Friday, 31 December 2010

Psychic Predictions 2010: Results

New Years Eve so time to cast our minds back to fonder times when people still liked Nick Clegg, nobody even knew there was a volcano in Iceland and the only black things bobbing around in the Gulf of Mexico came courtesy of the KKK.
We also had Craig Hamilton-Parker of the Psychics & Mediums Network telling us what would unfold in 2010 and i had high hopes for the man television programmes turn to whenever they want a bit of psychic seeing.
He also charges £1.50 per minute (credit cards accepted) for a telephone call to contact your dead relatives so you would think he would be good otherwise you are wasting your money. So let's have a look at how Craig did:

1. Bin Laden dies. Bit unfair to put a cross next to this one as nobody knows if he is dead, alive or starring as an extra in Les Miserables.
2. MP caught in indecent act in public toilet. A lot of MPs were caught being indecent but none in public toilets.
3. Secret human cloning experiment attempts to clone famous person. Unless it is still a secret, this one missed.
4. X factor (UK) in 2010 will be won by a group of friends who were choir boys together. X Factor 2010 won by singer Matt Cardle.
5. Iran gives up its quest for a nuclear bomb. Iran's nuclear ambitions are still full steam ahead.
6. Celebrity is kidnapped and a ransom demand made. As much as i wished Susan Boyle or a few other celebrities would be kidnapped, all remained safe and sound.
7. Barack Obama expresses an interest in holistic healing and ‘world healing’ becomes a dominant theme and key phrase to his 2010 speeches. Amount of times Obama used the words holistic healing - 0
8. Higher than normal tremors on San Andreas fault line. The U.S. Geological Survey advise that 2009 was a busier tremor year.
9. The last Big Brother series (UK) ends with tragedy as someone on set is seriously hurt. A charitable tick here as one of the contestants broke her ankle
10.Japanese bullet train terrorist attack attempt is foiled. The only attack google showed was an attack by graffiti artists.

For someone who describes himself as 'the most accurate and sincere mediums working in Britain today', Hamilton-Parker scored a miserable 1 out of 10 which doesn't say much for the rest of the mediums.
My advice would be if you are approached by a psychic with a double barrelled name, keep the £1.50 in your pocket and consult your tea-pot instead. You won't learn anything about the future but you won't hear Craig Hamilton-Parker laughing all the way to the bank with your one and a half quid while learning nothing about the future either.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Obama Just As Bad As Bush

I remember the time when George W Bush moved out of the White House and Barack Obama was feted as the one who would backtrack on the carnage that Bush inflicted on the world and Americas reputation.
Guantanamo Bay would close, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will end, the increasingly downtrodden Palestinians would be treated fairly and extraordinary rendition would cease. America would no longer be run by cowboys riding roughshod over smaller, weaker nations.
He was even the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize largely in anticipation of the peace that he will be bringing but as we reach the halfway mark in his administration, he seems to have not only picked up where George W Bush left off, but taken it a few steps further.
Guantanamo is still operating, he has backed down on his demands for Israel to stop building on occupied Palestinian land and American boots are still on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan while the torture and rendition policy has been continued.
So far, so his predecessors policies but in one area he has gone far beyond what even George W Bush achieved with his escalation of drone attacks inside Pakistan.
A damning statistic is that the current President authorized more drone strikes inside Pakistan in his first 9 months in office than George Bush did in his final 3 years in the White House.
If Bush had authorized this scale of attacks inside Pakistan, the human rights section of the population would rightly be screaming about the bombing of a sovereign country and the number of civilians killed.
A February 2010 report by the New America Foundation found that a third of the 1200 Afghans killed so far in drone attacks have been civilians. That's a horrendous amount of innocent deaths in a country counted as an ally and who has protested about the use of drones but it is hard to find a mention of Obama being a murderer or wanting him dragged before the Hague on crimes against humanity as was regularly on the protest banners directed at Bush.
America is not at war with Pakistan but Obama has not only picked up where George Bush left off, he has escalated it and is directly responsible for the decisions that have left over 400 innocent civilians dead in yet another country that has the misfortune to have terrorists hiding in it.
We hated Bush and rightly berated him for all his disastrous foreign policies and although Obama did not create the problems, he is continuing the same policies and adding his own murderous twist to them.
Obama promised change and hope but he has turned out to be George Bush mk 2 albeit with a better public image and we should be giving him as hard a time over his murderous foreign policy in Pakistan and his failure to adhere to human rights as we gave Bush.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Right Wing Madness Explained By Science

