Tag Archives: Australia

An ungovernable world, a bike ride and a few pictures.

Been reading up on the climate change latest and “Go party like there’s no tomorrow”, would be considered advise for today’s young people. Basically the young of today have two choices, party and wait for death and disaster or find a way to scrub copious amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere and not forgetting they will also have to find a way to pay for the scrubbing the cost of which is estimated to be in the hundreds of trillions of dollars.

Not good news and the trouble with all these predictions is that they are made by scientists. People who are fenced into their area of expertise which do not necessarily include big picture views of the implications of their predictions. They are most often told to butt out of questions related to policy. An exception to this rule is professor James Hansen who is vocal on policy but unfortunately most of what he says falls on the death ears of politicians despite his well-founded warnings of economic collapse and the world becoming ungovernable. I would recommend everyone, especially if under middle-aged, read his papers, watch his videos and get angry.

Hansen’s website.

Other than imagining battles for survival, life in a cave and a world-wide shortage of sun lotion, I’ve not done much recently, brain not clicking into gear for some reason, and so went the other day for a mountain bike ride. Katoomba down to Woodford which is about twenty kilometres on the highway and then thirty kilometres off-road on “The Oaks” fire trail to Glenbrook. Not bad for someone whose license was canceled last month on the grounds of allegedly being too ill to drive a motorcar. No one worry though – I’m not dying yet – just doctors who misdiagnose, prescribe the wrong medication which did make me feel seriously ill and then are incapable of admitting they made a mistake when I recovered as a result of taking control of my own health. In any case I’m seriously thinking of cutting up my license so I can look my grandkids in the eye and say I did all I could to save them from starvation and world war three.

My mountain bike by the side of The Oaks firetrail in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.

‘The Oaks’ fire trail – near thirty kilometres of sand, rocks and some awesome downhills. I’ve hit 68 kilometres per hour on this trail. Not bad for an old fella! LOL

Not doing as much as I’d like but have been taking pictures and experimenting with ways to get the effects I want – pretty dark I admit but that probably is just a reflection of my mental state. Below are two that are proving to be popular on photography websites.

Black and white photograph of graffiti and baby pram in back alley in Katoomba, New South wales, Australia.

 

Black and white photograph of paste up stuck on door in a back alley in Katoomba, New South Wales, Australia.

Blessings to all.

More loss of freedom planned for Australia.

The politicians are at it again

The state premiers and the federal prime minister struck whilst the Las Vegas iron is still hot, all agreeing the police and the secret squirrels (intelligence persons) should have access to driver license photos to enhance the effectiveness of facial recognition technologies. Fact not mentioned is that none of that would have prevented the Las Vegas massacre. One premier waffled on about how we should resource the heroes who ‘put their lives on the line’ to ensure our safety but again and whilst that may well be true – that they do take risks – he could have also mentioned the farmers, transport, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, mining and health care and social assistance workers all of whom and in that order are at greater risk of death and injury than police and intelligence persons. Priest is the safest profession in case you were wondering – except for the risk of arrest as a result of falling prey to the charms of Eros but let’s not go there now.

Another oft repeated point made by these politicians is that their first duty is to preserve the safety of citizens. That is untrue – their first duty is to preserve the democratic system of government which includes preserving the ability of citizens to remove those elected to govern should the need arise. In keeping with that same principal of all powers, legislative, judiciary, executive, remaining with the people it needs to be reminded that the authority and duty to enforce law remains (executive) at all times with the people and is not surrendered to the police. “The police are the public and the public are the police”, as said Sir Robert (Bob) Peel, creator in 1829 of the first modern police force. The reason British police are to this day still called ‘Bobbies’.

For the people to exercise their right and duty to be the sole government of a democratic nation they need the ability to meet, discuss and take action free from intervention by those who in power might not have or are not acting in the nation’s interest. This is why we have freedom of speech, of assembly and freedom to communicate.

Yes I understand the need to keep criminals and terrorists under surveillance if they present a danger to the public but measures that impede on the rights of all citizens should always be temporary. We never hear Australian politicians mention ‘sunset clause’ and that should be a concern to anyone who values democracy.

Make up your minds that happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.

Pericles

Lucky country and a few pics of a homeless friend.

