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Monday, 31 October 2011

Trick or treat

Trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, trick or treat...

Or alternatively you stop ringing my doorbell and I won't wring your necks - just a thought - I am not a Halloween person!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Time...

I know we all have to age, except for Demi Moore and Bryan Ferry of course, but this photo was still unsettling...
That's Sinead O’Connor and Deborah Harry in a hug, oh how I would have loved to have been the meat in that sanswich in the mid 1980s, today less so...




Interestingly I read on Irish Central that
'Sinead O'Connor is looking more like her old self again and is feeling sexier than ever. The Irish singer was seen sporting a shaved head and a new tattoo of Jesus on her chest at an AIDS benefit in Los Angeles last week.

She also had a sexual orgasm enhancement procedure done.

“Also I am excited as I went to see a Dr David Matlock, who administers a thing called a G-shot. . . into a woman's G-spot. . . which is supposed to intensify orgasms by 10 per cent," she wrote in her blog.'

Will the latest Euro bail-out actually work?

Do you really have to ask if the latest Euro bail-out will actually work? Of course it won't, it has bought some time that is all. So what does the future hold for us in the pampered Western countries whose leaders bought votes and made themselves feel moral and liberally minded by expanding the welfare state so it became no longer a safety net but instead a lifestyle choice for the lazy and feckless?
Berliner Zeitung have this cartoon
But I think that this article in The Telegraph by Liam Halligan is a fuller read, if a scarier one. Do read the whole piece but here is an excerpt to depress you on a Sunday afternoon:
'Having said all that, the prospect of "haircuts", however half-hearted, now looms over eurozone sovereign bond-holders, not least fragile European banks. So Thursday's announcement also stressed that the €440bn (£386bn) euro European Financial Stability Facility would be "levered", allowing it to borrow to make it bigger. This is supposed to allow the eurocrats to raise cash without having to trouble national parliaments, given that they're likely to refuse.

The question of who will lend to the EFSF, on whose collateral, and who will ultimately repay the loans, was barely addressed last week. Such tricky questions will apparently be answered at the next European summit in December. Meanwhile, the fundamental disagreement between France and Germany regarding who should take the biggest losses – eurozone governments or private creditors – remains unresolved. Since Thursday's announcement, though, Germany's powerful constitutional court has issued an injunction requiring the country's full Parliament to approve any EFSF bond-buying.

What is needed, urgently, is a clean, transparent Greek default – allowing this flailing semi-developed economy to leave the eurozone, re-establish a weaker drachma and regain its self-respect. Portugal should leave too, its membership of the same currency bloc as Germany is as absurd, and self-defeating, as that of Greece. There would be further market turmoil, yes, but a few more months of volatility, leading to an ultimately more stable outcome, is surely better than the current situation where the entire world is living in fear of a massive "euroquake".

The eurocrats, of course, lack the guts to trim back monetary union to a more manageable size. Too much face would be lost. So "euroquake" fears, once viewed as outlandish, are gaining pace. Despite Thursday's deal, and all the reassurances of a "durable solution", the Italian government on Friday paid 6.06pc for 10-year money, up from just 5.86pc a month ago and a euro-era high. Such borrowing costs are disastrous, given that Rome must roll-over €300bn of its €1,900bn debt in 2012 alone. A default by Italy, the eurozone's third-biggest economy, and the eighth-largest on earth, would make Lehman look like a picnic.

The eurozone must be consolidated. World leaders should similarly force European banks to disclose their losses, we all take the hit and then we move on. Instead, we are served-up, in ever more complex variants, the same "extend and pretend" non-solutions. It gives me no pleasure to write this, but I give this deal two weeks. '

Meanwhile I have just found a stonking piece on this same subject and along similar lines at the ever readable Alex Masterley. This particular piece is ostensibly about how capitalism has not failed but lives on in China and India, facts that are clear to anyone who has visited China and/or India and seen the dedication and attitude to hard work that pervades so much of those countries. However it is the second half of Alex's article that interests me more here today:
'So what is the problem in the West? ...But the bigger problem, which now hangs over Europe is the fact that politicians who were happy to open their borders for free trade failed to spot that this inevitably meant that their countries' own standard of living would inevitably be undermined.

At first it was easy to turn a blind eye, and just think that Eastern countries were backward places that were unlikely to compete with the West. But inevitably, with their immeasurably higher populations and their improving standards of education, the West was going to be put under pressure by the lower costs in the East. Westerners who were complacent about their prosperity failed to understand that although they were in the richest 10% of the world population, that position was not guaranteed.

The real failure, of course, not that you will hear it on the radio, is not Capitalism but Socialism, which we all learnt at the time of the collapse of the Berlin Wall was unsustainable. Unfortunately Western politicians on the left side of the spectrum didn't listen. They found that companies didn't invest when they put up taxes, and in fact moved all their new investment to other parts of the world. So in order to keep their captive voters happy, they borrowed money to finance present government consumption, which they erroneously called "investment". Leaving aside the Italian Cosa Nostra basket case, Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain, the most heavily overborrowed of the Eurozone countries, have all had one thing in common for the last 10 years: left of centre governments. Just like the UK, the most overborrowed of the lot currently.

You won' hear it on the BBC, but the real problem is that Western social welfare has placed an impossible burden on states, which is why the UK has a current annual deficit of €200 billion, i.e. on its own 20% of the amount of funding sought by the EFSF, although this is a recurring shortfall for the UK government.



Doctors expect to be paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to provide cradle to grave healthcare for many who have never and will never pay much into the state coffers, while other civil servants expect six figure salaries, generous pensions and early retirement, all to be paid by a private sector that is constantly undercut. In the long run, none of them should have any reason to expect to be paid any more than their Chinese or Indian equivalent as the economies of the East align themselves closer to those of the West.

If the governments of Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal or the UK were companies, their respective cash shortfalls would have pushed them into insolvency years ago, and their problems will continue until their spending is cut to realistic levels. '

Alex is right but there are too many people who don't want to face facts and that is why the future for Western Europe is protests, riots and a breakdown in civil society. I am sorry if that thought is hard to take in but it is more likely than us all living happily ever after.

Go out and buy tinned food, a generator & stocks of fuel for it; but more importantly get a gun and some ammunition, because if you were scared by the riots of a few months ago, you ain't seen nothing yet!

The wisdom of Denis MacShane (update)

Further to this piece from earlier today, Denis MacShane has 'hilariously' misrepresented me by tweeting:
'Nice of unknown 2 me political blogger to write : "Following Denis MacShane on Twitter is often rewarding" Merci'
Nice try MacShane, unfortunately as you well know the line did not end with the word 'rewarding', it ended thus '... as you read such ill-considered tripe.'
Denis MacShane finished his Tweet with the french word for thank you 'Merci', I respond with the French expression 'Vous Merde.
 Disregarding the above it is noticeable that Denis MacShane has not admitted his stupid error in his earlier Tweet; why am I not surprised?


 

The wisdom of Denis MacShane

Following Denis MacShane on Twitter is often rewarding as you read such ill-considered tripe. Here's a tweet of his from earlier this morning:

That's: 'Everyone yawning, sleepy on Tube to H'row. Extra hour in bed pointless. Let's have Churchill time'

Should someone tell Denis MacShane that moving to Double Summer Time does not mean an end to putting the clocks forward and backwards each year; it's just that the base time will be one hour later.

