Friday, 31 January 2020

Interviewing God

This is my last blog post for the foreseeable future and i wanted it to be something special and they don't come much more special then an interview with the person who i had constantly berated over the years, the biggest man himself, God.

Mister God is a hard man to track down, he gives his addresses as everywhere and nowhere, present in space and time although i tracked him down to an office in South London.
I began with asking God how he felt when people complained about the basic design of his planet Earth being faulty and potentially dangerous with a terrible atmosphere, an ozone layer that had holes in it and badly designed oceans that overheated.
'Well i made several billion other planets at the same time and they don't have those problems' he answered and shifted uneasily in his seat when i said that we know that he made Earth in six days and did he consider that enough time for adequate safety checks to be carried out but he pointed out that six days was the standard turnaround time for a new planet but each of his came with a 100 million year guarantee with optional after-sales service but beyond that date him, nor any of the employees of God PLC limited, could be held responsible if the inhabitants didn't follow the manufacturer's instructions.
We then moved onto wars being fought in his name and he shook his mighty head and said: 'It's a bit of a liberty to be honest, as if i haven't got enough on my plate already what with answering prayers, blessing America and saving The Queen, i just haven't the time to coordinate Holy wars as well'.
Pressed on why he let's bad things happen to good people and why he didn't stop Hitler he smiled and said that free will is okay for so far but divine pre-ordination trumps everything as clearly set out in the small print of the terms and conditions.
I wanted to press him further on the meaning of life, origins of the Universe and his relationship with other religions but first asked him about his anger management problems as he once almost killed everyone on Earth with floods.
'Yes, i had a real temper as a young man' he admitted 'but i have calmed as i have got older and use less weather phenomena to demonstrate my wrath on my planets inhabitants when they displease me'.
When i pointed out the giant storm which has been raging on Jupiter for over 500 years he shrugged and said 'there are an awful, lot of gay aliens on that place'. 
I could sense our time was running short so i asked him about his views on Atheism he said shrugged and said that 'if he didn't exist there would be no Atheists but as there are Atheists...'.
There was then a tap on the door and Angel Gabriel put his head around the door and said that he should come quick as the Queen was digging about inside her toaster with a knife again.
He apologised for cutting the interview short and ordered Gabriel to fetch his winged chariot but as he left i asked him for one final quote and he stopped, thought for a few seconds and said, 'I made every living thing in the heavens and Earth, but i don't get so many complaints from any of my other creations as I do from you human earthlings’.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

51% Get Their Wish This Friday

I didn't vote for Brexit, i still don't want it and refuse to accept the people who throw out the line about it being a democratic vote, my side lost and to just accept it. With that logic i can never moan about the Conservative Government because more people voted for them then the Lib Dems or Labour who i voted for.
They seem to forget that a tad under 49% voted against it and only a bit over 51% voted for it so it was by no means a whacking great majority and the polls show that those figures have closed ever since as the debacle continues.
That said on 31st January at 11pm we are out of the EU but in name only, we have a transition period to flesh out the deal we want with the EU and to make other agreements with other nations which includes America who are already wanting to foist their dodgy chicken and beef on us as well as get their privatising hands on the NHS.
There are plans to 'celebrate' the moment we officially leave the EU but that seems to be going down like a lead balloon and Big Ben will remain bongless and the idea of street parties has been unceremoniously dumped.
As we are leaving the largest common market on the planet is mad enough, but rather than having 'Got Brexit Done', now we have to suck up to some awful regimes to try and get some trade deals done with them and then keep our mouths shut as not to upset them even once the deal has been sealed.
The Government do have plans to commemorate Brexit, as if it was something to be proud of, by unleashing 3 million Brexit 50 pence Brexit coins into circulation, saying: 'Leaving the European Union is a turning point in our history and this coin marks the beginning of this new chapter'.
Some people are threatening to refuse to accept them or hock them into a river but i plan to put any i receive directly into the savings jar for our next holiday in the EU and then change them up into Euro's therefore making sure that they are spent in Europe and then every time i read of job losses, a tanking British economy or sickness caused by Chlorine washed chicken, i can look on at the Spanish donkey or miniature Eiffel Tower on the shelf and  remember just how window shakingly stupid 51% of British people were.

Friday, 24 January 2020

Virus Corona Beer

With hundreds of cases in China and now suspected cases in other countries, it is quite proper to be concerned about the Corona Virus but the authorities may need to explain it a bit more because one of the largest Google searches has been for Corona Beer Virus.
With only 24 days gone and already hearing of Australian bushfires, Iran and USA tensions, Coronavirus and the Doomsday Clock being being moved to within 100 seconds from midnight, you may have had enough of 2020 already but you can relax about Corona Beer because the virus is not passed on by necking bottles of beer.
The lethal strain of Coronavirus is suspected to have been originated from seafood and meat in markets in Wuhan, China but Google trends shows a spike in searches for Coronavirus beer, Corona virus beer and Virus corona beer in the last few days primarily in Australia, India, Canada, Britain and America which may prove the problem of drinking too much Corona beer and having an internet connection.
The World Health Organisation should probably put out a message that there is absolutely zero connection between Corona beer and the Corona Virus, to not only put booze addled minds at rest but stop the profits of the unfortunately named Corona Beer from plummeting.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Climate Change Denier Protecting Himself From Climate Change