We hear that a lot – that Australia is ‘the lucky country’. What’s lost is that Donald Horne who wrote the book of that name meant Australia is lucky in that it’s success is more due to good luck than good management. As he said, a first rate country run by second rate people and a recent example of that is the domestic supply of gas. Previous governments sold near all known reserves to Asia, amongst the world’s largest, and at a price so low that it would now be cheaper to buy Australian gas back from Japan than frack for more. New South Wales and Victoria have heaps of gas but the resistance of their rural communities to fracking is such that in the end the federal government had to ask the energy companies to please, please put a little aside for domestic consumption and not export the lot. I wonder how much that will add to local energy bills which are already ridiculously high and when combined with the equally ridiculous cost of housing will result in even more average families heading bills in hand to their local Salvation Army office.

Anyways… thought I’d share a few pictures I took a few years ago when and as some who have been accessing this blog would know, I was homeless and living in a tent in the bush. ‘Harmonica Mike’ was well known to backpackers who camped in the woods. Actually and given the tendency of the younger generation to post all and everything on social media, Michael had become a bit of an international celebrity with many wondering how in a country like Australia a man with a plethora of health issues could be left to live in a tent.

'Harmonica Mike' outside his tent in the Megalong Valley, New South Wales, Australia. Photograph by Paul Nyssen.

I said ‘don’t smile’ – Mike thought that was a crack up.

'Harmonica Mike' outside his tent in the Megalong Valley, New South Wales, Australia. Photograph by Paul Nyssen. 'Harmonica Mike' outside his tent in the Megalong Valley, New South Wales, Australia. Photograph by Paul Nyssen.

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts forgotten and criminal and a few pictures.

Pretty sure I had quiet a few thoughts to share on a range of subjects but as is often the case, by the time you are sitting in front of the computer and looking at a flashing cursor the mind has gone blank. What was that thing that got me all fired up on the train back up the mountains the other day? Can’t remember but thinking about whatever it could have been you realise that it was probably just one symptom of a bigger illness. A bit like five hurricanes in a row in the Caribbean is either bad luck or just another indication that climate change is accelerating which itself is just a symptom of the disease that is civilisation based on consumption. Consumption produces two things, one being heat and the other toxic waste and so the ‘virus’ in need of eradication is human want. No-one will resolve climate change without resolving the insatiable appetite of some for consumer goods. The marketing people have long identified who ‘some’ is – just check out television ads and social media marketing.

OK – so we are all fucked because that particular sub-species will always put self ahead of everything and anyone else and will consider it a simple matter of rights and entitlement to put future generation’s right to a livable planet behind their immediate and irrational want for the latest article of clothing, smart-phone or motorcar. There are scientists who give us a decade at most but that is something I need to research a bit before daring to believe it could in fact be true.

Another thing that grabbed me today was an article about a guy who up until the time of his arrest some months ago was a prominent television journalist. He got himself entrapped by online vigilantes and wound up as the poster boy for pure evil on all the competition’s print and broadcast media. As it turned out he had a dirty conversation with online vigilantes and is facing a maximum sentence of up to fifteen years for the crime of talking stupid. He reportedly pleaded ‘guilty’ to this charge with his lawyer seeking a reduced sentence because no dirty pictures of under-age persons were exchanged and no child was actually interfered with in any manner whatsoever. Throwing out all the bullshit – his crime in fact amounts to having had a dirty thought. Wow – who hasn’t?

The stupid thing with this is that liking young males is average amongst older males, it’s according to research into the role aesthetics played in evolution a major reason that amongst primates the human branch was most successful. Contrary to our hairy cousins human adult males do not reject or even kill young males as potential sexual rivals but rather welcome and mentor them into successful adulthood. For that to happen there has to be a force of attraction between older and younger males that overrides the need for other-sex copulation in the older male. Fact lost on some who, let’s surmise, indeed see pretty boys as the greatest threat to their evil plans for world domination and therefore would push for ever tougher penalties on anyone who even mouths out the thought that a young guy is more fun to be with than a floppy bag of resentment.

Other than trying to remember what crosses my mind when I want to get it down in ones and zeros on the hard drive my 500px, which I closed about this time last year, was re-activated without my consent. Never put anything on automatic payments I suppose is the lesson there. I had the same problem with the newspaper ‘Le Monde’ who don’t tell you when you accept the offer of a three-month trial at 1 euro a month that having your bank details they will at the end of the 3 months take the full amount of the subscription and the only way to cancel it is to send them a suitably filled-in form and by registered snail mail to their Paris office. It borders on scam but I know, I know – print news media is in trouble and big problems require bold solutions.

