Saturday, 30 June 2012

Is The Privatisation Experiment Over?

Labour Party supporters in 1997, of which i was one, were happy as a pig in mud when Labour replaced the nasty party of John Major and with Tony Blair at the helm, introduced the minimum wage and tax credits. Finally we said, a Labour Party that will fight for the little guy and will reverse the worst aspects of Thatcherism where almost everything we owned was privatised. Just got your latest massive utilities bill? That's Maggie’s legacy.
The great start by Blair to rid the country of the Conservatives destructive schemes were forgotten as Blair put his efforts into being the chief poodle for George Bush's mad scheme to force Democracy on the Middle East.
Blair jumped before he was pushed and Gordon Brown came in just as the economy collapsed and left the door open for the nasty party to get a foothold back in power with the assistance of the Liberals Democrats.
So that's where we are today and the Conservatives are back to there old tricks of selling off whatever they can get their grubby hands on.
It is blatantly obvious that privatisation doesn't work, it increase costs and lowers the quality of services because it is impossible for the private sector to deliver the same service for less and make a profit and making a profit is the only reason they are there in the first place.
While the likes of the privatised railway and telephones irk me because they are taking the customers left, right and centre, they are not must-haves but the gas and electric suppliers know that whatever they put their prices to, and each rise is followed shortly by all the rest of the companies, we HAVE to have them. They have us over a barrel and they know that and a few old people dying due isn't going to stop them putting profits first.
Now the Labour Party, supposedly the Party for the working class, plans to return railway network to public control by renationalising the railways.
They have said that the current fragmented system under which we own the track and private companies run trains is failing taxpayers and passengers while benefiting private train operators and their shareholders, who are guaranteed taxpayer funds if profits fall below a certain level.
They estimate that it costs £1.2bn of our money each year as a direct result of subsidising the private companies, money that could have allowed fares to be 18% lower than at present. UK rail passengers, who already pay the highest fares in Europe, face further increases of at least 6% from next January.
Finally, a Labour Party that we need, one that is run for us although i would like to see them start with the utilities where people are actually dying because they cannot affords to pay what the firms demand, but let's hope that this is the first of many and Labour returns to it's ideological roots and we begin rolling back the privatisation experiment now it's been proved to have failed so dramatically, especially before the Conservatives sell off the NHS.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Public Victim Of More Bank Fraud

As if we need any more reasons to string up a banker by their testicles on every lamp post in the country, along comes news that at the height of the bailouts, Barclays Bank was fiddling the interest rates to pay themselves even higher bonuses.
Now they have been fined £290 million by the Financial Services Authority who said that Barclays was working with traders at other banks to make a profit which means that they were all at it. Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, and HSBC are said to be helping the FSA with their enquiries
Barclays Chief Executive, Bob Diamond, said the actions 'fell well short of standards' and as a punishment, rather than face fraud charges, he will give up this years £2.7 million bonus, which considering his annual salary is £23m means he won't be forced to tighten his belt anytime soon.
Barclays' misconduct relates to the daily setting of the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) and the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (Euribor) which are two of the most important interest rates in the global financial markets and directly influences the value of loans and mortgages and saving rates to the banks customers.
£3.7bn was been wiped off the value of Barclays as it's value slumped 17% and George Osborne called the scandal 'shocking', the same George Osborne who argued that Gordon Browns banking regulation were too tight and needed de-regulating.
Without doubt the whole financial sector is riddled with corruption, and as the financial sector have been bankrolling the present Government it makes your head spin just how far the corruption goes into the seat of power. It was only last month that the Prime Minister was found to be available for a meeting with these same heads of business if the donation to his party was large enough.
We are continually told that the public sector is the bad guy costing us billions but it is plain that it is the so-called heroes of the private sector who are responsible for the mess and it is them who should be vilified.
Nothing that i have seen has shown that unfettered Capitalism works unless you are one of those at the top where you can rip off the public, bring down countries and wreck the lives of billions and just have to forgo a couple of million pounds bonus when you get caught.
I just hope that the way is made clear for anyone who has had a Barclays loan or a mortgage over the last couple of years can sue them for compensation as that would really hit them where it hurts most and if they go bust, good riddance because would we really be any worse off if half of these vile institutions ceased to exist?

Osborne Does It Again

Not many people know that George Osborne's Christian name is actually Gideon but doesn't like it so he announces himself as George instead.
So Gideon, after being educated at private schools and Oxford and a membership of the exclusive Bullingdon Club before a short stint as a towel folder at Selfridges, somehow found himself as Chancellor of the Exchequer and responsible for the countries finances.
In March 2012, as the aforementioned countries finances dipped dramatically once again, he announced VAT on caravans and pasties as well as the removal of age related allowances for the elderly, a 3% rise on petrol and a cut in the top rate of income tax for anyone earning over £150,000.
Within 3 months of this budget which Gideon described as 'a budget for growth', he has reversed his decision on all of the above except one, the one that sees the richest members of society with a large wedge of extra money in their pocket. Funny that don't you think?

