Tag Archive: sleaze

Tories Reveal Authoritarian Roots While Liberals Check Their Shoelaces

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Yet again I’m forced to side with the grinning David Davis.  This doesn’t happen often and is embarrassing to admit!.

ConDem Coalition Pledges Broken!

ConDem Coalition Pledges Broken!

It’s all about the government plans to allow full-scale unauthorised real-time monitoring of every person in the UK’s internet activity!  It’s so 1984.

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” – (George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four
.

Orwell must be turning in his grave in despair that what he predicted as a warning about what not to do, now looks like coming to fruition.

Remarkably, since wangling themselves into government, the conservative-libdem coalition government is now actually dropping a key part of their manifesto which they laboriously agreed two years ago.  This can still be found on the government website, page 11 to be exact (pdf) .  Here’s what they said:

  • The Government believes that the British state has become too authoritarian…. We need to restore the rights of individuals in the face of encroaching state power – FAIL
  • …reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion – FAIL
  • … introduce safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation – FAIL
  • …end the storage of internet and email records without good reason – FAIL
  • …a British Bill of Rights that … protects and extends British liberties – FAIL

(Actually, the whole Con-Dem pledge list makes good reading to see just how far removed from it our evil diktat of quangos has become.)

So what to do – use TOR.

ID Cards

Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Johann Wolfgang Goethe (Photo credit: andreasmarx)

Not so long ago I was haranguing the former Labour government about their plans for ID Cards, their laws over CCTV and photographing in public places, the reduction  in privacy for individuals and the removal of our civil rights over detention without trial, due cause and 3rd party notification for first 90 days and them 42 days.

I left the Labour Party because of it and have not rejoined.

Huge Vocal Resentment Against UK Government Secret Citizen Monitoring Plans.

try the Tor browser bundle

The new news (I thought it was an April Fool joke initially!) is that Email and web use is ‘to be monitored’ under new laws proposed by this nasty, nasty government.  Happily, there is now a huge and vociferous resentment against this from the general public who can see this evil act for what it is.  Top among them is David Davis!  See this link and the thousands of comments for instance; Backlash over email and web monitoring plan.

Clueless

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 14

Now, the tories and their liberal stooges have been shown to be both serially evil in their pronouncements and plans, and also serially incompetent of managing almost anything.

Their pathetic management of a minor industrial dispute (the fuel shortage) which did nothing except invoke almost universal resentment of the coalition and reawaken a general awareness of their ineffectiveness comes on top of stripping the very foundations away from one of UK society’s greatest inventions of the Industrial Age, our National Health Service (NHS).

United Kingdom

Top this behavioural abomination with that of the revolving door policy between banking and politics which they continue to promote with zero penalties for failure while the population-at-large have to prop up the whole system with their taxes means only two things to me.

  1. The government must do something desperate to have any hope of re-election in 3 years – this means either war (patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel) or economic boom-and-bust gambling.
  2. They will do something desperate to have any hope of re-election in 3 years – this means either war (patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel) or economic boom-and-bust gambling.

Astute folk will see this as my prediction for government actions over the next 3 years.

Tories: Keep Friends Happy

Meanwhile, hundreds of extra Tory donors will soon be available to bankroll the “all is good” story.  They will arrive as beneficiaries of the windfall provided as the “former NHS” contracts are handed out to friends, much like Michael Ashcroft benefited from the first round of NHS privatisation during the Thatcher era.  This article on Powerbase and this one (sourced from a now defunct article in The Scotsman) show quite clearly that 1/3 of cleaning contracts went to Ashcroft’s businesses during this time, saying;

MICHAEL Ashcroft, (…) bankrolled an “independent” publicity campaign that allowed his multi-million-pound contract cleaning empire to prosper and led to a change in the law. The campaign was run from the London office of the former Conservative Scottish secretary, Michael Forsyth. A spokesman for Mr Ashcroft confirmed last night that he had contributed to the Public and Local Service Efficiency Campaign (PULSE), which was set up in 1985 to persuade the public sector to contract out services such as cleaning and catering. The campaign had been disbanded by the end of the 1980s after the Conservative government passed the 1988 Local Government Act .  Mr Ashcroft’s Hawley Services Group, a contract cleaning firm later known as ADT, flourished under the new regime, with ADT, winning a third of NHS contracts between 1983 and 1988.

