Archive for July, 2009

To Smack or Not to Smack!

Posted in Child Abuse, Children with tags , , , , on 31/07/2009 by floroy1942

Is it right for parents to give their children a smack now and again as a form of discipline? There are many proponents for and against, and who is to say one or the other is right. We all have our own opinions.

Personally, I am for this form of punishment for wayward children, and I believe I have tradition, and the child’s well-being, on my side.

First let me make quite clear that I am not in favour of any form of child abuse, and those guilty of such things should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. However, having said that, I think discipline is essential for a child’s proper development into a responsible adult.

If you walk the streets of any town or city today, you see the youth doing as they please with no regard or respect for their fellow human beings. Hanging around on street corners in an often threatening manner, getting involved with crime, drugs, alcohol and general mayhem.

This is a sign of our times, and in my humble opinion, is a direct result of poor parenting, coupled with stupid laws that have criminalised the smacking of children since Sweden first introduced the law in 1979, followed by others in later years. For the last 20-30 years, these laws have forbidden any form of ‘hands-on’ punishment for misdemeanors by children.

Parents have lost all control over their offspring, and it must be admitted, some have used these laws as an excuse not to get involved in their upbringing, or have given up any hope of disciplining their children.

There are of course other factors that have been a great influence on the attitudes of children today, chief among them the total disintegration of ‘family life’. This however I will save for another time.

You only have to watch a family in a supermarket to see how much actual control parents have over their children. I have seen countless children told to stop doing something in particular by mummy or daddy, only for the child to show total disregard for them and continue what it was doing.

You could be forgiven for thinking I am talking through my hat, but I have had two children of my own and made sure I brought them up in the traditional way.

As a child, I was often given a slap when I did something wrong or didn’t listen to what I was told. In school I had the slipper or cane from my teacher or headmaster for misdemeanors on many occasions. None of this did me any harm, but it did teach me to respect property, laws and rules, and of course, my elders, even if I don’t have many ‘elders’ at my time of life.

The main point of it all was that it disciplined me to have respect for those things I should respect, and that is what is missing in today’s society!

With the failure of proper parenting, and the law forbidding the most basic and effective means of punishing a child, it has has gotten so far out of hand, that sad to say, I see no going back.

Any child that grows up without any form of discipline becomes what I would call a ‘rogue’ element, and we see them daily on our streets today.

I am thankful, and I must admit, proud, that my two children have grown up to be hard working, respectable citizens, and have never ‘gone off the rails’ like the majority do today. They have never been in trouble, and never turned to drugs or alcohol to fill the gaping void so many of today’s young people seem to live with.

I always had a simple method. They knew that I would tell them once, remind them once, but if I had to tell them a third time they would get a slap on the legs or buttocks. They got the picture in a very short time, and after making my point once or twice, I very rarely had to resort to such methods again. The ground rules had been laid down at a very early age and they knew what to expect if they didn’t do as they were told. As with me, it did them no harm, and this has been proved by their attitude now they are grown.

The news article that prompted this blog describes a referendum that is to be held in New Zealand on whether to continue the ‘No Smacking’ laws of that country.

The crazy thing is, the reason for the referendum is not the lack of parental control or discipline, or a general breakdown in respect among children, but whether or not it would affect the number of parents who are investigated for child abuse, but use ‘discipline’ as an excuse for escaping prosecution. In other words, it misses the point completely.

Quite possibly New Zealand does not yet suffer from the child and teenage problems that we have in the northern hemisphere. The law was only passed in 2007 so it will take a few more years before the lack of parental control manifests itself in child behavioral attitudes. By then of course it will be too late, as it is here.

Proponents of the anti-smacking law say ‘positive, non-violent parenting’ is more effective, however, it is clear the children themselves have not read the book, because they see it as an opportunity to do as they please, knowing full well their parents can do nothing about it.

It cannot be denied that children in countries having this law have become less obedient, less respectful, and more violent, as a result of the lack of discipline during their formative years, and I dare anyone to prove different.


A Smack in Time Saves Nine????


Roy.

Iran – What Next?

Posted in Ahmadinajad, Iran, Islamic Revolution with tags , , , on 20/07/2009 by floroy1942

It would seem the turmoil surrounding Iran’s disputed election is not over, as yet another prominent figure has declared his dissatisfaction at the result. The hard liners are still holding fast to the win of Ahmadinajad, and even though they have tried to stifle opposition to the vote, it keeps resurfacing.

Last Sunday another former President, Mohammad Khatami, who is closely allied with the Association of Combatant Clerics (ACC), has added his voice to the call for reform, and even went so far as to suggest a referendum to end the dispute.