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Computer Take Over

Due to the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing's birth, there have been quite a few articles and television programmes about the man who is credited with being the inventor of the modern computer in the 1940's.
When you consider that was only 70 years ago and we have gone from computers that took up a whole room to ones that are now the size of a paperback, that's some progress.
What is most impressive is the power they have now, an often repeated statistic is that the Apollo 11 mission that landed on the moon was powered by a computer equal to that of today's calculators.
Almost everything today is run by a computer and when they stop working or go haywire, as the customers of NatWest Bank have found out, chaos ensues and with computers growing more and more powerful and more vital to society, we are heading for a bit of a disaster aren't we?
At some point computers will be cleverer than us and the amount of human interaction needed will reduce, take an aeroplanes auto-pilot, the pilot is just there to start and stop the plane and keep an eye on the computer that is keeping the thing in the air. BAE systems has already tested pilotless fighter planes so we are already moving into a grey area where we are allowing computers to decide whether to take a life and as with most things, it is the military that will make the most terrifying use of the leaps in artificial intelligence and robotics.
It is not hard to see the near future when independent and heavily armed robots and androids will replace soldiers, real killing machines unleashed on fellow humans.
We are so reliant on computers today, from the banking system to controlling the traffic lights at the end of the street that if they were all to suddenly stop, we would be lost so surely building faster and bigger and smarter computers that will slowly take over new roles with more responsibility and decision making capabilities to replaces the older systems, is a bit of a own goal isn't it?
It's quite frightening just how far and how fast we have moved, and how dependent on computers we have come in those 7 decades since Turing.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Nessie Disproving Evolution

Apart from being the most famous person from Louisiana, Reese Witherspoon is widely regarded as an actress who can bring a smile to the lips of the audience with her portrayal of slightly dim characters.
Using their most famous resident as a template, it seems that Louisiana is now looking to churn out a whole generation of people we can laugh at as a Christian school has been using textbooks that claims the Loch Ness Monster is real, which disproves evolution.
The textbook being used by the Eternity Christian Academy in science classes advises the kids: 'Have you heard of the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland?
‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur and the existence of dinosaurs living alongside humans discredits the theory of evolution, showing there was no gradual replacement of species.
Instead, it confirms creationist beliefs that all animals were created several thousand years ago, but died out because they were not taken on Noah’s Ark, apart from sea monsters who were able to survive in the water'.
On the one hand it's hilarious that an old legend that the Scots have exploited for tourism purposes is actually being cited by so-called serious educators.
On the other hand it's alarming that there are adults deliberately filling young kids heads with such nonsense.
'True science will never contradict the Bible because God created both the universe and scripture. If a scientific theory contradicts the Bible, then the theory is wrong and must be discarded,” claims the Academy who i suppose instead teach the completely rational theory that man was made from a pile of dirt and woman from a the rib of the dirt made man.
Puzzlingly, Louisiana is 48th worst performing state in the US for science and with people like these teaching the subject, I just can't see why.
Next lesson, Geography and how Beelzebub sunk Atlantis.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Zombie Conspiracy Update

Curiouser and curiouser. Just weeks after the US Center for Disease Control publicly denied the existence of zombies, they have been holding large-scale training exercises in preparation for a zombie apocalypse in the state of Maine.
Representatives from several hospitals, public safety and emergency management agencies, the National Guard and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention gathered to practice how they would respond to an outbreak of a zombie attack.
The premise was a virus that turning the infected citizens of Maine into zombies. Once infected, the virus quickly spread to the brain, and turned the host into a full-fledged zombie looking for brain to eat.
The officials were armed with two vaccines, one which prevented the bitten victim turning into a zombie and another to bring the zombies back to life.
'We have identified in several states, particularly Texas, New York, Illinois outbreaks of these civil disturbances and biting' an official said.
Rumors of a 'zombie apocalypse' have been on the rise after a series of disturbing incidents including true stories of people waking after being certified dead, a husband who ate his wife's arm and a man pulled out and threw his own intestines at police.
Be prepared people, watch Dawn of the Dead, 28 days later and even Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead if you have to because there is a chill in the air, something is coming and it's not going to be pretty.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Is That England In The Quarter Finals?

