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Time to End Olympic Games

July 25th, 2016 · 14 Comments

When Dominican priest Henri Didon in 1881, at a school sporting event,  first used the words that have become the motto of the modern Olympic Games … “Citius-Fortius-Altius “  (Faster-Stronger-Higher)… little could he have known how dishonoured that goal would become.

Especially the reference to “HIGHER”.

Too many Olympic athletes have been proved HIGHER , all right, over the years, over the decades, over SEVERAL Olympic Games.

But in the past, individual athletes were supposedly to blame, along with errant coaches, corrupt medical staff, secret conspirators and/or even “friends” of the athletes. Certainly NOT governments themselves … at least,  never totally proven!

So whenever a case or two or three arose,  the International Olympic Committee could claim these were isolated cases, harrumph and snort and promise to do better … so the Games … and the GOLD ($$$$) would continue to flow.

But NOW we have had PROOF … from TWO INDEPENDENT STUDIES, as well as the DIRECT TESTIMONY of two Russian athletes themselves … that OFFICIAL state and government agencies, sports authorities, drug monitoring agencies, even the State Security Service (FSB) of  Russia are GUILTY of not only  aiding and abetting doping,  but also DELIBERATE ATTEMPTS to hide illegal drug use and exchanging hyped-up Russians’ test vials  at the Sochi Olympics, through a hole in the wall into the Olympics test laboratory.

Disgraceful!  Proven! Exposed! With the RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT/AUTHORITIES/AGENCIES complicit in it all!

And yet, the IOC has decided to OVERRULE several recommendations from the anti-doping groups and experts it supposedly relies on … and will NOT boot Russia from next month’s Brazil Olympics and any future Games until it literally cleans up its act!

Not only that, but most of Russia’s “incredible” results and achievements and medals  (even though we now know several were stolen and doctored  lab results) at the Sochi Olympic Farce Games will be allowed to stand.

Just MORE harrumphing … and a promise to do better checks in the future.

Who will believe ANY of the results … especially involving Russia … even AFTER drug tests are taken!

Looks to me like the most important “checks” the IOC care about are the ones in the mail … from ticket sales, tv rights, contracts and souvenirs. All enabling the rich to get richer wherever Games are held (over-billing construction contractors, services providers, friends and supporters of politicians, etc. With very little  of the wealth generated flowing back to the cities or ordinary citizens who paid for it all.

The Olympic Games have become a total disgrace … and not just because of doped-up athletes.

Costs of staging them have become obscene; few of the enormous facilities built just for the Games pay their way afterwards;  financial stresses on taxpayers for capital/operating costs have literally gone through the various roofs wherever they are held; the negative social impacts on communities … especially the poor … are disgraceful; and, adding insult to injury,  few ordinary mortals have almost ANY chance of getting tickets to really desirable events … like Opening or Closing ceremonies or even top sporting events (even though hundreds of empty seats are seen regularly) but where the rich and well-connected somehow get lots of them ; and if any mere mortal does wrangle a ticket … often from scalpers, but are from out of town, they also may have to take a bank loan to pay for a hotel room.

The Olympic Games today honour excess, waste, corruption … more than sports or athletes.

And don’t forget the costs for “Security” at Olympic Games in the world we now inhabit … HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS more dollars pulled from public pockets during a terrible world-wide economic downturn … makes the whole endeavour an indefensible outrage.

The Olympic Games should be ended.

The world could still have international sports meets … in fact, already does, well away from the rotten smell of  the Olympics … using EXISTING facilities (isn’t that a novel idea!); where our best athletes can compete and achieve and be acknowledged and where ordinary mortals can buy tickets and attend; and which are also often televised (without paying BILLIONS for the rights).

Who needs the IOC, the corruption, the horrendous waste of money, the doctored results … all in pursuit of nationalistic propaganda more than sporting achievement!

The world … at least countries with any real moral compass …  just can’t afford the Olympic Games anymore … financially … or ethically.

Harv Oberfeld

→ 14 CommentsTags: International

A World-Wide Revolt is ON … Against Globalization’s Greed at the Top

July 20th, 2016 · 37 Comments

History will tell the full story of the 2016 in a way the news media have not … even though  the truth is CLEARLY easy to discern.

