Tag Archive: Celebration

Paul Myhill Publishes Joe McCord Letter on Facebook

Paul Myhill Puts Future in Hands of God

McCord Letter To Bill Driscoll re:Paul Myhill 2005

McCord Letter To Bill Driscoll re:Paul Myhill 2005

The Letter from Joe McCord to Bill Driscoll

Bill Driscoll and Paul Myhill:  co-inventors of the Protandim Recipe

Paul Myhill, one of Protandim‘s creators has this past hour published a letter which reveals certain facts that Lifevantage wish to smokescreen.

58 minutes ago, Paul Myhill said, as a way of admission, his future is in the hands of god….

For those that haven’t heard of it, Protandim is a plant based tablet that has unproven effects, but for which the MLM company Lifevantage make innuendo-based fantastic claims.

LazyMan and Money has a fantastic take on the whole scam.

Myhill In Hands Of God, says, My reputation, integrity, credibility and character - All are in God's hands.

My reputation, integrity, credibility and character – All are in God’s hands. – Myhill

In short, it’s snake oil, and a scam, just like many others from that cesspit of free market capitalism, Utah.

  • We’ve seen Google Treasure Chest for which Pacific Webworks and their promoters have been doubly hammered by Google and the FTC.
  • We’ve Canadian seen Jesse Willms who has been hammered by Google, Oprah and the FTC yet ran many affiliates through Utah.
  • We’ve seen near neighbours Monavie.  Same crap, just waiting to get the FTC knock on the door.  This is LazyMan’s take on them.  It’s scary stuff.

Roll on the FTC.  They’ve got to weigh in on these sharks soon.


 

Paul Myhill's Open Letter On Facebook

Paul Myhill’s Open Letter On Facebook

Rather than a comment, (which isn’t so taggable and relevant within search engines), here’s Myhill’s open letter (open – geddit?  – in the fullest meaning of the word).  Text follows below.

OPEN LETTER TO MY DEAR LIFEVANTAGE FAMILY

 

Needless to say, the company and I are not on good terms right now. Quite frankly, Doug Robinson’s email to the LifeVantage distributors is fraught with error and misrepresentation. In fact, he gave very little attention to me personally on this matter, hardly exchanging a word with me concerning it. He simply didn’t have the time for me.

 

It is very well documented that the company was founded on a pledge to give shares, and a percentage of profits, to the charitable cause that it helped to start – rescuing orphaned and abandoned children from being abused, exploited, trafficked and enslaved. This was my “Why?” for joining Bill Driscoll in starting LifeVantage in the first place . . . and it is a cause that he graciously took on as his own and championed also. I’m sure he’s getting many hugs in Heaven as a result of the 15,000 children who are free from slavery today because of our work together.

 

I will be more-than-willing to make public all that documentation, especially since it was all public information to begin with. This charitable pledge was also the basis for which I assigned my invention (not Dr. McCord’s invention!) to LifeVantage. As soon as Bill and I assigned the patent to LifeVantage the pledge was sadly taken out of company materials, almost immediately. I naturally felt quite betrayed. Again, I can provide full documentation supporting this and it can be easily verified in the public record – through company press releases, investor presentation materials, SEC filings, etc. My resignation letter was also a matter of public record and alludes to the fact that this pledge – which was foundational to the company and my very involvement in it – needed to be kept, otherwise it would represent a promise broken to the original founders and all of LifeVantage’s stakeholders. The erasing of the pledge from company materials was the main reason for my departure, which the original Board and transition management team can certainly attest to. I was quite the thorn in their sides, constantly verbalizing the need to keep the pledge. As such, there is no disputing the existence of the original commitment. It’s simply undeniable.

 

I have been quite clear in my communications with LifeVantage management that the company still owes the charity now known as Traffic Jam 100,000 shares as part of its original pledge to match the Founders’ donation of shares to that same charitable vehicle. This amount was supposed to match Bill Driscoll’s gracious donation of 100,000 shares that came in a couple of months late. I’m sure if he were alive today he’d be greatly disappointed that the company never followed through on that commitment . . . and other commitments. Bill and I had our differences, but I also owe it to him as my brother-in-arms to get his shares matched, as he fully expected would be done when he made his generous gift in the first place. I owe it to his memory and legacy. And I owe it to his family – to see more children rescued because of his gift and defense of the pledge.