Of course we all know those on the right wing are a bunch of odd-balls with crackpot ideas who, left to their own devices, would probably end up stapling their own hands to their heads.
Us on the left look at them with a mix of sympathy, pity and exasperation as they go about their nutty way and we just thought it was because they were a bit dim. Turns out having right wing views is a medical condition.
Neuroscientist researchers at University College London have discovered that those who hold right wing views have a more pronounced amygdala which is the part of the brain associated with social interaction and emotion stability.
Wikipedia states that research on primates shows those with an enlarged amygalda were observed to have significant social and emotional deficits.
So it took a team of neuroscientists all this time to deduce that people holding right wing views are socially inept and emotionally unstable? We could have told them that ages ago and they could have spent the time on how best to treat them.
Until they come up with a cure for right wing madness, i suggest a simple test where you hand the expected social cripple a plastic bottle and ask them to place it in the recycle bin. If they stand there looking confused then lock them in a room with no sharp objects and do not allow them anywhere near a Government.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

2011: End Of The World

What would you do if you knew the world was going to end? Definitely end, that is, there being nothing that could be done by governments, science or superheroes to avert the end of human life on earth.
Personally my last day would feature a few rolls of industrial strength parcel tape and Johnny Depp so i have pencilled in a trip to the Post Office on the 20th October next year because according to the EBible Fellowship, the 21st October is Judgement Day.
These helpful chaps have deciphered the Biblical calendar found in the book of Genesis, (chapters 5 and 11) which, as they explain 'can be trusted entirely because they come right out of the Bible'.
So on the 21st May, Judgment Day will begin and the rapture will occur and on the 21st October 2011, the world will be destroyed by fire.
If that date is not good for you, how about the 24th December 2011 which is when the sacred Aztec calendar advises us that the fifth epoch, which began in 3113 BC, will end on Christmas Eve and destroy all human life on Earth.
The Aztec's and the Biblical calendars may be helpful with the exact dates of our demise but there is also a warning of our impending doom next year from the Sci-fi community.
Not alien invasions or massive comets hurtling towards us, but the Photon Belt which apparently is a band of intense photon energy on a collision course with the Earth.
Electricity won't function and there will be three days and three nights of retina scorching blinding light and radiation.
Although we are not given an exact date except next year some time, i'm sure we will notice it when it starts. You might want to stay indoors when it does.
The final proof that 2011 will be our last comes from St. Malachy, an Irish Priest from the 12th Century who prophesied the end of time with the election of the 112th pope from that day in 1143.
Worryingly, Herr Ratzinger is Pope number 111 from when St Malachy made his utterances and is 83 years old so we could be watching the white smoke coming from the Vatican chimney to welcome number 112 in 2011.
I know it is a long shot but if we do all make it through 2011 unscathed, i know where there will be some rolls of industrial strength parcel tape going cheap.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Blame Drinkers, Not Smokers

In an effort to reduce the amount of people smoking, the Government are offering free nicotine patches to smokers at a cost of £250M.
Obviously this is a good thing as smoking is not a healthy habit and i have to grudgingly give Dave C some credit for this initiative although i doubt i will be taking them up on their offer. I try to give up annually and have worn patches and found that they didn't work for me but i do know people who have given up whilst wearing them.
What i would like to do is dispel the often repeated misinformation that smokers drain costs on the NHS for treating smoking related illnesses because according to the Centre for Health Economics, the cost to the NHS for treating smokers is between £1.4bn and £1.7bn.
Granted that is expensive but tax from cigarettes raises £9bn annually for the Government so that argument is a non-starter because the NHS bill is safely covered 6 times over by smokers.
If you want to point fingers for self inflicted illness, Alcohol Concern state that alcohol misuse costs the NHS up to £3bn a year and is implicated in 33,000 deaths every year and one in six people attending accident and emergency units has alcohol-associated injuries.
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) claims that tax receipts from alcohol in 2008-09 raised £730m which means that it is drinkers and not smokers who should be accused of draining the NHS.
Maybe the Government should be aiming its schemes at drinkers, also not a healthy habit and much more costly in terms of treating and the resulting social consequences.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Boxing Day

Who said we learn nothing from these late night phone-in shows. Last night on Talk Sport Radio there was a live 3-way link up with the presenters of an American and Canadian radio station whose names i never caught.
After the initial Barack Obama bashing where all 3 agreed he had turned out to be a bit of a dud, talk turned to Boxing Day.
I wasn't aware that only the Australians, Canadians and us celebrated Boxing Day (or St Stephens Day for the pedantic among us) although i'm not really sure what it is or what we are supposed to do with it.
We use it mainly to return Christmas gifts to the shops and exchange them for the correct size, an alternative to the same value or make up stories about how it was broken when we got it and can we have the money back please.
So you Americans are not missing out on much, a national holiday to get over Christmas Day after all those mince pies and anyway you get July 4th off which is kinda ironic.
If you hadn't have thrown all that tea into Boston Harbour all those years ago, you wouldn't have had to get up so early this morning and you could have exchanged that Sarah Palin autobiography for something of equal value at the 99c store. Thank your ancestors for that.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign

Possibly taking a leaf from the Atheist bus campaign last year, buses in Seattle are to carry this advertisement bringing attention to Israeli war crimes.
Paid for by the the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, their mission is to break through the silence over Israel's mistreatment of Palestinians. The SMAC website states that they are a number of national and international groups using mainstream advertising media to increase public awareness of U.S. taxpayer complicity in Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights.
Stop30billion is a reference to the $30 billion in military aid that the United States has pledged to Israel over the next decade and the campaign is timed to coincide with the second anniversary of Israel's horrific assault on Gaza.
"The ads are to raise awareness that our tax dollars are being spent in one-sided support of the state of Israel and particularly of those policies of Israel that violate human rights and maintain the bad situation" said a SMAC spokesman.
Asked in the Seattle Times about if the ad could incite violence against Jews, the spokesman explained, 'My experience is that those who want to defend Israel right or wrong want also to stop dialogue, stop discussion, stop education, stop public awareness, and will use a wide range of tactics, and this is one.'

Israel will continue to treat Palestinians with impunity until America and others stop funding its military and have to pay its own way which will force it to the negotiating table so this is a small start in bringing to attention what the American media doesn't tell, Israel is using your money to kill civilians, steal land, destabilise the Middle East and run an apartheid system worthy of South Africa.
Maybe you are happy with your money going to support all that or hopefully you will go off and find out a bit more about it and realise what has been going on.
Well done the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, i wish you luck because i guarantee the anti-semitism chorus will be in full voice.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Europe Rises Up

It seems almost an everyday occurrence now that a riot breaks out somewhere in Europe.
Greece, Italy, France and Britain have all seen rioting in the past week and this year has also seen riots in Turkey, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Greece, Iceland and Austria.
That's a lot of angry people on our continent and their rage is at the politicians for their economic mismanagement and their resulting austerity measures.
Banks have been the main target, petrol bombs were thrown through the windows of some Turkish banks and in France over 3 million people protested in a day of action against President Sarkozy's economic recovery plan.
In Moscow, over 2000 demonstrators gathered by a statue of Karl Marx calling for a return of communism.
These are not minor incidents by an angry few, this is an unprecedented outpouring of anger by the masses at the people who caused the spending cuts, rising unemployment, delayed retirement, wage cuts and fear of the future.
Protests, demonstrations and riots do change government thinking and have bought down Governments before although as yet none except Iceland have succumbed but a few are looking unsteady.
I have heard the demonstrations being called 'anti-capitalist' which to a degree is true, this economic crisis has exposed the frailties of the Capitalist system and the greed that drives it but most importantly, it has exposed abhorrent financial mismanagement by our Governments, financial markets and big business.
The political fallout is going to be long, messy and violent and we can expect to see a few ministerial scalps before we emerge on the other side hopefully wiser and with a better system which doesn't punish those who can least afford it.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Nazareth To Bethlehem 2010

Little donkey, little donkey
On the dusty road
Got to keep on plodding onwards
With your precious load.

It is a 90 mile trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem so how different would the trip the donkey made on that dusty road over 2000 years ago be today?
The Bible is unhelpful about the exact route so let's take the direct route and the donkey has a relatively straightforward plod until it reaches the first of numerous Israeli military checkpoints, this one at Jalame where the wall separates the occupied West Bank from Israel.
Once past the heavily armed soldiers, lookout towers, razor wire and gun turrets we come to Jenin, stronghold of Islamist militant groups and regular recipient of Israeli military incursions.
On the other side of Jenin lies another four Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks, then the Palestinian city of Nablus surrounded on 3 sides by refugee camps.
Israel soldiers control the entrance and exit from the city and then it's onto route 433.
Being Jews, Mary, Joseph and the plodding donkey would have no problem using this 12 mile stretch of road through the West Bank as it was only closed to Palestinians until this summer.
We get off the tarmac at Ramallah and through another set of Israeli military checkpoints who control who comes in and who goes out of the City.
South again and Jerusalem appears in the distance, entry and exit to the city through 4 military checkpoints and finally, after negotiating the way through the refugee camps of Aida and Azza, we reach the city of Bethlehem flanked by 30ft high concrete walls and military roadblocks and checkpoints.
The donkey can have a rest and Mary and Joseph can find a nice stable and hope that the 3 wise men have all the right permits and make it through unscathed.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Kosovo: Another Western Intervention Failure

