Saturday, 28 February 2009

A Potpourri Of Political Moralities

A little follow up blog, on stories that seem to have developed legs .... albeit strange ones!

Recently I mentioned the Asian Labour Peer, Lord Ahmed, in connection to a blog about 'Freedom of Speech' being eroded in the UK, to satisfy radical Muslim 'sensibilities' ..... News this week that the same Lord Ahmed has been jailed for careless driving. So British social policy was set by a man who doesn't obey the laws of this land?

UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who has featured in these pages before when Condoleezza Rice couldn't visit parts of his Blackburn constituency because of protests from Muslims, was in the news this week, when Nigerian fraudsters hacked into his constituency computer and issued 'begging e-mails' to everyone on its address book. The e-mails claimed he had lost his wallet on charity work in Africa, and needed $3,500 US dollars to get home.... if only it was true, instead the man charged with administering law in the UK and protecting us, is not even safe from criminal activities at his own office.

Hazel Blears, who was in these pages when she expressed her fear and concern that the British National Party (BNP) is making inroads into the "white working-class voters " in the inner cities (again!). Has now been caught short on the road to Damascus and announced that British values 'must be defended' now .... oddly, thats the line the BNP also take.

And finally, this Blog has reported frequently on the fact that British passport holders of Asian descent are taking 'killing holidays' to Iraq and Afghanistan to attack or support attacks on British Troops.

These people are surely 'traitors'? But in PC Britain, not one politician has spoken out on this "non subject", presumably for fear of being classed a "Racist". Can you imagine if Britons of German descent had popped over to the continent to fight against British troops, and then come home for a well earned 'R&R' in Bradford or Oldham?

Well this week more of the press reported on this story, and I am interested to see how far behind public opinion the UK's cowardly MP's are. The story hit both national and regional newspapers without apparent comment from those in charge of this country.

Oddly, according to the aforesaid Ms Blears new credo, MP's should be defending British "core values", which I have always assumed included not attacking our soldiers. In her role as "Communities Secretary", she said that there were clear boundaries about what was acceptable in British society and that "At times leaders have been reluctant to challenge absolutely unacceptable behaviour - forced marriage, female genital mutilation or homophobia - because they are concerned about upsetting people's cultural sensitivities." ...... err what about being a traitor?

A Rose In Any Other Language?

All bloggers need a language and mine, is English, obviously ... I mean if this was Spanish, you probably wouldn't be reading this .... err anyway, with English you get a lot of words to play with, as it is generally stated (within a very wide range), that English has around 250,000 to 300,000 words (when obsolete words, which still exist in some unabridged dictionaries aren't counted), and other languages such as Spanish, may have only approximately half that number.

However all languages have an ancestral beginning, such as Indo-European, and recent advances of super-computer power have allowed some of the oldest surviving words in English to be identified.

According to the University of Reading researchers, the words "I" and "who" are among the oldest, not only in English, but across all Indo-European languages, along with the words "two", "three", and "five". The word "one" is only slightly younger whereas the word "four" experienced a sort of linguistic evolutionary leap, that makes it significantly younger in English, and completely different from other Indo-European languages.

The oldest words we use today have been in existence for at least 10,000 years, but "50% of the words we use today would be unrecognisable to our ancestors living 2,500 years ago. If a time-traveller came to us, and told us he wanted to go back to that period, we could arm him with the appropriate phrase book, and hopefully keep him out of trouble" explained Mark Pagel, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Reading.

So there you are then, time travel would be much trickier than you thought!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Naughty Popes

The Most Controversial Popes.

The Roman Catholic Popes in general have been as much politicians as religious leaders ...... so perhaps its not surprising that violent times produced violent Pontiffs. More modern times have led to more philosophical disputes, but through out history the Popes have always been controversial.

The Mediaevals Believed Hell Was For Emperors, Popes, and Princes

Monsters Inc

The web is full of the marvellous, the stupid, the bizarre and the informative ..... in fact just about every folly that the human mind can think of, now holds its own little space on the web.

Today, instead of the conspiracy theorists, for whom I hold a little soft spot, I decided to illustrate another aspect of this world of the strange, which is best described by the cartographers of old nautical maps, who inscribed uncharted regions with the legend “Here Be Monsters.” Sometimes they would draw pictures of these fanciful beasts rising from the waters, and occasionally would even show them devouring wayward ships.

