Thursday, 31 March 2011

'Residents Protected From Tax Increase'- The Con is ON

Residents of Bedfordshire will most likely have received their Council Tax document explaining how your taxes are worked out and how your money is spent with the headline; 'Residents protected from council tax increase'. You must feel better and safer already?

The percentage break down is given to you, 81% for Central Bedfordshire Council, 9% Police, 5% each for Town and Parish Average and Fire Service.  The booklet provided heavily repeats the party line on the 'need' for cuts and austerity measures, as has been well documented the past few months, recently culminating in a mass demonstration and march, on March 26th 2011, where upwards of 500,000 people descended upon London to say "enough is enough", as the divide between those that 'haves' and those that are 'have nots' widens ever more.

The cuts the government say are being balanced between 'those services they have to provide by law' versus 'those they do not'. These services being seen as discretionary. The booklet goes on to explain: 'Our relationship with schools will change as the national agenda will see them becoming increasingly independent from councils',  sounds like another way of privatising to me. but we shall wait and see. If the governments insistence on throwing money at faith schools is anything to go by then it seems like a good bet.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Bedfordshire Police Authority both feature in the booklet, championing the fact that by 'working together we have cut costs by 45%' in producing said booklet.  A closer look at this statement will show it up for what it is, a nonsense.
Recently Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service built a brand new fire station in Dunstable at the cost of .£4m.  Looks, it is said, can be deceiving and so is the case here. The smoke house used for important, safety critical, search and rescue training, has not been fit for purpose since the day it opened and has recently been budgeted for again, somewhere in the region of £8000.  A fine saving in tax payers money.  Not to mention the drill yard, where basic daily training takes place, has too been not fit for purpose, on and off, since being opened by Princess Anne in January 2009.  I will not mention the drill yard at Luton Fire Station as it has lost count how many times this has been laid and relaid by the incompetent firms that seem to end up with building contracts.

Upon reflection that 45% seems like good value...

An Empty Control Room
Both the Fire Service and the Police Authority repeat the fact that despite the upcoming and on going cuts they will 'continue to provide the high quality of service' that you the people currently receive. At this point I would like to inform you of the 40 Firefighter 'posts', not people, being made redundant by the Fire and Rescue Service (by removing the human element and calling it posts draws less attention and potential kick back) and the 60 Police Officers or so, plus police staff that will also be lost behind their cuts.  This does not even include the Regional Fire Control fiasco which has cost the taxpayer, you and ourseleves, hundreds of millions of pounds, for a project that never even got off the ground and is still costing us in monthly rent whilst these buildings stand empty.  Not to mention the upheaval and distress caused on control centre staff and their families up and down the country on the uncertainty of their futures.

The average Band D cost of Policing in your County costs you 40p per day with 23p per day for the Fire Service.  This is subject to change however as Councillor Sian Timoney, Chair of the Bedfordshire and Luton Fire Authority, says in her 'looking ahead' segment: "in maintaining the high quality of our services and ensuring that our dedicated staff can remain safe, well trained, and well-equipped" that YOU the people can help them plan ahead by filling in an attached free-post questionnaire called 'Budgetary Participation', letting the Fire Authority know if you would be "willing to pay a few pence more in future years" to protect your Fire and Rescue Service.  Do not be fooled for one minute that this 'voluntary' extra payment will benefit the Firefighters, you and or your families one bit. If you have already filled one in and sent it back then why not get in contact with your local councillor or fire station to see what the cuts, review of stations, crewing etc could REALLY mean for your safety.  If you haven't then we would also advocate you doing some research on what signing up for a 'few extra pennies' really means in correlation to the up coming cuts facing your local emergency services.

Questionnaires can and will be loaded in a particular way to gather the information the recipient requires. Statistics can be used to prove anything. Have an informed say.

Civil Enforcement Officer in the 'Act'
The only way for these people to make cuts and to 'maintain' the service they currently provide is to cut corners. For example the the looming move towards 'co-responding' where firefighters will be used to paper over the cracks in an ailing ambulance service.  It is like going to the doctors for an operation only for it to be done by a butcher.  How about the Government granting extra powers to Traffic Wardens who are now called 'Civil Enforcement Officers' to deal with certain levels of offences, or private security firms that are being granted extra powers in a move to 'relinquish the police from petty theft' crimes as demonstrated recently at Victoria Station in London.  Follow the attached link for the full story.

Another private security firm operating out of Essex, Brentwood, is charging residents £1 a week to 'patrol the streets'.  In another region a private call centre firm has been lined up to process your emergency calls rather than through a police could not make it up.

More actors in costumes is exactly what we need.