When the United Nations refused to sanction the 1999 Kosovo War, it became a NATO campaign although critics pointed out that the NATO charter specifies that NATO was created for defence of its members, and the bombing of Serbia was an attack on a non-NATO country which was not directly threatening any NATO member.
With the KLA painted as the good guys and the Serb forces as the baddies when in reality they were both as bad as each other when it came to killing civilians, NATO stepped into a civil war regardless of the lack of legitimacy and three months of bombing later, the Serbian Army was in retreat and Kosovo became an interim civilian administration under the authority of the United Nations.
Ten years on an a report from the Council of Europe tells us that it is now ruled by gangster thugs involved in murder and selling body parts.
The report alleges that the newly re-elected Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, was the head of an organised crime ring involved in organ trafficking, assassinations and other crimes.
It seems that all NATO achieved was to foist a gang of gangsters into power who have been exerting what the EC called 'violent control over the trade in heroin and other narcotics.'
Part of the report suggests that after the 1999 war the KLA took revenge on the
Serb civilians who stayed behind by dragging them off to a network of KLA run detention centres in northern Albania where they were 'subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, before ultimately disappearing, murdered for their kidneys.'
It concludes 'Tha├ži’s Drenica Group 'bear the greatest responsibility'.
The first commander of U.N. troops in Bosnia, Canadian Gen. Lewis MacKenzie said 'We bombed the wrong side. The Kosovo-Albanians have played us like a Stradivarius.'
They certainly did and once again Western intervention has made a horrific situation a whole lot worse.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Is Santa Real?

Listen up children everywhere, i am an adult and as all children know, adults are always right. You children also know that lying is wrong and adults never lie, especially to children, so if you asked me 'Is Santa real?', i state absolutely YES.
Still don't believe me?
Well how about believing the United States and Canadian Governments who protect their national air space with a department called the North American Aerospace Defence Command, NORAD for short.
NORAD have high-tech systems such as radar, satellites, detection systems and even fighter jets and they know if anyone or anything comes into the sky above North America. They even have a system named the North Warning System which are satellites orbiting the earth at 22,300 miles especially for Santa Claus so they know it is him.
Would the United States and Canadian Governments, run by very important and serious people, use all this technology for someone that isn't real?
Then there is the Postal Services all around the World who deliver millions of letters to Santa Claus each year. Try sending a letter to James Bond or Spiderman, the postal services would either return your letter as undeliverable or throw it into the dead letter office because the law states that are not allowed to deliver letters to people that don't exist.
Santa Claus not only exists, he has 4 offices you can write to, 'Father Christmas, North Pole, SAN TA1', 'Santa Claus, Santa Claus Village, FIN-96930 Arctic Circle, Finland', 'North Pole, Alaska, H0 H0 H0' and the UK Post Office asks you to send letters to 'Santa’s Grotto, Reindeerland, SAN TA1'.
Finally, have you wondered how Santa manages to get around the World so fast? It is a secret but i have a special Press Release that only the newspaper, radio and television stations are suppossed to read but i want to prove Santa Claus is real so i will tell you. He uses the NGA TOY DELIVERY SYSTEM X-100 developed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) which is like a super version of the sat nav your parents probably have in their car. The NGA make digital navigation systems for the American military.
The Press release says: 'This holiday season, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) again offered its expertise to a very special customer - Santa Claus'.
So the United States and Canadian Governments, all the worlds postal services, the millions who send Santa letters every year and the Intelligence Agency company that have said that they give Santa the equipment to guide him around the World all believe in Father Christmas, so why should you not think he is real as well?
Don't tell everyone about Santa's special sat nav though will you, it's a secret.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The Real Santa Claus

We all know Santa Claus, fat jolly man who brings presents to good kids and and lumps of coal to the bad ones.
Over the years he has gone through a few different guises and we can trace him back to a very surprising historical character.
The main characteristics of Santa Claus today are the long white beard, mode of transport and his present giving.
The Santa Claus we know is based on the Sinterklaas who was a traditional Winter holiday figure predominantly in the Netherlands. The Dutch colonials, following the American War of Independence, revived their Sinterklaas tradition as a symbol of their non-British past and Sinterklass was merged with the religious overtones of the Christian Saint Nicholas.
The legend of Sinterklass who rode around on a white horse, wore a long white beard, carried a staff and had children leaving their boots full of carrots and straw near the chimney for his horse to eat was taken directly from the Norse God Odin who was worshipped in North and Western Europe prior to Christianisation.
Odin rode the sky with his grey horse, a long white beard, carried a spear and rewarded children with gifts who placed their boots near the chimney for his flying horse, Sleipnir, to eat.
It is from these pagan 'Yule times' that many of the Christmas traditions began, incorporated into the Christmas we have today such as Christmas trees and the date 25th December which was originally Yule when the pagans celebrated the shortest day during the winter solstice and willed the sun to return.
Odin himself was the Germanic adoption of the Celtic deity Lugus, introduced to the Germanic tribes by the Celtic tribes of central Europe.
Lugus, patron of trade and commerce, was just the updated Celtic version of the Roman God Mercury and the Romans messenger Mercury was the Greeks Hermes, the wing sandal wearing messenger of the gods, guide to the Underworld and patron of shepherds, literature, poets and commerce.
So there we have the story of Santa Claus who began life as the messenger of the Ancient Greek Gods circa 750 BC and went through Mercury, Lugus, Odin, and Sinterklaas to the guy due to pop down the chimney in a few days time.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Welcome Sweden

