Sunday, 28 April 2019

Childbirth: UK v US

Not being much of a Royal fan, the imminent birth of the Duchess of Sussex's first child is not very far up my agenda but there was an interesting, and eye opening, conversation on the radio today about the differences between pregnancy and childbirth in the UK and in the USA.
Firstly, Meghan's friends in New York threw her a huge, £150,000 baby shower but they are still relatively rare in the UK, not even so much as a KFC Bargain Bucket between friends to congratulate the new soon-to-be Mum and the popular gender-reveal parties are rarer still over here, one of those things we have heard about but nobody has ever been to one.
The next difference is at the actual delivery with UK Mums almost exclusively being dealt with by Midwives while in the States it is almost always a doctor who attends to the business of the delivery.
The next difference is after the little bundle of joy is bought home where and the issue of maternity leave with the US being the only country in the developed world not to offer nationwide paid maternity leave entitlement, instead US mothers are entitled to 12 weeks unpaid leave whereas in the UK, women are entitled to 39 weeks paid statutory maternity leave, and fathers two weeks.
When it comes to feeding, breast is certainly best in US where 50% exclusively breastfeed their babies after birth, a figure which is at 25% in the UK but there is one huge, breath-taking difference to giving birth in the UK and in the US, the cost.
The vast majority of UK women opt for free care under the tax payer-funded NHS so all the above costs nothing, the premis being that the mother would have paid for the cost by the tax they have paid, and will pay, into the system.
In America, the bill is between £2,501 and £28,254 for an uncomplicated, natural birth, the cost rising to between £6,315 to £53,817 for a Cesarean section according to the BMJ
Americans are far more likely to rely on private insurance to fund their health care. However, many millions don't have health insurance, according to the US Census Bureau and for those who have, insurance companies shell out for only a third of the charges so they still have a massive bill to take home along with their baby.
I would guess the thought of the rapidly dwindling bank balance before you even leave the hospital is an effective contraceptive to many American families and just makes you appreciate and want to fight the Conservatives creeping privatisation of the National Health Service even more.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Paying The Man What You Owe America

The US National debt website shows the countries national debt stands at an eye watering $22 trillion but the US Fed have said that the true figure, once corporate borrowings, consumer loans along with debts being added by state and local government is included, is $72 trillion.
The Fed said that over the past 40 years, the US Treasury has been borrowing at a rocketing rate with the state debt soaring from less than $5 trillion during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, to $54 trillion when George W. Bush left office and Obama and Donald Trump adding another $18 trillion to reach the figure of today.
Using a calculator and my Grade D maths qualification, with a current US population of 328,675,066 according to the World Population Review, every American owes $220,000 each to Uncle Sam.
Better get that overtime bid in sharpish Mr and Mrs America.

Shooting The Messenger

Theresa May's Government is the leakiest of any Government in recent times, mainly as she has so many enemies surrounding her desperate to undermine her at every turn that they look to make her look weak at every opportunity.
It is with this in mind that the briefing at the top secret National Security meeting regarding the security implication of the Chinese firm, Huawei, running our 5G network, was leaked to the Times newpaper.
MI5, MI6 have gone apoplectic at the leak which could only have some from inside the Governments higher echelons who in turn have blasted the newspaper for printing the leak they received.
A classic case of shooting the messenger and an attempt to deflect that someone close to Theresa May, a signatory of the The Official Secrets Act, leaked notes from a meeting which was highly sensitive and highly confidential.
The larger implications are that members of the council have now warned that they will not freely share information if they fear it will leak out which is will hinder the government in their job.
No journalist worthy of the name would turn down such information if handed to them on a plate and the case could easily be made for the public interest that they know the implications of Huawei running crucial UK infrastructure.
To try and direct outrage about this leak at the press is to miss the point when the rage should be aimed at Ministers leaking top-secret meetings on national security as a way to harm the Prime Minister.

