Tuesday, December 20, 2016

So what is it really with Syria?

From those of you not on FB, a Canadian journalist- Eva Bartlett - reported to the UN that the Western media is spreading misinformation (not for the first time I imagine!). So she said the information being displayed and the 'news' reported are heavily influenced by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) - which is a one-man show in Coventry, England and the White Helmets (founded in 2013 by ex-military officer) which has drawn a lot of international funding - to the tune of U$100 million, to help the people of Eastern Aleppo but no-one there has heard of them or has been helped by them!  She said unnamed activists are not credible and I recall several video diaries of frightened young people recording their final goodbyes as the soldiers of Assad's army drew near.

Initially, the blame was laid at the feet of climate change - a prolonged drought forced farmers to migrate to urban areas, who then couldn't find work and resulted in a sort of rebellion which provoked a strong reaction from Damascus. http://gtobserver.blogspot.com/2015/09/syrian-refugee-crisis.html

But looking at the larger picture: Assad's Syria and Iran (according to a nutter illuminati-warning video on YouTube)- and North Korea are the few countries remaining where the Rothchilds' bank is not influencing fiscal policy.  Also, Assad like Saddam Hussain had dared to defy the West's concerns about their fuel supplies and Assad had refused the allow a natural gas pipeline through his country from the Middle East to Europe-- apparently the reason why Afghanistan was invaded according to conspiracy theories abounding at that time.   I can't help thinking-- so much violence and disruptions in ordinary people's lives and wondering about all the repercussions and unwanted consequences....

Monday, December 19, 2016

Good movies

Was lucky to view two movies, which could be considered extended documentaries, that highlighted the actions of two extraordinary Americans-- Captain Chesley Sullenberger in the movie Sully and the ex-Nebraska cop, Kathryn Bolkovac in the movie Whistleblower.
It is always good to see people who are good at their jobs in action.  The first was a re-enactment of a jet airliner being successfully landed on the Hutson river; the opening scenes were the Captain's nightmare of crashing into a skyscraper in NYC, bringing up memories of the 9/11 tragedy. The director made note of the other first-responder teams which resulted in no loss of life, considering people were in the Hutson River in January!  Surprisingly, the film highlighted that it was not plain sailing for the Captain who lost quite a few sleepless nights in the immediate aftermath, having to justify his actions which were later proved to be the only feasible course as there were initial disputes about the left engine still being viable. Literally seconds counted!  It is still a mouth-opening feat however you look at it and one I find still unbelievable...except it happened!

The second was a bit more stomach-turning. Whistleblower noted the big-money contracts given to corporations during crisis situations and how there is no accountability and cover-ups on a grand scale with the accompanying exploitation of the poor and vulnerable who all this money is purported to be helping.  The real life corporation DynCorp - given a similar name in the Movie had since renamed itself as DynCorp International and basically carrying on with the same shit of/with no accountability. And the perps in this case got off scott-free!  So in the movie this cop applies for a post to police post-war Bosnia, she gets lucky to befriend a Dutch soldier earlier on and a policeman in the Bosnian police force who actually wants to do good. The movie gives glimpses of the lives of traffic-ed young women lured from Eastern Europe with promises of jobs-- not prostitution -- and who are forced into prostitution.  In this instance it seemed the US policing branch were heavily involved-- first as clients then as enforcers for the traffickers and even trafficking the girls across borders themselves. I had backpacked in that area before the War and found the grey concrete jungle creepy-- the movie shot several scenes that I got worried for her while she investigated, as she didn't have the usual other cop watching her back...
and she earned the disapproval of her fellow (male) officers and superiors.  Those in charge in the UN accepted the goings-on as part of the human collateral of the post-War. Sadly because there appears to be no mechanism in place - French UN peacekeeping soldiers were accused of rape and sexually exploiting girls and children in the Central African Republic and other African soldiers within the UN peacekeeping force were accused of something similar in the early part of 2016...the film was set in 1999...so looks like the movie didn't make the impact it should of!
My only criticism of the movie was that they tried to be authentic by using accented people but I found it difficult to understand what they were saying - also in some scenes when the actors were using low voices - and feel subtitles would have been handy.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The US is a 'Nation of Law'

Smiles-- the sarcastic tone is unfortunately unreproducible in print.... Ps-since writing this piece I am pleased to report that there has been an announcement that the pipeline would be re-routed to avoid the Indians' land/water source AND Trump sold his shares in the company running the pipeline to avoid conflict of interest!