England play Italy in the quarter finals of the European Championship this weekend and i admit that i didn't expect them to get through the group stage , i don't think many people did.
Even the most fervent England fan will admit that England couldn't have been more jammier against the Ukraine if we had smeared the starting eleven in Robertson's finest and stuffed them into a doughnut but here we are through to face the Italians in the last eight.
Sunday promises another awkward evening for us English after the dull 1-1 with France, the 'we-are-winning-no-we're-not-yes-we-are' 3-2 defeat of Sweden and the 'how the hell did we do that' win over the Ukraine when Rooney managed to head the ball in from millimetres out.
The UEFA website stats page show that England have only managed to muster 15 shots on target in those three games but have scored from 5 of them. Italy have had 30 shots on target in their 3 games and only scored 4 times and they had Ireland in their group.
They have let in 2 goals, we have conceded 3 so we have more accurate strikers than them but they have a slightly better defence but all the stats in the World can't disguise the fact that we have been lucky while not playing particularly well and as any Manchester United fan will tell you, being lucky and somehow getting the result when you are not at your best is how you win things.
If at 9.45 on Sunday evening we are celebrating another England win and we are watching grumpy, arm waving Italians trudge off the pitch and out of the Euro's then maybe this could be our year. If not and it is the grumpy faced English we are watching, then i blame John Terry for being such a git.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Is Kim The Problem With Western Society?

I don't know much about Kim Kardashian but Dr Helen Wright of the Institute of Development Professionals blames her for all that is wrong with Western Society.
"Almost everything that is wrong with Western society today can be summed up in that one symbolic photo of Ms Kim Kardashian on the front of Zoo magazine,' the doc ranted which seems a bit harsh to lay the many faults of the West at the door of a young girl who found fame via a home made sex tape and kept famous by virtue of having a big bum and a very good publicist.
Putting to one side Kim and her bubble butt, there are better targets that could be blamed for what is wrong with Western Society today.
The most obvious is steaming into countries under dodgy pretenses to exploit their natural resources but there is also exporting a faulty capitalist system which collapses frequently and makes the rich richer and the poor poorer.
Then there is an unethical arms industry selling weapons to despots, corrupt politicians, hard drugs, backing some of the most brutal regimes on the planet because it furthers our own interests, privatisation, willingness to pollute the planet, exploitative corporations, the idea that greed is good and removing other countries leaders.
Throw in a sprinkling of jingoistic xenophobia, a spoonful of right wing ideology, a cupful of bias media outlets and a splash of religious bigotry and i think that this list is much more of a recipe for western society's ills than Kim Kardashian appearing on the front of a magazine.

Blame The Meat Eaters

Howdy meat eaters. Been tucking into your share of flesh, veins, muscles, tendons and blood today? Did those bits scraped up off the
abattoir floor that went into your sausages taste good today? Good but you better make the most of eating meat because research from the
University of Exeter shows that unless all you meat-eaters change your ways, the rise in the global population will spell ecological disaster.
Published today in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, the research suggests that in order to feed an expected population of 9.3billion by 2050, we need to dramatically cut the amount of meat we eat because rearing the animals takes so much land leaving insufficient space for crops.
The researchers argue that if we change the way we use our land, recycle waste, and dedicate enough space to growing bioenergy crops we could bring down atmospheric carbon dioxide to safe levels.
'By focusing on making agriculture more efficient and encouraging people to reduce the amount of meat they eat, we could keep global temperatures within the two degrees threshold' said Professor Tim Lenton, 'Bioenergy with carbon storage could play a major role in helping us reduce future levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.'
'With livestock production accounting for 78 per cent of agricultural land in use today, this is the area where change could have a significant impact.'
So there you have, with every mouthful of cows backside or pigs eyeballs in your McDonald's burger, you are condemning all of us to a slow, painful demise and besides, in response to the millions of times i have heard from meat eaters that Hitler was a vegetarian in order to somehow shut me up about being a vegetarian, he wasn't, he was a meat eater just like you as was Stalin, Attila the Hun, Idi Amin, Pol Pot and Genghis Khan.
Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Gandhi, Thomas Edison, Leonardo Da Vinci, Aristotle, Diogenes, Plato, Pythagoras, Socrates, Voltaire and Lisa Simpson all were though.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

No Carr Tax?

