When a country goes bad

An American shows his minimal gun collection. What an idiot.

Urrrgh, I’m writing this at 4.30am. I cannot get to sleep. Night after night it’s the same. I lie there until 4am, 5am, when I finally drop off, then I sleep until midday. It’s accompanied by intense restless leg syndrome, the need to move my legs every 20-30seconds. I’m writhing around, in other words, endlessly. I had to give up this morning and get up as it was useless to continue.

I think it’s a side effect of a medication I’m taking. I’m stopping it, but it has to be tapered off so it’s slowly eliminated from the body. I stopped two days ago but obviously it hasn’t lost it’s malign power yet. I never used to have trouble sleeping but several things have this insomnia effect now: Tramadol, duloxetine, anything with codeine in it, and now sertraline as well. I never used to have this trouble. Gettin’ old.

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What a GREAT result last Saturday. A return to a progressive Labor government after nine years of sleaze, corruption, misogyny, lies, and sheer incompetence. A return to honesty, integrity, progressive policies and actions, positive meaningful action on climate change mitigation and a return to presenting Australia to the world as a country I can be proud of. In my own electorate of Pearce, the Labor candidate decisively beat the former Liberal, the former federal attorney general and self promoting future PM no less, who was forced to drop out of the race after allegations of rape (which he denies), leading to the death of a woman. Good riddance.

Repeat, I will be proud to call myself Australian once more.

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The headline means the United States of America. This is a sick country, full of sick people. Not all, obviously, just the Republicans and gun lovers.

This latest massacre is the 27th school shooting spree this year!! How can this be allowed to happen? They say it’s not the guns that kill, it’s the crazies, the mentally ill. That’s true, but if the crazies couldn’t get possession of guns, they wouldn’t be able to carry out these obscene killing sprees.

Another American gun nut case.

But in addition, Americans’ addiction to guns is unlike anywhere else in the world. As Joe Biden says, there are crazies in other countries too, but we don’t see anything like the number of gun violence incidents in ‘normal’ countries. The straightforward answer is it’s the incredible ease of getting an assault rifle or other killing weapon, which has no other purpose but to kill people.

It’s encouraged by the evil attitudes of the Republican party politicians and the gun lobby, backed up by the arms manufacturers.

I don’t see any end to this. The massacres will continue, on and on, horror after horror. Nothing will stop it as long as the Republican party is in Congress. They are evil.

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I have to say, what a shit country America is. This self proclaimed “Greatest Country in the World”. This This “Blessed by God” country. But consider:

  • They can’t stop these massacres of school children and totally innocent people.
  • They can’t work out how to control the mass proliferation of guns in private hands.
  • They can’t get their Congress to work, to pass sensible laws.
  • They can’t have an unbiased Supreme Court. Their highest judges are politically biased.
  • Even after two centuries, they are still racially bigoted and killing black people.
  • They can’t organise a decent, fair health care system which doesn’t bankrupt the sick.
  • They can’t run elections fairly. Gore was the winner.
  • Half of the citizens can’t be bothered to vote. The Republican Party deliberately tries to stop people voting, almost always the poorest, most disadvantaged, ie coloured people.
  • They are one of the richest, yet have the most wealth inequality on Earth.
  • They still practice barbaric capital punishment, alongside other fine countries such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, China, Russia and others. They practice “cruel and unusual punishment” by jailing felons for 20 years or more on Death Row, then executing them. This violates their own constitution.
  • They practice torture, alongside the countries mentioned above.
  • They invade any other country they don’t like.
  • They glorify war and the military.
  • They bomb and assassinate anyone they choose, usually in secret and with civilian casualties.
  • Their companies steal products and ideas and try to drive competitors out of business – eg CSIRO and Wi-fi, Ugg Boots.
  • Need I go on? I could.

There are many good things about America, but on balance they are an evil country wearing a pseudo-religious cloak.

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What a beautiful day. I don’t believe we had an autumn this year. It’s only a month or so that we were still in summer, with every day around 25deg, even up to 30C. Then within a week it switched to cool and cloudy, average 20deg days and a winter storm with a few days of rain. It’s the first day of winter on Wednesday, but I reckon we jumped straight from a long summer into winter a couple of weeks ago.

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I’ve become addicted to watching the YouTube videos by a guy called RainmanRay. He’s an automobile mechanic in Sarasota, Florida and he’s a real character. He has dozens of clips up on YouTube, where he shows almost every step of diagnosing an fixing customers’ cars and “trucks”, as the Yanks call large utes.

This is not time wasted, as I’m learning a hell of a lot about how to do things. Crumbs, cars have become incredibly complex, with electronics controlling almost everything. There are many sensors and switches involved in anti-pollution, preventing waste gases and oil fumes being vented to the atmosphere. This is good, of course, but it makes cars very complex these days.

Ray doesn’t just show his repairs, though, he goes into a lot of detail about his diagnosis and why he narrows his choices down to one or more parts. One thing stands out, how important having an ODB2 diagnostic code reader is. He uses it extensively, plugging it in as the first step on almost every vehicle. It will even diagnose tyre faults as most tyres have pressure sensors in them these days, as does my Peugeot.

He’s very experienced and it’s obvious that he knows many common faults. He’s nearly always able to say, “Hmmm, that symptom is caused by this … in my experience.” He always explains it, though, often in great detail. I’m learning a hell of a lot, and there are many, many video clips to learn from.

One thing that amazes me is that he dives right in, dismantling this and that with seemingly no regard for remembering how it came apart, or which bolt and nut came from where. He doesn’t make diagrams or notes. He just seems to remember where everything came from and the right nuts and bolts just come to hand. I am hugely impressed and I highly recommend his channel. Just look up RainmanRay. Just develop a tolerance for “click”, “reverse click”, “gravity”, “doodle loodle loo”, and other very frequent words. It can get on your nerves, a bit.

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I’m watching the drama series COBRA on SBS every Wednesday night at the moment. It’s a UK-made show, predicated on a coronal mass ejection from the Sun, which causes almost total power failure across the entire UK and Europe. (This is a real possibility – it’s not made up. It’s happened in the past.)

When it started, I thought it was going to be real science fiction, but it’s become just a political thriller with too many human-interest side stories for my liking. I would far rather see all the ramifications of this almost total loss of power and failure of many electronic devices. Yet every character’s mobile phone seems to continue working as if nothing had happened.

However, I’m still enjoying it, wouldn’t miss it in fact. I record every episode and I may even store it for a second viewing.

COBRA is a very clever and meaningful acronym which stands for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A. It’s a code word for the top levels of government and the civil forces to meet in times of emergency. Lots of potential for great stories there, I think.

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