In 2004, a video message from Osama Bin Laden advised the American people that their country, along with Israel, was the cause of injustice in the Middle East and that was why he and his Al Queada cohorts would continue to strike out at them. He also name checked Sweden as a country they hadn't nor wouldn't attack. Nice lovable Sweden.
Fair enough you may think, apart from a spot of raping and pillaging over a millennium ago, Sweden has been quietly sat there churning out the odd Eurovision song contest winner and avoiding getting involved with much of the global arguing, even managing to stay neutral through the whole of World War II.
It was the quiet one of the class while the more boisterous countries shouted, hollered and fought among themselves.
Then something changed and little Sweden began hanging around the fringe of the bad boys. Then it got involved with a fight between America and Afghanistan and now, after the bombing on the streets of Stockholm, Sweden has been sucked into the sights of the terrorists.
Rather than stay safely on the sidelines, it was swayed by the worst of the gang, America and Great Britain, to join them in a war of dubious origins, that they can't possibly win and which they have been trying to find a way to get out of for years.
You are one of us now Sweden and you have a big hole in the middle of Stockholm shopping district to show for it.
Welcome to the World the boisterous countries made. Nice 'innit.

Climate Isn't Weather

'Still believe in this Climate Change nonsense?' asked my colleague as i stood shaking the snow off my boots last week. That's the problem with climate change deniers, they seem incapable, or unwilling, to understand the difference between climate and weather. It really isn't that difficult a concept to grasp but at the first fall of a snowflake, i see some grinning goon trying to urge everyone to throw some more coal on the fire so here, for the hard of thinking, is why the 18 inches of snow we experienced last week does not mean the climate change argument is defunct.

Weather describes the condition when you look out of your window. It might be sunny, hot, windy, cloudy, raining or even snowing.

Climate is the average weather conditions expected for a certain place. Climate is based on the average weather experienced over decades and refers to what is expected to happen rather than the actual conditions.

See, if isn't hard to understand so if you are one of those excitable people who scream 'It's climate change' when the thermometer hits 30C or scream 'climate change my aunt fanny' when a snowflake lands on your big empty head, remember that's the weather you are bawling about.
It's called Climate Change and there is a huge clue to what it refers to in the name.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

The Most Shocking Wikileak Yet

Ref ID: A459
Created: 0000-25-12
Classification: Confidential
Origin: Bethelehem Embassy

C O N F I D E N T I A L Bethlehem 009127

E.O. 12957: DECL: 11/26/0001 AD
TAGS: PGOV PHUM VE SP
SUBJECT: Child Care in Bethelehem

REF: A. STATE 154674
¶B. BETHLEHEM 2123
¶C. JUDEA 2077

Classified By: BETHLEHEM OFFICIAL REASONS 1.4B AND D.

SUMMARY: Judea Child Care. Carpenter Held On Charges Involving Underage Mother

25/12/00 AD-- Bethlehem, Judea -

¶1 Child care in Judea is becoming a problem with a case in point the call to the Bethlehem Child Protection Unit when authorities were alerted to a family living in a barn and upon arrival an infant named 'Jesus' was found dressed in rags and placed in an animals feeding trough by his 14 year old mother Mary. The child was taken into protective care.

¶2 During the confrontation, a man identified as Joseph and accompanied by several shepherds, tried to interfere with efforts to remove the infant from the scene by claiming the child was 'God's' but was restrained by officers for his own safety.

¶3 Also being held for questioning are three foreigners who allege to be 'wise men' from an unidentified middle eastern country. The three are being held under the anti-terrorism act. Confiscated from their persons was a large quantity of gold and two other unidentified substances which are currently being tested. None of the three were able to produce passports.

¶4 The owner of the barn is being held for questioning for violating health and safety regulations by allowing people to stay in the stable when his inn was full.

¶5 The location of the minor is confidential and the prospect for a quick resolution to this case is doubtful as the father is middle-aged and the mother definitely underage.

¶6 Mary was taken to the Bethlehem General Hospital where she is being examined by doctors and will undergo psychiatric evaluation because of her claim that she is a virgin and that the child is from God.

