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.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Great Song

I Wish I Was a Girl – by The Pink Fairies

Wem Copycat, Wem Copycat, Wem Copycat

Ironic or what?

Oh I tripped down the street in my fashion,
Arousing Ladies passion,
But they misunderstand my eyes,
They don’t know that I’m just after their guys.

The instrumental and vocal bit after the verse above is the best bit.  It’s a controlled use of harmonies and echo which unfortunately is buried towards the end so if you flip off before the end you’ll miss it.  This would be unfortunate as it’s one of my favourite ‘sounds’ of all time and is something that I’ve tried to emulate many times.  The bass playing subconciously sets off the root notes in your ear which aren’t necessarily the chords being played and sung, especially during the slow guitar solo (after 7:00 & 8:10 and elsewhere).  Keeping a handle on multiple  echoes is a really hard studio and playing trick to get right.

This is so right.

Kings of OblivionThe whole first side of the “Kings of Oblivion” LP that this comes from (this is track two of three) is perfectly put together.  The Pinks never bettered this IMHO and it was all due to heart attack Larry Wallis.  He’s the addition that made the difference from their other output in reality.  “Uncle Harry’s Last Freakout” off ‘Never,NeverLand’ is the only other track that’s close.  Some of their stuff over the years was frankly appalling as recordings, I can’t vouch for live which is a different beast in my book.

There’s also a Bowie and Iggy Pop connection to this.  The LP title is pulled from a Bowie line off Hunk Dory and when Iggy & James Williamson got together to do Raw Power (produced by Bowie), they came to London to use the Pink’s rhythm section.  It didn’t pan out so the Ashetons were hired again and dragged across to London.  The rest is history.

Ron Asheton and most of the Pink Fairies and Stooges are dead.  Wallis has heart trouble or something, Iggy recently advertised car insurance on telly, Bowie is like a grand dame of the theatre now when he’s wheeled out for chat shows and Williamson is an IT professional in charge of Technical Standards for Sony USA.

It’s funny how things turn out!

The Man Who Ate the World – by Frederik Pohl

Many moons ago I read the short story with the above title.

The Man Who Ate the World
The Man Who Ate the World

Although not one of Pohl’s best works, it has nevertheless left an obviously lasting impression on me. Written in the mid-fifties, it’s a future tale of consumerism gone mad.

  • In the tale, it’s illegal not to consume as much as possible.  The hero of the story takes this to extremes and eventually is consuming more than a city, but actually, the only thing he really desires is his teddy bear which was taken from him as a child.
  • He’s never grown up.
  • He lives to eat and consume to take away his torment.

There’s not much discourse about the story on the web.  Try here and here.  You can get old copies in the usual places, but try here.

The real World Now.

The story is a warning against swallowing up the world and it’s resources.  After all;

  • it is round,
  • we really are stuck on it
  • and can’t get off
  • so if we destroy it,
  • we’re knackered.

Now amazingly, the global downturn in the world’s economies (The Credit Crunch), has made everyone believe that the only way to happiness and good fortune is;

  • to spend like we all did previously over the last few years,
  • for governments to have massive infrastructure projects,
  • to return to a time of cheap money so we can all spend, spend, spend again, like there’s no tomorrow,
  • to drill for oil all over the place,
  • to have massive battery powered cars…

Pohl doesn’t look so daft now.  These are some of the headlines below taken from today’s Business news page of the BBC News website.  (Other sites say much the same thing – it’s just handy ).  Check them out and see that I’m right – the only possible future envisaged is one like before the Crunch, but with “safeguards”, whatever that means.

It’s like a mad panic to make anything as long as someone, somewhere has enough money to buy it and thus keep someone else in work.

No thought whatsoever is being paid to the notion that the “object” being made is a useless bad object that does nothing except give a job to someone.

We’ve a long way to go until we are safe on our world!

Also, early this morning, a few young protesters from Plane Stupid became national pariahs for daring to block Stanstead runway for a couple of hours as a demonstration against the profligate use of the Earth’s resources by air transport.

The most vocal complainers about the demo were those in the 20 quid Ryanair seats having a quick break to some foreign clime – exactly the most consumptive folk on the world!  Someone on the radio said the demonstrators should “have the book thrown at them” and be locked up for 10 years at least!

Many demonstrators are indeed still locked up without charge…  They could still be in the nick, perfectly legally, on 6 Jan 2009.  The fact we know they are locked up is a bonus.   The police are within their rights not to tell anyone, who has been locked up, or why, or where.  In fact, I can be locked up for asking.  And so could you!

The man who threatened their lives by attacking them with a snowplough went home without any bother.

https://youtu.be/TcC0Eo6MTVA   What a wonderful country we have.  :-?

Eleven Men Die and World Sighs with Relief

Taj operation finally over, casualty figure very high – reports NDTV.com

php9OgG9i_1_
Mumbai Gunman

Justifiably, the world sighs with relief. Some are glad that the shooting has stopped. Some are glad the killers are dead.

Currently, the dead number ~200, the killers, 11.  A ratio of ~9:1 killed per killer.

Jokela_school_shooter_1_
Jokela school shooter

In recent years there seem to have been more and more pointless killings.  America has had it’s all too familiar share of mad schoolchildren who go beserk.  Last year Finland had Pekka-Eric Auvinen in the Jokela High School Massacre who killed 9 – remarkably the same killing ratio.  The UK has had Hungerford and Dunblane.

The truth is that there are always massacres.  Maybe they are just reported better nowadays.  Here’s a (remarkably incomplete) list.

Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator
However, spurious number slinging aside, wayward bombs dropped by the USA recently against largely Muslim targets in IRAQ and Afghanistan/Pakistan have killed the same numbers, and usually, the American pilots fly safely home.  Over the years, thousands have died this way.

In this context, the actions of the Mumbai killers do not look so mad.  In their eyes, they see their action as retribution – a continuation of the Jewish principle of “an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth”.  (an aside:  No matter how much the Muslim world loathes the Jewish world, their innate justice is remarkably similar – today’s news for instance, is that an Iranian Islamic court is going to blind a man who blinded a woman – literally, an eye for an eye.)

Nichiren Buddhism’s view on this is consistent and unequivocal.  Simply, that all human lives are precious, even the killers.  It’s simply the law of cause and effect applied to the real world using real people’s lives and experiences.

Cause and effect is simple.  The cowardly killers made the cause – now they are dead.  For them it was easy as there was no-one to fight back, and when an armed response arose, they’d be pretty certain to die quickly…true cowards…

But very little will really change, especially in Mumbai.  The world has selective memory.  Since 2001 there have been huge bomb atrocities in Mumbai, Delhi and elsewhere which have killed the same amount of people as this latest gun battle.  And that’s just India.  (an aside: We notice now and we are bothered because it’s very public and rich westerners are involved this time  –  300 people have also been murdered today in Nigeria – did you notice? )

In other words, the killers can keep killing, themselves and others, but there is a natural order of things that is very hard to change.  The world did not change because of the previous attacks. If it had, the killers, if they have truly honourable motives would have stopped the killing?  Wouldn’t they?

So When or How will the Killing Stop?

The people of Northern Ireland finally realised this futility 10 years ago.  So former enemies are now partners in peace.  The country is slowly changing to reflect this, although it may be later generations who will finally reap the benefits and take down the wall.  The huge death toll in the province and elsewhere affected a lot of lives….

Another effect (by design) of the killers is that of widening divisions and increasing hatred.  But as in Northern Ireland, eventually even this hatred runs out of steam.

The USA is also reaping the effect of the causes it’s making.  It’s reliance on high-tech mass-killing methods to protect it’s own armed forces from harm is actually fuelling resentment in the local affected populations that will last for centuries.  And the thing is, in the end the men on the ground are harmed just as much anyway by the guerilla tactics of roadside bombs from an angry and energised local population.  It’s how the US/UK has lost most men.

Truly, cause and effect.

Hopefully, the failed days of Bush’s “shock and awe” will change to ones of building bridges under the new president Obama.  The rippling effects of peace will then reflect back to America and it can assume it’s self-styled role of a beacon of enlightenment.

The angry men who fuel the excesses of people like the Mumbai killers will then be ridiculed for what they really are – sad, angry despots, living to have an excuse to deal death.

An example of this shift was in Northern Ireland this very month.  Loyalist Michael Stone was found guilty of attempted murder (he was a convicted murderer anyway, but was released as part of the peace process).  Once (in)famous throughout the land, hardly anyone bothered to turn up in court – he’s just too boring and people don’t want the killing anymore and certainly don’t wish to hear his meandering gibberish.

It was like closing the final chapter on a dreadful book. (added 8 Dec 2008: 6 times murderer Stone gets locked up for 16 years! )

And what of the one remaining gunman?  What does Buddhism say?

If verifiably true, the man has done wrong.  Cause and Effect means he will suffer as he’s disrespected human life in the most profound sense – he’s killed.  Cause and effect is immediate.

However, in the film “The Bird Man of Alcatraz“, Burt Lancaster, the multiple killer, is eventually rehabilitated into a world of peace.  Self acknowledgement of his evil acts is part of it.  But time cannot be unwound, so the effects of his killing actions last for a very long time.  That is, society has it’s backlash.

The Mumbai killer may or may not reveal his Buddha nature, but even if he does, the negative effects he generated will linger, dependant on the cause he originally made.

In this respect, the film of the Bird Man, is a view of how we’d like Robert Stroud to have been.  The real Bird Man, by all accounts, was a complete twat who continued all his life to make bad causes and suffered the bad effects as a consequence!

Till Lindemann, Strangely Perfect vocals on Helden by Apocalyptica (Bowie comp.)Helden

Apocalyptica featuring Till Lindemann: Helden


Since I first heard this version, it won’t leave my head, which means for me, as a lingering tune, it fully deserves the soubriquet, “Strangely Perfect”.

I don’t care if no-one agrees with me as music is something that is perceived in an individual’s mind, at one point in time.  Tomorrow is a different day and my perception of sounds tomorrow will be different.





I think it’s a fantastic version of Bowie’s “Heroes” which is unusual, because as far as I can tell, Bowie hasn’t had a hand in it.  Most “good” versions of Bowie tunes, usually have him in the background marshalling things.  I’m thinking especially of his collaborations with Iggy Pop.  Where two versions exist, it’s usually the Iggy one that has more power, even though it’s a Bowie composition and Bowie’s hands are on the mixing desk…  “China Girl” off the top of my head, say.  This Helden version is the same  – that is, I think it’s better than the Bowie version.

Heroes was written “by the Wall” in Berlin.  Bowie admits he doesn’t know where it came from.  Apparently, he released it first in German, the English version coming later.  So I think Till Lindemann brings out the full Germanic guts of that place on the windswept German Plain with his singing, and the Finnish cello playing of Apocalyptica adds an edgy aethereal element reminiscent of the heroes in saga folklore.