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Friday, 26 April 2013

All The Gold In The World

When I was a kid I thought that all the gold in the world was a mountain in the vaults under the Bank of England, and then later after watching the James Bond movie 'Gold Finger', in the Vaults in Fort Knox.

Gold Finger Was A Big Gold Investor

However, I had never thought about how much gold was really in the world .... well others have and surprisingly there are many guesses as to the amount mined to-date. Of course gold has been mined for millennia, maybe for over 6,000 years, with the earliest known gold coins produced about 550 BC under King Croesus of Lydia (in Asia Minor), so that's a lot of gold. Of course gold is virtually indestructible so almost all that gold is still about. That means that if you have a gold ring, some of the gold in that ring could well have been mined by the Romans 2,000 years ago, or been part of a Pharaohs throne.

However the use of gold in electronic devices such as mobile phones means that for the first time ever gold is disappearing from the above ground stock because 12% of current world gold production where it is used in such small quantities in each individual product, that it may no longer be economical to recycle it and it ends up in landfills.

Investment advisers Thomson Reuters GFMS, produce an annual gold survey which suggests that the amount is 171,300 tonnes - which is approximately 20.7m (68ft) on each side, and would reach to 9.8m above ground level.

However other estimates range from 155,244 tonnes, to the Gold Standard Institutes estimate of 2.5 million tonnes (approx about 16 times the smallest amount) and the largest estimate would fit in a cube with sides 50m (166ft) long - or a column of gold towering 143m above Wimbledon centre court.

Of course all the figures could be over or underestimates, for example in Tutankhamen's tomb the coffin was made from 1.5 tonnes of gold, so when you consider all the looted tombs for greater Pharaohs, there could have been hundreds of tonnes of gold in Egypt alone in ancient times .....

Gold Has Many Uses .....

... well last word to that modern Midas, Warren Buffett, who has said that all the gold ever mined could fit into a cube with sides of just 20m (67ft) - he obviously takes the pragmatic line.

Pulling A Sickie

"Pulling a sickie" is a colloquialism for faking an illness for a day off work .... in some ways it may actually reflect a minor mental stress, and taking an illicit day off work serves to soothe the issue. However we live in a culture in which that simple and minor lapse isn't enough for some people.

Pulling A Sickie Can Be Good For You

Take the couple from Merthyr Tydfil in Wales who worked for a local charity (hardly by the way the most stressful of jobs) who decided that after 10 yrs working for a Boys and Girls Club, they were both too sick to work and went off sick from stress. "The stress of running this in your own community - it's like a monster" said the husband when asked. Well that's as maybe, and many would argue otherwise, but after reporting their 'joint stress' to the local GP, they were purportedly told by the doctor to take a holiday.

So, what the hey, your on full sick pay, and free to go away, so do you have a week in Spain, or maybe a trip to the country? No, you go visit friends (apparently with their daughter), on a two month, once in a life time break to Australia, which by the would sure cure mine and anyone's 'stress' ...... this little jaunt would have gone unnoticed, but when fate took a hand. One day they were having a barbecue on the beach, a fin was spotted in the water, the husband felt so 'de-stressed' that he was able to run into the water and help drag the shark back in to deeper water.

The pictures of the tourist 'hero' were beamed around the world and ended up on the desktop screens of their employers .... they not perhaps not unreasonably took the view that the couples '8 wks break in Australia' might not be thought of as 'stress treatment' and that some might even consider it to be 'pulling a sickie', and just a 'cunning plan' to take a very long, and very enjoyable paid holiday down under ... so they dismissed the couple from their employment with the words "Whilst unfit to work you were well enough to travel to Australia and, according to recent news footage of yourself in Queensland, you allegedly grabbed a shark by the tail and narrowly missed being bitten by quickly jumping out of the way. The photographs and footage appeared in newspapers and television broadcasts." ... and adding that they considered that there was now a breakdown of trust in the couple as employees.

Needless to say the husband is now claiming that if he hadn't wrestled a shark, then they would have kept their jobs (meaning that they wouldn't have been caught breaking their employers trust), and are in fact some sort of victims.

Well I and many others, would probably argue that they are not victims, and in fact were caught out, because instead of the usual day, or even the odd week, they both disappeared with the same illness, at the same time, and on the same 8 weeks 'holiday' ..... but I guess we all have our own views on what they did.