Not enough that he was going to get shown up by a teenage girl with pigtails, Donald Trump has burnished his reputation as the World's biggest climate change denier by making an embarrassing speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos calling those urging more action on climate change 'perennial prophets of doom' and the 'heirs of yesterday's foolish fortune tellers'.
Believing Climate Change to be a Chinese hoax to make American  manufacturing non-competitive, the Orange moron has previously said that: 'Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax and Americans should 'not be distracted by the expensive hoax that is global warming' and that it was a ridiculous situation for a president to be worried about global warming with it's 'ridiculous rules and regulations' and 'any small increase in global temperatures is nothing to worry about'.
I'm guessing then that it is a completely different Donald Trump who applied for planning permission to build large sea defences at his golf courses in Scotland and Ireland, citing on his application that the defences were necessary: 'because of global warming and rising sea levels'.
Hmmm...seems it is the same Donald Trump after all, the one who is happy to let his own country get savaged by the extreme weather that Global Warming brings but also wants to protect his businesses from the same Global Warming that he denies exists.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Blue Monday, How I Hate Blue Monday

Today is the third Monday in January so grab a glass of something bland and let's celebrate the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday.
According to whoever came up with it, the third Monday is chosen due to it being cold, dark and probably raining, we are skint after Christmas and January is a five week month so payday is even further away, we have failed on our New Year resolutions and we are very, very tired and for anyone Self-Employed, the tax bill is due at the end of the month.
Of course it is all pseudoscience and i'd like to think that nobody takes it that serious although i have heard medical experts make the case that describing it as 'depressing' is inappropriate to people suffering real depression so point taken and i am happy to go with bleak, dismal, dreary, gloomy, joyless, melancholy or even somber Monday to avoid any undue distress.
The good news is that the days are beginning to lengthen, the bountifulness of spring is just around the corner when the weather will improve and for some people, today will be the best days of their lives for a multitude of reasons and if you are one of them, you're supposed to be miserable today - get with the program, yeesh!
Still, it's only 340 days to Christmas.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Well Done Harry & Meghan

Well the Duke and Duchess have shut us up, all the things us anti-Royalists moaned about their decision to step away from Royal Life they agreed to.
So we said they can't use their Royal titles if they won't be doing Royal duties and they won't so we then said ok then, but if you want to be financially independent you can't get taxpayers money and they said fine, we won't get any money from the royal purse.
Getting desperate we then said yeah, well, what about the £2.4 million of taxpayers money spent on your home at Frogmore Cottage and bugger me they said they will repay it back to us.
In a fit of pique at them being so bloody amiable we said what about the Charities you head and are now leaving in limbo you selfish sods to which they said they would continue to maintain their private patronages without payment so any visits made as patrons will be as private
individuals and not on behalf of the Queen.
Brilliant play by Harry and Meghan, i seriously wish you all the best, well done.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

I'm No Clown Says Trump

US President Donald Trump has warned the supreme leader of Iran to watch his language, following a sermon in which Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the American leader 'a clown'.
The Ayatollah had better watch it, Trump has a squirty flower and he is prepared to use it.
There are unconfirmed reports that he was so angry that he hitched up his too large, spotty trousers, stamped his large feet and jumped into his car but after the doors fell off, instead ran to grab his unicycle but slipped on a banana peel, stood up and slipped on it again.
Melania came to pick him up and after presenting her with a bunch of flowers whipped out from his sleeve, she led him indoors where he made her a beautiful balloon animal to calm down.
'I'm no clown' he uttered honking his horn and adjusting his bright, red nose as he mimed being stuck behind a glass wall and retired to bed saying that when he retires he will leave some big shoes to fill, tiny little gloves but massive shoes.

Save Humans, Go Veggie

Something which is obvious, but nobody dare approach, is that there are just too many of us on the Earth with the current population touching 7 billion but how many more of us can our planet sustain?
Based on calculations of the Earth's available resources, the magic figure is 10 billion according to the United Nations Population Division, but that comes with the proviso that our planet can handle 10 billion vegetarians, not that many meat eaters.
The Earth currently has 3.5 billion acres of arable land available which produces approximately 2 billion tons of grains annually and if all that grain was dedicated to feeding humans and none to feed livestock, then 10 billion of us can happily live side by side.  
As it is extremely unlikely that everyone will agree to stop eating meat, the maximum carrying capacity of the Earth based on food resources will fall significantly short of 10 billion, somewhere around the 6-7 billion figure which is where we find ourselves now and that is without the complication of arable land becoming infertile due to the consequences of climate change and ensuing desertification and water shortages.
Current projections put the global population at 9 billion by 2050, and 10 billion by 2100 and then we would have reached our absolute limit as far as Earth's capacity to keep us all fed is concerned.
Throw in the issue that an increased population means greater production of the gases that cause global warming and global warming will mean less arable land, then the 10 billion figure is beyond reachable as less and less arable land leads to the current 2 billion tons of grain being reduced and therefore less of us fed.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, meat is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions which is more than all the cars, trucks, planes and ships in the world combined so with every mouthful of cows anus or pigs eyeballs in your burger, you meat eaters are condemning all of us to a slow, painful, hungry demise.
It's time we grabbed the bull by the horn, or rather grab the fork off meat eaters because the population won't stop growing but we can all eat less meat to compensate for it.

FOAB Banner Pictures 2007 - 2019

The original FOAB banner picture from 2007, plain and from one of my previous blog's before i landed at Blogger in January 2007.

2010 and i began getting the top picture made professionally, this one has a GTA feeling to it as i noticed it while watching the IT Boys at work playing it one day and said how cool it looked so they made me this between stealing cars.  

2011 and i was looking to take a swerve to write more music related posts along with the other hippy, tree hugging stuff. I never realised until much later that the guitar pictured is a bass guitar but nobody seemed to notice so i went with it.     

2012 and the picture was depicting a newspaper header style but the 'some you win and some you lose' line is from the Carter USM 'Falling On A Bruise' song which is where i got the title of the blog from, a poetic way of saying people doing the same stupid thing again and again.

