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JANUARY 2004

Friday 30 January 2004 - doing a Hutton, now with extra whiteness

Breathtaking conclusions of the Hutton report, heard one Labour MP remark he'd 'rather overdone it', which was an understatement. 'Bloody Sunday' Hutton found the government to be totally trustworthy, guilty of no wrong and definitely not responsible for 'sexing up' the lets go and bomb Iraq dossier which alleged WMDs gallore and 45 minutes before they hit the UK, this in a situation where nothing has been found and the US has admitted there was nothing there. Either this aged lawyer has spent too much time in court rather than the real world, or he's on another time frame from the rest of us. The strange thing is the acceptance of his judgement as if he has a direct line to truth.

Don't know what I'd prefer; unchecked triumphalism [which would, at least, have been honest] or the oleaginous acceptance of the findings with serious face and the wish to 'draw a line' under it all, which is what we've got from all government spokesmen and women. The man responsible for rejuvenating the BBC resigns on principal [all MPs can look this word up if it isn't familiar] and on behalf of the Beeb which he clearly loves, and within which he was the most loved director general there's ever been. The odious Campbell chimes in with his usual mix of bullying and self-righteousness which the whole nation must be deeply sick of hearing by now. That this is an attack on the freedom of the BBC is clear, it has frequently run up against politicians, which is probably what endears it to most of the population, this episode will, unexpectedly, strengthen that attachment by reminding people of the role it plays. Anyone who pisses the government cabal of the day has got to be doing some good.

Walking today across the frozen, ice encrusted fields I notice that the mole nation is still at work building extensions, with neat piles of red earth beacons amongst the grey-white landscape. Must be nice to just think 'I think I'll make some more rooms for the kids' and go on and do it without having to be examined endlessly by bureaucrats; no paperwork, no delays, no inflated builders' bills.

Regular readers will notice the box of ads on the right, discreet and non-obtrusive, they are put there by Google under their 'adsense' programme which can be reached at https://www.google.com/adsense/. These are 'intelligent' ads, tailored by bots to match the ads' content to the website content. They are pay per click, so please feel free to click any of the ads. It pays tiny amounts, but it slowly adds up, hopefully, to useful earnings which might at least cover the ISP running costs of this beautifully-crafted website :-)

Wednesday 28 January 2004 - a bullshit detector is what's needed

I read today that portable lie detector spectacles have been developed which enable the wearer to detect a person lying when questioned. Putting aside its echoes of 'X-Ray Specs' which must have been the first scam, I think this could be an invaluable tool to aid the democratic process for all those voters who don't possess an inbuilt bullshit detector, which, on reflection, is all voters, because if they had one they wouldn't be voting. Imagine how politicians will fare when everyone can suss the lies just like that. Although only available to police and security services initially, it can't be that long before it's for sale on ebay, eventually the technology will appear in mobile phones as another means of selling them yet again to the same people, and they could be just the thing for a people's news gathering service, with the advantage that any politician caught by one is likely to be accompanied by a flashing L:Y:I:N:G along the top of the screen. Blair will have to avoid answering questions from anyone wearing glasses. He couldn't last long.

The Hutton report into the death of Dr Kelly is now due, and anyone expecting it to be critical of government had better take a reality check. Hutton is a 'safe pair of hands', part of the establishment and not about to rock any boats. It was he who represented the Army in the most disgraceful whitewash of recent years, the first Bloody Sunday enquiry, set up to find out why unarmed, peaceful, republican civil-rights marchers were mown down by British paras. He found nothing wrong, believed everything the army said, and decided that the soldiers had been shot at by armed republicans and therefore those shot got what they deserved, or words to that effect, the enquiry bought it. Thus the British State protects its own. Hutton is not about to blame Blair for Kelly's death, although it's likely the BBC will get some as the bringers of bad news for the government on the brink of an illegal invasion of another country. On the crucial question of whether the so-called intelligence on Iraq was 'sexed up', it's likely that Campbell, Blair's bully boy and dissembler-in-chief of the most manipulative and dishonest government the UK has ever suffered, will be found 'innocent' of any wrongdoing. So, we weren't lied to consistently from the day Blair decided with Bush to invade, what intelligence there was [since shown to have been totally unreliable anyway] was not changed to suit the warmonger's agenda, and Dr Kelly was either lying when he said it was or he didn't say it in the first place - the BBC must have made it up. Anyone looking for openness, integrity and democratic principles had best look elsewhere than the British state of which Hutton is a fully paid up member. The astonishing aspect is how he's been put forward by politicians as a totally impartial figure who would get at the truth no matter what. They were never going to leave it to a jury.

