It’s ten years since Ashcroft “gave assurances” that he would reveal his er.. something or other, to William Hague – according to William Hague in his famous Paxman interview – See Below:
“Lord” Ashcroft Now
Today’s news is that ifthe tories win the forthcoming election, (and in a statement today, he finally confirmed he WAS a non-dom), Ashcroft has promised to become fully “resident and domiciled” in the UK. Try The Sun for more or the BBC.
“Lord” Ashcroft Conclusion
What this all means, of course, is that either;
Ashcroft lied to Hague back in 2000 when Hague put him up for his peerage,
Or that Ashcroft deliberately misled Hague about it all,
Or that Hague colluded in the deception.
I cannot personally think of any other routes that would lead William Hague to state what he so emphatically said to Paxman last summer. What says you? I’m all ears.
However, it’s blindingly obvious (yet strangely ignored) that he hasn’t paid tax to our nation for at least ten years - and yet has a weird magnetic control over some of our affairs….
Of course, the Labour Party have their own share of grey donors; all the way from Bernie Ecclestone back in 1997 to the Indian born Baron Paul with his own peculiar mix of richness, dodgy expense claims and donations.
The Labour queue is pretty long in financial scandal.
The stench of hypocrisy is becoming worse.
But what burnt the honesty cake for me these last two days, was the flag of patriotism being bandied about.
“It is an election we have a patriotic duty to win because this country is in a complete and utter mess, and we have to sort it out.”
Which is a formidable statement to make given that the whole world is in a turmoil where the rich get richer and the poor have to pay for it, and yet Britain is not a “one-off” and actually, is “not that bad”, you know…
Formidable because the starving poor are now castigated for hunting for food after earthquakes by a corrupt, politically charged and motivated media who employ brainless hacks to tow the editorial line.
Yet in the UK, no-one starves unless through neglect.
Anyone in Britain can get medical treatment and care on demand, with waiting lists at a fraction that they were when the Tories were last in power…
It’s a strange definition of the word “mess” – but a typical usage of the word “patriotism”, by a squeakily clean, disturbingly smooth, scoundrel.
Want and Need
What we want and need is simple.
In a reworking of the slogan “No taxation without representation“, there should be a new slogan, that empathetically states that we do not need lobbying or interference in our governmental process from any person or organisation that does not pay taxes; i.e. it does not directly contribute to the material well-being of the country.
No Representation without Taxation!
No positions of power.
No quango membership
No parliamentary membership.
No political donations, directly or indirectly.
No lobbying or ‘briefings’, directly or indirectly.
In other words,
Pay up , or shut up!
We all have to, the poor, long-suffering, tax-paying, public.
This is especially important for us, as where America leads, we follow.
Within the last two months, a legal judgement was made that made it perfectly proper for any business to promote any political party. The logic was that if a company pays taxes, it should have representation, just as the founding fathers wanted.
The crucial irony is though, that grievous complaints have been raised in the USA that their due process of democracy was already being undermined by these huge corporations that now bankroll the electoral system.
Of course, the reason that the corporations won was due to the massive financial investment in lobbying that they undertook to ensure they won…….
Last night, a washing-machine-sized lump of rock plummeted from the depths of space right across the face of Utah, USA, and right across the news screens. there are now quite a few videos on-line because the people of Utah are so paranoid (it appears), that the whole place, offices and homes alike, seems to be plastered with security cameras. Here’s one:
The meteor didn’t ground but made the night sky like daylight, so much so that it tripped the street lights off! So much for the science – these things fall all the time, usually in the ocean as it’s the biggest target. That’s me with my science hat on!
But why Utah? And why just now?
Out of all the places in the world, eh?
As a Buddhist, I see it as a warning for the people of Utah to wake up and throw out the bad things in that state! It’s a warning of dire karmic retribution, with my Buddhist hat on.
Maybe some folk in the state see the same thing? It’s a religious place where people avidly quote Bible passages and look after each other. The Bible is full of such instances – y’know? Sodom and Gomorrah and such-like. So I hope some people have thought something like this, because if they don’t clean up their act soon and stop ripping the whole world off with their legalised criminal schemes, some form of retribution will undoubtedly unleash itself that’ll make the few FTC arrests we’ve already seen seem like an invitation to a dinner dance.
It may be a ‘god’ thing, it may be the retribution of ‘the universe’, or ‘Gaia’, but I can feel it coming. Maybe the Salt Lake will overflow to it’s ancient boundaries and swallow the whole place? It’s happened many times historically, and, despite the detractors, we are in period of rapid climate change with changing rainfall patterns globally. Last year, they had a big earthquake…?