Tax avoidance is the latest hot topic thanks to The Times and David Cameron letting the cat out the bag about comedian Jimmy Carr and his K2 scheme where he does god knows what but the final result is he only pays 1% tax and keeps the other 44% in his bank account.
The irony is that much of Jimmy Carr's spiel on shows such as 10 O'clock Live is ripping into greedy bankers and expense swindling politicians and here is exposed as squirreling away £3.3 million annually through some dodgy, but legal, tax scam.
Tax avoidance is wrong and for Carr and his accountant to have to go out of their way to avoid paying tax, especially when the rest of the country is facing cuts because of reduced tax revenues coming into Government coffers, makes me angry and I hope Carr faces the rest of his career being heckled by angry taxpayers despite he latest statement which says will: 'in future conduct my financial affairs much more responsibly.' Now you got caught you will yeah.
Being a comedian who has bashed the Conservative Government over there abysmal record, the Prime Minister casually mentioning Carr and his tax avoidance during a press conference smells of revenge although it is interesting that the other people mentioned by The Times, Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen of Take That are not receiving such individual attention by the Prime Minister.
Just a coincidence probably that Gary Barlow is a Conservative Party donor and after the PM called Carr's avoidance 'morally wrong', he declined to comment on news that Barlow and the other two had used a similar avoidance scheme to place a taxable £26 million.
Mr Cameron said he was not going to give a running commentary on people's tax affairs just after he gave a running commentary on Jimmy Carr's but the Conservatives has a history of protecting their own, such as donor Michael Ashcroft who shovelled millions into an offshore account to avoid tax
and still got made a Lord nomination from the Tories.
National laughing stock John Prescott summed it up brilliantly on Twitter: 'So if you're a comedian and avoid tax, the Tories condemn you. If you're a millionaire donor and avoid tax, you get a peerage!.
When even two jags is scoring points off you, you know you are on wobbly ground Dave.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

G20 Mexico

The heads of the world's leading economies are meeting in Mexico over the next two days and top of the agenda is the crisis in Europe so expect to hear the non-European countries handing out advice on how to go about ending it all and bringing us all back into prosperity.
So we should listen and learn from the countries that have turned things around with sound economic policy. Countries like India who have a national debt of £237.1 billion or 60% of GDP. Hmm, maybe India was not the best example so what about you Canada, debt of 84% of GDP you say, okay, moving on quickly to Brazil. Debt at 61% of GDP or £310.8 billion.
Argentina? Debt at 51% of GDP or £160.9 billion in the hole. Hmmm, America, you have always got a lot to say for yourself and its all your fault anyway, how can Europe get itself out of debt, how did you do it? Oh, you never, you owe $14 trillion or 60% of your GDP.
Japan, you must have...okay, you are down £2.44 trillion or 226% of GDP.
As a country outside of the Eurozone, what advice can we, Britain, offer. None considering we are £9 trillion in debt and back in recession.
So, as i understand it, we have leaders of the leading economies who are all deep in debt, giving advice to other countries how to get out of debt.
Nope, can't see how that can possibly go wrong.
Next week, Jack Black gives his tips on how to get that toned beach body.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Goodbye TalkSport

As i have mentioned here before, i have suffered from insomnia for years so many the night i have been laying there in the dark watching the clock tick around and wondering what state i would be in at work the next day with just a few hours sleep.
One guilty pleasure of being wide awake when the majority of the country was asleep was being able to listen to TalkSport radio late night phone in.
Yes it was mostly full of lunatics spouting off about whatever bee they had in their bonnet at the time but now that TalkSport has gone 24 hour sport and got rid of all the non-sport segments, i miss it.
I do like a good old fashioned phone in where the people are not media trained and they swear and cuss and get stuck into the presenter or even forget what they are arguing about halfway through which sometimes happened.
Although never tempted to phone in myself, it was a platform for anyone who has an opinion to moan to a national audience and we need something like that, however much the last caller made you want to throw your radio out the window.
Alas, for now that is gone and I will have to find another late night radio station to listen to in the wee hours.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Why is It Raining So Much In UK This Summer?

The question everyone is asking lately is just what is going on with the UK weather at the moment? Flamin' June has become floodin' June with some reports stating that the British Summer has been abandoned and we are facing rain and storms until September, so what's going on?
Apparently, so the MET Office say, it's the North Atlantic Jet Stream that's doing it or rather the position of the thing that has moved down farther than it should be at this time of year.
The Jet Stream is a fast flowing air current and the general rule is everything above it is wet and cold while everything below it is warm and dry so June normally sees it sat up above Scotland so we get the hot, sunny summers and the badly cooked barbecue food, sunburn and the bee stings that comes with this time of year.
Only this year the Jet Stream has moved down and is flowing through the English Channel so the part of Europe that is below it, is tanning and the rest of us above it, are walking around with umbrellas.
So that explains the why the summer is rained off but there is a lot less agreement why the Jet Stream is this far south at the time of year and whether climate change is to blame.
It seems that nobody wants to break cover and say yes, the pollution we have been pumping out into the atmosphere is too blame for all this but equally nobody wants to dismiss it outright although all sides agree that the jet stream moves around all the time.
What we do know is that the longer the jet stream stays where it is, the more rain will fall on already saturated ground which in turn leads to severe flooding which we are seeing now.
So is it climate change or a natural phenomenon? If the scientists don't know then i would be liable to dismiss anyone who claims it is or isn't down to climate change but my thinking is it seems to be happening a lot more than it used to and as someone who gets sunburned and bitten every time i step outside the door in summer, i'm quite happy for the grey clouds and rain to continue.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Don't Care