For further information into the depths that the Tories will go to enable all public money to be fed straight to their business friends, see this article which pulls apart the dealings of Ashcroft, discredited Dame Shirley Porter, NIMBY Nicholas Ridley, Chris Chope (the dog turd of Christchurch) and current (dodgy expenses, remember) minister Eric Pickles.

THE PICKLES PAPERS

By Tony Grogan
First published by 1 IN 12 PUBLICATIONS 1989
21 – 23 Albion St. Bradford 1.
Copyright 1 IN 12 Publications 1989
ISBN 0 948994 04 5

Once read, apply the same logic to our dear NHS, and weep again.  The same modus operandi is being used;

  1. discredit the current, imply alternatives are better;
  2. farm out internal monies to external Tory benefactors.

It’s just more sleaze just like under Thatcher before, backed up with warlike rhetoric.  Remember, only 10 days ago we had the news of billionaire Tory donors at Cameron’s dinner table, and Cameron trying to defend the cash-for-access news that made Labour’s cash-for-questions scandal appear like a sweetshop-ish wheeze in comparison.  See 

Tory Party chairman Lord Feldman was one of the key figures in the ‘cash for access’ scandal which erupted after Tory party treasurer Peter Cruddas was caught offering a private dinner with David Cameron to undercover reporters who posed as wealthy party donors.  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2123692/Tory-cash-access-row-David-Cameron-crony-pal-cash-questions.html

as well.

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Terror State Chickens Return to Phone Hacking Roost

Introduction

Greenpeace Action

Greenpeace Action

Many years ago when I was living in France and during a prolonged period of French atomic weapon testing on the Moruroa atoll, the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior, was blown up in a New Zealand harbour. Initially, it was thought to be an accident.

Now, as soon as this happened, I thought “who has most to gain from the sinking of this protest ship?”

I immediately said, “The French” to my partner.  It’s in their interest to get that pesky ship put of their test zone.

Many years passed until finally some French Secret Service agents were collared for the dastardly deed.   President Mitterand, it turns out, authorised the bombing and thus the death of the Portuguese Dutch photographer, Fernando Pereira.

Phone Hacking

  1. The news this week is that the sleaze-paper, News of the World (NOTW), part of the nationality-challenged Rupert Murdoch’s empire, hacked many prominent people’s phones in order to gather information.  (News of the World ‘bugging’ claim – Wednesday 8th)

    E60

    Phone Hacking

  2. Later, the news was that there was going to be a huge investigation by the police into the allegations. (Police to probe phone hack claims – Thursday 9th).  In fact, PM Brown said, “This raises questions that are serious and will obviously have to be answered.”
  3. A few hours later, and the massive investigation was finished!  (New phone hack inquiry ruled out – Thursday 8th)  Second top Met Cop John Yates said, “No additional evidence has come to light since this case has concluded. I therefore consider that no further investigation is required.”  He also said, “This investigation has not uncovered any evidence to suggest that John Prescott’s phone had been tapped.”

Astonishing Speed

Warning: sarcasm alert! I think it’s amazing that Yates & Co. has managed to sift through all of this evidence in less than half a day!  It’s fantastic!  If only all enquiries were this fast!  Arms to Iraq!  Iraq War!  Cash for Questions!  G20 Tomkinson Death and Kettling tactics!  You know, things would be so much better.

Who Has Most to Gain?

Rupert Murdoch - will he gain?

Rupert Murdoch - will he gain?

Going back to my Rainbow Warrior experience, this is the thought that now crosses my mind.  In situations like this, forget the morals and any issues of integrity, personal or national, that arise.  Just look at the question in it’s starkness.  Who has most to gain?

Well this question really has several parts, or vantage points, if you like, that all supply an answer to the above question.

  • Obviously, The Guardian now gains from extra publicity, their oxygen of business.
  • NOTW originally gained by getting stories, the same oxygen of their business.
  • Robert Preston here (News of the World bugged Sun editor), reveals that all papers were (and still are?) using such tricks.  It’s all their oxygen.

Police Gain.

A key sentence in Robert Preston’s piece (News of the World bugged Sun editor) is near the bottom.  See if you can find it!

This is the relevant chunk, showing the information source as Richard Thomas, recently retired Information Commissioner and quoted verbatim from Preston’s blog.  Thomas did a huge investigation into phone hacking which were presented before our Parliament, our representatives, in 2007.  This is the chunk below (remember, see if you can see the key bit!!):

Richard Thomas, 'a champion of civil liberties'. Photo: Michael Stephens/ PA

Richard Thomas, 'a champion of civil liberties'. Photo: Michael Stephens/ PA

A good deal of this trade in personal confidential information has already been exposed by Richard Thomas, who has just retired as information commissioner.

