Senseless, Pointless, Pathetic

The random shooting murder of Australian Chris Lane, 22, in Oklahoma USA this week has stunned decent people in both countries and elsewhere. The three losers who did the murder are aged 15, 16 and 17. Fortunately there is a white one among the trio so we can rule out a racial motive. In fact, we can rule out every motive other than they want their fifteen minutes of fame, maybe less. They posted to Facebook they had killed one and were after another and if police hadn’t caught them so quickly they would no doubt have killed again, and again.

What is it with these people? They are bombarded with all kinds of media messages promoting murder from black gangsta rap ‘music’ to tv shows and FPSG (first person shooter games). While I doubt any single influence causes them to kill, the combination of all the messages bombarding them from birth plus what passes for parenting these days has to have some say in the matter. Even concerned parents are often impotent when the kids know society won’t punish them in any way and they can do as they please because they know their ‘rights’. Add to this the ease of availability of firearms and that American mindset regarding their 2nd Amendment rights and you have a society that kills, incarcerates or rips off its own when it isn’t out there invading and bombing everyone else. What happened America? What happened to the once greatest nation of the 20th Century? And you were, make no mistake.

You fear your government, hence the insistence on the right to bear arms etc. You fear the rest of the world and probably with good reason given the number of drones flying over sovereign territory as we speak. You fear your industry and commercial sector with good reason (think Monsanto, Wal-Mart, Wall Street et al) and you fear each other. People now fear the FEMA will seize their stock piled food sources in time of emergency and give them to the masses (saw the video just this morning!) or enter your homes and so on and on and on. No wonder so many are retiring overseas. Well, I have found Americans to be generous, brave and great people to have with you in a crises, at least the ones I have met over the decades and when you get them away from their society. So those of you who want to are welcome to come and live with us and bring all those great qualities of self reliance and ‘can-do’ that made your nation great. Just leave all the other rubbish, your guns and bibles, your attitudes to homosexuals and different races, your worship of capitalism and fear and loathing of democratic socialism back there. We have enough home grown bigotry, ignorance and stupidity here already.

You Have To Love This…

We all love to read about uppity young punks who get their come-uppance, ideally from a retired soldier or self defence expert. Well here the hero is both a former soldier and a one-time boxing champ. The young bloke broke into this man’s home, attacked him with a bladed weapon and was sorted out for his trouble. Not in any Hollywood fashion, all slick, choreographed action but a more realistic fight for his life kind of struggle.

Fortunately the 72 year old triumphed, the punk is off to make new friends in the local prison and all is once again well in the world. But what if the punk had scored with his slash? What if the old guy had a heart attack, even after the police dragged the dross down the driveway? Have no pity for the scumbag, drunk, drugged or whatever. Think beyond what happened and imagine how very easily it could have gone, and almost did go, horribly wrong. That’s when we read one of those tragic waste of life stories.

Location, Location, Location

Would you rent an apartment above a shop called ‘Reptile Ocean Inc’? I wouldn’t. Sadly it appears two boys, 5 and 7, were killed in their sleep by an escaped python from the reptile store beneath their apartment. That must have been a big snake to think it needed to kill two boys… Snakes are not vindictive as far as I know. They kill for food or to defend themselves. I can’t imagine the snake finding two sleeping, harmless, non-threatening boys and killing them because it felt threatened. There appears from the brief report no attempt to eat either and surely, the snake would kill one and then attempt to swallow it, then lie down and digest?

I think there is more to this story than we have been told so far. The photo on the left is of a baby swallowed by a python in Edo, Nigeria. To give you an idea of scale, check out the kid using the snake as a bean bag.

Not Welcome In Australia

This is absolutely beyond the pale. What is it with these people? Shooting two teenage girls because they were filmed dancing in the rain? With other children and wearing full traditional dress, yet according to the twisted, misogynistic madmen that masquerade as men in their community, they brought dishonour on the family and had to be killed. What a sad, tragic joke!

I don’t care what the limp wristed types will say, there is no excuse for this in any society in this day and age. It is not right and never has been and trying to excuse it as a cultural anomaly is insulting. I hope our immigration people take note and refuse entry to any from these communities. interrogate them and discern if they hold such  a medieval mindset and if so, refuse them entry on any grounds. Even if the rest of their family are here, don’t let them in.

We have seen these so called ‘honour killings’ in the UK among some communities. Mostly Middle Eastern, Pakistani and Indian but not limited to these nationalities. Girls brought up in a western culture savaged by the beliefs and practices of a foreign culture that has no place among western communities. We can’t go there and behave in our ways, they would kill us. So why do we let them come to our society and bring their evil mindsets with them?