 

Despite the implication made in Doug’s letter, I never approached the company to ask anything for myself. In fact, it was David Brown who suggested that I become a “Goodwill Ambassador” for the company with a job role that would give me a greater platform to share the “correct” company history and bring attention to the fine work of the Traffic Jam Campaign. It was through that process that compensation (as with any job) was sought to channel to Traffic Jam. I have quite a few emails that show that this compensation was for the purpose of supporting the work of Traffic Jam. I’m on record multiple times stating that I gave everything away . . . and would give it away again.

 

It is with great sadness that I write this on the eve of my Birthday – not exactly the “gift” I was hoping for . . . or hoping to give. Since 2008, I have been pleading with the company to correct its marketing materials – to reflect that Joe is not the “Inventor” or “Creator” or “Scientist behind” Protandim; that Protandim wasn’t “developed after 40 years of research;” and that it didn’t consist of a “laundry list” of 40 ingredients that Joe whittled down to the current formula. This is all simply untrue. I’m sure the company will try to put some sort of further spin on this now and try to convince people otherwise, but the truth is the truth and will always come out in the end. Darkness can’t hide from the light.

 

The CORE botanical formula I forwarded to Joe included the current five botanicals, plus one additional one – all in the EXACT same proportions/weights as the current formula (all 1/3 of the original to get it into one pill), but with Milk Thistle subsequently bumped up at my suggestion. The other ingredients were part of an “all-in-one” (multi-formula) addition to that CORE botanical formula that I developed. Given such indisputable facts (and that the initial patent was filed one month before we even met Joe), how am I NOT the creator? How is Joe THE creator? The simple email record, and even a letter from Joe himself, clearly show that the current company communications are downright false and misleading . . . and, in the eyes of many, perpetuate an ongoing fraud – one that the SEC and FTC should be made aware of.

 

I initially stated that “nobody lied,” desiring to give this current management team the benefit of the doubt and chalking it to human error and the discontinuity of company management in general. But then, month after month went by with the same erroneous materials still being widely distributed by the company, despite their own admission to me that Joe isn’t the creator. These same materials are on the company website TODAY. I just don’t get how a company can keep doing that, with full knowledge that the materials are sending the wrong message to current and new distributors. Many times I wrote emails (which I’d be happy to share with you) and each time nothing was done to take down the offending materials.

 

I’ll be glad to once again share that whole “Protandim Development History” with you, which is backed up by meticulous documentation, the full email record, plus personal notes and commentaries. It spanned over 20 blog entries. I’m an “open book.” I had nothing to hide. I shared it all.

 

I’m sure, though, that if I were to re-post Protandim’s development history, the company would claim that I was then “giving away company secrets” and would once again try to silence the true history of the product’s creation – MY creation of Protandim – that occurred for almost ten months before I even met Joe. The reality is that the company misrepresentations have gone on for so long now that they have no choice but to try to silence the truth. Just you wait and see. I can almost hear the “cease and desist” letter being typed up right now. And I can almost picture the new “watered-down” version of the history that the company will now come up with.

 

Doug mentioned in his letter that I found the company response unacceptable. Well, one of those unacceptable conditions was that I sign a new set of releases (to silence me telling the true Protandim story again) and that I pull down my “LifeVantage / Protandim Founder’s Page” on Facebook which, of course, would be in addition to my blog that was already pulled down. Do you see the common theme here? Silence. Silence. And more Silence. I’m a high-justice person who stands for truth and integrity and, despite the company trying to buy that silence by offering for Traffic Jam to be featured at convention, I told them that I couldn’t in good conscience do that. I’m not signing away my voice. My “Founder’s Page” stays. My voice stays. And my appeal to get the company to meet its commitments . . . stays.

 

Do you want a company of integrity? Well, then, don’t let them silence the truth any more. Protandim wasn’t an “idea” that Bill and I took to Joe. It was a full formula that even Joe stated in a letter was almost at its “final embodiment.” And the company’s charitable pledges to Traffic Jam wasn’t an “idea” that I just came up with. It was represented in multiple press releases and SEC filings and collateral materials. If you don’t believe me, go to EDGAR and check yourself for at least the SEC part of it.

 

Ever wonder why the company took down all the archived press releases? Because it backs up what I’m saying and what I’ve been asking, not for myself, but on behalf of trafficked and enslaved children.