2013 and no real story behind this one, i think it was a painting that i saw and liked so asked if it could be turned into my banner picture.

This one from 2014 was one i was never quite sure of. It was a Pop-Art style and i was shown a few styles and plumped for this one but never really settled with it, too jarring to my eyes and i don't think it lasted that long.

2015 and this one i really liked a lot, the space theme coupled with the Environment and showing just how fragile the Earth is. I kept this one up for the longest out of all the banner headers.

I tried to change things around for special occasions such as Christmas and i had a few Halloween ones made up but i particularly liked this one from 2016 and used it a few times, suitably creepy.

2018 and completely inspired by the music system in my old car. It was also around the time i became involved more with a radio station hence the old fashioned microphone icon from the 50's and 60s.

2019 and my current, and favourite banner header. As the blog is ending, or rather my personal day to day involvement with it anyway, i asked for a picture with a farewell motif and me watching the Sun setting on the blog name in the middle is perfect.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Festive Winners and Losers

The festive shopping period is make or break for many retailers and the results are in and we can expect another culling of our shopping centres soon but the shop workers from which retailers should be nervously waiting for an announcement.
John Lewis’s 81,000 staff face a nervous wait after a poor Christmas period with profits down fell 2% while Waitrose, also owned by John Lewis barely scrapped a profit of 0.4% so not all rosy there and their senior partner has already left to spend more time with her family.
Shares in Marks & Spencer dropped on news that sales dropped by 1.7% over the Christmas period although the staff at the M&S Food halls should feel a little more optimistic as sales there were up 1.4%.
Superdry, already under pressure, issued a profit warning after sales fell 15.8% so staff there would be safe to start worrying as probably should Argos staff who saw sales finishing down 0.7% .
Another company to issue a profit warning was Card Factory who blamed quiet high streets for weaker than expected sales and Morrisons called the Festive period an 'unusually challenging period' to explain why there sales slid by 1.7% which is worse than the 0.2% drop suffered by the UK’s biggest retailer, Tesco.
It was not all doom and gloom though because some retailers found the period great for sales and nothing says Christmas like a Vegan sausage roll which Greggs said was one of the factors that sales were up 8.7% and why they are handing 25,000 employees a special £300 bonus.
Next also bucked the gloom as it reported sales growth of 5.2% and German supermarkets Aldi and Lidl trounced the mainstream supermarket chains with Lidl sales jumping 11% over the period and Aldi’s sales up 7.9%
Budget home furnishings chain Dunelm put their 5% rise in sales down to pinching customers from John Lewis which is a big clue to where John Lewis staff should be sending their CV's.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

The Royals v The Daily Mail

I don't have much love for any of the Royals and if Harry and Meghan thinks they can swan off to live somewhere else and have my tax pay for their security then they can think again but i do have sympathy for them both when it comes to the British tabloid press.
They seemed to have taken aim at Meghan as soon as she was linked to Harry and i don't believe it's racist as is being claimed, i see it more because she is not part of the British aristocracy as the usual Royal brides are.
The tabloids have for years been telling Meghan to bugger off and now that she is doing exactly that they are beating her over the head for it but it is the letter to her dad where i have the sympathy for her.  
The story is that she wrote a personal letter to her father just before the wedding to Harry which he then sold to the Daily Mail who published it.
Quite rightly she is suing them for all sorts of invasion of privacy and breaches of the Data Protection Act and as the Daily Mail's pathetically weak defence is that her privacy was not infringed as the letter was written in 'elaborate handwriting which meant she anticipated it would be seen and read by a wider audience' means that she will probably take them for tens thousands, and i hope she does and her father should be given short thrift at the same time.
It is a shame that it is two institutions i care little about, The Royals v The Mail but i am cheering for the Royals on this one and if she does win enough money from them, she can pay for her own bloody security in Canada.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

The Brilliant and Scary Next Decade

My first mobile phones were a Nokia, then a Blackberry, both companies which in 2010 must have looked at their balance sheets and market share with pride and Apple's iphones were breaking through but in 2020 two are almost non-existent in the mobile phones market and one dominate so a decade can be a long time so we won't know what will be happening by 2030, most likely the the technology that will utterly dominate is barely a thing right now but there are some things which are certain.
I did ask a scientist and he got excited and said that after the discovery of the Higgs Boson, the search is now on for the hypothetical particle, the axion.
I made the mistake of saying 'What's that then?' and was told it was not a single particle, but rather a class of particles with properties that rarely interact with ordinary matter which could explain the long-standing conundrum of why the laws of physics seem to act the same on both matter particles and their antimatter partners, even when their spatial coordinates are flipped.
Nodding and feigning as if i understood a single word she said, i went away and thought of some more basic things which we can say with absolute certainty will happen in the next decade.

So far we have found 4,104 Worlds orbiting outside of our solar system and have classed 55 as possibly habitable against a small handful in 2010 so that number will only substantially increase in the next 10 years and with it our chances of finding alien life.

NASA and the ESA were the big players in space exploration but now we have private companies run by Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos sending their own rockets and planning some exciting adventures involving Mars and the Moon and eventually sending human passengers into space.

The decade that we just departed showed what happens when Mother Nature turns ugly and the human race will face larger and worse batterings from her as we try to get to grips with just what we have done to out atmosphere. It won't be pretty and the wake up call may be too late but we can't say we weren't warned.

Due to a changing climate, droughts, global warming and pollution will reduce the amount of drinking water available so as water shortages increase, the process of desalination, removing salt from water to make it drinkable, will have to become big business.

Vegetarianism and it's more harsher brother Veganism is taking a hold and vegan products increased by 25% last year, and big food businesses have come to the fore and the popularity will continue to grow as people continue to seek out environmentally friendly food options.

