Archive for democracy

I Wish Them Well

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , on February 13, 2011 by AF

I apologise to those of my readers who expect my usual flippancy, but I kind of feel a need to say this…

I don’t normally post much about things political… However, whilst I can’t imagine that my opinion matters much to them, I would just like to say that I do wish the Egyptian people well.

I have serious doubts as to whether things will work out as they wish, but I do hope so. Mubarak, although President and an autocratic leader, was (I suspect) little more than a figurehead for a pretty nasty regime and I wonder how much difference his going will actually make.

Still, good luck to you all and, should you actually succeed in carving out real democracy for yourselves and future generations, would somebody there please be kind enough to explain to the EU and the US how it’s supposed to work – because we don’t seem to have quite figured it out right somehow.

End of serious message – now, where did I put that list of jokes? 😦


Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , on March 3, 2010 by AF

I have mentioned at times that today’s generations appear to me to have little sense of responsibility for their own actions, wellbeing and behaviour. It’s a generalisation, of course, and there are an enormous number of people both old and young who are delightful, considerate people with a real sense of both social and personal responsibility.

This superb post here on Lilly’s Life, though, does demonstrate what I mean. One of the comments on the post was by lisleman and quotes the fact that the WW2 generation has been referred to as the greatest generation because of what it went through and triumphed over. That’s an important and thought provoking point and it’s certainly true that adversity does seem to bring out the best in humanity.

Wouldn’t we all of us be better off in the long run and perhaps much happier if we stopped regarding it as someone else’s job to take care of us, our kids, our welfare and that of others too? I am not my brother’s keeper (if I had one – brother that is), but I do have a responsibility to my fellow men and women – I prefer the “women” part of that, of course, but then you know me, eh?

Seriously though, isn’t that “community spirit” that was much more widespread and obvious fifty and more years ago much of what is missing in these days of Social Security, Government Health and Safety legislation and government responsibility for this that and everything else? Haven’t we (most of us) perhaps just taken the easy route and now feel that we only need to pay into the system and we can mostly just abdicate any further sense of responsibility to the rest of humanity?

Is that the real downside of our modern societies – the loss, or at the very least the major decline, of any true sense of individual responsibility?

So What’s The Problem With Sex?

Posted in People, Society and Politics, Scandalous! with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2010 by AF

What is all this fuss we make about sex? Something that JJ said in this excellent post on her blog (The Fifty Factor) confused me a little – well, it certainly made me question some things I previously took for granted, at least.

Listing some of what she does and doesn’t blog about, Joanna said this, Generally, I will not blog about… […] Sex. In the event that it could ultimately bite me in the butt should I decide to run for an elected office, I’ll keep this topic to myself.”

Now I don’t know how serious she is about that statement because she can be a very funny lady, but I suspect there’s at least some truth in it. I was… well, I was quite shocked, particularly in view of some of the things she does blog about (often in jest). My surprise was not due to what she said, but more by the realisation that she felt she needed to think that way.

I mean, what is our modern world about? We in the West, in reality if not in name, are currently fighting at least two major wars and suffering casualties; huge earthquakes are devastating whole countries, or so it seems; terrorism is everywhere; politicians appear to be less honest by the day as they steal public money, lie through their teeth about important matters under consideration by the administration in power and much more; huge debates are taking place in the US over healthcare for millions of Americans and (to an outsider at least) the rich v the poor battle seems to get daily closer to them killing each other in the streets, whilst still others are warning of the impending doom that awaits mankind because of global warming…

All that is going on and is just a small sample of the awful state of humanity and, if JJ is right, it looks like the public and their favourite media (and the Brits are just the same) are most concerned about who is sleeping with whom and what they like to do to each other in bed.

As I said once before quite recently, certainly in any sort of critical manner, I try to stay off of the twin dodgy subjects of religion and politics, but really… perlee-ease! How will humanity ever progress if sex is the factor that is going to be the most contentious and important in the world of politics, of all places? It has nothing whatsoever to do with it!

If politicians are screwing me financially, or bureaucratically, then it matters to me! But what they do of a sexual nature to each other, or any other consenting adult, is none of my goddamned business and, frankly, I neither care nor want to know about it!

A Question I Feel I Just Have To Ask

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , on January 24, 2010 by AF

This is a serious matter and I apologise right now if I’m going to offend any of the Americans who read my blog because I feel I “know” many of you (to a greater or lesser degree) and, as far as I can tell, you’re all nice, kind and decent people. Some of you are, of course, also gorgeous women (I’m sure you will know who you are) and that worries me even more, since it is not in my nature to intentionally insult any woman, particularly one who is both beautiful and adorable, however much I might disagree with her.