In a series of reports and in evidence to the House of Commons culture, media and sport committee, he made a series of disclosures about newspaper activities that he regarded as “prima facie” illegal.

Here’s a statement from him to MPs that he gave in March 2007, which refers to the results of an investigation he carried out into the business relationship between the press and a firm of private investigators (the investigation was given the codename Operation Motorman):

“The first thing I would need to share is that the 3,000 or 4,000 transactions identified… came from a total of 13,000 transactions in this one operation alone. We were careful only to put forward those where there was some sort of hard evidence of the transaction being positively identified as involving a journalist for a newspaper”.

And this is what he cited as the evidence of payments being made by journalists for the information:

“We did have, and we do have still, the statements, the bank statements, the invoices – some of these well-known proprietors were including information such as ‘payment for confidential information’, payment for ‘blagging’ [obtaining information by deception] in some cases – so there was what I might call hard ‘prima facie’ evidence.”

soclose

Law Enforcement

However the degree of detail obtained by him about this trade was startling.

Where did the money end up? Well, a flow-chart produced by the office of the information commissioner shows the press employing private detectives who in turn deal with phone companies, call centres, the DVLA and what’s described as “police source”.

Did you spot the last bit of the sentence?  I’ll paraphrase now for emphasis…

Where did the money (paid for hacked information) end up? The information commissioner shows the press employing private detectives who deal with (…) a “police source“.

And there we have it!

Conclusion

Now we know why Yates’ “investigation” finished so quickly.  The former information commisioner tells us in words presented to parliament – to protect the police!

Just remember, this current government has ramped up the “fear factor” over terrorism so much, that the police and other services have unparalled access to all sorts of electronic information.  In fact, by law, telecoms companies are required to keep it….

In this week’s events we’ve seen the Police investigate an event of which they were one of the prime information sources (according to Thomas) and declared “no case to answer”.  They are investigator, judge, jury and imprisoner.

As I’ve predicted many times in these pages, (and I’m only using history as a guide here, remember – I’m not a fortune teller), when the police are given unbridled power, that power will be abused either by an individual or the organisation as a whole.

The police now have power of arrest for virtually anything – e.g. by law, I’m not allowed to take their photo!  I can be arrested and searched without reason and imprisoned for the same reasons indefinitely.  Just look.  It’s all there, all passed in the last few years.

But if this case and previous ones are anything to go by, it appears that if an “investigator” can’t get the information they want, they pay the police for it!

What have we got here – the Rockford Files!

And afterwards, the Police say “no case”.  “Case closed”. “No further information”.

Our chickens have come home to roost, and no-one’s noticing!

PostScript

Actually, someone’s noticing.

 Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer launches 'urgent' review of phone tap inquiry  Photo: PA

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer launches 'urgent' review of phone tap inquiry Photo: PA

The police have decided to do nothing because, as they say no NEW information is about  (this is now being mis-quoted as in “There is no information that John Prescott’s phone was tapped” instead of “There is no NEW information that John Prescott’s phone was tapped” – which is a different thing altogether and those saying it, know it!)

  • However, it’s now emerging that many “stars” and “personalities” are planning to sue the NOTW and other papers.  See Stars ‘may sue’ over phone claims
  • Also, the DPP has launched an inquiry.
  • The PCC likewise.
  • Parliament too.
  • And calls for the police to do the right thing and investigate properly are mounting.

I watch with anticipation from my little tank.  I’ve a feeling, and I hope, that this one will run and run and that hopefully, some proper rein will be put on our law enforcement folk.  Unlike most people, I don’t consider this a press freedom issue – I consider it a key part of all our freedoms.

See these links:

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Internet Porn, Visible Benefits

The Rise of Internet Porn

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XXX Porn?

One of the chief drivers of change in the technological arms race of the internet has been the porn industry.  Most of the ‘benefits’ that users and owners now expect e.g. interaction, user activity sensing, easy and secure anonymous on-line payments, on-line adverts and click-through promotions, on-line community spaces, forums, streamed video, etc – nearly all have been driven by the desire of the porn industry to make money.

Another benefit has been the push for the faster pipe speeds to deliver all this extra content.  Your average punter has benefited from all of this, not necessarily being a consumer of all but benefiting nevertheless.

Porn Morals

FERTILITY_GODDESS_Catal_Huyuk

6000 years old FERTILITY GODDESS(?) from Catal Huyuk, Anatolia, in modern Turkey

Before all this, there was always porn and a satisfied demand for uncluttered sex, usually called prostitution.

