Tag Archive: Stasi

Now You See it, Now You Don’t!

Is Nuclear power Safe?

  • Watch how the politicians duck and dive.
  • Watch how they pick and choose which bits of ‘science’ to believe!
Gymnasium at Pripyat

Abandoned for 100 Years

Last week, smiley Alan Johnson fell out with serious Professor Nutt because the professor said some factual scientific things, things proven by statistics and analysis to have an overwhelming degree of proof.  This was that drinking alcohol and smoking is far more dangerous than cannabis and ecstasy pills.  See dont-shoot-the-messenger-if-you-dont-like-the-message and associated links.

Now, this week, Ed Milliband has taken the opposite approach and said:

Nuclear power is safe, says Ed Miliband

So, despite there being three major accidents involving nuclear power, he says it’s safe!  In actual fact, he said this:

“I do understand the anxieties that there are because there have been concerns about nuclear power.”    “I think it is right that we go ahead with this. It has a good safety record. There is no evidence that people’s fears about nuclear are grounded, in my view.”

The trouble with this, is that a nuclear accident isn’t the same as a car crash, it isn’t at all like a train crash or a plane crash.  It actually isn’t anything like an earthquake or tsunami, natural hazards that many have to live with.

Hinkley Point

Hinkley Point Power Station

In a nutshell, if Hinkley Point Power Station down the road from me goes up in a similar fashion to Chernobyl, because of the prevailing wind, most of England will be uninhabitable and we’ll all have to go to Scotland!

The Three Close Shaves

In order, there was Windscale when I was a child and was exposed to Strontium in the milk which had to be chucked away for months.  The records show that this was a really close shave for us in Britain and Scandinavia – only half an hour away from a worse-than-Chernobyl disaster!

Then we had Three-Mile Island, another skin of the teeth episode but this time by the Americans.

Then there was Chernobyl which has left a 100 mile square piece of Russia uninhabitable and left sheep inedible thousands of miles away in Britain for years.  If the Chernobyl event had been here, as I say, all the Midlands would’ve needed evacuating.  As it is, Russia is very, very big, and they’ve room to move…..  We don’t.  It’s a little island.  Full of jobs-worth’s and idiots, by the sound of it.

Belief

Subway to Nowhere

Subway to Nowhere

Q. So which scientist is Milliband believing?  Which scientist says it’s “safe”?

Q. What evidence is Milliband ignoring that leads him to think people’s fears are “ungrounded”, as he says?

A. The evidence of his head in the sand, that’s what!

In this case he is using the infrequent bad events and calling them safe because they don’t happen often.  And because we’ve been very, very lucky; that’s all.

The stats show something different, because there are only about a couple of hundred nuclear plants across the globe!  Three have gone up!!!  For me, this is piss-poor odds and I don’t wish the lottery-like risks, especially when there are a host of other alternatives.

Lovelock

relax...

Relax

James Lovelock said some years ago that nuclear power was inevitable in order to have a controllable and civilised future.

He’s a clever man, but that doesn’t mean he’s always correct.

In his same speech (on TV some years ago), he said that an incident killing about 1 million people every 100 years was almost inevitable, but comparing it to road transport, or to dying from an overheating world, or the natural cancers we’d get anyway,  then many more would die in the same period….

That’s statistics and that’s a scientist speaking.  It’s the balance of probabilities and the the certainty of proof expressed in numbers.

However, it does not make it right and it does not make it something to which we should aspire.

Obstacles

Mr. & Mrs. Pump

Vested interests

There has to be a better way – and there is.  There are a pot of technologies available, especially when the economies of scale in mass manufacture are taken into account.  I don’t mean battery cars, the biggest red herring ever.  But there ARE a host of solutions and the biggest obstacles are:

  • Vested interests – oil companies and the politicians and businessmen that are attached.
  • Lack of belief – we people can do anything we set our minds to – even splitting the atom and making global war with it!
  • Stasis in Innovation – a host of tools are already available but people are scared and no-one wants to take the first step…

But look at it this way.  If all houses and industrial premises are forced by law to be covered with low cost film photovoltaic cells, how much electricity will we have and how many people MIGHT get hurt if a roof collapses?

A. A lot of electric and not many people!

Surely, something like this is worth trying rather than putting a host of concrete death stars on our doorsteps?

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What’s So Special About July 16th?

Crikey! I Never Realised!

Maybe certain days have relevance above their station and mere numerical nomenclature?  Who knows.  So read on.  See what happened today!

