Tag Archive: truth

Facts and Lies: UKIP Checking

Nobody can be bothered to check facts.

UKIP, the Lernaean Hydra of British politics

UKIP Hydra
[credit: Jon Worth, please click image ]

For months I have endured a deluge of facts and lies, all leading up to yesterday’s election. (I voted Green – there were only European elections in my area, so no local stuff).  Mostly, it’s all been around UKIP.  They really have stoked the fires, first lit by this government that wasn’t elected and that has done a raft of nasty things never included in their 2010 manifestos.  But the fires against the disadvantaged are really aflame now.

It’s UKIP wot done it guv.  It’s Suzanne Evans talking – click here to pause her waffle.

Tactics

The Chubby Elite

UKIP’s backers are some of the sharpest, wealthiest people in the land.

UKIP’s tactics however, have been to take on all crackpots of all kinds, then, when the fuckwit says something beyond the pale, they evict them.

This has the effect of being news-worthy, and as we in entertainment know, all news is good news.  The normal triumvirate of red, blue and orange have had a few gobshite moments, but UKIP beats them hands down.

The litany of UKIP’s tactics is strewn across the web, but a fairly recent summary and discourse on them can be found on Another Angry Voice (AAV).

Fact Checks #1

As Tom at AAV noted in the link above, UKIP-ers are not fond of reading anything beyond the first few lines of anything and have a raft of weird ideas all   the stuff headed up and analysed with examples, summarised neatly here:

General abuse Confirmation Bias Denial of reality Just making stuff up
Conspiracies Meta-slander Persecution complexes Marxist fearmongering
Talking in absolutes This is a “Hate group” The Censorship fallacy Fascist sentiments
Straw-manning You called us racist Humourlessness Right, I’m definitely voting UKIP now!

It’s all very “lowest common denominator” (LCD) stuff.  Confirmation Bias rules, okay!

 Fact Checks #2

Though I despise UKIP and parties like them, I do try to check facts, from all over and presented by anyone.  Even those that I support get it wrong sometimes.  Question everything!

UKIP’s Suzanne Evans on Radio 4

I heard that Evans had been quoted as saying that UKIP ” had difficulty appealing to the educated, cultured and young” with regard to the voting in London.  It was on the BBC Radio 4 “Today” programme.  You can listen to the whole thing here for the next few days.  If you do a Google search for the phrase, “difficulty appealing to the “educated, cultured and young”” a whole raft of websites, news organisations, social media and news agregation websites are all reporting this very same thing.  The search produced >1000 – here are 3.

This Reddit chat is a notable exception to the broadcast-info-with-impunity-or-checks brigade and also has a link to the interview.  They say she never said it and provide a textual view of the interview.

She Never Said It!

Return to top

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The trouble is, she never actually said it!  This is my recording of the show, editted down to Suzanne Evans’ interview and compressed for audio clarity before MP3-ing it.

 It’s True – She Never Said It!

Ukip members wait for results of local election in Croydon

So why are all the news sites and almost every Google search result saying that she did?  ( Well almost all – a Reddit chat also says that she never said it. )  The Independent report even has a nicely forlorn UKIP blokey.

In the interview, then interviewer actually says that it was a colleague in London  (not known, not named) who, she said, UKIP “had difficulty appealing to the educated, cultured and young”

 

 Conclusion

Either:

  1. The truth of the matter is that people hardly ever check anything nowadays.
    • The deluge of information is too great.
    • Everyone expects reputable news providers to do properly journalistic background checks.
    • The BBC interviewer never checked.
  2. The truth of the matter is that all news providers are in collusion with the establishment to maintain the neoliberal status quo.
    • The UKIP freaks who commented on AAV are correct in that it is a conspiracy.
    • UKIP freaks are right in that the BBC shows anti-UKIP left-wing bias.

The trouble with #2 is that UKIP contains part of the powerful establishment elite.