I suppose i had better write some Olympic posts as it's coming up soon but, in all honestly, i don't really care much for it. Maybe that isn't fair, it's not that i don't care about the Olympics, i love watching it, i just get sick of people trying to tell me to be excited that it is here in England despite me telling them repeatedly that I don't care where it is and i would watch it wherever it was held.
So the Government is now expecting us to give it a big pat on the back because it is coming in under budget, almost half a million less than the £9 billion they expected to spend on it. £9 billion!!
Thing is though, there are those of us who remember being told that we could do it for £2 billion so to us the whole thing is £7 billion OVER budget but i don't think we are supposed to remember that, just wave our little Union Flags and cheer a lot.
The other Olympic story is the details of the opening ceremony have been released.
It's a scene of rural England with a village cricket team, farms, maypoles with children dancing around them, real clouds that would supply 'rain' and Paul McCartney and The Who are to be thrown in amongst it somewhere.
A spokesman for London 2012 said that the three-hour opening ceremony....three hours...and that were i lost the will to care again.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Obvious Solution To Gay Marriage

While the Bible does address the Big Man's view on homosexuality, it does not explicitly mention gay marriage but it is clear that God doesn't like homosexuals. To make it clear, Leviticus 20:13 states: 'If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives'.
There, that's as plain as the strange lump in the front of the vicars dress at choir practice, God wants to kill all the gays but the Church of England has to be a bit more subtle when it condemns gay marriage, bit of a public relationships disaster for their loving and caring God to be shown as a bigoted homophobe, so they say it isn't 'legal'.
Under the law, anyone who is resident in England has a legal right to marry in his or her Church of England church irrespective of religious affiliation and the minister of the parish is under a legal duty to conduct the marriage but, and here Church's wiggle room, marriage is defined as between a man and a woman.
A CoE spokesman explained that 'In every marriage service the priest begins the service by spelling out what marriage is - a union between one man and one woman with the intention of it being lifelong'.
Lifelong says the spokesman of a church that was established to permit divorce and whose founder was married six times. Ooops, they might want to rethink that line of argument.
Although i have never read the thing, my understanding is that the Bible is divided into two major sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament with the second being written because the God of the the first was a violent nasty piece of work smiting all over the place while the God of the New Testament is a merciful, caring and loving Deity.
Easy solution is get the Pope or whoever is responsible for these things, to write a third testament, one where God is less willing to put to death certain parts of society. Everyone is a winner, gays can be married, religious bigots will be able to stop hating people who are different to them, the religio's still get to believe in their mythical man in the clouds and the men wearing dresses and funny hats get to not look like such idiots with old fashioned views that should have died out with giving kids a broom and shoving them up chimneys. Simples.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Where Have All The Rebels Gone?

Brilliant series on BBC 4, 'Punk Britannia' which takes us back to the late 1970s and how bands like the the Sex Pistols and the Clash shocked parents across the land with their loud music, crude lyrics and outlandish clothes.
At that time it was all Rod Stewart and Abba and i guess Johnny Rotten belting out Anarchy in the UK would have come as a bit of a shock just as Elvis and Chuck Berry would have been back in the late 50s when they removed Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra from the top of the roost.
I have mentioned here before that i consider today's music to be weak, dominated by colourless artists picked by Simon Cowell to clog up the charts with ballads, and many of those are rehashed versions of previous ballads.
Today's musicians wouldn't emulate the bands back in the day by trashing a hotel room, you can't help but feel they would be more likely to tidy it fastidiously and leave a chocolate on the pillow for whoever was staying in it next.
Punk was more rebellious and more disquieting to the 'oldies' than anything we see today. Nobody of my generation is as appalled by Rhianna or Olly Murs as 40-somethings in the 70s were by punk.
Today's music and musicians just seem safe and nice, there is nobody making angry music full of spiky social commentary and it isn't as if today's youth have nothing to kick back against, there are wars, austerity, cuts, youth unemployment, police harassment and university fees which should be driving the backlash, but we get nothing.
So why are young folk who should be picking up a guitar, learning the 3 basic chords and driving another angry punk-esque era so passive? Where are all the rebels?
Has the age came where the youth protesting against anything and everything has ended and we now have a generation that are happy to just accept things, play by the rules and keep their heads down while making no waves, turning prematurely into a younger version of their parents.
Come on kids, you are just where the politicians and your parents want you and that should scare the hell out of you and if it doesn't i despair for you.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

