Monday, 31 October 2011

Prohibitive Thinking

It may be a truly horrendous cliché muttered by management types, but I have been attempting some 'blue sky thinking' and i have come up with a way to save us billions of pounds and thousands of lives. Surprisingly with those benefits, it might be a bit controversial.

This thing costs the overstretched NHS £2.7 billion annually and is implicated in 33,000 deaths a year in the UK. 3.2 % of all deaths worldwide

The British Crime Survey shows 53% of all violent acts are caused by this and 44% of acts of domestic violence

It is second only to tobacco as the major cause of premature death.

It kills 778 UK drivers annually (1 in 6 deaths on the road) and injures almost 20,000.

Crime related incidents directly from this costs police over £7bn a year.

It is attributable to 47% acts of criminal damage, 17% of muggings, 13% of sexual offences, 17% of burglaries and 12% of robbery's.

It costs the economy £1.8 billion annually in lost Working days.

It doesn't have any tangible benefits except raising approx £8 billion in revenue per year.

So with all this against it, why isn't alcohol banned? Apart from the drinks industry, who would lose out from a bout of prohibition? The £8 billion we lose from tax revenue would be dwarfed by the £2.7 billion savings to the NHS, £7 billion to the police and £1.8 billion to the economy lost through drink related absenteeism. That's a net saving of £3.5 billion not to mention the 33,000 lives saved.

The Government has long tried to restrict the ability of people to drink to excess by controlling the cost and availability of alcohol so why not just go the whole hog and slap a ban on it? If someone came up with the idea now it wouldn't make it past the planning stage so why persevere with something that costs so much socially and financially, something that if it was removed would not be missed and could only benefit society and the country's coffers?

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Oetzi's Revenge

All Hallows Eve. The night when the veil that separates our world from the Other world is at its thinnest and the one time in the year when we glimpse for a moment the dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension where shadow and superstition lies, the dimension of imagination. Don't be afraid, take my hand and follow me through the veil into that other place.

It's 1991 and two German tourists, Helmut and Erika Simon, discover a 5300 year old mummified corpse and direct a team of archaeologists to the site in the Alps between Austria and Italy.
The body is encased in ice and the evidence shows that the man, nicknamed Oetzi after the area in which he was discovered, met with a violent death, having been shot with an arrow before having his skull smashed.
Then, the people associated with his discovery begin meeting with mysterious ends.
The first death occurred when the man who had who put the caveman's body into the body bag was killed in a car crash on the way to a presentation that he was due to give on the discovery of the dead man.
Then the mountain guide who lead the team to the frozen body died in an avalanche. On recoevery of the body, it was discovered that among his many fatal injuries, his skull was smashed.
Next was the cameraman who had filmed the recovery of Oetzi, collapsing and dying of an undetected brain tumor.
Helmut, the man who had actually found the Iceman, was then found dead, laying face down in a stream, where he had landed after falling off a 300 foot cliff. Was it a coincedence that when death came for him, he was face down in water with his skull smashed just like Oetzi?
In another macabre twist, the man that found Helmut in the river, then dropped dead himself, suffering a heart attack on the way home from Helmut's funeral.
The sixth person who had been there on that fateful day when the iceman was discovered died from complications with a medical condition and the final death (so far) was when the scientist who first examined the corpse, died of a blood disease.

Maybe there is a practical explanation for why all these people died, maybe it was all a bizarre coincidence or maybe it's a warning that there's a place between light and shadow where the dead can reach out and touch us. A night like tonight perhaps when the curtain between the living and the dead is tantalisingly pulled aside for the briefest of moments.

Was that noise outside your window really the wind? Somewhere, the dead eyes of a 5300 year old corpse are looking for it's next victim. Stay safe tonight.

Friday, 28 October 2011

WWJD?

