Archive for April, 2009

Name this country

The following has been stolen, unashamedly, from “Old Holborn'” Blog. 🙂

Ballot Boxes are interfered with
Voting registers go missing
The Police can kill innocent people and get away with it
You can be put in prison for 42 days on pure suspicion
You can be put in prison indefinitely on the word of a politician
The State can torture people
Your children are monitored at School by Political Officers
Their behaviour is logged on a State database for their entire lives
Your innocent fingerprints, iris scans and biometrics are held by the State
You do not have the right to remain silent
You are watched on 4 million CCTV cameras
You may not photograph the Police
The media is controlled by the State
You do not have the right to protest peacefully
Curfews exist for entire communities
Your travel movements are logged and monitored
Who you vote for is logged and monitored
Your shopping habits are studied and logged by the State
Your emails and telephone conversations are recorded by the State
Your passport can be withdrawn at the whim of the State
Government agencies can use lie detector tests on you.

Hands up all those who thought I was describing the Stasi in the old “East Germany”. You get one point for that but, alas, ten points are on offer. Have another guess. Clue: It is a lot nearer to home.

Ampers.

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From today’s Electronic Telegraph

Their headlines:

Carol Thatcher unrepentant over ‘golliwog’ remark

Carol Thatcher has refused to apologise for the “golliwog” comment which saw her sacked from the BBC, blaming her dismissal on political correctness.

I don’t normally use bad language on my blog but it is necessary here as I am about to paraphrase Michael Caine.

“She’s a fucking hero!”

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The Libertarian Alliance salutes Guido Fawkes

I am not in the habit of publishing Press Releases but Sean’s sentiments, in the main, are the same as mine, and I have been a long term visitor of Guido Fawke’s blog at Order-Order.com anything in (brackets) are my additions. Paul Staines aka Guido Fawkes exposed 10 Downing Street being corrupt in last Sunday’s newpapers and one senior advisor was sacked by the Prime Minster. Today there are further revelations that take this stopy further up the “food chain” to the leader of the Labour Party.

I have a feeling that this is going to run and run.

The Libertarian Alliance today congratulates Guido Fawkes for his services to democracy, and takes pride in a twenty year association with him.

[This news release is inspired by the attempted smear of Guido, whose real name is Paul Staines, by The Daily Telegraph on the 18th April 2009. This article is largely true in its factual claims, but presents them in a way intended to discredit his motives and his competence. (The Daily Telegraph has a reputation on the Internet as being a Government supported vessel) Paul Staines has replied to this article on his own blog. For our overseas readers, Guido Fawkes runs a devastatingly effective blog that seeks to expose lies and corruption in public life. He has destroyed at least one ministerial career, and has turned the Prime Minister’s private office upside down. He has become perhaps the most feared and hated man in British politics.]

According to Sean Gabb, Director of the LA: “I have known Paul Staines since we met at a libertarian conference in October 1988. I knew from our first meeting that he was a man of
outstanding abilities (he has made a million, lost it all, and now is half way back to his next million) and have always respected his uncompromising libertarianism. We have over the years published a number of essays by him. These we list at the foot of this release. They are superbly written essays, and have been consistently among the most frequently accessed publications on our website.

“Since reducing the Prime Minister to stuttering incoherence, Paul has come under sustained attack by copytakers (we can’t really call them proper journalists can we) of the client media. Paul is fully able to look after himself. However, public statements of support by friends are often welcome at times like these. The Libertarian Alliance, therefore, wishes to congratulate Paul Staines – writing as Guido Fawkes – for his services to democracy and honesty in government and media in this country. He has done more than any other journalist to expose the lies and corruption at the heart of government in Britain. In doing this, he has exposed the nature and extent of collusion by the mainstream media in the lies and corruption.

“The Libertarian Alliance has contributed nothing to Paul’s work in these respects, and can take no credit whatever for his achievements. But we are proud of our long association. For what it may be worth to him, he has our congratulations and our support.

“We salute our brave comrade.”

For readers who would like to see some of the work Paul has written, apart from his blog, here are the links Sean talks about in his press release.

Economic Notes 69. Paul Staines, The Benefits of Speculation: A Bond Market Vigilante Replies to Will Hutton’s ‘The State We’re In’, 1996, 4pp. ISBN: 1 85637 338 X
http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/econn/econn069.pdf

Foreign Policy Perspectives 18. Paul Staines, Human Rights and the Inevitability of Politics, 1990, 2pp. ISBN: 1 85637 001 1
http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/forep/forep018.pdf

Political Notes 055. Paul Staines, Acid House Parties Against the Lifestyle Police and the Safety Nazis, 1991, 4pp. ISBN: 1 85637 039 9
http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/polin/polin055.pdf

Sean Gabb is a director of the Libertarian Alliance.

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Friends and the Internet

As we grow up, we make a lot of friends, first at school, then at college. Then we go to work, but by then it takes just that little bit longer to make friends. Sure we have lots of acquaintances, but I am talking about friends.

Then many of us get married and start a family. Our lives revolve around the family and making friends often gets put on the back burner. Sure we still have our old friends, but many of these have spread to the four corners of the world. And looking at events unfolding in the UK at present, who can blame the lucky bastards!

Internet is wonderful for keeping in touch with old friends, and for making friends with new people. I have friends in Canada, the USA, Mexico, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and parts of Continental Europe. But I can’t call them and pop round for a cup of coffee at will.

So you have woken up, in late middle age or, like me, old age, and found that local friends are a little thin on the ground. I have recently made friends with a guy “up the road” and between us we know a dozen local people. But those people know others and the others know more.