Although the Royals seem to go on forever, the Queen is 93 and while she make it to see in 2030, it is unlikely so its more likely it will be King Charles or even King William doing the Christmas speech that year.

Capitalism is not great, it falls down on a regular basis and drags many down with it but as it is protected by the very people who benefit the most from it, it won't be going anywhere so as we continue to wobble horribly from the last one in 2008, another recession is inevitable.

AI is now ingrained into our day to day lives and as the decade goes on it will become even more so making us even more reliant on computers to keep things running smoother until we get to a point where we cannot do without it and possibly disastrously, hand it more control over our human lives.

Any walk through any town centre with the closed down shops and the growing list of large traditional shops going under each year and the rise of online shopping will see a stark transformation of brick and mortar shops, transforming the high street in ways we would never have thought possible.

Unfortunately this will never go away but autonomous weapons with less human interaction will become the big thing in the business of killing another nations citizens due to their resources/politics/inhumanity/religion just the same as it has been happening for any decade you wish to choose since humans climbed down from the trees.   

I am sure there will be things coming down the line which we have no knowledge of yet but the years 2020 to 2030 will be as exciting, scary, fascinating and devastating as all the other decades.

Evil Regimes But Our Evil Regimes

The World has always had its share of bad guys, vicious, abusive regimes that nobody should be supporting but someone has and if you guessed 'the West' then congratulations, you have won a pair of goldfish and a pair of gental electrocution clamps.
The international community treats dictators as pariahs as they deserve no place in a modern world but occasionally a psychopath leader comes along who we not only turn a blind eye to but actually offer financial or military support.
Guys like Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, a monster who had been responsible for thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of cases of torture over his 30 years rule who received $1.3 billion in military aid each year and even when he ordered security forces to began the wholesale murder of protesters, we looked the other way as the bodies piled up in the streets.
Then there was Iraq's Saddam Hussein who Donald Rumsfeld was famously photographed shaking hands with in the 1980's to seal the deal of the arms, money, satellite intelligence and even chemical & bio-weapon precursors although this all went south when he endangered the oil supply, silly man.
Chile's Augusto Pinochet's 17-year reign of torture, executions and secret torture camps wasn't enough to dissuade the west from vetoing our friends extradition to Spain to face charges of murder in 1999.
The corrupt Somoza Family bled Nicaragua dry and slaughtered thousands which irked the residents of Nicaragua but the west did everything we could to keep them in power including support to the Nicaraguan National Guard, a brutal and sadistic terrorist group who bombed civilian neighbourhoods killing around 10,000 and funding their Contra terrorist campaign.
On the Korean peninsula, it hasn't always been the Northern part with the nutter, the South had Park Chung-Hee who banned short skirts, men's long hair and protests against his authoritarian rule, torturing and murdering thousands of protesters.
Suharto of Indonesian had fans in influential Western capitals even while plundering over £35 billion, killing one third of the population on the island of Timor, ethnic cleansing—raping, torturing and garroting hundreds of thousands of ethnic Chinese and murdering 2 million of his own people while receiving guns, riot-control vehicles, and fighter jets which the dictator used to bomb civilian areas
Before Castro the Cubans were ruled over by Fulgencio Batista making life hell for ordinary Cubans and who the West did it's best to keep in power despite the 20,000 Cubans he executed, bombing entire villages and rigging elections.
What’s a few human rights abuses between friends we ask while supporting the Al-Khalifa family in Bahrain, overlooking unlawful detention and torturing thousands of protesters to continue selling them arms as we do with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia who executes homosexuals, deprives women of many of their rights, imprisons children and holds executions in the city centre but as they buy tens of billions of arms from the West, which have subsequently been used to massacre entire villages in Yemen, we overlook it.
Colonel 'Mad Dog' Gadaffi may have been forcibly removed by the West in the end but previously we we were besties, even detaining and extraditing enemies of the Gaddafi regime from over the world where they were beaten, electrocuted, tortured and murdered as well as funding the IRA terrorists to attack England and worldwide assassinations by his governments hit squads.
Might be worth remembering the next time our Governments are manoeuvring a regime into it's gun sights because there are some nasty, evil regimes around but if they are our nasty, evil regimes, they are okay by us.

Friday, 10 January 2020

Beginning Of The End For FOAB

As from today, i find myself in the same situation as Prince Harry in that i am currently between jobs, my new employment not starting until the end of the month so the goodbye's have been said but it is a few weeks until i get to say the hello's.
I am not sure what will happen to this blog, i am loathed to just delete the 4403 posts that have been thrown on here since 2007, but while that is being worked out i will continue with the Special Guest Blogger series as long as possible, i already have a couple of months worth of famous dead bloggers queueing up to give us their thoughts including Kings, Presidents, Emperors and other famous historical figures and that will probably be the direction the blog will go with more famous figures taking over with the occasional blog post thrown in when, and if, able.
I am sure that i will find plenty to do for the next three weeks or so, it would be nice to get to 4500 blog posts before Lucyp signs off and the great and good of history take over but 96 more posts is fanciful at best so i will settle for as many as possible by the 27th January.
If anyone was wondering about the new picture at the top of this blog, i asked for a subtle 'farewell '
motif and it is a setting sun, poignant and strangely beautiful and is probably my personal favourite out of all the graphics i have had up there over the past 12 years. 

