Posts Tagged ‘Syria’

“To hell in a handbasket”

Posted on: August 17th, 2012 by Tom Pattillo No Comments

Pussy Cats verdict: Where is Putin taking Russia – pre 1989! I read history. I have read about Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and all the rest from far past to present. Making people objects, dehumanizing, manufacturing enemies from innocent people. You want to question me, I will shoot you, don’t take it personally.

Syria: The killing has ceased to appall us. One more day, a 100 more deaths, Ho Hum. The naiveté of the UN, of the US, of everyone. There is nothing remotely incomprehensible about Assad’s actions, broken “promises” or violence. Read about tribal cultures. Read about genocide, pogroms, and rats backed into a corner. Assad has everything to lose (his tribe will be wiped out if the rebels take over) and nothing to love by pursuing his genocidal methods.

Saudi Arabia and Iran: Closer connection. Where does that leave the US? The Saudis are Arabs. Arabs have survived thousands of years but adjusting to reality. Arabs are survivors (as are Persians). Whatever you want us to say or promise . . . no problem. Word are just words, contracts but pieces of paper. If we are in the same room, in front of each other . . . we will abide by these signed agreements. Outside of the room, away from the agreement signatories, and whatever is best for us is a valid action. The boundaries of many of the Middle Eastern states are not centuries old; were not forged by wars, or even language homogeneity. They were created by western nations, politicians (or Statesmen as they prefer to be called) who either wanted to sloth off responsibility or look good to the world. Even today the UAE and Iran are fighting over islands, and Saudi Arabia quibbles about borders on the Arabian Peninsula. Iran and Saudi Arabia have no problem changing allegiances and loyalties at a whim.

Israel: Bomb them, bomb them, bomb them. US, please don’t. UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran. Yemen, Oman – I can see those on the top of Burg Khalifa watching Cruise Missiles fly past (hoping the missiles guidance system are accurate). The US election, competing ideologies and political backing, lobbyists and their employers focused on next week, profits, deniability, shifting blame, and lets bomb the heck out of them because think of the profits to be made on rebuilding these bombed out countries!!!! No lose situation, save the planet by destroying the planet. Initiate a Middle East conflagration that could spread to the whole world – WWIII – now theirs a business opportunity!

US Elections: devolving into pathetic idiocy as the Republican make up false stories that they can then comment on when the Obama administration does not respond. And if the race elephant in the room is totally ignored, the millionaires win (thing of the way Obama was treated by the female republican politician). It is terrible to think that people feel they receive more objective news from a comedy show, than from networks purporting to be “news” networks. No longer is there pride in being an America based on separation of Church and State, the truth, honest comment and an unwavering belief in the process of government and the ethical and moral behaviors of its leaders. Republicans and Democrats are not enemies. They are “positions” and “policy suggestions” designed to protect, build, and survive.

Canada: Harper destroying every Canadian ideal, belief, and ethical standard. The US works on health care for its citizens, Harper attempts to dismember the world renown and respected Canadian Health Care system. (Check Switzerland for a terrific role model for “medicare”.) People all over the world fighting for more government transparency and responsiveness to citizen needs and Harper’s government is the most secretive, divisive, and deliberately condescending (Opposition, Premiers, and anyone with criticism) government in Canadian history. (I have studied Canadian history.) To Harpers helpers, the Liberals and NDP are the enemy to be crushed, destroyed, put out of existence. That is not the Canadian way. Harpers Helpers, lower taxes, lower health service, next to no environmental protection (Canada or the rest of the world), helping the rich while reducing services for the poor (they don’t have lobbyists or power or political contributions). Building more prisons rather than investing in the health and welfare of Canada’s youngest and more needful citizens. “Let them eat cake.” “Let’s lead them to the guillotine.” What do you call millions of unemployed, helpless, denigrated, and poorly served young people – a really good basis for a rebellion. (Which as it true throughout the world, will have not impact on the rich and the leaders who will bail for another country as soon as they can no longer rape and pillage their “home” country.

