Translate

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Monsters Inc Two

Finally as its the dawn of another New Year, I spotted another couple of those web stories that promote the stranger beliefs out there .... the first was that the 'Loch Ness Monster'  had been spotted on Google Earth and can be seen by entering the co-ordinates Latitude 5712'52.13" N, Longitude 434'14.16" W.

'Loch Ness' Monster?

Actually it looks more like a squid, or even the 'Queen Alien' than 'Nessie'  ....

Alien Swimming - Loch Ness Monster?

The second site, seems to be a creationist religious site, but has on it what it suggests are genuine pictures of dinosaurs that are or were still alive until recently ..... I have cleaned all the pictures up (just backgrounds, not main figures), because they were torn or marked, but the originals can be seen here and here.

'Pterodactyl' shot down by Confederate soldiers during the Civil war

Man Holding a 'Rhamphorhynchus'

Again, its on faith that these are 'genuine' .... the first and second both show what I believe is also sometimes referred to as the "thunderbird", but look fake to me. For instance in that second picture, that could just be a spade behind the man. not a tail, and the bird, some kind of vulture.

And the first picture, looks remarkably like this one of another bunch of civil war soldiers shooting yet another large creature or thunderbird (which must have been filling the North American skies at the time! )  ... this has also been declared as a fake (See this post for faking pictures).

US Soldiers Kill 'Thunderbird' or 'Roc'

Ah well, as I have said before, the world wide web is a wonderful invention, and its sites and photo's like these that make it such fun.

Happy New Year for 2012!

North Korean Portends

I have been following events in North Korea with some interest .... after all the 'Demigods' that are the royal ruling family of the Communist, Democratic Republic of North Korea, are a rarity in the world.  

So after all the talk of 'portends' on the death of one heredity ruler and succession of another, it was with some glee that my attention was caught by news that the North Koreans have apparently recruited giants into their armed forces ....

One Big Korean

Sadly all the speculation is that this isn't a fake, but is in fact the 7’ 8” tall North Korean basketball star Ri Myung Hun.

Hackers In Space

A rock band once entitled one of their albums "Italians From Outer Space" in a bit of a joke .... so when I saw in the news last August that hackers wanted to set up their own satellite system, I laughed, thinking it a joke.

Italians From Outer Space

But the laugh is on me, because in a sign of the times that we now live in, that's exactly what they are proposing to do. The news from the hackers at the 'Chaos Communication Congress' in Berlin is that they are proposing put a 'Hackerspace Global Grid' of satellites into orbit, and tracking stations on the ground to take the Internet beyond the reach of censors. They even have plans in the long term, to help put an amateur astronaut on the moon!

The reason why they consider that this is necessary is because they believe that governments such as China and the USA, are increasingly trying to censor or own the world wide web ... acts such as the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) in the United States, they consider to be threats to online freedom. If passed, the act would allow for some sites to be blocked on copyright grounds, and of course China is implicated in numerous state hacking and censorship activities, such as the infamous "Great Firewall of China".

One of the future battlegrounds of the human race could be 'freedom of thought' versus 'censorship or control '.... I know which side I will be on.



Man and Machines

Modern Man has been around for about 50,000 years as homo-sapiens, and since then, as busy little beavers, we have been remaking the planet and all it contains to reflect our requirements. The ultimate end product of which is likely to be a disaster for us, and all the other creatures sharing this Earth, although once we have gone, another evolutionary round will probably repopulate the planet eventually.

Our first tool was fire, and evidence of how our fore-bearers used it to shape their environment is just emerging, with suggestions that early human ancestors, could have had the ability to start fires about 300,000 years ago, but the real impact was from about 70,000 years ago as human populations became more widespread, and really taking hold about 50 - 40,000 years ago.

However, here we are, and the full impact of man's use of tools can now be seen from space .... this series of stunning photographs illustrate exactly how much we have shaped the planet. They illustrate the major road rail, transmission line, underwater cables, overlaid on top of the cities illuminated at night, as seen from space.

Mans Impact - Africa

Mans Impact - Asia

Mans Impact - Australasia

Mans Impact - Europe

Mans Impact - South America

Mans Impact - North America

Interesting side note, we came out of Africa, and yet that's the least developed continent.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

A Shot In The Dark

There are some faces that you see far too often .....

Chief Supt Kevin Mulligan -
Heading yet another murder enquiry.
and this is one of them .... Yes its our old friend, Chief Supt Kevin Mulligan of that socialist voting paradise known as Salford. We last heard from him in June this year, when one of those not so 'rare' violent deaths that occurred so often on his watch, was in the news. 

Well yet again there has been another senseless killing in Salford, this time of an Indian Student 'executed' in the streets in the early hours, and in front of eight other students. Two men just approached the nine students, all Indians, said something to them that's not been reported, then one pulled out a gun and shot the student in the head, killing him.

As usual, the Chief Supt had some platitudes to reel out. "This appears to be an unprovoked attack and we can't establish a motive at this time. We are investigating every possible aspect and we are in the early stages of the investigation, but we are not ruling anything out." .... he bit that struck me was 'appears to be unprovoked'? What, there could possibly be a reasonable 'motive' for a 'provoked attack'? A man was shot dead in the street - we don't need to know why the killer did it, or if the attack was 'unprovoked', we need to know that they have been caught.