The Biggest Threat To World Peace

Even by his own low standards, 2020 has got off to a hell of start for Donald Trump with impeachment proceedings, assassinations in far flung countries and almost sparking a war with Iran but at least he can rely on his own people to back him up, or can he?
Trump fans, never the sharpest knives in the drawer to start with, can be relied upon to wave their little American flags and cheer at his latest madcap ramblings but the rest of us are not so sure, which is why he heads a poll as the greatest threat to World Peace against some very strong contenders.
A YouGov poll has revealed that a stonking 41% of people believed that Trump was a bigger threat to world peace than North Korea's Kim Jong Un (17%), Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (8%), Russia's Vladimir Putin (8%) and China's Xi Jinping (7%).
That the American President is considered to be more than 5 times more of a danger than the leader of the country he is currently trying to set up as the biggest danger, it doesn't bode well for the man who threatened to 'totally destroy' North Korea and asked his advisors if America had Nuclear Weapons, then why can’t they use them.
Many people only considered him a threat to non-whites and women in America but now that he has slithered outside of his borders, he is thought to be a threat all over.

The Rise Of The War Machines

We know for absolute certainty that at some point in the future life on Earth will end, whether it will be the Sun dying or an asteroid crashing into us,  or even a pandemic wiping us all out but we know that at some point all human life will end.
One of the other reasons we need to consider is that our own stupidity will do it whether by a nuclear war or the Planet becoming uninhabitable due to man made Global Warming but even before we reach that stage AI could be bringing about our demise.
As we have been seeing more and more in conflicts, drones are being taking the place of human troops on the battlefield and a recent US Army war game saw a human-robot coalition repeatedly rout an all-human company three times its size.
The technology is in development and killing robots will only become more efficient as time passes although not to the level to stop civilian deaths even if it significantly reduced troops deaths and that is the reason why many of the recent wars have ground to a halt. 
The flag draped coffins of dead soldiers being unloaded off the back of an aeroplane is never a public relations winner, dead civilians in a far off country on the other hand is neither here or there, just a number or not counted at all as in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The problem is if warmongering leaders can now fight a war with little or no chance of casualties on their own side, it will make it easier to reach for the stick and as with nuclear weapons, the technology will not stay with just the major nations, soon enough they will be widespread 
and the worlds fighting machines will be ones that won’t ask awkward questions and won’t hesitate to shoot whoever they’re told to shoot.
War is awful and the people who make the wars are worse but with the chance of any the home-team being killed in battle removed, and with civilian casualties not an issue and the technology more accessible to more nations, the call for war will be made much easier for everyone and that can't be a good thing for the human race but to be honest, it was always going to be our own stupidity that was going to bring about our demise.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Bye Bye Harry, Bye Bye Meghan

My first thought when i heard that Prince Harry was stepping back from his Royal job was don't you have to have a job first in order to be able to step back from it?
The part about planning to become financially independent should not be a problem, Princess Diana reportedly left both Prince William and Prince Harry £10 million, and each receive annual dividends of £450,000 a year and Meghan is reportedly worth £3m so they won't be begging for food anytime soon.
They do plan to continue living at Frogmore Cottage though, a four-bedroom house in the grounds of Windsor Castle which underwent a £2.4m refurbishment at taxpayers expense last year and what happens to the £5.1m Prince Charles handed to them last year to fund the Sussexes staff and private offices, personal and family expenses and private travel.
So the questions abound as the spare heir steps back from the front line of royal ribbon-cutting, going on holiday and living in a Palace including who will pay for the security of the two at the cost to the taxpayer of £1 million a year and will they be able to keep the Royal titles which will be their greatest commercial earner.
The comparisons to another American Duchess who was divorced and married a British Royal will start to be made soon enough, ironically Wallis Simpson is buried in the grounds of their current address, but the blame for the break-up of the Royals will certainly fall upon unfairly upon the bony shoulders of Meghan with Princess Diana's boy painted as the unwitting victim of the manipulative yank. 
While some in the press will be wetting their pants over the losing of the sixth in line to the throne, i say if the Sussexes have decided that feigning an interest in ordinary people while opening hospitals is all too much of a faff, goodbye, good luck and hand in the the titles, the key to the house, the taxpayer funded security and privileges at the door on the way out.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

More Tobin, Less Kelly

There was a great moment on Good Morning Britain this week where the Weathergirl, Laura Tobin, tore into the climate change sceptic Australian MP Craig Kelly after saying that there was no evidence to suggest a warming climate and also said it was nonsense that lower carbon dioxide emissions could reduce bush fires.
During the interview he said that the fires were caused by poor forest management and not climate change leading to Tobin roasting him with the science which overwhelmingly shows the global climate is going up and breaking all historical records worldwide but that is where she went wrong because presenting climate deniers with the science in the vain hope that they’ll change their minds never works.
Australia is a hotbed for climate scepticism and Ipsos polling finds that Australia lags behind other nations in acknowledging the threat of climate change despite the wildfires raging across their nation.
Ironically, the blame for the fires is being put on environmentalists for blocking the removal of dead trees or caused by climate activists or climate terrorism as it is being called.
There are basically four reasons for denying the reality of global warming caused by man made greenhouse gases, either the MP's have received large donations by fossil fuel interests, the refusal to believe anything that means facing up to the fact their current lifestyle is condemning future generations to misery and taking a strange pleasure in holding an opposite view to everyone else.
The fourth is that they are just ignorant idiots too dumb to understand or take on board what 99% of climate scientists have been screaming from the rooftops for decades and that seems to be where most climate change deniers find themselves.
More people listening to the Tobin's and less taking any notice of the Kelly's would be a good start.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Pick Your Paradise