After a short discussion we have decided, once a month, to have a morning session in a local Eastern European coffee bar. The management take their coffee very seriously and have just installed a £21,000 coffee machine. And it is excellent coffee. The best in Finchley.

This month we had our first meeting. As many of you will probably guess, it wasn’t all that busy, four turned up. But one of them was a gentleman who has a plan to revitalise local communities which coincided with my wish to start a local community newspaper. (I started one in North London fifteen years ago and it is still going strong.) The discussion was very animated and we all said we would each try to bring at least one other person to the May meeting.

We chose a Tuesday for our morning sessions. Older people tend to get busy later in the day so we thought a morning would be best. A Monday would give problems as so many bank holidays fall on a Monday. Making it the second Tuesday ensured that those who go away for their bank holidays won’t be so likely to be away. We meet between 10:30am and noon when the coffee bar is less crowded. What I am saying here is you have to plan carefully for any event, or series of events you wish to hold. If you are still working there is nothing wrong with an evening meeting.

Remember my previous blog about asking the right questions of yourself to define your objective.

The moral of this story is: “Don’t sit on your backside waiting for things to happen, get up, get out, and make them happen!”

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A Muslim Video

Here is an interesting video, very short, bear in mind that it is by a Minister of the Crown in Her Majesty’s Government.

Ampers.

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Do you know much about Israel?

as a non-Jew I decided that it was time that I should educate myself. But how? What I needed was a book which was as impartial as it was possible to get.

I came across a book called “Why blame Israel?” but the title didn’t seem very impartial. But after looking it up and reading many comments about it, I thought that it may well be what I was looking for. A quick check told me it was written by a British non-Jewish academic called ”Neil Lochery”. As the current lecturer in Modern Israeli Politics and Director of the Centre for Israeli Studies at University College, London, I thought he should know quite a lot about the subject.

I checked the book’s bibliography and saw he had referenced over 240 books and periodicals for his research and several Jewish friends have said he leaned too much towards the Palestinians, whilst Arab friends said it was all in Israel’s favour. Well, if that was their respective attitudes, it told me that the author must have trod a careful path down the middle!

I acquired the book and took my time over it and at the end have conceded that he has told the story pretty much as it is, and that the whole area is in a God-Awful mess.

I can recommend the book and the ISBN number is: 1 84046 530 1

It covers Israel from the time the Jews settled there, long before the British formed the country of Israel up to the beginning of the twenty-first century. At the end of it one tends to shake one’s head and wonder. Too many outside forces interfere. On both sides. Proportional representation in Israel allow too much power to relatively few religious freaks who are the major war-mongers on the one hand, and too much interference from Hezbolah (Syriah) and Hamas (Iran) on the other hand.

I do recommend reading it though, and it can be borrowed from your local library.

Ampers.

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Defining your objectives…

… and asking the right questions.

The first right question to ask whenever contemplating doing anything is. why am I doing this? (Defining your objective). When you can answer this satisfactorily, you can decide whether to go ahead or not. However, in many cases you may realise that the answer shows that this is not a suitable path to continue on. In other cases (such as writing a CV) it may help you with the content. Is your objective to get the job (you behave badly in interviews) or just to hint on your worth to get the interview (you are excellent at selling yourself in person). Asking the right question and analysing, correctly, your answer is what will make all the difference.

Take “vegetarianism”. If you are wondering if this is a good idea or not, and you ask the question, ‘should I become a vegetarian’, you may find you do not get a satisfactory answer. Most meat eaters don’t really care that the animals they eat are reared and slaughtered just for them. However, a good question may be: “How might I benefit by exploring vegetarianism?” Asking this question may then cause you to start researching the price of red meat and how it has shot through the roof over the last few years. It might cause you to look up vegetarian menus in Google and find that, indeed, some of them sound very tasty. It may persuade you, and your family, to make one day a week a completely vegetarian day. Then over the coming months you may find your reliance on meat may slip a little.

I am not saying become vegetarian. That, for me, is daft. I love red meat but we now only buy it when we entertain. At home we now have fowl and fish. Coming from the Western Cape in South Africa I have always loved fish. We also looked at breakfasts and started having a fresh fruit salad for breakfast and have had only this with nothing else, even toast, for fourteen years. We bought a slow cooker recently which also steamed, made rice, and made porridge so now, in the winter months we have a bowl of porridge (very little water) and laced with chopped fruit or fruit juice (from menus we found on the Internet). We always have a salad for lunch, but often also include sliced ham or other of what I call ‘potted meats’ and also dip into tub of humus with pieces of pitta bread.

To sum up, we have red meat once a month as an average, no meat for breakfast, very little at lunch, white meat two or three evenings a week, and fish a couple, and no meat for a couple. Do we feel healthier? Debatable, but we certainly feel wealthier. The healthier feeling we got was cutting down all alcohol consumption to half a bottle of wine a week. But our food bill has gone down, as has our alcohol bill. We are retired and live off our savings. The bank rate has come down over the last six months from 5% to 0.5% but we haven’t noticed any real drop in our standard of living. We are coping very well. Mind you, we do get a higher percentage with bonds, but these don’t often pay interest until the end of the term.

All this came about from an initial question I asked of myself. “How can I cut down our costs to compensate for the loss of interest without lowering our standard of living too much”. This was immensely more sensible than running around like a headless chicken and led to the vegetarian question – and many others which I may write about in due course.

The best lesson to get from this blog is that it is worth sitting down and taking care in wording the question you are about to ask of yourself. Remember, “the quality of your life depends on the quality of the questions you ask of yourself, and others; and the quality and correct analysing of the answers you receive.”

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