For Future Reference

Very interesting piece on RT today that may be worth stowing away for future reference.
They are reporting that the Syrian opposition has got their hands on chemical weapons from Libya which they allegedly plan to use against civilians and pin the atrocity on the Assad regime. The report claims that the opposition group in possession of the weapons are being trained in its use inside Turkey.
It is interesting not only because of the massacres in Qubair and Hama which both sides blamed each other for, but because it comes days after Alex Thomson from Channel 4 news accused the Free Syrian Army of trying to set him and his crew up to be killed by government forces by sending there unmarked car down a road patrolled by the Syrian Army.
'I’m quite clear the rebels deliberately set us up to be shot by the Syrian army. Dead journos are bad for Damascus,' he stated.
'I have no doubt in my mind what happened, nor independently, does the very experienced cameraman I was with, and, perhaps more importantly than that, neither does the driver or the translator we were working with have any doubt at all that we were deliberately led out of that town, which the rebels knew was dangerous. We were led there in a car with four men. Two or three of them were armed. They told us to go down a route which looked dangerous to us, but we trusted them, we said we would go down the route and turn. We turned and found it was blocked.
That was a roadblock which they had to have known was there. There was nobody around and at that point we were forced to turn the vehicle around in a free-fire zone and were duly fired upon. We were definitely exposed to a dangerous situation. And I have absolutely no doubt they did it deliberately. When we reappeared, still alive, the car full of men saw us, turned round and drove off at speed'.
Might just be worth tucking away in the back of the mind for future reference the calibre of people idiots like William Hague want to go to war for.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Obama or Romney? Same Difference

Before the last American elections, it was a simple choice for the left wing, George W Bush out and the peace loving Barack Obama in and how we celebrated when it came to pass and Bush, the brainless, God fearing warmonger was shuffled off to his Texan ranch and the saintly Obama was now in place to end the wars, stop the torture and close Guantanamo Bay.
Things turned out differently and under his leadership, Guantanamo remains open for business and Obama has not only carried on the Bush doctrine but expanded on it with drone attacks in Pakistan and invading Libya and threatening Iran and Syria with the same which puts the left in a bit of a predicament.
We don't want another period of what Obama is offering but the alternative is Mitt Romney who seems to have a foreign policy that could have been written by the same people who gave us George W, so who should the pacifists and anti-war supporters be hoping finds themselves in the White House after this November's elections?
That Obama has been a disappointment is an understatement, the Nobel peace prize was awarded much in anticipation that he would bring a halt to the murder and mayhem that Bush unleashed but all he has done is pick up the baton and run with it while sounding more articulate while doing so.
American troops are still in Iraq and Afghanistan, the prison in Guantanamo is still there, drone attacks are bringing daily death to Pakistan, Libyans have seen American firepower replace one murderer with a gang of warring factions, Palestinians continue to see their land stolen by Americas ally and the people of Iran and Syria are being maneuvered into position to be the next to feel the shock and awe of America's ongoing mission to impose Democracy by cruise missile.
So do we cheer for the articulate black man with a nice face who has been responsible for continuing the ideology of the man we so despised or the religious fanatic that is making no secret that he will be doing much the same?
Tough choice but it looks as though whoever America chooses this election, it will be more of the same and that should depress not only those of us wishing for a more peaceful World but everyone who has watched a television since 2001 and despaired at just how cheap life is to those in power.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Make A Decision Europe

At the start of the Eurocrisis, the PIIGS of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain were targeted at the countries that would be hit the hardest and drag everyone down with them and so it seems this is what has happened.
Spain are on the brink of asking for a 200 billion Euro bailout so it must be time to consider losing the Euro and all countries return to the their own currency or everyone joining together to make one European superstate.
So far, the PIIGS have received over £2 Trillion of bailout money and yet they are still set to collapse so the choices are continue giving them money and setting more severe austerity measures that they patently can't enforce or just let the whole thing collapse and have done with it.
Obviously £2 trillion is not enough so we can pay it again and hope things pick up and the whole thing may well fall down still anyway or cut our losses and bring it to a halt now.
I don't know why the PIIGS can't be dropped from the Euro and let them go back to their Drachmas and Lira and leave the rest of the Euro countries to carry on, we kept our pound and still trade so why can't Spain?
I have heard that the UK stand to lose up to 4% of our GDP if Greece comes out of the Euro, why? Greece will still be there and it will still buy and sell with us so why should it matter if they pay in Euros or Drachma?
I don't understand the mechanics of how it all works but i can see when we are throwing good money after bad and the PIIGS are draining the rest of Europe so cut them loose, let them run things there own way because the worst possible outcome is what we have now where nobody does anything except kick the can up the road and hope that by the time we get to it things have improved.
I see the choices as let the whole thing go, let the PIIGS go or all jump in lock, stock and barrel. None of them ideal but something has to be done.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Zombie Conspiracy

