and no doubt a sociopath/psychopath of some ilk. Someone best avoided but not to be feared. The thing is, the people who he has ripped off in the USA are not the kind of people you trifle with. At least one is a former US Marine and I know first hand, these are the lads you want on your side in a fight, not facing you. They may be too old to fight him physically but I have no doubt they have other weapons they will use to good effect.

The lesson for me is that we can all be conned. I did my due diligence and investigated the company as far as I could, then I made a decision and took a risk. It failed. I accept that. I accept that I have been conned and I have learned from this. By sharing my experience I take some comfort that others might not suffer because I have posted this blog.

‘Gangnam Style’ Still Slaying Them In The Yemen

If you ever wondered where all those bullets fired into the air by excited Middle Eastern types went, watch this. A wedding in Sanaa, the capital of The Yemen, Gangnam Style and an idiot with an AK47. He fires off a burst of full auto and loses control of the weapon. Two die, two more are wounded. A wedding the bride and groom will never forget. This is their ‘culture’, apparently.

Bring Back Hanging!

A Texas man has been arrested for failing to return a library book. Others have been jailed although a 4 year old was allowed to pay a fine and avoid incarceration. This is America, after all. It seems excessive at first glance, at least to those of us that live in a country that doesn’t have more people in gaol than any other in the world and a larger percentage of the population imprisoned than any other. But think about it.

If you borrow a library book and don’t return it, surely you have formed the intention to ‘permanently deprive the owner thereof’? That’s larceny.

“A person takes and carries away, any thing,  the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner thereof.”

Even if at the time of the taking and carrying away the intent wasn’t formed, surely when the due date fell and he still didn’t take it back he had decided to keep the goods. Three years later given he still lives in the same town one could be forgiven f0r thinking he wasn’t going to return the book (and complete his contract with the library) unless he was given some serious motivation. A night in the County Jail did the trick.

So was it excessive? Books cost a lot of money and not returning them on time deprives others from being able to read them. Crime is crime, is it not? Where does one draw a line? Read the article linked here and let me know your thoughts.

 

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