Friday, 29 April 2016

Think Again

John Wayne speaking in May 1971:

'I believe in white supremacy, until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don't believe giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people . I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from the Native Americans. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves'.

That would be why the idea of 'John Wayne Day' has been dropped by California then.

Red Ken And The Israelites

Ken Livingstone's comments about Hitler being a zionist before 'he went mad and killed 6 million of them' was not only bizarre but highly offensive and it is quite right that he has been suspended from the Labour Party.
What it has also bought forth is the view that the left is a bunch of rabid anti-Semites and has quickly turned into the expression that when the left criticise Israel, they are displaying their real hatred towards Jews.
Nonsense argument of course and a well worn way to shut down any criticism of Israel when it bully's, subjugates and murders its Palestinians neighbour and that is the danger.
I was once told that to attack Israel is to attack Jews because Israel is the only country where Judaism is the main religion, my response was if that is the case then any attack on England is an attack on the Church of England because we are the only CoE country.
The next time Israel attacks Palestine, and they will, the left should not be shut down by cries of anti-semitism, to criticise Israel for its actions as we criticise Russia or America or Britain if they did the same is not the same as criticising Jews.
Ken Livingstone was wrong to say what he did but it is equally wrong to meekly remain silent while Israel continues to starve and kill Palestinians while continuing to violently colonise their land in one of the greatest genocides since the 2nd World War when real anti-semitism was on display.

Reintroducing Predators To UK

The campaign to reintroduce wild animals including wolves, lynx, beavers and wild boar has gone up a notch as part of the plan to restore species hunted to extinction.
Plans put together by Rewilding Britain would see the animals roaming parts of the UK in an attempt to improve biodiversity.
Spokeswoman Susan Wright said: 'These are important keystone species which actually drive ecological processes and we should be looking a lot more seriously at bringing these animals back'.
Sounds a great idea at first but then when you think about it, do we really want to reintroduce predators such as Lynx and Wolves back into our wildlife, the farmers are already bleating about foxes attacking their livestock, i can't think they would be happy about opportunistic predators such as the Lynx bothering their sheep and if a pack of wolves decide lamb or chicken was on the menu it will be carnage.
Secondly, they were hunted to extinction the last time they were here and idiot hunters will be wetting themselves in the excitement at the thought of bagging a Wolf in their own backyard.
I would say leave things alone, we cannot know what we would unleash on our current wildlife if we reintroduced dangerous species which have not been native here for centuries but what is certain is, just like the booming urban fox population, they won't stay in the woods and forests when there are such rich and easier pickings in our towns and cities.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Letter From America

The American military have punished sixteen of their personnel who were responsible for the bombing of an Afghan hospital that left 42 dead, officials say.
The attack on the Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital took place last October when an AC-130 gunship aircraft mistakenly attacked the hospital and then initially claimed that they had come under fire.
Medecins Sans Frontieres called the incident a war crime. In a report, the group said its staff contacted US-led forces several times during the attack, saying they were being bombed.
The charity also said the co-ordinates of the hospital were well-known and had been communicated once again to the Americans days before the bombing.
Army Gen John Campbell, the top US commander in Afghanistan at the time, called the incident a 'tragic but avoidable accident caused primarily by human error'.
So what form does the punishment take? Jail time? Court martial? Manslaughter charges?
Unbelievably each of the soldiers involved will receive a letter of reprimand.
Kill 42 people and receive a letter telling you that you have been very naughty does seem a bit like letting them off lightly, not to say offensive to the people who lost their lives, but we have been assured that the letter will be very strongly worded, which makes everything okay then i suppose, as long as the letter points out that they should make sure that they avoid hospitals next time they are shooting up a city and stick to what they usually blow up, things like civilians, their homes and wedding parties.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

