Why Socialism does not work

What a profound short little paragraph that says it all....

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my friend, is about the end of any nation.”
You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

~ Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931

What is Socialism? Some of you may be asking, well the uncomplicated answer would be the following

1) “A political theory or system in which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles.

2) “A political movement based on principles of socialism, typically advocating an end to private property and to the exploitation of workers”

So ladies and gents let it never be said that the diaries of a village idiot are not educational

So how was my week what did I get up to??

I trained this week and must say was not the best training I have experienced. I have not assessed their papers yet but from just glancing over the papers late Friday afternoon I have a feeling that a few of the have not made it, which really pee’s me off because as a facilitator you put so much effort into training (well many of us do) and try and guide students with regards what could be coming up in the assessment (short of giving them the questions or the answers) and they still either do not listen or don’t care. When people fail I feel like I have failed because those people that have sat in front of me for 3 days surely must have taken something in and learnt at least something. Contrary to popular belief you dot get found competent and get issued with a certificate for just attending. You do in fact have to put some effort in the process and actually a) listen in class b) do a little homework or revision work.

Not far from where I was training is the ‘informal trading” part of PE, with many PE residents saying you should not walk through there as it’s dangerous. Well over the one lunch time I decided to take a walk and see for myself, I don’t know if its because I lived in Clarens for so long but I never feel out of place or threatened in an area like this, in fact I find the opposite to be true, I enjoy the buzz and the chaos that seems to touch everything, the smells and the colours, I mean where else can you see a dude with a shopping cart filled with bread competing with cars and taxi’s to get across a traffic light, where else can you see a traditional Sangoma shopping at a Dischem, where else can you see people selling pots ,pans, potatoes and lounge suits on the pavement?. This to me is the 3rd world South Africa that also makes the country what it is, some people hate it and feel that its dragging us into the abyss, but I think its part of the countries makeup and I have always believed treat people like would want to be treat you and rarely do you pick up a problem. You also need to be streetwise and keep an eye on your six (behind you) so that you do in fact not become a victim of crime.

This weekend was also Rugby weekend with the EP kings playing the Puma’s at home on Friday night to win a place in next seasons Currie cup, well it was not to be the first round was drawn 36 all but on Friday the Puma’s won 48 – 29 but what a night, the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium was packed to the rafters with EP supporters and the vibe was electric, Vusi one of my colleagues at work has never been to a Rugby game before in his life so he joined Ryan and I at the game. We had awesome seats behind the posts and the “ever shy” Village Idiot managed to start a Mexican wave that went round the entire stadium 4 or 5 times (not something you get to do every day). Ryan and I went by scooter and took us 15 minutes to get home , while some people where stuck in traffic for a couple of hours………….”That’s why we ride scooters”

On Saturday the Sharks played Western Province for the Curie cup and it was a “I don’t really care who wins” game for me but have to say that The Sharks outplayed WP much like WP did to the Cheetahs 2 weeks ago. They played WP at their own game and must say that I like Patrick Lambie and hope that he can do as well in a Green and Gold jersey. Speaking about Green and Gold the team to play Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England and the Barbarians from November the 6th has been announced and must say think is a well balanced squad there are a couple of players that I feel are unlucky not to be picked and we still have a number of regulars out of action that where not considered for the tour with Fourie du Preez to me being the one player we will miss. Its vital we get to beat the Irish in the first game as this will set the tone for the rest of the tour a Grand slam would be nice but to be honest as long as we beat England at Twickenham then I will be happy. I presume many Saffers will be dressing up waving the flag and shouting for the Boks on the tour, at some stadiums it may even feel that they are at home with the amount of Green and Gold that will be on display. So I suppose we need to say thanks to all those Saffers that have made the sacrifice to live in Europe so that they can in fact give the Boks support on this tour.

Tania’s veg garden is really doing well with Spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, parsley as well as a number of other vegetables and herbs.

Can’t get used to the amount of accidents that you see as well as traffic lights and stop signs etc that have been mowed down by “Whacko’s behind the wheel.” On Saturday on the way to Ryan’s to watch the Currie Cup final I must have missed an accident by 5 minutes.

Sunday the weather was better than Saturday so Tania, Gabby Stephen and I went to the beach for a picnic, decided to go to Sea view about 15 kms away. Also popped in at Kini Bay (where the poor people live) ad spent a little time there, Gabby Snorkelled a little bit and we saw a Humongous Jelly fish, seriously big.

Well have a great week and don’t for get to shout for the Boks against Ireland next Saturday.



saving petrol , saving money

Petrol prices continue to fluctuate meaning that car travel is taking a larger portion out of each of (Y) OUR salaries.
Simply paying a bit more attention to your car can reduce these costs.

Purchase your petrol when it's coolest outside such as in the early morning. Petrol becomes denser in cooler temperatures. Since petrol pumps only measure the volume - and not the density - you'll get better overall more for your money by purchasing petrol when it is cool outside rather than in the heat of the day. Religiously check your car's tyre pressure each month (make sure to purchase a good-quality dial-type gauge for yourself -- pencil-style gauges and the ones mounted on the air hose are unreliable according to surveys).