Midas Touch

Datta Phuge is a man with the Midas touch .... he loves gold and has managed to make this obsession his hobby as well as his life. Like his more famous precursor, King Midas of Phrygia in the late 8th century BC, everything he has touched has turned to gold ....

Midas Touch

..... mainly as he celebrates each success by buying something gold.

Datta Phuge - Golden Shirt

His latest purchase is a shirt of gold. It weighs a 3.3kg (about 7lb), and it cost him a quarter of a million dollars (£162,000) to buy. All this has added lustre to his local nickname of "the gold man", but he can only wear the shirt on special occasions, like parties and important functions, and its value requires that he has an armed security guard with him wherever he travels.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mr Phuge is from a humble background but made his fortune first as a property speculator, and then as a money lender in the town of Pimpri Chinchwad, outside Pune - south east of Mumbai in India.

Of course in India gold is something of an obsession, and so this is not such an unusual story .... he and his wife have many other gold items, but he is probably one of the few people in the world who really can eat the shirt off his back (after selling it of course).

The King Midas Curse - All He Touched Turned To Gold

What he has to be careful about is that the publicity doesn't turn the golden touch into the curse that the legend says consumed King Midas.

Cunning Plans

If you can't 'pull a sickie', then you need a 'Cunning Plan B' ........So what better than a scheme to turn up late (or not at all), but still clock on early every day?

Impossible you say .... well your not a bunch of medical staff in Brazil, who created silicon 'fingers' with their finger prints on them, and got an office worker (who did turn up on time), to 'clock on' for them, by using the silicon finger prints to fool the time-clock scanner.

Silicon Fingers with Finger Prints

A++ for cunning plans, and also of immense interest to ATM criminals no doubt.

In the meantime, the town of Ferraz de Vasconcelos's mayor, Acir Fillo, said that when the scam was uncovered, a police investigation showed that some 300 public employees in the areas of 'health, education and security', aka 'Ghost Employees', had been receiving pay without going to work in his town.

Ghost Employees Are A Curse Of Third World Economies

Its widely believed to be a common practise across Brazil ..... a bit like Greece and Italy for example, where this practise was widely reported in anecdotal tales.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Bad Sports

After a recent bad tempered 'derby' match between the Lancashire rivals of Blackburn Rovers FC and Burnley FC ended in a 1 - 1 draw, the Blackburn manager Michael Appleton was quoted as saying

"I hope it's damaging to Burnley and I hope it feels like it's the worst result they have ever had."

This remark made me wonder about what we used to call "Bad Sportsmanship" ..... in basketball F LeBron James echoed these sentiments, when after suffering a defeat in the 2009 Eastern Conference finals, and failing to shake hands with the opposition, he was asked about this 'unsporting' behaviour. He replied "I'm a competitor. That's what I do. It doesn't make sense to me to go over and shake somebody's hand."

Of course these are not the worst examples of "Bad Sportsmanship" .... here's a few notable examples from a very rich seam of material.

Cricket:

In a cricket match between New Zealand and Australia, with one ball left to bowl and New Zealand needing to hit six runs off the last ball to tie the one day international, Australia captain Greg Chappell told his brother Trevor to bowl it underarm. An underarm ball made it virtually impossible for the batsman to hit the required six and so Australia won the game. The incident enraged the New Zealand prime minister who publicly criticised it as 'unsporting'.

Football:

Diego Maradona used his hand to cheat a victory over England in a World cup Quarter Final, and Thierry Henry used his hand to cheat the Irish out of World Cup qualification.

Maradona Cheating

Boxing:

A match between Mike Tyson v Evander Holyfield ended with Tyson disqualified, but only after attempting to bite Holyfield's ear for a second time (he was only docked two points for the first chunk of ear that he removed) .... even in the boxing world, which has seen a lot of bad sportsmanship since the Queensbury rules were instigated, this was considered bad form. Mind you, he had previously been quoted prior to fight against Lennox Lewis with “I want to rip out his heart and feed it to him. I want to kill people. I want to rip their stomachs out and eat their children”, so subtle he ain't.
 
Mike Tyson - Biting Holyfield's Ear

Motor Racing:

When Michael Schumacher was leading the championship by one point over Damon Hill in the final race, there was much speculation after Damon Hill was forced to retire, when Schumacher's car collided with Hill's during Hills attempt to pass Schumacher's (and secure the points to win the World Title). Schumacher remained World Champion.