 

Given the erroneous wording in Doug’s email, I can only assume now that the company has chosen the issue of the 100,000 shares to try to discredit me – making it sound like I’ve been making selfish and unreasonable demands of the company – while at the same time trying to discredit the true history of Protandim’s development. Doug, of course, fails to mention in his email that the “great deal of material” that I posted on the Internet concerning “my view” of that development was 1.) Taken down by me as a sign of “good faith” and 2.) Was only posted in the first place after I reached out to the company multiple times beforehand – with no response.

 

I’m not sure how Doug can call it “my view” of Protandim’s development anyway, considering that it included hundreds of emails (that were copied or sent to dozens upon dozens of people) as well as a number of other source documents that were widely circulated. It’s not just “my view,” as demonstrated by the substantiated, well-documented evidence. Of course, if the company has its way, you probably won’t see any of that document and you’ll just have to accept Doug’s words that it was simply “my view” of events. Where was Doug during the development of Protandim? Who is he to challenge the clear evidence? Can he not see the patent was initially filed a full month before Joe even came into the picture? Does he not see whose name is on the patent?

 

For months, I’ve taken steps of “good faith” and have expected the company to do the same – to act in “good faith” to take down the erroneous marketing materials that were propagating that Joe was the inventor/creator of Protandim. Sadly, the company never reciprocated. The 100,000 share issue, unfortunately, has now become the easy point of contention that allows LifeVantage to not have to give credit to me for my invention. By making it so public and contentious, LifeVantage now has a convenient excuse to not have to include Bill and me in our rightful place in the company history. Something that should have been celebrated can now be easily swept under the rug because I’m the “bad guy” with “unreasonable” expectations who asked the company to honor its commitments. It now allows them to feel better about themselves somehow – for so long being negligent in getting the real story about Protandim’s development out there; for so long casting me in a “false light” by commission and omission; for so long keeping up the erroneous materials to the point of malice and great hurt.

 

Company of integrity, Doug says? How about keeping its original promises to match the founders’ shares to rescue children? How about keeping its original promises to give 10% of pre-tax net profits away for children and related humanitarian causes? How about filing an 8-K correction notice with the SEC every time the erroneous message of Joe being the “creator” went out? How about the promise to correct the development history while at the same time keeping up the offending materials that lead people to believe Joe was the inventor? How about David’s promise to “make it happen” for me to have a “Goodwill Ambassador” role with the company, to help further the purposes of Traffic Jam? How about the company’s constant encouragement for distributors to use the copyrighted material of ABC News for commercial purposes? How about all those big distributors who came over with down-lines allegedly “stolen” from Zrii? How about ALL the mentions of diseases when it’s clearly not permitted in the marketing of a supplement?

 

Integrity? Company of integrity? Actions speak louder than words.

 

This is a very sad day for me folks. The “petition” that Doug mentioned in his letter was merely me throwing up my arms in bewilderment and wondering why on earth the Board wasn’t fulfilling the matching pledge with a measly 100,000 shares when the evidence was so clear that 100,000 shares were missing (Believe me, I was asking for these shares long before the recent run-up in price). Even a math flunkey could see that the numbers didn’t add up and 100,000 shares were still owed. Instead of bringing the match to completion, with an amount of shares that pales in comparison to the fat stock options the executives are getting, they chose to make this big issue out of it. It could have been a cause for celebration. Instead, the company has chosen to create yet another public relations nightmare. I didn’t ask for that. They did it. And I’m baffled by it.

 

I started off with 5 million shares. Why on earth would I make all this fuss about 100,000 shares if it were not true? I’m a man of principle and the principle-of-the-matter is the shares are still owed. Gosh, by their reaction, you’d think I asked for the moon.

 

I merely responded by saying that I would put out the public information and ask distributors to let their voices be heard – for integrity and common sense. But somehow that’s now something portrayed as me being devious and destructive. Hello? Why would I try to destroy the stock of the company I’m trying to get shares from? Hello?

 

Conversely, I don’t believe the LifeVantage Board has acted in its fiduciary duty in this matter. I believe they are acting in a destructive manner. Why on earth would they bring about such a disruptive episode in the midst of such growth and promise? The missing shares are soooooooo obvious that they are missing from the match. I gave 200,000 shares. Bill gave 100,000 shares. the company gave 200,000 (matching mine) and, hello again, Bill’s shares didn’t get matched. 100,000 shares missing. You don’t need a mathematics degree to figure that one out. Why would the Board put so much at risk – the airing out of this laundry – instead of just issuing the shares to help rescue kids?! And celebrating it!