Such is the growing concern, the US Center for Disease Control has been forced to address the growing problem of reanimated corpses returning to eat our vital organs, stating that the agency 'does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead or one that would present zombie-like symptoms'.
Pffft, of course they'd say that wouldn't they but i'd much rather put my faith in the people behind websites like The Great Zombie Conspiracy and the Zombie Attacks Thread when it comes to my safety from flesh eating monsters thank you very much.
As the Citizens Zombie Research Group say 'The United States government and other nations have covered up the existence of flesh eating re-animated corpses in what the group calls "The Great Zombie Conspiracy".
See, told you and it goes on to warn that 'It will be unfortunate when the zombie plague is knocking on your front door and you are not prepared'.

Need evidence that the Zombie apocalypse is at hand? For the last few years there have been stories of people being eaten by other people and folk coming back to life, stories such as Father bites off sons penis and baby wakes after being dead for 12 hours.
Then there was man serves up own genitals at dinner party, woman turned into pastries, man has part of his face bitten off and the gruesome husband eat wifes arm.
Not convinced that the dead are coming back to life yet? How about man declared dead found to be alive , baby declared dead comes alive at funeral, dead man wakes up at own funeral.
Still more evidence here woman attacked by six women and bitten, man has faced chewed by naked assailant, Russian man eats organs of 6 people and the clincher for me Man throws own intestines at police.
Then there is husband eats wifes lips, Man kills 20 and eats bodies and man eats flatmates heart and brain.

On top of all that, the Russians have developed a weapon that turns people into virtual zombies so it should be beyond doubt of anyone with an ounce of sense that we are in danger and helpless in the onslaught of brain slurping zombies. Or are we?
Although the undead are notoriously difficult to kill, on account of them already being dead, there is one guaranteed way to stop a zombie before it can sink its teeth into that gooey grey stuff inside your skull.
Basing all i know about Zombies from Scooby Doo, the zombies brain, or what there is left of it, is the target area so that's where to aim preferably with a safe dropped from a reasonable height or if a safe is not handy, an Egyptian obelisk or even a piano will do just as well.
Most importantly stay safe people, with all those zombie hordes waiting to pounce, it's dangerous out there.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Obama Looking Shaky

I have largely ignored Mitt Romney, mainly because i didn't think he had a cat in hells chance of ousting Obama from the White House but suddenly Obama's grip on the Presidency is starting to look a lot less secure.
The latest unemployment figures of 8.2% have come as a bit of a blow and a much trumpeted statistic since they were announced is that no president has won re-election with unemployment at over 8%.
He has five months to go until election day and from my seat across the Atlantic, Obama has been brutally disappointing but the analysts are saying it will all come down to the US economy and on that Obama is sinking.
Obama has been pointing to the crisis in Europe as a threat to economic recovery in the US but if he is relying on a quick solution in Europe to help him stay in the White House, Romney may as well begin choosing curtains now because our economy won't be picking up anytime soon.
So we had better start digging into all things Romney because Obama may not be the shoe-in we all assumed.
Oh look, Romney is a fundamentalist religionist and his wife had $3m stashed in a secret Swiss account...oh dear.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

You're Fired

It's never easy sacking anyone but sometimes there is just too many people and not enough money to go around so the only option is to let someone go.
As we know, the global economy has run out of money so there are just too many countries and not enough money but which country should we wag the 'you're fired' finger at?
Maybe we can discuss it over a cup of tea (Chinese invention) coffee (Ethiopian invention) or a coke (American invention). Beer (Syria) and wine (Georgia) will also be made available.
If every country can send a representative and put forward a case as to what they have given that has benefited mankind, we can get rid of the one that has offered the least.
Those that can't get here by bicycle (German), car (German), plane (American) boat (Egyptian) train (British) or hot air balloon (French) can possibly link up via the computer (British) or telephone (British).
As we are waiting, maybe we can listen to a CD (Dutch/Japanese), read a book (China), listen to the radio (Serbian/American) watch a film (French), play a video game (American) or watch some TV (British) although i will have to get some batteries (Italian) for the remote control (American).
I have printed (China) the criteria onto paper (China) so we can sift through the evidence of who has not been pulling their weight when it comes to making our time here more bearable.
I would like to do it democratically (Greek) but i think out of the major G20 countries, there are two countries that stand out as not really having contributed much if anything.
Further investigation shows that Canada gave us the foghorn, gas mask, trivial pursuit, insulin, pacemaker and the Wonderbra which are all very important so i'm afraid that the decision has been made.
Unfortunately giving us the didgeridoo, dual flush toilet, a stick that comes back to you when you throw it and Rolf Harris just doesn't cut it so Australia, please empty your desk and form an orderly queue and make your way to the exit. Thank you for the...well... not much to be honest. You're fired.
Are they gone? Good, never liked them, always whinging about something. Right, who has the fireworks (China) and champagne (English)?