Well on the far side of the vaguely respectable world of cryptozoology, lurk the believers in monsters. These can range from Big Foot, Yetis, Big Cats in the UK, to devils skulls, faked giants bodies, insect men in Argentina, and finally through to 100 ft giant snakes in Borneo.

I make no apologies for posting a few photos which are openly posted on the web (but if any copy right infringed let me know and I will take that picture down) because although they are most certainly all fully explainable as 'natural', or fakes, they can be interesting in their own right!

This 'giant', from County Antrim, Ireland, was said to be 12ft 2in high. Its girth of chest was 6ft 6in, and length of arms 4ft 6in. There are six toes on the right foot. This fossilised body was on display in exhibitions in Dublin, Liverpool and Manchester. What later happened to the giant and its owner is unknown. (Photo from the British Strand magazine. Dec 1895).

However there is a strong suggestion that its actually a statue, created to support claims of biblical giants for money and later bought by PT Barnum after the financial success of the 'Cardiff Giant' ... it made some people very rich before the hoax was exposed. It was only when both giants appeared in New York City at the same time that the hoax was finally acknowledged by everyone.

The "Cardiff Giant" .... note the similar pose!

An article from Strand magazine (December,1895) reprinted in "Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland" by W.G. Wood-Martin mentions this fossilized giant discovered during mining operations in County Antrim, Ireland: "Pre-eminent among the most extraordinary articles ever held by a railway company is the fossilized Irish giant, which is at this moment lying at the London and North-Western Railway Company's Broad street goods depot, and a photograph of which is reproduced here. . . This monstrous figure is reputed to have been dug up by a Mr. Dyer whilst prospecting for iron ore in County Antrim. The principal measurements are: entire length, 12ft. 2in.; girth of chest, 6ft. 6in.; and length of arms, 4ft. 6in. There are six toes on the right foot. The gross weight is 2 tons 15cwt.; so that it took half a dozen men and a powerful crane to place this article of lost property in position for the Strand magazine artist. Dyer, after showing the giant in Dublin, came to England with his queer find and exhibited it in Liverpool and Manchester at sixpence, sixpence a head, attracting scientific men as well as gaping sightseers".

There are others of this ilk below ..... you gotta admit that some are pretty weird.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Our Country Cousins Of The Past

Neanderthals, our genetic cousins sadly died out about 25,000 yrs ago. In the Homo Sapian centred bias we were often taught that they were just out thought and out competed by the 'more intelligent' humans.

However a recent revision of the Neanderthals life suggests that the poor sods were done by the first "Climate Changes". The Neanderthals were on this Earth for around 400,000 yrs (Homo Sapiens have been around a mere 200,000!) and dominated Europe, hunting big game such as mammoth and bison.

They survived several Ice Ages but the period just after the last one seems to been the killer blow .... it may be that this time the Humans were here (which they hadn't been on earlier occasions) and this seems to have done for the Neanderthals. This event, known as Heinrich Event 2, could have caused severe drought conditions in Iberia, affecting the supplies of food and water for the last isolated bands of Neanderthal hunters.

An exceptionally cold and variable climate might have driven the disappearance of Ice Age animals, upon which the Neanderthals relied for food. In addition, climate change probably cleared Europe of its forests, creating an open environment that did not favour the Neanderthals.

The Red Headed Neanderthals may well have been musical as this web story suggests with singing and dancing, and there is a brief excerpt from an imagined Neanderthal knees up.

It's apparent that we weren't that original after all, maybe God or an Intelligent designer had one go before humans? Funny we didn't hear about the earlier Adam and Eve.

Or maybe its simply called evolution .......

Sunday, 15 February 2009

The Colonel Speaks His Mind

Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi has said he would like any 'United States of Africa' to include "Caribbean islands with African populations"..... this is after he was recently made King Of Kings, by African traditional leaders, and then took the role of Chairman of the African Union.

This latest announcement, follows on to his dismissal of African democracy, and his plan for a "United States of Africa" (ruled presumably by a promising new 'King of Kings'), it all promises exciting times for a defunct organisation.

I will be watching his eccentric reign as King of Kings and AU Chairman with some interest, it looks like there is a real 'player' in town, and I for one will enjoy the show.