There is without doubt a very strong movement for reform in Iran, with many people wanting an end to the country’s isolation. However, the ‘ruling faction’, under Ahmadinajad seems intent on projecting Iran as a nuclear power, and, more importantly, the dominant nation in the Middle East. Despite its constant denials, no-one on the planet believes that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons.

While Ahmadinajad is the public face of Iranian Politics, it is well known that the real power lies ‘behind the throne’ so to speak. The secretive power mongers of Iran are really various groups of clerics, for example, The Guardian Council, and in particular the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanie who succeeded Ayatollah Khomeini.

The power struggle has been brewing for some time as a new generation of Iranians start to make their voices heard, and during the last elections they made it plain they want a change from the old ways. So now we have a struggle for control by those allied with the Guardian Council and the Supreme Leader, and the Reformists who would lead Iran down a more conciliatory path with the west.

Among these is ex-president Rafsanjani who voiced his dissatisfaction with the vote hours after Ahmadinajad declared himself the winner. Rafsanjani has now been joined by other powerful voices in Iran such as Khatami, another ex-president.

Where this goes from here is anybodies guess, but one thing is sure, Ahmadinajad will not relinquish the reins of power without a fight, at least so long as he has the backing of Khamanie.

It would seem that the real leaders of Iran are in for a long period of deep thought as to where the country should go from here. I am sure they will look fondly at the prospect of Iran being a nuclear nation with all the prestige that can bring, and therefore becoming the ‘top dog’ in the Middle East, and with it the chance to force the Islamic Revolution onto their western leaning neighbours.

On the other hand, the leaders know they cannot go against the will of the people for too long. As history has repeatedly shown, in a situation like this it is only a matter of time before they are cast down.


May justice and truth prevail.


Roy.

And Now a Ghost?

Posted in Britain, England, Europe, Germany, Modern World, Teens, UK, USA with tags , , , , , on 12/07/2009 by floroy1942

I have just watched footage of what CNN speculates is the ghost of Michael Jackson walking the hallways of his Neverland Ranch. As one who has never believed in ghosts, it strikes me as strange that a reputable news channel like CNN should make such a claim.

However, a shadowy figure can be seen crossing a hallway during a CNN shoot at the ranch. According to the report, the figure was not noticed initially, and was discovered later. Sceptics will no doubt claim it was added later in the studio, and this is possible with modern technology, but who can say.

Another interesting report claims that Michael’s sister, La Toya, is insisting he “was murdered for his money”. Now that doesn’t surprise me!

According to her, there was always at least a million dollars in cash kept in his home, and she has stated publicly that there was no money, or jewelry, found after Michael’s death.

“Curiouser and curiouser” said Alice!

It is I believe, quite justifiable to say that Michael Jackson had among his entourage people who did not have his best interests at heart, but were there to get what they could out of him. It is a constant danger for people of his standing in the world, they seem to attract the parasites like bees to honey.

Michael, I think, was a good man through and through, a simple man who believed only in the good of people, who was so naive and wrapped up in his music that he failed to take note of what his ‘advisers and financial experts’ were up to.

La Toya seems convinced there was a “conspiracy by a number of people” to murder him for his money. It would appear that he had been fed a cocktail of various medicines by his doctor, and was found in his doctors bedroom, not his own bed as first thought. An intravenous drip and oxygen bottle were found in his room, although the contents of the drip are at the moment unknown.

Michael’s sister has further claimed that those surrounding him “cut him off from his family and friends” and “forced him to sign contracts for 50 concerts’ instead of ‘the 10 that he wanted to do”. She has claimed he “was the loneliest man in the world” after being cut off from those who loved him at the time of his death.

We can only hope that time will reveal all that happened in Michael Jackson’s final hours, and the story may well be different from what we now know. There are many unanswered questions about the circumstances surrounding one of the most influential pop stars of all time, and we can only hope the Police and perhaps the FBI do not rest on their laurels.

Without doubt, there is a huge question mark over the drug cocktail that was administered to him, what was given, why it was given, and who authorized it etc.

The one thing that has surprised me the most about this whole episode, is how quick the pathologist was in reaching his conclusion that Michael died a natural death, and how quickly his body was released for burial. Surely, if it was known that drugs of any sort were involved, prescribed or otherwise, this in itself would be sufficient reason for a full autopsy and toxicology to be initiated. In this case it seems, these tests were considered unnecessary. Why!

I really do have to question the competence of the original pathologist, or is there something more sinister at work here? Were there people among his entourage who hoped he would be buried quickly, so as to make it impossible for the true cause of his death to be discovered? The man was worth a billion dollars, so what has happened to all his money? Has it all been accounted for? What about the cash and jewelry kept in the house? Where did it go? Did it exist, as La Toya claims?

These questions, and many more, need to be answered before the authorities can properly close the book on the Michael Jackson case.