Tyres that are under-inflated reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 3% for 0.1 bar (2% per pound) they are under-inflated. Under-inflation also causes premature tyre wear giving your tires a shorter useful life. Also be careful not to over-inflate as this will also cause premature and most likely uneven wear of the tyres which means you’ll also need to replace them sooner,
Slow down and drive at the lawful speed limit. Cars use about 20% more petrol driving at 110 kilometres per hour than they do at 90 kilometres per hour.

Avoid using air-conditioning whenever possible. Air conditioning reduces fuel economy by 10% to 20% depending on your car’s engine size, etc. Use the air ventilation system instead,
Don't drive with open windows or sunroof when travelling at high speeds. Open windows on the highway can reduce fuel efficiency by 10%. It's much better to use the ventilation system,
Remove roof racks and other items that make your car less aerodynamic when they're not being used. Leaving them on only makes your car less fuel-efficient and costs you money.

There is no need to let your car idle. Even on cold mornings, cars don't need to idle more than 30 seconds. Newer cars are designed to be driven almost immediately and letting your car idle is a waste of gas. It's more efficient to turn off your car and turn it on again than to let it idle for more than 45 seconds while waiting. Remove all the excess weight from your car. Many people use their car boot and back seat as a storage space adding unneeded weight. This unnecessary weight reduces the car's fuel efficiency by about 1% for every 45 kg.

Use cruise control whenever you can, especially on highways. By maintaining a steady speed, you will improve your petrol consumption. The next time you are in the market for tires, consider radial tires. They can cut your fuel bill by 2-3%. Check your filters and catalytic converters regularly, especially if you drive a lot in areas with a lot of dirt roads and / or windy conditions. They should be kept clean. Dirty filters increase fuel consumption by as much as 10%.

Use premium multi-grade oils to save on your fuel consumption and be sure to change your oil regularly (refer to your car’s manufacturer’s instructions) taking the driving conditions (dirt roads, etc) into account. Fill your tyres with Nitrogen: Used in Formula 1, Military Aircraft and even the Space Shuttle, being inert (cannot catch fire or explode), it is the safest best possible tyre gas, Tyres inflated with nitrogen run between 10 and 15% cooler – cooler tyres means tyre life is extended by up to 20%, migrates slower than air through the tyre wall, so tyre pressure stays constant for longer, you can still fill up tyre with air as an air and nitrogen mix will not damage your tyres, cooler tyres are on average safer tyres.

Be aware what your car is costing you:

According to the Automobile Association of South Africa a petrol passenger car with a purchase price of between R 125,000 and R 150,000 travelling between 20,000 and 25,000km per year with an engine capacity between 1500 and 1800 at a fuel price of R 5.00 per litre costs on average R 2.33 per kilometre travelled. This means if you travel 30 kilometers (you’ll be surprised as to how quickly it adds up), that trip costs you R 70.00.

The above takes all factors into account such as maintenance, tyres, etc. The reason that you do not see the above spend on a daily basis is that some costs like the tyres, maintenance, etc are deferred costs, so plan and limit your trips to a practical minimum.

Ensure that your car’s insurance is up to date:

Investigate all insurance products that is offered in the market place such as “pay per kilometre” (if you are not driving a lot), “insurance for women drivers”, etc., it is important to insure your car to the correct value for your peace of mind, but to over-insure costs you money. Check your car’s retail value at least on a yearly basis and adjust your insurance value (insurance companies tend not to do this for you and you can understand why – bigger premiums means more money for them).For South African readers, go to www.standardbank.co.za and click on the vehicle finance link. Then choose car value estimator under Calculators. Follow the steps – it is easy to use.

The Mullet "No not the fish"

No I am not talking about the fish that you find swimming along the South African coastline but that awesome hairstyle that some of us either sported back in the day when we had hair (well especially me) or we knew of someone that felt they where really “cool” with this particular style

For those who may have been in a coma or asleep for years the mullet is a type of haircut, in which the hair is long at the back of the head (usually at least the shoulders), but much shorter on the top, front, and sides of the head. The result looks like long hair from behind, but short hair from the front. In the United States the mullet was trendy in the 1970s, 1980s, an' early 1990s, although in different forms - plain and spikey in the 70s/often bouffant and blonde highlighted in the 80s; the style has on account of the early 90s, become the subject of ridicule in some circles. A common description of the mullet hairstyle and its versatility is "Business in the front, party in the back".

Rednecks who shop at Wallmart and people from the far East of South Africa (Benoni, Springs etc) are possible candidates these days to sport this style.

Not the 9 o clock news

So feeling a lot better this week as to where I am and what I am doing with my life I tackled the challenges for the week head on. This week I did hazardous chemical as well as Noise Induced hearing loss training at a local based (but is an international pharmaceutical company) Its always nerve wracking when you are presenting something for the first time as not only do you need to show the students that this is “Not” the first time you have done this, you also need to be able to answer any possible questions and have an answer or solution even if you do not know the answer, otherwise you are “Scr$%#d”. Must say I do enjoy the challenge and I have learnt so much over the last 6 months that its not even funny

Friday was the NOSA Client Function and it was pretty good, Bus trip to a wine farm they are starting just outside Jeffery’s bay called Cob Creek where we had a wine tasting, a corporate magician who was also the funniest person I have seen for a long long time………that alone was worth the trip, but the food was out of this world, I had a fillet steak that melted in my mouth, you just had to put the knife near the meat and it sliced through it, probably the best Steak I have ever had in my life and having been in the hospitality industry for over 25 years that is no mean feat, as I have tasted many a good steak. the SAMTRAC student of the year was announced and no I did not win, although I was one of three that scored 94.5% for the course, being a NOSA employee I could not win it, but I got something better (A full time job with a growing company an awesome boss and staff) so I really cant complain, just wanted you to know that I am not as “Dof” as I look.