The "King of Kings"

Pakistans Taleban Dilema

Pakistan has been slowly eroding from the edges for a number of decades, and because Pakistanis are the largest Muslim Group in the UK (and the source of many of our Islamist attackers), this blog has followed these events closely.

Pakistan was formed in 1947 from the British Raj, mainly because one man, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, could not come to a compromise with the Hindu's of India, and insisted that India's Muslims should be ruled as a separate country.

The new state of Pakistan could have opted for becoming a secular style democracy, after all it had inherited many democratic institutions and experiences from the period of colonial rule, and was itself the creation of a democratic process involving national elections, parliamentary resolutions, and a referendum. Or it could have become an Islamic emirate because the 'Pakistan Movement' was based on the theory that all the Muslims of India were a 'nation', and had a right to separate statehood and to be ruled in line with 'Islamic principles'.

But instead of making a clear choice, the early leaders tried to mix the two, and inadvertently sparked a series of political, legal, and religious debacles, that defined today's Pakistan. Since then, the inconsistencies in the constitution of a state, which has tried to be a secular state, based on Sharia (religious) laws, has led to parts of Pakistan falling under the power of an increasingly a hard line theocratic insurgency movement.

Mr Jinnah must take a lot of the blame for laying the seeds of the destruction of Pakistan as a viable state, because he set the precedent of just ignoring the constitution, when he dismissed the Congress-led government of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP i.e SWAT) by decree and instead of ordering fresh elections, appointed a Muslim League leader as the chief minister, with the special mandate to whip up parliamentary support for himself.

He then ignored the needs of half the state, when he declared to a large Bengali speaking audience in Dhaka, the capital of then East Pakistan, that Urdu would be the only state language.
This led later to the first dismissal of a genuinely elected government in 1953 by a 'Governor General', and the 'legal' precedent cited, was Jinnahs dismissal of the government of the North West Frontier Province, and it this that's been cited ever since, under a 1954 court ruling called the 'theory of necessity'.

The first military coup (by Ayub Khan) followed in 1958, and that set a pattern of rule between Army and civilians that has gone on ever since. With the governor-generals, presidents. and army chiefs having dismissed as many as ten civilian governments since then, and that altogether only ruled the country for barely 27 years. The remaining 33 years have seen direct military rule.

Pakistan then broke up as a single state with the secession of East Pakistan (whose inhabitants had been effectively disenfranchised by Jinnahs 'Dhaka' pronouncement), into the state of Bangladesh, but since then, its endless succession of military dictatorships, interspersed by corrupt civilian governments, has allowed the armed religious groups to take a grip in many of the regions.

This has left the central Government so weak, that effectively its writ fails in the 'badlands' of the Afghan borders and even outside the major cities (Islamabad the capital is actually partially surrounded by Taleban areas). The state has therefore failed to develop into an effective democracy, theocracy, or even a permanent military dictatorship. The US has also tended to 'support' the military governments, whilst distrusting the civilian ones (because of the 'culture of corruption' that appears endemic in the ruling families), and which has just further weakened the role of the constitution.

Finally the rule of law has simply collapsed, with the rich able to walk across the rights of the poor, elections often just corrupt exercises in electoral fraud by landowners who are little more than "feudal princes", ruling over the rural poor. The state institutions have withered and eroded, becoming government tools, rather than the back bones of the state.

The "Talebanisation" of the north-western region is one manifestation of the prevalent disorder; an unending separatist campaign by nationalists in the south-western Balochistan province is another.

Thus, Pakistan continues to reamin in a spiral of evermore corrupt or despotic regimes, using religious extremists and external support to keep the weak secular democratic forces at bay; and when these forces do assert themselves, to tie them down in legal constraints that are designed to ensure their failure.

It is the story of a society, that has been going round in circles for the last 60 years, however recently there has been a decided lurch towards the possibility of a Taleban style government in Pakistan.

As discussed earlier, the Taleban in SWAT have been bombing girls schools and women are now banned from markets and restaurants in Quetta, but alongside the insurgencies comes an economic collapse as well. The city of Peshawar is in danger of falling out of Government control, and SWAT region is now openly controlled by the Taleban (with a few army bases the only government presence), and then came today's news that the government has sued for a ceasefire in SWAT region, and in return for the ceasefire have promised to enforce Islamic law in the district.