Friday, 1 June 2012

Chavez Does It Again

Two things that have the more excitable citizens of America foaming at the mouths are Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and saying anything negative about their gun laws so when you put the two together the sounds of heads exploding all across the United States must have been deafening.
Personally i have never understood either, to my mind Chavez has been a godsend for the poor in his country and i have never heard a convincing argument to why anyone supports arming their own countrymen to the teeth but there you go, that's just me and when i read that Chavez has banned private gun ownership in Venezuela, i thought this was another example of why Chavez is by far my favourite politician in power today.
I couldn't resist peeking at some of the blogs and sites that Charlton Heston would have been proud to comment on before they prised that gun from his cold, dead hand and sure enough the gun-nuts were out in force condemning the removal of killing machines from the general public.
The general consensus seemed to be that if anyone tried to remove their weapons, they would kill whatever Government official turned up which doesn't really back up their 'i'm sane enough to own a firearm' defence. As sane as the next guy if the next guy happens to be Anders Behring Breivik maybe.
Much about the right to bear arms being the cornerstone of a free society and then just general abuse about Chavez being a fascist/Communist/dictator leading an authoritarian regime and quite a few mentions of hoping he dies from cancer soon after his recent scare.
One comment at a site that had a picture of a gun toting Rambo at the top summed it all up for me.
'When it comes to peace with my fellow man, I ultimately rely on firepower'.
Not understanding, tolerance, empathy or forgiveness, the way to peace is to blast them with as powerful a gun as you can hold.
Keep it up Hugo because when the nutters don't agree with you, you know you are doing something right.

Have A Listen To This Ray...

For some reason or another they were playing quite a few Kinks songs on the radio this morning. All very nice and the ones i knew the words to i sang along with and the ones i never i just hummed along to the tune. One of them was a song called 'Picture Book' that i have heard a few times before and kind of knew the tune to but it wasn't until halfway through and the rift had gone through my head a few times that i thought, Hang about, this tune is exactly the same as 'Warning' by Green Day. Unless my ears are very much mistaken, Green Day just lifted the tune wholesale and after checking if anyone else in Internetland had noticed it, bugger me if i don't stumble across another song that Green Day had lifted the tune from completely, Dillinger Four's 'Doublewhiskeycokenoice' which is American Idiot with different words. Not even subtle, it's exactly the same.
You would have to have ears drums made of brick to not here that The Beach Boys 'Surfin' USA' is Chuck Berry's 'Sweet Little Sixteen' but Berry's record company had to sue the Beach Boys who ludicrously denied nicking the tune and were told to give Berry co-writing credit for and royalties.
Other famous bands which have been sued for lifting tunes from other songs include The Beatles "All You Need Is Love" who had to pay royalties to Glenn Millers record company for stealing the tune to 'In the Mood,"
Using a trick he obviously learnt from his former bandmates, George Harrison was sued for plagiarising the Chiffons' "He's So Fine" for the melody of his "My Sweet Lord".
Avril Lavinge, Coldplay, The Bee Gees, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Led Zepplin have all been sued for plagiarising other peoples songs. Even Ray Parker Jnr who sang the Ghostbusters theme tune was sued for nicking the tune from a Huey Lewis song and Oasis were sued for $500,000 by The New Seekers after the song "Shakermaker" was shown to have used the melody from probably the most famous coke advert ever, "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing".
Nirvana only escaped a lawsuit from Killing Joke for lifting the riff to "Come as You Are" by Kurt Cobain's early death so it seems everyone is at it but it doesn't make it right.
If you use a tune that someone else has written, don't try and take credit for it and make it clear that you didn't write it because somewhere someone will hear a song on the radio and say 'hang on, that's the same tune as...' and you just end up looking like an idiot, especially if you try to deny it.
Oh, and someone should really play Green Day's 'Warning' to Ray Davies and give him the number of a good lawyer because its so obviously plagiarism that he could start choosing a new yacht to replace the one the taxman took.