¶7 We are of the opinion that this incident is just one of a number that point to a lack of child care in the Judea area and the porous borders that allow potential terrorists to transfer illegal substances and gold across the region.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Who To Blame For Petrol Prices

The price of a litre of unleaded petrol has hit a record high today of 121.76p and it is expected to rise even further in January as fuel duty increases and the higher VAT rate bite.
Usually this would lead to kicking out at the arrogant oil companies who make billions at the expense of the environment and human population and that is how the UK Government like it because by letting them take the blame, we don't look too closely at exactly where the £1.21 you pay for that litre of petrol actually goes.
A guide at petrolprices.com show that if a litre of unleaded cost 119.96, it would be split in the following way:

Fuel Duty - 57.21p
Product 39.85p
VAT 17.90p
Retailer 5p

With fuel duty and VAT, almost two thirds of your 119.96 goes to the Government with the actual petrol costing just under 40p.
With 34 million drivers in the UK, this is a massive money spinner for the Government, the RAC state that road users pay £46bn each year in fuel duty and road tax, but as our roads came 24th out of the top 27 countries considered by the World Economic Forum, the money isn't being handed to the highway agency.
This can only lead us to the conclusion that those of us who have to use the road network to go about our daily business are regarded as a soft touch who will pay the price for fuel whatever it might be.
Of course they know that for the majority the only other options are the overcrowded trains or buses and the prices of those have gone up as much as 13%.
Thirty-four million drivers? That's a lot of people with a lot of votes and a loud voice if we take a leaf from the students book and show the Government that we have had enough of them ripping us off.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Goodbye Lib Dems

Pictured left is Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats. In his hands is a pledge that if his party got into power, they would 'vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative system'.
Today, Nick Clegg, still leader of the Liberal Democrats and now also Deputy Prime Minister and a senior member of the coalition Government that voted to increase University tuition fees threefold to £9,000. Clegg was a vocal advocate of the controversial decision, urging his party members to support the hike.
Mr Clegg and his party targeted university campuses seeking student votes ahead of the General Election and students voted for them in large swathes to give them seats in University towns such as Cambridge, Norwich, Portsmouth, Manchester and Bath.
It was one of the cornerstones of their electoral campaign, a gold-plated, copper­bottomed promise and this is why students are protesting today.
Not only will they be saddled with tens of thousands of pounds debt before they even set foot on the career ladder, (and don't be fooled by the argument that graduates will pay less than at present, they will just be paying it over a longer period) but they were lied to.
A bold, plain old fashioned fib and that is why the Liberal Democrats face an almost certain wipe out at the next election.
You cannot tell such lies and not expect the electorate to swallow it quietly, especially when you treat so dishonestly the very same people who voted you in, as the 21 who voted against the raise know and the 28 who voted with the Government will soon find out.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Assange Rape Claim

The arrest of Julian Assange on charges of rape and sexual assault is an interesting case which centers around the use, or not, of condoms.
The case first came to light in August when an arrest warrant was issued for Mr Assange following two Swedish women making a statement to police that they had been sexually assaulted by the Wikileaks creator.
Special mention should be made here that the story was broken by the Swedish tabloid newspaper Expressen soon after the case was opened. Possibly just a coincidence that this was the newspaper that the first accuser interned at and that they had the scoop.
The case was then dismissed by Stockholm's chief prosecutor who said that there was no reason to suspect that Assange had committed rape and the warrant withdrawn.
Now the Director of public prosecution, a more senior position in the Swedish legal system, has reopened the case citing new information.
The story appears to proceed as follows. The first accuser suggested Assange stay in her flat the evening before a speaking engagement in Sweden. Both agree that they slept together on the night before the event, during which the condom split.
The following day, the second accuser met Assange at the event and afterwards the pair went to the cinema, where she told police she had performed oral sex on him.
What happened next is where the court case, if it happens, will concentrate.
The first and second woman, who did not know each other, contacted each other and some days later the two went to a Stockholm police station where they said they requested advice on making a complaint against Assange.
The first woman told police that he had ripped the condom on purpose, while the second woman said the unprotected sex act in the cinema had been without her consent.
They were reportedly advised by the police officer that these allegations amounted to rape against the first woman (the former Expressen intern) and sexual molestation against the second.
Laughably weak maybe, stinking of set up certainly, clumsy smear job without doubt but you can be sure that American pressure will be applied and this will be a severe test for the British legal system to dismiss the case which centers around how a condom split during consensual sex.