In effect the central government has admitted defeat, and finally lost control of the region, with Pakistani President Asif Zardari warning that the country is fighting for its survival against the Taleban, whose influence he said has spread deep into the country, and he admitted that the Taleban had established a presence across "huge parts" of Pakistan.

If you visit Pakistani blog sites, you will find an almost ostrich like view of the 'Talebanisation' of Pakistan .... they can see it happening, and they understand that someone has to 'do something' (that 'someone' is the poorly led and paid, conscript army whose members are as likely to join the taleban), then return to discussing middle class concerns such as University results, as if these will survive the Talebans taking power!

If you look back to the fall of the Shah in Iran, he and the middleclasses found that the poor illiterate conscript army was in fact largely sympathetic towards the Khomeni radicals and so the regime fell ......... and "thus spoke Zarathustra"

A Galaxy Full Of Life?

I have blogged before on the possibilities of life in our solar system and in the rest of the universe, well this week two stories claim that life is teeming in the universe.

First came the announcement by an Edinburgh scientist, Duncan Forgan, who said that he believed that there are at least 361 intelligent civilisations in our Galaxy and possibly as many as 38,000. His research simulated a galaxy like ours and then subjected them to differing hypotheses.
  1. The first assumed that it is difficult for life to be formed but easy for it to evolve, and the results suggested there were 361 intelligent civilisations in the galaxy.

  2. A second scenario assumed life was easily formed but struggled to develop intelligence. Under these conditions, 31,513 other forms of life were postulated as existing.

  3. The final scenario examined the possibility that life could be passed from one planet to another during asteroid collisions - a popular theory for how life arose here on Earth.
    That approach gave a result of some 37,964 intelligent civilisations in existence.
This research had hardly been in the news for a day, when it was followed by another story in which Dr Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Science, said that there could be one hundred billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy, at a US conference. Based upon the limited numbers of planets found so far (300), Dr Boss has estimated that each Sun-like star has on average one "Earth-like" planet.

Most would likely to have simple life forms on them but obviously thousands could still have intelligent lifeforms and Dr Boss estimates that Nasa's Kepler mission, due for launch in March, should begin finding some of these Earth-like planets within the next few years.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Wafa Sultan Tells It Like It Is!

Wafa Sultan is a very brave woman, although living in the US gives her a fighting chance of surviving this attack on the backwardness of Islam and its followers .......

In the UK she would already have been driven into hiding by the followers of the religion of peace ...... just like Salman Rushdie and with hardly a comment from our Home Secretary

Nigerians Join Italians In Outer Space

I recently talked about Italians in Outer Space and quite forgot about Nigeria's contribution to the space race...... Yes I am not joking, Nigeria, paid the Chinese to build it a satellite, which was placed into orbit by the Russians, and thus became only the third African country after South Africa and Algeria, to have a presence in space, and all at the total cost of a mere $340m (£228m).

The satellite's ground control station was in the Nigerian capital Abuja, and was staffed by 15 Nigerian scientists (surely an oxymoron?), and rather ironically the satellite "NigeriaSat-1" was Nigeria's contribution to a network called the Disaster Monitoring Constellation!! (As well as providing communications for Nigerian government agencies and Broadband Internet).

So far an African success, then came the shocking news that ....... the satellite was completely crap, and it has now has been shut down to prevent it spinning out of control and damaging other satellites in orbit. Telecoms experts have described the whole enterprise as a "white elephant in space" and the whole operation was a "debacle".

From the very start the satellite had problems because the type of frequency it used was disturbed by clouds in the atmosphere, and did not work properly in Nigeria's rainy season, or during the Harmattan, when clouds of dust blow down from the Sahara. The satellite also operated on frequencies already allocated to other companies and interfered with other providers' equipment.

Minister of State for Science and Technology Alhassan Zaku told journalists it had lost power and had to be "parked, like you would park a car. If it wasn't parked and it lost all its power there would be no energy to even move it, and it would be like a loose cannon, and would keep rolling about and hit other satellites in the orbit," he told reporters.

With ministers with this sort of technical grasp in charge, we can see that Nigeria's advancement into the 19th century is in safe hands ..... bring on radio!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

The Lunatics Are Still In Charge

My favourite part of the Politically Correct lunatic fringe, aka The Church of England have been quiet of late, "too damn quiet Carruthers!", but just when I thought they had got a grip and were lost to me forever, they have two bursts of lunacy in a week. Bravo!!