 

. . . Unless, of course, they were needing something to make me look “bad” or “unreasonable” so they don’t feel so bad about the incorrect company communications about who invented the product. And to release themselves from an obligation to correct that history in a way that celebrates Bill’s and my involvement.

 

. . . Now they can just quietly remove the “creator” tag from Joe and hope that nobody notices. Just like they did when they removed the “inventor” tag from him.

 

Doug’s letter concludes by asking distributors to not get involved in anything that “disparages” the company. Wow. I asked the company to honor its commitment with a measly 100,000 shares to stop 11 year-olds from getting raped 20 times per day; to stop 7 year-olds from having to shoot their parents before being forcibly conscripted into a child militia. Now, if any distributor goes along with supporting what is clearly in the public record, and honoring their own conscience to see the pledge fulfilled for children such as these, they are in violation of their distributor’s agreement. Seriously?

 

Looks like the strong arm of silence rearing up again.

 

My apologies for rambling on in this open letter. Obviously I’m a passionate person – the same passion that brought Protandim into being in the first place. And, obviously, I’m quite upset right now – not just by these events, but how they’ve now been represented in Doug’s email.

 

Unfortunately, it’s the distributors and the children who lose out because of the Board’s baffling conclusion and Doug’s irrational choice to send out his email. Quite wreckless, if you ask me. Certainly not acting in the best interests of the shareholders. They turned a public relations celebration into a public relations nightmare.

 

I apologize to all of you that it has come to this. It certainly wasn’t my intention.

 

I want you all to know that I love you all and do indeed wish you the best. I will STILL use my “Founder’s Page” on Facebook as a place of encouragement and, given this recent turn of events, as a place of clarity and truth.

 

Blessings,

Paul

 


So there you have it.  Since this time, Myhill has been sat on by Lifevantage (as it turns out a kind of double-blackmail) and then stated that the shares were the thing to buy.  Following this, Lifevantage have made public pronouncements about their charitable donations to Myhill’s charitable organisation(s) and there’s now, apparently,  a kind of Machiavellian sweetness and light between them.

But whatever:   the business is still a snake-oil pyramid scheme founded on flawed and discredited “science” and promoted by MLM-hopping get-rich-quick wide-boys.  For more on these recent developments and a fuller history of investigations into the topic, see a few of LazyMan’s postings here:

…….I won’t steal any more of Lazyman’s thunder and there much, much more on his site.  But from top to bottom, the volunteers and employees of all the charities financed by Myhill and/or Lifevantage should examine their hearts and ask themselves;

What value is there to a charity when it’s financed from deception?

So what if Myhill has had his photo taken with Elton John or whoever.

So what if Myhill plugs;

Paul Myhill Entertainer Plugs

Paul Myhill Entertainer Plugs

“Meetings getting scheduled with Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Slash, Myles Kennedy, and many more. The TRAFFIC JAM Campaign (Stop Child Trafficking & Slavery) will be rocking this summer!”

Our Prime Ministers and Presidents are often photographed with the pariahs of the world.  Elton is one of the world’s biggest self-publicists and spend-thrifts.  So is Gaga.  So, so what?  There is no validation there.

It’s still a charity founded on deception.  It may have good aims.  It may be correctly financed and regulated –  though Vogel has shed great doubts over this (See here, here, here, here and here).  But it is financed by a pyramid scheme based MLM using a product with no proven benefit as the bait on the hook.

When the PR folk at Lady Gaga, Timberlake’s et al label’s get wind of the deceptions surrounding Myhill, will the charity campaign still be a-rockin’?  Will all of Zoe Hamilton’s (a loyal Myhill fan/worker/volunteer?) networking work be for naught?  Let’s see.


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Google Gagarin

It Was 50 Years Ago, Today

…when mankind left the gravitational confines of our Earth.

Google Gagarin

Google Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin

A poor boy from the steppes, Yuri Gagarin, simultaneously became the first man in space and the first man to leave Earth and orbit it completely.  (This is something that took NASA several steps before John Glenn finally emulated the feat).

While of humble background (like Jesus), his father was a carpenter (like Jesus) and his mother read voraciously (as Jesus knew the scriptures).  Obviously, Gagarin wasn’t Jesus, but he did die in his mid-thirties which parallels Jesus’s early death.