Gabby has started to ride again at a local stables and is loving it, she really s such a good horsewoman and I am glad tat she has decided to get back into it, even her boyfriend Stephen has started to take it up and had his first lesson on Saturday, according to Tania and Gabby he is not bad, I was not there as the lesson was at 8am, weather was overcast and drizzling and I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and stayed in bed watching a movie on the computer about Islamic terrorism, its called ‘Traitor” and it’s a very good movie. Gabby has also started to play the guitar again with her Uncle Ryan very kindly loaning Gabby his 12 string guitar. so as you can imagine the house is sooooooooo quiet …….’NOT”

Cant wait for Summer days as I am really getting gatvol of the crap weather we are having at present, want to start wavesking and snorkelling again. I will put money that on Monday and Tuesday weather will be great and start turning on Wednesday again so that its crap for the weekend.

The Eastern Province Kings drew 36 all with the Puma’s in the fist leg of the two game play off in Witbank on Friday night so this Friday coming the 2nd leg will be a winner takes all game, may just go and watch, if the Kings do get into the Currie cup then we will have teams like Sharks, WP, etc coming to play here which will not only be a big boost for the Nelson Mandela bay Stadium it will also be great for us here in PE. Seems the Protea’s also got there act together on Friday night and crushed the Zimbabweans in an International 50/50 game winning by a mere 279 runs. Ferrari won the Inaagral Korean GP and with 2 races left and 50 points on offer its going to be interesting, must say this season I have not watched one GP, just not seemed to be the hype there was the last few years……Drivers standings are Alonso 231/ Webber 220/ Hamilton 210 / Vettel 206 and Button 189 (don’t care who wins as long as its not Hamilton or Button. Team standings are Red Bull 426 / Mclaren 399 and Ferrari 374

A couple of good jokes have emerged since the Blou Bulle are not in this years Currie Cup final

1) Pretoria has got a housing shortage after the loss to the Sharks, why you may ask ? Well it seems that all the Blue Bill supporters came down to earth

2) There will be a new death penalty introduced by the government……..they make you wear a Blue Bulls jersey and you “Die of shame”!!

I see that Xmas decorations and advertising have been put up in a number of shops at various shopping malls, Xmas seems to get here earlier every year, Woolworths are taking some flak about there decision not to sell religious magazines in their shops, this seems to have made a number of people cross and threats of boycotts etc seem to have Woolworths rethinking their decision. I don’t buy religious magazines myself but if I did would I be upset that Woolworths did not want to sell magazines of my choice? Hard to say as you get extremes or believers in all faiths the extremist in this case have said they will boycott and picket the shops, extremists from other religions may just call for a Jihad and blow shit up. The question I want to ask is if you don’t want anything religious in the shop/s then are you going to market Easter and Xmas to get people to buy in your shops??

A good friend of mine in Clarens has had some great news, her boyfriend has just landed a great job that means she will be leaving Clarens and living in Harrismith 90kms away, Really happy for them both as they are a great couple and deserve to catch a break….Well done to you both, Tania, Gabby and I are really chuffed for you. Seems that Meatbomb is so busy theses days all he does is work and sleep and with Steelwings coming up in a couple of weeks time, he will be working even harder, but some good money will be made, so that always makes up for the long hours and lack of sleep.

So what other news in Clarens, well it would seem that baby fever is in the air, seems that everyone and their brother is preggers or about to release a rug rat. Some are happy some are surprised and some just plain aghast at what awaits them. Remember if you don’t want to have a child then “hou die koekie toe”. I also hear that the Speckled Bean is not going to be a monthly magazine anymore but a quarterly magazine as its not economically viable according to the owner to run it monthly anymore, however from sources in Clarens it would seem a former editor and good friend has decided to start a new magazine called “In Clarens”………… “I must say a well thought out and catchy title” and has stolen all the advertisers (as I say this is from sources in Clarens) so it would seem you can make money from a magazine otherwise why would a new one be starting ??. The Mountain Post newspaper also seems to be doing ok”……….S.W.T.F. Many people are saying that this Speckled bean will be the last....End of an era.

Clarens is now complete and any new restaurants that want to come into the village will never be able to compete with the new concept that has been brought to the village, Last years tourism village Marquard must be kicking themselves that they did not come up with this culinary concept, as I am sure Jamie Oliver and Nigella are. It’s a Vetkoek and Milkshake cocktail Diner / lounge/ plekkie, Yeah I know……I was like WOW “what a frikken concept” Should make Millions of Zim Dollas.