Anti-Vaxxers Health Time Bomb

There were stories a few months ago of vaccination workers in Pakistan and Nigeria who were trying to save children from polio, being attacked amid rumours, fuelled by Islamist militants, that the vaccine was actually a western plot to sterilise Muslim children.
Where the Islamic Militants are condemning their own to suffer easily treatable infectious diseases through ignorance and misadvice, the West have their own version in the Anti-vaxxers movement.
Measles cases have hit a high in US, Italy and Australia amid the movement which advises resistance to the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) jab basing their claims on Andrew Wakefield’s discredited study linking autism to the triple injection published in 2000.
Countless studies have shown the link is a fiction, but Wakefield’s theory continues to exert an unhealthy influence despite not one single medical study since ever being able to replicate any of the claims Wakefied makes about the link.
In the UK, the NHS has urged Brits to take the medical advice that the jab is essential and warned of our own public health time bomb, with half a million British children missing their MMR dose, resulting in Measles cases quadrupling in a year.
As Measles is highly contagious and can spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes and in severe cases leads to pneumonia, deafness and brain damage, there are now plans to ban unvaccinated children from attending schools and nurseries, a plan which is supported, somewhat ironically, by the parents of unimmunised children.
In the US, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that the return of Measles may be an early warning sign of resurgences in other vaccine-preventable diseases such as rubella, chickenpox and bacterial meningitis due to parents who seemingly have little sense of the risks they are running with their own, their children's and other people’s lives.
The conspiracy theorists on the Internet are being blamed and it is true that it is awash with some incredible nonsense but some theorists, such as those arguing that the Earth is flat or for creationism are daft but mostly harmless, but not so climate change deniers and anti-vaxxers.
The overwhelming scientific evidence is that the vaccination is a massive plus for health and is safe so why would anyone take the advice of a Youtuber or someone on Facebook with little or no medical credentials basing their beliefs on a single medical report that been debunked multiple times over regarding the safety, and in some unfortunate cases, the survival, of their children?

Friday, 26 April 2019

Spider-Man 2 Game Pizza Theme

I overheard a student talking about how he had found the Spider-Man 2 Game Pizza Theme on his little brother's toy guitar and then played it a recording he had made of it on his phone and his friends all agreed that it was the tune from Spider-man game and how weird that it was on an infants toy.
I guess it is no surprise that a bunch of 18 year olds didn't know the Funiculi Funicula was one of the most famous tunes around and if they are introduced to it through a Spider-Man game then better than not knowing it at all.
I always found Funiculi Funicula a brilliant tune but as it is sung Italian i didn't find out until years later it's a song written to commemorate the opening of the first funicular cable car although there is an English version called 'A Merry Life' which is about the world being made for fun and frolic and not being melancholic.
I do put it in my book of 'Songs that is just waiting to be sung properly' which will turn it into a classic along with 'The Impossible Dream' and Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah', two other songs just waiting to be picked up and done justice.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Get The Big Baby Blimp Ready, Trump's Coming

Blimey, that didn't take long. Within hours of being told Donald Trump was visiting Britain on 3 June for an official visit, a petition was going around the House of Commons to ban him and MP's were lining up in front of TV camera's to tell him to bugger off before he even gets here.
Labour said it 'beggars belief that the government is offering the red-carpet treatment to Trump given his attacks on British and American values' while backbenchers have began gathering signatures for a petition to force the cancellation of the trip.
This time, Trump is likely to dine with the Queen, attend discussions with Theresa May in Downing Street and join an event in Portsmouth to mark the D-day landings.
Plans for demonstrations are being made with groups preparing for a huge mobilisation and Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, issued a strongly worded statement against the visit noting that it came on the same day that 'Donald Trump is threatening to veto a UN resolution against the use of rape as a weapon of war'.
The Scottish government said it wants no part of the visit as it would mean compromising their 'fundamental values of equality, diversity and human rights'.
A group of Labour MPs began organising an early day motion calling on May to ask Buckingham Palace to rescind the invitation, saying the invitation was 'bonkers' and called Trump a 'racist, sexist, extremist' while MP David Lammy went with Trump being a 'deluded, dishonest, xenophobic, narcissistic not worthy of the UK’s highest honours' and 'Theresa May is selling out the UK to a serial liar and a cheat'.
John Bercow, the Speaker, has said that he would not want to allow Trump to address both houses of parliament while Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the Liberal Democrat leader of Portsmouth city council said that he was disappointed that Trump was coming to Portsmouth.
Someone may need to give the Big Baby Blimp a dusting down, it may be needed in June.