  • Farage is a former banker and apart from a host of wealthy backers, the normal tory paper (Daily Telegraph – torygraph in common parlance) is now swapping sides since the tories are not right-wing enough for it’s wealthy  owners, the reclusive, island-owning, tax-avoiding, feudalistic, Sark-criticising (because it won’t allow them to set up a tax haven),  Barclay Brothers.
  • Many other establishment papers likewise share a divisive, right wing, xenophobic stance.
  • The BBC has had rafts of governement enforced right wing management changes (government plants is the phrase).
  • The BBC has given more airtime to Farage than any other panellist on “Question Time” except for Dimbleby.

This leaves #1.

Answer:

Nobody can be bothered to check facts.

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What is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo?

What is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo?

Lotus Flower

Lotus Flower

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Click to play and hear.

  • Just gaze at the Gohonzon.
  • Merge yourself with it, without seeking anything, without thinking anything.
  • Thoughts flow but you don’t seek them, you don’t follow them.
  • If they come that’s fine, if they don’t that’s equally fine.
  • If you become attuned to this way of practising, thoughts will no longer disturb you and you will become completely concentrated.
  • If many thoughts come to you as you practice don’t get annoyed with them, simply the idea that you want to be free from them will start a battle.
  • Instead it is a natural process. Just as the leaves unfurl on the trees, thoughts unfurl from your mind, there’s nothing bad about this.
  • Just remain an impartial observer and they won’t disturb your concentration any longer.
  • The less your thoughts irritate you, the more you will become one with the Gohonzon and you will find yourself in the state of Buddhahood.

And what will you gain by attaining Buddhahood, nothing?

  • On the contrary, a lot of other things are lost; anxiety, ambition, hatred, violence, possessiveness.
  • Each of the ten worlds are illuminated.
  • Greed, anger and stupidity vanish and all that remains is that which was always there, the Buddha inherent in ourselves.

 

Daisaku Ikeda. Tokyo. 20th April 1974

Lotus Blossom in McClelland Art Gallery - contrasts to the large sculptures...

Lotus Blossom in McClelland Art Gallery – contrasts to the large sculptures…

My Thoughts

I bullet-pointed out President Ikeda’s words to make them clearer for me, to make them stand out, individually, as thoughts.  If you do it right, as Daisaku said,

All that remains is that which was always there, the Buddha inherent in ourselves.

It’s the universal truth. Just as heaven and hell are within each of us, so is the Buddha nature.



 

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Tony Benn in Bing Top 3 – BBC Hide Tony Benn Funeral

Bing Search Shows True Popularity of Tony Benn

Benn Funeral

Benn Funeral

I’ve seen the Bing search engine promote Tony Benn’s funeral to the top 3 searches, while the BBC coverage almost hide’s the funeral!  For god’s sake, people cheered and applauded with gratitude in the streets as the coffin went past!  There was NO jeering.

Many people on social media have commented that the Tory government is manipulating the news output through changing the hire & fire of those that run the corporation to tory supporters and lobby groups.  This is readily apparent today, when comparing the BBC output for the funeral of a revered MP, Tony Benn, to that of Thatcher, the former leader, loathed and derided my millions.  See Mike, for instance.

Benn, top 3 on Bing!

Benn, top 3 on Bing!

Many on Facebook and Twitter have pointed out this difference.  So I checked an alternate stream…. the load page of Bing (Microsoft’s search engine).  That’s it here.

You will see that the top 3 web searches are (were):

  • Ukraine IMF Bailout
  • Tony Benn Funeral
  • Obama meets Pope

BBC Hide, BBC Change?

BBC Shove It

BBC Shove It

I was hoping to get some screenshots of the search results, but since I started typing, the results are now driving the BBC up the rankings! (Initially, the BBC was not to be seen!)

I can only assume that this is due to some BBC editorial decisions following on from a myriad of postings onto the BBC FB and Twitter pages of photo memes and comments like this one.

Key Differences?

Comparing the military coldness Thatcher funeral, where the police outnumbered the spectators 3 to 1, where the BBC really struggles to show any pictures of anyone or anything that is not part of the establishment, where the thin crowds are strung out and kept back like kids at the zoo, Benn’s funeral was a large, well attended, peaceful affair, where politicos and commentators from all sides paid due respect to a man who always spoke his mind, and was for the most part, consistent.  There was a warmth and closeness at Benn’s which was noticeably lacking at Thatcher’s send off.