Considering that all religions are just knock off versions of all the others it is no surprise that there are many similarities between them, most noticeably a paradise which promises everlasting rewards if its followers obey the rules.
For the Aztec people, Mictlan is the place where nearly all mortals went when they died, a peaceful place full of flowers and dancing which sounds nice but not as nice as where Jews go Gan Eden (Hebrew for the Garden of Eden) where the souls of the righteous go to spend eternity with God and is described as being 60 times better than what we experience on Earth.
Norsemen who died in battle went to Valhalla but everyone else went to Fólkvangr, which was a great big field very similar to the ones the Egyptians went to when they died called the Elysian Fields, a land of eternal peace, with magnificent crops and bread and beer which never went stale.
The ultimate destination for Hindu's is Vaikuntha where it is filled with love and fellowship and everyone is young and beautiful and the forests have wish-giving trees which is better than a wind-swept island called Tir Na Nog in the Atlantic Ocean for the Irish said to be a place of eternal happiness run by fairies.
Also in the Ocean was the Celtic Otherworld where sickness, old age, famine, war, and all other evils of the world are banished while the Christians version of heaven is pretty well known, described as a  great city, unparallelled in beauty, with walls made of precious jewels and streets made of gold.
As an atheist i am destined for a muddy six foot hole or a furnace but given the choice i quite like the idea of bread and beer that never goes stale so pencil me in for the Egyptians Elysian Fields.

Sympathy For Iraqi Civilians

Sympathy on a human level for anyone killed in war but the majority of the sympathy goes to the innocent citizens and their families who have died or been maimed by the invading armies and have to live with the result of the horrors of what another nations military did to them when all they wanted to do was survive the horrors all around them.
That is why i have mixed feelings about Iraq telling the Americans to leave their country, as justified as they are in doing so following the assassination of an Iranian General by America in their country.
America and the UK should not have been there in the first place, the Iraq War was a tissue of lies and deceit and they pretty much kicked down the walls of Iraq allowing it to be filled with Al Quaeda terrorists who came armed with car bombs, suicide vests and caused death and mayhem on a devastating scale.
So they should not have been there but they were so i felt that as they caused the mess, they should be made to clear it up so reluctantly accepted they should stay there and if necessary, be the ones who take the murderous brunt of the malign force they unleashed.
Now, following the murder of the Iranian General, Qasem Soleimani, who was helping the Iraq Government fight the growing terrorist threat in their country, they have quite rightly told America to get the hell out of their country, they have bought nothing but trouble to their shores after all so it is understandable.
The problem is that this will allow a rejuvenated Al Queada/Islamic State to return and once again bring further death and destruction to their embattled country.
It is a quandary because without America forces they will once again be facing a full return of the murderous terrorists but with America there they risk being embroiled in yet another devastating war.  
The War George W Bush and Tony Blair started in 2003 is a war that just keeps giving it seems and the  ill-fated Iraqi citizens will once again be caught in the crossfire whatever happens.

Monday, 6 January 2020

Iran: A Quick Recap

Anyone who has been paying attention will know how we reached will know how we have ended up in the current situation with Iran and it all goes back to George W Bush and Tony Blair's Iraq war.
A quick recap is probably in order so in 2003 George W Bush and Tony Blair agreed to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and set about fitting the evidence so that they could sell the war to a highly sceptical public.  
After many false starts they finally settled upon his stockpile of Weapons of Mass Destruction as the reason they had to remove him but after six months of the UN Weapons Inspectors fruitlessly looking and finding nothing, Bush and Blair told them to get out and launched a devastating attack which killed over a million Iraqis and allowed the place to become overrun with Al Queada terrorists.
With Saddam removed the Americans began to withdraw US troops from Iraq leaving a void which Al Queada stepped into and were joined by other terror organisations in the region and underwent another rebranding as Al-Quaeda in Iraq (AQI) and Islamic State (IS).
With the stirrings of revolution in neighbouring Syria, Islamic State refocused its efforts on Syria and this is where Iran join the party, allied to Syria's President, Bashar al Assad, and sent troops to fight against the terrorists .
Embarrassingly, the US were no fans of the Syrian President so they didn't want to arm his military directly so President Obama sought to find elements on the ground who could mount a serious challenge to the battle hardened fighters of IS and after several aborted attempts, ended up giving weapons and training groups affiliated to Islamic State and Al Queada so the weapons were simply handed over to the enemy to use against Western troops.
So with Iran and America on the same side, and with Iran's Qasem Soleimani assistance, Syria repulsed IS recapturing key cities and towns but as this was going on, Iran was developing a nuclear capability and an agreement was reached with Iran and the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany which restricted Iran's nuclear ambitions.
The deal, known as The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was upheld and the IAEA, UN and senior American security officials and military officials announced that Iran was abiding by the agreement but then along came Donald Trump to replace Barack Obama.
Calling it the worst deal in history, he withdrew from the deal that has successfully stopped Iran from getting nuclear weapons, imposed sanctions and applying an ever changing list of demands sending aircraft carriers and bombers to sit menacingly off the Iran coast.
Iran continued to comply with its agreements, confirmed by the UN and IAEA, despite American provocations until the assassination of Qassem Suleiman last week in Iraq following the US Embassy being overrun in response to American airstrikes on Iranian controlled storage facilities and command and control locations in Iraq which in turn was a response to the killing of an American contractor days earlier in a rocket attack blamed on Iranian backed militias.
America now decided that Soleimani had to be killed as he was helping Iran spread terrorism around the Middle East by supporting Hamas in Palestine, Hezbullah in Lebanon and the Houthi's in Yemen and was in Iraq to direct an 'imminent attack' on US interests although they have offered no evidence and despite Iranian and Iraq explaining that he was there to pass on a message from Saudi Arabia.
Iraq has now told America to get out of their country and the World waits for Iran retaliation and that is where we find ourselves today, with the Iraq civilians due to suffer the blow-back of a revitalised Al Queada/Islamic State and the demented President in Washington who seems to have made prodding Iran his main aim and could be finally getting the chance to follow the well worn path of his recent American predecessors and instigate a war in the Middle East.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