BasketBall:

In 1972 the US Olympic basketball team lost to the Soviets in a much disputed (well by the Americans) final.  The US team refused to attend the medal ceremony and there are 12 silver medals that have never been claimed.

1972 US Olympic Basketball Team Loses To Russia

Golf:

In the 1999 Ryder Cup, the result of the match had come down to the 17th hole, between the US player Justin Leonard, and the European player Jose Maria Olazabal. Leonard made a 45-foot putt to claim a birdie, but before Olazabal could make his putt to tie the match, the American team started dancing and cheering on the putting green (this was behaviour that would had them all excluded in a tour event). When they finally were cleared from the green, Olazabal, his concentration shattered, missed the putt.

Telling It As It Is

This Blog's favourite ex-communist and freedom fighter, Jose Mujica, El Presidenti of Uruguay was caught up in one of those 'open microphone' gaffes that seem to afflict so many politicians all around the world. Many have been caught like this, and famously in the UK, Prime Minister Gordon Brown was caught in one such incident with another old lady.

What makes this so funny is that the subject of his injudicious comments was none other than the Conquistador President of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, whom he referred to as an "old hag", when he was overheard saying that "This old hag is even worse than the cross-eyed man."

The Freedom Fighter, The Old Hag and The Cross Eyed Man

..... this second reference was apparently to Ms Fernandez's husband, ex President Nestor Kirchner of Argentina who had a lazy eye.

He has been forced to apologise, but rather belatedly (which is what you would expect from a man shot 14 times by the police) ..... he has offered "heartfelt apologies" and claimed the quip was a result off his "rough language skills" ..... Yeah, right!

I have to say that everything I hear about this man makes me like him even more ..... a real man of the people, who tells it like it is.

US Political Schizophrenia

What a strange set of values the US politicians seem to hold ...

For the second time in months, the US House of Representatives has passed a controversial 'Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act' (Cispa) which is designed to help combat cyber threats from other countries and criminal hackers, by making it easier for law enforcers to get at web data.

"If you want to take a shot across China's bow, this is the answer," said the Republican politician who both co-wrote Cispa and chairs the House Intelligence Committee.

On the other side of the argument, the 'American Civil Liberties Union', along with prominent members of the US Senate have opposed Cispa, saying the bill was "fatally flawed", or too intrusive. President Obama has threatened to veto it if he's not satisfied it offers only the minimum amount of data for investigations.

In the same week in US Politics - President Barack Obama has forcefully criticised the US Senators who blocked a bipartisan plan to support expanded background checks on firearms. The proposal, put forward as an amendment to a broader gun bill, sought to widen the current checks to include on-line and unlicensed gun show dealers.

Newtown Protesters Ignored By US Senators and NRA

"This was a pretty shameful day for Washington", Mr Obama said at the White House.

So basically this political schizophrenia has meant the right to own and sell guns has been defended by US Senators, over the right to live in a little more safety (NB: it was a pretty tame proposal to control gun sales after all - it didn't even affect sales in 'families' and to 'friends' - so could be bypassed easily!).

While the right to freedom from intrusive law enforcement agencies has been threatened with erosion by US Representatives and defended by the President.

The 'Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave', can be very confusing at times, even to its friends.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Home Grown Terrorism

The US feels as though its been in the wars this week with three bombs in Boston, and with the arrest of a man, allegedly with mental health issues, in connection to the two poisoned letter attacks on a prominent US politician and the US President (literally, as the letters were coated in the toxin Ricin), but as of this morning UK time, there have been no arrests for the Boston Marathon Bombings.

TV Pictures Sowed The Second Bomb Go Off

This is perhaps no surprise as it was only four days ago (although reports do suggest that a potential suspect has been identified from surveillance camera footage). However in the main, the police and FBI have remained tight lipped about who or what the motives may have been.

This is because although the temptation is to link the attack too some Taliban / Al-Qaeda group in Pakistan or the Middle East (mainly through the bomb making technique - a pressure cooker is a favoured IED technique in Iraq and Afghanistan), in fact there is at least a 40 - 50% chance that its an internal US group who performed the attack.

Timothy McVeigh - Home Grown Bomber

The Oklahoma bomber (Timothy McVeigh) was a far right, anti government supporter, and if nothing else an attack on national tax day in Boston, would be laced with symbolism for these sort of groups.