Was watching this video on a friend's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ajplusenglish/videos/843137762494399/ 
and when I went back to check the dates..it did not come up in the regular posts and she had to specifically put it on my page.

So for those of you who don't have FB accounts..here is it in a nutshell leading up to the present violation of the Sioux nation rights at Standing Rock:

An environmental assessment was commissioned out by the company who is building the pipeline - Energy Transfer Partners (ETP)- a U.S. Fortune 500 natural gas and propane company, founded in 1995.This sadly is par for course as over here it is only the mining and forestry (foreign) companies who can afford to do environmental assessments using local people involved in environmental issues, usually called in after the project has already started.  A Google search revealed that they have had mishaps with pressurised gas or liquid gas facilities but have not had much experience with crude oil management. So the Indians have valid concerns about the possibility of the Missouri River and by extension, their drinking water being contaminated. In view of concerns expressed, the Federal body granting approval is reconsidering and has been taken to court for that by ETP-- delaying until Trump and his climate change disbelievers get in to give the green light - confident of course because the President-elect has stocks in the company, which will naturally escalate with approval..it's all about the money!

The 1852 Fort Laramie treaty which the (white) settlers forced the Sioux people to sign stipulated that 'they shall never be invaded of disturbed'. This lasted until someone decided the Railroad across the new nation took precedence and violated the treaty-- leading to over-hunting of buffalo-- the Indians' main food source leading to conflict and a second treaty...it's all about the money!

The 1868 Treaty which stipulated that the Sioux were restricted to their new assigned places and no whites allowed - this lasted until gold was discovered in The Black Hills in 1874 (clearly the whites were not respecting it!). General Cluster invades and opens up the area to white settlers - the Sioux refuse to sell the Black Hills and Cluster meets his end in the Battle of Little Bighorn...hardly noble!...it's all about the money!

In 1890, The US Army is called in to avenge and show the coloured people who is more powerful at the massacre of Wounded Knee and wipes out a South Dakota tribe, rewarding their soldiers for bravery in action and precipitating the decline of the Sioux people. The wrongs done to them were acknowledged by the Courts in 1980. So they were offered compensation--- how can you work out what cultural and actual genocide is worth in monetary terms?....some things are not all about the money!

Leading to today's news of the native peoples being charged for trespassing on their land and again the law enforcement and army being used to protect corporate interests...not unlike their foreign policy of putting puppets into place and using that country's police and armies for corporate interests--  Nigeria springs to mind but really it can be any country you care to think about...it's all about the money!
But from the link below: officialdom say: 'senator-john-hoeven-addresses-misinformation-nodapl-protests-floor-speech/

"Twice challenged and twice upheld – including by the Obama administration’s own appointees – the federal courts found that the Army Corps had followed the appropriate process, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was properly consulted, and the project could lawfully proceed,” Senator Hoeven said. “In total, the Army Corps held 389 meetings, conferred with more than 55 tribes, and conducted a 1,261-page environmental assessment, before finding that this infrastructure project has no significant environmental impact.”

Surely the EIA (environmental impact assessment) would document the people's concerns and in the appraisal stage try to resolve the the conflicts of interest BEFORE proceeding?  A reporter from that area on YouTube reported that the tribes did not turn up for the consultations and are just protesting  for monetary gain but the Senator reported above that correct procedure was followed. Those with time and inclination can follow the link below but it begs reason why they would not have stuck to the original plan and bypass the put-upon Indian tribes with a their long history of being discriminated against.

 The blow by blow account:https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bKBWD8yEq3sw82_SOXxtjAEM9-wm2Yj99CnZBUtMx2M/htmlview#gid=0

From the online newspaper: The Independent

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

When America sneezes, the rest of the World catches a cold!

So it was with some astonishment that I noted the changing tones of the desperate TV presenters as the Nov 8 changed to Nov 9 and the supposed 'safe' Democrat states weren't looking like 'a sure thing' and then switched off to listen to the BBC - coming awake to hear Trump's moderate acceptance speech at 3.30am, missing him thank Melania but singling out his children and sisters.

The British presenters gave their analyses but avoided the elephant in the room of the 'whitelash' -to use a term by an American TV presenter. Like Brexit, this was the vote of those who felt marginalised that Michale Moore http://gtobserver.blogspot.com/2016/07/cold-war-continuing.html had noted and had dreaded.  Exactly how closing borders and trade protectionism will create jobs that white Americans would want, Trump did not say-- but I am still to work out whether the man/those behind him worked out any strategy further past getting elected!