The banks: Where to start. They are just criminals taking as much as they can, using their reputations as the most trustworthy companies in the world (Royal Bank of Canada on Prince Street in Truro Nova Scotia Canada circa 1960 . . . could not be more respected). Billions in profit as they raise their bank fees to the extent they are greater than the discount they give to seniors. Banks for years, manipulating anything they can hide their manipulations, and feigning surprise over being caught out. And the penalties are paid to whom? Not the people who suffered.

Ponzi Schemes, Hedge Funds, High Risk Mortgages and on and on and on. Lord of the Flies, 1984, Robber Barons . . . everything is legal in the pursuit of power and money as long as you a) set up regulations so loose and ineffective no one can tell what is legal or illegal, b) don’t get caught.

Corporate executives: Earning thousands of times the wage of their lowest employee. A difference so great (compared to the 1950’s) as to be obscene. And then given golden parachutes for incompetent, pilfering, unethical and immoral decisions. (What lessons/example are they given to anyone?) Admiration for rapacious, sanctimonious, manipulative, and purchased “spin doctored” exhortations of brilliance, humility, honesty and morality. Did anyone read Outliers? Luck, luck, luck, luck combined with just enough intelligence, and willingness to work and take credit for everything successful, while removing competitors both internal and external. (I studied Machiavelli. The Prince is very, very “good.”)

Greed: Unbelievable, unethical, immoral, silly (how much money do you really need?), and sickening. How can we ignore the reality of the monopolistic practices that allowed Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Paul Allen, and every bloody company president get so much money that it is . . . I don’t have words to describe. These people are monopolists. There companies are monopolies. Adam Smith’s whole capitalist concept is based on ease of entry and exit from business. If a company is making huge profit, that situation brings in competitors who can offer equivalent services and products at a lower price. Selling software for $500+, when it costs a dollar to produce, and then having the government, (remember lobbyists) protect copyrights, is illogical. Perhaps a limit on how much profit can be made. Do you really think Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or whomever is actually “worth” as a person, that much money? And that is without considering the poverty, debts, and deficits – personally and nationally – through the world that allows the disparity between rich and poor. I started out as a libertarian, capitalist, anti-Socialism believer. And then I saw reality; poverty, hopelessness contrasted with “gated” communities, the rich buying islands and every other obscene representation financial success. It is said the American people are not offended by the behavior of the rich, because the American Dream has inculcated the concept everyone/anyone can become rich, powerful, famous and successful. No one dares to criticize the very dreams in which everyone “buys into” and thus considers right, valid, moral, and ethical.

Roman Catholic Church: ignoring for so many years / centuries the child abuse endemic to their priests. Add to that the Boys Scouts. Add to that abuse of young children by neighbors, friends, family that is known but ignored. This abuse cannot be condoned in any way ever. It is a criminal activity. It is rape. It is punishable by prison terms and execution. Period. (I know a friend who was abused by a neighbor as she babysat his children. It had a hugely destructive impact on her life. (Her parents denied it could have happened.) To my mind there is nothing more heinous. (direct from Law & Order, SVU)

Penn State: condoning sexual exploitation of young men by a “trusted” colleague. (Penn State is getting everything they deserve.)

Global Climate Change: How can anyone say it is not true? Although I am afraid it is far too late to do anything remotely useful. One executive speaking to the HCT in September 2006 stated that Climate Change was terrific because of all the business opportunities (read government largess from last minute efforts to mitigate the disasters) that would result. (Ah the power of positive thinking (don’t let me get started on that!))

The stock market Deity: What is the Stock Market – buying and selling of shares or bonds – really mean? It is just playing with investor’s money and making money with every transaction, with every rise and fall of a stock price. What connection does the Stock Market have with reality? None. Really, None. It is just a fabrication to justify making money by those whose only goal in life is to make money, more money, and well, all the money out there. I have laughingly said that the fisherman from Newfoundland Canada saw Cod as their enemy, and proudly said “we gate’s all, by the Jesus, we got’em all! And don’t even get me started on the destruction of the Canadian Fisheries, aided, abetted and paid for by the Canadian government following the advice of corporation paid scientists. Anyone with any common sense knowledge of the fishing industry would know the huge government “paid for” trawlers would devastate and eventually destroy the first stocks.