Denis MacShane showing all the mathematical ability of his former leader and Chancellor Gordon Brown.

As an aside how many people favour moving to Central European Time as it would put UK on same time as the EU?

A BBC misleading lead-in line

An Israeli man has been killed by a rocket attack from Gaza after nine Palestinian militants were killed by Israeli air strikes on the south of the Gaza Strip.'



So that line sets a chronology of Israel killing nine Palestinians before the Palestinian killed one Israeli. Is that the case? The actual BBC article seems to differ somewhat from that lead-in line:
'An Israeli man has been killed by rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian militants had vowed to retaliate after five militants were killed by an Israeli air strike on the south of the Gaza Strip.

Another four Palestinians were killed in further Israeli air raids after the rocket attacks.'
That would seem to suggest that the order was somewhat different, so why the misleading lead-in line? I can only assume the BBC want to portray Israel as 'starting the killing'. Of course the reason for the initial attack is not mentioned until much further down the article:
'The spokesman said that the first attack, about midday local time, specifically targeted a cell responsible for a long-range rocket attack on Wednesday, that exploded deep inside Israel. That attack had caused no casualties.'
So what is Israel meant to do? Not respond to rocket and mortar attacks on Israel until someone is killed? The BBC and its fellow travellers on the left of politics have decided to throw their weight behind the Islamic terrorists and take every opportunity to try and denigrate and delegitimise Israel. I am regularly disgusted by the BBC's biased coverage of affairs in and around Israel and that is why this blog has become rather Israel-centric in recent months.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The BBC always ready to report one side of the story - inc UPDATE

The BBC report the news that:
'Five Palestinian militants have been killed in a number of Israeli air strikes on the south of the Gaza Strip.

The violence is the most serious since a major prisoner exchange deal earlier this month between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist militant group that governs in Gaza.

The militants were killed at an Islamic Jihad training site in Rafah in the south of the strip.'
The BBC always ready to report what they would describe as the misdeeds of Israel They have yet to report the news that Quassam Count report:
'5:23pm: 2 rockets fired from Gaza towards the city of Ashdod in Israel'
  The BBC do reluctantly report that:
'The Israeli air force has confirmed it carried out the attack. It said the militants were preparing to launch rockets into Israel.'
But no mention that rockets were fired at Israel. This is part of a pattern for the BBC: they report every Israeli attack but minimise any mention of Palestinian attacks on Israel. Hence any attack by Israel is reported on the Middle East page, if not on the news front page, but murderous Palestinian attacks on Israel such as the killing of the Fogel family are kept relatively quiet.


UPDATE:

Since I posted this piece there have been some more attacks on Israel, not that you would know if you rely upon the BBC for your news. Fortunately I follow Qassam Count so I do get to see more than the BBC would like us to see:
6:50pm: rocket fired from Gaza explodes near bnei shimon regional council in Israel

6:51pm: 2 mortar shells hit Eshkol Regional Council in Israel

Why are the BBC not interested in John Prescott's expenses?

The BBC were obsessed with the expenses scandal and identifying the misdeeds of various, especially Conservative MPs, they seem less interested in the questionable spending of John Prescott as revealed this week. Thanks to Guido Fawkes we know about John Prescott's credit card spending. This article revealed this about John Prescott's spending on expenses:
'Guido has now seen Prescott’s government credit card bill from 2004 through to 2006. It seems he was a big fan of upmarket Westminster canteen Shepherds and has spent £2,073 in Pret a Manger, including £240 in one sitting. Prezza enjoyed the high and low life, with The Cinnamon Club and Clacket Lane Service Station all featuring. What government business was the Deputy Prime Minister doing in a Morrisons supermarket cafe? Three hundred quid steak dinners on the taxpayer? '
How on earth do you spend £240 in one sitting at Pret a Manger? At £8 a head (and that's quite generous) that's lunch for 30 people; did John Prescott really buy lunch for 30? If not did he eat his own way through £240 of food in one sitting?

More intriguing was this article that revealed something more questionable than greed:
'Prezza’s spending on government credit cards knows no bounds. The Telegraph have gone big on the £456 he spent at the Star City casino in Sydney, the £490 at Doyle’s seafood restaurant in Watson’s Bay and £75 at an aquarium in 2004. However Guido understands there is even more to come on this one. Why for example is there an entry for “Miscellaneous Cash” from an Australian hole-in-the-wall:

28/11/04 £3.10 CASH ADVANCE HANDLING FEE
28/11/04 £154.86 LCA

Leaving aside the obvious financial malpractice of withdrawing cash on a credit card, especially in a foreign country, why on earth was this happening in the first place. What was the £160 spent on and where are the receipts?'

All fascinating questions about the expenses policy operated by the former Deputy Prime Minister. So I turned to the BBC to see how they were covering the story already in The Telegraph and on the web and what did I find? Nothing... I searched the BBC news website for John Prescott and found nothing about this story at all. The last John Prescott related article told us that 'Former Hull MP John Prescott is auctioning off gifts he received in his role as deputy prime minister.'


So why no coverage of this story BBC?


As an addendum I also note that whilst The Telegraph find the space to report that 'Tessa Jowell oversaw £13,000 spend on cakes and pubs' in a piece about odd expenses during her time at the Cabinet Office, including 'Nearly £50 was spent at Seastar Superbikes'; the BBC report nothing of the story.

Sir Jimmy Savile R.I.P.

Sir Jimmy Savile has passed away aged 84. An odd man, not my favourite DJ by any means, but a personality who had a lot of TV and radio time during my childhood. Top of the Pops and Jim'll Fix It were staples in the NotaSheep household when I was a child.

Oh my ears!

If you thought that Bing Crosby & David Bowie's Yuletide duet on "Little Drummer Boy" was the nadir of music, you will be shocked to hear that anoher duet version of the same song has upped the ante.

Justin Bieber Featuring Busta Rhymes have managed to produce a track that makes Bing & Bowie's version seem almost listenable.

I did say 'almost'.

Saturday morning catchup

An apology: I have been very busy at work over the last few weeks and so posting has been reduced from normal levels. As a by-product of this work my Firefox has way too many open tabs and thus keeps crashing. In an effore to clear some tabs, here is a catchup...

1) Con Coughlin in The Telegraph explains why 'The Arab Spring is becoming an Islamist takeover' with special reference to Tunisia.


2) The Express report that 'A SOLDIER killed in Afghanistan had £433 deducted from his final pay because he had failed to complete “a full month’s” work.
Lance Corporal Jordan Bancroft, 25, was shot dead in Helmand province in August 2010. More than year later, as the Ministry of Defence finally settled his outstanding wages, £433.13 was deducted because he had died 10 days before pay day. '


3) The excellent UN Watch reports that '45 NGOs urge UN Human Rights Council’s Jean Ziegler to resign for founding “Gaddafi Human Rights Prize”' The story of the UN's dalliance with vile states is an outrage that should get more publicity.