So for the moment we will have to wait to see if its a home grown or Islamic inspired attack ..... I can't explain why, but this just feels like its a home grown to me. I think an Islamic inspired attack would be something like the 'Statue of Liberty' or another such target, something with symbolism for an audience outside the US, not something that has more resonance with US audiences than a Muslim one ....

.... I guess we will all just have to wait and see.

Update: As two commentators have pointed out below, in fact its turned out that while the bombers are Islamists they are kinda home grown as well .... Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are 19 and 26 respectively and have lived in the US for over ten years. However they have not accepted the 'American dream', and it seems that the older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev had turned to Islam for his philosophy and apparently had convinced his younger brother of the cause.

Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev - Islamic Terrorists


Now one is dead, and the other is likely to die in the next few hours unless he surrenders. Between them they have killed four people and maimed hundreds more. I don't understand any religion that says they will go to paradise for this.
 

Friday, 12 April 2013

Little Big Man

I know that the imminent end of the world (well Japan, both the Korea's and bits of China), in a burst of nuclear fire should be concentrating my mind ..... but its kinda hard to really take the mad dogs in North Korea seriously ..... especially after the movie "Team America".

Any Kim il divine leader

But they really don't help themselves ...... check out the North Korean female border guards .....

Lady Soldiers In High Heels

Of course you don't have to look far to see where this fashion for stacked heels came from .....

The Great Leaders Liked Those Extra Inches

It's hard not to laugh ..... unless your in one of their 'Labour Camps'.

To The Left's Eternal Shame

For those who on the Left of Western politics, those who to their eternal shame supported the Argentine generals when they invaded the Falklands, those on the Left who still refer to it at as 'the Malvina's' and as a 'liberacion war' ...
The Uniforms May Change .... BUT

..... indeed those who are now supporting that stupid little madam, Argentine President Kerchner, in her attempts to force the UK to surrender thousands of British people into the tender mercies of the current Argentine regime.

Read this story
 
Read, read and remember, and then hang your heads in shame for supporting them then, and still supporting them now ..... dancing around celebrating the death of Mrs Thatcher, who had the backbone to oppose a Fascist Military Junta (while the Left in the UK was prepared to grovel).

..... The Crimes Are Always The Same.

Death Penalty Morality

Morality is not the issue with me over the death penalty. For example, I wouldn't lose a moments sleep if the animals on death row in the US were all taken out and hung tomorrow. Their crimes are usually so horrific (often after a life of increasingly violent crimes), that only an idiot would consider it worth shedding a tear if they died (and I include their mothers in this).

The only reason why I don't support the death penalty, but do support whole of life sentences, is because occasionally there are cases like this one.

Franky Carrillo - Innocent Man

Franky Carrillo was just sixteen when he was convicted of murder. He spent the next 20 years in prison in California for a crime it eventually transpired that he did not commit. He was eventually released after eyewitnesses admitted they had lied. He is now at university .... if he had been executed at the time as many would have advocated, then this man would never have been able to be freed as innocent.

Mick Philpott Cries Crocodile Tears

It is my only argument against the ultimate sanction, certainly as I have stated above, I have no moral objections to that punishment as I believe that some crimes are so horrible in nature, like the killing of six of his own children by Mick Philpott, that they should be punished with the death penalty (even for so called 'manslaughter')

.... but nag, nag, nagging thought, what if they are innocent?

Segregating Prisons

It's a fact of life in many Western countries that the rise in ethnic immigrants has given rise to a disproportionate (in relation to their proportion of the population) number of the immigrant males in prison for long sentences. Now I am not a proponent of the notion that this is inherent racism, I actually believe that in the main they get more latitude than they should before going to prison (but that's another argument).

Furthermore that they often end up following criminal lifestyles because unfettered immigration and daft asylum rules mean that they favour the arrival of large numbers of immigrant young men, who have little or no skills, are poorly educated (even by their own countries standards), and who often in the case of Islamists, find that they actually have a natural antipathy towards our culture.They or their children (who often reject the culture, or fail at school), then use crime as their lifestyle choice to 'make good', and that's why they end up in prison.

Among the general male British born prison population, 20% of them are from a minority ethnic group. And amongst the 13% (in March 2012) of the prison population who were classed 'foreign national prisoners', then 62% were from a minority ethnic group .... which means that 29% of the total male UK prison population is a member of a non-native European 'ethnic' minority.