622 AD  – The Hijra of Muhammad

The Name Muhammad written in Classic Calligraphy

The Name Muhammad written in Classic Calligraphy

Muhammad runs away from Mecca to escape persecution.  From this point forward, huge swathes of the globe took up Islam, Islamic empires spread across, Africa, Asia and half of Europe; the legacy of which self-evidently exists today.  Okay, there’s huge argument about this, but some people take this as the day.  Personally, I don’t know enough about it, but I need something to match the post’s title, and other writers do take this as the day.  Wikipedia says this, and who am I to argue?

The Muslim dates are in the Islamic calendar extended back in time. The Western dates are in the Julian calendar. The lunar year is about 300/309 solar year. The Hijra is celebrated annually on 8 Rabi’ I, about 66 days after 1 Muharram, the first day of the Muslim year. Many writers confuse the first day of the year of the Hijra with the Hijra itself, erroneously stating that the Hijra occurred on 1 Muharram AH 1 or 16 July 622.

All dates given above may have occurred about 89 days (three lunar months) earlier. The Muslim dates may be those recorded in the original Arabic calendar and their month names may not have been changed to account for the (probably three) intercalary months inserted during the next nine years until intercalary months were prohibited during the year of Muhammad’s last Hajj (AH 10).

1260 AD – Nichiren Expounds “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land”

Nichiren statue in Japan

Nichiren statue in Japan

Speaking to 13th century feudal Japan, Nichiren the monk said that the calamities and disasters befalling the people were all due to incorrect lifestyles.  He insisted that all people were equal and free, that they should pay heed to people who were obviously skilled in their chosen field, and that they should do their best in the limited lifetime available.

Largely, he was ignored, and so half the country starved because of self-interest and malice.

And this is exactly the place where we find ourselves now across the globe.  We live on a world of limited resource, where many people choose to live their life by stealing from others, either as individuals or nations.  Nichiren’s words have as much relevance now as they ever did.  Here’s part of the writing:

I have pondered the matter carefully with what limited resources I possess, and have looked a little at the scriptures for an answer. The people of today all turn their backs upon what is right; to a person, they give their allegiance to evil. This is the reason that the benevolent deities have abandoned the nation and departed together, that sages leave and do not return. And in their stead devils and demons come, and disasters and calamities occur. I cannot keep silent on this matter. I cannot suppress my fears. – WND, page 7, “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land”

Daisaku Ikeda has some similar words about today;  he says:

The powerful may appear great, but in reality they are not.  Greatest of all are the ordinary people.  If those in power lead lives of idle luxury it is because the people are silent.  We have to speak out.  With impassioned words, we need to resolutely attack abuses of power that cause people suffering.  This is fighting on the side of justice.  It is wrong to remain silent when  confronting injustice.  Doing so is tantamount to supporting and condoning evil.

I’ve quoted the above as a direct statement to those companies like Pacific Webworks, people like Jesse Willms and the misguided people of Utah who have misinterpreted their US constitution of freedom and capitalism as a freedom to steal from the needy as a means of amassing capital, all hiding under the umbrella “that it’s god’s work”.  If capitalism doesn’t serve the people, then it has no purpose.

Nichiren’s Buddhism is now growing at a phenomenal rate.  The time of change is now.

1918 AD –  Tzar Nicholas II of Russia and his family are killed by a Bolshevik firing squad at Ekaterinburg, Siberia.

Tsar Nicholas II and Family

Tsar Nicholas II and Family

One of the final acts of the Russian revolution occurred with the attempted elimination of all of the monarchy and any aspirants thereto.  This act changed history for the 20th century, it’s consequences evident even now by a powerful Russian people, proud of their history, somewhat ambivalent about the exact direction that leadership and authority should take.

On the night of 16/17 July 1918, the royal family was awakened around 2:00 am, told to dress, and led down into a half-basement room at the back of the Ipatiev house; the pretext for this move was the family’s safety – that anti-Bolshevik forces were approaching Ekaterinberg, and the house might be fired upon.

The executioners drew revolvers and the shooting began. Nicholas was the first to die; Yurovsky shot him multiple times in the head and chest. Anastasia, Tatiana, Olga, and Maria survived the first hail of bullets; the sisters were wearing over 1.3 kilograms of diamonds and precious gems sewn into their clothing, which provided some initial protection from the bullets and bayonets. They were stabbed with bayonets and then shot at close range in the head.