Gagarin Launch

Gagarin Launch

I was alive when Gagarin stunned the world by being shot into space.  I remember very few photos of the man or the event.  The West was naturally very embarrassed by being overshadowed by a dictator-led communist state.  Most scientists were just astonished.  Most politicians and the mainstream media were extremely alarmist in public (and fully actioned in private) because the inter-continental aspect of chucking a nuclear weapon sized piece of machinery aloft at the height of the cold war was paramount in their minds.

What struck me then and since was the fact that Gagarin always seemed to have a happy cheeriness about him.  When we now see his pre-flight pictures, his confidence is astounding, because remember, before the voyage, mankind had conflicting ideas about the very survivability for a man in the entirely hostile and unforgiving environment of space.  Some said that a man would die within half and hour from radiation….

Of course, the Soviet scientists had tested these theories with mammals (dogs & ape) and knew that even though the animals died on their space-flights (and were destined to die, by design), they knew that a man could survive the flight and if a return to Earth could be made, he’d live to see another day.  They’d also done a small step-by-step approach to their rocketry so even though the rocket was made primarily as an ICBM, its designer was actually more interested in getting men into space and had designed accordingly.  (see this article on Sergei Korolev and his space-flight dreams).

This, Gagarin duly did, by re-entering the atmosphere in his capsule and then, when the speed had sufficiently reduced, by opening his capsule and leaping from it to then descend on a conventional parachute.

Amazingly, this all worked, perfectly.

International Space Station

International Space Station

We now see the benefits of this early Soviet work because for the next few years, transport of people to the International Space Station (ISS) will be done by the Russian Soyuz spacecraft alone now that the NASA Space Shuttle is grounded for good.

The Soyuz is a direct descendant of Gagarin’s early capsule and the subsequent work and deaths of Soviet cosmonauts.  Later joint work with NASA and their own accidents and astronaut deaths have made the Soyuz platform very reliable, in space flight terms.  See this Wikipedia article for a full introduction to space-flight of all kinds.

Google Celebration

Google, characteristically, have celebrated Gagarin’s achievement (and that it was, make no mistake, he was a very, very, brave man), with a decorated main page which I’ve copied for posterity above.

Hooray For Gagarin.

So it was 50 years ago today.  An event that changed the world and our perception of it and ourselves  in the universe.

It’s only people some years older than myself who actually remember the previous world where people remained fixed to the planet and could only dream and wonder about the reality beyond.  For myself and folks younger than me, we can only to imagine what that world was like because we are part of the world that Gagarin’s bravery opened up for us..

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Comments are closed

Americans Love to Torture – Official

Honi soit qui mal y pense“Evil be to him who evil thinks”

While fishing around the exploded stomach contents purporting to be news, FoxNews.com, on a totally different topic I might add, I came across this headline, part of a poll for AP.

Poll: More Than Half of Americans Say Torture OK (Fox Link)

This is abso-fucking-lutely the very worst fucking news to come from that spawn of the fucking devil country masquerading as a God-fearing and upright place that I’ve heard for fucking bastard ages.

They’re scum, absolute scum.  52% of you –  I wouldn’t pull you from a car crash.

Iraq Torture

Iraq Torture

They’ve no conscience and even less cognisance of any of their supposed constitution that millions fought over.  They don’t fucking deserve it and when their country ends up like that depicted in Kevin Costner‘s “The Postman“, some of them are gonna fucking wonder where they fucking went fucking wrong.

What happened to freedom?

 

Torture

Torture

It’s D-Day “celebrations” in 2 days.  My dad was there and so were some of your fathers.  I’ve seen the 9,387 graves at Omaha Beach.   I bet they wished they’d never fucking bothered..  You’re absolute shite.  I mean really, you’re the pits.

Absolute bastards.  Sold your souls to the devil, you have.  Cunts.

I feel so sorry for the 48% who know that torture, under any circumstances, is a terrible thing.

Basically, you’re fucked, mates.


Unbelievably, over a third of Americans, most probably these barbed wire toting wankers,  still tremble in their beds a-feared for a terrorist airliner crashing through the window.

What a bunch of simpering loud-mouthed cowards.


Now what was the name of that arrogant cunt-faced so-called shock-jock that our Home Secretary banned as an un-desirable and is now sueing her?

Perhaps we should block 52% of the US Nation eh?  I certainly don’t want any of that twisted 52% here.

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Now fuck off.