1) Paris - Workers opposed to a higher retirement age blocked access to airports in Paris and around the country on Wednesday, as hooded youths smashed shop windows amid clouds of teargas outside the capital. Riot police in black body armour forced striking workers away from blocked fuel depots in western France, restoring fuel supply to areas where pumps had run dry, after weeks of protests over the government proposal of raising the retirement age from 60 to 62. (The French have always been lazy sods)

2) London - Queen Elizabeth II was not spared the British budget cuts announced on Wednesday, with her spending slashed and grants to the royal family frozen. The royals have dramatically scaled back their expenditure over the last two decades but felt the bite of finance minister George Osborne's austerity measures nonetheless. Osborne told parliament that the sovereign had agreed to a 14% drop in royal household spending in 2012-2013, while grants for official travel and palace repairs would also be frozen in cash terms. The way the royals are funded will then be completely overhauled, he added, with a single grant replacing the various strands of her state income, replacing the "civil list" arrangement that has stood for more than 250 years.

"The household obviously has some challenging times ahead, like any area of government but we welcome the announcement of the sovereign support grant as a modern, transparent and simpler way of funding the head of state," a Buckingham Palace spokesperson told AFP. The royal residence said last week that Queen Elizabeth was "acutely aware of the difficult economic circumstances" facing her subjects. (Apparently they are facing the challenges head on as they are cutting back by not having a Christmas party at Buckingham palace this year; Yeah as usual it’s the workers that get stiffed)

Well that’s about it for this week but before I go a couple of priceless observations

I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: - 'No good in a bed, but fine against a wall.'

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Money can't buy you happiness ... But it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.

- Spike Milligan

Have a great week


M .L. .C

Ever sat back and wondered “where the F%$k did my life go and what have I actually achieved? Well I did and to be very honest at nearly 50 years old I did not like what I saw, putting me into a 2 week “funk” that had me questioning why life had been so harsh to me, why had I been singled out as the 1 person in the world to lay this crap on, for the first time in my life I have started to realise that I am mortal and that I will die one day and a number of things that I want to achieve I have not, it also does not help that I am starting to feel my age and that my eyes are starting to deteriorate……It sucks.

First let me say that I did realize that I am blessed with an awesome wife and daughter as well as wonderful family (most of them like me) but when it came to where I was at this time in my life and what I wanted to be earning as a salary then I believed that I was so far of course that not even a compass will bring me back. Did that piss me off did it make me angry, Hell yes.

Makes me angry and frustrated because I really have only myself to blame for being in this position. I was not astute enough to realise that being in the hospitality industry as a mere worker ant and not as a business owner was only making other people rich and not myself. At my age I should be at the top of my career earning a decent salary having nearly or fully paid off my house and planning overseas trips with my wife and daughter, not counting every penny I am spending, dreading watching the news and reading the papers as there may be reference to price increases and new levies etc.

Made me angry because I believe that I have worked FRIKKEN hard in my life and that I am reasonably intelligent (I have written a book, and I won the weakest link) yet people that have not been as concentious regards work ethic as I in the workplace or are not as intelligent (well that’s a subjective opinion) or have not got the neccersarry qualifications yet can waltz into high paying jobs with company cars and all the perks…………”Its not fair” So for two weeks I let this eat away at me and make me angrier and angrier, affecting my family, my work and my health

I had two choices, go an buy a red sports car with a silicone filled accessory, or I could build a bridge and get over myself, must say the car and the accessory where tempting but reality kicked in a) I cant afford a Sports car and b) I cant afford a silicone filled accessory or the consequences when Tania catches me so I bought hammer , nails and a few bits of wood and got over it. That’s not to say I wont get depressed again in the future, but I have realised a number of things.

1) I have great family that Love me (well most of them) and will not let me fall to far
2) I have the ability to crawl back after climbing up the hill and then sliding down again
3) I have proven to myself and many others over the last few months that if you put your mind to anything you can achieve what you want
4) Those dreams that I have will come to fruition because of the above 3

So I have to become the best at what I do, I need to focus and ensure that I learn from past mistakes and remember that we cannot all be Rich, Pretty and Famous , some of us can only be Pretty.

So on the sporting side it would seem the Proteas have the measure of Zimbabwe, but must say “Bobs” Boys are doing ok and not allowing themselves to get a hiding. The Sharks pipped the Bulls yesterday in a close 16-12 semi final and WP “Klapped” the Cheetahs 31-7 in the other. So next weekend its Sharks vs WP at Newlands for the final and the last time the Sharks played WP in the final at Newlands they lost, so lets see what happens. The Bok tour to Europe is coming up with games against Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and the Barbarians, My wish is and I really hope that our South African compatriots enjoy watching the Boks in their adopted country and enjoy dressing up like a South African for the day (and I truly mean that from the bottom of my heart.)

I was reading the other day that there are over 8 000 000 sex slaves in the world at present and its growing (many are also children).now that is shocking but was even more surprising is that during the slaving period 1502 - 1853 some 9 – 12 000 000 slaves landed in Foreign climes, this does not include those that died on way from villages, I holding cells, on ships on way to new land. While I am not saying that this number is trivial it actually pales into comparison with regards the amount of Slave trade that goes on in this modern era, and Slavery was abolished…………Really

Starting to find face book boring, or maybe its just the fact no send me messages? Will give it a while longer and make a decision if going to keep up with it or not, initially it was new and fun, but lately just find it “BLAH”

You see some weird stuff in PE, here are a couple of photos, The snail may look small but it was the size of half a brick, “Seriaaaaaaas”.