Firstly, they have decided that membership of the perfectly legal, but far right British National Party, is now illegal for clergy and lay employees of the C of E. Oddly membership of the Communist Party was never a hindrance to being a clergyman as this communist party article suggests. The BNP as far as I know believe in a God, or at least don't not believe in a God, whereas the Communists are atheists and actively killed Christians in Russia, Poland, and Eastern Europe.

Secondly, a maverick in the Synod, is trying to make them actually admit that trying to convert non Christians such as Muslims is actually a requirement of the Christian and the C of E. This has caused paroxysms of fear, because as we all know, only Muslims are allowed to convert people in the UK, where as converts away from Christianity are given death threats (even in the UK) and have to go into hiding or be killed.

The C of E wants to befriend its new masters in the mosques, so critics of the plan say raising the issue will simply serve to damage the Church's relations with members of other religions, including Muslims.

The motion of traditionalist Mr Eddy, is intended to tackle what he sees as a liberal drift in the Church ,by challenging the synod to confirm a traditional, if sometimes uncomfortable, duty.

I watch with some glee, and much anticipation, as the C of E continues its collapse into a gay club with prayers.

The Faces of Modern Britain Part ll

Three boys, I hesitate to call these animals young men, Rogel McMorris, Jason Brew and Hector Muaimba were convicted of rape and given sentences of nine years and six years for a vicious gang rape of a girl with a mental age of eight, culminating in throwing acid over the victim.

A judge decided that despite the horror of the attack, these soft sentences were sufficient to send out a message to teen gang animals. Disability charities however disagreed and said that the sentences were unduly lenient and sent out the "wrong message". The girls views are not known as she is still in a coma after the attack.

The Crown Prosecution Service is appealing the sentences but no one really expects more than a year or so to be added to the sentences in case the scum get a case under the ever reliable Human Rights Act, that did nothing for the victim, but which will protect these scumbags from unduly 'harsh' sentences.

UK Dhimmitude takes another step to reality

This week saw a series of small steps on the UK's road to Dhimmitude with the very concept of Free Speech attacked by a Home Secretary, who is often so far up minority backsides that you can only see Left or Right painted on her shoes soles. She has banned and then deported a Dutch MP ... his crime? making a film that associates the Quran with terrorism.

Hardly a new association to make, seeing as every Islamic terrorist from Osama Bin Laden to the London Bombers, claim the exact same thing. So in the brave new PC Britain of New Labour its OK for a terrorist to shout "Allah Akbar" as they attack someone, but not for a film of that to be presented?

One action is meant to inspire other Muslims to attack us, while the other might incite Muslims to attack us? Oh and the only complainant? Lord Ahmed, a Muslim Labour Peer.

Democracy has really taken strange turns under this Politically Correct, but strangely coy on some matters, Home Secretary, but as these comments show, we are not all asleep.

All this in a week in which Julia Robinson, a primary school head teacher, was forced out (either sacked or resigned), following a failed attempt to get the minority of Muslim children in her school to attend one interfaith assembly, in which according to the 1944 Education Act, most acts of worship have to be "wholly or mainly of a broadly Christian character", though others can reflect pupils' family backgrounds.

And in another story, a foster parent was sacked after a sixteen year old Muslim girl in her care chose, without her knowledge to convert to Christianity. The carer, who has 10 years’ experience and has looked after more than 80 children, said she was ‘devastated’ by the decision.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

What The Romans Did For Us

Famously, according to Monty Pythons the People's Front of Judea, or is that the Judean People's Front (which one are the splitters?), or was it the Popular Front of Judea, had a discussion now known as "What have the Romans ever done for us?"