Of course not every Pakistani, Yemeni or Muslim holds these views or condones such behaviour. I would be certain of saying most would condemn these murders. I am not talking about denying them entry; just the other kind. Too many are already here as asylum seekers or with legitimate visas and some have committed crimes against women such as the rape at Macquarie University by a Sri Lankan asylum seeker housed in student accommodation recently and other attacks. It is not Islam or Muslis (in the Macquarie case I doubt the Sri Lankan was a Muslim; most likely Tamil) but the individuals and the specific cultures they come from within larger ethnic or religious societies that simply do not get it. They do not share our views on women and their place in our society.

Sadly, many of our older generation, politicians and even younger people from some demographics are still behind the times. But they are our own, home-grown problem. Let us not add to the issue by importing more of their ilk and worse. If this post makes me a racist, then so be it. Call me what you like but don;t call on me and cry when it is your daughter, sister, wife or mother that has been brutally introduced to what ‘real men’ in some parts of the world believe is how to treat other human beings, albeit the female variety.

Let us be very clear on this; it has NOTHING to do with religion and everything to do with ego, pride and men being evil. Religion is often quoted as the rationale, the authority for such crimes but no religion in the world condones this. As the BBC write on their web site:

‘Tradition, not religion’

None of the world’s major religions condone honour-related crimes.

But perpetrators have sometimes tried to justify their actions on religious grounds.

“Honour crime happens across the board in the Asian community,” says Ram Gidoomal of the South Asian Development Partnership.

“People try to blame Muslims, Hindus or Sikhs but it tends to happen in families where there are the strongest ties and expectations. It’s a very strong cultural issue.”

Leaders of the world’s faiths have also strongly denounced a connection between religion and honour killings.

Why Am I Not Surprised?

A Christian minister finds a valuable bracelet in a carpark. Hands it in to the Police and after two months it becomes his property as the owner was never found. I doubt the police bothered to look because the minister had no trouble doing so. In fact it was the jeweller he took it to for valuation who found an engraved code and tracked down the owner. Now the Rev wants the owner to make an insurance claim and give him half the payout and he is happy to return it to her. How very generous and perfectly legal. The Reverend was a lawyer (why does this not surprise me?) and is within his rights. Forget doing the decent thing, he wants the money.

Why do we hold religious officers up to a higher standard of moral behaviour? The church (name one, they are all the same in every religion)are business entities. They make vast amounts of money and always have. One way to be rich and powerful is to rule and be stronger than anyone else by force of arms; the other is to control the masses through superstition and myth, in other words create a religion and get people to believe their lives depend on doing as they are told. To achieve this it helps if you set your officers on pedestals. Why do the words pederast and pedestal sound so similar, I wonder?

Make no mistake religions are big money. L. Ron Hubbard said if you want tog et rich quick, start your own religion and he started the wack job known as the Church of Scientology… or rather his fans did as he always denied starting it. Hahaha. The Catholic CHurch Inc is huge in insurance, mostly re-insuring the big insurers. Given their exemption from ‘Acts of God’ it is a joke, don’t you think? Why do religious businesses get tax free status? We lose billions because of this and it doesn’t reflect what is put back into the community.

Make no mistake, there are many genuine, wonderful people who believe in the tenets of their faith and live their lives accordingly. There are, however, far too many who are just nasty, greedy little shits hiding behind pious BS. People like the piece of work in the news story are, in my opinion… nah, better not. I’m sure the pricks would sue.

UPDATE: 1 July 2013 After the media splashed this around the Reverend’s church had graffiti daubed on its walls and a brick through a window. The clergyman has returned the bracelet and now seeks forgiveness for his ‘wrong-thinking’. The more cynical among us might feel this wouldn’t have been the outcome had the matter not become public knowledge and that, like those who ‘get religion’ in prison just before they are up for parole, this is a convenient coincidence. As his apologetic relative says, he made a mistake, one mistake. Well, he made one we all know of, now. If you want to hold yourself up as being a leader of the community, someone who says their beliefs are the truth and so forth then you need to not make such mistakes. I’m glad the matter was resolved and the bracelet returned.

Toddler Drowns In Bucket

Many years ago when I was a boy my father warned me how you could drown in as little as a teaspoon of water. He meant that it doesn’t have to be a river or an ocean for you to die from drowning. That imagery, of someone diving into a teaspoon of water and drowning stuck with me and has helped me stay alert to the danger water can pose. Tragically in Sydney today an 11 month old boy has drowned in a bucket holding just 10cm (4 inches) of water. On the same day another little boy lost his life in a backyard swimming pool. The bucket of water had been used to mop the floor but hadn’t been emptied. In the army we were taught to empty the bucket immediately, then clean the bucket and put it back where it belonged. It seemed anally retentive at the time but it is attention to such details like that can make a life or death difference. Be aware, be alert but accept that accidents, however tragic, do occur. My heart gose out to both families at this sad time.