4) The Mail reports that 'NHS writes off more than £40m in unpaid bills owed by foreign nationals'


5) Richard Littlejohn points out an inconvenient truth about those arrested at Dale Farm - 'None of those arrested lived on the site. They were full-time agitators who went to Basildon to confront the police. It was a battle of their choosing and they can have no complaints. They fought the law and the law won.

The police acted with commendable patience and restraint. Casualties were kept to a minimum. Even the demonstrator who was Tasered managed to pick himself up and melted back into the crowd, so he couldn’t have been that badly hurt.'


6) Jihad Watch
report that Underwaer bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has declared that "Participation in jihad against the United States is considered among the most virtuous of deeds in Islam and is highly encouraged in the Quran."


7) The Moose finds that his most popular post is not politics related but nipple related (Sabrina "Boys, Boys, Boys")The excellent . I feel your pain sir, just google Felicity Kendal's nipples and see whose site is at the top of the list!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Some Friday evening humour - Women golfers!

Two women were playing golf. One teed off and watched in horror as her ball headed directly toward a foursome of men playing the next hole...

The ball hit one of the men. He immediately clasped his hands together at his groin, fell to the ground and proceeded to roll around in agony. The woman rushed down to the man, and immediately began to apologize. 'Please allow me to help. I'm a Physical Therapist and I know I could relieve your pain if you'd allow me, she told him.

'Oh, no, I'll be all right. I'll be fine in a few minutes,' the man replied. He was in obvious agony, lying in the foetal position, still clasping his hands at his groin. At her insistence, however, he finally allowed her to help. She gently took his hands away and laid them to the side, loosened his pants and put her hands inside..
She administered tender and artful massage for several long moments and asked, 'How does that feel'?

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.


Feels great, he replied; but I still think my thumb's broken...

Do you like sitting in comfort?

If, like me, you like sitting in comfort then you may be interested in these two sites.

1) For air travel Seat Guru gives you information regarding:
  • Detailed seatmap graphics
  • In-depth comments about seats with limited recline, reduced legroom, and misaligned windows
  • Color-coding to help identify superior and substandard seats
  • In-seat power port locations
  • Galley, lavatory, exit row, and closet locations

and this includes which seats suffer from reduced foot room due to the placement of in-flight entertainment systems.

This site is a must read for me before I book any air tickets.


2) For London theatre tickets take a look at Theatre Monkey which does a similar job for London's theatres. It tells you which seats have restricted views & why and which seats are the best value.


This is not an advertisement for the above sites, I never take money or any other type of payment from the sites I occasionally recommend on this blog. 

The BBC apologise!

On 6 July I complained to the BBC about their publishing of two maps that deliberately mislead people about Gaza's borders.

Here's the first map and note the lack of the word Egypt and the way that there is no differentiation between Israel and Egypt in terms of colour as there would be in any normal map (I believe mapmakers usually work to a three colour rule)...

Here is the BBC's latest response, that includes an actual apology:


NewsOnline Complaints to me

Dear Sir,

Sorry not to reply sooner to your complaint.

One of the maps http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14035536 is plain shoddy work, for which we apologise. It should mark Egypt.

On the second map http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14051618 there is no space to mark Egypt. Our standard maps of this kind are made by journalists using a map making programme - size of frame and the options for labelling are limited. While Egypt is not marked, for lack of space, it is in a different colour to Israel, so there is no impression of Israel surrounding Gaza.

Best regards,

Middle East desk
BBC News website

http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/handle.shtml

The story is not quite as simple as that, so here's the full chronology:

On 17 August the BBC responded thus:
'NewsOnline Complaints to me
 
Mr Goat,
Thank you for your e-mail and please accept our apologies for the delay in replying. The first map is not intended to be an accurate geographic or political representation but to show the location of Gaza and where this particular incident happened. Had Egypt been involved in any way in this story, the map would have included Egypt.
The same applies to the second map, which illustrates a story about Israel and Lebanon. This map also does not name Saudi Arabia, which is also not mentioned in the report. In a story about England we might show an appropriate map, but it might not be necessary to name Scotland and Wales if they were not relevant to that particular report.
...
Best wishes,
BBC News website
http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/handle.shtml '
 
*****************************************************

{Title:} Mr  
{First Name:} NotaSheep  
{Last Name:} MaybeaGoat
{Under 13:} No
{Email:} notasheepmaybeagoat@gmail.com
{Postcode:}
{Location:} England
{Phone:}

{Feedback Type:} I would like to... Make a complaint
{Summary:} Deliberate misdirection of readers of article
{URL:} http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14035536
{Complaint:} On 6 July I complained about the deliberate misdirection of
readers of the above article.
'In the BBC article headlined 'Israel forces 'kill two militants in central
Gaza'', the BBC include a map. This map makes it seem as though Israel is
both enormous and surrounds Gaza thus explaining how Israel has been able to
 blockade it for some years now. There is of course a problem with this:
Israel does not surround Gaza. The country that borders Gaza to the South
East is Egypt not Israel, that is where the Rafah Crossing is... So why have
 the BBC omitted the word Egypt from that first map?'
A day later you published another map in this article -
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14051618 - and yet again the map
 missed off any reference to Egypt.
I can see no excuse for this deliberately misleading of the public. I can
also not see why I have yet to receive a response to my original complaint.
{Reply:} Yes
I replied with this:
Thank you for your response but I am sorry I do not, as they say, buy it.

The first map shows the borders of Gaza just to the point where Gaza ends. If the map went any further south then it would have to show the border between Israel and Egypt. Contrary to your claim in your email ' the map would have included Egypt' - the map does include Egypt, it is just that you choose not to denote that country. This is important as the BBC do often seem to try to spread the narrative that Israel controls entry to and exit from Gaza when in fact there is a long land border between Gaza and Egypt, the very border that you chose not to show on that map.

Your comparison with the omission of Saudi Arabia from the second map is a red herring as that country is more than one border away from the scene of the story.

Two maps; both not mentioning Egypt, a country that borders Gaza; not that someone relying on the BBC for their facts would see that.

...

Regards

NotaSheep MaybeaGoat


PS: I am not Mr Goat, I am Mr MaybeaGoat


Over two months after the last reply, three plus months after the original complaint, the BBC have responded seemingly to the original complaint(?), and there's an apology in there:


NewsOnline Complaints to me

Dear Sir,

Sorry not to reply sooner to your complaint.

One of the maps http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14035536 is
plain shoddy work, for which we apologise. It should mark Egypt.

On the second map http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14051618
there is no space to mark Egypt. Our standard maps of this kind are made
by journalists using a map making programme - size of frame and the
options for labelling are limited. While Egypt is not marked, for lack
of space, it is in a different colour to Israel, so there is no
impression of Israel surrounding Gaza.