Human Rights: When opposition to Gay Marriage is considered a Political Police/Position rather a fundamental Human Rights violation equivalent to racism, anti-Semitism, and genocide, that does not auger well for a society.

Africa: Death, death, death, death. Wars, Pirates, Civil Wars, Genocide, Child Soldiers, Starvation on a scale too great to comprehend. And the Chinese are having a field day. (Don’t think they don’t see themselves as England, Spain, France, Portugal and the Netherlands saw themselves 300 years ago.) You give us your resources, we pay you to dig them up, cut them down, mine them to empty, ship them to us for manufacture so we can re-sell them to you. And you might recall the wars were fought to maintain ownership of these colonies. The method: keep them poor, uneducated, and dependent. (And yes I too hope for the best, that I am completely wrong, and that China has only the highest regard for the peoples and countries they are exploiting. Still there is that image of Tiananmen Square: democracy is good (for others). “Don’t take your death personally.”

India: Space mission to Mars when they can’t provide guaranteed power to their population. And they have immense poverty, inequality, billionaires and beggars on the same street. And graft, dishonest politicians, bribery . . . beyond any thing anyone can imagine. Not that India is alone in these practices; it is just that India has one of the largest populations, and greatest poverty in the world . . . and the fact that the country seems proud of their ineptitude.

China: There are more young people (upwards of 250 million) unemployed, hopeless and “desperate” than the populations of just about any country other than India. What do we call men 18 to 23 who have no hope? Warriors. Warriors for any cause that fills their stomach and gives meaning (any meaning) to their lives. And that includes money, cars, women, children, homes – which their country and its leaders and elites enjoy without seeing anything unfair or unjust.

Hybrid and totally electricity powered cars: Using power generated by burning fossil fuels. WTF? Removing dependence on non-renewable (but incredibly profitable (okay obscenely profitable)) energy sources when, with a political will and dedication equivalent to putting a person on the moon in 8 years (using “computers” the size of $1.00 calculators we give away) could make Solar Power, Wind Power, Tidal Power, Geothermal, even fusion all within a dedicated US and other technologically advanced countries ability to achieve. Right now. And we all know costs go down as volume goes up. (What about EVERY building from the small house, every apartment building, and every skyscraper with gardens and solar power collectors on tops and sides (yes their are vertical gardens on the side of buildings)? Europe wants to do this. There is a policy and government support to develop the methods, machinery, technologies and infrastructure to make this happen. Think of a world commitment.

Technical Gadgets (I hate an iPad being called a gadget!) that are priced beyond the yearly income of billions of people, with profits that could, without effecting the company’s success, feed the world.

The 1%: Can any religious person or atheist or humanist or citizen of this world in any way think this is a standard to be set and rewarded in a ethical civilization.

Offshore tax shelters: How can anyone think this is a valid “human” action. 1) How much money does ANYONE really need, 2) Countries are tasked to maintain the peace, create the infrastructure, education, medical services, defense required for the rich monopolists (entitled people) to get their start, survive and prosper and then refuse to pay the taxes the government needs to pay for the country’s investment? Obscenely rich people from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, building huge estates in Bermuda, sheltering their income, avoiding taxes, and then when they get sick, coming back to Canada to take advantage of the Canadian Health Care System. How can that be ethical?

All this is just a start.

It is not what we know; it is what we do that matters.



Questions I would like answered!

Posted on: July 17th, 2012 by Tom Pattillo No Comments

1. Who made the decision to hire the London Olympics Games security company that is completely incompetent? How was the decision made? Was it open bidding process, with tenders, criteria, and rational decision-making? Were there reporting requirements, check points for performance? This is the Olympics not some shopping centre opening, what happened? It seems that “sorry” is just hardly sufficient as a way out of this fiasco.

2. Why does anyone at any level think that Assad is going to change his behavior? He is not going to. I wrote about this a number of months ago. Have world leaders now descended so low that they allow thousands of deaths to occur with no other excuse than “Well, he told us he wouldn’t do that anymore.” Annan must be just about the most naive statesman since Chamberlain and his “Peace in Our Time.”