I’m often struck when reading the papers or news, to see the coroner’s verdict on someone’s death as:
Ending his own life “while the balance of his mind was disturbed”
Dennis and Flora Milner said they wanted to decide when to die
Well they have to say something, it’s their job, but the phrase is very peculiar. It is also very common, over 110k webpages!
Take this couple, the Milners, who were found dead in their home on the 1st November, 2009. They look quite jolly, don’t they. Would you say that the balance of their mind is disturbed?
Current UK law says that it’s OK to end your own life, but illegal to help anyone do it. I’ve emphasised the word “current”, because not that long ago, when the spoken language of the people of Britain would be comprehensible to us here today, it was actually a capital offence to commit suicide! In other words, if you failed to kill yourself, the State would that ensure you got your wish, by hanging you. This all came from the Catholic and then later Protestant religions’ view of life and the hereafter.
This shows that the view of suicide is highly flexible!
A common view, is as I stated at the top; that someone has a mental problem. This is a tautology, of course. (Statement: ‘All people who attempt suicide are mentally ill.’ Question: ‘How do you know they are mentally ill?’ Answer: ‘Because only mentally ill persons would try to commit suicide.’) But more to the point, what is the mind?
People have struggled since the dawn of self-comprehension about “the mind”. Descartes said “I think therefore I am” which is as good as anything.
Nichiren, the Buddhist monk has said many things, usually by quoting other previous Buddhist scholars and the like, and with an alarming number of references to the concept of “mind“, “self” and “existence“. For instance, quoting Dengyo he states,
“The two phases of life and death are the wonderful workings of one mind. The two ways of existence and non-existence are the true functions of an inherently enlightened mind.” – Nichiren, The Heritage of the Ultimate Law of Life
Which is all fine and dandy if you’re not depressed, isn’t it? If you are feeling down, it’s as dust to the wind, isn’t it?
But the truth of what Nichiren is saying is that it encapsulates one’s concept of “self”, regardless of whether you are up or down with your life.
And surely, by knowing oneself, even if you are suicidal, then your mind is never disturbed because at that point you have a very clear idea of “self”?
There are various forms of suicide, neatly classified on this Wikipedia entry. What is clear to me, is that there are, in essence, only two types of suicide, and they both to varying degrees are to do with a lack of value to life, not a disrespect of it.
Respect is a concept based in honour and subservience.
Value is a concept that is transferable across many human activities and we all have a good idea of it’s meaning that is far removed from any concept of society, duty, kinship and a host of other things based around law and natural justice.
The first is when one perceives no value in one’s own life.
Here, I’m separating life and existence into two different things, much as all the world’s major religions do. (Most religions, in one way or another, have at their core the premise that when you die, in the physical sense, that you “go” somewhere else afterwards). In such a case, a person may be fed up with their lot and end it all for one of the reasons that Wikipedia lists. For example, men with families like myself, when getting their pension statement will jokingly say amongst themselves that “I’m worth more dead than alive!”. The truth is that this is a truly valid reason that many suicides will use and is a far closer statement of the reality of many in the Western World’s lives than they care to admit.
The second is when a person sees no value in other’s lives.
In each of these cases, the potential for that person’s own death is there precisely because they set aside for an undefined period, any value of the person’s life they are going to kill, even though there’s a good chance they too will die.
By doing this they wrap up my first reason within the second. It’s impossible not to!
Of course, they justify their reasons under the flags of patriotism or peace and the promise or expectation of a “better life” either elsewhere for themselves or their families or country.
Nationalism and native land
But what is the point of committing suicide for a country or a belief system like a religion? These are temporary constructs of our human minds. As Nichiren said;
There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds. – On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime – The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Volume 1, page 4
It is like the case of a person who in a dream sees himself performing various good and evil actions. After he wakes up and considers the matter, he realizes that it was all a dream produced by his own mind. This mind of his corresponds to the single principle of the essential nature of phenomena, the true aspect of reality, while the good and evil that appeared in the dream correspond to enlightenment and delusion. – The Entity of the Mystic Law – WND1, page 418
So what we have is our own mind.
Who is to say whether it’s mad or bad?
Who is to say that life itself is a true reality, because every single thing we see with our eyes and perceive with our other senses, is actually processed information by, and a product of, our own mind!
This last is pure physics and logic. We live, and see things just like TV. A TV picture is just dots on a screen. Our mind converts them into news, trees, people, porn. But there’s nothing there, only dots.