Nevertheless, I feel this question should be asked. Many of you got the President you desired (a heck of a lot of you voted for him) and you are mostly caring and responsible citizens. So, since Barack Obama is the USA’s knight in shining armour and unless it is just the way it appears to me (and a lot of others I’ve spoken to about it)… when do you think America might stop landing endless troops and military hardware on Haiti and do something more positive about organising and distributing the huge amount of food, water and medical supplies that are so desperately needed by the surviving population there and that is unquestionably readily available through the amazing international response that the disaster has produced?

If I’m out of order, or being overly cynical, then I will expect you to tell me, but (from what I’ve read, seen and heard on UK TV and other news sources) it does seem to me that the US perhaps sees this as a golden opportunity to finally take control of Haiti and quell its rebellious attitudes and maybe even to turn it into the fifty first state, but without any of the labour protection laws that mainlanders enjoy?

It’s just a question, but…

Addendum: Please let me make it plain here (since it may not be) I’m not criticising Americans, or even America, I’m simply questioning whether the military is so busy being military that it has lost sight of what’s paramount here and additionally I think it’s right to question the motives of some powerful factions of the US administration…

Ban It!

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , on September 28, 2009 by AF

There seems to a penchant these days, particularly in the UK, for banning things. Our government just loves to do it – smoking, guns, knives, drugs, driving too fast or too slow, even paid for sex by devious means (although most men would argue that almost all sex is paid for, indirectly at least, but I guess that’s an argument for another day), underage sex – which makes sense when an adult is involved, but what will be next? Overage sex, just in case you have a heart attack and cost the NHS a couple of quid to be certified dead?

I don’t disagree that most of these things (apart from the sex) are undesirable and some are possibly even bad (in a way), but what difference do these idiots think banning them really makes? It’s not as if banning something stops whatever it is – it just becomes illegal and  more expensive and, to some, more interesting!

Think about it! What’s wrong with drugs? If an adult wants to wreck his or her life by becoming addicted, isn’t that his/her choice? If it’s an informed choice and if it affects no one else. But that’s the real and only point – because it will affect others! What is really bad about addiction is the misery it brings to those around the addict and the harm it does to society as a whole. What should be done about that is to explain and demonstrate to young people when they are old enough to understand, but young enough to be persuaded, all the bad things that can and very likely will result.

Education is always the answer to almost all our problems as a species. You won’t get through to everybody and you can’t change the past, or probably even much of the present, but you can explain why a future with or without something would be better and get the vast majority of people to understand it. Guns are not bad. They’re lumps of metal and wood or plastic. Owning a gun is not bad. Even carrying a gun is not bad. Being an asshole who threatens people with a gun, or shoots people because of an argument or just for the hell of it is bad! But the gun itself? Of course not! It’s people who are bad, not objects, or even substances and, like I said, if you want people to be different, then you need to explain logically why to people young enough to make a difference in the future.

Above all, though, don’t lie to kids. Don’t use religion, myth, legend and speculation to explain something you can’t otherwise spell out. Don’t make wild statements about the evils of something you don’t like in order to persuade them to leave it alone, because they’re mostly a lot smarter than most of us think and, in all probability, they already know a whole lot more about the subject than you and I do. Education with total truth is essential and the only way forward and it’s about time we started realising that and acting upon it.

There Are Times…

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2009 by AF

I’ve always had what I regard as a fairly young outlook on life and in some ways I think (I hope) that’s true and will remain so. Nevertheless, there are times when I think I must simply be getting old.

Maybe it’s mainly the death of Ted Kennedy that has brought it home to me at the moment for it’s usually as a result of world, or at least national, events that I feel this way. Lately, though, I have to admit that I have a feeling of more general malaise about the world we live in, or more precisely, about people, than I once did.

When I was truly young (as distinct from just thinking I am), there were no PCs and you got your information from your daily newspaper, or the radio and some of it from TV. The difference was that, although disasters, wars and all the rest occurred, they were the exception, whereas nowadays such mayhem seems to be accepted as the norm. Additionally, newspapers (apart from the odd one or two that most people regarded as little more than comics) could be relied upon, as could radio and TV news – they were respected and prided themselves on the thorough quality of their investigative journalism and the accuracy of what they reported. Of course, there was naturally national bias, but it wasn’t a slur to call someone a patriot then either.