Libyan Freed For Oil Contracts

Did anyone actually believe that the Lockerbie bomber, Abdel Baset al-Megrah, was released on compassionate grounds from the Scottish prison where he was serving a minimum of 27 years for murdering 270 people?
Today's release of wikileaks documents show that Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, warned of 'enormous repercussions' and made 'explicit and thuggish threats' to the British Government over Megrahi remaining in jail.
One specific threat was the immediate cessation of all UK commercial activity in Libya and there is the crux of the matter, the loss of the £15 billion oil exploration deal BP had with Libya.
Far from it being a 'decision taken by the Scottish Government', the cables show the then Justice Secretary Jack Straw and Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond had had conversations around Al-Megrah's release and Straw was confident that although 'The Libyans have not yet made a formal application for compassionate release … HMG believes that the Scottish may be inclined to grant the request, when it comes'.
So it wasn't Holyroods decision, Downing Street did apply pressure and it was about protecting British oil exploration. All three things the last Government forcibly deniedt.
The truth is those in power really never cared about the moral rights, it was all about making sure we continued making vast amounts of money from Libyan contracts. Shameful doesn't even begin to cover it.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Do We Want To Bring Back Buffy?

When i heard that there were plans afoot for a new Buffy film i was unsure exactly how to feel about the news.
Initially i was as happy as a pig in the brown stuff at the thought of the Scooby Gang once again picking up their stakes and freeing Sunnydale from hordes of vampires, demons and other things from various hell dimensions.
Then the thought, what if the new film is no good? It could destroy the whole Buffy experience if what lands at our cinema is anything like the awful original Buffy film.
Buffy the Vampire slayer spawned the likes of Twilight and True Blood but nothing vampire related that followed has caught the eye quite like Buffy. The characters were excellent although Buffy's whiny sister Dawn wouldn't have been missed if she had been squished by Olaf's hammer in the first episode she appeared in.
The magic ingredients seems to be creator Joss Whedon who also gave us the spin off Angel and another cast of fantastic characters and storylines although Whedon is not involved in the new film which cannot be a good thing.
A part of me wants Buffy to stay in the past, immortalised as one of the greatest TV shows ever to appear and not risk being sullied by a new adventure. What if Sarah Michelle Geller isn't casted, or it is a different Xander or Willow?
Then part of me wants to see the slayer again with her perfect hair and stylish clothes dusting vampires and hearing Spike taunt her about Angel.
It's a tough choice but as much as it surprises me to say it, i don't think i want a new Buffy because it will be different, or they will be older and it will be like bumping into the guy you had a crush on at school years later and realising that actually, he is not as handsome or cute as you remember him.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Keep 'em Coming Mr Chavez

Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, humans and Fox News viewers, anyone who has read my bleatings for long enough know that Hugo Chavez is a hero of mine for what he has done for the poorest in Venezuela. The right wing and the lazy knock him just because he is a lefty without looking at his track record and because it scares them that he is proving that Socialism works and you don't need to swallow the Capitalist line.
Once again, the portly son of a schoolteacher is aiming a few well directed jabs at capitalism for the rains and flooding that have brought chaos to Venezuela, killing 32 people and leaving 70,000 homeless.
Mr Chavez has taken charge of rescue operations, inviting families to take refuge in his palace and ordering space made for others in ministries, barracks and shopping centres.
'The developed nations irresponsibly shatter the environmental order while the immense majority of the earth's people suffer the most terrible consequences' he said today.
'The environmental imbalance capitalism has caused is without doubt the fundamental cause of the alarming atmospheric phenomena. The world's powerful economies insist on a destructive way of life and then refuse to take any responsibility'.
He has you there polluters. Now i wonder if it will inspire the Queen to let a few commoners stay at Buckingham Palace the next time the snow brings everything to a standstill. I will have to turn up with my sleeping bag next time and ask.

Finding Wikileaks

American pressure to dissuade companies from supporting the Wikileaks website has resulted in it being impossible to reach WikiLeaks by typing wikileaks.org into a web browser. I don't know the technical reason behind it but if you go looking for it that way, you are greeted by the 'Page Load Error' screen and a message stating that 'wikileaks.org could not be found.'
Very unsporting but my IT guy, as ever helpful as always, tells me typing in http://88.80.13.160/ takes you to the exact same page the USA Government are trying to hide.
Here's the science bit.
At present, that location redirects users to a Wikleaks page at http://213.251.145.96/, which is run by a French company, but if pressure from the French government pushes Wikileaks off that host, it will always have the Swedish 88/80/13.160 location. Nope, i don't get it either but the simple explanation is bookmark that first number, ignore the number at the top that it changes to as that will change as Wikileaks gets shoved around, and stick two fingers up to Hillary Clinton and her crowd.
You can also find the Wikileaks Twitter page at http://twitter.com/wikileaks
Truth is Hillary, if you hadn't been so secretive and two faced in the first place, you wouldn't have to be running around trying to smooth things over and closing down websites that expose your duplicity now.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Weak-i-Leaks