However as mentioned already, this is not a problem in just the UK,  the French and Germans also have similar issues (north African descent Muslims in France, and Turkish descent Muslims in Germany etc). In North America the problem was originally people of African descent, but it could be argued that there was an element of racism involved in the high prison numbers for Black americans, as many were imprisoned in the southern states, where segregation and prejudice held sway. Nowadays though, the US prisons have large numbers of 'Latino's', in numbers far out of proportion to their representation in the general population.

White v Black in US Prisons - Nothing New

However all this gives rise to another problem, one that may end up bringing the penal system to its knees .... race gangs. In the UK's prisons there were some Jamaican 'Yardie' gangs, and even some East European gangs operating, but the largest and fastest growing of the gangs is the jihadist south Asian descent gangs. They are bringing some UK prisons to the point of not being able to operate properly, and its an issue we can't ignore for much longer ... this causes the UK and US prisons in particular to be powder-kegs of simmering racial tensions. In the US the ethnic minority gangs now include the white 'Aryan Brotherhood' and a splinter group 'Aryan Brotherhood Texas' (who recently killed three US law enforcement officials in 3 months), amongst the growing numbers of gangs operating inside the prison system.

Aryan Brotherhood Gangs In and Outside US Prisons

What drew me to this issue was the reported fact that up until as late as the late 1970's, many US prisons were racially segregated (either inside, or in completely separate establishments for the different races), and the fact there has been a dramatic rise in the incidents of inter ethnic violence since they were desegregated, which has not only made the system nearly collapse, but has driven ethnic gang membership inside the prisons to record levels .... in other words, completely the opposite effect that desegregation of the system was meant to achieve.

Maybe its about time that the liberals admitted to yet another mistake, and accept that segregation on racial or ethnic lines in prisons is probably the only way we can get the prisons to work again, and also the only way to halt the ghettoisation of the inmates  becoming 100% of all racial groups.

NB: Actor images used to portray stereo types.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Political Colossus - Margaret Thatcher

For many in the UK there have been only two political colossus's passing in their lifetimes (the other was Winston Churchill who died in 1965), and for the vast majority only one .... Margaret Thatcher.

Margaret Thatcher - World Political Colossus - Died 08/04/2013.

All the rest have been lightweights, with only Tony Blair having the potential to almost match her, but his mistakes in blindly backing G.W Bush into Afghanistan and then compounding it by doing the same in Iraq, plus letting mass non EU immigration rip, all the while leaving Gordon Brown as Chancellor for five years too long, leave him as a politician who squandered his chances of greatness.

There is no doubting that in the mining valleys of Wales, Yorkshire and Scotland she is remembered with loathing, but its a mark of the differences between 'Right' and 'Left' in UK politics that only the visceral 'Left' would actually be cracking open champagne bottles and dancing openly in the streets (as was reported from Glasgow on Radio 5), to 'celebrate' the death of a UK politician.

Battles Between Miners and Police At Orgreave Colliery Defined The Miners Strike

I was a Thatcher supporter, but not blindly so ..... I wanted her to support UK manufacturing, but her expensive pound policy to fight inflation meant that what was left of manufacturing (after the trades union decade in the 1970's), left the UK, never to return. But, and this is the crucial 'But', I like many others had spent years watching the countries slow decline in the period 1965 - 1979. Most of you are probably too young to know what it was like living in the land of the "Red Robbo's", leading the trades union assaults on the UK car industry (look at it now that the unions were defeated) - according to the BBC, "between 1978 and 1979 Mr Robinson was credited with causing 523 walk-outs at Longbridge, costing an estimated £200m [in 1979 values, so think £2bn now] in lost production".

The 'Three-Day Week', which left us huddling in the dark and cold (led by the miners), and in the following years we were in such a state that we had to request a 'loan' of £2.3bn in 1976 from the International Monetary Fund to combat the rampant inflation at that time, followed after a few years of turbulent trades union attacks on a Labour government, and ending in the 'Winter of Discontent' ..... which is where we almost collapsed as a country ..... it included an unofficial strike by gravediggers working in Liverpool and Tameside, and strikes by refuse collectors leaving rats in the streets (like Naples). Additionally, NHS ancillary workers formed picket lines to blockade hospital entrances with the result that many hospitals were reduced to taking emergency patients only.