3. There are still people who adamantly refuse to believe that “Climate Change” is the result of human beings. I know there are people who still think the earth is flat, but frankly we just feel sorry for them, and then forget them. But senior government and political leaders refusing to accept the facts and the persuasive evidence is ludicrous. I listened to a “respected” American business leader give a presentation at a Higher Colleges of Technology conference in Dubai in September 2006. His final message was to the effect that he did not believe in Global Warming, but that if true it would be a bonanza for business that would be tasked to provide the technology, materials, and equipment to address the effects.

4. Why does my country Canada blindly go about solving crime by building more prisons and make penalties higher? It is insane. Really, insane. Investing money at that level is liken to the old adage about “closing the barn door after the horse has escaped”. All research shows that children (from before birth through infancy, adolescence and their teenage years who are not provided both emotional and physical safety and sustenance have far greater chance of becoming delinquents. “Far greater chance” is the key. There will always personalities that will err on the side of criminal behavior. Our goal as a civilization is do whatever is within our power to create conditions that are conducive to positive, humane experiences for as many, or in this case, all our citizens. Isn’t it? While taking my MBA at the University of Western Ontario (last century (1976)) I was firmly in the capitalist “camp”. I was a libertarian. Every person has the opportunity to become a titan of business, the Prime Minister of Canada (always sounds better in the American phrase, “Anyone can become President.”), or whatever. Then I grew up. I was able, for whatever reason, to take off my “capitalism-is-the-only-way” blinders and see that in one of the richest countries in the world (yes, Canada!) there was endemic property, hopelessness, and greed. Whether in public or private spheres, turning a blind eye, and using the “should” excuse, was considered an erudite and appropriate response to the disparities between “rich and poor”. I reflect on the “entitlement” title “pejoratively” assigned to this generation. If one takes just a wee bit of time to think about the meaning of “entitlement” and then look at the “baby boom” generation, you will see a culture of entitlement that far exceeds any other example. The baby boom generation thinks they are “entitled” to their money, their bonuses, and their retirement packages . . . everything that is above what the “average” person will have. “Entitled” because everything they earned above the money they needed to live, was their right, they were entitled to “save” for their retirement, to have money to get medical service outside of Canada, or put their “savings” in offshore accounts to minimize their tax exposure. (The New Brunswick Irvings took their money to Bermuda, build palatial homes, enjoyed “legal” and wonderful tax breaks, AND then came home to Canada to receive free medical service.) Canada has (or did have) the best Public Health Care in the World, including health care nurses, systems, and on and on. Then Canada began to compare itself to the United States. Our leaders, enamored by the “Americans” policy, reduced our Public Health system (envied by the rest of the world) to “nothing” in many areas. This could be a 50,000-word “essay”. However, given no one will read this missive, taking the time to write a 50,000 essay seems a bit silly if not self-indulgent.

5. Canada’s aboriginal “situation”. This has been a farce for so long that surely it is time to actually do something logical to address and solve it. My feeling is that you either “solve a problem or manage a problem.” Bureaucrats and those within organizations where success is based on personal salary, vacations, cars, and homes, rather than change, improvement or objective results: they MANAGE the problem to their benefit. Why solve the Aboriginal housing crisis? If solved, bureaucracies cut, reduced, removed and REDUNDANT. Now there’s a goal every bureaucrat dreams of . . . working themselves out of a job. As for the Aboriginal perspective, please do a bit of research on the impact of a tribal, nomadic, religious, and a “rentier” mentality on the thinking and behaviors of Aboriginal Groups. My five years in the United Arab Emirates was an amazing eye-opener about these four areas. The more I studied the Arab culture, the more it paralleled the Aboriginal Culture in Canada. And yes, I have some experience with the Aboriginal society as I facilitated a nation wide Aboriginal Financial symposium in 1995. Please know that I don’t think the aboriginal population or leaders are to blame. They are complicit in the bureaucrats desire to “manage” the problem rather solve it, and they enabled to measure their success in media exposure and pleas to the United Nations. The whole idea of Aboriginal people being able to learn, live, control, and manage their money, lands, and entitlements is an anathema to the majority of bureaucrats and ALL the consultants who prosper by convincing the Aboriginal people that using them (the consultants) is the only way to succeed.

