Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Unbearable Tiresomeness of Google

So it's come down to this!

It started gradually. With little things. Changing the whole format of the Youtube and Blogger pages for the worse, degrading both look and functionality. Then constantly harassing you every time you sign in, nagging and nagging "We don't like your name ... would you like(?!) to change it?" On and on and on.

Then - without asking you of course - they set up a shell G+ account under your identity.

Then they stop you from commenting on Youtube.

Then they stop you from adding or removing from your Blogroll.

Then they stop you from 'liking' or even subscribing to other Youtubers.

What next in the litany of coercion? Not much hope that the EU will grow a pair and help those of us who aren't just happy to knuckle under and do Google's bidding as willing pawns in their Advertising Empire.

If this is my last post here, I won't be surprised.

Goodbye, and thank-you to any who have commented.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Sticking Plasters on Running Sores

This video illustrates brilliantly what is wrong with the Food Bank concept from its very basis.

Own Goal with Devastating Consequences?

Who are the real denialists?

Sail World is a pretty straightforward publication with an audience of sailors wanting to know about their hobby. Their interest is in being totally objective.

So, here's what a Sail World 
news item of 19th August reported about this year's Arctic ice season:

"In 2013 there has been a 55% increase in Arctic ice since this date last year". And they have maps based on satellite imaging to prove it.

So when the Mail on Sunday tells us that their newspaper has received a
leaked final draft of the IPCC's latest report, showing that the world is warming far less than the international panel have long been predicting, things really are starting to look increasingly bleak and chilly for the single issue climate protesters.

Trouble is though that the, so say, climate crisis has been the most over-promoted environmental issue - even amounting to what some have described as "
the great climate change hijack" - one which has diverted almost all the public and policy-makers' attention to itself and narrowed down all debate to one issue alone; that of global warming. The climate obsessives have marginalised and side-lined all the other huge ecological, or rather socio-ecological problems we face, like overpopulation, habitat destruction, massive losses of biodiversity both wild and cultivated, erosion and degradation of soils, freshwaters and seas.

Many scientists have also tied themselves, and their science, to the climate bandwagon in the public mind.

If the whole thing does prove to be plain wrong, then not only environmentalism but even science itself will suffer a massive blow to its credibility, and humanity could be facing a new age of reaction against science, against reason, and against the natural world. 
 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Divided by a Common Language

Tom Slee at P2P Foundation blog:

"When differences are papered over and confused.

This seems to be the case with peers.org, that presents itself as a grassroots organisation but is directly influenced by sharing ‘business platforms’ and with a clear aim of fighting against regulation ..."

"The language changes, the mask slips. Participants become customers, sharing becomes buying. The phrase “across verticals” reminds us that Douglas Atkin is an advertising executive. Now the sharing economy is about loyalty programs and cross marketing? Not the kind of sharing I want to be part of. I don’t have a problem with commerce, but what I do object to is commerce wrapped up in, and appropriating, the language of solidarity ..."

Tom also adds a comment underneath the piece: "I do have a feeling that there is a Euro-North American split, in which community-minded Europeans don’t realize that their partners across the pond are libertarian-minded Americans using similar language."

As someone living in Europe, I think Tom is broadly correct about the Euro v USA split. Look at the discourses on lots of topics - all sorts, from vaccination, fluoridation and autonomous / off-grid lifestyles through to attitudes to Bilderbergers, state control and various conspiracy theories, and you will very often find that beliefs held by left-wing people in Europe are held by ultra-right "libertarians" in the US.

What this results in, in this era of internet and global communications, is that Europeans and USAmericans frequently get our wires totally tangled because we think we are after the same goals, we are even using similar language, but underneath all that we are actually on diametrically opposed sides!

A recipe for some disastrous interaction ...

Monday, 9 September 2013

More than GDP

Robert Costanza is Professor of Public Policy at Australian National University and in his interview at the 6th Ecosystem Services Partnership conference in Bali this August he explains the work that's being done to increase our understanding of the immense and irreplaceable value provided to humanity by Earth's ecosystems. To give you some idea, we're talking trillions of dollars each and every year.

Watch the video here.


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Fake it Till You Take it All

The Cupboard is Getting Barer

"The amount of raw materials needed to sustain the economies of developed countries is significantly greater than presently used indicators suggest ..."

"Humanity is using raw materials at a level never seen before with far-reaching environmental impacts on biodiversity, land use, climate and water," says lead author Tommy Wiedmann, Associate Professor of Sustainability Research at the UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

"Now more than ever, developed countries are relying on international trade to acquire their natural resources, but our research shows this dependence far exceeds the actual physical quantity of traded goods"

"In 2008, the total amount of raw materials extracted globally was 70 billion metric tons – 10 billion tons of which were physically traded. However, the results show that three times as many resources (41% or 29 billion tons) were used just to enable the processing and export of these materials."