Renting Celebrities

How much does it cost to get a celebrity to turn up to your Birthday Party? Well if it is Brian Blessed it would set you back £10,000 you could get a sprinkle of celebrity dust on your Birthday Cake by hiring Jimmy Cricket for £3,000 instead. 
And what if you want a former Olympian to open your new office toilet? Eddie The Eagle Edwards Duncan will do it for £3,000 Duncan Goodhew and Sharon Davies will declare the bog open for £5,000 or you can have Daley Thompson for £15,000 while £20,000 will get you either Bradley Wiggins, Chris Hoy or Michael Johnson.
The Gordon Poole Agency lets you 'rent' celebrities for private events and prices run from £3,000 up to £20,000 plus and includes politicians in the £5,000 range (Anne Widdicombe, Christine Hamilton, David Mellor, George Galloway), £10k (John Prescott, Michael Portillo, Alistair Campbell) or you can spend £15k on Eammon Holmes or blow £20k on James May who would probably have a look at that squeaky clutch pedal as he is there.
Footballer available are Neil 'Razor' Ruddock and Paul Merson (£5k), Kevin Keegan, Stuart Pearce (£10k), David Seaman, Glenn Hoddle (£15k), Ruud Guillet (£20K) or Ryan Giggs (20k plus) while you can discuss googlies and whipping off bails with Phil Tuffnell for just £10k.
There really is a celebrity available for every occasions and every pockets ranging from chefs including Anthony Worral Thompson (£5k) and Paul Hollywood (£20k) or snooker players like Jimmy White and Steve 'Interesting' Davies (£5k) or a game of tennis in the local park with Boris Becker (£20K).
The top celebrities, costing £20k plus are Al Murray, Bear Grylls, Dara O Briain, Emma Willis, Frank Skinner, Graham Norton, Greg Davies, Jack Dee, Jeremy Paxman, Jimmy Carr, Joana Lumley, Lenny Henry, Michael McIntyre, Nigella Lawson, Rob Brydon, Russell Howard and Vic Reeves.
If i start saving now maybe i can get the £3,000 to get Paul Sinha onto our next Pub Quiz Team.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Disgrace Behind Governments Fitness For Work Assessments

Since the Conservative Party bought in their welfare reform in 2013, campaigners, MPs and charities have repeatedly warned that disabled people are dying as a result of the way the Government now assess disabled people's fitness to work. 
Occasionally we hear stories of Government incompetence and cold-heartedness such as the person with Down’s syndrome being asked when 'they had caught it' and the young woman who was told that her mental health problems couldn't be that bad because she hadn't killed herself yet.
The United Nations has even dubbed the UK’s treatment of disabled people 'a human catastrophe' and while over 70% of disability benefit rejections are overturned at tribunal, that process can take up to a year which brings us to Stephen Smith.
The name may not be instantly recognisable but his photo is hard to forget, 64-year old Smith, who had just had his disability benefits stopped, sitting in a hospital gown, his bones protruding from his withered six stone frame, wracked with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, osteoarthritis and an enlarged prostate that left him barely able to walk but had just been found 'fit for work' and told to look for a job.
It took a year for Smith’s case to be heard at Tribunal and the decision to be overturned and his benefits to be reinstated after the tribunal judge saw he could barely walk down the street to the court let alone hold down a job and the DWP issued a statement that said: 'We are sorry for the experience Mr Smith has had and we are committed to ensuring that people with health conditions get the support they're entitled to'.
Stephen Smith died last week and it is shameful that he spent the last months of his life fighting to regain the benefits he needed to live on, and that he was put under incredible strain while severely ill by this incompetent and inhumane government.
Some people put it down to the ongoing austerity measures, this being the eleventh year of such drastic cuts, but the Government have been targeting the poorest and sickest in society for all of those years.
The Conservative's are truly the nasty party and the 'fit for work' assessments are a national disgrace but no Government Minister will be held responsible or be held to account for what is an ideological disgrace.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

The Tricky Extinction Rebellion Second Protest

From an idea debated around a kitchen table to bringing Central London to a standstill for a week in a few short months is impressive by any measure but that is exactly what the climate change protest group 'Extinction Rebellion' have achieved.
Making the decision for more to be done by the British Government to tackle Climate Change after marches, demonstrations and petition singing was getting them nowhere, ER took a leaf from the styles of Gandhi and Martin Luther King and used the tactics of 'mass non-violent civil disobedience' by sitting in streets, chaining themselves to street furniture and gluing themselves to public transport.
As the ER group are made up of men, women and children, the authorities that to go in mob handed and cracking heads as they usually do would look terrible on a group of the elderly or mothers carrying children, so they have been gently carrying away the non-resisting protesters for arrest, 936 at the last count.
The protest has been a huge success and grabbed the media, public and Governments attention and most importantly put Climate Change on the agenda but ER should not carry it on too long because they may have the public support but that can be a fickle thing.
The hundreds of thousands estimated to have been affected by the disruption could soon turn against them if they are unable to get to work or school or hospital for a second week so ER need to quit while they are ahead.
The problem they now face is that after such a huge first success, how will they follow it up because they won't be able to jam up London again.
Short of a major climate catastrophe to drive home the point they have been making about the consequences of our actions, ER need to go back to the kitchen table and come up with another way of keeping the non-violent civil disobedience but find another way to push home their valuable agenda.

Les Miserables Staying Miserable

This weekend saw the 23rd consecutive week of the yellow vests protests in Paris, demonstrating against the social inequality in France.
Five days after the fire that partially destroyed the Notre-Dame Cathedral, protesters point to the £770m in donations that have poured in from some of the country's wealthiest while many in France struggle to make ends meet while appearing less willing to donate such sums to the poor.
A spokesperson for the yellow vest movement, Ingrid Levavasseur, expressed her frustration at the astronomical sums donated in five days to the already immensely rich Catholic Church while their protest has received nothing but arrests and tear gas for fighting for the poorest in society over the past five months.
One clever placards carried during Saturday's protest summed things up with: 'Victor Hugo thanks all the generous donors for the Notre-Dame, and proposes that you do the same for Les Miserables'.
When a burnt out Church receives hundreds of millions in less than a week while the poorest are resorting to protesting in the street for months and receive nothing, something has gone horribly wrong with society.