7. Why do “religions” have to create ideological issues that are nothing more than self-serving myths designed to create “us-them” cohesiveness and prejudice. Millions of hours of time: pro-life or pro-choice, gays allowed to marry within the church (or be leaders within a church), evolution versus “creationism”, or in the “Jewish problem” in Germany in the 1930’s and 1940″. Defining someone, or a group, as different is the beginning of racism. If “they” dress different from us . . . that is wrong, that is bad, that is DANGEROUS, that must be or “should be” illegal.

Okay, enough for now? Add to this with your “questions”.

Syria: Why “I told you so” is . . .

Posted on: May 27th, 2012 by Tom Pattillo No Comments

Children, dead. Families, dead. Citizens, dead. A nation, dying.

There was never any chance that the Syrian leaders would EVER adhere to a “peace”, “ceasefire”, or whatever mission. EVER.

On April 1st I asked in my blog: “Is there anyone left who still believes Syria will live up to its promises?”

And YET the insanity goes on.

The quoted attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

How do those who “could” do something sit back and do nothing? Because, of course, doing nothing creates no change, no risk of being wrong, no missing the barbecue in the backyard in an hour.

“Make the universal, personal,” is my recommendation for all speakers.

The quote, attributed to Stalin, “One death is a tragedy, a millions deaths is a statistic” emphasizes the need to bring the blood, guts, smell, pain, and taste of war directly into the very rooms of the “leader’s” home. Not to purely or indeed primarily to shock, but rather to be a stimulus to action.

A short media clip. A holographic presentation. The family unit, past – living, present – dying, future – what future?

Seeing the present not as an “at a distance” representation, but an “in-your-face” reality.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

A closed mind, a mind steeped in the circularity of contempt for facts, a heart so inured to pain, it no longer feels anything.

Syria is falling apart. President Bashar al-Assad has reacted the only way he “could” based on his family, his religion, and his tribal heritage. He, and his beautiful wife, live inside the bubble of pleasure and peace. Their Syria is the Syria inside that bubble.

Orders to “protect” become orders to “massacre”, promises to “stop” become “lies” to gain time, Syria is my “country” becomes my country is where my “money” is.


“Knowledge is power” becomes “ignorance is blind”?

“Just because we choose to ignore the facts, does not make them go away.”

Everything I write seems so trite. Why should I care about the carnage taking place half a world away. Who gives a “proverbial” s _ _ _ ? Let the bullets pull bodies apart, spurting blood, silencing laughter, love, cuddles, and hugs. Why bother? Let the bombs, shells, rockets and mortars splay blood, guts, brains, lungs, legs, arms, eyes, hearts across the Syrian killing grounds. Why bother?

Maybe I am just not masculine enough. Maybe I have too much empathy. Maybe I care too much. “Really Tom” I hear my detractors saying, “children dying in Syria, what possible attachment do you have with them?”

Forget it. JUST FORGET IT.

Don’t want the facts? Don’t expose yourself to ANY media.

But, but, but, but, but – I can’t forget it. And if you can, well you haven’t read this far . . .

What’s next?

Killing young children cannot be an acceptable, truly human, answer. EVER.

What’s next?

Why do guns and bullets bring about insanity?

What’s next?

I want so much to believe in some sort of “higher” power, or “higher” goodness, that can “come down” and “make the world a better place”. Yet the only things I can imagine are the polar opposites of annihilation or “soma” (Brave New World).

How do “we”, homo sapiens sapiens, find and choose, a way of being that could be called  achieving full “homo sapiens sapiens” actualization.

(Self Actualization is the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, esp. considered as a drive or need present in everyone.)

Maybe there is no way.

Let them die.


What’s next?



Syria: Is ANYONE surprised they are not adhering to their “promises”?

