Friday, 27 August 2010

Fidel knows

Not that i take advice from Fidel Castro much, but half of his latest ravings seem spot on to me.
The beardy one said Osama bin Laden is in the pay of the CIA and was summoned up whenever George W Bush needed to scare the world.
The CIA bit is obviously cuckoo, we all know America stopped funding and arming him after the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan, but hyping bogeymen is exactly what Governments have always done and what Bush did with Bin Laden in order to launch his disastrous War on Terror.
As far back as i can remember, leaders have demonised others for their own agendas. Saddam got it when Iraq stopped being our friend and Ahmadinejad is the current bad guy threatening us. Further back in my youth it was the Soviets who had to be stopped so the truth is the Governments need a threat to keep us safe from and if they haven't got one, they hype up whoever is about at the time.
Probably because Fidel Castro said it, his words will be brushed off as the words of a crackpot but if you forget the part about the CIA still bankrolling him, he is right.
Ever since September 11th, the terrorism threat has been used to introduce new legislation such as the Patriot act in America and a whole swathe of new controversial laws over here. Why they were introduced now when nobody attacked us and not when the IRA were bombing our high streets i don't know, but Bin Laden has proved to be a very handy enemy when the Government wanted to bring in anything controversial.
The ID cards idea had been bandied around for years and dismissed as too controversial then up pops Bin Laden and they were set in motion with the warning that it is for our own protection.
Thankfully they have now been binned as too expensive so we have the recession to thank for that but it proves that the bloke in the cave has indeed been very good for scaring us, Fidel was talking sense.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Why Dawkins bothers me

Religion isn't really my bag, i don't know much about it and have no inclination to find out more than the stories of Christmas and Easter that i have a shaky grasp on now.
I don't know if that makes me an Atheist, Agnostic or just plain ignorant but I've managed to rub along for 40 years without reaching for the bible or going out of my way to avoid it.
This is unlike a certain strain of people who insist on pushing their views upon others to convert us to their point of view.
I have had religious enthusiasts s trying to convince me as well as atheist zealots trying to turn me to their cause and both bother me.
I don't want to be stopped by Jehovah Witnesses in the street asking me if i pray and making out i'm a bad person when i say i don't or Churchy types telling me you can only be a good person if you have faith.
Equally i don't want to be bashed around the head for not subscribing to the atheist view that it is definitely, 100% a concrete certainty that there is no God. How do they know? How can anyone be 100% certain? The only time you can be sure is after you die and then you won't be coming back to tell us.
The reason for this rant is Channel 4 is showing a series based on The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins book on how religion is not just wrong, but the cause of the majority of problems in the World.
Now you could make the argument that throughout history religion has been a contributing factor to much death and destruction but i would argue that religion has been a handy justification rather than the reason. Much as Blairs WMD justification to make the Iraq war easier to swallow by the masses, religion has been used much the same way throughout history. Opiate of the masses as Karl Marx called it, used to distort a persons perception.
In the countries where the religious hold sway in power, it is easy to justify almost anything by claiming they are doing it for God. Al Queada and the Taliban use excerpts from the Koran to justify their extreme views and Christians do the same with lines from the Bible.
Religion, as a whole, is a great comfort to many people but it only becomes a problem when it becomes part of those in power.
Dawkins has a point up to a certain mark but to say all religion is wrong and blame it for all our wrongdoings is unfair and as much as i dislike being hit over the head by the bible thumpers harassing me as i move around town, it is wrong to deny the 99.99% of people who don't hold power and don't start wars in Gods name.
Its the inclusion of devout religionists, and anti-religionists, in Governments that are the problem.

Friday, 20 August 2010

More peace talks

Israel and Palestine is more Lucy's territory but seeing as she is stubbornly refusing to get back behind this keyboard, here is my take on the announcement that the Palestinians and Israeli's are getting together for peace talks.
Hamas don't want them and Israel don't want them and for the same reasons so they will fizzle out to nothing as usual.
Hamas doesn't want a change from the status quo because peace with Israel will make them redundant. They pitch themselves as the hero's fighting back for the Palestinians against an aggressive neighbour. Without Israel battering them, their role as defenders of the people goes out of the window.
Israel are happy to have things as they are, with the Palestinians under the heel of their boot so they can swipe their land and build settlements on it unmolested.
All the while missiles will continue to be sent towards Israel and gunships will continue shooting down Palestinians and they will blame each other for not wanting peace and it will go back to how it has always been.
The only solution is to stick a UN Force in the middle of the two of them with orders to stop Hamas firing their rockets and Israel to stop raiding Palestinian land because as the last 60 years has shown, leaving them to it isn't going to achieve anything.
Credit to Obama for trying but unless he is prepared to make proper demands of Israel, such as the ceasing of the settlement building and removing the wall, nothing will happen and i'm not holding my breath that anything will come out of this one.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Blairs guilty conscience