So having another year of ‘awesome’ subscription to the 500px photography website I decided I may as well use it as a way of getting feedback on pictures and below are a few that are doing well.

Concrete footpath with penis scaped into cement with superimposed flowers. Photograph and montage by Paul Nyssen.

“Cities are awash with desire”.

Door and window of rundown habitation with sticker that reads 'please do not knock - no salesmen'. Photograph by Paul Nyssen.

Picture of murdered teenager Jason Swift.

Picture I made in remembrance of teenager Jason Swift, murdered in London in 1985.

Peace and blessings to all.

More fear and thoughts on ‘Wonder Woman’

Like many I often have the television switched on in the next room so I can listen to the news channel whilst doing something hopefully constructive like writing a book, working on the animation project or cleaning the kitchen. Usually what’s coming from the flat box is not all that interesting but the other day something did make me put down the mop to pay more attention to what was being reported. Namely, our prime minister together with state premiers and first ministers fronting the media at the end of their COAG meeting. COAG, for those who don’t live here, is the ‘Council Of Australian Governments’ which are the state and federal government. What struck me listening to each premier (head of a state government) and the federal prime minister was the level of agreement on giving our law enforcement and intelligence services yet more power, “the tools and powers they need to keep us safe” was more or less how they all put it. Not a dissenting voice and no mention of a sunset clause nor how these extra tools and powers would be independently managed.

Benjamin Franklin’s words come to mind,

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Thinking about Britain, recent terrorist attacks and the slippery slide towards becoming a nation governed by fear something else comes to mind and it is that in WWII Britain could have surrendered to the Nazis and avoided 67,200 civilian casualties and the greater part of their 383,700 military casualties. But they didn’t because for a nation that has strong beliefs with courage to match, surrender to tyranny was not an option. They stuck it out, took the blows and won. With help of course from like-minded nations but it is true that had the British given into fear and surrendered, the world would be a worse place and to this day. No nation has ever stood proud of its fear. Terrorism? Nothing new and not a reason to give away freedoms and rights that cost all wars and nations combined, literally millions of lives.

The problem we have is that we are fighting an idea and don’t have a better idea and strengthening state, history has shown, weakens nation.

OK and I also wanted to draw attention to an article on the al Jazeera website about the hypocrisy of Hollywood. You might have seen “Wonder Woman” and you may remember the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza which killed over 2500 thousand people including 511 children. Here’s what the little actress who somehow landed the role of ‘Wonder Woman’ had to say,

As quoted in the al Jazeera article.

I am sending my love and prayers to my fellow Israeli citizens. Especially to all the boys and girls who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas, who are hiding like cowards behind women and children…We shall overcome!!! Shabbat Shalom! 

Hiding? Like cowards? The ‘boys and girls’ risking their lives? Does she mean as in dropping bombs from a great height and shooting shells, from heavy tanks and at a safe distance, onto schools and hospitals? Brave indeed and as for ‘hiding’ behind children and women (sexist comment that implies women are as helpless as children btw) instead of fighting would she also say the Jewish heroes of the Warsaw ghetto were ‘hiding behind women and children’? Sorry but Gaza and that WWII Jewish ghetto have a few disturbing similarities.

This ‘Wonder Woman’, whose name is Gal Gadot, was an Israeli soldier and a ‘settler’ on land stolen from the Palestinians. A feminist idol maybe but also clearly a member of the ultra-right – the same from which her fellow citizens had to be liberated by others – and is an outspoken supporter of land theft and genocide.

Now, remember the Oscars and all the outrage about the lack of females, of non-white actors, directors, etc? You could be led to believe the arts community has a morale concious and is socially progressive but – apparently not when it comes to children surviving as best they can in the world’s biggest prison.

I’m not anti Israeli – honestly – but strongly feel that enough is enough, we need to fix this puss-oozing sore and that means Israel needs to respect the international law that created it and withdraw to the 1967 green line as it has been repeatedly told. If it fears further attack then the United Nations can disarm both sides and put peacekeepers in place for as long as it takes for the extremists, on both sides, to die of natural causes. Happy days for all.