1945 AD – The world’s first atomic weapon is Exploded

Trinity Goes Boom

Trinity Goes Boom

Trinity, the first bomb is tested by the US at Alamogordo Air Base in Los Alamos, New Mexico.  Within a month, two more bombs had been dropped on Japan, effectively ending World War 2.  We, especially in the West, are living this legacy still.  It can be argued that the threat of total devastation (the theory of MAD) has made nations with the bomb more proactive in reasoned discussion and less likely to take arms against each other.  The converse is that the weapons will one day be used again and it’ll be the end of the world as we know it…

Tyger, tyger, burning bright

Tyger, tyger, burning bright

Unlike Oppenheimer, who had his own bit of Indian prose in mind, whenever I see the Trinity picture I hear William Blake.  It’s a beautiful picture, just as the bomb goes off.  What fearful symmetry?  In that split second, we see all that was and all that will be.

Tyger, tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

1969 AD – Man on The Moon

Apollo11 Launch

Apollo11 Launch

On this day, mankind set off to stand on a different celestial body.  Four days later, we’d done it.

Less than four centuries earlier, over much of our planet, you could be burned or stoned to death for even suggesting that the possibility existed that a “creation of god” could be imperfect or blemished, like the moon is.

Such is the progress we’ve made, yet even now, such events are like a dream within a dream.   The misogynist, nationalist, creationist forces are at work, attempting to roll back the clock to a time when they ruled the roost, and their hypocritical word was god .

But for now, we can say that men bravely stood on the Moon.

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Clueless? Home Office Subverts Language

Computer Shopper Interview with Home Office

Dawinderpal Sahota at ‘Computer Shopper’ magazine, part of the Dennis Publishing organisation, has published a fascinating interview that the magazine had with a UK Home Office rep on the subject of the government’s policy towards tackling child abuse websites.

  • ‘Computer Shopper’ gave all questions in advance so that the Home Office had plenty of time to get coherent answers.
  • The full text of the Q&A interview that followed is here.  Home Office clueless: The transcript

ObsceneWhat is clear from reading it is that either our Home Office is completely clueless about rules and responsibilities, or, they feel so secure that on this subject (child porn and censorship), they can send the office tea-boy to the interview with a set of answers cobbled together in the pub over a lunch-time drinking session.

A salient comment on it all from a person who chose to remain anonymous is here.  It’s a very good analysis on the current law as it stands, compared to what people, inc HM Gov, think it means.  The two are not the same.

There’s a general, pervading sense, because it’s said so often, that child pornography is the same as child abuse. This is patently not so because even though photoshopping a child’s head onto a naked person’s body counts as child porn – it’s certainly not child abuse…!!

War on Terror

In a similar way, the huge hysteria generated by Jacqui Smith and her push on ‘terror’ as she seeks to deflect the ballooning and damaging sleaze and corrupt expense claims scandal away from herself has it’s own set of language subversions…

In today’s big news push (which I first mentioned a few days back), the BBC, for instance, has three news articles all about the same thing;

Reading these, my heart palpably beats faster and I feel so insecure. – angry actually (SP)

But it’s crap.   The even righter wing Tories are now calling for …

more action against extremists!

So you see, in one instant, the whole focus is shifting and becoming ever wider.  Now, they make us think that a terrorist is the same as an extremist…???

Let’s make one thing clear; extremist views are not illegal.  They are only called ‘extreme‘ because they differ from the norm.  Having extremist views can be seen as showing some disrespect for another being, but by the same token, anyone fighting against an unjust police state with draconian laws and powers of imprisonment, a government that’s disregarded the UN Declaration of Human Rights – anyone like that would be called an extremist by that government.

China is like that.  So is the UK.

So an extremist isn’t the same as a terrorist – and yet they seek to make it so!

Another word being subverted to the ‘terrorist’ cause is radical, or radicalised.  In the same articles above, we are urged to be on our guard against them….???

Er… Einstein’s ideas on relativity and the Photoelectric effect in 1903 were radical. Max Plank’s quantum theory was radical.  But they’re not terrorist!

Conclusion

The UK Government and Home Office isn’t clueless.  Far from it.  They feel so confident in their power that they can say and do anything without reproach – from gibberish interviews to torture, illegal detention and fiddled expenses.  In an article in last Sunday’s Observer, PM Gordon Brown said;

But today, not only the police and security and intelligence officers, and our armed forces, but also the emergency services, local councils, businesses, and community groups are involved in state-of-the-art civil contingency planning. Tens of thousands of men and women throughout Britain – from security guards to store managers – have now been trained and equipped to deal with an incident and know what to watch for as people go about their daily business in crowded places such as stations, airports, shopping centres and sports grounds.