Similarly with Great Art. It’s just paint splodges. It’s our mind that makes the Mona Lisa enigmatic – not even Leonardo’s - it’s our own mind that does it!!!. Just like the expression, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.
Life and Love
So who can put any suicide under any form of disdain? Who can dare compare the suicide of a soldier (usually dressed up as medals and bravery, and they are brave, make no mistake) dying for his or her concept of patriotism with the suicide of a spurned lover, dying for their own concept of life and duty?
It takes just as much bravery for a young girl to walk into a market place and blow herself up as it does for a soldier to run across open ground through a field of enfilading machine gun fire.
And it takes the same bravery for a spurned or deceived lover to end their life when they’ve been through all the options in their own mind, using all the logic at their disposal and deduced that a new, different life for themselves in the next existence is a better option than the current life, especially if, as I said earlier, they consider the value of their life to be greater when they are dead!
To go through all these acts of certain death takes the same amount of courage from everybody, in that I see no distinction.
You may pile up dung and call it sandalwood, but when you burn it, it will give off only the odour of dung. You may pile up a lot of great lies and call them the teachings of the Buddha, but they will never be anything but a gateway to the great citadel of the hell of incessant suffering.
Call me stupid if you like, but there’s something particularly disturbing about the ethics of the planned carve-up of the big two banks rescued last year by our taxes. (see RBS and Lloyds in major shake-up for details)
Normal Practice During Business Mergers
If two companies merge or one buys out another, quite often they do the same line of business and a major financial attraction of this process is the savings from using common systems – like I.T., accountancy, management, office costs and all the other common costs like these.
They have a fancy word for it – synergy. A usual consequence when departments merge like this is for staff, say 30-50% of them in the affected areas, to lose their jobs
Logically, if a formerly merged business has to split up, you’d expect the two separate businesses to have to increase these management-al areas to properly run the two businesses?
Otherwise one business will not have any I.T. function and the other might not have any office space for management. Things like that. At the very least they’ll need two managers instead of one!!!
The home secretary faces the threat of more scientists resigning after sacking his chief drugs adviser Prof David Nutt for his comments about cannabis policy. Two members of the drugs advisory panel have quit in protest and others are to meet to discuss their next move. Alan Johnson said Prof Nutt was sacked for “crossing the line” between giving advice and campaigning for a policy.
The point is that there’s a conflict between safety, facts, opinions, freedom, freedom of speech, duty, duty of care, education, class and knowledge.
Currently, a few tens of people each year die while taking ecstasy. Most actually die from dehydration and related effects, not from the drug.
However, the drug is addictive in that it’s effects diminish with repetition and the user has to take more each time to obtain the same experience.
It can be argued that taking one drug leads to taking others, which seems a reasonable supposition. But even so, the deaths due to drug taking, as opposed to the deaths due to crimes within the drugs supply industry are miniscule.
Far better would be to fully legalise all drugs but to have life imprisonment for illegal supply. In this way, there’s be nothing to stop ‘curious’ people making their own drugs…
An even better, and logical proposition, would be to focus on preventable deaths as they stand in the real, accountable figures. Start by checking the official government death statistics… Oh! And here they are (it’s a big PDF file)
In this right-riveting read are all sorts of weirdness.
For instance, the number of deaths from CYSTITIS is greater than those due to those surrounding Ecstasy intake!! Perhaps we should be focussing our energies here?
But even more shocking, is that the deaths due to NOT WEARING A CRASH HELMET while driving a CAR are more than Ecstasy and Cystitis combined.
If HM Gov were truly concerned about the welfare of it’s citizens, they would insist on the use of crash helmets now and also make it impossible for motor vehicles to exceed ANY speed limit by the use of automatic speed limiting devices? Maybe install equipment to prevent vehicle movement if there’s alcohol on the driver’s breath?
But that removes the freedom of a person to drive how they like? – is the obvious riposte. And why should I have to wear a helmet inside my car? And if I want to drive while drunk, that’s my choice!
So? And there we are back to my first statement: “The point is that there’s a conflict between safety, facts, opinions, freedom, freedom of speech, duty, duty of care, education, class and knowledge.”
And in that, the scientist is absolutely right and Johnson has chucked away all ‘fair comment’ values of a free society and ended the debate by shooting the messenger. Meanwhile the carnage on the streets continues both by vehicle and by the gun and knife.
Either way, it’s still carnage – and deaths from Ecstasy are a pimple in comparison.
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