The Romans Did Quite A Lot For Us Actually

Reg: "They've bled us white, the bastards. They've taken everything we had, not just from us, from our fathers and from our fathers' fathers."
Stan: "And from our fathers' fathers' fathers."
Reg: "Yes."
Stan: "And from our fathers' fathers' fathers' fathers."
Reg: "All right, Stan. Don't labour the point. And what have they ever given us in return?"
Xerxes: "The aqueduct."
Reg: "Oh yeah, yeah they gave us that. Yeah. That's true."
Masked Activist: "And the sanitation!"
Stan: "Oh yes... sanitation, Reg, you remember what the city used to be like."
Reg: "All right, I'll grant you that the aqueduct and the sanitation are two things that the Romans have done... "
Matthias: "And the roads... "
Reg: "(sharply) Well yes obviously the roads... the roads go without saying. But apart from the aqueduct, the sanitation and the roads... "
Another Masked Activist: "Irrigation... "
Other Masked Voices: "Medicine... Education... Health..."
Reg: "Yes... all right, fair enough... "
Activist Near Front: "And the wine... "
Omnes: "Oh yes! True! "
Francis: "Yeah. That's something we'd really miss if the Romans left, Reg."
Masked Activist at Back: "Public baths!"
Stan: "And it's safe to walk in the streets at night now. "
Francis: "Yes, they certainly know how to keep order... (general nodding)... let's face it, they're the only ones who could in a place like this.(more general murmurs of agreement)"
Reg: "All right... all right... but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us? "
Xerxes: "Brought peace! "
Reg: "(very angry, he's not having a good meeting at all) What!? Oh... (scornfully) Peace, yes... shut up! "

However according to this article, it was the language, and the tradition of discourse and civilised debate which is their true heritage to the world.

When you look at those areas that don't share that heritage, you can see that they may have a point.

Talebans War on Women

The Daily Times in Pakistan has reported on a wave of attacks on women's limited rights in Pakistan's SWAT region and how its now spreading.

Now women can't be served in restaurants after an increasing number of restaurants in Quetta have stopped serving women, apparently after being pressured by "religious elements".

Some popular restaurants have now begun to display boards saying, “For gentlemen only. Women not allowed”. As the self-proclaimed champions of Islam, the Pakistani Taleban believe that eating outside along with one’s family is 'un-Islamic', they have been pressuring the owners of these restaurants to permanently shut down the sections of the restaurants which were formerly exclusively for women and families.

This all stems from the fact that women in Islam are treated badly enough even in enlightened times, and these aren't enlightened times in Islam.

Women in the West are blithely ignorant of what is coming unless we stop the PC apologists trying to appease Muslim elements amongst us. These practices, restricting women's lives to that of mere chattels of men are common in the Muslim world, and are not going away, but rather are spreading across regions accompanied by the gun.

1930's Economics Revisited?

The US very nearly resorted to old style protectionism last week. They can't go isolationist because they are oil dependent and most of their debts are owned by the Arabs and Asians, however there is ever a strand of feeling in the US that they can just shut the door and let the world go to hell.

At the last minute, they listened to veiled threats from the Canadians, Europeans and Asians that retaliation would be swift, if the US carried on with the "Buy American" clause of a economic recovery bill, and softened it. Speaking before a vote on that amendment, Mr McCain warned that if the provisions were passed it would "only be a matter of time before we face an array of similar protectionism from other countries - from 'Buy European' to 'Buy Japanese' and more".

Whether its enough to stop tit for tat legislation in the EU and Jap/China blocks remains to be seen but the amended bill passed through the Senate as well.

All this talk of the 1930's style economics reminded me that I had blogged about the similarities between now and the 1930's especially financially before. But more interestingly I had just read an economic article suggesting that protectionism wasn't all bad.

The article suggested that distinguished economists have established pretty convincingly that it was the staying on the gold standard that helped turn a mismanaged US stock market crash into a global slump, by causing a prolonged and devastating period of falling prices.

"The gold standard (in effect, a fixed exchange rate system anchored by the price of gold) led the world's leading economies into a deflationary spiral. That was because the only way for deficit countries to stem the resulting flow of gold (money) out of the country was by shrinking domestic demand, which led to a further downward spiral in prices and incomes.

Since everyone was doing the same thing (and surplus countries like the US were not allowing inflows of gold to stimulate demand), this didn't help countries out of their hole - they just collectively dug themselves deeper and deeper. The first countries to dump the gold standard were also the quickest out of deflation and the quickest to recover."

It then went on to point out the collapse of world trade was as a result of this deflation problem, rather than 'protectionism' being the cause of depression. However, as it goes on to say the world is too interdependent to go down the 'self-dependency' route theses days, as the American politicians were quickly made to realise this week.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

An African Hero For Our Times

Yes, there are some Africans fighting corruption, and this story about Richard Karyea in Liberia refusing a bribe (1,300 times greater than his salary), and reporting drug smuggling is heartening.