The knock on effect of a rise in zenophobia would not be too good for the rest of the world - one can debate whether a slow-down of emigration of the desperate from the countries in a mess precisely due to exploitative policies, would occur further down the line. If the UK's Jeremy Corbyn can note: "Trump’s election is an unmistakable rejection of a political establishment and an economic system that simply isn’t working for most people. It is one that has delivered escalating inequality and stagnating or falling living standards for the majority, both in the US and Britain." - the fore-mentioned falling standards are more keenly felt in countries being exploited by the same economic system that is failing the UK's +US's majority!  Usually the pressure being kept in check by the hope of migration and a 'better life'- or at least one where you can earn a living and not be killed by those who can't/don't - a very real fear in the Americas bar Canada + the USA.

The last time the Republicans ruled completely must have been in Reagan's time-- and the country's deficit climbed astronomically, Trump with his history of bankruptcies and bluffing does not bode well for the future - but an improvished America does not bode well for the rest of the World!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Am reading and being unpleasantly informed about about what it was like to live as a dissident under the Cuban regime: Becoming Reinaldo Arenas by Jorge Olivares, as 'Before Night Falls' was suggested by a bookclub member who always introduces surprising choices-- her first and last being the sex one by Anais Nin (interestingly born to Cuban parents).  The beginning of the Olivares book was a bit of an eye-opener but not that surprising to discover that Cuba like Russia heavily censored their artists, especially those not following the Party line (bizarrely artistic licence seems to be challenging the status quo to push boundaries).  I mused a bit as I remember given 'Mother' by Gorky to read by an aunt who espoused socialist ideas and was well read and  then returning the book with the comment that it seemed gloomy and boring; having been brought up on a diet of primarily Enid Blyton and not realising the (bad) golliwogs most probably referred to people like me!   Likewise in the climate of non-availability of books, my mission was to go into other people's houses and borrow their books, I made it to a prominent Portuguese family's house and while the father was railing at his fun-loving child for not reading I defended her by saying some of the classics were boring-- having just struggled through the first part of Lorna Doone and abandoning it mid-way, missing the whole point of the story as it seemed to be a novel about being cold and hungry and written in a way designed to bore an average 11yr old.  On the other hand I ended up reading porn quite by accident, thinking a book called the Honeypot was about Winnie the Pooh- not expecting to get it from a fairly conservative Muslim family's house - but that's Guyana for you!

On a separate note I was relieved to read that Amy Goodman, she of 'Exceptions to the Rulers' was freed of possible prison charges for merely reporting encroachment of an oil company on Native American reservation land!  Sad to think that the country crying freedom of the press/information is itself guilty of the sins they accuse others of! Although I did not agree that American agents should be exposed I was glad of the Wiki-leaks scandal as it confirmed a lot of things that people suspected - such as the US blocking an increase of the minimum wage of Haitians after the devastating hurricane-- and one should wonder what business it is of theirs to be involved in Haiti's public policy? Also looking bad for them is the terrible infringement of Human Rights to keep someone in solitary confinement  for ages-- the young soldier who gave the documents to Wikileaks people.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Bazodee - Trinidadian film

I enjoyed several aspects of this film-- kudos to the Trinis!

The drama revolves around a very attractive Indo-Trinidadian girl - I liked that she was normal-coloured and not the usual washed-out aspiring-to-white of the heroines of Indian/Bollywood movies. I thought she acted well enough but felt sorry for her to have to wear some pretty weird asymmetrical outfits featuring a lot of purple...maybe the producers were trying to promote Trini haute couture which missed the mark and just looked weird. I also liked that the 'heroine' was a normal-sized female with back fat and heavy-ish thights (I would have outfitted her in something more appropriate in the last scene!) and not a skinny stick-insect; she also seemed to have a good singing voice.  That said, poor Montano with his squashed nose didn't quite make it to believable as the alternative to a hunky, rich guy who clearly adored the said heroine...AND whose father was going to bolster said heroine's father's grandiose business plans.  So apart from that obvious plot weakness and a rushed ending, it was a good attempt and the rivaled the Indian/Bollywood pictures with good original music.