I am of the belief that future babies born in this world will be born with a cell phone in their hands and mixiting their new mates who have also just been born, my daughter never seems to have the phone out of her hand and is not just mixiting 1 friend but a number of friends at the same time, this is while she is eating supper, watching a DVD and using face book. When I was a kid , face book was when you fell asleep reading Treasure island and the book fell on your face, mixiting was when you helped Grandma mix the batter or the icing for the cake she was about to make because she had sent a letter 3 weeks ago to friends who had replied and Gran had received the letter in the post the day before to say that they would indeed like to visit and have a natter over cake and tea (Very spontaneous in those days).

As kids you where allowed to ‘If you where lucky” allowed to make a call on the phone once a year (usually on your birthday) and even the to dial the number you needed forearms like Arnold or Sly and fingers that could take the pressure of dailing the numbers, later on if you where really fancy you had a tough button phone (so futuristic)

Spoke to me mate Meatbomb today, always good to have a chat to Mark, he is doing great and really enjoying the challenges that The Brewery is sending his way. Jeanelle is also ecstatic because the Sharks are in the final, hopefully next week she is still smiling.

well here are a couple of funnies for you and then its away with me for another week, keep safe and be good.


A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect.

1) Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
2) War does not determine who is right -- only who is left.
3) Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
4) A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. My desk is a work station.
5) Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish
6) I always take life with a grain of salt... plus a slice of lemon... and a shot of tequila.
7) You're never too old to learn something stupid


Oil is not well in the state of Louisiana

Its been called black or fools gold, one this for sure is that the oil spill in the gulf of Mexico has all but destroyed the ecosystem and tourism industry of that area, birdlife, marine life as well as the lives of humans has been irreversibly affected by mans greed and unremitting exploitation of the planets resources. Before you ask I do use petrol for my car to get around so I am not saying we should stop pumping crude oil but we do need to ask the question “At what price”

British Petroleum’s enormous oil spill in the gulf of Mexico started when an oil well blew out some 1.6 km’s on the seabed on the 20th of April 2010 resulting in a catastrophic explosion on the oil rig Deepwater Horizon that killed 11 workers with the rig sinking 2 days later. It has been speculated that a “blow out preventer” (a fail safe device) did not automatically cut off the oil flow as intended after the explosion.

Initially and quite unbelievably BP denied that there was in fact a major oil spill, but the US coastguard announced that at least 8000 barrels ( 1 300 000 litres and these are conservative estimates) were leaking into the gulf. It was only 2 days after this announcement that BP sent an underwater vehicle to assess the actual damage.

Initially BP were very optimistic saying that no oil was leaking from either the well head or the broken pipes ( VI comment: “Pull the other one its got bells on it”) and that the initial spill from the explosion was being controlled. This optimism however was to be short lived as the very next day BP announced hat there was in fact oil leaking but put the spill at only 1000 barrels a day (160 000 litres)

Over the days and weeks that followed disagreement over how much oil was in fact seeping into the gulf and causing havoc to marine life escalated with BP wanting to play down the figures but environmental organizations saying that up to 50 000 barrels (7 900 000 litres) were leaking out of the uncapped well. One research scientist put the spill at 100 000 barrels per day (16 000 000 litres) At this stage its important to say that 1 litre of oil can contaminate 1000 000 litre of water.

If this figure was correct to put it in perspective the Exxon Valdez that ran aground off the Alaskan coast in 1989 spilled 250 000 barrels of oil from its cargo. this was the biggest environmental disaster to hit planet earth. 100 000 barrels a day would then equate to an Exxon valdez every 3 days, but according to BP there was no reason to be concerned. “Yeah right”

BP did not want to allow any independent assessments of the leak at the site of the leak on the basis that BP was doing everything possible to ensure that this leak was being sorted. many however did not believe BP and said that the reason for independent assessments not being allowed was based on BP’s proprietary rights over that specific oil field, many commentators saying that private property rights were triumphing over social and environmental rights.

Pressure from environmental as well as other interest groups increased with regards BP’s as well as the American governments stance on the leak and what it was in fact doing to ensure the well was capped. There was also astonishment as to why a CBS reporter had not been allowed access to beaches that were being affected by the oil, she was apparently met by BP contractors as well as the coast guard who threatened her with arrest if she did not leave the area.

When these actions where questioned it was reported that the Coast guard were acting under the authority of BP, this brought in a fresh wave of protests from Americans who wanted to know how is it possible that a foreign corporation can have jurisdiction over public beaches.

BP where requested by various Louisiana agencies to set up a fund (initially 300 million dollars requested) to help the state fix short and long term effects on the local economy that would be seriously affected by the spill. as one can imagine oil, water, fish as well as other wildlife don’t co exist well together. The Louisiana and Mississippi coasts are home to fragile and unique mangrove as well as wetland systems as well as the varied species of birdlife, marine mammals and fish.

as stated earlier BP’s CEO Tony Hayward called the spill “relatively tiny” and even stated on a TV interview a month later that the environmental cost of the spill would be “very, very modest”. Reaction to this statement was swift with Hayward being branded arrogant and ignorant. Hayward is also reported to have said ‘I want my life back” which was seen to be very insensitive by many seeing that 11 men had died in the explosion on the oil rig itself.