On the side of one of the 250 tents pitched in the grounds of St Paul's Cathedral is scrawled 'What would Jesus do?'
What we know of Jesus is that he was a socialist and as such was no fan of the money men, even going so far as to chasing them out of a temple and judging by this picture, handing out a sound thrashing to one of them.
This makes it even more ironic that officials from St Paul's want to force protesters to remove their impromptu camp site as it is costing them around £20,000 a day in lost visitor revenues.
The Church of England website funding page tells us that the CoE raises just over £1000 million a year and has assets of £4.4 billion.
My guess would be that what Jesus would do would be to ask the Church what part of the rich man/camel/eye of the needle analogy it didn't understand and then probably punch the Archbishop of Canterbury in the face and tell him to stop being such a dick. Just a guess.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

More Nonsense From The Tories

In these difficult times, the Government has been looking at ways to free up business and boost economic growth so commissioned businessman Adrian Beecroft to look into ways to achieve this.
His report to the Government has been leaked and his big idea is that if it were easier for businesses to fire employees, they would be more willing to hire so all rights to claim unfair dismissal should be removed, citing current employment protection laws and the inability for business to just be able to sack their staff hampering their ability to recover from the worst economic downturn since the 1930s.
His other conclusions suggest scrapping parental leave, scaling back flexitime working and reducing maternity pay to lift the burden on business.
Earlier this year Mr Beecroft recommended a delay in pensions reform, told No 10 that the NHS cuts should go even further and slash research support for medical charities.
So who was is Adrian Beecroft who wants to be able to sack anyone he doesn't like and wants the NHS slashed to the bone?
It should not be a surprise that he is a multi-millionaire businessman who has donated almost a million pounds to the Conservative Party over the last few years which immediately raises the question of cash for Government influence but if we dig a bit deeper we find something more interesting than a major donor being placed into a influential position by the Government.
Adrian Beecroft interests include wonga.com, an online company offering payday loans at huge rates of interest. A recent probe by the consumer watchdog Which? condemned the 4,394 per cent annual interest rate it charged.
Obviously, a business that lends money to those finding themselves short would only benefit from a constant round of employee hiring and firing but the real controversy is with his call to cut back further on the NHS.
Although he is no longer employed by them, Mr Beecroft retains interest in a firm named Apax where he worked as the senior investments officer. The company owns or manages healthcare companies such as General Healthcare which stand to benefit from the increased use of the private sector inside the NHS.
The Government can justify any move, no matter how absurd, as necessary for the economic recovery but to get their friends who are blatantly only in position because they donated large amounts of money to the Government and are using their influential position to further their own business interests is yet another reminder of why the Conservative Party should be removed before they do real damage.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Why Nobody Believes John Terry

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has launched a defence of his centre back John Terry over his 'alleged' racist slur against QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.
Terry, the England captain, has denied racially abusing Ferdinand, explaining that what he actually said was 'Oi, Anton, do you think I called you a black ****?’
Ferdinand has yet to come out in support of that chain of events and is actually pushing for is club to make a formal complaint but Chelsea boss, Villas-Boas, has already come out saying Terry has his full backing and pondering that he finds it strange that 'people don't trust the words of a representative from your country.'
Ah, the old he-plays-for-England-so-he-must-be-okay defence.
So where to start with why nobody trusts the word of the English representative.
For the benefit of the new Chelsea manager, allow me to present the case why the country collectively rolled it's eyes when Terry declared his innocence.
In 2001, on the 9th September, in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on New York, John Terry was fined for mocking American tourists at Heathrow Airport and in 2002, he was arrested for attacking a doorman in a nightclub and again in 2007 for damaging the scooter of a photographer.
His last appearance in a policeman's notebook was when he was fined and gained an extra 3 points on his licence for speeding.
Being a drunken lout off the pitch is not evidence that John Terry, England's captain, is a lying, cheating piece of pond life but having an affair with your best friends wife goes a long way towards it. Throw in the quotes about 'I've never cheated on Toni and I never would' before the news broke fulfills the lying, cheating part.
As does his taking £10k a time backhanders from a renown ticket tout for unofficial tours of the Chelsea training ground but being a womanising, lying cheating scumbag off the field is one thing but his on-field behaviour is not much better.
In the Champions League Final in 2008, John Terry was filmed having a word in Carlos Tevez's ear before filling it with a mouthful of spit.
My evidence ends in 2006 with the allegation that Mr Terry told Ledley King to 'Shut up you lippy black monkey' before getting sent off.
So did Terry call Anton Ferdinand a ‘black ****,’ on Sunday? Don't know, the TV evidence sure looks like he did and that is why Mr Villas-Boas, nobody trusts the word of this representative of our country but feel free to continue backing him and picking him for Chelsea because apart from being a Grade A sleazeball, he is also over the hill and it's my teams turn to run him ragged this weekend.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Wall Street Occupiers Make Their Move