Best regards,

Middle East desk
BBC News website

http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/handle.shtml


-----Original Message-----
From: notasheepmaybeagoat@gmail.com
[mailto:notasheepmaybeagoat@gmail.com]
Sent: 17 August 2011 09:59
To: NewsOnline Complaints
Subject: Complaint Reply Required




{Title:} Mr

{First Name:} NotaSheep

{Last Name:} MaybeaGoat

{Under 13:} No

{Email:} notasheepmaybeagoat@gmail.com

{Postcode:}

{Location:} England

{Phone:}


{Feedback Type:} I would like to... Make a complaint

{Summary:} Deliberate misdirection of readers of article

{URL:} http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14035536

{Complaint:} On 6 July I complained about the deliberate misdirection of
readers of the above article.
'In the BBC article headlined 'Israel forces 'kill two militants in
central Gaza'', the BBC include a map. This map makes it seem as though
Israel is both enormous and surrounds Gaza thus explaining how Israel
has been able to  blockade it for some years now. There is of course a
problem with this:
Israel does not surround Gaza. The country that borders Gaza to the
South East is Egypt not Israel, that is where the Rafah Crossing is...
So why have  the BBC omitted the word Egypt from that first map?'

A day later you published another map in this article -
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14051618 - and yet again the
map  missed off any reference to Egypt.

I can see no excuse for this deliberately misleading of the public. I
can also not see why I have yet to receive a response to my original
complaint.

{Reply:} Yes


{Previous Contact:} Yes

{Related To Previous Contact:} Yes

{Reason For Return Contact:} noResponse 


So on 17 August the BBC push this line:
'Thank you for your e-mail and please accept our apologies for the delay in replying. The first map is not intended to be an accurate geographic or political representation but to show the location of Gaza and where this particular incident happened. Had Egypt been involved in any way in this story, the map would have included Egypt.'

But in October the BBC admit that:
'One of the maps http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-14035536 is
plain shoddy work, for which we apologise. It should mark Egypt.'

The explanation for the state of the second map also differs between the two replies. Why the discrepancies? I will be asking the question...


Hamas can 'do the maths'

<param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/YU7ZgOIPuNg&rel=0&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3">param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true">param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always">param>src="http://www.youtube.com/v/YU7ZgOIPuNg&rel=0&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="420" height="240">
Exchanging Gilad Shalit for over a 1,000 convicted Palestinian terrorists and criminals ill have negative repercussions as even Hamas terrorists can multiply 1 by 6.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Did Angela Merkel really say that?


"The world is looking at Germany, whether we are strong enough to accept responsibility for the biggest crisis since the Second World War."
Did Angela Merkel really say that? Is there no word for irony in German?

Just a reminder re NCF and Anonymous trolls or worse

NCF means No Comment Follows.

I am happy to enter into discussions on this blog with serious people who make serious points, whether they agree with me or not. If you look through my blog you will find many such examples.

However, as previously advised, I am no longer wasting my time discussing deliberately misunderstood points from anonymous trolls or worse.

Quite amusingly my anonymous commenter(s) are getting most upset by my not posting their inane and misinformed comments. Apparently I am infringing their right to free speech and am guilty of being controlling and running a propaganda machine. Well boo hoo trolls - my blog, my rules; if you don't like it then you don't have to come here.

ADDENDUM:
I also do not post comments that result from people misreading my posts. I am taking a zero tolerance approach to stupidity from now on. Once again - my blog, my rules; if you don't like it then you don't have to come here.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Wow!

That was an hour that sped by with more cries of wow in this house than I can remember. The cause? David Attenborough's BBC documentary Frozen Planet. If you watch no other television this week, watch this programme - simply wonderful television, I could even forgive the occasional global warming narrative. The most spectacular scenery, mind boggling facts and close-ups of animals in the raw.

The perils of name badges

Yesterday I was at a client where I met a young lady who I had not met before. Nobody introduced us and having discussed work matters for a few minutes it was then embarrassing to ask her name, she already knew mine.

I thought a quick glance at her name badge which was attached to her top would be the best move. So whilst she was talking to me I let my gaze drop to her badge and as I looked back up to her face, she looked most disapprovingly at me... I was looking at her badge to find out what her name was, she obviously thought I was looking at her breasts (well one of them).

I was too embarrassed to explain so it now looks as though I now have a client where one member of staff thinks I look at the breasts of staff and may be telling her colleagues this; what should I do?

Happy Divali

A happy Divali to all of my Hindu readers and friends.


Diwali ki Shubhkamnayein

Should Nick Clegg declare a conflict of interest?

Nick Clegg worked as an M.E.P. for just under five years before entering British national politics. As a result of that position, he 'earned' a pension worth up to £6,000 a year which is more than the basic UK pension that it can take a lifetime of work to earn. More troubling it seems that EU pensions are paid only if the recipient does nothing to harm the interests of the European Union. According to Article 213 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (my emphasis):
'The Members of the Commission shall, in the general interest of the Community, be completely independent in the performance of their duties.

In the performance of these duties, they shall neither seek nor take instructions from any government or from any other body. They shall refrain from any action incompatible with their duties. Each Member State undertakes to respect this principle and not to seek to influence the Members of the Commission in the performance of their tasks.

The Members of the Commission may not, during their term of office, engage in any other occupation, whether gainful or not. When entering upon their duties they shall give a solemn undertaking that, both during and after their term of office, they will respect the obligations arising therefrom and in particular their duty to behave with integrity and discretion as regards the acceptance, after they have ceased to hold office, of certain appointments or benefits. In the event of any breach of these obligations, the Court of Justice may, on application by the Council or the Commission, rule that the Member concerned be, according to the circumstances, either compulsorily retired in accordance with Article 216 or deprived of his right to a pension or other benefits in its stead.'
Do the same provisions apply to MEP's pensions? If so shouldn't Nick Clegg declare his conflict of interest between the interests of the United Kingdom and the European Union?

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Troll of the week?

An anonymous commenter to this piece has commented thus:
'Comparing him to Barack Obama why? Because he's black and a politician? I'd hope not - you could have posted this without mention of Obama, but as you chose not to it does make me wonder if you're being a little bit racist...'
Wonder no more Anonymous, I am definitely not a racist. However posting remarks like you did does make me wonder if you really are a only a troll, could you perhaps be worse than that...
NCF

It's the way the BBC tell 'em

The BBC report that:
'David Cameron has defeated a bid to grant a referendum on EU membership, despite the largest rebellion against a Tory prime minister over Europe.

The motion was defeated by 483 votes to 111, after all Tory, Lib Dem and Labour MPs had been instructed to oppose it.

In total, 79 Tories voted for the motion while two Conservative tellers, plus two other Tory MPs who abstained, effectively defied the whips.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the revolt was a "humiliation" for the PM.

"If he can't win the argument with his own backbenchers, how can the country have confidence that he can win the arguments that matter for Britain?" he said.'
So that was just Conservative MPs rebelling against their party leader's instructions was it? Of course not, the figures are here where they are shown by Party so the Conservative MPs come first.
I count 19 Labour MPs, 1 Lib Dem MP, 1 Green MP, 8 Democratic Unionist MPss and 1 Independent MP.

Proportionately that's:
81/303 Conservative MPs - 26.7% rebellion
19/254 Labour MPs - 7.5% rebellion
1/57 Lib Dem MPs - 1.7% rebellion
So yes the Conservative rebellion was much larger than Labour's, but surely the Labour rebellion was worthy of mention near the top of that original BBC article rather than being hidden quite a long way down it.

It is interesting that the BBC's pin-up politician, their go to girl on so many subjects voted for a referendum; I wonder how the BBC will ask Caroline Lucas about that?