The UK in 1979 and Naples 2012

We were all trying to get out - the UK seemed doomed and a candidate for a civil war .... we were "The Sick Man Of Europe", and for all the 'Lefts' blaming of Margaret Thatcher for her policies .... it was their greed that created the conditions that ushered her in to power ... enough was enough, and we wanted change. Well we got that alright, and for good or bad, Mrs Thatcher dominated the remainder of the century.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Dancing Queen Returns

For men of a certain age, and women of a certain era, there will always be a bond of affection for one band  ..... ABBA, who defined the 1970's as surely as anything else, and Agnetha Fältskog (The 'Blonde' one) was one of the pin up girls of a generation of young males. Of course they broke up in 1982, and all had some individual successes (particularly the two males Benny and Bjorn), but like 'The Beatles' before them, they were so much more than the sum of their parts when they were together.

ABBA - Agnetha is 'The Blonde One'

So it was with some interest that I read that Ms Fältskog ('Agnetha' to most of us), had made her first recordings in over nine years, and was planning to come to the UK on tour ..... not that I am planning to go and see her or anything (sometimes maintaining the illusion is better than spoiling it with the harsh light of reality).

But the news article prompted me to look up her recording history post ABBA, and in fact she has only released four official recordings in that period .... none have been big in the UK, although most have done well in Sweden and Denmark, with mixed sales elsewhere, and across the UK .....

It was widely reported in the more sensational press that she was some sort of secluded hermit, who had never faced up to the legacy ABBA left ..... and when she entered into a perhaps ill advised relationship with a Dutch 'uber fan', who was almost 20 yrs her junior, the press reported that he turned into a stalker when that relationship ended ..... he was deported from Sweden, but apparently returned when the banning order expired ... this kind off suggested that she was still having personal life issues but apparently there was nothing further from the truth.

She has admitted that she is a 'home loving girl', who had never wanted to be away from her children, but hardly a recluse. Money, Money, Money, has allowed her to live as she wished on the secluded island of Ekero, west of Stockholm, where she chose to make her home.

Agnetha Fältskog

Still, as a man who fits into that certain age criteria, I can't help recalling her as one of the Dancing Queen's of the 70's.

What's Good For The Goose

Interesting that in a report by the BBC on the erosion of women's rights in Tunisia, they described the Islamist, Salafist hard-liners as wearing "the garb of the conservative Salafist Islamists - long beard, skull cap and a thobe" ....... oddly the very same BBC says nothing about the increasing number of women wearing the full face veil, in areas such as Bolton, Preston, Manchester, Blackburn, Bradford, Luton and London etc .... driven presumably by the also increasing number of men being seen wearing the 'long beard, skull cap, and a thobe' of the conservative Salafist Islamists, on the streets of those same cities.

Salafists In The UK - Good For Britain?

Why is one deemed as a very real threat to 'women's rights' in Tunisia, and the other as 'multiculturalism' and therefore great for the UK? It's this kind of PC driven schizophrenia, that drives the rest of us who are not infected with PC ideology, mad.

The BBC should represent the values of rationalism and the European enlightenment, and not 7th century backward misogynist attitudes, scraped over with a thin veneer of being 'cultural' to hide its intent.

Pride and Prejudice

You can take some people out of their environment, you can treat them like a lord (literally), but you can't take the background out of their upbringing. Take for example the Labour Party peer, Lord Ahmed who reportedly made racist and corruption claims in Pakistan against the UK Courts and the Labour Party that made him .... they were in relation to his arrest, conviction and jailing  for driving offences.

Lord Ahmed has Jewish friends who own Newspapers and TV Channels

The Times newspaper reported that he had said that "My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My 'Jewish friends' who own newspapers and TV channels, opposed this" .... and added that the judge who had sentenced him had been appointed to the High Court after helping a "Jewish colleague" of ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair during "an important case". In case anyone has forgotten Ed Milliband the current Labour Party Leader is Jewish.

The Conservatives have has similar problems with ethnic minorities that they have also appointed to the House of Lords e.g. Lord Taylor of Warwick who spent three months in 2011 in HMP Wandsworth and Standford Hill for expenses fraud, while Baroness Warsi has often been seen as gaffe prone, including going on a ministerial trip to Pakistan with her business partner. Also having said that "electoral fraud" predominantly within the 'Asian community' had "cost the Conservatives three seats at the general election" ... and that "Muslims that go to parliament don't have any morals or principles" ... she later qualified that latter statement as being taken out of context.