So for Bedfordshire we will see 60 less Police 'Officers', 40 less Firefighter 'posts', which equates to the loss of an entire watch or shift from each fire station, and a service that is maintained with fewer resources and increased work loads potentially. You can expect this all for a few extra pence as the cuts get deeper in the coming years.

Indeed, we are all in it together. In a right mess.

Quotes taken from 'Council Tax News', BBC News and ''

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

David vs. Goliath

Humans love a good story of 'good triumphing over evil' or 'the little man beats the big bully' well such a story happens to be out there and you may not even know about it....

Pablo Fajardo
A self trained lawyer from Ecuador called Pablo Farjado has been battling against oil giant Chevron in a court case began in it's infancy in 1995.  Pablo Farjado has been fighting for the rights of almost 30,000 Ecuadorian people as they try to rebuild their lives after the mining practices of Chevron, which merged with Texaco in 2001, had damaged the environment and led to an increase in cancer amongst the people.

2003 saw the case taken to Ecuador after years of legal to and fro in America, a tactic that large multinational corporations employ to ensure they get the result they want. By dragging a case out they typically force the 'little people' into submission with their endless resources.

Pablo's story is an inspiring one, one of a man who had seen his country ruined by the relentless pursuit for profit over the benefit of the people and say 'No more'. He also featured in Vanity Fair and addressed the millions of people watching during 2005's Live Aid in England, as a guest speaker for Sting and his wife Trudy Styler.

A documentary called 'Crude-The Real Price of Oil' can be found on Top Documentaries, it is a moving one and documented with great balance leaving you the viewer to make a decision based on what you have seen.  The sheer arrogance of Chevron and it's employees is something to behold.
Once you have seen the practices these oil companies put in place to secure a buck, polluting water course etc, I challenge you not to feel anger.

Chevron lost the case and have been ordered to pay out somewehre in the region of $9bn and provide a thorough clean up, but of course they are contesting this and say that ther fine is "unenforceable".  They continued to drag out the process with their appeals costing the plantiffs thousands.  In 2009 it is reported that Chevron made $23.9bn. It is not like they cannot afford it, and a small price to pay for contributing to the plight that the Ecuadorian's find themseleves in. Perhaps they and Texaco should have spent a bit more time and money initially preparing the pits.

Site of a Texaco/Chevron Pit...after cleaning...
As of March 8th 2011 it was reported in the Wall Street Journal that a U.S Judge had issued a 'preliminary injunction' which would prevent the ruling being enforced anywhere outside Ecuador.  This was heralded as 'good news' for Chevron who do not have any assets in Ecuador.  The fact that the Amazon provides the 'lungs' for the entire Earth or provides much needed natural resources for the Humans living there, is neither here nor there for the big club of corporate criminals that run these firms.

Quotes taken from The Wall Street Journal, BBC News 24 and Crude-The Real Price of Oil

Solving Problems With A Different Way of Thinking

We all remember the scenes of carnage surrounding the chaos that was Haiti, repeated more recently with the Earth quakes in New Zealand and Japan where natural disasters destroy infrastructure and leave thousands of people without access to clean water. Aid struggles to get in, 'bottled water' has to be shipped in to meet the demand for not just the people caught up in the devastation but also the rescue workers.

A simple solution to a big problem
Michael Pritchard on TED Talks back in 2009 produced a product called 'Lifesaver Bottle' on the back of the Asian Tsunami 2004 and Hurricane Katrina 2005, that should have revolutionised the way people gained access to clean water, not just in areas where natural disasters occur but also the millions of people around the planet that are suffering daily because they have no access to clean water.
It is a step in the right direction until better access for all can be achieved.

It has had some air time on Channel 5's 'The Gadget Show' in February 2010, but mainstream media seems more concerned with the well being of Alex Reid (front page of The News of the World- March 27th)  or what Peter Crouch has been up to (the same 'news' paper).  Something this big and important should have more media coverage and should be funded by every major nation on the planet in the event of a major catastrophe.  The site of boats transporting water in specially designed rubber bags is ludicrous and another example of the 'unsane' world we live in.

Britain alone spent about $12 Billion on foreign aid in 2010, Michael Pritchard says for $20 Billion the entire planet could drink clean water.  If only there was enough 'money' to do so.

Take 10 minutes of your 'time' to have a look on YouTube at Michael Pritchard's master piece.  If Obama has a Nobel Prize, where's this guys?

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Every Man...and His Dog

Picture by Nicola Keane
Today I marched with 500,000 people...and a handful of dogs, as the British people came together today to say 'NO!' to the cuts being imposed on us by the coalition Government.

The morning started with a busy train journey down to London St Pancras, a sign of things to come.  I came across a young group of free thinking individuals, who were on their way to the Embankment where the march started and I asked what they were marching for, their response was for 'the removal of the corrupt economic system we currently live in'  I was not hopeful enough that this would be the majority of peoples opinion for the day but it was a start.