Some Moments That Shaped Our World Today

The British Council have a document that sets out the 80 moments that shaped our world and generally i would go along with most of them, their top moments of the creation of the  World Wide Web and penicillin have had a profound effect on how we live today but i can't help feel that they have missed a few breakthrough moments which have led us to where we are today.
I would turn towards other events, in chronological order, that have had seismic effects which have led us to where we are today.

With 84% of the world population having faith in one Religion or another, it has shaped nations over thousands of years while being responsible for more deaths than any other cause in that time. It still dominates some laws and has been used, and is still used, by the different faiths to oppress, invade and murder 'others' to this day.   

The Printing Press bought books and newspapers to the people, leading them to educate and learn to read for themselves.

It is hard to consider a book that had wider implications than Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto. The 20th Century saw Communism and it's smaller brother Socialism sweep around half the World and then retract back again. It led to the Cold War and competition between two competing ideologies which saw two other massive leaps for mankind, one great and one not so much.

Television not only changed home entertainment but the ways family interact and made the World smaller, showing viewers at home parts of the World they had only heard about. It also had the effect of showing the sometimes catastrophic things going on around the earth, both natural and man-made, making a bigger impact than reading about it in the press.

WW1 and WW2 which broke up the order of nations, led to the death of tens of millions and the Holocaust which in turn led to the birth of Israel and the consequences of that decision on the Middle East today and the rest of the World.

The invention of the atomic bomb and the explosion of atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which saw the devastating potential of these new weapons and led to the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) which kept in check the Cold War and dominated the World for half a century.

The invention of the female contraceptive pill in the mid 50's which enabled women and men to control their reproductive health and put contraception in the hands of the woman and changing the dynamic of the family.

The second offspring from the competing ideology is the Space Race which saw man take huge strides and led to the satellite technology we make such use of today for our entertainment, communications, mobile phones and navigation as well as dragging us towards expanding out into Space and other Worlds as well as learning the origins of our own Planet.

The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 on the World Trade Centre set off a chain of events which led to the emergence of terrorism as a major international phenomenon and awful wars and conflicts which has killed hundreds of thousands and reverberated around the world and still continues today.

Once the global awareness of the importance of the environmental damage we were causing was met with a shrug but now 'green' initiatives abound with the rise of renewable resources and a new World urgency that we have to do something as sea levels rise and the madness of the destruction of our planet becomes obvious.

Friday, 19 April 2019

The Point Of Decaf Coffee

I was drinking far too much coffee long before it became fashionable and your choices were either black or white or filter or granules (always filter) but now it seems everyone is drinking it and they have a choice from everything from Latte to Espresso.
The Johnny come lately of coffee is the decaf which misses the point for me as coffee is meant to quicken your heartbeat and keep you awake but decaf is now growing in popularity because of those same reasons.
People are giving up all the jittery fun of real coffee because it is keeping everyone awake so they are turning to decaffeinated coffee which has all the taste of coffee, without the point of coffee.
Lisa Lawson, the founder of Dear Green Coffee in Glasgow, told the Times Newspaper that her decaf sales had tripled since 2017 and the researcher Kantar Worldpanel backs her up with sales of instant decaf are up 20% compared with two years ago. Luigi at my local coffee house also nodded his agreement when i asked before trying to tempt me with a decaf Latte which i pretended not to hear.
I get that if we all sat around drinking obscenely strong coffee all day, we would be twitchy messes on the verge of a cardiac arrest so maybe it is good that we can now factor in highs and lows when calculating our daily coffee intake, just as soon as i finish that tin of full strength Colombian Supreme i have in the cupboard and the one that has passed through the digestive tract of a civet which nobody seems to want.
The ambulance is on standby.