At least he recognises that its the denizens of his crime ridden patch who perpetrate these crimes "I believe the answers to who did this will lie in our community", which is something of an improvement on his statement following an earlier murder/shooting in salford, that he "would like to reassure residents that there is no general threat to them as a result of what happened".

As Inspector Clouseau once said "Yes, well, life is not all shoot-shoot, bang-bang, you know" which thought must be a source of comfort to the residents of the gun alleys of Salford.

Update: Rather strangely the police have so far arrested four people in connection with this murder - two men and two boys, aged 16 and 17.
  

Friday, 23 December 2011

Rescuing Santa

When we introduced a Freedom of Information in the UK (a watered down version of the US model), who knew what it would throw up, well a list of the strangest request for information in 2011 has thrown up at least one request to Cheltenham Borough Council for them to explain:
  • What preparations has the council made for an emergency landing of Santa's sleigh this Christmas? 
  • Who would be responsible for rescuing Santa? 
  • Who would be responsible for rounding up the reindeer, and 
  • Who would have to tidy the crash site? 
With reports that in the US dozens of US congressmen have pledged to protect Christmas from attempts to undermine it, especially the the nativity scenes, maybe this isn't as daft a question as it may seem.

Cheltenham Borough Council - Plans To Rescue Santa

Some of the other strange items the councils were asked about are:

  • How does the council plan to help the brave soldiers of our infantry if and when Napoleon and his marauding hordes invade the district? (West Devon District Council)
  • What plans are in place to deal with an alien invasion? (Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service)
  • How many drawing pins are in the building and what percentage are currently stuck in a pin board? (Hampshire County Council)
  • How many *holes in privacy walls between toilet cubicles have been found in public lavatories and council buildings? (Cornwall Council) *aka 'Glory Holes' in Gay Communities.
Its a funny old world, with some no longer able to tell the difference between fact and fiction ....

 Happy Christmas Everyone!

Vaclav Havel - A Hero For Our Times

Our age in the West has stopped producing heroes, when banality and mediocrity are the benchmarks .... so this blog is open in its admiration of the few that are produced. So its with sadness that we mark the passing away of Vaclav Havel - a hero for our times.

I won't detail his life story, there will be millions of biographies that do that, but suffice it to say that he gave the world the 989 Velvet Revolution in the then Czechoslovakia that was peaceful, and along with the Solidarity movement in Poland showed that even the most oppressive of regimes can be defeated by simple protest, as long as they are not monsters (sadly, China, Libya and Syria, show that where the regime has no conscience, then peaceful measures will fail).

Vaclav Havel - A Rolling Stone President

He is rightly remembered in the modern components of the old Czechoslovakia (Slovakia and the Czech Republic) for his role in as the playwright of the Czech Spring of 1968, the Charter 77 group and after the 1989 Velvet Revolution he became the first democratically elected President of Czechoslovakia  since the Nazi and Communist occupations from 1939 onwards.

Sadly he oversaw the break up of Czechoslovakia into the Slovakian and the Czech Republic states, but was then elected the president of the new Czech Republic a few months later in January 1993. After stepping down at the end of his second term as president in 2003, he devoted time to supporting human rights activists around the world.

He deserves all the plaudits ....

Demigod Kim Jong-il

Whenever any Demigod passes away there are strange portends and phenomena., And so its with no surprise that the reports from the mad house that is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea aka North Korea (why are states that call themselves 'Democratic' invariably not?), are claiming that the very heavens are in mourning for the departure of mini me tyrant Kim Jong-il.

  • State TV reported that ice cracked on the famous lake Chon "so loud, it seemed to shake the Heavens and the Earth".
    A snowstorm hit as Mr Kim died.
  • Following the storm's sudden end at dawn, a message was seen carved in to the rock - "Mount Paektu, holy mountain of revolution. Kim Jong-il" - it glowed brightly and there until sunset .... its gone now if you thinking of going to see this phenomena.
  • On the same say, a Manchurian crane also apparently adopted a posture of grief at a statue of the late leader's father in the northern city of Hamhung.

Demigod Kim Jong-il

Now all this heavenly activity for the death of an aetheist heredity communist leader shouldn't come as a surprise, when you consider that according to his official biographers, his birth at Baekdu Mountain was 'foretold by a swallow, and heralded by the appearance of a double rainbow over the mountain, and a new star in the very heavens' ... so he was hardly going to pass away quietly either.

He now presumably joins his god like father Kim Il-sung in ruling the very heavens. The designated god heir and youngest son, Kim Jong-un, is already being called the "Great Successor" and they are now being told that the junior Kim is "a great person born of heaven on (sacred) Mount Paektu" ..... another fifty years of being ruled by a god must be daunting.

Entente Uncordiale

As its Christmas week I thought I would post a bit early and the first item had to be the verbal assault of the UK by the 'Europeans' which shows exactly what a lie the European Union really is.