BBC Funeral of Thatcher

BBC Funeral of Thatcher

Here’s Benn’s summarised.  Follow the links through.  Thick crowds, not the thin cold lines at Thatchers, all guarded and marshalled by thousands of police.

You have to ask, why such a difference?  The answer is obvious, but you won’t find the BBC expanding on it.  Only latterly has this belated report come out, now snuggled down and buried under the 2 year fudge of an enquiry into energy business prices.  It says,

A large crowd holding trade union and anti-war banners lined the route of his funeral cortege.

There were tears and sustained applause as the procession arrived at St Margaret’s Church, yards from the House of Commons.

Benn's Funeral

Benn’s Funeral

So why the subterfuge?  Matt Cole in small print says,

You could tell Tony Benn’s coffin had arrived at St Margaret’s before you could see it – because loud spontaneous applause broke out.

Yeah right.  Too late Matt.  Just too damned late.  You should have less fear.  They cannot hurt you by speaking the truth out loud right from the off.  Now’s the time to take a hold of the BBC and make it what it should be – after all – we all pay for it.

 

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Iain Duncan Smith Google Search – The Truth!

Iain Duncan Smith?  Is he…?

  1. Young?
  2. Angry?
  3. Evil?
  4. Wanker?
  5. DWP?
  6. Eating?

Answer

All of them!

A simple image search on Google for Iain Duncan Smith produces these results? (Click image for more clarity).

Iain Duncan Smith Google Search

Iain Duncan Smith Google Search

(Is Google hinting at something?)

A.  Actually, yes.      These results are effectively word association popularity stakes!!

n.b. Notice how “a quiet honourable man” doesn’t figure anywhere here…?  See this link for those that have forgotten his own self-assessment.

Instead of “quiet, resolute and honourable” (his MP title), the public think of “Young, Angry, Evil, Wanker” when they think of Iain Duncan Smith.

Google and Microsoft agree measures to block abuse images

Child Abusers

Child Abusers

I didn’t think of these two blokes on the left first.

The first thing I thought of when seeing this headline in the news, was that the major search engines would block all tory mp and supporter images, since, in my mind, there’s nothing more abusive on the planet, having ruined the lived of millions both historically and in the present.  “Lower than vermin” said Bevan, and he was right.

The real child abuse is to the vast hordes of little ones right here now, their parents paralysed with the real fear of poverty, homelessness and starvation.  Zero hours contracts.  No unemployment benefit if you’re deemed to be sick by some unqualified dork in an office.  Working for Peackocks for nothing.  IDS is one of the key foci and instigators of this terror.

Anyway, Google search has thrown up, in no uncertain terms, what are the most popular searches that include the lying bastard‘s name.  That’s them above, repeated here again….  Young, Angry, Evil, Wanker

I’ve since redone the exercise for a few familiar names. The first few returns for each are shown:

Nick Clegg: David Cameron, wife, sad
David Cameron: young, Nick Clegg, wife, smiling
Dennis Skinner: young, angry, 1970, quotes
Margaret Thatcher: Evil, 2012, Margaret Thatcher fun…, 2013
Neil Kinnock: Glenys Kinnock, Tony Benn, Michael Foot, Spitting Image
Tony Benn: 2013, Quotes, Beard
Tony Blair: 1997, Bush, 2013, Black and White
Winston Churchill: WW2, Cigar, Quotes, A Child
Ed Miliband: Wallace, Young, Wallace Gromit, Jogging
Gordon Brown: Smiling, young, Obama, Face

Interesting, huh?

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Akismet and Jetpack Issues, Stop Spammers and CloudFlare Save the Day

My Web Host Penalised Me Yet Helped Speed Up My Site

Introduction

shared web hosting

shared web hosting

This site used to be hosted on Site5, in Texas.  I had a shared web host account, about the cheapest there is on Site5 though by no means the cheapest around (I’ve had experience of really cheap hosts….).  It worked alright, site management was good.  Then, I got hit by spammers.  Twice.  Big time.

Each time, this slowed the site down, made life hell for other shared accounts, especially when I introduced WordPress plugins to counter this.