Shamed be he who thinks ill of it (shamed be [he who] ill [of it] thinks)

 

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted May 28 to June 1 by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media. It involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,000 adults nationwide and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.  This is a pdf of the poll, questions and all. (Link removed for some reason!  Try this one.)

Addendum

See this link from a follow up comment where nearly two thirds of “Evangelicals” think torture is all fine and dandy.

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Obama, BBC China sniping and Guantanamo First Act

Chinese Censorship:

As part of the BBCs “take” on the international views on the new, 44th President of the United States, their China correspondent Michael Bristow has reported that his inauguration speech was censored in China.

Apparently, the English version on the Xinghua News site is okay, but the Chinese version for the locals has several bits lopped out.

Well I don’t know about the technology and if it too is blocked, but the Chinese have hit a bummer here.  I just wonder if there’s anything in place to stop a Chinese person copying the English text and whacking it into a translator such as the one on this website or the Google Translated version here?  It’s just a thought.   They should stop being so paranoid and have confidence in their situation.

Another thought is that because English is the language of commerce and so much commerce now comes from China, there will be millions of Chinese who are perfectly capable of reading the English version of the speech from a myriad of places….      Unfortunately, my Chinese knowledge is zero so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of any translations…but I’m English!  It’s what we do!  ;-)

Guantanamo First Act:

As for our common defence, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.

Before he’s even had time to change his socks Obama has called a halt to the Guantanamo proceedings – that scourge against the “rule of law and freedom” that Obama mentioned so effectively yesterday (quote to right).  So within 12 hours, he’s sent a signal around the world that the rampant hypocrisy of the previous near-decade has come to an end and has got to change.

Wonderful.


Obama’s Speech, in Full – for any Chinese Reading!

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and co-operation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms.

At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we, the people, have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our world.

We have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labour, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and travelled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and ploughed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – that a nation cannot prosper long when it favours only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defence, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the spectre of a warming world. We will not apologise for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defence, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honour them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.

What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have travelled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world… that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive… that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

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Bridgwater Carnival 2008

Amadeus Meets His Nemesis in the Land of Make-Believe

Photo Details

These were all taken on my recently repaired Fuji Finepix F30.  Everything was on auto and with virtually no flash used.  It’s a shame it doesn’t have variable zoom and aperture when in video mode.  I could have done with that.

Hopefully, you’ll get some of the mixture of boredom and surrealism that is Bridgwater Carnival.

Carnival Described

It’s been going for over 400 years in celebration of Guy Fawkes and his Roman Catholic chums being ritually castrated, disembowelled and then chopped up after failing in their plot to blow up parliament.  The terrible punishment seems to have worked, because even though the place is a viper’s nest of corruptive practices and intrique, no-one has really tried to blow up parliament since.

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Bridgwater Carnival 2008 009-Detail; I find this Strangely Disturbing...

The Carnival is now what may be termed a charitable competition, where the prize is a cup like the FA Cup say, and to get the prize you need to spend oodles of dosh to have any hope.  As the parade of over 100 entries winds it’s way through town, passers-by are “encouraged” to give money for charitable causes, usually local.  All the dosh is collected by a fleet of slowly moving converted carts and a small army of volunteers who scuttle about picking up falling coinage.  Some of them have bizarre funnel & pipe contraptions to collect from the back of the crowd.

The Carnival is now big – very big.  For years the visitor numbers have been well over 100k, people arrive from all over the country.  This is amazing for a pokey little place of ~30k or something.  There are basically two sets of townfolk – the Carnivalites and their supporters which include people who like Carnival – and those that can’t stand the Carnival or the people that do it.   :-(   Me.  I quite like it, but I’m a foreigner as I’ve only lived here for 19 years …   The only people who make any money are the charities, the hamburger folks and the geezers who flog flickery toys and deflat-o-matic balloons, some of which can be seen hovering teasingly over the town after a child has lost their grip.  For everyone else it’s a labour of love.

Bridgwater is not the only carnival, but it’s the biggest and the oldest.  It’s the one that all the teams want to win, although there is an overall prize for the Somerset Carnival “Season”.


Squibbing

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Squibbing

See Squibbing 2008 here.

The next day, the results are posted on the town hall door (see the photo I took).  People were getting quite worked up about them….   You’ll see that Nemesis by the Gremlins won.

I tell you, Harry Potter’s got nothing on this.

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