The reason for this was that we had the temerity to block an attempt by the French and Germans to cripple the UK economy by imposing whats known as a Tobin tax (a tax on every city financial transaction) on the City of London. As the Americans have no such tax, then all the trade would simply go to them, thus probably defeating the alleged purpose of the tax, which was to make the UK pay for the euro zone economic collapse (even though we are not in the zone). Obviously the removal of 10% of Government finances in the UK would have brought Britain to its knees, and reduced us to the level of Greece, and so our Prime Minister blocked the moves.

The UK Stands Alone Against Federalism

Then came the assault .... Germany and France were the two main protagonists Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, head of the Germany's FDP group, part of the European Liberals, said it was "a mistake to let the British into the EU".Daniel Cohen-Bendit, joint leader of the Greens in the European Parliament has labelled Mr Cameron "a weakling".
 
Le Figaro the French newspaper stated that "No sooner did David Cameron cross the entrance to the council, on the occasion of the 8 December summit, than the sky over the negotiations darkened. He had one aim: to protect British interests." This from a nation where De Gaulle set the terms for the UK's entry as so steep that we have distrusted the institution ever since.  

The French prime minister, Mr Fillon, French finance minister Francois Baroin, and Christian Noyer Chairman of the French central bank all suggested that Britain was a better candidate for a downgrade of its triple-A rating ahead of France, amid fears in Paris that France might lose its triple-A rating.

"When I look at our British friends, who are even more indebted than us and carrying a bigger deficit, what I see is that the ratings agencies so far don't seem to have noticed", " ... you'd rather be French than British in economic terms" about sums up the sentiments  

The rest of Europe joined in the attacks to one degree or another .... so much for European Unity. Apparently, stopping the Euro zone from robbing £80bn from the UK economy to pay for the Euro zone badly formulated collapse is apparently selfish on our part. The fact that it was Germany (along with Italy), which was the first Euro zone country to break the 3% cap on borrowing, which was set in to the first Euro treaty, at the insistence of the then German finance minister Leo Waigal. France immediately did the same. Oddly Spain was the only country to stick to the rules, and look what happened to them. Somehow, this is all Britain's fault.   

The sooner we have a referendum on getting out of this corrupt grouping the better, they never wanted us, just our our money. Even taking into account the rebate, the UK is one of the largest net contributors to the EU budget. Had it not been for the rebate, its net contribution would have been even bigger than Germany's in 2007 and all the years since we joined.  Note that the French actually pay far less than the UK or even the Netherlands in 'Net' terms.

Just for the record:

Who pays the piper should call the tune

We are still the second highest net contributors to EU coffers, but its the Germans and French who call the tune .... time to end this farce.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Start Of The Arab Winter?

We at PC towers always wondered if the Arab Spring might turn, without any summer, into a long winter, and maybe, just maybe, we are seeing the first signs of things turning sour. In Egypt, the ultraconservative Islamists, known as Salafists, have emerged from the first stage of Egypt's parliamentary election as a powerful political force. These are violent men who attack Christians, and believe in the 'Mad Mullah' school of politics.

The Salafists In Egypt Are Democrats -
Who Believe In The Civil Society!!

They took 24% of the party-list vote in Egypt, second only to the mainstream Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) which took 36%. The core of their support comes from the illiterate and poor, who identify strongly with conservative religious values, and leaves the Islamists with 60% of the votes.

Time will tell, but we may be seeing the end of the middle class dreams in Egypt and elsewhere, and the start of a Sunni Theocracy like the Shia's in Iran. The Second Caliphate may be taking its first faltering steps.

Justice or Vengeance?

I know I shouldn't be, but I can't help feeling sorry for ex Panama Strongman (and then friend of the US) General Manuel Noriega - I mean, as Dictators go he was small fry, which doesn't of course lessen his crimes (drug running, murder, corruption and embezzlement are some of the charges), but in the scheme of these things he was more Presidenti Mustachio rather than Saddam Hussein.

General Manuel Noriega US Prison
However, he just goes from jail to jail, and sentence to sentence, while others of a similar ilk have just lived in exile. Now aged 77 he has already spent more than 20 years in prisons in France and the United States, and has now been returned to Panama where hes expected to stay in prison until he dies.

77 yr old Gen Noriega
He has never once been sentenced to death, but the culmination of all these prison terms effectively means that he will die in prison ... probably not undeserved, but justice has to always be seen to be done, and this can start to look less like 'justice' and more like 'vengeance'.

Voter Fraud or Anti Immigrant?

Apparently in Texas and other US States, in an effort to combat possible electoral fraud, the electoral board have passed new rules where voters are required to show state identification at the polls when voting. Seems sensible enough, but cue the Democrats complaints.

Electoral fraud comes in many guises

Now what they wanted to say was .... "but that will hurt our vote because we have illegal immigrants vote for us" .... but they can't. So they have to say that 'the poor and elderly may struggle to secure that documentation' .... in fact Democratic Attorney General Eric Holder managed to square the circle in this statement "we need election systems that are free from fraud, discrimination and partisan influence - and that are more, not less, accessible to the citizens of this country".... but he added that "The most recent census data indicated that Texas has gained more than four million new residents - the vast majority of whom are Hispanic".