Naturally, Site5 advised me to stop the hits or they’d pull my account (they’d already temporarily disabled it).  They advised me to cut the plugins, using GoDaddy’s plugin testing tool, WordPress Plugin Performance Profiler (P3).  So I did this, and after some trial and error, got the running processes down.  Of course, I lost a bit of neat functionality.

Testing Times

Apart from internal WordPress testing, it pays to test your site as if you are someone else somewhere else.  Pingdom have a set of tools that does just this, testing from various global locations and I can recommend it.

Result!

I used an iterative approach, testing various combinations of plugins and systems to end up as being in the top 8% sites for speed in the world!  Not bad for free is all I can say!   You’ll see in the screenshot above, that 92% of websites are slower than mine….   So is it really free?  Here goes…..

Paid For:
  • Web Hosting.  Shared.
  • My domain registration.
Free:
  • WordPress and all the LAMP functionality
  • WordPress plugins
  • CloudFlare
Pingdom Says

Pingdom Says

Automattic Issues

WordPress (which this site uses) is built by the Automattic team and naturally have expanded over time.  I’ve used their plugins for many years, Akismet from the off, which is a comment spam blocking system.  Latterly, they came out with Jetpack, where they say,

Supercharge your WordPress site with powerful features previously only available to WordPress.com users.

Jetpack is a WordPress plugin that supercharges your self-hosted WordPress site with the awesome cloud power of WordPress.com.

P3 Selected Output

P3 Selected Output

This is all well and good, except when I tested it using the P3 plugin profiler, Jetpack was the biggest drag on everything!   The worst part of it, was that actually, I was only using a small part of its features and it was still the biggest suck on performance.

  • I didn’t use Carousel for photos since I had an old solution, NextGen Gallery, that I’m loathe to change.
  • The comments system mucked up all other comment plugins, grabbing all for itself (a bit like Microsoft here!)
  • I used the stats, and that was about all, yet they were very slow and not that informative, actually.
  • Nearly all the other stuff I looked at, tried and ditched for similar reasons.

So much for the awesome cloud power.  On top of this, you’re now supposed to pay for parts of Automattic’s offerings, like Akismet, the comment spam blocker while a major offering of theirs was actually slowing my site right up!

What Did I do?

Change host!

Well not initially, actually, though the heavy-handed Site5 approach got my ire a bit I must admit.  I did do loads of tests with a host of caching, anti-spam and page load improvement plugins first…

Vidahost

Vidahost

I now use Vidahost in the UK.  The site is faster to manage (along with my others) since the servers are in the UK with me, and it’s cheaper, providing almost the same functionality and tools as Site 5.  I took the opportunity to clean out a few dead files in the process, but essentially, all was moved, database and files.  The lot.  Just twiddled config.php and the .htaccess file a bit.

did worry that my American visitors, who are actually in the majority, would  suffer slower speed and thus I’d get hit in Google rankings, but hey, wait for later…!

I got it all working and as part of the whole “thinking” process since the very first warnings from Site 5, I’d been looking for better things.

Looking at Things Closely

  • I like Related Posts.   Related Posts plugins do just that.  I love the idea of pulling out meta-data relevant stuff from a website.  Site 5 had said, as have others on the web, that this sort of plugin makes big hits on a site.  Some of them really do!  I use  YARPP, with a limited subset of features enabled which cuts down processing.
  • I also like Andrew Ozz’s Shutter Reloaded which shows images nicely.   I also like his post editor, TinyMCE Advanced, it being the best of many I’ve tested over the years.
  • I like NextGEN Gallery having used it since before WordPress got all image fancy.  I haven’t got time to fiddle with thousands of photos now…
  • I’d like some statistics within WordPress.
  • I’m not that interested, any-more (though I was) in Social Networking sharing features.  Truth be told, if someone wants to share, they will.
  • I’ve read a lot on image improvements.  I’ve always shrunk images manually before uploading using the excellent IrfanView application.  But during this enforced research, other things like sprites and delayed image loading popped into the equation.

So I like certain plugins or functionality.  I try and use the one that works best for me.  Too many plugins make a big hit on the server and thus website loading.