Tuesday 27 January 2004 - a small step for mankind, a small triumph for empathy

Good news for anyone who respects the rights of other animals today, Cambridge University has announced the abandonment of plans to build a 'Primate Research Facility' because costs had spiraled and they couldn't afford the cost of security, seeing it would have been a target for animal rights protesters. This wasn't going to be a centre for research into primates, or for the benefit of primates, it was, as ever, for the benefit of the human primate, but would have used other primates to experiment on. As Phoney Blair and three-cars Prescott were all in favour of it, I think they should have been prepared to be experimented on for the benefit of the rest of us. Blakemore and his fellow perverts must be highly miffed they won't be able to fiddle about with powerless monkeys and apes at Cambridge, drilling into their brains and fitting electrodes to body parts while they inject them with noxious substances to see what happens. These unevolved, semi-human experimenters were doubtless the kids who weren't repelled at the thought of cutting up a frog at school like the rest of us, but were strangely turned on by it and wanted more. I'm glad there are those that risk their freedom in the fight for justice and respect for our cousins. It shouldn't happen to a Bushmonkey, although I for one would be prepared to make an exception in his case. In fact, as very few politicians have any usefullness at all, it would be a major contribution to humanity if they were all gathered together for scientific research, first thing would be to find a brain.

As if we didn't have enough to worry about with global warming, there are those around who seriously contend that we are heading for global freezing and a new ice age. Visit http://www.iceagenow.com/Growing_Glaciers.htm to read an alternative view. I'm not sure if I believe their conclusions, but anyway I prefer the global warming scenario so I hope they're not right. If they are, maybe we should all be out burning anything we can find like car tyres, plastic and Macdonalds restaurants to keep the carbon-dioxide up, temperature rising and the ice age at bay for a little longer. Of course, we're overdue another ice age so it's probably just been delayed by undustrialisation. If ice shelfs, glaciers and the poles are thickening, it could be the first signs of the [relatively] rapid onset of the next one. We'll have to grow body hair again, oh bugger, just when we were almost hairless.

Saturday 24 January 2004 - Kentucky fried flu or Thai curried virus

China is expanding into polluting industrialisation at such an alarming rate that even international shipping companies can't keep up with the demand, and more ships are being built to take the resultant 'goods' around the world. As a result, Chinese personal car use is mushrooming, gobbling up more oil reserves at an increasing rate, and the birth rate is providing millions more mouths to feed every year. A lot of info on the end of oil [and of humans?] and related issues is available at http://www.dieoff.org/ or for a slightly different point of view try http://www.iceagenow.com/Growing_Glaciers.htm

Thailand and Vietnam are the latest Asian countries to breed a new strain of bird flu which has crossed the species barrier and killed several people already, and is now in eight Asian countries. The fear is that it will spread round the world [as is usually the case] and kill millions in a pandemic equivalent to the 1918 one. As there are a lot more people around now than in 1918, and a lot more inter-continental travel, the chances are good. The UK depends on these countries to supply its huge chicken habit, which the UK industry can't supply. The risk is caused by the unspeakable way the Thais, Vietnamese and other Asian societies keep chickens; crammed into crates with no room to move around, inside dank, dusty sheds, in close proximity to humans. The concept of humane treatment of animals seems never to have occurred to these cultures where dogs are also a part of the human diet. No UK laws on humane animal treatment are allowed to interfere with this important import, and all of the chicken eaten in take-aways and in pies and other 'value-added' products [many of them aimed at children] is sourced in this way. Free range is a foreign concept to SE Asia. We are what we eat.