Monday, 24 October 2011

Rewarding Islamic terrorists

'It is no secret that Hamas was strengthened by the conclusion of its ransom deal with Israel in which over one thousand Palestinian terrorists were freed in exchange for the safe return of Gilad Shalit. But its Fatah rivals are not taking this triumph lying down. In the wake of the announcement that Hamas will be paying each of the released killers, almost all of whom are either directly or indirectly responsible for the murders of Jews, a bonus of $2,000, the Palestinian Authority has also decreed that it will be paying every one of the murderers a separate honorarium though the amount was not specified. '
Commentary Magazine has more on this, the BBC does not.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Do you have a dirty mind?


The assumption song!

The relationship between Scotland & the UK versus the UK & the EU

'DJ
It's very simple: if you want Scotland to withdraw from union with the rest of the UK, you're a plucky McPatriot, but if you want the UK to withdraw from union with the Continent, you're a xenophobic nutcase.'
Comment of the day on Biased BBC.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

How smart are you?

Try the Smart test

My score?

I must say that I am disappointed by being only 69.3% smarter than average... My problem was knowing the answers but not being quick enough on the touchpad...

Herman Cain has just gone up even higher in my estimation

From 1991 Herman Cain sings the praises of Pizza with two John Lennon parodies - "Imagine" and "Give Pizza a Chance"... Wonderfully done!

A better sense of humour than Barack Obama?

Why is the gold price down?

'- The '70's: Gold rose 2300% in the nine years from 1971 to 1980. Sure it is "up" 500% since 2000, but as the song lyrics go "you ain't seen nuthin' yet."
In 1972 it rose 49.7%, in 1973 +73.5%, 1974 +60.1%, and 1979 +140%.

- COT [*1]: The LARGE Commercial "shorts" are violently cutting their positions, absolutely slashing them in Gold & Silver. The 'futures market' data is reading it's most bullish since 2003. (Eight years ago Silver was $4.40/oz., it's over $30 at present). The big boys see what's ahead and are trying to shake the leaves from the tree (flush the weak hands and the retail investors) so they can scoop up more Gold & Silver while covering their 'shorts' at a lower cost.

- PHYSICAL: If you want to get 'physical' precious metals instead of 'paper' you'll have to pay a premium. The paper ETF's GLD and SLV hold no physical, and their trading at 'discounts' should be a clue to investors that they don't have much or any physical to back the paper they have sold. In contrast, Eric Sprott's ETV's (Silver) PSLV and (Gold) PHYS trade for premiums of 20.81% to NAV [*2] for Silver PSLV, and 3.15% to NAV for PHYS (close 19 Oct 11) because they are fully backed by physical inventory. If you can find some physical to hold yourself the premiums get even higher, but it might be a good time to think of yourself as your own Central Bank while the Bureaurats in Europe and at the FED talk themselvs to death while doing nothing tangible to solve the problem.'
More at Theo Spark from Rico.

The death of a tyrant

The BBC's coverage of the death of Colonel Gaddafi has been rather odd. The BBC have been forced to report that Gadaffi was a tyrant and ran a less than pleasant regime but this is at odds with their previous reporting of him as some sort of freedom fighter, standing up to the United States and the victim of Western aggression. The BBC instinctively support the United Nations, as they tend to support most supra-national bodies (although not NATO), and so I am not surprised to note that they have yet to investigate how it was that the country run by a tyrant like Gaddafi was elected to its Human Rights Council last year, to the Security Council in 2008-2009, and as General Assembly president in 2009. The BBC are also obsessively reporting the claims (almost certainly true) that Gadaffi was shot in the head after being captured and publicising the calls for an investigation. I do not remember the BBC being that bothered by calls for investigations into the numerous evils perpetrated by Gadaffi's regime, such a the murder of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, the massacre of 1,270 prisoners at Abu Salim Prison or the many other massacres carried out on Gadaffi's instructions since he started his rule of terror.

The BBC have also not been that interested in investigating Gadaffi's support for international terrorists including the IRA. On that subject it would be interesting to know if Martin McGuinness ever had any contact with Colonel Gadaffi during the period that Libya was supplying weapons to the IRA, weapons that were used to kill British soldiers and civilians.

Gadaffi was a very nasty man who ruled by the use of force and terror and was responsible for the deaths of many thousands of people including, those killed using weapons supplied by him, on British soil. Excuse me if I don't weap a tear because a Libyan decided that a bullet in the head was a reasonable way of ending his life.

Friday, 21 October 2011

A Rule 5 Friday Night Post - Holly Valance - NSFW

In celebration of the surprisingly buxom Strictly Come Dancing contestant Holy Valance, someone who I previously knew only from a Fosters lager advert, here are some research images.











And finally Holly Valance acts her way out of trouble in this excerpt from the film DOA

Nice use of a strategically placed towel..


Do some children use too much technology?

Has this baby been exposed to too much Apple technology?

The text that accompanies the video includes this thought:
'Technology codes our minds, changes our OS. Apple products have done this extensively. The video shows how magazines are now useless and impossible to understand, for digital natives. It shows real life clip of a 1-year old, growing among touch screens and print. And how the latter becomes irrelevant. '
Hmm is that baby really understanding what she is doing on the iPad? I am tempted to say no but those finger gestures do look convincing.

Mind you if the baby throws up over the iPad or even worse drops it off her highchair then I think her parents might think that paper is better!

The one hundred and forty ninth weekly "No shit, Sherlock" award

This week's award is presented to to Al Jazeera for this Tweet
'Op-ed: Conflict in #Israel-#Palestine could take generations to resolve, says @ahmedmoor aje.me/njO8fD'

I don't think that I could say anything other than "No shit, Sherlock"

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy...

and now France?
'France's Finance Minister Francois Baroin said Tuesday that the government would do everything in its power to maintain its triple-A rating after Moody's warned it may place the country on negative outlook.

"We will be there to preserve our triple-A rating... We will do everthing in our power not to be downgraded," Baroin told France 2 television after Moody's issued the warning, saying France's financial strength had weakened.

...

Moody's fired a warning shot at France on Monday saying it would determine over the coming three months whether Europe's second largest economy merited its stable status given its weakening economy.


If Moody's changes the French credit rating from stable to negative following that assessment then that would signal a likely downgrade in future, something the French government is anxious to avoid as it would lift the cost of borrowing.


If that is the case then France would follow in the unwilling footsteps of the United States.


In August, Standard & Poor's dealt the US its first-ever ratings downgrade.


France is rated triple-A by all three leading credit rating agencies, Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings.


Moody's said France's "financial strength has weakened, as it has for other euro area sovereigns, because the global financial and economic crisis has led to a deterioration in French government debt metrics -- which are now among the weakest of France's Aaa peers."'
Could the EuroZone bailout fund run to bailing out France?

Always the Jews, always the Jews


"Jews Have Been Run Out Of 109 Countries Throughout History And We Need to Run Them Out Of This One"
Patricia McAllister - nice woman?!
From the Occupy LA protests.

Hamas - Just listen to what they say?







So do you still think that Hamas want peace and a state to exist alongside Israel in a two-state solution? Do you really think that Hamas want a return to the pre 1967 war borders?