As a veteran of the 'Battle for Parliament' protests in November 2010 it was clear that today was something different.  No longer can people point the finger at 'students' without jobs for being trouble makers as men, women and children of all ages walked side by side from the Embankment to Hyde park.

The march was billed as 'the march for the alternative', I asked a few people what the alternative may be,  and had a mixed bag of responses.  Some people were asking for the return of Labour, for these people 12 months is a long time and the 13 years of Labour we have just had has already been forgotten.  The socialists were marching for a move towards communism and yet it all seemed like the point had been missed.  All these 'isms' capitalism, communism, socialism have been tried and all have failed in their various guises throughout human history.

Picture by Nicola Keane
One banner mentioned Egypt, Greece and their recent demonstrations but the problem is this; what do we do if we remove the coalition Government?  Do not be fooled into thinking Labour would not be cutting as hard or as deep. They are opportunistic and are revelling in this moment to prey on people in these hard times. Ed Milliband's speech was actually quite inspiring...if he wasn't so full of shit.
Some common misconceptions I hear about politics and voting is that "if you don't vote, you don't get to complain".  This is wrong because if you do vote YOU legitimise what they do to you, just ask the students conned into voting LibDem. You do not get to vote on anything else until they manipulate a situation they want your opinion on, such as the quietly talked about Global Currency issue.  Once again I ask "Did you vote to go to war with Libya?".  The political parties are just 3 masks on the same face or the same suit different face.  You can decide which analogy you wish to identify with.

It was interesting today to see the police being used to shield such valuable corporations as McDonald's (on the mall) Top Shop, Tesco and the use of the City Police (not the MET) to do so.  More actors in high-vis is what we need.  A Trojan horse constructed and paraded by Nelson's Column provided a great back drop to the march as it veered left towards Hyde Park before being burned in Oxford street!

My issues for the day were the segregation of the people into their separate groups.  RMT, FBU, Women Against Violence, Teachers Union, an endless list of people all protesting and engaging on their own agendas.  Too many 'ra ra ra' chants about Tories with no substance to their claims as if it would be different with Labour at the helm and the descent into violence at the end of the day by a minority of 500 people.  This included the ritual attacks on Phillip Green owned Top Shop but Benetton was given a reprieve, presumably because they do not know he owns them also? Lloyds TSB etc.Lose your temper and you have lost the plot.
If the banners had been put down and the people marched as one unit, under one banner, this would have been an amazing show of solidarity and a stronger message.  Maybe we are moving in the right direction.

So the question remains "what would we do if we were able to over throw the Government"  there are ideas out there, mainstream media such as the BBC and Sky News will not give these ideas the airtime they deserve.  There is a better way and the answers are out there if people wish to take the time to learn about it using this wonderful gift of access to information that is the Internet.

Pictures taken by Nicola Keane and Jamie Newell

Public Protest, March 26th- London and Manchester

"The 26th of March saw the people that have been bled dry by various Governments the last 50 years come together in a show of defiance against the corruption that goes on behind the doors of 10 Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament..." Or so the headline could read tomorrow on papers not just around the country but the world.

Tomorrow members of Unison, RMT, FBU and many others will be congregating to vent their displeasure at the current Governments savage cuts on Public Services.  Channel 4 has recently run a series of documentaries highlighting some of the blatant lies your Government has been selling you, outing the true nature of the Great British Debt. Did you know your child was £73,000 in debt before they are able to walk? Or even conceived? 'Britain's Secret Fat Cats' and 'Britains Trillion Pound Horror Story', which you can view on 4oD online, explain fully how these cuts do not work and make no sense.

It is likely that the event may end up being hi-jacked by anarchists, this flies in the face of peaceful revolutionaries such as Martin Luther King Jnr peaceful protest mantra and it was once put to me that 'if you lose your temper, you have lost the plot' which i believe is very true, but to quote a line from a 70s movie Network...
"First you've got to get mad! You've got to say I am a human being God damn it, my life has value!"

Another aspect of the day is the likely hood that the people will miss the point and each demonstrate for their own particular agendas....we shall wait and see.

I shall be there with the people and no one particular banner to see the march unfold. Will you?

Friday, 25 March 2011

White is Actually Alright?

A row has recently erupted over 'race' and an ITV bosses claims that the the successful mid-afternoon show 'Midsomer Murders' success hinged on the fact there was an all white cast.

The producer Brian True-May called it the ''last bastion of Englishness' and that 'racial diversity in the show would not work'. The row erupted as he said that he would not use Black or Asian people in the series because 'it wouldn't be an English village with them'

'Mr' True-May was suspended and then seen being chauffuer driven away by an Asian.  Fans of the show have rallied in support of the under-fire producer with a Daily Mail poll suggesting that 91% of people think that he should not have been suspended.