The Democrats are trying to find some way to declare the rules 'unconstitutional', but have to be careful how this plays with the white community because as Walter Scott said ..... 'Oh what tangled webs we weave when we first practise to deceive' .... as most of those new Hispanic residents of Texas are alleged to be illegal immigrants, and therefore shouldn't be able to vote, and won't be able to if forced to produce state papers.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Why Are Polar Bears Still Here?

I was watching David Attenborough's excellent "Frozen Planet" and a post programme discussion in which he said that if warming continued unabated the Polar bear would be extinct. Now on the face of it that makes sense but there are a couple of nagging questions that always bug me about this.

According to both fossil and DNA evidence, the polar bear (Ursus Maritimus) diverged from the brown bear (Ursus Arctos), roughly 150,000 years ago and the oldest known polar bear fossil is a 130,000 to 110,000-year-old jaw bone. However when they evolved, during what geologists describe as the Pleistocene or Ice Age, the ice sheets were more or less permanent from Canada and Russia through to the North Pole. In fact over the vast time span of the Pleistocene (from 2,000,000 - 12,000 B.C), large glacial ice sheets covered much of North America, Europe, and Asia for extended periods of time.

But since the start of the current geological  period about 12,000 BC (known as the Holocene epoch), the retreat of the glacial ice has been more or less continuous. So the polar bear has had at least 14,000 years to adapt to the gradual but constant changes caused by warming and ice retreat. Even during the Ice Age the extent of the glacier ice cover was not static, and there were periods when the glaciers retreated (known as the interglacial), because of warmer temperatures, and advanced because of colder temperatures (glacial).

Climatic indicators for the last 400,000 years.

The last ice cover peakage is known as the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) approximately 20,000 years ago, when the north and south of the planets saw vast ice sheets for the last time. 

Earth At The Last Glacial Maximum

But there were periods in that two million year epoch when the ice retreat during an interglacial would have been at least the equivalent of the current retreat. So why were polar bears not wiped out the first time the ice broke up and left open sea between the the north pole ice pack and the land?

I have no idea if this is a valid question or not, but I always suspect that someone should be able to answer this before saying that they will be made extinct this time round, when they have so obviously not done so on other occasions ..... maybe the answer to where the polar bears go when conditions no longer suit their lifestyles, lies in a hybrid between grizzly and polar bears? These hybrids, some times called a pizzly bear or prizzly bear, or grolar bear would have all the DNA and characteristics to quickly evolve back into polar bear types when and if the ice cover ever came back.

A female hybrid, male hybrid, brown bear and polar bear

Its just an idle bit of speculation on one of those imponderables we come across in our lives .... I was just diverted by the notion, and now you have been as well.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Where There's Muck There's Brass

There is a saying in the north of England "Where there's muck there's brass", meaning where there are dirty jobs to be done there is money to be made. Well there's nothing more mucky than dog poo, but even in that unlikely object there's apparently money to be made, well in Taiwan at least ....

"All That Glitters" Isn't The Only Gold 
 ..... they have a reward system which hands out lottery tickets for bags of dog waste scooped from the streets of New Taipei City. The prizes for this social activity range from the top prize of a gold ingot worth $2,200 (£1,400), down through smaller gold ingots worth hundreds of dollars, to small household appliances. This cunning scheme has been credited with halving the amount of dog mess on the city streets, but despite the scheme being extended, it can't go on forever, with many saying that the city simply cannot afford to keep exchanging dog poo for gold.

However I seem to recall that in the Terry Prachett 'Disc World' series of fantasy books, the reclamation czar of Ankh-Morpork Harry King (aka as 'Piss Harry' behind his back), the man sometimes called the 'King of the Golden River', had a soft spot for what he called 'White Gold' i.e. dried dog waste, because tanners would pay extra for it ...... maybe the councillors of New Taipei City are missing a source of revenue here?

Friday, 9 December 2011

Biggest Bulgars

Bulgaria Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who is a casual football player for Bulgarian third division side Vitosha Bistritsa was named the country's player-of-the-year in an annual poll.  He collected 44% of the votes in the fans' poll, placing him well ahead of Dimitar Berbatov of Manchester United.

Boyko Borisov and Dimitar Berbatov
Bulgarias No1 and No2 Footballers.
Whilst no doubting that he was surprised and honoured by this perverse result, the Prime Minister was anxious not to actually accept the award .... "It is a signal that Bulgarian football needs reforms and a new policy. Organisers should annul the vote" he said. The amateur player Vasil Lukaev, from amateur team Shipka Dragor, came third.

Internet Freedom In India

In a bad move for free speech and democracy in India, communications Minister Kapil Sibal has vowed to crack down on offensive Internet content .... they have decided that they will introduce guidelines to ensure that "blasphemous material" did not appear on Internet.

This Upset The Indian Government

The reason for this sudden Chinese style censorship? Apparently 'doctored' photos of the Indian PM Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi are on the Internet and have angered the Indian government. They should be glad that they don't have satirical magazines such as the UK's Private Eye, or Frances 'Charlie Hebdo' .... this would look like tame stuff indeed.