Fascinating pictures of Mars are reaching Earth now and the scientists are well pleased with their work. Images this good shouldn't go to waste and I'm sure they'll come in very useful as backdrop when Nasa stages a 'Mars Landing' by astronauts in the future. By then the cut and paste techniques and video enhancement will make it impossible to tell whether it's real or fake. Holidaymakers will be able to pose in front of blue screens and emerge with pictures of them on Mars! A whole new industry of virtual space holidays will be born. After all, who wants to sit in a metal bucket for six months, crapping in your pants, only to stagger about for a few minutes before doing the whole thing in reverse and risking burning up on re-entry? Virtual travel is a whole lot safer and with holiday snaps too. Next will be a brain implant with memories of the trip as part of the all-round package, only for the rich though.

Thursday 22 January 2004 - up in smoke

With the impending change in the law on cannabis, moving it from Class B to Class C, a rabble of the usual suspects is making a fuss and predicting all manner of dire effects from increased teenage suicides to the total break-down of society. Wild claims that have been well and truly negated over the decades have appeared again, and the media as usual is incapable of discerning which is serious and which is loony so gives a platform to anyone with something to say against it no matter how deranged. And to think they accuse cannabis users of being out of touch with reality! It all boils down to 'Are you experienced?' Those who have never tried it and who imagine all manner of effects are easy prey to scare stories which feed their opposition without once dealing in facts. Those who have or do use it are in the situation still of being guilty of breaking the law and so are circumspect about what they say and what they admit to for fear of repercussions.

Having lost the argument against cannabis, the real rabids have mounted a hysterical attack, this time on the government for daring to listen and take on board at least part of the decriminalisation argument [which has largely come from the police in recent times] whereas they should be criticised for not having the guts to face up to the situation and make the only logical step, to remove this insane law. The ignorant still cling to the idea that it wouldn't have been made illegal in the first place if it wasn't dangerous, not knowing the history of the legislation and it's - commercial - reasons for being enacted. We've been through this so many times, the so called 'debate' on cannabis which is merely the rehashing of old, tired, discredited lies about its effects when all anyone has to do is try it. The police at least have understood the effect of anti-drug laws - to hand a ready market to organised crime to make lots of money and ensure all manner of drugs are readily available across society including to children. This change in the law does nothing to address that, and will probably mean even more profits are handed to organised crime by increasing slightly the demand.

Rather than waiting for a government with the bottle to really address the issue and act, the people must rely on themselves and do all they can to continue the adoption of cannabis, in other words, a slow evolutionary approach which in time will undermine anything that the knee-jerk anti-pleasure fascists can think up. What really pisses me off is the unrelenting abuse of argument the antis use to vilify a herb which is so beneficial across a wide range of situations and has been used since the dawn of humans. They make claims such as causing mental illness, dementia and suicide without a shred of evidence, and no one confronts them. They cite medical 'facts' about its effect on the brain which are actually lies put out by discredited American 'scientists' with murky records decades ago and based on animal experiments if based on anything at all. They never address the fact that we have receptors for the cannabinols in our brains, but talk about it remaining in the body as proof that it causes harm. They make pathetic claims that it does more harm than tobacco despite the fact that tobacco kills hundreds of thousands of people a year and they're hard put to find a dozen cannabis 'victims' who, if they were ever to be closely investigated would doubtless turn out to be no more evidential than 'he was a heavy user for twenty years and then he had a psychosis'.

If this was all theoretical and didn't affect anyone, it would be an interesting debate. In fact, it affects many people in a variety of ways and is damaging on both a personal and societal level. The hypocrisy it displays is an object lesson to the young and is more than anything responsible for the increased use by young people. For authoritarians now to feign concern for 'growing brains' when they do nothing to keep cigarettes from children and are ineffective in keeping alcohol from them rather questions their sincerity. Of course children should not be using psychoactive substances [or addictive one] but the situation has ensured that they have ready access rather than prevented it. At least if it had been legalised in the sixties - what some of us wanted then - it would have become an accepted adult product, under strict controls, sold in outlets capable of being closed down if found to be breaking the law, and with an ethos of being bad for children. We would at least have a system of controls which could be strengthened if deemed appropriate, and even if there was some take up by children as there is with alcohol, the balance would be at least partially on the side of preventing access under a certain age. As it is, the drug is available to any child in the country who decides they'd like to try it and appear cool to their peers. There are a lot of things children shouldn't have ready access to including guns. Adults can make their own minds up and don't need medical fascists to tell them how to live. We could all live in intensive care pods ensuring our utmost comfort and nutrition, no risk, no life. Maybe they all sucked their lead pencils as kids.