The main point however has been missed.  The issue of race is, and has been over, for some 200 years thanks to a gentleman named Charles Darwin, who is the man most commonly known to be repsonsible for the 'Evolution Theory'.  If it had not been Darwin then it would have been someone else such as Alred Russell Wallace who had his mind blown away by a trip to Papa New Guinea.  We are one human race, the human species, all connected.

'Racism' does not exist. It is ignorance.

This week sees the annual world drink up known as 'St Patricks Day' where people will claim all manner of connections to the Irish fellowship in the name of guiness (a weak excuse for an alcoholic beverage) before resuming nationalistic hostilities this weekend in the rugby 6 Nations finale where England play Ireland for the Grand Slam. The out dated idea of nations once again highlighted through gladiatorial sporting contests. Maybe one day we will have national human day....

The way forward to combat this ignorance is for an overhaul of the way we educate people, the way we educate our children, by pointing out our similarities to people of different cultures rather than our differences. Not by pointing out height, weight, intellectual or financial differences. Remember no one is born 'racist', a child does not know to differentiate people based on colour from birth, it occurs as a result of their environmental upbringing and experiences. These can be changed.

"An organism at war with itself is doomed....we are one planet" Carl Sagan- Cosmos

It is time for the world to come together.

Quotes came from BBC News and The Daily Mail, March 16th 2011

Monday, 14 March 2011

ZDay 2011- London

Having taken the time to watch 'The Zeitgeist' docu-movies by Peter Joseph over the past couple of years I took it upon myself to attend the recent ZDay conference in London this week and have decided to give it a bit more attention than the BBC or ITV. 

ZDay is a world wide event with each chapter hosting seminars on the current progress of the movement. This year focused on response to the latest effort by Peter Joseph, 'Zeitgesit- Moving Forward'

The Zeitgeist Movement is a collaboration of free thinking individuals that see there is a need for change in the way the world currently conducts itself.  For example people starving in the 21st century and the myths around overpopulation and the often self projected, but not backed, claim or notion that there is not enough food for an ever increasing population.  This is just simply not the case, access to resources, as the movement highlights, is the problem.

"Among the key causes of hunger are natural disasters, conflict, poverty, poor agricultural infrastructure and over-exploitation of the environment. Recently, financial and economic
crises have pushed more people into hunger." A quote taken directly from the World Food Program website.  No sign of overpopulation being a cause of hunger.

The day itself ran for 8 hours with talks from various CAD technicians (responsible for designing a new way of housing people and buildings that will be more efficient in their design and use) members of the linguistic team (who documented the sheer volume of work that goes into translating the docu-movies for 6 billion odd people that aren't English speaking first language types) to the man himself, Peter Joseph, who gave a speech tackling some of the negative media that the Zeitgeist movement has gained in recent months following an incident in America earlier this year and his vision of what happens next.

One of the things taken from the latest effort from Peter Joesph is the accessibility of the material for some people.  We all address the level of our communication in accordance with the person or group we are talking to yet the nature of some the material will daunt some people but it is worth sticking with it I assure you.  Another point is the duration of the docu-movie, which at 2hrs 41 Earth minutes is a considerable lump of 'time' out of your day and I confess it is pretty heavy going at certain points, particularly if this is your first foray into the world of the Zeitgeist Movement. Fortunately however there are a series of short clips (which I shall link at the bottom) from the docu-movie popping up on YouTube which will serve to remove the problem of duration and hopefully the heavy going nature of the piece.  I recommend the first part, 40mins in duration, if nothing else as it gives a grand insight into the 'human nature vs human nurture' debate if you have never looked into it personally.  Environment is everything.  We are all a product of it.

Entire factories automated from picking to packing
Some skeptics will point to the technological aspect of the Zeitgeists Movement and its association with The Venus Project , such as machines or robots replacing humans in the workforce to free us to actually LIVE our lives rather than just exist, and claim radical notions of machines taking over the planet or ruling our lives.  This just is not the case.  To some extent machines already rule our lives.  There is a reduced workforce in industry, replaced by automation.  The human that has had a pace maker fitted to regulate their heart beat.  Traffic signals. Complex navigation systems for aeroplanes. Mobile phones, you may even be reading this on such a device?  The list is endless and yet it could be exponentially increased, further reducing the need for us to submit our time and labour in a Resource Based Economy.
The Automated Shop, a step up from tills
The fear of an Arnold Schwarzenegger or Will Smith like apocalypse is just unfounded.