In this cute article from the BBC, Indian sex workers learn karate, (for in this brave new sanitised world they are not called prostitutes any more), to protect themselves from ‘abuse’ they’re all learning karate chops and stuff.

I’m getting a bit confused here – where does the abuse begin and end?  And who abuses who?

Venus

Venus

Anyway, I digress.  There’s always been contractual sex, put it that way.  Art and sculpture can be construed in many ways.  Earth goddess – porn model?  The morals are within the hypocrisy of the particular society doing it.

Internet Porn Benefit

Apart from the technological benefits I mentioned above, I became aware of another one today while out walking the dog…

magazine rack porn

magazine rack porn

A quick perusal of this website means you’ll be aware that I’m in the UK.  20 and more years ago, men like David Sullivan and the family behind Goldstar Publications, amongst others, started publishing shelfloads of explicit porn mags, 99% of which was for men.

Discarded Porn Mag

Discarded Porn Mag

Invariably, these mags, once their purchased purpose was complete, would be chucked out of lorry windows, chucked into hedges, chucked in the road and on every footpath across the land.  You’d see them everywhere, usually at an embarrassing moment.  Seeing a wide-open beaver while out shopping with granny or dropping the kids off at school could be such a moment.

Anyway, I’ve just become aware that I haven’t seen such a thing for about five years now.  This is despite the newsagent’s shelves being packed with the stuff, more like liberal French and Dutch cafes and tobacconists.

So that’s the benefit – No porn on the street.  Literally.

article_0_04F2D745000005DC_265_634x423_1_

Street jetsam and a Source

Of course, the streets are packed with the jetsam of society in other ways – tins of Red Bull, Macdonalds-KFC-Subway-kebab shop wrappings, 3L coke and WKD bottles, supermarket bags and crisp packets.  Most is much less bio-degradable than porn mags and thus floats in the canal for years…

But it’s not so embarrassing when out with the children.

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Let’s all say Sorry

  • The pope says sorry for getting it wrong over the holocaust and the nutty bishop
  • The bankers say sorry for getting it wrong with their greedy decisions that lead to the current economic crisis
  • Cricket captains say sorry for losing some games
  • US car maker bosses say sorry for being crap
  • UK Politicians say sorry for being greedy and setting up an expenses system that allows them to be greedy
  • US presidents say sorry for accidentally bombing civilians
  • IRA says sorry for past bombings of civilians

How long should I make this list?

Q.  Does it make it alright if you do great hurt and harm – and then say sorry?

A.  The answer, I think, depends on your future actions from this moment forward.

If we apologise for a past mistake (and everyone makes mistakes – we are all human), the believability of our statement of sorrow will probably be judged on the likelihood of a repeat ‘mistake’.  That is the power of ‘Reason’ and the only reasonable criterion on which to judge someone’s contriteness.  In other words, is my ‘Cause’ believable?  What ‘Effect’ do I want and is it honourable? … … … it’s a trust thing.

PopeSo do I believe the Pope?  Yes I do, actually, although I can see there’s an agenda at work.  Same for the IRA.

RBSBankers – no.  Car makers – no, they’ve had plenty warnings from intelligent people like myself that their business models were un-sustainable.  There’s the proof.  It’s in the phrase.

UK Politicians on expenses – no, probably.  It’ll take a generation to clear this mess up.

Cricketers and other sportsmen – they shouldn’t need to apologise – it’s only a game mate.

DroneUS Presidents (inc Obama) and any other person who thinks it’s okay to bomb civilians as acceptable ‘collateral damage’ – no way.  This is a continuing abomination against mankind.  Anyone who does this does not have a just cause in the slightest.

suicide car bombSo this includes Obama and Bush, Blair and Brown, all the mad Muslims and their sacrificial bombers and all the mad Jews with their denial of a right to life for an indigenous population.  The continuing excesses and excuses for the deaths, maimings and oppressions of ordinary people in the pursuit of ‘the enemy’ or ‘freedom for…’ or for any ’cause’, is in no way justifiable.  To apologise after each event is pathetic and just proves the inherent weakness of the cause.

There really has to be a better way.

Here’s what Nichiren Daishonin said, many years ago:

nichiren…if the minds of living beings are impure, their land is also impure, but if their minds are pure, so is their land. 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

Israel Phosphorus BombIn this context Nichiren is saying that the law of Cause and Effect works at a personal level which spreads out to encompass the whole environment in which we dwell. He’s saying that the hellish circumstances in the Middle East, Palestine, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, the US, the UK, Afghanistan, Israel and everywhere blighted by devilment, are all derived from the actions of people.  Without people there would be just earth.