I appreciated the small comic touches, like some men in the background leaving as someone comments that they wouldn't do that. Also, the choice of scenery and photography were fairly good. I would have worked in some steel pan music but the J'overt scenes was good and clearly no vulgar whine was included in the Carnival scenes, unlike Guyana where the participants sometimes try to out-vulgar each other!
At roughly one and a half hours, they had to speed up the plot and veered towards the unbelievable with the father signing away his business and the evil brother having a change of heart in the end so that all ends well. I must be getting old as I thought the kissing scenes at the end unnecessary and becoming a bit too graphic for a PG-13.  But on the whole..good effort with room for improvement Trinis!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cold War continuing?

Being where I am, it is difficult to avoid the near continuous coverage of the upcoming American elections.  However several intriguing things are being revealed...the chief one for me was the involvement of Russia in US's politics...talk about reversal of fortune!

Various internet sources imply that it is Russian money financing the racist buffoon Trump, and I was much amused by Michael Moore's observation that the American general public, like the British, are happy to stir the pot and sit back in awe to observe the disaster to come.  It's almost as if we need to go back to square one and just have the educated few as the voting public-- but then who decides who counts as 'educated few'? Even worrying for me was Moore's observation that Hillary is a war hawk and firmly behind 'the establishment' - it seems the USA just can't get over their lucky break of World War II which propelled their economy to the top, and who seem determine to set the stage for various repeat performances...what the heck..there are too many people in the world already,eh - and after all it's not the war hawks' kith and kin who are doing the actual fighting?

The latest revelation that it may be hackers, probably of Russian influence, who were responsible for revealing emails that the Democratic Party apparatus worked against Hillary's main opponent Sanders is another worrying sign that elections are not about individuals in their countries but in fact, about other 'outsiders' manipulating the system....after reading Zero,Zero,Zero....it is intriguing that international crime syndicates could even be putting in their two cents worth!
this sums it all up:

11-Nov: Yikes, how accurate is this: http://www.globalresearch.ca/hillary-and-bill-clinton-pay-to-play-racketeering-the-bonnie-and-clyde-of-american-politics/5554804  
 and the answer - not very-- it is pro-Russian, anti-Clinton (surprise,surprise) but always good to hear the dirt dished up!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

It all started off so well... I was giggling to myself about the way a person had to humiliate themselves to just get a job, a demeaning one at that, to pay the bills...when somewhere in the thirty pages of the first story, it moved from funny to tedious and outright vicious. I was initially amused with the slapstick American humour but then it moved from laughing WITH people to laughing AT the underclasses and snobbish.  I guess some types of humour are difficult to share..the reason I limit Facebook friends as those acquaintances who may not 'know' me might get offended by some of the things I find funny.

By the third story, I thought the writer was trying too hard and lost interest in the rest of the book but soldered on to get to the end as it is December's bookclub book...I am sure I shall forget most of the book by then.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Our Changing World

It was with incredible sadness I listened to BBC Radio about the man driving a rented truck into a crowd in Nice...and with each update...the death toll grows. The current count is about 84 deaths. I mourn the further discrimination against anyone with a vaguely-sounding Muslim name who wants to rent any vehicle on the Continent and the further loss of personal freedom for the young who would not know the world I experienced after finishing my degree.  I was fortunate enough to be able to buy an Interrail ticket which allowed me unlimited access to most of the railways of Western Europe. The friend I was with got quickly bored of the standard town Square with obligatory cathedral and we reduced some countries and cities to a quick walk-around after chucking our backpacks in the lockers at the Train-stations-- long removed since the 'terrorist threats'. Those opportunities I rather suspect are gone forever.

The increasing intolerance and growing resentment on both the haves and have-nots seem to be escalating to a boiling point which will only increase the tragic and maybe avoidable events. The US, self-elected World police are themselves indulging in home-grown plots by the revelation of bad policing, the lash-back by the short-sighted and the further call to arms by other racist groups-- where would it all end?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Baijrao Mastani

So this was the film I was to meant to see a few months ago.

It is an Historical epic about a warrior king of India - in Maharasthra- the middle bit of India - who fought the Muslims.  Based on a true-life character, I thought the film tried to be historically accurate in illustrating the interplay between the two groups of people.