It cannot be denied, The Zeitgeist Movement is gathering pace.  The number of people awakening to the things wrong with the world and that are now actively engaging in doing something about it is on the increase.  The number of chapters that have opened up, even since ZDay 2010, is up by more than double from 400 to 1000.  People claim to 'know what is going on' but do they really? Or they feel powerless to do or act and this is the furthest thing from the truth.   The number of people at the bottom rung of the ladder, struggling to keep pace with their human needs is growing and their ability to tread these murky, treacle like waters is becoming ever more difficult.

"We have eyes and we see, we do not have eyes so we can see"

If once born we were locked in a dark room with no light our nerve endings would not develop and we would be blind.  To this end our eyes only give us the ability to see what is there and humans cannot imagine what they cannot see.  Pause for a moment and ask yourself this; in the year 2000 would you have imagined that the phone in your hand, where the extent of its ability was to send and receive sms text messages and play 'Snake', would one day enable you to sit and watch live sport and movies, or send and receive emails or pictures on a touch screen iPhone? No.  Rewind sixty years and colour t.v would have been ridiculed, let alone a flat screen HD3D LED that we can consume today and sixty years before this the idea of a t.v or even a radio would have most likely led to a return to the witch burning days and so on.  Imagine where our technology may take us ten years from now...sixty years..or one hundred?  The difference however is that things made in the past were built to last due to the scarcity of resources where as in today's cyclical consumption society obsolesence is built into the system so we must continue to buy.

Just as Globalisation is a fact so is the technological revolution.  Feynman said in 1959 that there was 'plenty of room at the bottom' and the discovery of Nanosciences in the 1980s has proved this. We cannot deny it. We should embrace it.

If you went to a ZDay event give your experiences here.

Question Everything

It is the pursuit of finding things out that makes life enjoyable.  Somewhere along the line this message has been lost and people have become sheep in accepting the way things are around them without questioning it.  The Internet has revolutionised the way people can gain access to information, it is almost like the scene in The Matrix where Neo learns kung fu.
If you think I am wrong then take a moment to sit and remember back to the days you sat in a classroom and your teacher rolled out a t.v on a stand with a video player (the robotic teacher?) I imagine a variety of different shows will pop up into your head and the memories will be that much more vivid than any one class you took except for say amusing circumstances where you find your class mate firing an extinguisher into the hallway.
We should take the time to use this to our advantage and try to find things out for ourselves and not be spoon fed by people with what may or may not be ulterior motives, the point is to have the gumption to find out something for yourself.  If you wanted to buy a house or a car you would look around the various estate agents/car dealers, decide on a type of house or vehicle and analyse what your needs would be, potential for family growth if you are in a relationship etc and apply all these methods before selecting one.

Why would you not do this with the information presented to you by a newspaper or news 'repeater'. 

Make the most of the Internet in its current form before certain Governments decide it needs to be monitored a little better, further restricting our freedoms.  If Hillary Clinton's most recent ramblings are anything to go by then it will not be long before this is the case.  There are a host of other news sources available to you such as Russia Today or Aljazeera to name but two and these channels offer the world from a different point of view, something physicist Richard Feynman was all to happy to do.

You do not have to sit and accept what 'news repeaters' tell you on the 6 0'clock news and just take a one sided partisan, rose tinted view as given by main stream media.

Don't take my word for it, go and find out for yourself.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Liberian Girl….

In 2010 my attention was brought to a documentary called 'The Vice Guide to Travel-Liberia' which was a truly shocking account of 'life' in Liberia in the so called 'civilised' 21st century.  The team that went in were truly brave and is an example of real 'investigative journalism' and not the 'news repeaters' we see daily.

The back ground story is that African American slaves were sent back to Liberia in 1821 and put in charge of Liberia, which is on the west coast of Africa neighbouring the current war torn Ivory Coast.  These African Americans came back 'home' and used the plantation slave way of life they had learned from America and imposed it on their countrymen enslaving the nation.
Somewhere along the line the President of Liberia, Samuel K Doe, was over thrown by a military coup led by American educated (and some say backed) Charles Taylor and friend 'Prince Johnson'.  He was tortured on t.v and it is rumoured that 'Prince Johnson' had eaten him….cannibalism is a recurring theme in the Liberian wars that follow.

The country descended into chaos as the rebel warlords fought for control as stories of corruption leaked out about the Presidents office.  What followed was nothing short of "a civil war on steroids" says Shane Smith of the Vice Guide team.  Former Liberian warlord Joshua Blahyi (General Butt Naked) now a born again Christian, tells his story of the civil war and the history of the warlords.  Blahyi (General Butt Naked) and his followers would fight naked after cutting out the hearts of, and bathing in the blood of, young children for it was meant to make them invincible.  Blahyi claims to have killed up to 20,000 people and now has a parish, been forgiven for his sins and has since been absolved of war crimes.