The Best Year For Music Ever

Musical taste is subjective and my parents had no truck with the music i listened to in the 80s and 90s as i have no ear for the music my kids play today so to say which year was the musical highlight would be folly, so i'm going to do just that.
In his new book, Perfect Sound Whatever, comedian James Acaster argues that 2016 was the greatest ever year for music and highlights Beyonce, Frank Ocean, Kanye West and Radiohead and David Bowie's final studio album Blackstar, released days before his death.
Admittedly i am writing from a position of ignorance as i have not heard any of the albums but Greatest Hits Radio ran a survey and found 1984 was voted the publics favourite year of music pointing to Prince, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, George Michael, Queen, Madonna, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and the Band Aid single and that certainly is a compelling list.
Meanwhile The Spectator has nominated 1971 Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin while the Guardian makes the case for 1966 and point to The Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Kinks and The Beatles but to me they all pale into comparison with 1991.
The year is probably best remembered for the Gulf War, the collapse of the USSR, Mike Tyson's rape arrest and Arsenal winning the League title but it was also a stonkingly great year for music.
REM were in that brief period when they good with 'Out of time', Tom Petty's 'Into the great wide open', 'Ten' by Pearl Jam, the magnificent Guns N Roses double bill 'Use your illusion 1 and 2, Nirvana's 'Nevermind', the Red Hot Chilli Peppers had not yet cleaned up their act and produced  'Blood Sugar Sex Magik', Prince was at his pervy best with 'Diamonds and Pearls', there was also a Joan Jett Best of Album and Metallica had yet to annoy all their fans with views on MP3 downloading with 'The Black Album'.
The singles that came from those albums to fill the 1991 charts were classics as well as songs such as 'Summertime' by the Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, 'Two Princes' Spin Doctors, 'Weather with you' Crowded House, The Waterboy's 'Whole of the moon' and 'Sit Down' by James.
Green Day were cutting their pop punk teeth with 1039 Smoothed out slappy hours and the very underrated Carter USM were just moving on to the radar with '30 Something'.
When you throw in re-releases of the Clash's 'Should i stay or should i go' and 'Bohemian Rhapsody' i declare that 1991 was the best year for music. Ever.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Confusing Prison Sentences

I have never understood the idea behind prisoners serving concurrent sentences, seems kind of pointless especially as the sentences for a crime are enshrined in law and it is up to the judge to decide of the sentence is to run concurrently or consecutively.
I don't agree with much that comes form the Conservative Party but i have to agree with their idea that prisoners serve the time they are given and not released early which is another thing which has me scratching my head over.
Approximately 90% of sentences come with an automatic release granted half-way through the time and then the offender is on licence for the remainder of it so if someone is given a four-year sentence for burglary, they will spend two years in prison and two years outside. 
Those guilty of more serious crimes spend a greater part of their sentence in jail, normally be two-thirds, and require approval from the parole board to gain early release.
A life sentence rarely means life in prison, averaging 17 years in jail although they will be on licence for the rest of their lives.
Apparently the intention is to allow rehabilitation for the offender in the community while critics say it is just a way of keeping prison numbers down, of the available 93,000 prison places, the current prison population stands at 84,000.
As the role of prison is to basically remove less desirable people from society for a period of time, there is an argument that prison is a punishment while others argue it is to rehabilitate criminals to become able to participate in society but i still cannot work out why serving less time than the law states you should serve benefits anyone other than the prisoner but certainly not the victims and
their families.

Pompeo Disappointed With Europeans

The American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has told Fox News, that guardian of journalistic standards with it's fair and balanced views, that he was disappointed with the reaction by Europeans and expected more support following the assassination of the Iranian general, Qassem Suleimani.
While Israel and Saudi Arabia (obviously) have been whooping over America's actions, the overwhelming reaction by European leaders has been to call for restraint and rather poo-pooing the reasoning behind America's drone strike which led to Pompeo saying: 'Frankly, the Europeans haven't been as helpful as I wish that they could be' and that 'The Brits, the French, the Germans need to understand that what we did saved lives in Europe as well'.
With a lack of evidence that Suleimani was planning anything to take lives in Britain, France or Germany hasn't helped the American cause but long gone are the days when European leaders default position was to back up American misadventures in conflicts, especially in the Middle East and especially with a President who has been less than friendly to them and took America out of a working Nuclear deal with Iran.
Tony Blair poodling up to George W Bush in 2001 was the last time a European trusted an American led conflict and even then it was pretty much only Britain who went along with the debacle so it is hardly surprising nobody is trusting them now.
That Pompeo is disappointed is not the surprise, the surprise is that he expected anybody else except the usual suspects to back America in bombing yet another Middle Eastern, oil rich country with no evidence provided as to why they picked now to do it.

Is Trump Wagging The Dog?

For someone who doesn't want to start a war with Iran and is committed to de-escalation in the region, America is doing a bad job of it as they send 3000 troops to the Middle East after the assassination of the senior Iranian military commander, Qassem Soleimani, in Iraqi.
The questions being asked is was this an attempt by an under pressure Donald Trump to distract public attention from his ongoing impeachment trial.
He would not be the first leader to go for the rally round the flag play where public support increases for leaders during periods of international crisis or war, Margaret Thatcher in the Falklands exploited it famously and before Trump Bill Clinton, under the threat of impeachment over the Lewinsky affair, Clinton ordered a cruise-missile attack on a Sudan factory on the grounds it was producing nerve gas
for al-Qaeda on the eve of his trial although it turned out that the destroyed factory was actually a harmless pharmaceutical plant.
Scant evidence has been presented that Soleimani was plotting 'imminent and sinister attacks' to kill hundreds of Americans as has been claimed and unbelievably the Vice President has been promoting conspiracy theories that link September 11 terrorists to Iran which only confirms suspicions that the evidence for the assassination of Soleimani is scant at best.
Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, said that as a legal justification for the attack in which 10 people were killed, the Pentagon’s claims were 'very vague'.
#WagTheDog2020, a reference to the 1997 film in which the President hires a Hollywood producer to fabricate a foreign war to distract voters from a presidential sex scandal is doing the rounds and the suspicion is that Trump, facing impeachment, has watched it recently.