British History, BBC Version

The BBC likes to set the social agenda in the UK ... it largely takes a  left leaning PC agenda on social issues, and without being asked or invited, generally acts as an extension of the labour parties polices.

Nothing illustrates this more than when it rewrites British history or myth to fit its agenda. e.g. TV adaptations of  the 'Merlin', 'King Arthur' or 'Robin Hood' stories, which now routinely feature African characters, despite their complete absence from the original stories. Even the "Black Knight" wasn't black in the stories I read.

The Arthurian Age was very Multicultural according the BBC

Of course if you attempted to rewrite the myths of Africans, and put in white characters where none had existed before, then there would be an outcry, not least the from the BBC itself, so immigrants are left with their culture and traditions intact. Its only the British (sorry English) history, culture or myths that can be changed to fit the BBC world view, because now that I think of it, William Wallace and Owen Glendower would never be rewritten either, as the Scots and Welsh are also minorities in the BBC world view as well.

Its frightening how so very little that the BBC does in support of its unelected agenda, is ever challenged anymore. Its almost as if the last thirty or forty years of left wing agenda being daily beamed out, has dulled the sensibilities of those who should be challenging the BBC.

Oh for a Mrs Mary Whitehouse to ride out like a modern day Don Quixote to tilt at the giant that is the BBC.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Ice Sculpture

While I was at Edinburgh Castle I took this picture of the creation of the winter ice sculptures. The winter has been so mild to-date that they are constantly creating more .....  Its rare that you capture moments like this and I was so pleased with the effect, that I thought I would share it in a post of its own.

Ice Sculpture - Late Afternoon, Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh In Winter

Edinburgh in winter is a beautiful city ...... I took these pictures from the top of Edinburgh castle - sweeping out to the Firth of Forth ..... I created a panorama out of the three pictures (not a true one, but close enough), to give you a feel of the majesty of the view.

Edinburgh From The Top of Edinburgh Castle
It should be noted before you all rush to the castle, that most of the time, the clouds and or rain, prevent you seeing quite as much as I was lucky enough to capture on this visit ... just a warning LOL


Saturday, 3 December 2011

Mad Mullahs

I can never resist highlighting the pronouncements on women by Muslim clerics ..... they are often as mad as hatters, but because they are listened to by the men of Islam, they are also incredibly dangerous.

So from the land that brought us such gems as 'The One Eyed Veil proposed for shameless women' we now have the logical reasons why women can't be allows to drive cars.  These were drawn together in an official report to be presented to the legislative assembly by another of those 'well known' academic mullahs, Kamal Subhi, who are so beloved of BBC reports.

His report apparently clams that if women drive cars:
  • It would increase prostitution.
  • Increase pornography.
  • Increase homosexuality (which is illegal in that part of the world anyway). 
  • Increase the number of divorces.
  • And the clincher, bring on the end of 'Virginity' in the country. 
An unnamed (for obvious reasons) Saudi woman, who has campaigned for women drivers said that the report was 'completely mad'.


Saudi Clerics Debate On Womens Issues

This is of course not the only such pronouncement made by a cleric, how about this. Sheikh Al Obeikan, an adviser to the royal court and consultant to the Ministry of Justice, last year said that women who come into regular contact with men, who are not their relatives, should 'give them their breast milk' in order to make them their relatives. This after Saudi cleric Abi Ishaq Al Huwaini, asked women to allow the men to 'suckle the milk directly from their breasts'.

However one of the reasons why we should watch these idiotic pronouncements is because this is exactly what 61% of Muslims in the UK want to be brought in here as well. If nothing else, this highlights what passes for 'academic' in current Islamic thought .....

Friday, 2 December 2011

End of the World ... Not

Recently there have been many reports of the end of the world ... many have been wrong, but the banker for all these nutcases has been the Mayan Calendar cycles which many believed meant the universe, or at least our little bit of it was going to come to an end next year (maybe in 30 days ... but more likely at some point towards the end of 2012 ).

Now however, archaeologists have had another look at this and said, oops, we read it all wrong. Its not a prediction for the end of a universe cycle, but rather according to these new readings of the Mayan text carved into stone 1,300 years ago, its the expected time for Bolon Yokte' K'uh  (the god of creation and war), to return to influence.

Bolon Yokte' K'uh  - Mayan God Of War. Due back next year.

Even the National Autonomous University of Mexico has joined in the fun .... "There is no prophecy for 2012. It is a marketing fallacy".

Still if you think of it, it may not be a cataclysmic end for the universe or even the solar system, but the return of the God of War after a 400 years absence ( the last time he was about was when the Conquistadors overthrew the Aztecs!), may end up with the end of the world as we know expect it .... just a thought!

NB: See you all safely in the New Year!

Backward Afghanistan

Our soldiers are fighting in Afghanistan, purportedly to bring some sort of civilisation to this benighted land - An Afghan woman is arrested by the police after being raped, she was charged with 'Adultery' and jailed - she had the child of her rapist in prison.  The rapist of course faced no sanctions.
 
"At first my sentence was two years," she said. "When I appealed it became 12 years. I didn't do anything. Why should I be sentenced for so long?" ..... her sentence was reduced to three years on appeal.