This is not just about training and equipping professionals, however. I believe that the better we inform the public, the more vigilant the public will be.

  • Q. What’s the difference between being vigilant and being a vigilante?
  • A.  The “E”

And so the climate of fear ramps up…  Brown says above that he believes that these measures are necessary.  This is wholly the wrong word.  Belief applies to religion and gods etc, not to freedom or security.

  • Security is a relative concept, not a belief.
  • Freedom is a right, not a belief.

I don’t believe I have a right to freedom, I fucking well know it mate!

And that’s what it means to be British.

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Meet the United Kingdom’s Stasi

Public Trained in Anti-terrorism

@AmazonNot content with charging us for our ‘freedom’ to have ID Cards and CCTV on every corner, not content from stopping us take photographs in public, our UK Government in the shape of Home Secretary wacky baccy Jacqui Smith now wants everyone to spy on everyone else ‘in case they’re a terrorist’!

See the news here: UK plans comprehensive terror law

Apparently, 60,000 (non-governmental) people are already ‘trained’ to deal with terrorist incidents and how to spot one…

Stasi

The last time something like this happened (communism, cronyism, secret police, informers) was just before WW2 and it took until 1989 until the iron curtain collapsed.

During those years we saw;

  • a successive ramping up of hysterical xenophobia by the various leaders and power brokers,
  • an instigation of a secret police with draconian powers of arrest
    • and where people were routinely tortured
    • and could dissappear for years
    • or even be executed,
  • neighbourhoods where people spied on each other ‘in the name of the state’ but were quite often just used to settle petty grievances or steal lovers and spouses
  • a political class that set their own priviliges, rights and payments which were extravagently different to ‘the workers’ they supposedly represented.

Now tell me if these four points haven’t happened here?  We have, in order;

  1. a United Kingdom that’s socially divisive with a rampant xenophobic right-wing press and a government that year-on-year imposes more and more restrictions on freedom, rights and mobility.
  2. we have two secret police organistions, an armed police force that can arrest anyone with ‘due cause’ and use ‘reasonable force’ to do so – whatever all those weasely words mean.
    1. @AmazonWe’ve had UK citizens kidnapped and whisked off to a foreign land (Guantanamo Bay) for torture all with the express approval of our dear UK government.
    2. In Guantanamo our people have been held without trial; for years and years.
    3. IRA people were executed -same now, who knows?
  3. We’ve now got an expanded ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ of 60,000 who spy and are trained to do so by our UK Government (see today’s news link above)
  4. We’ve continuing disingenuous abuses of privilige by our elected folk particulary in the field of expenses and other, highly paid,  ‘conflict of interest’ type work.  The latest scandal is actually today, where Employment minister Tony McNulty has said he did nothing wrong by claiming second-home expenses on a London house where his parents live.

In this last one, McNulty has two homes only 8 miles apart and both in the Greater London area.  He says he needs them even though London has fantastic transport links.  Basically he’s getting us all to pay for a second London (high property prices!) home which is actually just round the corner to his other one.

@AmazonThe scummy corruptive inadequacies of this government, and the opposition it must be said, are that none of them, McNulty, Jacqui Smith, Derek Conway,and all the pseudo-nanny-keeping lot of them – none of them ever seem to think there’s anything wrong with any of it! In fact, they all collectively strived to keep their expenses, paid by you and me, from public scrutiny last January.

@AmazonI’ve no doubt at all that like all corrupt, secretive, authoritarian regimes of the past they’ll try and get everything hidden again.  Just like the Stasi.  Last night a show on TV revealed the excesses of communist history in Czechoslovakia.  It’s Bulgaria next week.  Another chance to compare and contrast to the world we have here in the UK.  This is the schedule – it’s on BBC2!  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00jcgzt/episodes/2009 .  Try and watch.  A world where everyone is frightened to speak up in case they lose their livelihood and where the people in work do the absolute minimum, jealously plotting a route to join the elite.

It’s not for me.  I’m out of this world where taxpayers subsidise corrupt banker’s pensions and WW2 veteran’s last  expenses are paid for with a lottery!

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George Bush continues to say “Do as I say, not as I do” on Trade as Industry Falters.

Yay!  Today, 15 Nov 2008, with only a few weeks of his tenure as US President left to go, he still can’t stop saying one thing and doing the other.