Despite BP’s assurances that all was under control on 24th May the US federal government declared a “State of fisheries disaster” for Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, initial cost estimates to looses for the local fishing industry could be up to 3 billion dollars (21 billion rand). BP at the same time announced that to date they had spent 1 billion dollars to contain the oil spill (That seems a lot for a relatively tiny spill my Hayward) . The amount is a mere drop in the ocean when you realise that BP pays out 10.5 billion dollars a year in dividends to shareholders (damn and I don’t have shares with BP)

Its been estimated that when the dust has settled this “tiny spill” could cost BP 12 Billion dollars or more (I hope its more). What has hurt BP though is that it has lost 1 third of it stock value (estimated to be 67 Billion dollars) this in only 2 months since the spill happened and is at risk of a hostile takeover.

Many opportunities have been used to cap the well, and none seem to have worked at one stage there was talk that the USA was considering using a nuclear warhead (are they serious) to seal the cap. quite rightly organizations like Greenpeace were up in arms (pardon the pun)

So a question that we need to ask ourselves as citizens of the world is why do we allow our governments to be held ransom by an energy that is not sustainable, not environmentally sound and has the potential to let loose disasters of this magnitude that have ecological, economic as well as social costs.

I for one do not use BP petrol stations anymore and hopefully I am one of many who are making a stand against this arrogant company who think that because they have money they can do what they want to the planet and mess with the future of my children and their children.

The grass isnt greener

Johannesburg - A South African expatriate has been found murdered and dismembered in New Zealand, the Saturday Star reports. Body parts of 32-year-old Carmen Thomas, who used to live in Durban, were found in a container by police in Auckland on Friday evening. She had worked as an escort in an East Auckland club and police had been looking for her since she was reported missing on July 13.

That same month, friends and relatives had opened an account to raise money so that Thomas's mother could fly from Durban to New Zealand to help in the search for her daughter. It was believed that Thomas had been killed in her home on June 29 and dismembered. Blood had been found in her car, which was abandoned in the town of Hamilton. Thomas's former lover, 32-year-old structural engineer Brad Callaghan, was charged with her murder on September 21 and appeared in the Auckland District

I am shocked and stunned, Is New Zealand not so Safe?? That’s why so many “Sefricans” have fled into exile there, but wait it gets better………………..

Wellington - New Zealand police are preparing for a spike in violence if the All Blacks fail to win (MY note: Should read “when they fail”) next year's Rugby World Cup, the Dominion Post newspaper reported on Saturday. "The possibility that the All Blacks will lose has entered into our risk management," commissioner Howard Broad said as police studied the impact sports losses had on crime rates Internationally.

Superintendent Grant O'Fee, in charge of policing the World Cup, said that after a Scottish Cup football final between Glasgow clubs Celtic and Rangers, Strathclyde police saw an 80 percent increase in reported domestic violence. "Now 80 percent in reported family violence is very significant - only a small proportion of family violence is recorded - so that got us pretty excited and we discussed it with our partners at the (women's) refuge and we've looked at our own statistics," O'Fee said. "When I saw those Strathclyde ones I was bloody horrified."

In New Zealand, there is no discernable increase in domestic violence on rugby-Test weekends whether the All Blacks win, lose or draw. "That's not to say nothing happens, because the refuge tell us that they definitely do notice a bit of a change but nevertheless it's nothing like the significance of that one in Scotland." Broad told an "Alcohol Causes Violence" conference that alcohol and unforeseen adverse events could lead to problems such as violence in the home.

"The potential and scarcely foreseen possibility that the All Blacks will lose has entered into our risk management but we've been dealing with it very clearly because we don't want to be seen planning for that to occur," he said, drawing a laugh from the audience. Women's Refuge said it had been working with police to counter the potentially negative effect of the World Cup on domestic violence. International research showed that, when sporting events went wrong, there was a spike in domestic violence, spokeswoman Kiri Hannifin said. "So if the All Blacks, dare I say it, lose next year, those people who have a tendency to be violent, this may give them an excuse to be more violent or to be violent again."

Despite the All Blacks frequently starting World Cups as overwhelming favourites they have not won since the inaugural tournament in 1987. A British news website this week labelled the 1999 All Blacks' World Cup side, who lost in the semi-finals, as the biggest chokers in sport history heading a list that included golfer Greg Norman, sprinter Asafa Powell and tennis players Tim Henman and Andy Murray

Yeah the Grass may be paying more but not always greener, anyway lets get on to items that relate to SA and those of us that keep the wheels turning for the others that will one day return (that’s those who are not fooling themselves that they in fact will return) with a fist full of dollars and the knowledge gained in superfluous jobs that will ensure they knock us lesser experienced mortals of the pedestal to get the good jobs, buy houses cash and are able to afford a top of the range SUV or 4 x 4 out the Box…. Ho Hum, how boring.

Well this week I was given a permanent contract with NOSA J. Have to be honest and say while not a bad salary, its not the salary that I was expecting so will have to put the shoulder to the grindstone to get signed off on other high level courses (salary scale should jump) and hopefully make myself indispensable so that I get a good increase next year. In the meantime will have to tighten the belt, etc etc. Otherwise not much happened this week.