One of the biggest fears in Liberia currently is the withdrawal of the UN and its soldiers (scheduled to take place soon) and how this may lead to any of the warlords mobilising and trying to retake control of the country, leading to further blood shed on an unimaginable scale.

Cross dressing cannibals, rape, child soldiers on heroin and all before sunset, the Vice team take you on an emotional journey through the countries quite shocking history and current predicament.  I urge you to take a look at the documentary and make your own minds up.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

The Cove

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."  Depending on which version of events you follow on the creation story man has overall rule in the animal kingdom.  This is utter nonsense.  Does that mean that it is acceptable to slaughter 23,000 dolphins in Taiji, Japan alone?  

A 2009 documentary, The Cove, exposed the cruel art of dolphin murder that goes on in a hidden cove in a little Whaling town called Taiji.  The barbaric activities of these people takes place after dolphin trainers have rounded up their quota of bottle nosed 'Flipper' dolphins to take back to SeaWorld for training and our 'entertainment'.  The rest are brutally murdered.

One man is making a difference. Ric O'Barry.  Take the 'time' to watch the documentary and make your mind up on what is happening.  Please spread the message.

Britain's Betrayal on Domestic Violence Vs Women's 'Right to Fight'

Nothing can be taken in isolation anymore. Everything is linked to something and it would seem the UK Governments latest is a prelude to something more sinister.

Anushka Asthana of The Times and Louise Noustrapour of The Morning Star reported today that the UK Government had effectively 'blown out' an agreement between 47 other countries that had ''taken two years to negotiate and was about to be signed off…." 
"...The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has been accused of hypocrisy as it emerges that Britain is trying to water down an international agreement to protect women against domestic and sexual violence.." Both these articles received little space or attention on their media platforms,  particularly in The Times.

Violence against women it seems, is ''Not a violation of their human rights"

The Government wants the suggestion on Human Rights taken out of the 'Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence' and replaced with something a little weaker. Another part of the document they want changed is so that it will only apply during a period of peace and not during armed conflict… 

In the same newspaper, The Times-March 7th 2011, another article with a double page spread in 'Times Modern' (ironic?) went on to talk about 'women on the front line' and their right to fight on equal terms with their male counter parts in the various different theatres of war in operation around the world currently.  Promotion seems to be the crux of the piece stating that "joining the infantry or serving in small combat teams are areas where rising stars can shine….promotion rarely attends pen pushers and back-room staff..." This is of course if you can avoid catching a bullet long enough to make it back to England in one piece.  
The article written by Rosalind Miles claims that the primitive need to protect the life bearers is out dated and that "men make war not to defend the female but for property, pride or territory" This is about the only part of the article that can be agreed with!

Both these articles were written just in 'time' for International Women's Day. One loud and proud about putting women (our mothers, sisters and daughters) on the frontline fighting illegal wars for corrupt millionaires, the other almost without a whisper, virtually denouncing a human beings rights. 

Without wanting to be a cynic it would seem that the Government are needing all the help they can get as they stretch what military resources they do have along too many battle lines.  So by A) asking for a change in phrasing to incorporate violence against women as something that can only happen in a period of peace and B) looking to facilitate the move of women to the frontline and strategically having an article printed by a woman, on International Women's Day in the Times Modern (get with the Modern Times people) they are planting the seeds in peoples minds to make it acceptable?
I would imagine that  currently recruitment to the armed forces has been at a low and with the uprisings in the Middle East underway and the Wests thirst for oil continues to grow, more oil fields will need to be secured as these 'rogue rebels' clear their dictators or are quelled.

Do not underestimate the power of the subconscious. 

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Money as Debt?

We humans submit our labour in exchange for money daily across the entire planet. We have been told this is called 'work'.  What we are not told is the process by which this money we are paid is created so I aim to break it down a little more simply than the 'Modern Money Mechanics' document or 'Fractional Reserve Banking' by which the banks operate on.

First up you need a Government and a Central Bank, say the Bank of England or Federal Reserve.  The Government goes to the central bank and asks for a loan (because Governments do not issue their own money paradoxically) and there is an exchange in promises, i.e the Bank of England prints (out of thin air) say £10million to, issue to the Government, and the Government promises to pay back the loan PLUS interest at a rate set by the central bank. You may see a problem occurring here but we shall come back to this later.  So the Government now has its £10million and the Bank has its promise to repay...but where does this money go?

The newly created money is then deposited by the Government into another bank (Bank A) this money now forms part of this banks reserves and, providing Bank A keeps back 10% of the money deposited, it can loan out the rest (up to £9million) Now you would think that the money that Bank A could loan out would come DIRECTLY from the ORIGINAL deposit, however this is not the case. If a human, Human 1, went to Bank A and asked for a £9million pound loan the bank would just print £9million in new notes.  This means the original £10million has now become £19million.
This process can be repeated time and again. As Human 1 deposits this money into Bank B, another Human will come along and ask for a loan and again, providing that Bank B retains 10% of whatever is in its accounts as a reserve, it can loan out the rest and again by printing out an entire batch of new money.