Afghan women have few rights but many wrongs

She can leave prison on a Presidential pardon if she agrees to marry her rapist .... why do we bother to be there? Our soldiers are dying for nothing ..... They are a socially backward people, and think that Sharia is superior to all other systems.  In fact as US and Allied troops 'handover' to Afghans, everything reverts back to the same miserable state as it was before we invaded. The whole experiment in 'democratisation' in Afghanistan was doomed from the start ... they are proud to be the most backward nation in Islam (and thats saying something given the competition for that position).

Tiger Can't Change Stripes

When I was doing history studies, I was told that when there were one party states, the way to tell if they were Communist or Fascist was who owned the means of production - if it was the state then they were Communists e.g. USSR and it it was in private hands, then it was Fascist like National Socialist Germany.

In the 1970's 100% of all the means of production in China was in state hands - now 80% is in private hands and its still a one party state ..... by this logic is China now a Fascist state? I ask because a story on the BBC states that the Chinese are going to try and crack down on private police and 'black jails', where opponents to the regime are taken and tortured or even killed.

In a story that reminds one of Hitlers Germany, local government ministers and officials hire private thugs to dress as police, drive cars marked like the police, and then stop people who travel to Beijing to voice grievances about perceived injustices in their areas. In Beijing alone, there are estimated to be about 300,000 private security guards in the city. When a tourist was mistakenly for a petitioner, and was kidnapped, tortured and killed in error, the officials appear to have merely been reprimanded for the mistake of killing a tourist instead of a petitioner, not for kidnapping four people in the first place.

Tibetan Monks Leading Resistance

In Tibet, reports suggest that passive resistance in Tibet and Tibetan areas is spreading, with monks setting fire to themselves in increasing numbers ..... reports suggest that 11 monks and former monks have set themselves on fire so far this year, but all the incidents have all taken place in Tibetan areas of China proper. Latest reports suggest that a monk in Tibet itself has just killed himself in this manner this week.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Anders Behring Breivik Mad?

When Anders Behring Breivik was arrested, I mused over that fact that he faced a maximum of just twenty one years imprisonment for this mass murder in liberal Norway .... which I also said didn't seem enough.

Well it appears that the Norwegian establishment feel exactly the same way, because when faced with making the decision over his mental state and whether he is fit to stand trial and go to prison, they have to the surprise of many in both Norway and abroad, determined that he is insane and had "developed the mental disorder of paranoid schizophrenia". A Swedish psychiatrist expressed disbelief in the diagnosis in a local Norwegian newspaper, stating that  Breivik does not appear to have been hallucinating at any point during the attack, which would mean he was in control of his actions and thoughts during the killing.

Face Of A Madman, or Clinical Killer?

The point that many will miss in all this is that if he had been found as sane enough to go to prison, then by 2032 under the current law, Breivik would be walking free on to the streets, into a much changed Norway, where maybe sentiment towards Islam may also have hardened. However under current Norwegian law, he can be 'sectioned' and locked away in a secure mental institution, until he is deemed as both 'cured', and no danger to the public. Its inconceivable that he will be let out inside thirty years if found as insane, and very probably never. Needless to say he has launched an appeal against this finding.

I am not much of a believer in 'conspiracy theories (too messy, and too many people involved), but this diagnosis neatly solves the problem of a liberal justice system coming up against a mass murder, and also lets Norwegian society ignore the rather awkward questions of how decades liberal socialism and 'multiculturalism' produced a mass murderer, after all he was mad wasn't he?

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Zombie Walks

Good to see that despite their terrible problems, the citizens of Mexio, and more particularly the residents of Mexico City have managed to set a new record for the "Zombie Walk"..... this is a craze that is sweeping that part of the world where you can't be denounced and killed for having a laugh, where people dressed as zombies shuffle and moan about a city centre in their thousands.

The Zombie Craze is World Wide

In Mexico a new 'world record' for the 'undead' was claimed when the organisors claimed that nearly 10,000 people have paraded in Mexico City ..... the previous current official Guinness world record was held by Asbury Park in the US, where 4,093 zombies marched in 2010, with Brisbane in Australia claiming have  massed 8,000 zombies last month.

Zombie Scenes in Mexico City

Still with the "Day of the Dead" being a national celebration in Mexico, it would be rather fitting if this record was held by Mexico.

In The Heart Of Darkness

Talking of failed democratic states and elections, the ironically named 'Democratic Republic of Congo' prepares for just its second general elections in four decades - when the citizens of this ever failing state come out with statements such as "the state is dying but not yet dead" or "the state is ever present but completely useless", or "when you are rock bottom, you can still dig deeper", you realise that not much is expected in this exercise of 'democracy'.

This country is two thirds the size of Western Europe, with all the resources in land, mineral wealth and natural resources than you can point a pointy stick at, yet the Failed States Index lists it as fourth in the list of the critically failed category of states. When you read that Zoe Kabila, the current President's brother, ordered his Republican Guard escort to beat up two police traffic officers because they did not give his 4x4 priority, you can see that the words "free and fair" are not going to apply here ..... to elections or anything else.