Anybody watching coverage of the demonstrations against the banks and financial institutions must have noticed the moustache and pointy bearded masks of the protesters, a stylised depiction of our very own Guy Fawkes.
The same masks were used by hacking groups a few years ago and have now been adopted by the occupy movement. The masks are from the 2006 film V for Vendetta where one is worn by the films hero, a revolutionary who uses Fawkes as a role model in his quest to end the rule of the British Government where he destroys the Houses of Parliament by blowing it up, something Fawkes had planned and failed to do in the 17th Century.
If you were looking for a revolutionary, Guy Fawkes would be one of the best you could pick and to be honest the mask is damn cool so i am glad that the younger generation have got their own identity and not gone for the obvious revolutionaries like Che Guevara.
Because of the link with Guy Fawkes, the Occupy Wall Streeters have designated 5 November as 'Bank Transfer Day', an idea that i mooted last week although they have opted to do it all in one go rather than what i would have thought would be a better approach of doing it bank by bank over time to bring about maximum panic within the banks.
The plan is for bank customers to transfer their money out of large banks, close their accounts and move to smaller banks and credit unions who are not-for-profit financial cooperatives.
The Occupy facebook page here declares: 'Together we can ensure that these banking institutions will always remember the 5th of November!! If the 99 percent removes our funds from the major banking institutions on or by this date, we will send a clear message and give the 1 percent a taste of the fear that we experience every day when we aren’t able to pay for our rent, food, medication, utilities, student loans, etc.'
The website here gives a step by step guide on how to go about things that day.
We know that this way of sticking it to the man works so hopefully, this particular group of Guy Fawkers will be more successful then the original one who ended up being quartered and his body parts sent to different parts of the kingdom. Ouch.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Gaddafi Killed & Western Appetite Restored

Since 2006, the West have wiped Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden and now Gaddafi from the face of the Earth. Some are regretting that the former Libyan leader was not taken alive and put on trial but the instigators of the conflict, Britain, France and America, are just relieved that the job has been done without turning into the debacle that is Iraq and Afghanistan.
All three leaders, Sarkozy, Obama and Cameron, were quickly on the television congratulating themselves on a job well done and the worry is that this success will lay to rest the ghost of Iraq and Afghanistan and fuel the perception that such Western intervention operations are the way forward.
The temptation will be for success in Libya to be cited as justification for military interventions elsewhere. In the orgy of back slapping that will surely ensue, the dubious interpretation of the UN resolution on the use of air strikes to protect civilians should not be forgotten and will hamstring any other attempt by anyone to make the same argument in support of a similar UN resolution in future.
For the past eight months since the conflict began, the Western trio of leaders have been at pains to stress the thousands killed by Gaddafi but there is no talk of the thousands, 15,000 at the last count, who have been killed by them during this latest military adventure.
The impression has been created that this was a 'clean' war with no French, British or American fatalities and that this was a revolution to overthrow a brutal dictator who had been oppressing his people for 42 years although for a lot of that time the very countries that would remove him, were arming and supporting him.
Leaving aside, or just not mentioning, the Libyan death toll, the idea has now been sparked that intervention in other people's revolutions or civil wars has a future, to help 'the people' overthrow dictatorial leaders wherever they be or rather in countries where the leadership is not sympathetic to Western interests.
With the fall of Gaddafi, the leadership in Tehran and Damascus will move strongly into the Western eye line and the niggling thought amidst all the celebration is that the West has got its appetite back for invading weaker, mineral rich countries under the guise of humanitarian intervention and introducing Democracy although the reasonable question to be asked is can there ever be Democracy in the Middle East and North Africa unless the West pick those countries leaders?