Posted on: April 1st, 2012 by Tom Pattillo No Comments

Is anyone surprised that Syria is not going to follow any peace or ceasefire initiatives?

The tribal culture does not betray the tribe. The tribe is all.

Those familiar with tribal culture know that the answer to “Will you do this?” is always “Yes.”

A contract is only valid when the two parties are together. Once the parties are not in the same room, the conditions of the contract mean nothing. (In business it is accepted knowledge that in the Arab world, a contract is the “beginning” of negotiations, not the conclusion. Tribal cultures do not consider reneging on a contract illegal, immoral or unethical. In fact, I would argue there is no word for reneging. The tribe comes first always!

The strategy of authoritarian countries is always to say “yes”. Look at Iran’s tactics with their “agreements” to allow nuclear inspection teams into their country to verify compliance to International agreements. Iran knows the Western response (at least in public) is to somehow believe Iran is telling the truth, is being “honest”, and is really “concerned” with world opinion. NOTHING could be further from the truth.

Iran is just throwing sand. (As in “when caught on the horns of a dilemma the best strategy is to throw sand in the “bulls” eyes.”)

Syria is doing the same thing.

World opinion, and the hopes of all of us, is that Syria and Iran will somehow begin to “follow” our “recommendations”, “suggestions”, “pleas”, and “righteous desire”. It is not going to happen.

While I am not a fan of Israel’s use of this same strategy (yes we won’t antagonize the Palestinians (and the West in general) by encouraging settlements in “traditional” Palestinian areas) I also realize Israel is a tribal nation and sees absolutely nothing wrong with the “yes of course” tactic. (This undoubtedly influences how Israel and the Iran negotiate (or don’t negotiate). They both understand each other’s strategy/tactics. Eventually the “lying” and public posturing is seen for what it is; buying time to further prepare for war. Sneak attacks are the tribal way. In conclusion: Syria’s leaders, past, present, and future, will always say “yes”, (which actually means “when we are in the same room with you (or in the public eye) we say ‘yes’, but once you leave we will do whatever we want”)

Note: If one takes even a cursory look at tribal reality in Syria you will see that Assad is from a very small minority religious faction/tribe. He will destroy all opposition (Sunni and Shi’a) without guilt. And be aware that regardless of the face of the opposition who might take over (by whatever means), the same way of looking the world will still result is the “yes, of course” strategy and tactics.

What to do? Hope for the best, plan for the worst? Let Assad continue to lie with impunity? Pray Israel will not start World War III? Pray the US will FINALLY start listening to their cultural experts (a balance between hawks and doves) and act with an intelligence they so sorely needed in the past, need now in the present, and will undoubtedly need it the future.

What do you think?

Time to grow up. Response to Syria ignores observer deadline – November 25, 2011, Khaleej Times

Posted on: November 25th, 2011 by Tom Pattillo No Comments
Syria ignores observer deadline

25 November 2011, 4:30 PM

DAMASCUS — An Arab League deadline for Damascus to accept observers or face sanctions passed Friday with no response from Syria, as activists reported more deaths and anti-regime protests inside the country.
THE FOLLOWING COMMENT WAS NOT PUBLISHEDThe Arab League’s actions will be watched closely by the international community.

Peace and stability in the region is necessary if only to keep Israel off balance (and to give the US more power to “influence” Israel).

Even one cruise missile within view of the Burg Khalifa will devastate all the economic progress in the Middle East.

It is not the International community’s responsibility to continually intervene in the Middle East.

The Middle East must take responsibility to maintain the peace.

An Israeli attack on Iran would be, in 2011, more the fault of the Arab League than any other party.

The Arab League is the body that can communicate with all parties.

The prosperous Arab League members have the military power to enforce their decisions.

It is time they use whatever means possible to defuse the situation.

They must control Iran, they must control Syria, they must step in to create effective government in Yemen, Libya, Egypt, and Syria.

The Arab League is playing with the big boys now.

It is time to step forward and take the actions required by the responsibility they seem to want.

If not, they will remain colonial states, bringing in “daddy” to solve their problems and look after their interests.

Time to grow up.