It’s the actions which are derived from the causes that people make that bring the hell to these lands.

Israel Phosphorus BombThis means that the causes that bring the bombs to Baghdad are the same as those that bring sleaze to Britain.  In the former, morally bankrupt US & UK politicians and morally bankrupt Muslim leaders using their religion as a shield for oppression, battle it out in the streets of Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere.  In the UK, the actions of the same morally bankrupt politicians are entwined with their brothers in business, like ivy sucking the juice from the tree of state, and are now both exposed for what they are – greedy children caught with too many sweets in the playground.

They should all, as Nichiren implies, “think pure”, and the country and all we interact with, will be pure.

It’s the only way.

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Obama’s Been Got

@AmazonHigh Hopes Replaced by Low Expectations

It’s the torture, see?

UK

In the UK, when Blair was first elected Prime Minister, the people in the country had such high hopes.  There were promises of an ‘end to sleaze’ and an ‘ethical foreign policy’.

@AmazonSince those heady few weeks in the UK;

  • We’ve had years of subterfuge and an erosion of freedoms on an unprecedented scale except perhaps following the Norman Conquest or during the purges of the Tudor period.
  • We’ve had the mysterious deaths of civil servants and the accession to kidnap and torture at the behest of our allies.
  • We have had an endless catalogue of tales of personal aggrandisement by our elected representatives gorging at the trough of the public purse.
  • We’ve had financial waste and mis-management on a staggering scale.

So much for an end to sleaze.  So much for an ethical foreign policy.  John Smith and Robin Cook will be turning in their graves.

USA

And now in the USA, Obama has been suckered into the establishment line.  It’s only taken 100 days – wow, 3 and a half years left!  We had two stories about torture in rapid succession and various recent commentaries, notably from the biggest winner of the Iraq war, Dick Cheney.  Talk about personal gain…?

  • Firstly, torture was supposed to have been small scale, but effective.  It got the results, apparently.
  • Secondly, torture on some individuals was used hundreds of times. This also got results, apparently.

Now call me thick, but if someone ‘needs’ to be tortured hundreds of times, it’s not very effective, is it?

This means the victims were tortured for pleasure, because the two statements above are mutually exclusive – they can’t both be right!

Now, I’d like to say ‘bizarrely’,  but given past history from our democratic elected representatives into a society awash with vested interests, it’s got to be ‘not unexpectedly’, Obama isn’t doing anything about the perpetrators or instigators of these crimes against humanity.  It’s all being swept under the nice new carpet.

Obama has been suckered into the corporate establishment….  So;

  • Torture?  OK!
  • Personal and Corporate governance and financial accountability?  No way!
  • Greenhouse gases?  Love ’em!
  • Same old car companies?  Of course!
  • Surely the people won’t have to pay for corporate greed and mismanagement will they?   Of course they will!

It’s downhill all the way now.

@AmazonLets not forget that the whole Vietnam war fiasco was started and expanded under the Democratic administrations of Kennedy and Johnson?  Carpet bombing?  Napalm?   Democrats!

So welcome to the brave new world of flying drones in their thousands bombing civilians far away (death by computer game, anyone?).  Where government psychopaths are allowed to roam unchecked, stuffing their pockets with cash all the while.

I hope all the US voters who each chipped in their 100 dollar bills for Obama’s campaign think that it was all worthwhile.  For me, it looks like same old story, different cover.

Maybe Now is the Time to Move the UN?

Yes!  It’s a golden opportunity for the freedom loving nations of the world to pull up their roots and move the United Nations to somewhere safe – like Cuba or Norway.  Why?

Take a look at Article 5 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, written in 1948 and signed by the USA.  It reads:

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

When it says no-one, it means no-one. It doesn’t say ‘except really really bad people, in our opinion’ in tiny letters afterwards.  It’s simply hypocritical that the UN seat should be in such a country that because of it’s might, can pick and choose which bits to uphold for itself and which bits to sling at others.

Please Note, Mr President;

  • The Declaration is an all-or-nothing thing.
  • It’s not to be picked about and simpered over.
  • It’s not about comparative behaviour with the evil people of the world.
  • It’s an absolute statement made by people in 1948 who had plenty of time to think about evil and plenty of first hand experience to back it up.

See:

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