Hamas admit, no brag, that they want to destroy Israel, kill all Jews and impose Islam on the world. What more do they have to say for the BBC and others to portray their aims accurately? How have we come to a situation where Israel is described as aggressive for reacting disproportionately to Hamas attacks on Israel? How is it that Israel is castigated for not advancing the peace process whilst Hamas's hate-speech is ignored?


I have just realised that I never received a response to this complaint on a related matter, I suppose I should chase it up.

Chasing the BBC


In April I complained to the BBC about some 'deliberately misleading reporting' regarding the aftermath of the murder of the Fogel family. As six months have now passed without me receiving a reply I have sent the BBC a reminder....
 
Complaint type: BBC News
Location: England
What is your complaint about: BBC News Online
Address of the page: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13109092
Complaint category: Bias
Complaint summary: Deliberately misleading reporting
Full complaint: I originally complained about this report in April this year and have yet to receive a response. Here is the text of my original complaint. Your news piece about the arrest of two Palestinians for the brutal murder of five members of the Fogel family includes this: 'The murders were greeted with revulsion in Israel and were condemned by Palestinian leaders as well. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called them "immoral and inhuman".' OK that's the Palestinian Authority, what about Hamas? Here's what Hamas said to its Arab speaking audience: 'Five Zionist usurpers were killed the morning of Saturday, 12 March 2011, in a knife-stabbing carried out by a Palestinian in the usurper (settlement) of Itamar east of the city of Nablus. Our correspondent in Nablus reported that a Palestinian mujahid was able to break into the usurper (settlement) of “Itamar” south of Nablus in the occupied (West) Bank, and stabbed five Zionist usurpers. Zionist media sources said that “A Palestinian broke into the usurper (settlement) between the hours of 9:30 – 11:00 PM, and killed five usurpers from one family while they were sleeping.” They confirmed that the perpetrator of the act was able to escape.' Doesn't sound like a condemnation to me, how about you? So why are the BBC misleading the British people? Or did you not know what Hamas said about the murder of the Fogel family? If the latter is the case then you do now so please report what Hamas have said.
Receive a reply: Yes
Contacted us before: Yes
Complaint related to previous contact: Yes
Reason for contacting again: Haven't received a response yet
Title:Mr
First name: NotaSheep
Surname: MaybeaGoat
Email address: notasheepmaybeagoat@gmail.com
Under 13: No

Bin day

It's bin day today and all around the immediate area are torn bags with the resultant rubbish strewn across the pavement and road. I don't know if the bag destroying is carried out by foxes, crows or some other form of wildlife but it is disfiguring & disgusting and rather importantly, it is preventable. The reason people such as I put out our bin bags early in the morning rather than last thing at night is that it reduces to almost nil the chances of our bags being split asunder.

So a plea to you all; please put your bin bags out on the morning of the collection and help to keep our neighbourhoods tidy - thank you.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The graphs that speak volumes


Take a look at the above graphs of Income distribution in the UK from 1962 to there's quite a lot to look at but one factor that I think most interesting is the appearance at the far right end of the scale of the line of people earning more than £1,100 a week (at 2005/06 prices). This line appears for the first time in 1982 and rises until steadily until 1992 when it settles down at about one thousand individuals. Now click on through the years and note how that line shoots up after 1997 all the way through to 2005. Now does that not mean that the 'super-rich' only really started to appear in numbers under the last Labour government?

Oddly that is not the point that the BBC's Mark Easton made in his blog entry which is where I found the graphs...

The release of Gilad Shalit

Yesterday's release of Gilad Shalit from his terrorist kidnappers in Gaza has left me conflicted. On the one hand I feel joy for Gilad and his family & friends that he is released from his illegal captivity but on the other hand I fear that the price paid my be too high.

I have a tough few days ahead of me so here are some interesting views about the 'prisoner swap' that I have found on the web:
1) Melanie Phillips has her own views on the Egyptian media interview with Gilad Shalit, something I have noticed the BBC have only alluded to but that I think shows the true nature of Hamas and the new Egypt. Melanie Phillips also picks up on some BBC bias. The BBC biased against Israel, what a shock!

2) Jihad Watch contrast the physical appearance of Gilad Shalit after five years illegal detention in Gaza with that of the Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli jails.

3) Haaretz asks 'Who are the Palestinian prisoners set for release in Shalit deal?' and reveals the unsurprising news that 'New details reveal prisoners include terrorists involved in planning and carrying out attacks at checkpoints, restaurants and army bases.'

'More than 100 are hardcore militants, serving multiple life-sentences for high-casualty suicide bombings - one life-sentence for each fatality in the attacks they were convicted of helping to plan and implement.

Among the prisoners included for release are Nasser Yataima, who was sentenced to 29 life sentences for the 2002 bombing of a Netanya hotel on Passover; Yussuf Dhib Hamed Abu Aadi, who was convicted of stabbing IDF soldier Nir Kahana at the Qalandiya checkpoint in 2005 and was sentenced to life in prison; and Nahid Abd al-Rauf al-Fakhuri, who recruited suicide bombers in Hebron and was sentenced to 22 years in jail.

Other prisoners set for release include:

Ayad Musa Salem Abayat – Convicted of being part of a group that killed IDF soldiers Lt. David-Hen Cohen and Sgt. Shlomo Adshina, and assisting the group that murdered Dvora Friedman in March 2003. He was sentenced to three life sentences.

Kamal Abd al-Rahrnan Arif Awd – Convicted of placing a bomb in Netanya in 2001. The bomb was discovered by security forces before it exploded. He also took part in several unsuccessful shootings.Sentenced to 19 years in prison.

Ashraf Khalid Husain Hanani – Arrested in 2006 in Jerusalem's Old City carrying an explosive. The military court sentenced him to 28 years in prison. The judges wrote in their verdict against Hanani that "this is not a passive person who was being played by whoever sent him, but a person who demonstrated great will to carry out the attack, who took part in the preparations, who offered the location of the attack and the route, and who was caught carrying the explosive belt on his way… to murder as many as possible."

Lui Muhammad Ahmed Awda – A Tanzim member who tried to organize a suicide attack in Jerusalem in 2003. The suicide bomber was shot and killed by Border Patrol officers. Awda was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

Ibrahim Muhammad Yunus Dar Musa - Took part in the attacks in Zrifin army base and the Hillel coffee shop in Jerusalem in 2003 by distributing to the media tapes of the suicide bombers. Sentenced to 17 years for having prior knowledge of the attack.

Amjad Ahmad Muhammad Abu Arqub – Recruited the man who carried out the attack in Carmei Tzur, in which two civilians and a female soldiers were killed. Sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Samir Faisal Sawafita – Active in Hamas operations in the northern West Bank. Hid an explosive belt, and drove two suicide bombers who failed their mission. Was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Ramzi Ibrahim Muhammad al-Ak – Convicted over links to firing toward the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, placing explosive devices, as well as bringing together a suicide bomber and a terror squad in a bombing which resulted in the death of two people. Was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Kabel Sami Mustafa Sha'abl – Aided a suicide bombing in the entrance to the West Bank city of Ariel in October 2002, which resulted in the death of 3 people. Was sentenced to 25 years in prison. '


The BBC are keen to report that Gilad Shalit statement that he wants to work for peace the BBC seem somewhat more reluctant to report that Khaled Mashal, the Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, told the media last week that "Those released will return to armed struggle. It is a great national achievement."