All this money has been created at a debt and the real onion splitter is that it has INTEREST slapped on it at a rate set by the bank that pays out the loan.  How can this debt of interest ever be repaid if the money to do so does not exist? Not forgetting that the original £10million is a debt the Government owes to the Central Bank?
The answer is it cannot.  This is why foreclosure/bankruptcy/default or whatever you want to call it is built into the system, for the banks 'trawl' their assets in like fishermen and then they can re-sell them and go through the whole process again. This is why there are tent cities popping up all over America, but you will not see this in the Rupert Murdoch owned news.
Rather perversely this process of creating new money is what inflation is. Each time however new money is created and pumped into circulation it DEVALUES the money that is already in the system. The Economists call this 'Quantitive Easing' and you may have heard about this in the news of late so next time that the Government declares it will be pumping £50million into the economy in a bid to help the crisis just feel those pounds and pennies in your pocket being devalued.

This may seem confusing but this is the beauty of it and I take my hat off to the people behind it all. Maths, Economics, Stocks etc are made to sound just boring or difficult enough to understand that people brush over it as not being important enough to understand or worry about. This could not be further from the truth as it is this very thing that keeps us in our place.  I mean what would happen if everyone was to stop and ask themselves this..."is the money I used to buy my house counterfeit? And did it not exist before the moment I asked the Bank for a loan?" It is likely that there would be a few million people refusing to pay their mortgages and the system would come crashing to a halt. A dream? Maybe but ever more likely the worse the current money crisis gets that is gripping the planet. People will soon be faced with a choice between paying for their ever increasing bills for energy and their mortgage and food.  Why do you think the recent revolts have arisen in the Middle East and Africa?  A rise in food prices and unemployment are a major driving factor.

There are many documentaries you can turn your head to that will help clear the muddy waters regarding this, one particular one is 'The American Dream' which can be found on YouTube and is only the length of a less than credible episode of Eastenders, 30 Earth Minutes, and will give you a good grasp on what is going on. I have attached the link below.

The True Cost of Health?

On a recent shopping expedition looking for ingredients to cook a curry I stumbled across a soy sauce worth £3.15.....for 250ml or £3.25 for a tiny loaf of wheat and gluten free bread. Apparently if you suffer with an intolerance to wheat, gluten or a whole host of other things then the health industry thinks it is ok to charge you a fortune for the privilege of eating foods that will not result in you developing cancer. The amount of daily things that we consume containing these ingredients is extensive and non exhaustive!

Picture by Nicola Keane
Recently gluten free prescriptions have been discussed with a view to being taken off of the NHS list. This has a direct impact on people in an ever worsening 'economic climate' and particularly people who are born with a genetic predisposition (meaning you may or may not develop something depending on your environmental experiences) to a wheat or gluten intolerance, for example someone that suffers with coeliac disease. A farce when you consider the NHS provides people with plastic surgery such as breast implants or rhinoplasty (nose job) for self esteem issues, something not considered life threatening.
If you have any thoughts or experiences on this then let us know

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Public Sector Cuts

As we have all heard 'austerity' measures, or for the layman 'budget cuts and belt tightening', is sweeping through the country having a major impact on peoples lives.  Of course the Government and the people that 'have' are leading us all to believe that we are "all in it together".  Is this the case?

The London Fire Brigade strike at the end of 2010 was well documented in the UK receiving lots of press attention, not surprisingly from the various news networks. For those that may have missed it, ITV had an interesting interview with the Mayor of London Boris Johnson who went on record on national television stating that if they (the firefighters) strike and do not sign their new contracts then they would face the sack and that there were 5000 people out there that can take on their jobs with no problem.....I hope he was not referring to the company that looks after the London publics fire engines as we will see next....
AssetCo which are a former subsidiary of British Gas had secured a £30million contract to provide fire cover in the event of 'pandemic flu, strikes' etc and service the Brigades engines. For the full article follow the link
''The company that runs London's fleet of fire engines faces a financial crisis over unpaid taxes after the Inland Revenue applied for a winding-up petition from the court.
The Fire Brigades Union last night claimed that the problems at AssetCo Fire and Rescue could result in the 113 appliances based in 169 fire stations in the capital being sold off to raise funds. AssetCo, which has launched a drive to raise £8m to pay off its debts, has won permission to delay its court hearing until mid-April...''