Asked why he refused "It wasn't difficult to turn down the money, If it took me 50 years to earn that money, I'd want my conscience. I will always want my conscience"

Sadly, his colleagues in the customs office obviously disagreed and he was made redundant shortly later....... hmm.

However all ended well when he ended up in a better job as deputy chief examiner at the ministry of finance, and was made Civil Servant of the Year 2008 and given a $1,000 (£700) prize by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

"Free Speech" Not A UN Concern Anymore

When the UN was set up by civilised nations, it included in its areas of interest, the right of "free speech" via the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which stated 60 years ago, that "a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief is the highest aspiration of the common people"... this was to be reported on by a UN "Rapporteur."

Currently Ambeyi Ligabo is the UN Rapporteur for 'Freedom of Opinion', and Asma Jahangir is responsible for 'Expression and Freedom of Religion or Belief'. There are a number of 'Human Rights Defenders', with Margaret Sekaggya apparently the principle defender of our basic human rights.

Columnist Johann Hari in the Independent Newspaper has brought to his readers attention changes at the United Nations that affect Free Speech defence. These are that following pressure from Islamic countries, who, led by the freedom loving Saudis, said that any demand for 'everyone to be able to think and speak freely' failed to "respect" the "unique sensitivities" of the religious (i.e. Muslims), so they have issued an alternative, Declaration of Human Rights in Islam . Note that 'the religious' can only mean "Islamic" in the declaration.

In this Anti Free Speech declaration you can only speak within "the limits set by the shariah [Muslim law]. It is not permitted to spread falsehood or disseminate that which involves encouraging abomination or forsaking the Islamic community". In other words, if you say you are not a Muslim, or declare that Islam is wrong in anyway, in any part of the world, you are subject to Sharia Law, and will be subject to UN condemnation, and a lot worse if you happen to be in a Muslim country.

The Islamic inspired declaration goes on to make it clear that there is no equality for women, gays, non-Muslims, or apostates. To their eternal shame this Muslim led attack on human principles has been backed by both the Vatican, and a collection of US Christian fundamentalists.

Now the Pakistani delegate to the UN has demanded that this job description be changed, so they can seek out and condemn "abuses of free expression" including "defamation of religions and prophets". Shamefully the UN council has agreed to the Pakistani demand and now, instead of condemning the people who wanted to murder Salman Rushdie, they will be condemning Salman Rushdie himself ..... where were the major western powers when Free Speech was finally abandoned as a Human aspiration?

Apparently they agreed to this change without complaint. The main objections have come from free speech campaigners such as Roy Brown of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, who has tried to raise topics like the stoning of women accused of adultery or child marriage.

When Mr Brown tried to speak to the UN, the Egyptian delegate stood up to announce that any discussion of shariah "will not happen" and "Islam will not be crucified in this council" – and Mr Brown was ordered to stop talking by the UN Commission on Human Rights, which is controlled by the Muslim state membership, and therefore any criticism of Islamic practices has therefore effectively been gagged,

Now mullahs and despotic regimes have the UN backing for the imprisonment of people like Abdel Kareem Soliman who said that the al-Azhar university in Cairo was a "the university of terrorism", and that it "suppressed free thought".

I point also to the treatment of writer Taslima Nasreen, firstly in Bangladesh and then in West Bengal by Muslim zealots. Her crime? She had "seriously hurt Muslim sentiments" by calling for more rights for women in her writings.

When she called for Islamic religious edicts to be changed, she was referring to the Sharia laws (which are man made and biased against women), but that didn't stop an illiterate rent-a-mob being drummed out of the mosques, by Mullahs who probably had never read the books, to destroy property, burn and loot in the name of 'protecting the honour' of their religion .... now the actions of this mob is apparently UN sanctioned.

Recently Reda Abdel-Rahman (also known as Abdel Rahman) was arrested, tortured and humiliated in Egypt. His crime "contempt for the Muslim faith" which in reality, is, that he accepts the Quran as the only source of the Muslim religion, and not the Sunnah (the life of Mohammad, which is where child brides and various other practices from Islam are justified).

In fact the Quran says that no other book should be used so Mr Rahman is correct, and the other Muslims are apostates by using the books of the Sunnah. That aside, the UN no longer comments on the Egyptian governments abuses as long as they say its a 'religious matter'.

I truly believe that we have gone mad ......


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