Social Media Banning Right Wingers

While it can be said that not all right wingers are racist, xenophobic, sexist, greedy, homophobic fascists, all the  racist, xenophobic, sexist, greedy, homophobic fascists are on the right wing which is why many social media platforms are now banning far-right organisations and individuals.
The ban, which came into effect at midday on Thursday, is aimed at groups and individuals who posts content that: 'Spread hate, or attack or call for the exclusion of others on the basis of who they are who proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence'.
As that would seem to be the the majority of right-wing blogs then we can expect to see a massive hole left in the internet which will leave more room for left wing blogs to flourish and put forward their ideology of equality, socialism and general looking after each other and the planet.
The move is long overdue but shamefully it took mass murders by right wing zealots before the digital world caught up with what we knew all along, extreme right wing views are toxic and lead to violence.
Concerns were raised in 2016 about the scale of the far right’s activities on social media but Facebook handed out a bland excuse that their platform was 'used by parties and supporters of many political persuasions to campaign for issues they feel passionately about' which is their way of saying they didn't plan to do anything about it.
Unfortunately it took a host of right wing murders and one deluded right wing nut to kill 50 people in New Zealand before it took it seriously but better late than never and a few right wing bloggers hopefully can now expect to find that they can't sign in to their accounts anymore.

I Wish It Could Be Easter Everyday

The Christian's would have us believe that the story of Easter is of how Jesus died for our sins, but how on the third day, he rose again. The significance of this is that it symbolises how death is not the end, and that through Jesus and our faith in God, we too can achieve life after death, but mostly it's about chocolate and bunny rabbits.
Originally it was yet another pagan festival the Christians desperately shoehorned their made up cloud man into but they kept the rabbits and eggs which were connected to Ēostre, a pagan goddess who was celebrated before being bumped aside for Jesus and his wooden cross.
While grafting their own story to replace Ēostre, the Christians kept the symbol of the egg, which they say suggests rebirth and not a food which was mostly used to celebrate Ēostre's feast celebrations although i did tell my children that we have chocolate eggs at Easter because Jesus ate Creme Eggs at the Last Supper.
Christians everywhere will be spending Sunday 21 April stuffing their own weight in chocolate into their faces and not thinking of how the main character in their story is just another cheap knock off of another earlier Deity because God and Jesus is the one true faith if you ignore all the other ones they nicked them and their stories from.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

UK Porn Ban July 15

Brits may find the internet a bit slower than usual of 14th July as the online pornography ban comes into effect on 15th July much to the chagrin of teenage boys everywhere.
The UK’s age verification system for online pornography will become mandatory on 15 July meaning the age block will require pornography sites to show that they are taking sufficient steps to verify their users are over 18, such as the user uploading a passport or driving licence or by visiting a newsagent to buy an AgeID porn pass for £4.99.
AgeID has said it believes there is a market of up to 25 millions Britons for its age verification system, suggesting it believes around half of British adults will want to access online pornography.
However, just a third of Britons believe it will be effective in stopping children accessing such material, given individuals who wish to circumvent the age check will be able to do so easily using virtual private network (VPN) services, which make a computer appear as though it is located in another country with free to use on the internet.
Along with the age verification system, the the Obscene Publications Act has been updated which now allow the viewing of any pornography that depicts 'consensual and legal activity between adults, where no serious harm is caused'.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Paying For Notre-Dame Repairs

The historic Notre-Dame cathedral is an impressive sight or rather it was before yesterdays fire but the Catholic Church is vowing to rebuild it.
I have seen it a couple of times, caught a pickpocket dipping his hand in my bag the second time as we queued, but it is a magnificent building, inside and out. 
After the smoke and flames had subsided it was good to see the two huge front stone towers still standing apparently unharmed and the skeleton of the building remains which gives the restorers a chance of rebuilding.
The cost of rebuilding the Cathedral is expected to cost near two billion Euros and an International appeal has already been set up with donations so far topping €600m.
The Catholic Church has an estimated wealth of over 15 billion Euros so as magnificent and uplifting as the Notre-Dame Cathedral is, with respect, they can afford to pay for their own bloody cathedral.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Putting Right Mistranslations In The Bible

My biblical hugging friend has taken me to task over my misrepresentation of the Bible and my description as it being violent because man has mistranslated some of the Hebrew and Aramaic language that it was written in. I am therefore happy to put right the correct translation as God really intended.

Exodus 31:15 'For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death bed early for being naughty.'

Leviticus 20:9 'Whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death paid a decent rate of overtime'.

Deuteronomy 22:20 'If on her engagement, evidence of a young woman’s virginity is not found, then the men of her town shall stone her to death give her a talk on having safe sex practises'.

Deuteronomy 21:18 'If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son then all the men of the town shall stone him to death ground him and not let him out to play'.

Deuteronomy 17:2-5 'If those among you hath gone and worshipped other gods, they shalt stone them with stones, till they die leave them to practise their faith in any way they want'.

Exodus 22: 18 'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live own a cauldron and broomstick'.

Deuteronomy 22:23-25 'Girls who are Raped within the City Limits, you shall stone them to death find the rapist and put them in prison'.

Leviticus 24:16 'He that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death loudly tutted at'.

Deuteronomy 12:6 'If anyone entices you 'Let us go worship other gods' . . . you shall surely kill them politely decline the offer'.