People cared more too, I’m sure. If you told his parents (who you probably knew personally) that little Johnny was being a little sh*t, they’d apologise to you, clip him round the ear and make him say sorry to you (or whoever) as well. Doctors also took a pride in the respect that people had for them. They would turn out at any time of any day or night to visit a sick patient, but then they didn’t have thousand upon thousands of people on ever increasing lists that they had to service for less and less money. Perhaps more importantly, they didn’t spend half their time (or more) filling in government forms in quadruplicate for the benefit of a pen pusher in some quango and half a dozen NGOs (naturally, since they didn’t exist, none of us was paying for those pointless exercises either).

I’ve loved PCs ever since they were invented and I got very involved in quite a lot of software development at one point. I love the Internet, but does my increasing sense of foreboding for the future of humanity have any substance, or is it just that we hear about these things more easily than we once did? Are we suffering from some sort of data overload, or are people really nastier, greedier, less caring and above all often simply less decent than they were fifty years ago?

Maybe we just never heard about it in the past, but a rotten politician, policeman, lawyer, banker, financier, schoolteacher, doctor, or other type of professional worker was an exception and a talking point for weeks if not months. Now it seems that the huge plethora of news organisations we have today struggle to keep up with all the shenanigans going on in almost every field of public life and service.

Ho, hum … I think perhaps I am just growing old. In a way, I almost hope so, because if that’s not the reason, then sometimes I really do fear for humanity. Ted Kennedy, you weren’t perfect, none of us is, but you were more decent than many men today and a statesman to boot. I think you might just be well out of this sh*t! The world we and our generation knew and sometimes loved has probably had its day and is now just as dead as you … RIP.

You ARE Being Conned!

Posted in Miscellaneous, People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2009 by AF

We’re All Being Taken For Idiots:

I realise that what I want to say in this post is not exactly fashionable right now, but it’s important because you’re being LIED to on a huge scale – we all are and most of us just seem to accept it. We lead busy lives and don’t have time to question everything we’re told, particularly when it sounds logical, but we’re the victims of an enormous con trick that involves a whole lot of untruths. Actually, most of the big issues we’re told about by “the authorities” is a lie or a half truth. It’s one of the many ways they control people. The really insulting thing, though, is that they generally rely on our basically trusting good nature in order to succeed in fooling us. Some Americans have seen how the right wing extremists can use misinformation to persuade otherwise decent people of the truth of things that are patently not so. But they are far from being the only ones using this tactic and some of the more mainstream guys have got it down to a fine art and use it on a gigantic scale.

An Example:

Take a few simple and well know subjects. In fact, for now, take just one. Climate change! We assume, because the establishment tells us so, that there is truth in the claims made about the so-called greenhouse effect, what’s causing it and how we might avoid or reduce it. Yet there is no independent evidence whatsoever for those claims. Such claims may of course be true, but the fact is that pseudo-science and the correlation of possibly totally unconnected facts are used to “prove” what biased groups and individuals want us to believe and that’s lying! Lying to you and to me and to the people and that’s disgusting!

To me, it’s a pretty arrogant assumption that mankind currently has any significant effect on the planet’s climate, but there are lots of other examples of the disingenuous claims made by politicians and so-called “experts”, but I’ll stick to this one for now. There’s nothing exact or totally certain about any branch of science, but the methods used to reach the conclusions that these people (the people who fund the research) want us to reach, are heavily dependent on statistics and, as someone once said, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” As is suggested in that quotation, the worst of all those lies come from the use of statistics, because they can be manipulated to “prove” anything you darned well please.

Hard Facts:

I dare say that many of you will think I’m just sounding off (again) and I suppose that’s an entirely understandable criticism, because these conclusions do appear to be so logical. So, in an attempt to show that it’s not just me being fanciful, please bear with me while I give a few concrete examples here.

I don’t doubt that, if they say so, our planet could well be warming up somewhat (although you tell most Brits that and they’ll laugh in your face and tell you they can’t wait). However, it’s a clever deception and the question we should ask is, warming up compared with what or rather with when?

I’m sure that most of you know that, using many different methods, from tree rings to coral and plankton, to gasses and other materials trapped in ice, to all sorts of varying and extremely clever ways, we can acquire and extrapolate figures for mean temperature and other data over the centuries, or even millennia  That information was used to produce the famous (now infamous) “hockey-stick” graph that showed a huge rise in temperature over the last hundred years when compared right back to the fourteenth century. Of course, the methods used to analyse the figures were debunked when it was discovered that the formula used would produce that graph from almost any set of figures you cared to drop in – even random ones you thought up yourself.