Dead Body In Open House Viewing

Prospective tenants got more than they bargained for when viewing a property up for rent in Perth. One prospective tenant discovered a body in the bedroom. The lady pictured, while she didn’t see the corpse, has said she and her boyfriend are traumatised by the incident. Spare a thought for the real estate agent not to mention the family of the deceased.

Winbase Equities – Thieves, Conmen or?

Last year I was contacted by a salesman from Hong Kong based investment firm, Winbase Equities. I was looking for a place to invest some of my Self Managed Super Fund money so I agreed for him to have the broker call. David Sperring called me and came across as a knowledgeable and decent professional. The pitch was that they bring new clients aboard with an investment in Heating Oil in November and vacation gasoline in June as these futures always make strike and you never lose your investment. I did my due diligence and while the basic information seemed accurate I can’t say their promise of making $65,000 from $5,000 seemed a lot to make from one trade, especially as they said they only take 1% if I make money but I figured plenty of others make millions this way, why not give it a try. Of course, I was naive and uneducated in the ways of investing on the stock market but I did my best to investigate the firm, the broker and the market.

All seemed plausible and I was prepared to risk my five large because sometimes you have to take risks to get anywhere. If I had known about Puts and Calls I would have hedged this ‘bet’ with a Put, or sell order so that if the price dropped I could get my money back. I would lose all if it didn’t make ‘strike’ without the put. In this case that was about 34 cents per share more than the starting price. In fact the price never went up more than a few cents this year and so when my option expired I lost my money. No problem, that’s the risk you take. At least that is how I would have felt if I hadn’t been let’s say, managed, or handled.

Let me be the first to say I have little doubt everything David and Winbase Equities did was legal and by the book. The book of course doesn’t say they have to ‘educate’ the investor but one would think it ethical to at least advise him properly; at least it is considered so in Australia. David, once I had sent my five grand off to the bank account they use in China, said I might be in luck and Richard, the big boss, might call me and give me some of his precious time. Lo and behold Richard did indeed call me. Spoke to me at length and very ‘folksy’ he was too. Lots of ‘genuine’ interest about the wife and kids and of course how rich he had become doing this very same investing thing.

It was then the alarm bells rang loud. He was too suave and smooth and I knew a sales pitch when I heard one. He told me about puts and calls and how you must have a put or else you could lose the lot. OK, why didn’t David warn me of this, he knows all about puts and calls? Oh, I would have to invest more to ‘qualify’ for a put to cover my calls. I didn’t have another $5,000 to invest but Richard let me stew on this over the weekend then called back with the ‘good news’. The company was willing to throw in $3,000 f the needed $5,000 because they like me or whatever. As if! They would never risk a dime of their own money, no company would. I told Richard I was not spending another dime, we’d see how the options I had fared.

Of course they dived so I sent an email to David Sperring asking him where was my $5,000, exactly? I didn’t mention I had recorded the conversations we had and those I had with Richard but I did get a response. The reply I got was a call from Richard. He wanted me to invest a few more grand and all would be well. I refused and told him I thought his behaviour was sharp practise in my book. A set up. An obvious rip. I accepted it was probably 100% legal but it was certainly not ethical and he wasn’t getting another penny. He was taking this well until I mentioned how I would be blogging about my experiences. That’s when he offered to extend my investment another month! Free of charge. OK, so all of a sudden my $5,000 wasn’t ‘gone’? No, the company would do this just for me because Richard liked me and didn’t want me thinking he was a conman. Please, Richard, don’t expect me to swallow that one.

He did reinstate my account and for another month I watched the price of heating oil go nowhere near where it had to for me to make any money. I doubt it would have and I think the 34 cents was too much, but all part of the sting. They hook you with the call, then advise how you need a put. You save your money and have confidence in them to invest again. I didn’t have the extra to throw in and I guess they are not used to dealing with true peasants like me. Actually I had the extra but I had made it a rule when I invested the $5K that I would test the waters with that and that was all I was prepared to lose.

For me it was a calculated risk, a gamble. It may have paid off but it didn’t. No sour grapes, no crying. What miffed me no end was the way David (who has never once replied to several emails or calls) set me up and Richard finished me off, or tried to. Winbase Equities are still out there, of course. As I said, no doubt they operate within the laws of wherever they are but I would not, based on my personal experience, recommend them to anyone. Even someone I didn’t like. I should have stuck to my original plan and bought that much in silver bullion but I admit to being tempted by the chance to make a significant return. I did think the investment had legs when I paid in but as soon as they closed the trap with the phone call from Richard I knew then, with months to go until the option ran out, I had lost my money.