Leviticus 20:13 'If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, they shall surely be put to death left to love whoever they wish'.

Leviticus 20: 10-12 'The man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death granted a divorce'.

Leviticus 20:15 'If a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death refused further employment as a shepherd'.

It seems that the Bible isn't all about killing people for their sins after all, it was all a mistake in the translation.

The Future's Socialist Red

It is said that as you age your views become more right wing which is something the Conservative Party relied upon but their own research has discovered that the 'tipping point', or the age at which people are more likely to vote Conservative, has increased to 51.
Just 16% of under 35s said they would currently vote for the Tories while just 17% of Tory voters are under the age of 45 and only 4% are under 25.
When the age that the switch happened was lower, the Tories would dismiss the statistics as younger people might lean left rather than right, but since so many of them couldn’t be bothered to actually turn up at polling stations on the day, it didn't really matter but the 2017 election showing that two-thirds of British voters aged 18-25 voted Labour, they have got worried.
While there is some evidence that a number of people become slightly more conservative as they get older, in general most people carry their early political preferences with them as they age and among those aged between 45 to 54, Labour and Conservatives were level pegging but amongst the upcoming generations of 25-44-year-olds, the left wing Labour vote was double that of the Conservatives.
Even allowing for small defection from Labour to the dark side, the future is looking rosy for the left wing in the UK but the problem is what state the nation will be in once they get their hands on it after the Conservative wrecking ball has finished.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

The Assange Rape Claim

British politicians are pressuring the Foreign Secretary, Sajid Javid, to prioritise sending Julian Assange to Sweden, amid concerns that US charges will overshadow the allegations of rape.
The Assange rape and sexual assault is an interesting case which centres around the use, or not, of condoms.
Before he disappeared into the Ecuadorean Embassy, the story proceeded that in 2010 two Swedish women made a statement to Police that they had been sexually assaulted by the Wikileaks creator.
The case was first dismissed by Stockholm's chief prosecutor who said that there was no reason to suspect that Assange had committed rape and the warrant withdrawn but then the Director of public prosecution, a more senior position in the Swedish legal system, then reopened the case citing new information.
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 Swedish court case will concentrate.
The first woman told police that the condom had ripped but he continued to have sex with her so while she had consented to have sex with a condom, she had not consented to sex without one.
The second woman said he did not wear a condom during oral sex in the cinema so the unprotected sex act had been without her consent.
They were reportedly advised by the police officer that these allegations amounted to rape against the first woman and sexual molestation against the second.
The issue for many is that once the British pack him off to Sweden, America will be his next port of call where at the time of his legging it to the Embassy, politicians including one time Presidential candidate Mick Huckabee said 'anything less than execution is too kind a penalty' and one time Vice President Sarah Palin called for him to be treated as if he was 'an Al Quaeda or Taliban leader'.
We have seen with Chelsea Manning what America does with it's whislteblowers so a fair trial in America for Assange is unlikely so Sweden is likely to only be a stepping stone on his way to a solitary confinement cell in the land of the free which is not so free if you show the World what brutality they are up to.

Feeling The Pain Of Game Of Thrones Fans

I did try to get into Game of Thrones when it started because it has all the aspects that i look for in a TV series but for some reason it just never clicked with me.
I did try again a few series later because it was all everyone seemed to be talking about but once again i just never connected with it so gave up so the final series doesn't matter much to me but i do sympathise with those who are mourning that after the final episode they will be Games of Thronesless as there have been several TV series that i have been genuinely gutted when they
have ended. 
The one i feel keenest was Buffy The Vampire Slayer, i would make sure that my Tuesday nights were clear to watch the Scooby Gang and was beyond disappointed when it was announced that they would no more be picking up their stakes and freeing Sunnydale from hordes of vampires, demons and other things from various hell dimensions.
Over the years i have felt a pang of disappointment when Angel, Red Dwarf, Frasier, Blackadder, Quantum Leap, 'Allo 'Allo, Father Ted and Due South came to an end but they live on in Box Sets under my Television.
I'm sure that after Game of Thrones has gone to that big TV screen in the sky there will be talk of a film or a reboot but it won't be the same because it will be different actors or even worse it will be the same actors but they will be older and not so young and pretty 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 remembered him.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Jesus Not Saving Homophobes Vunipola Or Folau