It's an interesting comparison to make but not one that the BBC seemed at all interested in making.

It seems rather likely that a large number of the Palestinian terrorists and others now released from Israeli jails will return to terrorist activities and that as a result more innocent Israelis will be killed or maimed. I wonder how/if the BBC will report such incidents?

Genius on display at the Occupy Wall Street 'protest' - NSFW language


Howard Stern's Richard and Sal talk to Occupy Wall Street 'protesters'.
'Abolish money... ration sh*t out'

I do know people who think like that and you just can't debate with them, they rarely have the mental tools to do so.

The BBC are reporting the OWS and its British offshoot with the uncritical line that they reserve for the protests of the usual lefty suspects. Elsewhere on the web there are more intellectually critical or analytical offerings:
At the rsk of inciting my 'Glenn Beck's a moron' commenters, here are some questions that Glenn Beck would like answered about the OWS movement:
'WHO STARTED OCCUPY WALL STREET?
>> WHO IS THE FATHER OF OWS?
>> HOW DID THIS MOVEMENT START?
>> WHO PLANNED THIS EVENT?
>> WHO IS PAYING FOR THE MADISON AVENUE MARKETING FIRM? THE NEWSPAPERS? THE FLYERS?
>> WHAT ROLE DID SEIU PLAY IN THE PLANNING OF THIS EVENT?
>> WHO IS STEPHEN LEARNER?
>> WHO IS VAN JONES?
>> WHAT IS THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS?
>> WHO IS GEORGE SOROS?
>> WHAT IS HIS RELATIONSHIP TO CAP?
>> IS HE A CRONY CAPITALIST?
>> DOES HE PAY HIS FAIR SHARE?
>> IS HE GETTING RICH OFF OF THE CORRUPT SYSTEM OF WALL STREET SPECULATION?
>> HOW DOES HE MAKE HIS MONEY?
>> HE MADE $7 BILLION DOLLARS LAST YEAR PERSONALLY THROUGH HIS HEDGE FUND AND INVESTMENTS — IS THAT OKAY? IF YES, WHY? IF NO, WHY?'

Meanwhile WSJ has polled the OWS 'protesters' and discovered that they are not as cuddly as the BBC and other left-wing media would like you to believe (my emphasis):
'Our research shows clearly that the movement doesn't represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse. Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence. Half (52%) have participated in a political movement before, virtually all (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, and nearly one-third (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda. '

31% would support violence, here's someone who wants to go further:

'Radical labor organizer Stephen Lerner of SEIU intends to terrorize the families of bank executives in their homes.

Lerner, a prime architect of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, said this to Marxists at the left-wing Taking the American Dream Back conference in Washington, D.C., on October 3, 2011.

Like any good Alinskyite organizer Lerner poses as a mere liberal instead of as an anti-American radical.

If Lerner gets his way, more labor and leftist-inspired violence and mayhem are on their way.'
Thank heavens there are no followers of Saul Alinsky in positions of power in the USA... What do you say? What about Barack Obama?


Thanks to Biased BBC for the video spot.

Compare and contrast media attention (an update)

I have received a few derogatory posts from anonymous commenters, some of which I posted and some of which I deemed not worthy of your time or my space. Once comment that I did post is from Biased-BBC's Craig  who has posted this relevant piece about the very different ways that the BBC have reported the Tea Party protests and those of Occupy Wall Street.

As so often is the case with the BBC, the bias is clear and obvious to anyone with an open mind. Unfortunately there are too many people in the UK (some of whom insist on infesting this blog) who have made up their minds that the BBC's impartiality is beyond question and that I and others who point out their insidious bias are in some way deluded.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The envy of the world?

"The NHS is the envy of the world",  so the campaigners tell us when changes to the NHS are discussed; "the envy of the world". Total crap of course; if it was the envy of the world then surely other countries would be queueing up to copy its features. Instead of which they have a selection of other systems that vary quite widely from the NHS's free state provision model.

Two articles about the NHS that appeared on the same page of Sunday's Telegraph really spoke to me. The first told a horrible story of NHS ineptitude and neglect, here's a brief extract from a harrowing tale:
'When Adam Rodin took his 93-year-old father Sam to hospital for breathing difficulties, he was confident that he was in the right hands.

Not only had Mr Rodin had always had good health, the family were confident they could navigate the NHS: Adam is a a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Barnet Hospital, his wife Bridget is a retired nurse, and his twin brother Andrew is a consultant physician.

But Mr Rodin died five weeks after being admitted with breathing difficulties to a large teaching hospital in
London.

This weekend his son came forward - despite working in the NHS - to accuse those who were supposed to care for his father of a string of failings.
Mr Rodin jnr said that his father was not fed properly, losing a third of his body weight in hospital, that he was shunted between 15 wards in six weeks, that there was a lack of communication among staff, and finally, that a nurse berated his family for giving the 93 year-old water within his earshot.'

The second story is even more harrowing and disgusting and involves the use of 'DNR' orders. This Telegraph article reports the findings of spot checks of 100 hospitals undertaken by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), an official watchdog, earlier this year.
'A charity for the elderly said the disclosures were evidence of "euthanasia by the backdoor," with potentially-lethal notices being placed on the files of patients simply because they were old and frail.'
There are plenty iof examples, here are just a few:
'* Inspectors who visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital, run by University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation trust, found no evidence that any of the patients whose files were marked DNR had been informed about the decision, nor their relatives told. The hospital's own audit showed that in one ward, 30 per cent of cases did not involve any such conversations.

* At University Hospitals Bristol Foundation trust, there was no evidence that a DNR order placed on a patient had been discussed with the person or next of kin. A junior doctor told inspectors that they did "not tend to discuss" such decisions with families.

* At Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, run by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital trust, a patient was labelled as DNR based on old medical notes from a previous admission – despite the fact their health had improved.

* Asked how decisions to make such orders were made, staff at Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation trust gave an example of an elderly person on the ward with health problems judged to make "resuscitation less appropriate". The doctor involved did not know if the patient or an advocate had been asked for an opinion, or told that the notice had been imposed.'

This Do Not Resuscitate policy comes very close to state sponsored secret euthanasia and should not happen in a modern, caring, patient-centred health service. The NHS seems to be increasingly run for its staff's benefit not for its patients. The last set of findings released late last week showed that one in five NHS hospitals were actually breaking the law and that in 20 hospitals nursing care was so poor that it breached the Health and Social Care Act 2008. If the law was broken, who has been prosecuted? Nurses have tortured elderly patients by depriving them of water, administrators have been complicit in this torture by requiring form-filling to take priority over patient care, and so on.

When I was in my teens and early 20s I knew quite a few nurses (SRN and SEN) and the care they showed for patients and their adherence to rules of hygiene were laudable. Now nursing has become a degree entry career, the nurses are deemed to be above emptying bed pans or giving care and attention to sick patients. Instead these roles are carried out by often unqualified auxiliaries whilst the nurses sit behind desks on the ward and elsewhere and ensure that all necessary boxes are ticked. The death of a patient requires just another tick, caring for a patient means getting up and talking to & reassuring a scared old lady or gentleman.