Read more at Constantine Alexander's blog.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Age of Impoverishment


The Age of Ignorance

Disturbing and beyond sad that young people largely do not even begin to comprehend what we are destroying for ever:

"Recent analyses of the history of fishing off the California coast, as seen through interviews with three generations of fishermen, produced startling findings. The youngest group (age 15-30) had no idea that it was once common to fish right off the coast. They didn’t view the coastal zone as being overfished because, they said, there were no fish in this zone."

"The oldest group (age 55 and above) could recall eleven species that had disappeared from today’s far offshore fishing ground, whereas the group between age 31 and 54 could recall seven, and the youngest group only two. Sixty years ago the oldest group could recall catching 25 goliath groupers per day, but by the 1960s the number had plunged to eleven, and then to only one a day in the 1990s. Tragically, only ten percent of the youngest group believed that stocks of the grouper had disappeared because they didn’t think they were ever there to begin with."

From Brent Blackwelder. Read more at the Daly News blog from the Centre for Advancement of the Steady State Economy.

(Before it's too late!)

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Bye Bye Google

Google seems to have been reduced to an imitation of Facebook.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Mission Creep Online

A very thoughtful short essay from Stuart Staniford; "Snowden and the Toxicity of the Internet".

Meanwhile some others seem to be saying it's all a journalistic hash-up in a brewery ... or is it ...?

Afterthought: missed this one earlier, but it's worth a read.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Democracy, Thatcher Style

This one had me laughing at the absurdity, from today's Guardian:

"The former prime minister, whose son, Sir Mark, was convicted in a South African court of involvement in the attempted 2004 coup, allegedly told [Simon] Mann at a meeting at her Belgravia home: "I'm sure it's going to work".

It is claimed that Thatcher likened the need for radical change in the oil-rich Equatorial Guinea to the way London's Docklands had been redeveloped during the 1980s.

She is also alleged to have encouraged Mann to talk to a group seeking to overthrow the then president of Venezuela, Hugo Ch├ívez, with the words: "We must always look after our friends, Simon …"

What was that woman on?

Monday, 8 April 2013

Femen - Follow the Money

Amazing how often things are not at all what they appear to be on the surface. Take feminism for example. Most people seem to associate it with left-wing thought, but when you start looking closely, feminism actually seems to link in with deep veins of conservative and authoritarian thought a lot more frequently than you might expect.

For at least a decade some British feminists (see here for the Telegraph's Toby Young and Julie Burchill, a match made in heaven) have been nurturing what appears to be a savage intolerance against transsexual women, who they take it upon themselves to try and define out of existence as not "real women" . This sort of biologically deterministic and reactionary approach to sex and sexuality is of course familiar to us from Roman Catholic doctrine, and has been filtering into feminism via Janice Raymond, a former nun and author of "The Transsexual Empire: the Making of the She-male". Raymond in turn was a pupil of theologian Mary Daly who studied at the College of Saint Rose, Saint Mary's College, and the Catholic University of America, topping it off with teaching at the Jesuit-run Boston College from 1967 - 1999.

So now when you see yet another group of feminists attacking this time both sex workers and Muslim women you start asking what these targets have in common. Little surprise then that they are both hate figures of the religious right. And when you take a look at the group's website it transpires that 'Some of the goals of the organisation are: "To develop leadership, intellectual and moral qualities of the young women in Ukraine" and "To build up the image of Ukraine, the country with great opportunities for women",' bells really start ringing loudly.

Friday, 1 March 2013

PoPourri

From the early medieval papal forgeries and power grabs of my previous post, jumping straight up to the modern day ... despite omerta in the msm, the cybersphere is buzzing with tantalising tidbits concerning Pope Benedict's shock resignation, a dereliction unheard of for centuries past.

Now obviously most people had at least a suspicion that there is a lot more to this than meets the eye. And now it turns out that some events may be afoot which put the wind so far up the Pope's backside that he has taken fright and started building his defences against the coming storm - as best he can.

Check out the ITCCS website, the International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State:

"Founded in the spring of 2010 at a conference of survivors of church torture in Dublin, Ireland, the ITCCS presently comprises organizations in fifteen countries (see list of founding sponsors and affiliates below). It was founded because of the refusal of existing courts and governments to charge and prosecute churches guilty of genocide and crimes against children, and because of the active complicity of these state agencies with such criminal church bodies.

The ITCCS Central Office is in Brussels, Belgium, with affiliate centers in London, Dublin, Rome, New York and Vancouver.