Worth a trip http://www.liquidcrystalvision.com/4_liquidmarket.htm#

Tuesday 20 January 2004 - political incorrectness and the chatterati

At last, after many years, the doctrine of multi-culturalism is being questioned. The chatterati have long held onto this as a core belief, a multi-cultural society where hundreds of different cultures exist side by side, and anyone criticising it has been labeled as a racist. This was because those promoting multiculturalism were suffering from a post-empire guilt complex, and so conflated culture with race. They promoted their vision with encouragement to immigrants to retain their cultures and, rather than becoming British, should stick with their own culture and language. As the cultural ghettos grew, any friction with native Brits was put down to racism [sometimes it was] and the whole issue of whether immigrants should be encouraged to become British was undiscussable. In effect, it was turning Britain [and other European countries] into a land of bantustans, in effect apartheid.

Now this deranged idea is coming under increased criticism; in France, Germany, and Holland, and also in the UK, it is now being seriously challenged, but not without resistance from the media luvvies who are reacting in their usual brainless way to the very suggestion that those who have been saying multiculturalism is a bad thing and responsible for much of the reaction to immigrants have been right all along. Now, immigrants who have been encouraged to form their own communities and have as little to do with the macro society as they wish, are being told they must learn the language of their adoptive country and integrate. I look forward to the day when government agencies no longer have to print leaflets and other information in up to six or more langages because some people who have been here for years still haven't learnt the language. It's difficult for them of course, and doubly difficult for Muslims who had thought they had everyone running scared of upsetting them, and now find they aren't so scary after all. The head scarf issue in Holland and France is central to this, it is a very visible signal of muslim men's power over women and decidedly non-European. The chatterati will fight back of course, they won't give up their core beliefs without a fight, and will find themselves on the side of some of the most repressive people on the planet; the self-elected mullahs and other petty dictators from cultures which are still in the fourteenth century.

I heard on the radio this morning, a representative from the Jewish Chronicle, speaking on behalf of all UK Jews, talking about their objection to the new Israeli ambassador on the grounds that his English wasn't good enough and so he wouldn't give a good account of Israel's position. This encapsulates the Jewish problem, are they British or Israeli? I don't have any opinion on the Australian ambassador, despite the fact that the majority of Australians were originally from Britain and the country is still overwhelmingly anglo saxon. Why is that?

Sunday 18 January 2004 - depends upon your point of view

It's one thing to enjoy science fiction [emphasis on fiction] but I long ago stopped thinking it somehow gave a window on the future. With a few rare exceptions, science fiction has given us boys own yarns in an imaginary space setting. Within that setting, many writers have explored the human condition, using the leap from a real world to free them to explore. The trouble is that some people, having discovered this genre young, seem to get fixed in a mind set which holds it's only a question of time before it all comes true. With the taking up of the genre by the film industry, this has further involved those who never read the books, and the message 'space, the final frontier' has taken root in the public mind. The 'real' space race has fuelled this, but I sometimes wonder how much of NASA's budget goes on simulations, which have got so good of late it's difficult to tell they're not real. Even pictures from Mars are a construct as the data comes streaming back to Earth in code and has to be assembled into a picture, colours chosen for effect.

Back in the days of the first 'moon landing' the quality of the pictures was much worse than now - and in black and white - and, although the special effects skills were more basic then, scenes could be simulated just as easily. Thing is, we live in a moving picture age, everyone is visually experienced and used to taking in information from pictures, but few have the experience of 'behind the lens'. In the first 'Moon landing', the classic shot is of the 'first step for mankind' where we see the first astronaut stepping onto the surface of the Moon. Fine. But where was it shot from? The picture suggests a view several metres from the landing craft; how did that camera get there in an age when remote control of cameras was hardly an art? Are we to believe that the craft fired out a remote camera which landed perfectly and then started to film in exactly the right direction at the time the astronaut made his move?