Mr Johnson's comments at the beginning of November 2010 were inflammatory to say the least, implying there was no skill to the job, and service, that thousands of human beings up and down the country on the front line provide to the public and each other. A disgrace when you consider that Mr Johnson who may be on a salary around £150,000 a year (which could provide 5 professional firefighters a year) and his greatest contribution to the public is his buffoon like behaviour in charity football matches.  This is also the same person that regarded his second job (something he later lambasted firefighters for doing) worth £250,000 per year for writing in a newspaper column as ''chicken feed'' (Sky News July 14th 2009)  You couldn't make it up, but then we are all in this together.

It is time the public services came together

So now we are in a situation where the Government wishes to make cuts but 'not to front line services' yet the Police have been told to take pay cuts or face job losses, the NHS have been making huge redundancies and firefighters are being cut by underhand means through freezes on recruitment and 'natural wastage' as people retire. A documentary on 4oD last year called 'Britains Trillion Pound Horror Story' went into the size of our economic failings (the true values being somewhere upwards of 4 TRILLION pounds and counting) and why these austerity measures will not work except for to make peoples lives a misery and further drive a wedge between us as we fight amongst ourselves for the scraps off of the '1 percenters' tables.  It likens the debt to a full bath with the tap running and our 'cuts' are literally an egg cup trying to bail out the flood....the Government is basically borrowing money from people that have not been born  yet! (see the link below for the full documentary if you have 60 Earth minutes spare!)

All quotes were taken from Nigel Morris, The Independent March 2nd 2011
and from 4oD 'Britains Trillion Pound Horror' first aired November 2010

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Water Wars Are Coming?

Water makes up approx 70% of the surface of the Earth, these water resevoirs are finely balanced on our planet and every action has a reaction and consequence. 
"Demand for water in agriculture and energy production could spike in the coming decades while catastrophic floods and droughts strike more often, a water conference in Canada is to hear this week...Within a generation, water demand in many countries is forecast to exceed supply by an estimated 40 percent..."

Water, like oil, is taken for granted in that it is now a vital cog in the process of virtually everything we use, eat and consume. Not only is the Western 'Civilised' world consuming excessive amounts of water in our daily lives but another major impact we make is on waters ability to move from resevoir to resevoir (a resevoir being a process that water moves through such as stream, to ocean, to cloud, to rain and back to the soil and so on)  by the very nature of our 'concrete jungles'.  There are less and less people with gardens, off road parking problems generally lead to people having what garden space they do have slabbed to get their vehicles off road.  More and more roads, more land being churned up for building projects, all these things have an impact on waters ability to move around resevoirs.

Hans Schreier called for improved road and street designs to minimize rainwater runoff.
"Until now, all we've ever done in urban environments is to drain everything into rivers and lakes," he told AFP.
"But curbs, drains and impermeable surfaces could be replaced where possible with grassy shoulder depressions that collect and absorb rainwater while directing excess runoff into constructed wetlands or storm water retention ponds"
Other low-cost innovations might include "home driveway designs and materials that allow most precipitation to be absorbed instead of running onto streets and roads" he said.
"In other parts of the world prone to flooding, catastrophic floods normally expected once a century could occur every 20 years instead.
Meanwhile, spending on technologies and services to discover, manage, filter, disinfect and desalinate water, improve infrastructure and distribution, mitigate flood damage and reduce water consumption by households, industry and agriculture is expected to rise to a trillion dollars annually by 2020..."

What is needed is a better, more scientific approach to the construction of our cities, homes and roadways that helps to harness and channel the elements around us.  Water is being viewed in some peoples minds as the 'next big thing'.  Without it we cannot not survive. Will they find a way to tax us through the teeth for this as their processes for making oil pollute more and more of our fresh water supplies? One thing is sure, the number of people on water meters in the UK is on the increase and is likely to continue to rise for the forseeable future.

Another Issue is bottled water (something WE the people have helped to turn into a 2billion pound industry!) Water is being put in plastic containers, constructed from the by-product of oil processes (PTE or RPTE if it has been recycled-check the bottom of your next bottle of water) and moved hundreds of miles away from its villagers who rely on their aquifers (natural water sources underground) to water crops, feed livestock and to drink, wash and clean themselves and their children.  It is said that we are mining these ground waters faster, by upto 15 times, than they can be replenished...enjoy that Evian!
It is said that we are pumping approx 30billion gallons of water from aquifers everyday...for example ''350,000 litres on the construction of an average car, 2-7 barrels of water per 1 barrel of oil, 32 liters on 1 micro chip..." Blue Gold-Water Wars.
If you have yourself a spare 60 Earth minutes I would point you to a documentary called 'Blue Gold-Water Wars' which documents this very problem in a simple way. (

20 years ago a famous little man named 'Del Trotter' bottled water from taps and sold it back to the public, we all thought this was funny....who's laughing now...?

Quotes are taken from The Independent, March 1st 2011