No Place For Discrimination

British Cycling's technical director Shane Sutton has resigned over allegations of sexual discrimination and using derogatory names for the Paralympic cyclists, calling them 'gimps' and 'wobblies'.
Mr Sutton denies the allegations but has quit to 'give British cyclists time to prepare with a different boss, ahead of the Rio Olympics in the summer' and that the allegations had become a distraction and he believes that 'it is in the best interests of British Cycling for me to step down from my position as technical director'.
A female cyclist, Jessica Varnish, has claimed Sutton made sexist comments towards her including saying that she had 'a fat arse' and telling her to "go and have a baby" when told by the Australian director that her contract was not going to renewed.
Darren Kenny, one of Britain’s most decorated para-cyclists, claims to have heard members of the disability team referred to in highly derogatory terms by Sutton and Victoria Pendleton has backed up Varnish's allegations of sexism from the director.
British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake said that he understood Shane's decision to stand down and 'his primary focus has always been the athletes'.
It may have a detrimental effect on our cycling team at the Olympics but a small price to pay to rid ourselves of another dinosaur still living in the dark ages and a reminder that discrimination has no place in the modern world.

Still Backing The Junior Doctors

If the Governments plan was to allow the junior doctors strikes to happen, therefore reducing accident and emergency cover and forcing the public to wait longer with the resulting anger at the striking doctors, they got it gloriously wrong if the amount of horn blasts the banner wielding doctors received when i strolled past today.     
Why else would the Government turn down the opportunity to cool things down with the trial of the controversial contracts making doctors work 7 days a week for less pay being offered as the British Medical Association suggested last week and stick to their guns of imposing them against the junior doctors will.
Both sides are hitting the media explaining why they have taken this course of action but i know out of a choice between believing a doctor and a politician, the doctor would win everytime.
The Government didn't help their cause by making it appear the strikes was about pay and weekend death rates, especially when it was discovered that the much quoted 'more deaths at weekends' was due to the Government stretching the weekend to include Thursday.  
The fact that the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, co-wrote a book about how to dismantle the NHS and introduce private practice in its place, all means that the junior doctors versus the Government only seems to have one winner and it isn't the ones who also fail to understand the plight of people using food banks or how impossible it is for disabled people to live on reduced benefits or how reducing housing benefit for anyone with a spare bedroom affects people.
The sooner the Conservatives slither away never to be seen again the better.

Trump v Clinton: Down To The Last Two

It seems now that it is going to be Trump v Clinton going head to head for the keys to the White House and after almost clinching the Republican nomination, Trump is to give a speech detailing his foreign policy.
Does make you wonder what a sexist, racist right wing nutter would come up with but the strange haired front runner has already spouted much regarding what he would do if he takes charge, and none of it is good.
Mexico would be handed a bill for the massive wall he plans to build across their border and turn the full force of the American military against Islamic State, obviously because that has worked so well elsewhere in that region .
He would make China stop undervaluing their currency although he hasn't said how he would 'make' them do it.
He did say that he would only use America's nuclear arsenal as a last step but would encourage South Korea and Japan to develop their own nukes which would allow him to withdraw troops stationed there or make the two countries contribute more to keeping them there.
He would also withdraw from NATO and increase torture of individuals suspected of terrorism but to stay inside the law, change the law to allow torture.  
I'm sure he will enlighten us soon enough with how else he will make an American foreign policy that will throw even more petrol onto the fire they jointly started with the UK over a decade ago.
Thankfully, it seems he is as disliked by Republicans as he is by the opposition so even a flawed individual like Hillary Clinton should roll over him but then we said that about the last right wing nutter trying for office, George W Bush, who got elected back into office after killing hundreds of thousands so i wouldn't be hanging up my 'Trump for President' t-shirt just yet.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Blagging Brits