Monday, 17 October 2011

Replacing Obama: The Others

On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, America will elect it's 45th President and the smart money is on it being either Obama again or a Republican but America has some third party candidates and with the Republicans fielding a weak team (Rick Perry. Really?) and Obama more dope than hope, the others have a great chance of making a impact but just who are the other parties. Using our previous left wing criteria of Foreign Policy, the Environment and Israel, who is acceptable to the resurgent Left?

The Constitution Party was the largest party outside of the Reps and Dems and received 0.15% of the total popular vote in the 2008 election and their foreign policy of isolationism and not intervening in foreign countries affairs sounds acceptable but their refusal to accept man made climate change doesn't bode well for vote wielding lefties. 1 out of 3.

The Green Party took 0.12% of the vote last time out making them the 4th placed party but apart from a Green policy, what else do they offer? The Green Parties website states: 'Our government does not have the right to justify pre-emptive invasion of another country on the grounds that the other country harbors, trains, equips and funds a terrorist cell' which is a sound Foreign Policy but seems aimed at Afghanistan and America has invaded two other countries since then. It does, however, reject U.S. political support for Israel and demand that the U.S. government end its veto of Security Council resolutions pertaining to Israel. 2.5 out of 3

The Libertarian Party received 0.4% of the national vote in 2008 and the manifesto on their website includes a Foreign Policy of a non-interventionist position. Its Environmentally friendly, supporting a clean and healthy environment and sensible use of our natural resources and opposes American taxpayers' funding Israel, condemning its aggression and confiscatory policies. 3 out of 3

The Boston Tea Party received just 2,422 votes in 2008 and their website puts their only aim as reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose. They do have a great tagline of 'Time to party like its 1773' though. 0 out of 3 but kudos for the great slogan.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation should chime well with the Wall Street Occupiers and if the anger aimed at Capitalism remains high next November, they should improve on the 6808 votes they polled last time out. Being an anti-war party, it is no surprise that its Foreign policy includes the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, and an end to the war in Libya. It also wants all U.S. military bases in other countries to be shut down. Regarding the environment, it wants the implementation of environmental laws and to impose huge fines on those who defile the environment. It is also backing the immediate end to the occupation of Palestine. 3 out of 3.

The Socialist Party USA gained 6528 votes nationally and is anti-war and wants all U.S. military forces withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan. It would sign the Kyoto Protocol, limiting carbon emissions, and would accept a major role in worldwide efforts to control global warming. It's website states that: 'The United States bears direct responsibility for the Israeli aggression in the Occupied Territories. It was U.S. military and economic aid that made Israel into one of the most powerful military states in the world. The United States should terminate the five billion dollars a year it gives the Israeli government'. 3 out of 3

After a trip through the political field of American politics, the options so far of the lefts choice for the next Party to take the keys to the White House is out of The Libertarian Party, The Party for Socialism and Liberation or the Socialist Party USA. The Greens are in with a shout if they can nail down their foreign policy but we still have a year to go to narrow this field of 4 down to 1.

Out of the Republicans on offer, Ron Paul is the least worst although the CBS News Poll puts him way behind in 5th place for the Republican nomination.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Interesting Links