Mastani is the daughter of a Rajput king and a Muslim woman..such allegiances were common although more common in the other direction as the 'proud' Hindu kings frequently sacrificed their sisters and daughters for momentary peace to retain their kingdom. She was brought up as a warrior princess, so this must have been before the Hindu kings in the Northeastern India got overwhelmed by the muslim invaders and resorted to 'selling off' their women. In this film an opening scene is the women of Mastani's household preparing themselves for sati..group immolation..preferring death to dishonour. Mastani is tasked with persuading Baijrao, a famed warrior Prime Minister who is en route to another battle, to divert and support/save her kingdom of Bundelkhand.  Interesting for someone like myself interested in History.. touching on the origins of child marriages, widow suicides, the mutual distrust of Hindus and Muslims and loss of women's rights.

They develop a mutual admiration for each other and when he gives her his dagger, he seems to be unaware that it is one of the many ways a man can be betrothed to a woman in that part of the world.  Mastani herself says that she decides her fate and 'takes' him as her husband ..that should be the end of it but against her mother's wishes goes to cause trouble for the man in his home..where it turns out he was happily married with at least one older son, his household seemingly run by his mother.  I surprisingly felt some sympathy for the man as basically the rest of the film shows him torn between his love for the two women (two wives)and I mused about marriages...is it reasonable to seek outside one's marriage for things that your partner is unwilling or unable to provide for you? Or would it make you a cocky bastard if you are a man and a slut if you are a woman?  Really, India back in those days was very liberal-- that was about the time the erotic temple of Khajuraho  must have been being built-- so this strong intelligent woman decided/accepted being the second wife of a powerful man.

I found the film tried to deal sympathetically with all sides..the Brahmins coming out as the baddies, manipulating Mastani out of the way to preserve the 'purity' of the caste and displaying dreadful ignorance making them so unsuited for being called that!

Needless the say, the other American film couldn't compare.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Hollywood vs Bollywood

The half-Indian, teenaged boy in the video store proudly informed me that he did not watch Indian films in a tone reminiscent of my childhood when all things to do with Indian culture was regarded as backwards and just good for making fun of.  I had dragged my nose out of my books and YouTube videos to get a few DVDs to see in the New Year with my parents who used to make a big traditional celebration of joining to book a table at one of the many New Years' parties around the City.... these days it has gone dead except for the few organised parties..vastly overpriced and full of bored people watching each other and spending half their time on their cell phones: http://gtobserver.blogspot.com/2013/01/but-but-why.html   So not following the current vogue in films I asked for suggestions...I vaguely remembered a comment in a keen blogger's post about Dilwale about Bajirao Mastani but of course by the time I shut the computer and made it to the video store all I could remember was two Indian words beginning with 'b' and apparently set in the past. Mr Teenaged-helpful came up with Bajrangi Bhaijaan cos that was what he had on his shelf that fitted that description.

I wanted something light and wandered to the children section to look for Frozen, as I must be the only person to have not seen it, but Mr Helpful said The Good Dinosaur was better, then at the desk changed his mind to Pixels, if I had known Adam Sandler was in it, I would not have taken it, but that is what happens when you can't read the blurb.  As a back-up I looked to the wall for a rom-com and selected Some Kind of Beautiful, with the advice of Mr Helpful.

After dinner, we settled down with our bags of crisps and wine to watch Some Kind of Beautiful. Within the first 5 minutes the director's idea of fun was a young boy wandering through a party looking for his mother seeing a couple having sex on the kitchen counter and being told to 'bugger off' ...turns out later that it could have been his father who is a womanising Literature professor who the boy grows up to be like...everything bad about the West seems to be thrown in... dysfunctional families, rampant promiscuity, drinking to get drunk to the point when dangerous decisions are taken .... the list could go on... I don't even know why they bothered to make such a movie.. there were the odd funny moments but on the whole not worth watching. [http://gtobserver.blogspot.com/2012/09/who-decides-normal-sex.html]

Not expecting much we slipped in the Indian movie and were pleasantly surprised... humourous, a cute child, not much gratuitous violence, an uplifting storyline of goodwill of the common man, nice photography, and a catchy qawwali at the end... it took us to midnight but we were more interested in the end than going on the verendah to see the fireworks.... even my stepfather stayed up to see the end, well after midnight..ending the night with a beer!

Sweetened up, we moved onto Pixels and switched off in disgust at its inane stupidity, glorifying Adam Sandler's rude smart-assed remarks... no wonder American kids are so screwed up if this is the rubbish that passes as entertainment for them!

NO competition.  In American movies' defence, I enjoyed the 3D and other effects of The Force Awakens but the Guyanese public voted with their feet and there were a mere 15 people in that part of the cinema showing it while the Dilwale was sold out... take THAT Hollywood.