The Acting Field secretary of the ITCCS is Rev. Kevin D. Annett, M.A., M.Div. Its legal advisers include members of the Kuala Lampur Human Rights Tribunal, Andrew Paterson, a common law consultant, members of the American and Canadian Bar Associations, and lawyers with the prestigious Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City ..."

These guys sound like they mean business.

Best wishes to them in their action.

Fraud, Forgery and Terrorism: The Popes and the Invention of the West

To Cut a Long Story Short

The history and development of what we blithely like to call "Christianity" is murky.

Very murky.

By the time of Emperor Justinian (527 - 565) the Roman Empire had long upped sticks and moved East to Constantinople (now Istanbul). Justinian set about recreating the old glory days, re-conquering lost territory and codifying Roman law. This put the Bishop of Rome aka the Pope in a panic because the Latin Christians had by that time developed such a megalomaniac power complex that, in their own minds the Pope has automatic entitlement, as Head of the Church of Rome to be Supreme Ruler of the World. Unfortunately for them the Emperor thought different. As did the Patriarchs and Greek Christians of the East.

So the Popes and the Latin church dreamt of a Cunning Plan. They needed to develop an alternative power base, outside the control of the Emperor and the Greek Christians, so the Popes looked West, and had the idea of turning the barbarian peoples of Iberia, Gaul and England to their purpose. The Roman church had already forged documents claiming that St Peter had bequeathed the "binding and loosing" powers that he had received from Jesus (Matthew 16) to the Popes in perpetuity, and despite making a muddle of supposedly giving the powers to Clement when it is otherwise recorded that Linus was the first Pope after Peter, they got away with it.

To give themselves maximum authority another crucial document was forged. Calling it 'the Donation of Constantine', the Popes claimed that Emperor Constantine (c. 272 - 337) had become a Christian and simply given away his all-important powers, both regal and sacerdotal, to the Bishop of Rome. Just like that.

Armed with these spurious powers that they had either faked or usurped or both, the Papacy was in contact with Pippin, a Frankish official under the Merovingian kings who himself wished to usurp the kingship from his master. In a very handy arrangement the Papacy backed Pippin to be king, while Pippin in turn subordinated himself and gave his fealty and support to the Papacy. Under Pippin's son, Charlemagne and his successors, the relationship between the Frankish kings and the Popes became ever deeper, each bolstering the other in their expanding power.

This process necessarily involved also the firm inversion of the Germanic tribes' native governance systems in which power came from the people and was temporarily given to leaders of the people's choice and where the people could remove leaders who weren't doing what people wanted them to do.

Instead, under the Latin Christian system, power comes only from God [sic] and it is passed directly from 'him' to the Pope, who then 'graciously' crowns kings as he likes, Deo gratias. The king in turn passes power down through a hierarchy, as conveniently expounded by Pseudo-Denys. People under this system of Theocracy were thus forbidden from any say in governance at all.

Under the Frankish ecclesiastical hierarchy the forgeries continued apace, now aimed at buttressing "the hierocratic thesis by surrounding it with the halo of antiquity".

More in "Medieval Political Thought", Walter Ullmann (Peregrine 1975).

This was only the early stages. Once this system had been set up, the Papacy in alliance with the newly Christianised Barbarians and Viking Pirates such as their strong-arm enforcers, the Normans, could move forward, terrorising and subjecting people in the West to their domination, before then expanding their Rule of Terror further to attack the Byzantines and the Middle East ...

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Q. When is Rape Not Rape

Following on the all too often socially condoned 'when is a crime not a crime' trope ...

A. When the person raped is of a low caste or class.

Rape is often seen primarily not as a crime against the person but as a crime against property. It has been so in England. Even today upper class and whiter women in UK are cared about more than lower class and darker women. Poor women are seen as having no honour and called names like 'chav'. Poor women's sexuality is seen as coarser, less refined than upper class women's, therefore rape of poor women does not count as rape.

Here's Bojja Tarakam, senior advocate, activist based in Andhra Pradesh commenting on the recent furore over one gang-rape in Delhi. Video from DalitCamera.

And also on DalitCamera, Sujatha Surepally, working on land and anti people's development models, environment, human rights and women's rights. Video.


Rape can be seen as a useful tool for controlling the lower orders if they show signs of getting 'uppity'. Perhaps most famously to us now in the story of Phoolan Devi (see Vidya Bushan Rawat's August 2012 interview with PD's sister, explaining how she has been dumped back in poverty by the Samajwadi Partyhere if ye ken Hindi). Has also been used historically in a huge variety of permutations, as well as against men, as example here.