Although the resignation of Dr Liam Fox did not come as a surprise, you can't help wondering if further digging into his dealings would have thrown up some dirt on the bigger players in the British Government. The shadowy Atlantic Bridge Charity for example which Liam Fox chaired could have been a rich source of embarrassment, especially as it was swiftly wound up after the Charity Commission demanded that its "current activities must cease immediately" because "the activities of the charity have not furthered any of its other charitable purposes in any way".
A charity that was set up but was shut down 14 years later because it hadn't actually done any charity work?
Unfortunately the Atlantic Bridge website has been closed so we can't actually get to see what it was all about. At least we can't unless we have a trip through the websites archive.
The Our Aim page shows the Mission statement as: 'to preserve and promote the Special Relationship exemplified by the Reagan-Thatcher partnership of the 1980s. Its goal is to become the premier Anglo-American voice advocating free market principles to a broad range of common issues. To those ends, The Atlantic Bridge works to re-establish and foster a strong, well-positioned network of like-minded people in business, politics, academia, law and journalism on both sides of the Atlantic.'
So who was in this special club?
The UK Atlantic Bridge Board Members were headed by Honorary Patron Margaret Thatcher while ministers, George Osborne, Michael Gove, Chris Grayling and William Hague were all on its advisory council alongside Fox, its UK chairman .
In 2007, things get interesting. An apparently unconnected US-based lobby group known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) set up a sister charity in the US - also known as Atlantic Bridge.
"Washington, DC-The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is pleased to announce the launch of The Atlantic Bridge Project as the latest component of its International Relations Program. The project aims to foster positive relationships between conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic, so that they may further the ideals exemplified by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.'
ALEC is supported by the likes of Exxon Mobil, tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris, pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer and Koch Industries Ltd. All interesting bedfellows but especially the Koch Industries, whose founders, the oil barons Charles G Koch and David H Koch, have funnelled tens of millions to climate-denial front groups.
On the Atlantic Bridge Executive committee we have Scott Syfert, a lawyer with Moore & Van Allen, which represents military, chemical and energy interests. Also on the executive board is Frank Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association, which represents casino operators and Michael Hintze, who has donated more than £1m to the Tories and whose firm, CQS, deals with defence contracts.
Far from being a small, conservative talking shop, the Atlantic Bridge was a well connected networking club linking most of the UK cabinet to powerful business interests.
The man who bought down Fox, Adam Werrity, had links to a company called Pargav who financed his trips abroad. Pargav was partly funded by Tamares Real Estate, an investment company owned by Poju Zabludowicz, chairman of Bicom, the Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre, who are 'dedicated to creating a more supportive environment for Israel in Britain.'
Interesting connections indeed between our Government and those with very deep pockets and a vested interest in influencing UK policy.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Dr Fox Hunting

The British media has been through a torrid time recently but this week has shown what it is good at and why the powerful seek to limit it's powers.
Dr Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, has been forced from Government over revelations of his close friend gaining access to his Government department and accompanied him on foreign visits when he had no official role.
Waking up this morning with one less Tory right winger in a position of power should be regarded as a good day but nobody should be surprised that Fox is out of the cabinet, with his recent record he is lucky to still have a job at all.
Fox somehow survived the expenses scandal last year when he had to repay over £20,000 he had claimed in a dubious mortgage interest payments claim.
Immediately afterwards, he was caught up in another scandal for breaking parliamentary rules on two occasions by visiting Sri Lanka on a trip paid for by the Sri Lankan government without declaring it in the official register.
Now, at the third time of asking, he has fallen over taking his close friend into meetings with senior figures in the defence world, what he admitted was 'a mistake' but didn't stop him doing it anyway.
The British media is not perfect and the likes of Rupert Murdoch drag it through the gutter on occasions but it should be feeling quite proud of itself today.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Blueprint For The Wall Street Protesters

I expected the Wall Street protests to have fizzled out by now but they are still there making a noise and waving their banners but deep down inside they must know that nothing is going to change unless the few thousand turn into a few million and even then the Government and finance houses won't be overly concerned.
What will make them take notice is if the throng becomes organised because there is a way for them to change the system as we have seen recently.
Customers of the Dutch bank DSB forced it into bankruptcy by withdrawing £550m of their savings, Northern Rock in Britain was on the verge of collapse after customers withdrew their savings so how much more of a blueprint do the Wall Street protesters need?
Target one bank, and on mass, withdraw your savings. Panic ensues, share prices of that bank slump and you have landed one almighty black eye to the very people you are shouting and waving placards at.
After the first one, target another and the same tactic and that's another finance house with sharply reduced shares and directors facing a nervous board.
After the first few teeter on the brink, the rest will quickly take note and be desperate to avoid the same fate.
There are 320 million of you Americans, if even half of that many are angry at the banks living it up at your expense, that is the only way you have at giving them some of their own pain.
You can stand in Wall Street until this time next year and nothing will change, they can ignore you quite happily, but hit their profits by withdrawing your business, after all if they have less of your money to lend out, the less profit they will be able to make, and they will be forced to comply or face unprecedented upheaval.
As we have seen, it works and all it takes is one of the big name Wall Street supporters such as a Michael Moore to organise it, pick a bank, pick a day, and watch the banks scamper.
You are the 99%, you have all the power if you can focus it. The alternative is to stand around in the cold achieving very little.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Ig Nobel Award Time Again