England rugby player Billy Vunipola was born in 1992 which is 400 years after his views on homosexuality after he defended a social media post by Australian homophobic Israel Folau in which he said 'hell awaits' gay people.
Folau posted a picture on social media on Wednesday which included the words: 'Warning. Drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, idolators. Hell awaits you. Repent! Only Jesus saves' which saw him being called into the Rugby Australia and New South Wales Rugby Union on Friday to be sacked.
England player Vunipola then threw his large frame into the ring to explain that: 'how we live our lives needs to be closer to how God intended them to be and man was made for woman to procreate that was the goal no?'
Well, no actually but i am interested in how we need to live our lives closer to what God intended because the Bible is full of stoning people to death, oppressing women, supporting slavery and horrible violence including God throwing a hissy fit and killing every human on the planet except one lucky family.
We may also have a problem living how God intended because in my area there is a lack of unicorns, dragons and horses with the heads of lions, creatures that are half-rooster and half-snake and i haven't seen a fire breathing sea creature with multiple heads around here for ages.
Sorry but i guess we will just have to continue living in the 21st Century where we see everyone as an equal and not want to hark back 2000 years to a time where coveting your neighbours ass was the sign of a good Saturday night.

Wikileaks? What Wikileaks Is That?

During the 2016 election campaign, Trump had a lot to say about WikiLeaks. Lots and lots to say.
For example, at a campaign rally in October 2016, he said:

Oct 2016: I love WikiLeaks.

Oct 2016: WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.

Nov 2016: I hope people are looking at the disgraceful behavior of Hillary Clinton as exposed by WikiLeaks.

Oct 2016: This WikiLeaks stuff is unbelievable.

Oct 2016: It's been amazing what's coming out on WikiLeaks.

Oct 2016: WikiLeaks proves even the Clinton campaign knew Crooked mishandled classified info, but no one gets charged? RIGGED!

Oct 2016: WikiLeaks catches Crooked in the act – again.

Following the news of Julian Assange’s arrest Trump mysteriously seemed to have forgotten ever mentioning WikiLeaks in the past.

Apr 2019: I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It’s not my thing.

OK Donald. Next you'll be telling us your tan is real and you are a faithful husband.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Killing In The Name Of Pro-Life

The death penalty has always appeared a bit of a oxymoron with the state killing a person for killing another person and a bill currently making it's way through the Texas justice system is legislation that would not only criminalise abortion, but make it a capital crime.
The 'Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act' would classify abortion as murder and allow both abortion providers and women receiving abortions to be charged with murder, with no exception for cases of rape or incest, and would treat abortion in all stages of pregnancy with equal severity, conferring upon an embryo from 'the moment of fertilisation the same rights, powers and privileges as are secured or granted by the laws of this state to any other human child'.
It isn't easy to reconcile that some people are so pro-life they want to kill women for having abortions and to do to her the same thing that they are alleging she is doing to a child but in the age of Donald Trump and right wing zeal.
Earlier this month, legislation was introduced in Alabama that would make carrying out an abortion at any stage of a pregnancy punishable by anywhere between 10 and 99 years in jail.
It was always said of America don't get sick, don't grow old and don't be poor but we can now add to that don't be female and get raped because the old white men who run things there are very keen to control your reproductive rights.

Assange A Hero Not A Villain

The story of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was always a brutal show of how Governments work and depressingly how the whistleblower is the one hounded and prosecuted rather than those the whistleblower exposed.
While he finds himself languishing in a British prison cell tonight, arrested and detained on behalf of the US authorities, we should remember just what Assange exposed in 2010 when he released classified US military footage.
We learnt about the torture manuals for Guantanamo Bay and the extraordinary rendition campaign but most shocking was the footage of US forces shooting and killing civilians on the streets of Baghdad from an Apache attack helicopter and evidence that U.S. troops executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant, then called in an air strike to destroy the evidence in the Iraqi town of Ishaqi.
Both horrific acts were strongly denied by the American military until it was uncovered and the following investigation into the chopper incident resulted in one soldier being exonerated and the other being suspended without pay for a month.
The person who revealed this to the world has spent seven years in hiding and now faces extradition to America but it isn’t hard to see the US Government hates leakers like him, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden as we would still be in the dark and that is how they would prefer it, much rather we listen unquestioningly to the Government issued reports and sources and take their words as the truth.
We should be thankful for whistle blowers and those that are willing to expose the dirty truth such as the criminal war actions of the military and in a truly just world it would be the chopper pilots and the animals who shot a 7 month old Iraqi baby in the head while he slept in his cot and then tried to cover up the killing sitting in a prison cell, a far greater crime than revealing the deaths of innocent civilians.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Netanyahu Win Bad News For Palestinians

While it may not be good news for the Palestinians and anyone with a decent bone in their body that Benjamin Netanyahu has won the Israeli election, in all honesty it wouldn't have mattered because the field was chock full of wannabe Prime Minister's who were just as bad as Benji.
Buoyed by the support of the ignorant and ridiculous Donald Trump, he has pledged to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, where there are Jewish settlements, and has started discussions with right-wing and religious parties about forming a coalition Government including one extremist right-wing group known as the Jewish Power Party which aims to form a theocracy in Israel.
With Donald Trump in his corner already giving US support for his claims to Jerusalem as Israel's capital and the Golan Heights, he will hope for a White House green light for any annexations, too so will continue with his genocidal treatment of Palestinians and Iran will also be maneuvered into the Israeli gun sights as will Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Benji is facing multiple serious criminal allegations of corruption and bribery so he may well be swapping his term for a jail term but a win for Netanyahu is a loss for the rest of the world but especially the horribly oppressed Palestinians under the Israeli jackboot.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