Friday, 3 January 2020

A Decade In Britain

Where we normally get a run down of the best and worst from the past year, as this is the end of the decade, the lists have been what Brits have liked the most over the past ten years. 
Adele had two of the top three albums, her 2011 Album '21' and her 2015 Album '25' knocked Ed Sheerans 'X' into third place although the ginger singer had the first and third biggest hits with 'Shape of You' in 2017 and 'Thinking Out Loud' in 2014 and Bruno Mars 2014 song 'Uptown Funk' separating the two to take second place.
The literary efforts of EL James showed just what British were reading over the past decade with her 'Fifty Shades of Grey', 'Fifty Shades Darker' and 'Fifty Shades Freed' selling 11.5 million copies and probably being solely responsible for the increase in furry handcuffs and silk blindfolds.
When we were not reading pervy books, we were watching the biggest film 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens', or Craig David in 'Skyfall' or 'Spectre' or playing one of the top three video games 'Grand Theft Auto V', 'Call of Duty: Black Ops' and 'Minecraft'.
The most watched TV programmes were all sport related with the largest audience being for the 'Olympics 2012 Closing Ceremony', the Olympics 2012 Opening Ceremony' and the 2018 'Croatia v England World Cup Semi-Final which we lost, obviously.
The programmes with the most viewers which didn't include somebody kicking, throwing or running very fast was The X Factor, Gavin and Stacey and EastEnders which taken all together means that us Brits spent large parts of the past ten years humming along to Adele songs while reading 50 shades of grey and looking up occasionally to watch the bits of the Olympics without the Sport.

Googling Pansexual

Layla Moran, currently leading the polls top become the new Liberal Democrat leader has come out as 'pansexual', and sent most of us scurrying to Google to find out exactly what that means. 
I have heard of being homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual and even asexual but pansexual was a new one to me but apparently it means 'a sexual, romantic or emotional attraction towards people regardless of their sex or gender' which sounds suspiciously like being bisexual to me but then what do i know.
Miss Moran has said she had previously only had relationships with men and it was a surprise to her when she started a relationship with a woman about six months ago, adding that: 'her sexuality was not about physical attributions of the person you fall in love with, it's about the person themselves'.
Who you go to bed and wake up beside does not make you a good or bad politician and is nobody else's business except for the couple concerned but i'm sure the churchy types will drop their rosary beads in horror but Moran's words are absolutely correct, the most important thing is the person you fall in love with, be they male or female.
My only concern is keeping up with the new sexual orientation terminology as i have also heard of people being polysexual, heteroflexible and homoflexible but it was so much easier when someone was either homosexual or heterosexual or swung both ways to be bisexual, that i could get my head around but maybe i'm just showing my age.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Killer Ai Bees

Charlie Brooker must be some sort of genius because it seems that some of the Worlds powers are using his brilliant Black Mirror series as a suggestion box.
Obviously that isn't a good thing, China are using his episode where citizens earn or lose credits depending on their behaviour as a template and now the Americans are planning on building warms of AI-powered bees for missions.
The Pentagon is trying to build a self-starting swarm of bees capable of recognising and tracking a target for search and rescue and search and destroy missions.
The resulting smart-swarm will be self-directing, able to find and track humans on its own and capable of streaming video of its activities with minimal outside direction but we’ve seen how this ends up, in Charlie Brooker's mind anyway.
In Black Mirror,  a swarm of autonomous drone bees are hacked and every day a single solitary drone bee assassin is weaponised to kill whichever public figure garners the most social media hate.
AI with minimal outside direction is the phrase which should be most alarming, as we have seen too many times, if a human cannot distinguish between a terrorist and a normal human then what chance an autonomous machine will be able to? 

Boycotting Cyprus

The mother of a 19 year old Girl accused of lying about being gang raped in Cyprus by 12 men has called for a boycott of the country after the Foreign Office raised concerns over the 'unsafe ruling' by the Cypriot Courts. 
The young woman had said she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in the town of Ayia Napa on 17 July but she was charged after she signed a retraction statement 10 days after the incident although she states this was under duress and pressure of Cypriot police to change her account of what happened.
The men were arrested at the time but have been released while she was convicted of public mischief and could face a year in prison and now the Foreign Office and lawyers have raised concerns at an official level with the authorities in Cyprus, saying it was seriously concerned that the Brit did not face a fair trial.
I have long boycotted anything Israeli and a quick look at the Government website lists Cyprus as Britain's 61st trading partner with approx £500 million of Cypriot goods imported so if we are to boycott Cyprus, what should we be leaving to rot on the shelves?
The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) website shows the main things that we import from Cyprus is £59m worth of Cheese, £12.4m spent on Planes, helicopters and spacecraft, £10.9m of Gold, £8.9 on Potatoes, £5m paid for delivery trucks and £6.7 non-knit women's suits.
If you want to support the boycott call, buy your spacecraft and delivery trucks elsewhere and if the packets of spuds and cheese says its country of origin is Cyprus, put it back on the shelf.
If you have a holiday booked then along with the passport and suntan lotion, you may want the telephone number of the British Consulate in Cyprus and a decent lawyer.