The first week of leaks has shown us how the world actually is rather than how it is portrayed to us. China dislikes North Korea, Italian President Berlusconi is more interested in partying than governing and Saudi Arabia wants someone else to bomb Iran for it.
Colonel Gaddaffi is followed around by a blonde Ukranian nurse, the USA has been bombing Yemen and the Yemeni Government has been saying it is them doing it, the US have been spying on UN members and Prince Andrew is an obnoxious loudmouth.
The head of the Bank of England doesn't rate David Cameron, the USA bribed countries to take Guantanamo Bay prisoners, Nicolas Sarkozi is egotistical, David Milliband promised to not disclose anything that may harm interests during the Iraq War inquiry and Russia is a corrupt Mafia state.
British and US officials got together to circumvent the ban on cluster bombs, Canada doesn't trust America and Hamid Kharzai and the US commanders don't think the British army is up to the job.
The US thought Gordon Brown was hopeless, the UK Government misled parliament over Diego Garcia, Hugo Chavez had to be prevented from punching the Colombian President at a meeting, China hacked Google and the US are amused by the British-US special relationship.

I don't know why but i was expecting more from these leaks. I wanted to hear of protests and Governments falling but the majority seems to be things we already knew or strongly suspected anyway.
Possibly, with weeks of leaks to come, we will finally get to the juicy cables that implement governments in some of the worst acts of the last decade. The cables in the build up to the Iraq and Afghan Wars should be dynamite as will those sent between the US and Israel in their abysmal dealings with the Palestinians.
Hopefully the best are being saved for after the 7-11 day period that newspapers allow for a major story before readers lose interest. I hope so because as interesting as this weeks leaks have been, there hasn't been any revelations that has moved me into rant mode.
I did love the diatribe against Prince Andrew though.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Yee Haw Santa

There are some things that should just never meet. Susan Boyle and Lycra cycling shorts or anyone with the surname Blair and the keys to 10 Downing Street for example. Today i had the misfortune to stumble upon another abomination that should never have been. A country music Christmas album.
Songs about Santa being a redneck and driving his pick-up and drinking moonshine?? To the sound of a steel string guitar?? No, no, no no no American south. What do you think you are doing??
Country music is for men in dungarees called Billy Bob or Bobby Joe who say things like 'That's a pertty mouth on you, boy' to unsuspecting canoeists after engaging them in a banjo playing contest.
Christmas music is all about jingle bells, snow and reindeer's with shiny red noses and wishing it could be Christmas everyday. There is just no need for some stetson wearing escapee from the Dukes of Hazard to try and muscle in with songs about a redneck Santa.
Stick to singing your depressing songs about how your dog died and your wife left you and took your pick-up truck and let everyone else make decent Christmas songs.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

England Out Of 2018 World Cup Already

Even with the big guns of David Beckham, the heir to the throne and the Prime Minister, England could still not land the World Cup in 2018 which has been awarded to Russia and the 2022 Championship to Qatar.
Despite the very real chance that i could end up in the Tower, i was not in favour of us staging it so i am quite happy to see them excitedly jumping around in snowy Moscow after the announcement.
It seems to give it more of a special feeling if the games are at stupid o'clock and you find yourself watching England play Slovakia as you are eating your meusli and wiping the sleepy dust from your eyes.
The fact that our bid got knocked out at the first hurdle with only 2 votes out of 22 shows that we never had much of a chance anyway and the dissection of why we did so badly will now commence.
We have the stadiums already built and an England World Cup would have generated more income for FIFA than any of the other bids so they are not reasons we failed so completely.
The BBC programme showing 4 members of the voting panel were taking backhanders wouldn't have done much to endear them to the English and our badmouthing of the other bids made us look very arrogant and that seems to be our problem.
We do seem to have this attitude that we SHOULD get it just because we are English and if it wasn't for us inventing it, football wouldn't even exist. We based our whole 2006 bid last time on 'football coming home' but instead it went to Germany.
The Qatar decision seems very bizarre but congratulations to Russia and as Moscow is only 3 hours ahead of us, there won't be any early morning games so that gives me the while morning to work up a migraine to get off home to watch the games. Greatski.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Wanna Buy A Ship For Xmas?

Throughout history, the British Navy has given Johnny Foreigner a damn good licking on a regular basis. Even with a one armed, one eyed Admiral who suffered with chronic seas-sickness, we ruled the waves and now you can own a piece of the British Navy with the purchase of HMS Invincible.
None of this high level negotiations between Governments, the aircraft carrier has been put up for sale on the military auction site here.
I didn't even know we had a military auction site to sell our ships on but there it is, amongst unwanted desert ops trousers and army issue folding shovels.
If you do fancy owning the flagship of the British Navy, be advised that you have to supply your own jets and helicopters but don't despair, the site also offers a Harrier Jump jet facsimile from the Royal Air Force. Also up for grabs are a range of armoured cars.
With only four weeks to Christmas and if you still haven't got that present for that special someone, nothing says Merry Christmas sweetheart more than a rusty and broken down cast off from the British Navy.
North Korea need not apply.