West's Responsibility For Libya

Edwin Starr asked what War was good for and concluded absolutely nothing but it was good for the undertaker and they must be rubbing their hands with glee in Libya as yet another of the West's humane intervention turns into bloodbath.
For those keeping track, after Afghanistan in and Iraq and before Syria came Libya who we in the West bombed in 2011 after it pushed for a UN Resolution to enforce a no-fly zone to protect civilians but very quickly slipped into being about regime change and NATO being the air support for the rebels.
The rebels were the same terrorists who we had been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan who only stopped fighting each other to take on Gaddafi and when he was removed went back to warring against each other as we congratulated ourselves and left them to their own devices which was to fight each other for power and resources.
And so from 2011 to today there has been conflict but the killing which we have largely ignored, has gone up a level and suddenly deaths on a large scale are being reported and call are bring made for a humanitarian truce as the UN-backed government of National Accord in Tripoli is under threat from a large group of warlords, jihadists and fundamentalists under General Khalifa Haftar advancing from the east of the country who have already taken over the nations oilfields.
While nations pull their people out of Tripoli, Washington says it is too dangerous for American troops to stay on the ground and the US Africa Command have announced that it was pulling out it's contingent as the fighting escalates.
As the West was directly responsible for what happened in Libya, it is a case of we broke it so we have to fix it because we have been alarmingly slow to learn the lesson that charging in, removing a government, get them to 'democratically elect' a western friendly puppet government, then leave after we're satisfied that the country resources are nice and safe for the West hasn't worked.
Then again, it has worked for us in the West even if not so much for any of the recent places where we have intervened where the undertakers of another country where we have sent our military have been kept in full employment, courtesy of the West.

Electing Those Unelected EU Bureaucrats

An often repeated line from the Brexiteers was that our rules were being made by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels to which i found confusing as each five years we hold an election to elect them to the European Parliament.
Possibly the penny has dropped that the unelected bureaucrats was yet another lie from the Leave side as in the news that as we have been granted an extension we will have to take part in the EU election although i wouldn't bet money on it.   
As a member state we get to elect the UK's 73 MEP's to the EU but the last time they were held in 2014, 36% of those eligible to vote did so, the lowest in the EU as a whole so maybe they just didn't remember to vote and the thing passed them by.
Still, yet another lie easily dispelled along with the NHS £350 million on the side of the bus and leaving the EU will be easy.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Wildlife 1 - Hunter 0

It is shameful that we have humans who like to go out and shoot the wildlife but there is one less Hunter going out and trying to prove his manhood by murdering something from a safe distance with a high powered weapon.
In a fair fight the human would lose every time and so it proved when one man in South Africa's Kruger National Park went out to kill a Rhino to try and compensate for his small penis or something but he didn't plan on the Park's animals ganging up on him with the man's skull and trousers were the only thing left of him after he was trampled by an elephant and then eaten by lions.
The head of Kruger National Park said it was 'not wise to enter the park illegally and on foot' although he never added that it was also unwise to take on an elephant or a pride of lions without a weapon but then they couldn't really say what most of us think that the more hunters who get eaten or stomped into the ground by the wildlife they are trying to kill isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Monday, 1 April 2019

What I'm Worth

The human body is an amazing thing, a collection of chemicals in the just the right mix and as this aching body of mine enters its 50th year in service today, i find out that the chemicals in it are worth £2,595.  
Sold as parts i would get £1,066 for my Hydrogen, Carbon £487, Phosphorus £297, Calcium £254, Potassium £178, Oxygen £164, Nitrogen £9 and £14 for all the other elements.
The 35oz phosphorus in my body would make 5 million matches, the 60z of potassium 421 bananas, 4oz of sodium 55 teaspoons of salt, 4oz chlorine or enough to clean 8ft of an Olympic swimming pools and 1.2 nails from my 0.3 oz of iron although the water content would be enough for 81.5 pints.
Since 1 April 1969 i have shed 36,497 pints of wee, 12,595 pints of sweat, 30 pints of tears, 6,111 lb of poo, 39,359 pints of farts and 420 eggs.
As breaking me up for spares wouldn't be enough to buy a decent second hand, my family have decided to keep me all together and shove birthday cake at me instead and see if the Nitrogen and Oxygen market picks up in next year.

BBC -  The Making of Me and You