So far as the man is concerned, it is my feeling he was a simple man, with a great love for all mankind. He did not have a devious cell in his body, and was, without doubt, totally oblivious to the intrigue and scheming that was going on around him. He lived for his music, and you only have to watch one of his performances to see that he gave each one 110%.

Watching his interview videos, you get the feel of how lonely he was. He stated openly that he desired the ability to go shopping in a supermarket and do the simple things we all take for granted. His fame however made such an everyday thing impossible, but it did give an insight, for those clever enough to pick it up, that inside he must have been very lonely indeed. This must have been very hard for an individual with so much love to share.

That he should be vilified by the press because he was different to the rest of us, and taken advantage of by those who would obtain money from him, is one of the great scandals of our time.

I hope all the facts surrounding this case come to light quickly, because only then will Michael’s ‘Ghost’ no longer haunt the halls of Neverland.

The King is Dead! Long Live the King!

Roy.

End of an Era

Posted in Britain, England, Europe, Germany, Modern World, Teens, UK, USA with tags , , , on 04/07/2009 by floroy1942

Now the furor surrounding the death of an icon is over, I thought I should write a little about Michael Jackson. The artist, the man, what does it all mean?

Since he first exploded on the ‘Pop’ scene as a solo artist many years ago, he became a phenomenon in the industry, continually setting new boundary’s in music and music video that others have tried, without success, to follow. As a star he was unique, with his incomparable dance style and the sheer professionalism in everything he did. Seldom has the ‘Pop World’ seen anything like him, and probably never will again.

I remember back in 1991 when I first went to visit a Romanian Girls Orphanage with an Aid Group, I took with me a radio/cassette player as a gift for the girls, thinking they might get some enjoyment out of it. I included many tapes of Michael Jackson, and to my joy they loved it. From then on the place rang to the sounds of Michael Jackson played at full volume while the girls danced. His fame, and music, had quickly spread even to Romania after its release from communism in 1989.

It is indeed sad that the man, in all his eccentricities, became a target for the World Press, which undoubtedly caused his downfall. Say what you like about the Press, but they can make or break anyone they set their sights on, and if you are somewhat eccentric, you become a natural target. Never mind if it’s true or not, the truth does not sell newspapers!

The one thing that contributed most to his falling from grace with all but his most ardent fans, was the court case in which he was accused of molesting children. In my opinion, this was nothing more than an attempt to get a lot of money from him, and there is a word for that: Extortion!.

With his, to some, peculiar habits and looks, he was a natural target for those greedy individuals who thought they could take advantage of his fame and eccentricity to get millions of dollars out of him. He was of course declared innocent, but the people who should really have gone to jail were the parents of the child in the middle of the plot. Unfortunately, the Law does not allow for that!

Either way, it made a dent in what could have been a continuing career, and deprived his many fans of his genius. Not surprisingly, he became a recluse, hiding himself away from the limelight. It is sad that at the moment when he was trying to make a comeback, he was taken.

Whenever I saw him on ‘the box’, I always had the impression he was a very gentle man, and in many ways naive. He never looked to be someone interested in making money, he was only interested in his music. He had obviously surrounded himself with financial and business advisors who took care of his holdings, but I often wonder if they really had Michael’s interests at heart, or their own! There is no doubt, many milked the ‘golden cow’ at every opportunity. I have always believed Michael himself was ill-equipped to deal with all the fame and riches that fame brought him. His whole being was orientated towards his music.

With all the money he spent on setting up ‘Neverland’, who can doubt his love for children. What a shame this was twisted by the tasteless Press and the greed of certain individuals who saw only dollar signs in front of their eyes.

Now begins the legal battles for control of his estate and bank accounts. How typical that as soon as he was declared dead, the hyena’s started to circle the remains. It is not just the relatives who are among the pack either. The recording industry is looking at big profits as the fans gather to buy re-releases and remixes of his music. Individuals are even out on the streets selling cheap tatty t-shirts emblazoned with his picture in the hope of cashing in.

The whole scene is distasteful and shoddy, but that’s what people are like these days’: ‘Anything to make a buck!’ It says a lot about the depths to which we have sunk as a society when all we can think of is profiting from the death of someone like Michael Jackson, who was vilified during his last years but is suddenly, in death, the ‘greatest thing since sliced bread’.

It all goes to emphasise the hypocrisy of people today, with the press as the chief culprits. Since his death they all did a 180 degree about face and are now praising his genius, whereas before they never missed an opportunity to stick another knife in his back.

I doubt very much we will see another man with his talent. It is however good to know that he will go down in ‘Pop’ history as a true genius, along with the likes of Elvis Presley and the Beatles. He deserves in death what he could never attain in life.


Rest in Peace Michael. Your memory will live on.


Roy.

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