This week Tania and I sent out last Clarens Connection, now it will be run by Clarens Mag in Clarens by Paul and Di. So good luck with that and look after our baby.

Cheetahs beat the Lions this weekend to keep in the hunt for a semi final spot in the Currie cup wit only 1 game to go it would seem that semi finalists will be Sharks, WP, Bulls and Cheetahs.

Is my Nieces birthday today “Happy 10th birthday Becky” I am sure that you will be spoilt rotten by your mom and dad.

Decided that won’t be taking to many photos of family (other than Tania and Gabby) in future, got so many on the computer already and you never know what to put on the internet without getting into trouble. So best that I just don’t take photos.

Don’t know if this is true or not (probably not) but what a great way to stop people with bombs getting on planes

FINALLY - A great alternative to body scanners at airports . . .

The Israelis are developing an airport security device that eliminates the

privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners at the airports.

It’s a booth you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will

detonate any explosive device you may have on you. They see this as a

win-win for everyone, with none of this crap about racial profiling. It

also would eliminate the costs of a long and expensive trial. Justice

would be swift. Case closed!

You're in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly

thereafter an announcement comes over the PA system . . . "Attention

standby passengers - we now have a seat available on flight number XYZ.


Blood Diamonds

Mugabe's darkest secret: An £800bn blood diamond mine he's running with China's Red Army

By Andrew Malone

Daily Mail, London
18th September 2010

Across a remote tract of southern Africa, naturally fortified by mountains and patrolled by hundreds of soldiers with dogs trained to tear intruders apart, teams of mining experts are hard at work. Yet they are not speakers of Shona, the native language of this land on the border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. No, thousands of miles from home, under a broiling African sun, these slim, pale-skinned figures are members of the Chinese military. Working alongside henchmen from one of Africa’s most murderous regimes — headed by Robert Mugabe — the Chinese are here to oversee Beijing’s investment in the world’s most controversial commodity: blood diamonds. High-ranking officials of China’s People’s Liberation Army, they have been striving to escape detection for their role in this blood-thirsty — but hugely lucrative — trade. For here, carved out of the African bush, is a runway big enough for huge cargo planes. There is also sophisticated radar equipment, a fully-operational control tower and comfortable barracks for the Chinese officials overseeing the entire operation.

And twice a week, its wings wobbling on waves of thermals rising from this scorching corner of the continent, an Antonov An-12 cargo plane can be heard droning towards the airstrip. The Antonov — developed by the Soviets and, like so much else, copied by the Chinese and manufactured en masse — carries men and equipment from a secret military airbase outside Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, whose job is to tear the gems from the earth. It deposits between eight and ten Chinese military officials, who work overseeing members of the Zimbabwean military, as well as local labour who work at gunpoint in slave conditions. The departing flights leave with rough, uncut diamonds worth millions.

No flight plans are filed and there are no records of these trips. Such secrecy — and sophisticated organisation — is understandable. This is the centre of diamond fever, and the scene of the biggest diamond heist in history. Here, at the Marange diamond fields in the far southeast of Zimbabwe, where four planes bound direct for China have thundered out of the secret bush runway already this year, astonishing natural wealth has been found in the soil. Indeed, so common are diamonds here that, for many years, local children used the ‘hard stones’ in catapults to hunt birds, not realising that they were firing unimaginable riches into the sky. But stomach-gnawing poverty — life expectancy here has halved to just 35 since Mugabe came to power in 1980 — led to a local diamond rush as news spread that riches were to be found.

Professionals such as doctors, nurses, teachers and plumbers as well as other workers all descended on the fields four years ago, hoping to find enough stones in the earth to survive as the country’s currency collapsed, with worthless notes blowing through the streets. Yet all their hopes were crushed when Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the 86-year-old Zimbabwean president, and his ruling military junta, also came to hear of the rumours of such wealth. Mugabe’s military — many of whom have been given training in torture techniques in China — reacted in characteristically brutal fashion, shooting hundreds of people, setting Alsatian dogs on others and raping women and children. They wanted the diamonds for themselves. The carnage had the desired effect: the poor and wretched were driven from the fields, leaving the way clear for Zimbabwe’s military chiefs to move in. Today, the fields are a military zone — and anyone caught there faces being beaten to death.

The reason for the secrecy became apparent during an undercover investigation at the fields, where I found conclusive evidence of collusion between China and Mugabe. In an official — but highly-confidential — agreement between the two countries, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and Mugabe’s military chiefs are plundering this diamond find, believed to be the biggest in the history of the world and worth an estimated £800 billion. So vast are the riches that diamond experts believe the gems from Marange — in a country of less than ten million people — could account for more than a quarter of all diamonds mined around the globe, and could even trigger a massive slump in diamond prices if the stones come on the market and cause a glut.
Not that the people of Zimbabwe will see any of these riches. Instead, in return for the gems, the Chinese are paying Mugabe’s thugs in guns and ammunition, ensuring his regime can stay in power despite international condemnation of his atrocities.