There is a great line somewhere on this blog concerning Margaret Thatcher and how so many people will want to dance on her grave when she dies that she will have to be buried under a discotheque to accommodate them all.
Tony Blair may not be dead but he is the only Prime Minister to challenge Maggie Thatcher as the most hated British politician of our time.
The Iraq and Afghan wars could be described as a bit of a public relations disaster for the former leader who said his actions will be judged by God who he hopes will concentrate more on the part of his time in power when he created the minimum wage and not spend so much time on the irresponsible killing of hundreds of thousands of Muslims bit.
Blair was obviously in need of a PR makeover if he wasn't going to be hounded by demonstrations and shouts of 'bLIAR' and 'War Criminal' every time he set foot outside his front door.
His big wheeze is to donate the proceeds from his grubby little autobiography to the British Legion who care for wounded military personnel. Wounded military personnel that are wounded in the wars that he started that is.
Quite rightly his idea had been roundly condemned as the idea of a man with a guilty conscience and any hope that his tattered image will be rehabilitated has been dismissed as a non-starter. Akin to Mount Vesuvius chipping into the Pompeii restoration fund one wag described it.
So what can Blair do to square things with the British public once again? Margaret Thatcher had the good sense to keep her head down and her mouth shut and hope that someone else would come along who would be as hated as her. Blair would be advised to do the same because by bringing out books to put his side of the story, he will only remind us just what a warmongering idiot he was.
I'm sure God will be putting a little tick in the plus column for his offer though which will negate the tick in the minus column for the £15m he has made doing lectures on the same subject.
The Iraqi & Afghan orphans and relatives of the 1m killed will be happy to know that the men sent to invade them will be looked after thanks to the largess of the man who lied to send them there.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Shameful response to Pakistan disaster

Remember the Haiti earthquake? Remember the nonstop pictures and how the Governments around the World all got together and pledged money to rebuild the stricken country?
Care to hazard a guess at how much of the £3.4bn pledged has actually manifested itself?
That paltry figure would be £345m and that's come from just 5 countries, Brazil, Norway, Estonia, Australia and Colombia. Maybe the big countries just forgot to post the cheque.
Now we have another disaster in Pakistan and poor Haiti is forgotten and instead we watch Pakistanis wading waist high through polluted water, 20 million of them now homeless.
Problem is, money is a bit tight at the moment for the rich nations, only £96m has been pledged in response to a UN appeal for the £295m it states it urgently needs and £12m of that has come from public donations to DEC.
David Cameron labelling Pakistan as an exporter of terrorism weeks earlier hasn't help spread public sympathy.
Its neighbour, superpower wannabe India, had to be shamed into pledging £3.2m, China, initially offered £960,000, has now raised its contribution to £4.6m.
The USA is the top giver with a £60m pledge followed by the UKs £31m.
So why has their been a lukewarm reception to the images of people dying in Pakistan rather than when they died in Haiti or Indonesia?
"A lack of celebrity involvement has kept the flood disaster off many would-be givers' radar" said the Center for Global Development.
The people of Pakistan had better hope that Lady Gaga or Simon Cowell pop up on our screen soon although i wouldn't be holding my breath that a pledge from the world governments actually turns into a donation.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Where's the Perseid's then?

It's just after 10pm here as i write this on the south coast of England. I have a thermos of coffee in the kitchen and the little camping seat waiting for me by the door and within an hour we will have driven the required distance into the countryside to be far enough away from the light pollution of the city to watch a shower of meteorites. Apparently.
I say apparently because last year we went through the same routine and spent 2 hours looking up at clouds. Same as the year before only then we had the added excitement of rain.
Tonight is the best night to see the Perseid meteor shower and between you and me, i would prefer to be in bed under the duvet rather than standing in a field getting a stiff neck and hoping that the thing i just felt squish under my shoe was mud.
I may grumble and moan but in reality, i do hope that the skies are clear and we are treated to one of the solar systems great shows. I just wish the solar system would not pick the nights when the cloud cover was so thick.
The battle of gravity and friction all going on behind the mass of cloud. What a waste and me sat in a field a few miles below it all wondering if enough time has elapsed for me to start the watch tapping routine and saying aloud 'Wow, didn't realise that was the time'.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Bush to Boyle

At first glance the former American President President George W Bush and rubbish singer Susan Boyle don't have a great deal in common. I suppose you could make the link that both are murderers, Bush of people and Boyle of songs, but from now on there will always be a little bit of Georgie boy inside the hairy angel. Ooer.
Madame Tussuad's is famous for waxworks of the globally famous and annually it has a review of who's in and who's out and if you are out, it's the melting pot for you and that is the fate of the invasion monkey who is now to become Susan Boyle.
Bush has had the sense to keep his head down ever since he relinquished the keys to the White House unlike our own warmonger Tony Blair who has been on a grubby money grab while doing nothing as the Middle East envoy.
The much overrated Susan Boyle for her part has been pruned and warbling other people's songs while making a fortune for Simon Cowell.
In a case of the emperors new clothes, i hope soon the day will come when someone points out that actually, that Susan Boyle is not even an average singer and we can all get back to listening to decent female singers without Boyle clogging up the charts and her waxwork can be melted down to make Justin Bieber.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Hinler?

A court has ruled a couple who called their children Adolf Hitler Campbell, Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Campbell should not regain custody of the children.
Fair enough, the parents sound a well rounded couple of idiots so the less the kids
see of them can only be a good thing. What struck me was who the hell is Hinler?
I'm no Nazi specialist but i know of Adolf Hitler and his Aryan Nation ideas but i have never heard of a Nazi known as Hinler and thought he must have been one of the lesser known Nazi's so googled him and it seems everyone is asking who is this Hinler chap then?
For once the Internet couldn't answer my question and the office know-it-all was stumped so i telephoned the Imperial War Museum and asked a nice lady "who was Hinler"?
After a few minutes of head scratching and muffled conversation the riddle was answered.
Turns out there was no Hinler and the cuddly Nazi the idiot parents meant to call young Heiny after was Heinrich Himmler but had either mispelt it or wanted to change it slightly so not to burden the youngster with such an obvious link to the Reichsf├╝hrer-SS but that seems unlikely considering the names of the other two.
Seems the ma and pa were even denser than the very little credit we gave them.
I always thought out of all the Nazi's, Klaus Barbie had the best name. Somehow makes you think of Christmas and dolls and you could never fit that into the testicle song we all sang about Nazi's we all sang as kids. Joseph Goebbels was never going to fare well in that song.