DR Congo - Compared with Europe.
Given its size and resources the DR Congo should be a very prosperous country, but decades of war, military incompetence and brutality, corruption and absolute economic mismanagement have left it desperately poor.

This state truly is "The Heart Of Darkness"

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

In the way that these things happen, there were two stories from Russia that caught my eye in the last few days. The first was that the Russians will hold Parliamentary elections on Sunday the 4th December, and there are allegations and fears that this will be the least 'free and fair' election since the fall of communism appeared to usher in 'democracy' in 1991.

During Stalin's, and the later Red Tzar's rule, there were 'elections' in the USSR, but there was only one party ever standing. In the region of Tambov for example, some residents can remember attending elections in the 1930's and voting for the cowherd to become a deputy to the local council. Now, in an irony that can't escape anyone, its the rump of the old Communist party that challenges the results in elections, in an effort to defend the weakening democracy in the Russian successor to the USSR.

In the Tambov region they have evidence of the United Russian Party being given extra votes and of ballot stuffing ..... and what with Putin and Medvedev seemingly about to swap the roles of President and Prime Minister again, some things it seems never change.

Svetlana and Stalin
Which brings me to the other story, Svetlana Stalin (Svetlana Alliluyeva, aka Lana Peters), daughter of Josef Stalin died this week. She holds a fairly unique position by first denouncing Communism and her father, following her defection and Asylum in the USA in 1967, and then calling her father "a moral and spiritual monster".... and she lived to tell the tale!

Then later she returned to the Soviet Union and denounced the USA (although she actually returned to live there in 1986 until the end of her life) .... she must have wondered in the end what the difference was supposed to be between the USSR of her father, and the Russia of today?

Sunday, 20 November 2011

No Justice For Walter Patterson

George Wright is an American Citizen who acquired Portuguese citizenship. He graduated  from High School in Halifax, Virginia .... and turned immediately to a life of crime. When he was 19, he and some friends robbed the Sands Motel in Englishtown Virginia of $200. They then made their way to the Collingswood Esso gasoline station on eastbound Route 33 in Wall, One of the accomplices fatally wounded Walter Patterson, a 42-year-old World War II veteran and Bronze Star recipient, who was a father of two teenage daughters. Patterson died from the gunshot wound two days later.

The criminal gang were convicted for the crimes and murder in 1962, and Wright was sentenced to up to 30 years in prison. He would have been freed in 1992 at the latest, but probably considerably earlier given that he wasn't the gunman .... but in 1970 he escaped from a prison farm and went on the run to Detroit, then a hotbed of radicalism, where he and a fellow escapee became affiliated with the Black Liberation Army.

George Wright, Criminal Fugitive, Plane Hijacker,

On Monday July 31, 1972, Wright, then 29, and four accomplices (plus two of their children) hijacked a Delta Airlines flight in 1972 .... Wright, who was later described as the leader of the gang, was allegedly dressed as a priest, and using the alias the Rev. Larry Darnell Burgess, he had smuggled a handgun aboard the flight in a hollowed-out bible, which he held to a stewardesses head. They demanded that FBI agents (dressed only in bathing suits), deliver $1 million ransom to the plane; the FBI complied. The hijackers allowed the 86 hostage passengers to leave the plane in Miami, but kept the flight crew and ordered that the plane be flown to Algiers, the capital of Algeria, where they sought political asylum as that government had previously supported those 'struggling for liberation'.

The Captain of the plane said afterwards “They said they were revolutionaries, that America is a decadent society and they didn't want to live here anymore.” Upon arrival in Algeria, one of the gang told the pilot: "We're famous," he said, "Send us a copy of your paper."

They were granted asylum, but at the request of the U.S. government, the Algerian government confiscated and returned the $1 million in ransom money to the U.S. After the hijackers' calls to have the ransom money restored to them were ignored by the Algerian government, Wright and his associates disappeared. Apparently sometime in early 1973, the group travelled by ship to France and lived and worked there with new identities.

His accomplices were captured by the French in 1976, they successfully resisted extradition to the US but the French convicted them to five year sentences for the Hijacking. Wright remained on the run (as he was also wanted for the prison break, and murder), and went to Guinea-Bissau (a former Portuguese colony), and finally to Portugal. While living in Guinea-Bissau in the 1980's, Wright allegedly used his real name and worked as logistics manager of the Belgium-based non-profit Iles de Paix .... he married a Portuguese woman and took the name Jose Luis Jorge dos Santos. This new identity was given to him by Guinea-Bissau, but was recognised by Portugal when Wright was granted political asylum there in the 1980s.

On September 26, 2011, he was arrested in Portugal. The FBI requested Wright's extradition from Portugal to the United States, but was denied on the grounds that Wright is a Portuguese citizen. "The Lisbon appeals court ruled that he had Portuguese citizenship and will not be extradited." Wright, praised the court's ruling .... "I am very pleased and I want to thank the Portuguese courts for having made the right decision", he said, adding that he had a "clear conscience".
 
He might have a "clear conscience", and the Portuguese judges may feel all warm and snuggly, but this decision must leave the family of Walter Patterson pretty cold. As usual in these legal games, the victims and their families are just ignored.  