The middle class, the working class and the poor … right across the world … have finally had enough of the broken promises, failed projections and downright lies the politicians, corporate executives and, yes, much of the media have peddled to us for 20 years  about the benefits of a world-wide “global” economy.

It COULD have happened …but it didn’t because of the GREED of those at the top.

I am NOT … and never have been … against the idea of expanding global international trade: in fact, I believe(d) it could actually help raise the standards of living of so many millions of desperately poor people of the Third World countries, providing jobs  reducing poverty, improving health and education.

And  I always understood that the way to do that was to allow resource-poor countries to take on clothing and other mass manufacturing functions, some call centre services and recycling functions etc … giving people there much needed work and, yes, benefitting those of us  in developed countries with less expensive products in return.

It COULD have happened …but it didn’t because of the GREED of those at the top.

Globalization HAS worked … financially … in expanding world trade, increasing exports, lowering prices on imports. increasing efficiencies and MULTIPLYING PROFITS by the BILLIONS of dollars, and Pounds and Euros and Yen and Yuan.

US exports (despite the gloom and doom picture painted by some politicians, have QUINTUPLED over the past 20 years; Canada’s have more than doubled; and UK/EU trade has also flourished.

But almost ALL the financial benefits of globalization have been siphoned away … some would say stolen … by those in charge: politicians; their friends, families and business partners; company principals; top executives; contractors; shareholders; corrupt bureaucrats; tax lawyers; specialized tax accountants and others on the “inside” track.

WORKERS  … the people who actually PERFORM the labour that produces the wealth … have seen very little and, in some places, virtually none of the riches and revenues world economic globalization have produced.

In fact, study after study … for more than a decade … have PROVEN how the rich ARE getting richer…and, yes, the poor have been getting poorer.

And I am NOT talking about the unemployed, those on pensions, those on welfare or the homeless etc.

I am talking about those WHO DO THE WORK all around the globe  … for VERY SUCCESSFUL resource or manufacturing companies,  high-tech conglomerates, banks,  retail and marketing corporations that measure PROFITS in the MILLIONS or HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS or even BILLIONS … but aren’t paid FAIR (in many places, even survival) wages;  or can’t even get 40-hour week employment;  or seldom see raises each year (even a production and sales and exports GROW)  … and then when they do get wage increases,  often get only 1% or 2%, actually LOSING ground each year … NEVER sharing FAIRLY the bounty  from global expansion THEIR labour has produced.

It COULD have happened …but it didn’t because of the GREED of those at the top.

So not only is buying even a small condo now impossible for so many, (not just in BC, but in many parts of the U.S., the U.K.,  Europe, Japan etc.), while  rents rise at much faster rates than incomes, as do taxes,  BC Hydro,  ICBC, MSP and even basic food prices … taking away MUCH more than any piddly wage increase they’ve seen.

Because those in the top 5% … with the connections outlined above … have taken it all for themselves!

So the REVOLT IS ON …. right across the Western world!

Those in the U.S.  supporting Donald Trump are not just bigots or ignoramuses: MANY are hard-working people who know THEY have been left behind …and want “in” again.

In the UK, support for Brexit went beyond xenophobia …working Brits have been squeezed for decades … and are now fighting back.

In the EU, workers in many countries have also seen their standards of living drop, while costs, taxes and service fees rise …. perfect conditions for scapegoat politics that always rears its head in tough economic times.

And, even in Africa and Central and South America, there are increasing incidents of revolts, rebellions, crime and even violence from working masses … tired of living on less and less, where huge development contracts were signed, while EXPORTS of their resources (especially to China)  have risen MULTI-FOLD,  but where the bosses, the politicians, corrupt officials and all their families/friends have grown rich.

But the revolt is now on!  (Although the media have yet to put the full global picture together.)

Globalization is the target …  workers of the world are arising … even it ultimately kills free trade deals, brings back import tariffs, causes higher prices and even a recession.

But don’t blame the workers … or the possibilities globalization could have produced.

It COULD have happened …but it didn’t because of the GREED of those at the top.

Harv Oberfeld

→ 37 CommentsTags: British Columbia · International · Media · National