There are other things like the Stars and Stripes, proudly erected, flapping in the breeze, which, with no atmosphere is a difficult thing to comprehend, and a few other factors that others have mentioned. All in all it does suggest a fabrication, after all, there are plenty of places in the US which look just like the moon, and they desperately needed to show the world in the 1960s that communism wasn't a match for good ole capitalism...

And now Bushmonkey has revived the whole thing with a John Wayne speech about frontiers blah blah blah. Maybe he just saw '2001 - a Space Odysey' and was inspired by the cousin throwing the bone in the air.

Friday 16 January 2004 - more of the same bullshit

I'm not sure who's more stupid; Bushmonkey with his plans to conquer space starting with Mars, or those who have applauded it and jumped on the bandwagon. Apart from the fact that it's a blatant attempt to make himself popular for the next election, the US couldn't afford it, being already the largest debter in the world. On top of that there's the impossibility of humans to withstand long periods in space and the certainty that if they were actually to make it to Mars, none of the intrpid explorers would be able to stand after such a long time in weightlessness. Then there's the question of the Van Allen belt [of high intensity radiation] which makes it lethal to go any distance from Earth without getting fried, and which points strongly to the idea that the moon landings were staged on Earth to steal back the limelight from the communists who had just put a man in orbit.

It's fascinating to see the human race continue in its old ways, trashing the planet, while fantasising Star Trek garbage as if things aren't going to change radically over the next 10-20 years enough to make any thought of firing rockets off somewhat academic. It will be more a case of 'is there intelligent life on Earth' than was there water on Mars. It's like the whole species is living in virtual reality where a high-tech solution to every problem will be found, but the planet is about to smack everyone round the head with a big stick in reality. When the fossil reserves of oil run out - within the next few decades - our whole way of life will change despite anything we do.

Our burden on the ecosystem will diminish considerably as a consequence of the oil crash and global warming, the world population will be culled by natural processes; disease, famine from widespread crop failures and wars, further diminishing our effect on the planet and allowing the natural regeneration the world needs. There's a lot to feel hopeful about in this scenario once you accept that most of the human race will perish, leaving survivors who can cope. At least second time round [or third??] there won't be any fossil fuel to exploit so less opportunity to cause another round of global warming. That's as long as the present global warming doesn't go too far but can be balanced by vegetation in a relatively short span of time [100 years minimum] otherwise the weather system could do in any survivors of the first phase of the breakdown. Hunter gatherers will be best equipped to survive, city dwellers the least. My guess is peasant farmers all over will survive with reduced numbers, and maybe even some greens who got it together, bankers, celebrities, policemen and politicians will be superfluous and won't be missed.

And still the roads are packed with cars and trucks and the skies are full of jets as if there was a tomorrow.

Tuesday 6 January 2004 - writer's block or post festival ennui?

So, it's been some time before my fingers twinkled and dripped pearls of wisdom. During that time real life seems to have taken over and my thoughts have remained locked in my brain. I've considered why this has been, but, despite a few ideas on the subject, I'm none the wiser as to the real reason why I have failed to write for a month despite several tries. Perhaps the news that a close friend has cancer is connected with it, my desire to help has led me to a number of alternative websites which have a vast amount of information to assimilate before I can muster my thoughts. All that takes concentration, which I seem to lack increasingly. Perhaps it's information overload.

RAW is the Sierra Club's twice weekly email update to equip everyone in the ongoing effort to educate and inform others of the devastating breadth and ferocity of the Bush administration's assault on our environment. We need your help to get this message out to the rest of America and the world, please forward this link and encourage your friends, family members, and co-workers to subscribe. Go to http://www.sierraclub.org/raw and subscribe to it. Just before Christmas, the Bush administration exempted the Tongass National Forest from the Roadless Area Conservation rule--finalizing a plan that will devastate wild undeveloped areas of America's largest temperate rainforest. Already, nearly 50 timber sales are ready to go forward. The move defies close to 250,000 public comments opposing the plan and comes as the administration is considering more exemptions for forests in the lower 48 states. More info at http://www.sierraclub.org/forests/. And http://www.moveon.org/ is another good US website worth a visit.

 


 

 


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