Caching

A way round this is caching.  e.g. If a post is created and has related posts clagged on the bottom using YARPP, then the post is cached and YARRP is only running once.  How and where the caching is done is the crux of the issue…

Site 5 suggested W3 Total Cache as a better alternative to Wp Super Cache,  which I’ve used for years.    Naturally, I’ve tested this and my conclusion was that it could be fast, and it was fast for a while, but over time on each of my sites I got issues around lock-ups and the huge and complex caching system around files, databases and sprites.  This list is long.

I’ve also tested various database query caching plugins likewise over the years.  W3 Total Cache incorporates this method too, but ultimately, it made too much work for not a lot of difference IMHO, since I’m lazy.

However, it did point me to one thing!  CloudFlare.

CloudFlare

CloudFlare Admin1

CloudFlare Admin1

Ah.  The power of the cloud is back!

Not only that – it works!

CloudFlare Admin2

CloudFlare Admin2

You re-direct your DNS at your domain registrar (joker.com in my case) to CloudFlare’s DNS servers, set up the site malware protection level you want – then after a few hours your whole site is cached and protected.  Best of all, it’s free for a little site like this!

In fact, using CloudFlare speeded everything up even before I got caching going again…

Further Plugin Work

Now, I went back to Wp Super Cache from Doncha and it all works fine.  Site speed good.  I then ditched Jetpack after testing it again.  It really does interfere with all comment plugins, and I really like this comment one as do people who comment here:

  • U Extended Comment

It works great and does everything I want.  So Jetpack, it’s bye bye.  Take all your fancy commenting system, your stats, your social media and fancy image handling.

But What About Comment Spam?

Stop Spammer Results2

Stop Spammer Results2

Stop Spammer Results1

Stop Spammer Results1

I’ve found the best solution is a plugin called Stop Spammer Registrations Plugin.  It needed a bit of fine tuning and a re-activation of Akismet to whip out a few wisps of spammer, but it works and seems to trap and report more spammers than ever Akismet did alone.  Akismet, by itself, does the commenting bit in tandem with the plugin, rather well.

Registration Spam

SABRE Results

SABRE Results

Unfortunately, during testing, a few unwanted visitors managed to register on the website.  They can’t do real harm since I use the lowest role level at registration time.  So I re-enabled SABRE and since then, no more unwanted visitors.  I’ve tested SABRE as a visitor and the settings I’ve chosen are just about right – I’ve had issues with it previously when it blocked registration!  But reducing the feature set and re-uploading a clean plugin fixes that.

CloudFlare and the CDN Issue

I toyed around getting a CDN to host images.  But they (can) cost and anyway, I’ve gone off Amazon and others because of their anti-Wikileaks actions plus they don’t pay UK tax…

Delayed Image Loading

However, in the course of my reading, I found that images can be loaded just as the page comes into view, which speeds up page loading, and as a consequence the perceived nippiness of a site.  The plugin BJ Lazy Load does this for me and works brilliantly.  Check this last post about Australia which has a lot of medium sized images to see them pop into view!

Delayed Javascript Loading

I use two plugins that handle this end of the issue around JavaScript.

Statistics

WP SlimStat1

WP SlimStat1

Well, Jetpack is gone.  I won’t be using it unless some serious improvements are made, it being the prime reason for the server load that brought me to this position in  the first place.  As soon as I disabled it (and simultaneously blocked all comments to the site, which isn’t the best thing, this being a blog after all), all server loads went away.

I now use SlimStat and it works very well.  I’ve tried many over time, including Google’s analysis tools, my webhost’s stats tools, Wassup and more, but for now, this is it.

Conclusion

My site works pretty fast and is pretty protected from the bad guys.  I actually still use more plugins than what is usually recommended – 50 is a huge lot according to web gurus and sages.  Currently there are 31 in active operation with 8 inactivated.  I love trying new ones, it’s like that, that’s just the way it is.

The delayed image loading is particularly apparent on a post with a lot of images, say this recent one.  The post loads fast and you see the first images load, and as you scroll down you’ll see other images appear with a slight delay.

All the other stuff is incremental improvement, with the biggest, by far, being the free CloudFlare service which I cannot recommend highly enough.  It’s a no-brainer, go and do it?

My Full List?

These are the plugins currently running that help my site work.  Many are for security, which demonstrates the state of play versus the bad internet guys full well.

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