I have since invested on the stock market and made a small gain by using the hard won knowledge of puts and calls. They lied to me when they said the minimum to have both a put and a call was more than my $5,000. Other brokers do it for less, even if they don’t. I’ll be in Hong Kong in a few months and I know where David works and lives. I think a visit and an apology are in order, but we all know that will take some getting. What do I think happened? I think they buy a swag of options and of course have puts to cover their calls, then they sell parcels of these to punters like me. They get us aboard with the good news, then once they have our money they hit us with the bad news. They select the strike (34 cents in my case) knowing it will never get there. They have their calls at  a more reasonable 15 cents or whatever. They will never lose and they make a ton of money from silly punters like me who buy in at $5,000 and above a time. All legal I guess but hardly ethical. Caveat Emptor. I am aware, have paid for my education and will put the investment to good use. Meanwhile I am starting to investigate just what happened to my money as it was not mine, it belonged to my SMSF and next October the ATO will want to know where it went. Having lost five clams in one year isn’t that bad though, before I started my own super fund the professional incompetents running my other fund were losing me far more!

Reverse Racism – No Such Thing!

If there is one thing that I can not stand it is racism. Having said that, I confess I have my personal preferences on various races when it comes to interaction, for various reasons but none of them because this person is white, black, from here or there. Caution when it comes to strangers is a human survival trait and being able to detect strangers due to their looking differently or speaking a different language is part of what has kept our genes moving along the line. But this does not condone hating people because they are a different race or nationality. It does not mean you discriminate on the grounds of racial differences, but of course when making choices you differnetiate on some grounds or another. But because their government is disputing a bunch of rocks in the middle of the South China Sea?

A Beijing restaurant has refused service to those tourists from countries involved in maritime disputes with China; Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines. The dog reference is a play on a mythical sign alleged to have been posted at a Shanghai park during the 1930s refusing entry to Chinese and dogs and the inference that obviously makes. That argument aside, this reminds me of the most offensive term in the lexicon when it comes to discussing racism. Reverse racism.

Racism is racism, pure and simple. To apply such a term, always when a person of colour (black, brown, Negro, Asian whatever but not white, Anglo or European) is racist towards a white person, is grammatically incorrect if nothing else. I can’t say ‘against a caucasian’ because if we boil things down to the three basic racial types: caucasian, negroid and mongloid (Asiatic), Indians and Sri Lankans (very dark skin tones) are caucasians. Australian Aborigines are also caucasian. Neither are negroid or mongloid. So when someone with darker skin, darker hair and usually brown eyes is racist towards someone with fair skin, fair hair and lighter coloured eyes, then this is reverse racism? As if racism can only go one way! From white to brown/black/whatever. How ridiculous!

No race has a monopoly on racism, it is a human trait. No race is racism free either, because it is a human fault. Here we have a Chinese restaurant owner discriminating on racial lines against other Asians. That is his prerogative and while I vehemently disagree with his action, I support his right to choose who he wants to take money from. Believe me, I have seen some of the worst examples of racism from ‘them’ to ‘us’, reverse racism as the PC crowd would so infuriatingly label it.

When will we ever learn? Personally, if I saw that sign, even if it didn’t refer to me (which it doesn’t) I would not eat there on principle. On Malapascua Island in the Philippines there was a restaurant that refused to serve the local island inhabitants,  only tourists, although they could be Filipino tourists. I never once ate there and it was considered by many the best on the island. Many tourist attractions in the Philippines have higher prices for tourists (eg. Oslob Whale Shark watching) and I always make a point of protesting this. It is not the few extra dollars but the principle. If we tried that in Australia the hue and cry would be considerable and so it should be.

As a pure Anglo-Saxon, I am proud of my Indo-Malay wife and our mixed race children. All are wonderful human beings and each one of them is a proud Australian with a very Australian face. You see, the ‘Face of Australia’ hasn’t been an Anglo-Saxon one like mine for decades, even a couple of generations. The sooner we accept that, embrace it, then move on… the better. Bottom line, we are all humans, Earthlings. We don’t have to love everybody or even like each other but a modicum of respect and common courtesy would make this a better place for all.

No Risk, No Reward

If you play with fire you are bound to be burned sooner or later. These three teenagers performing a stunt where they ride their bikes through burning cardboard were doing this for the first time. The organisers have set this stunt up many times before without incident, apparently; but this time it went ‘horribly wrong’. Given the ingredients of fire and teenage kids, how else could it go if it goes wrong other than ‘horribly’?

Should we now call to ban all such events? Stop teenagers doing anything remotely risky? Or perhaps ensure those responsible for the safety and setting up of these things double and triple check them first? Even then, f there is no risk of it all going ‘horribly wrong’, where is the thrill? The danger? The reason for doing it in the first place?

Life is not risk free, even today. Humans have only ever moved forward after taking risks, daring mightily and pushing the envelope. Along the way there are casualties but so long as we learn from our mistakes and keep trying to do better, then their sacrifice was never in vein. If we aren’t prepared to take risks then we can’t expect anything to happen… good or bad and that can’t be good for mankind.

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