I was going to write about the recent spate of Amish-on-Amish violence resulting in some shoddily cut fringes and beards but on looking at the pictures i discovered that shoddily cut fringes and beards was the standard look anyway. Those zipper shunning Amish do make me smile though, easily my favourite bunch of crackpots.
Leaving the Amish to their hair cutting outbreak, the winners of the 2011 Ig Nobel Prize, an award for useless discoveries, have been an announced and there has been a wide selection of bizarre recipients this year.
The prize for Chemistry was grabbed by the Japanese team who determined the exact amount of pungent horseradish needed to be pumped into a room of sleeping people to wake them while the Psychology winner is the University of Oslo for their steadfast work in why we sigh.
This years Physics winners are the group of European scientists who determined that discus throwers become dizzy because of the spinning they do which must have come as a shock to discus throwers everywhere.
The much sought after Physiology award went to the team who, after much patience, revealed that there is no evidence of yawning being contagious in the red-footed tortoise.
The Mathematics award was claimed by a whole group of people for predicting that the world would come to an end in 1954, 1982, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1997, 1999 and 2011 although to be fair the jury's still out on that last one.
The gold ribbon award is the Peace prize and this was claimed by the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars can be solved by running over them with a tank. Problem solved.

Friday, 7 October 2011

America Issuing More Threats Over Palestinian Bid

In 2009, President Barack Obama stood at the podium in Cairo and declared his support for a Palestinian state, explaining that: 'The Palestinian people have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations—large and small—that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. And America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.'
Fast forward two years and it was with some degree of awkwardness that Mr Obama last month directed his representatives to vote against a plan that would lead to Palestinians achieving the dignity, opportunity and a state of their own.
The US president must be acutely aware how hypocritical he must appear in voicing support for democratic transitions across the Middle East at the same time as scuppering Palestinian aspirations for recognition. Americas reputation in the Middle East is in tatters already so Mr Obama would hardly wants to be seen as being on the wrong side of the change sweeping through the volatile Arab world.
The threat of veto followed by news that Congress has blocking $200 million of aid to the Palestinians as punishment for their UN bid (admittedly Obama is attempting to get this rescinded) hardly shows America in a good light.
Now, after the Palestinians have asked to join UNESCO, the UN's cultural organization, the Obama administration is warning UNESCO to stay out of the question of Palestinian statehood or face the consequences, as America threatening to withhold tens of millions of dollars in U.S. funding if the organization agrees to admit Palestine as a member.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called UNESCO's deliberation on whether to admit Palestine 'inexplicable' at a time when the Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition and membership was being examined by the Security Council stating: 'I would urge the governing body of UNESCO to think again before proceeding with that vote.'
One good thing to come from the veto threat is that America is being asked to justify its failure to support a democratic state in the face of an illegally occupying military force and why it feels it has to issue bribes and threats to vote no and avoid the gathering of the nine votes for the resolution which would force Obama to have to cast the veto leaving the world in no doubt that despite it's fanciful talk about backing the Arab people against tyrants and repressive regimes, it is supporting the illegitimate military occupier and it will be yet another shameful day for America.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Thanks Billy