Then in the middle of the Liberal Govt Minister Chris Huhne, and his ex wife Vicky Pryce scandal, there was the story of the Black female judge, Constance Briscoe, 55, who was arrested for 'lying to police' to support Ms Pryce's story .... The jury at Southwark Crown Court heard that Miss Briscoe was being dropped as a witness, because doubt had been cast on her ability to act as a ‘witness of truth’. Mr Andrew Edis QC, prosecuting, said Pryce and Miss Briscoe ‘cooked up a plan’ to leak the speeding points story to the Press in 2010, in revenge after Huhne left Pryce for his PR adviser Carina Trimingham.

All this raises questions about whether some people are being promoted to high office and honour, or being held back from the same, simply because of colour quotas being operated by political parties of all persuasions, desperate to court the ethnic vote. When a black judge is not considered a reliable court witness, when a black barrister and politician is sent to prison over expenses abuses, and an asian politician accuses Judges of helping the Jewish friends of an ex-PM and then convicting him of a motoring crime for 'supporting Muslims' ..... you have to wonder if they were not really ready for the roles that they were being given?

Is it because we artificially push some people from ethnic minorities up the career tree out of misguided PC considerations, instead of ability and aptitude, only for those so promoted, to then spectacularly to blow up? After all it could be argued that they are not rising purely on ability, but rather on that and other factors ..... that they are praised and lauded for a level of performance that would not be noteworthy in the white society, but is unusual in their own communities?

In the US, in 2006 this issue came to a head with a court case in 2009 when the supreme court heard a case known as Ricci v. DeStefano which was a class action arising from a lawsuit brought against the City of New Haven, Connecticut by twenty city firefighters alleging that the city discriminated against them with regard to promotions. The firefighters, nineteen of whom are White and two of whom are Hispanic, had all passed the test for promotions to management.

City of New Haven officials invalidated all the test results because none of the black firefighters who passed the exam had scored high enough to be considered for the positions. They stated that they feared a lawsuit over the test's adverse impact on a protected minority. The complainants claimed they were denied the promotions because of their race, in affect a form of racial discrimination

The firefighters won a majority decision and the City of New Haven reinstated the examination results and promoted 14 of the 20 firefighters within months of the decision. The city settled the lawsuit by paying $2 million to the firefighter plaintiffs; enhancing their pension benefits by millions of dollars; and paying their attorney, $3 million in fees and costs.

In Jacksonville Florida (reported in "FirstCoastNews.Com on or before 3/8/06) that Firefighters Win Reverse Discrimination Lawsuit

"A race discrimination lawsuit pitting several Jacksonville firefighters against the city has come to an end in federal court last Friday. The jury sided with the firefighters. Four lieutenants claimed their promotion to Captain was blocked by then Fire Chief Ray Alfred. The firemen claimed race was a factor. The firefighters are white, the fire chief, black.

As part of the verdict, the lieutenants will receive back pay as if they had been promoted to Captain. The amount to be divided among them is in excess of $220,000 before legal fees"

In effect are we suffering from the effects of having PC driven quotas and tokenism?

Reaping The Whirlwind

After the revolution that put the Muslim brotherhood into power, Egyptians are complaining that all the tourists have gone.

Strange that, you vote of an Islamic party, and they threaten non Muslims, both fellow citizens and foreigners (including attacks on bars and restaurants that sell alcohol), but expect the stupid Westerners to still come to the country in vast numbers and spend money. The brotherhood want no alcohol sold, no women in bikinis, or any mixed sex bathing at beaches ..... just the message Western tourists want to hear.

Even our do nothing government has issued some advise about travelling to Egypt, the UK Foreign Office travel advice to Egypt mentions "a high risk of attacks which could be indiscriminate, including in public places frequented by foreigners" .... they don't issue that advice lightly. But maybe after reports of kidnappings in Sinai, felt that they had to. However to my mind, there has always been a large extremist element in Egypt.

No More Western Tourists in Islamist Egypt?

I can still recall the killing of German tourists a few years ago ... (17 November 1997), an attack in Luxor when six armed Islamic terrorists attack tourists at Egypt's Luxor Ruins. 62 killed, 26 injured. Also the 2004 Sinai bombings, and 2005 Sharm el-Sheikh attacks, and then the sectarian attacks like that on 1st January 2011 in Alexandria, Egypt, when a car bomb exploded outside a Coptic Orthodox church after worshippers had gathered for a prayer celebration on New Year's Eve. 21 dead, 97 injured

All these were by people who hold very similar views to those who run Egypt now ..... not encouraging for the future of Egypt's tourist trade.

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