Something most British are very good at is blagging, which is the art of speaking to make someone believe that we know more than we actually do without actually saying anything about it.
For example if someone asked a Brit what they thought about the Brexit effect on the body of EU treaties and legislations, the blag answer is to say something which sounds right and quickly move the subject onto something else to leave the impression that we know what we are talking about but now want to talk about something else.
For example, if a Brit was asked about the hunt for the Higgs Boson at the Large Hadron Collider, the blag answer would go along the lines of 'The problem is that the Large Hadron Collider is, as the name implies large, which means they have lots of equipment that has to be perfectly lined up making the Higgs Boson even harder to find. It's like that Walker free kick for Tottenham the other night, he only had a small place he could put it to get the goal although they went and let in a goal anyway to get a draw which as good as handed the league title to Leicester. They have been a breath of fresh air this year but i didn't see Leicester winning it did you?'   
Result, we sound clever and have shifted to subject away to where we are more comfortable.
You should therefore be warned that any Brit answer on anything from science to government, economics, maths, commerce or history should be treated with caution although punk rock, art and fiction we are better at.
To show that this isn't true for all Brits, to answer the previous question, the Higgs Boson particle IS hard to find due to interference from other particles and as we all know interference can play havoc with everything, a good example is the TV. I missed the end of the Man City game last night due to interference on the WIFI hub although i did find out later that it ended nil nil. Not sure they can win over there, especially with Ronaldo back for that game...' and so on.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Who To Blame For BHS Collapse

Worrying times for the 11,000 British Home Stores workers as their employer goes into administration although the store has said that they will continue to trade as they seek a buyer, although with a £1.3 billion debt, you do wonder who will be willing to take it on. 
While the consequences for jobs and pensions are rightly the immediate focus of attention, we can trace the problem back to 2005 when the seeds of BHS’s demise were sown under the control and ownership of Philip Green.
Green, a bought the BHS business for around £200m in 2000 but by 2004 had not only recovered that investment but had doubled it and received around £400m in dividends.
Then in 2005, BHS formed part of a holding company called Taveta Investments Limited which paid Green a dividend of £1.3bn, mainly financed by increasing debts by nearly £1bn and paid to his wife who is domiciled in Monaco therefore avoiding UK Tax.
At the time he described the payment as: 'affordable' and 'leaves the business with plenty of opportunities to grow'.
He obviously got that very wrong as this morning BHS collapsed with debts of over a billion and threatening the livelihoods of 11,000 workers.
As a business model, sucking £1.3bn out of a company and saddling it with £1bn of debt is not the best plan but obviously Mr Green and his wife did very well out of it but that is modern day Capitalism for you, as long as the shareholders are able to dig their fat, greedy fingers in the pie then the people who toil for them on minimum wage can go hang but i guess there are always the payday lenders to pick up the pieces.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

EU Campaign Celebrity Endorsements

If you wanted advice on field settings on a turning pitch during a one day cricket international then Ian Botham is probably the man to ask but he wouldn't be the first choice to turn to if you needed assurance on trade arrangements with the EU whilst pursuing large-scale deregulation at home but nevertheless he feels it is his duty to wade into the EU campaign and tell us that Brexit is the way to vote.
It is not just the batting hero wagging a finger at us, there is a host of celebrity endorsements for both sides joining the debate who are assuming that their intervention will help move the needle in their direction.
Leaving or staying is not an easy decision so we can either weigh up the pros and cons and come to a reasoned decision based on economics, trade and security or we can just go along with what that actress from Dynasty says.
So if your decision making is based on what celebrities think then on the remain side we have Karren Brady, Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, Barack Obama, Billy Bragg, Jeremy Clarkson, Garth Crooks, Eddie Izzard, Sandie Shaw, Emma Thompson, Robert Winston and Stephen Hawking.
The Leave campaign have an equally eager squad of celebrities which include Bernie Ecclestone, Rupert Murdoch, Theo Paphitis, Ian Botham, Michael Caine, Sol Campbell, Joan Collins, Frederick Forsyth, Peter Hitchens, Katie Hopkins and Donald Trump.
It's a toughie because on the one hand the lady who won the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest is saying we should stay in the EU but then again the former Arsenal and England defender is telling us to pull the plug and bail out.   
Personally i think the most sensible plan is to sit tight and not commit either way until we find out which way the winner of Britain's Got Talent is going to vote.