I have long argued that when it comes to economics and getting us out of recession, leaving it to the very people who got us into the mess is madness.
If i had a spot on a BBC political show i would make this very point and argue that if you are going to hand out £75 billion to anyone, it should be the people of the country and not the banks but as i still haven't been invited onto BBC Question Time, i rely on 80's musicians to do it on my behalf so a big thank you to Billy Bragg for making my point for me.
My notion has always been that if you handed out the money to British citizens, £75 billion is approximately £1250 each, then they would spend it in the local community which would boost the local economy, stop shops closing, create jobs and keep people in work.
Instead, the £75 billion goes to banks with the idea that they will then lend it to small businesses and dole it out in loans but what happens, as happened when we gave them £200 billion in 2009, is they who keep it on their balance sheets and use it to pay bonuses.
It doesn't trickle down and the only people better off are the bankers who get yet another massive cash injection, a bail out in any other language, and the little guy sees no benefit from the extra billions injected into the economy.
It really isn't hard to think that the world we live in and the economical system that dictates our daily lives seems to be rotten to the core and run by people who don't have a clue what they are doing.
After £200 billion of our money and crippling austerity measures that we are continually told over and over again are needed, the Bank of England is warning that we may still be heading towards the worst recession this country has ever seen.
To quote another singer 'Send in the clowns, don't bother, they're here'. Yep they are and they are running the country. Thanks for trying anyway Billy.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Don't Trust UK Or US Over Syria

In one of his more articulate moments, Gerorge W Bush said 'Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again' which is exactly what Russia and China have said to America and Britain with their veto of the UN security council resolution calling on increasing pressure on Syria.
British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, described the veto as 'mistaken' and the US ambassador, Susan Rice is said to be 'outraged' over the decision from Moscow and Beijing.
After the West demonstrated in Libya that they cannot be trusted because of the way they persuaded their fellow veto holders to back a resolution on a no-fly zone and promptly proceeded to abuse that resolution to justify their own agenda of regime change and act as the air force for one side in a civil war, why are they surprised they are no longer believed when it comes to humanitarian intervention?
This is what happens when previous trusts has been abused but what why did Russia and China get the West hot under the collar?
The US, Britain and France were pushing for a UN vote on a resolution threatening “targeted measures” if the Syrian regime does not halt its crackdown against civilians but Russia, China, India, South Africa and Brazil were opposed with the Russians stating they could not support the Vote unless a clause was inserted that there will be no military intervention of any kind by any external force and no opposition to the Syrian regime will be armed by external countries.
This was rejected by the US, UK & France and led to Hague and Rice's outrage.
So the usual suspects who made such a fine job in Libya recently (15,000 dead at the last count), refused to agree to no military action against Syria and raged at those opposing it from invading yet another Middle Eastern country out of love for freedom, justice, democracy and liberty.
Even Hillary Clinton has got in on the act, saying the UN had 'failed in its responsibility to maintain international peace and defend civilians'.
She even criticized Russia and China for failing to stand with Syria's protesters while they brave the streets to voice their opposition to Bashar Assad's regime and criticised countries still sending weapons to the Assad regime even as they are turned against innocent men, women and children.
Something America is dead against, unless the brutal thuggish regime is ruling over Bahrain who are on the brink of receiving $53 million's worth of weapons, mostly armoured Humm-Vees, perfect for use against those pesky demonstrators who annoyingly keep braving the streets to voice their opposition to the ruling regime.
Seems some Governments are to be overthrown when they brutally repress protesters and others are sold weapons to kill and wound even more.
The UK, US and France are not to be trusted when it comes to oil rich countries and UN Resolutions and even George W Bush almost knew that which is why he never bothered trying to get one in either of his wars.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Knox Not Guilty But Not Innocent Either

If Amanda Knox was innocent, she has been rightly released and gone home and we should hope that she can get on with her life. If she was guilty then she has got away with it, or got off lightly, with a 4 year sentence but the only people who really know the truth about what happened that night are sadly Meredith Kercher, Knox, Sollecito & the convicted murderer Rudy Guede.
There are certainly many questions to be answered but it seems to me that, guilty or innocent, Knox brought a lot of her nightmare down upon her own head.
It was odd behaviour for a young girl whose flatmate had been brutally murdered to be performing the splits and doing cartwheels while waiting to be questioned by the police. It was appalling how she incriminated her employer, who was only saved by the number of customers in his bar that evening that gave him a watertight alibi. A slanderous crime that she was convicted and served 3 years for. A crime that seems to have been overlooked in the rush to declare her innocence.
Her own changing alibi which first had her there in the kitchen, covering her ears from the screams of the tortured Kercher and then changing her mind and remembering that she was at her boyfriends that night watching a film. An alibi that Sollecito didn't support until later, he originally stated that he was home alone fixing his computer that evening.
From from being found innocent, Knox was released because the case against her killing Kercher was unproven, which is fair and should be the cornerstone of all criminal trials the world over, but guilt not proven is not the same as being found innocent of the charges.
What was proven, was the fact that she tried to frame an innocent person, for a very serious crime, which shouldn't be forgotten when she does the talk show roundabout and earns millions for her book rights.
When a person is not proved guilty of murder, as Knox wasn't, freedom must be the only just outcome but the smiling Knox receiving a hero's welcome back home in America does not sit right with me.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Don't Always Believe The Textbooks Kids