Walter Patterson, Bronze Star recipient

Walter Patterson, unlike Wright, had done something for his country, been brave in battle, and was a hard working family man whose life was ended violently, after being shot while resisting a robbery by a gang of street punks. His family lost a wage earner, father, husband, grandfather, and they were left struggling for the next few decades. Where are their rights in all of this?
 
Not once in the coverage of the story are the Portuguese judges asked to explain why the murder of Mr Patterson can simply be ignored ... claims that the statute of limitations have run out on his many crimes just don't wash, as he was serving a sentence when he broke from prison, and should surely serve the remainder of the time (even if in a Portuguese prison) ... its not clear that Wright will serve any further time at all for his part in the murder of William Patterson. 
 
Just another sad example of how the justice system world wide serves the criminals, and not the law abiding.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Tough Pasta

Salvatore Riina, aka 'The Beast' ('La Belva'), was known to have ordered the murders of magistrates, policemen and scores of rivals (numbering several hundred) throughout the two decades he was the head of the Corleonesi faction of the Sicilian Mafia ..... he was alleged to have personally killed 40 men. He was captured after 23 years on the run near Palermo in May 1993.

Salvatore Riina aka 'The Beast'

This capture left the Italian Government with the problem of what to do all the land and properties he had accumulated in 23 years at the top of the corruption chain in Italy. They eventually seized the property under a law passed in 1996 .... but all was not well. The locals refused to have anything to do with the seized the properties."We all still know who the local bosses are right now," says one local. "They're just not the brutal gangster types of the olden days".

So people from the north were invited to come and turn the properties into 'Ethical "Mafia-free") businesses'  ... the locals still won't go in to them, and so its left to tourists who book via a new brand of Sicilian travel agency offering Mafia-free holidays at establishments that refuse to pay protection money, or "pizzo".

Bernardo Provenzano, aka 'The Tractor'

Typical of these new mafia free businesses is the former home of Bernardo Provenzano, aka 'The Tractor'  for his ruthless trait of mowing people down, which is now a co-operative shop known as "Bottega della Legalita" or "Shop of Legality".... local custom is sparse "because it's absolutely impossible to shop here unseen," although it sells pasta, sauces and wine produced by co-operatives now farming former Mafia land.

"Bottega della Legalita"

Most goods are sold in the North of Italy .... ah well, as a wise man once said "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" ... Big changes start with small steps.

The Seeds of Anger

One of the noticeable aspects of the latest financial crisis is that the super rich are comparatively unaffected .... no bankers jumping out of windows in this collapse. Oh no, in this crash the rich have carried on getting richer. For example in 1979, the top 1% of Americans took just 8% of the nation's wealth, but now the same group take 25%. .... I hate to say it, but that is a direct result of 'Reagonomics' (backed up by Pres.Bush jnr), 'Trickle Down' economics is just so much bull-shine, that just makes the rich richer, the rest of us very much poorer.

Steinbeck's 'The Grapes Of Wrath'

As a consequence of the rich taking an ever greater slice of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) pie, so there is less pie for the rest of us to share around - that's the thing about pies. The squeeze on well paid jobs in the West, where outsourcing under the guise of 'Globalisation' to places such as India, or Mexico, or even just mechanisation, have severely reduced the career areas where people may start rising up the wealth ladder. Eventually this will feed down into a reduction of taxes and in the funding for welfare state.

If the basis of class mobility in the Western post war society -i.e. "free" education, health and welfare, that allowed the poor to get their first leg up the ladder (if they chose to) -  is eroding, then social issues will soon start rising .... the rise of the new serfs is under way.

Inequalities In The 1930's Led To Dictatorships

Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Salazar et al, were creations of the 'Great Depression', and the social inequalities it produced. So with global unemployment the highest its been since the 1930's, surely if this continues for any time, then this is a recipe for revolution?

Friday, 18 November 2011

Historic American Flag

I didn't know that the US flag had no set design until 1912, and I suspect that most US citizens didn't either. You kind of assume that the US flag design was set in 1777, and has only increased the number of stars as new states joined the Union. Of course us Brits have had quite an influence on the design ..... obviously, the rebellion (aka Independence) set the first design ...

US flag design 1777

Then in 1812/13, as we were showing you that we could still exert some force in North America, the flag that the Americans raised over Fort McHenry at the request of the commanding officer who wanted "a flag so large that the British would have no difficulty seeing it from a distance", was the one described as "The Star Spangled Banner" ....  this was the 42-foot (12.8m) flag he ended up with.

1813 - Star Spangled Banner

Then of course there was the Civil War, when the US flag temporarily lost some stars.

Some regiments removed the renegade states from the flag
 And the Confederates had a flag

Virginian Confederate Flag
Then there was the version from 1912 until 1959

The US Flag 1912 - 1959

And now the current version.

Current US Flag

Every flag tells a story ..... these pictures tell the history of the United States.

Followers

Blog Archive

Its a Pucking World

Its a Pucking World
Dreamberry Wine Cover

Blog Search Links

Search in Google Blogs

About Me

My photo
A middle aged orange male ... So 'un' PC it's not true....