However, more important is the fact that when you go a little further back and start from around the tenth century, the earth was actually frequently warmer than it has been during all of the twentieth century. They picked a very convenient point to start, didn’t they? Another really important fact they also don’t mention very often is that the period from about 1350 to 1850 (the flat “handle” part of the hockey stick) is referred to by scientists as the “Little Ice Age” and I for one am darned glad it is currently a bit warmer than that!

As I said, I’m not trying to pretend that global warming isn’t happening at all, but I am saying that there is little independent evidence for it and certainly almost none that even suggests that it has much, if anything at all to do with humanity. In fact there is actually strong evidence that humans have little if any effect on what is happening, or on the so-called greenhouse effect.

Please take e few moments to have a look at this site here to see a somewhat technical description that does nevertheless show quite clearly that the majority of the gasses we’re getting so excited about are a miniscule part of the whole picture and that the probability is that the earth is simply doing what it does naturally. If that’s the case, then there may be little we can do about it, if anything at all. If serious global warming does occur, then that may not be good for humanity, but if we’re not causing it, it’s unlikely we can stop it, or even slow it down!

Talking Nonsense:

I found this gem here on the Internet…

Proof of ... nothing!

It was accompanied by this text…

“This graph shows how rising CO2 levels can be directly related to the rising average earth temperature. As you can see CO2 levels have a direct affect on the earth’s temperature.”

That’s TOTAL BULLSH*T! It proves nothing of the sort! If the figures can be believed (and they have a somewhat “corrected” look about them to me), it shows only that CO2 and average temperatures are both rising. It doesn’t prove any kind of a connection between them whatsoever. There may be one, but it should be proved properly, because otherwise, it could just as easily be that they are unrelated facts or, if there is a link at all, it might simply be the other way round – that increased temperature results in increased CO2! It’s pseudo-science! But it’s easy to look at the “facts” presented and see what the publisher wants you to see, until you “think outside the box” and question it.

Of Course We Need to Care:

None of this means that we don’t need to consider long term sustainability, replacing the internal combustion engine (which should surely have had its day by now anyway) and other things to help in keeping our planet clean, cared for and working as best we can. But big things like climate change? Well, reality or not, telling us that it’s proven scientific fact that we are responsible for it is just an out and out lie that clearly suits some powerful people for some reason. Quite possibly part of that reason is just that there are now one heck of a lot of people whose whole lives and incomes are tied up with it being the truth. Those people, companies, politicians and the whole greenhouse gas movement aren’t going to want it to be shown up as pure speculative bunkum now, are they?

Real Science Not Pseudo-Science:

We need real science to try as a matter of some urgency to discover what really is happening and to help us decide what we might be able to do about coping with it, instead of all this pseudo-science that is making one heck of a lot of money for a lot of people (including governments through increased taxes) and that completely clouds the real issues – what’s really coming and how are we going to live with it?

Not Convinced:

Still think I’m just being a loud mouthed, head in the sand luddite? Okay, well that’s your right, but before you go, there’s one quick piece of info I’d like to impart: the UK and reportedly the US too appear to be removing the actual temperature data from their websites and leaving only the “corrected” data available to all – including scientists who are not inside their friendly inner circle of “believers”! Please, just check THIS out and note the difference in the “corrected” graph that the authorities do publish and that simply bears no apparent resemblance whatsoever to the real (raw) data they are now not publishing.

Are we being conned? Oh, yes! You betcha life we are – and about so many other things too!

You Owe It To Yourself

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2009 by AF

This post over at the Mudflats begins innocuously enough…

“On my 21st birthday, I woke up in the morning and drove to Dairy Queen.  I got soft serve vanilla ice cream with strawberry topping and I ate it for breakfast.  Why?  When I was a child I asked once if I could have ice cream for breakfast, and my mother said, “You can have ice cream for breakfast when you’re 21.”  And so I did.”

But if you want to put some of the anger and hateful behaviour going on in America at the moment into perspective, then you owe it to yourself to take a few moments to read this post in full.


What Is It With These People?

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2009 by AF

I’m not American, so I tend to say little about US politics unless I feel it affects the rest of us and UK politicians just make me feel ill, so I don’t mention them much either. But there are times when I wonder just what this planet is coming to.

It’s a bit like when bureaucrats (oh, how I loathe some of them) get all officious in what is clearly simply an attempt to increase their own sense of self importance and in fact justify their own existence. But in this instance a small but significant number of apparently small-minded US citizens are playing constitutional Russian Roulette with their whole country – and that could affect the rest of us.