If, on a pub quiz night, you were asked who invented the radio, the telephone and the light bulb, you would answer Bell, Marconi and Edison and receive a big red tick for each but really you are just a victim of mass deception.

Take the radio and Guglielmo Marconi. In 1897, Nikola Tesla filed a patent application for wireless telegraphy. Marconi filed for a patent for the same thing in 1900 and was turned down because it was too similar to Tesla's patent. Marconi tried unsuccessfully for the next three years to have his patent accepted and was rejected each time for the same reason.
The Patent Office made the following comment in 1903: 'Many of the claims are not patentable over Tesla patent numbers 645,576 and 649,621, of record, the amendment to overcome said references as well as Marconi's pretended ignorance of the nature of a "Tesla oscillator" being little short of absurd... the term "Tesla oscillator" has become a household word on both continents [Europe and North America].
Tesla was unconcerned about Marconi's chances of getting the jump on him in the radio stakes despite the Italian continued work in wireless technology, stating 'Let him continue. He is using seventeen of my patents."
In 1904, the U.S. Patent Office suddenly reversed its previous decisions and gave Marconi a patent for the invention of radio. Tesla was furious and sued the Marconi Company for infringement but was in no financial condition to litigate a case against a major corporation. In an ironic twist, in 1943, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Tesla's radio patent number 645,576 restoring the priority of Tesla's patent over Marconi but by then the name of Marconi was intransigently linked with the invention of the radio and the real inventor forgotten.

Graham Alexander Bell, the man behind the telephone. Or was he?
In 1860, an Italian named Antonio Meucci first demonstrated his working telephone and filed a temporary patent on his invention. In 1874, Meucci failed to send in the $10 necessary to renew his patent and two years later, Bell registered his telephone patent. Meucci attempted to sue Bell for stealing his idea by retrieving the original sketches and plans he sent to a lab at Western Union, but these records, quite amazingly, disappeared. Where was Bell working at this time? Why, the very same Western Union lab where Meucci had sent his original sketches.
The continuing case of Meucci versus Bell only ended when Meuicci died but in 2002, the U.S. House of Representatives said 'recognition of Meucci for his contributions to the invention of the telephone reported: 'the resolution said his "teletrofono", demonstrated in New York in 1860, made him the inventor of the telephone in the place of Bell, who had access to Meucci's materials and who took out a patent 16 years later'.


The story is well known of how of Thomas Edison offered his assistant $50,000 if he could he improve his faulty DC electricity system.
After months of slaving over Edison's electronics, the assistant came up with the far superior AC electricity system and got shafted by Edison when asked to pay up by claiming it was just a joke and he wasn't actually going to pay him. The assistant was Nikola Tesla, soon to be on the not inventing the radio non-fame, but who else did Edison dump on?
Step forward Joseph Wilson Swan who invented the incandescent light bulb and received the first patent in 1878. In 1880 America, Edison had been working on copies of the original light bulb patented by Swan, and obtained patents in America for a direct copy of the Swan light, and started an advertising campaign which claimed that he was the real inventor. Swan, without the finances to sue Edison, agreed that Edison could sell the lights in America while he retained the rights in Britain and established the Swan Electric Lamp Company.
Edison's company went into business with Swan forming the Ediswan United Company and effectively buying Swan's patent.
Soon enough, Edison bought out Swan completely leaving all records of the light bulb under the care of the Edison Company and leaving every school textbook incorrectly stating that Edison was the father of the light bulb.

Don't believe all you read in the textbooks kids!