The two countries — both with appalling human-rights records — are involved in a vile scramble for loot at Marange, and there is clear evidence that Mugabe and his generals are also personally stealingmillions from the trade. Secret documents obtained by the Mail reveal that the company given the rights to the diamond fields —called Mbada Diamond Company — is fronted by Mugabe’s trusted former personal helicopter pilot, with Chinese military officials as silent partners. The documents reveal that the pilot — Robert Mhlanga, who has no experience of mining — was personally appointed by Mugabe, with Chinese partners named as Deng Hongyan, Zhang Shibin, Zhang Hui, Jiang Zhaoyao and Cheng Qins. With military camps set up around the perimeter, and three separate fences erected to keep out smugglers and spies, local villagers told me appalling stories of how they have been driven from the land at gunpoint.

Soldiers set their dogs on one girl, who was mauled and killed in front of her parents. The military said this was a warning to others to keep away from the fields; at least seven people caught near the fields were killed by the military in the last month alone and their bodies dumped. Lucky Sibanda, a local man, showed me the wounds on his back where he was attacked by dogs after the military caught him by the fields. ‘These Chinese men have hard hearts,’ he said. ‘They are taking away diamonds that could save this country. I hate them.’ The disclosures make a mockery of the decision by the Kimberley Process — the diamond watchdog set up in the wake of the diamond war in Sierra Leone — to allow Mugabe to sell gems from Marange — which is in the remotest, most inaccessible part of his impoverished nation.

And it comes as the issue is once again in the spotlight following supermodel Naomi Campbell’s controversial appearance at the war-crimes trial of Charles Taylor, the cannibal warlord who funded the bloodshed and slaughter of more than 200,000 people in Sierra Leone in a battle over diamonds. For, while Mugabe insists these diamonds will be for benefit of his people, the truth is they are already being used to fund a war chest designed to keep him and his generals in power, while millions more are siphoned into their personal accounts.

That much was made clear to me during a chilling conversation I had as night fell this week near the diamond fields. There, at a meeting in a car on deserted waste ground — set up after tortuous negotiations through a go-between — one of Mugabe’s most senior intelligence chiefs rubbed his hands with glee at the deal with the Chinese, and told me the weapons were being handed out to the military in preparation for a brutal new crackdown against opponents. As well as paying a share of the diamond profits to Mugabe’s regime, he confirmed that China has agreed to supply military hardware to Zimbabwe. ‘It is a government-to-government deal,’ the official said. ‘It has been signed at the highest level.

‘There is a memorandum of understanding between China and Zimbabwe — Beijing supplies weapons to us, and we allow them to mine diamonds.’ Mocking the ‘monkeys in the West’ who have been outraged by Mugabe’s brutality, my source — a cold-hearted killer — predicted that the diamond deal with Beijing would mean they could stay in power indefinitely.

‘You can write 1,000 stories, and print them 1,000 times, but it won’t make any difference,’ smirked the official. ‘We have all the diamonds, so we have all the weapons — and we will kill anyone who tries to take anything from us.’ During an hour-long conversation, the intelligence source — whose identity I know, but who insisted I do not use his name or rank — also admitted that, without the Chinese pact, the ruling junta would have been driven from power. ‘But now we have all the guns we need,’ he said. Of course, Zimbabwe is not Sierra Leone, where Taylor’s forces drove civilians from diamond fields there, brutally cutting off the arms of thousand of people. Mugabe, who is reported to be in poor health, is far too clever for that.

Never killing so many, or so openly, that the West would be forced to intervene, he has become Africa’s second-longest-serving leader by quietly terrorising the population, killing opponents and using his dreaded secret police, rather than wholesale slaughtering — with the exception of 25,000 members of the Ndebele tribe he murdered in the Eighties. Asked if he believed these stones are ‘blood diamonds’, the thug laughed again. ‘This is a military operation, not a civilian operation, and that means that of course they are. Are you a fool?’ Not that a worldwide ban on Zimbabwean stones would stop the flow of diamonds out of Marange. Gripped by diamond fever, even these Chinese communists are trying to make money on the side.

I watched as two Chinese officials approached illegal diamond smugglers at a notorious trading point just outside the Marange perimeter. They left after purchasing uncut gems for their own private sales. As well as flying diamonds out directly from Marange, other shipments are taken out via a military base near Harare, while lorry loads of soil from the diamond fields are trucked overland to a port in Mozambique, and then shipped for processing on Chinese soil. Once the diamonds are cut, the best stones for rings and other jewellery are sold back into the diamond network through dealers in India and the Middle East. Commercial grade stones are used in industry,helping fuel China’s rise as a superpower. And, at a town called Manica, just over the border in Mozambique, Chinese and Lebanese dealers run an international smuggling hub, mopping up any diamonds being sold by the few gwejas still brave enough to risk their lives at the field.

During a visit to one infamous Lebanese dealer, who was surrounded by armed guards, I was told simply: ‘I don’t want to talk. If you have diamonds, show me them. If you don’t have any, leave. Now.’ My gruesome military source was correct: it is impossible to police these diamonds, whatever the Kimberley Process decides. Borders are porous; officials are corrupt. I was offered blood diamonds within ten minutes of arriving in Manica. Perhaps now is the time for a new ethical debate: should diamonds now forever be associated with, quite literally, having blood on one’s hands?

Only consumers can decide; Zimbabwe’s dead can’t.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1313123/Robert-Mugabes-darkest-secret-An-800bn-blood-diamond-run-Chinas-Red-Army.html#ixzz0zuOuIdvH

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