It may well be that President Obama is playing an astute political game of chess over his healthcare proposals and that what he finally expects to get is not what’s most obviously on the table at the moment. Furthermore, I think his policies are misguided in as much as, desirable though his ideas are in theory, reality rarely matches anything close to theory when any service at all is run directly by government. Basically, healthcare almost everywhere in the industrialised world requires a huge rethink, because most of us simply can’t afford to support a system that offers the sort of healthcare that is daily becoming more sophisticated and vastly more expensive.

Nevertheless, I really can’t see why seasoned politicians and activists (mainly on the right of the Republican Party) would even consider, let alone condone, the evil “rent-a-mob” actions that are clearly taking place at meetings designed to explain the proposals to (and discuss them with) ordinary people across America. What is the point of spreading the lies, filth and half truths that these people are using to cloud the issues they so violently disagree with? What happened to reasoned argument and sensible discussion? Furthermore, I find it absolutely disgusting that TV channels can buy into this vile behaviour in the manner that Fox News apparently is according to so many rational sounding posts on the Internet. Using the power of TV to spread that sort of hatred is entirely anti-democratic and, to me, totally abhorrent.

I think the worst thing about it all, though, is how far these people plainly are removed from reality. I can understand that things that I don’t give damn about are vitally important to others – that’s their right and mine too and they have a democratic right to hold their views and express them.

But politicians buying into this crap? Now that’s something else entirely and it shows a really frightening lack of understanding and caring for the good of the country. Such people can only be seen as chasing fringe votes – the votes of the nasty, bigoted minority who would brook no opinion other than the disgustingly vile opinions that they hold and wish to see forced onto all of us by any means they can achieve. That way lies pure dictatorship!

The right wing of the Republican Party does this time and again. They hounded Bill Clinton over Monica Lewinsky to the tune of millions of public dollars spent on a matter that, though possibly bureaucratically important, was entirely trivial to most Americans – which was proved when they re-elected him and showed quite clearly that they didn’t actually give a sh*t about his love life, or the spiteful values of the nut-jobs! More importantly, it all wasted an enormous amount of valuable time for themselves, their party, the presidency, the legislature and it severely damaged US standing in the world along with the wellbeing of the country and its citizens. Ultimately, because of America’s size, that affected all of us.

And now we have the Obama birth certificate thing…

Do most normal Americans actually give a toss? NO! Absolutely NOT! The fact is that a majority of the electorate voted him, the man they saw and connected with, into office and whether some ancient bit of paper may or may not have made him strictly eligible in bureaucratic terms is almost totally irrelevant now. The people wanted him, not even necessarily because they seriously expected he would be the Superman they hoped, but simply because he was a better bet than the sh*t that the Republicans put up as an alternative!

Republicans (and at heart I probably am more or less Republican in my outlook) get real! Wake up and smell the coffee! Instead of bogging yourselves and everyone else down in this mire of nonsensical crap, you need to work on getting the right people and the right policies in place for the next election, right now (note what happened to the Tories in the UK and the misery that has created for the Brits). Get rid of the wing-nuts! America – heck, the world – cannot afford for you to suffer such abject failure and obscurity as you are heading for at this moment!

Just for once, think of the people – think of your country first! All of it!

Truly Scandalous!

Posted in People, Society and Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2009 by AF

This item from the UK Daily Mail is scandalous in the extreme, but without any of the nicer connotations that come with consent…

“Flatmates Amy Overend, 19, and Melissa Cooper, 22, barricaded themselves in their rooms and rang 999 when four men sneaked into their hospital accommodation shouting abuse.

But when they called again after an hour they were told they were classed as a ‘ secondary emergency’ because they were behind locked doors.

Miss Overend then called her father, an ex-magistrate, who repeatedly called the control room to demand that someone was sent round.

By the time officers arrived the gang had run off, but the nurses were worried they would return.

Cambridgeshire Chief Constable Julie Spence said the force’s response fell ‘well below’ the standards expected. She added that the fact that it was dealing with a high volume of calls at the time was ‘no excuse for the poor handling of the incident’.”

That isn’t just scandalous, it’s ?@/!ing pathetic! Of course, although it would still be lamentable, it would be a little less worrying if under English law the young women were permitted to protect themselves properly by opening up with a pump action shotgun, if the assholes got through the door. Typical of police advice would be, “If you use violence to defend yourself, madam, it must be proportionate, or we’d have to arrest you! Leave it to the professionals.”

Yeah, right! If and when they get around to it! So the current situation would appear to be that you’re damned if you shoot the assholes and raped if you don’t – great!

I suppose the police might have arrived in time to catch one or two of the miscreants if the door had not been lockable, but do you think they might have arrived before, during, or after the gang rape was over?

What a bunch of useless jerks we have running our sick society!