Bush warns over ‘protectionism’ is the news today.  This is at the Washington meeting of 20 countries, the G20, which represent 85% of the global economy, apparently.

This would be all fine and dandy but let’s cast our minds back to 2001, just after he got in first time….

And now cast our minds back to when he got in for his second term in 2004….

  • CBI chief chides Bush over US protectionism – 5 Nov 2004

These few are just a selection of articles on the now carefully forgotten mantra of “protecting US jobs” etc.  They contain a plethora of protectionist tariffs that the Bush administration has erected over the years.  I myself got some experience of this as the EU has a counter tariff for cloth and other imports from the US, even now, as we speak.

Now it’s all “must have free trade” while at the same time propping up private enterprise companies (banks etc) to the tune of “we must protect the economy”.

The Big Question: Why is General Motors in such trouble, and can it be saved?

Coupled with this double-speak, the latest news from the USA that’s just dawning on folk (but has been carefully muffled by the concept that it’s all the fault of the credit crunch ), is that since this key year above, 2004, General Motors (GM) has frittered away $73 billion!  They’ve never made a profit since 2004!!!

Now how can this be the fault of the credit crunch?  That didn’t start until last year..   :-?

The newsgroups and blogs are filling up with commentary that it’s all the fault of unionised labour that the GM, Ford etc cars are un-competetive.  Er… no!  Their prices are close to Japanese & European, on a marque type comparison.   :-)

The trouble is that they don’t make good, small, mass-production vehicles.  And, like all good shop-keepers will tell you;

If it isn’t in the shop, you can’t sell it!   8-O

This is the key to the US car industry’s problems.  They don’t make what people want to buy!  I’ve mentioned it several times on my pages over the past year.

The US worker is like any other – they just want a job.  The US creativity, when unleashed,  is fantastic.  The problem is purely from senior management, content in their bubble world with no real financial worries, unlike the rest of us.  Their stasis and stagnation in the face of a world of rapid change beggars belief!

  • Q. Why didn’t the stock and shareholders sack them?
  • A. Because  most shares are owned by the big banks and financial institutions that have caused the credit crunch – that’s why!
  • Q. Why aren’t the banks etc penalised and their senior managers purged if they are so crap?
  • A. Because we need firm, experienced hands at the tiller…

You couldn’t make it up, could you!

Anyway,  you believe Bush if you want to.  It could be, that for the first time, as he has nothing to lose now, (especially a presidency or respect ), that he is actually speaking as he feels things should go.  If so, it’s good.  If not, his words are just like confetti now, if they weren’t already.

This article by Prof. Jonathan C. Carlson has some good reading on the benefits of free trade, especially from the viewpoint of “emerging economies” as they are now called.  These are Carlson’s key points below, about the positive impact of international trade for developing nations:

  • Removal of trade barriers lowers prices, raising the real value of the incomes of the poor.
  • Removal of trade barriers abroad opens markets and increases prices at which exporters can sell goods.
  • Foreign investment brings new jobs.
  • Foreign investment brings new technology and new capital to improve productivity.
  • Foreign investment also breaks the monopoly of local capitalists, who otherwise can utilize their monopoly position to exploit the poor.
  • Investment and trade liberalization, by opening markets and raising productivity, contribute positively to economic growth and increase the demand for labor by firms that are expanding to export, firms that are newly investing and local firms that supply inputs to the new and expanded companies.

Against these must be weighed the not inconsequential potential for environmental and social degradation that occurs in regions of low levels of law provision and enforcement.  I’m thinking that a particularly good example of this is the poisonous metal leachings from computer recycling run by “slave” ganger bosses in Nigeria and elsewhere.  Things like this are serious.  The (often onerous) laws we have in the West are the result of eliminating centuries of such exploitation.

After all, there’s no point in having the economic benefit of a job if you’re dead from Arsenic poisoning by the time you’re 25!

The challenge obviously, is to have the economic benefits world-wide of free trade without the degradation of peoples and resources.   This is something that the West has spectacularly failed to do so far.  Large parts of China are metal and plastic cesspits.  Poisons are in common foodstuffs.

Action is clearly needed on all these things.  Free trade, while good, is not enough.

While reading recently about the famous Bretton-Woods agreement that started the World Bank & IMF,  I found out that the UK representative, JM Keynes had proposed one world reserve currency, which he called bancor.  This was rejected, the dollar became supreme, then came off gold, then all financial restraints were removed and now we have the Credit Crunch!

How different it could have all been with one, united, currency!

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