The NHS needs improvement and modernisation if it it is ever to be the envy of the world. Will the Conservative party be allowed to carry out such improvements by the chattering classes for whom an NHS that mistreats and often no longer really cares properly for patients is still 'the envy of the world'?

Monday, 17 October 2011

Well stone the dog...

Do you remember the BBC's story about the Jerusalem court ordered stoning of a dog? I blogged about it at the time and the BBC's apology was mealy-mouthed at best. So I was interested to read Stinky Journalism's piece on the affair, a great read and most illuminating about the way the BBC seem to actively look for anti-Israel stories.
'...it's obvious the BBC didn't approach this dog stoning story with skepticism. As the Christian Science Monitor summarized

"This story has it all. Religious zealots! Animal rights activists! Blood libel! Children! ... Best of all, it runs under 200 words and stars a dog."

The Baltimore Sun also published a blog post by Rabbi Yaakov Menken on the dog stoning story. Rabbi Menken founded and directs Jewish cyber-outreach organization Project Genesis.

In his blog post, Rabbi Menken criticized the media for failing to ask if this dog stoning story was even plausible. He noted that the media could have - but didn't - "fact check with an Orthodox Rabbi."

Rabbi Menken commented that "only a fool would call [the dog stoning story errors] an innocent mistake." He went on to state that "the underlying problem is not the simple publication of an obviously false story. It is that the reporters were so ignorant in matters religious, especially with regards to Orthodox Judaism, that they found the story even remotely believable."'

I am sorry to ruin your Monday morning but economically we are well and truly f***ed

Ludwig von Mises wrote that 'there is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.'
 
The Central Banks and their associates in government are trying to put off the evil day but that day will come. The problem is that Capitalism has been replaced by Corporatism is recent years and thus whilst Capitalism works through trial and error in free markets to find an optimal allocation of resources, Corporatism works by fixing the markets. We have had over a decade of central banks deliberately providing cheap & easy credit thus negating the existence of Capitalism. Under Capitalism losses are penalised, under corporatism loss making banks are instead bailed out or otherwise protected - thus we reach the position where a €2 trillion bailout fund is required. That's not €2 billion but €2 trillion; I have explained before how big a trillion is.

Central banks egged on by unscrupulous governments kept interest rates far too low for far too long. This engineered a boom, a fake one but a boom nonetheless, this boom enabled Gordon Brown and others to claim that they had 'ended boom and bust' and to increase taxation just less than the increase in (albeit fake ) wealth that the middle classes experienced as house prices rose. The US housing bubble also resulted from easy credit and liberal guilt over the comparative difficulty some blacks had in getting mortgage credit.

The trouble is that we are now in a situation where it is not the banks that might fail, but countries. If the banks are "too big to fail" what about Greece, Italy, Spain, the UK the USA?

We are well and truly f***ed, there's bugger all most people can do about it and as savings become worthless through the vicissitudes of inflation we may as well spend the lot - the decision is should it be a new car, new kitchens and holidays... or gold, generators and guns?

Thank heavens for the bottomless public purse

I caught an interview on the Radio 4 Today programme this morning with a spokesman for the Childrens Society. He seemed most exercised that so many children, around 700, had been held for between 8 and 10 (but 'a number' for up to 24 hours at Heathrow Airport. The children were held on suspicion of being trafficked or claiming asylum but the spokesman's main concern was that the conditions they were being held in were 'degrading'.

Some points struck me, first that although he was reminded that that the vast majority were held for 8-12 hours he kept saying that 'a number' were held for up to 24 hours. 'A number' - how many? 1 is a number.The second point was that he was calling for the children to be released from Heathrow Airport and sent to local authority care as soon as possible. Thank heavens for the bottomless public purse that can afford to house an infinite number of needy foreigners.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

"Disco ball, freaky pirate, long nails"


Another literal music video from the 1980s, this time Dead or Alive with 'You Spin Me Around'

'Having Kids is a Waste of Money' - and lots of it

According to research by LV=, the cost of raising a child until their 21st birthday is now almost £211,000, compared to £140,398 back in 2003 when the firm first looked into the subject.

Here’s how LV= has broken down those costs, which was put together with the help of the Centre of Economic and Business Research:
Expenditure
Total cost in 2010
Total cost in 2009
Total cost in 2003 (first year of report)
Childcare & Babysitting
£67,430
£65,699
£39,613
Education
£55,660
£52,881
£32,593
Food
£18,518
£17,490
£14,918
Clothing
£15,683
£14,035
£11,360
Holidays
£14,052
£13,207
£11,458
Hobbies & Toys
£10,565
£10,780
£8,861
Leisure and Recreation
£8,147
£7,772
£6,366
Pocket Money
£4,543
£4,338
£3,386
Furniture
£2,798
£2,770
£2,074
Personal care
£1,164
£1,107
£925
Other (includes driving lessons, first car, birthday and Christmas presents)
£12,287
£11,731
£8,845
TOTAL
£210,848
£201,809
£140,398

Love Money have the full details...

A schoolboy error in The Telegraph

Yesterday's Telegraph included an article by David Crystal about covering the history of English in 100 words. It's a fascinating piece but totally spoilt by its last sentence:
'If a present-day Dr Who were to travel back to AD 449, when the first Anglo-Saxon boats arrived, his biggest issue would not be alien monsters, but getting the Anglo-Saxons to understand his alien words.'
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear; as everybody should know, the Doctor would have no problem making himself understood and indeed understanding what was being said to him, being as the TARDIS has a universal translator function that translates for every occupant of the TARDIS.

One Israeli soldier's freedom means a lot of scum are to be freed

The young Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is to be freed but inb return over a thousand Palestinan prisoners are to be released from Israeli jails. Idiot commentatoirs on this blog have called them children, here's a list of some of the more prominent scum from Reuters.

'YEHYA AL-SINWAR: born in 1962 in Khan Younis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. He founded a security service called "Majd" in the 1980s shortly after Hamas was established. It cracked down on Palestinians suspected of collaboration with Israel, many of whom were killed. He is regarded as perhaps the most senior figure to be released. His brother is the Hamas armed commander Mohammed Al-Sinwar, whom some Israelis say helped plan the cross-border raid in 2006 in which Shalit was captured.

AHLAM TAMIMI: born in 1980, she worked as a reporter with a local television station before joining the Hamas armed wing. She helped choose places for suicide attacks and was accused of taking some of the suicide bombers to these locations, including a Jerusalem pizzeria in 2001, where 15 people were killed. She received 16 life sentences. A Palestinian source said Tamimi would be exiled to Jordan.

QAHERA ASSADI: born in 1976 in the West Bank City of Jenin. She was arrested in 2002 and charged by Israel with recruiting militants, smuggling weapons and escorting suicide bombers to attack targets on behalf of the Islamic Jihad movement. Assadi was sentenced to three life terms in jail, and given an additional 30-year term.

AMANA MONA: a Palestinian activist from Bir Nabala. In Jan. 2001, Mona, then aged 24, used an Internet chatroom and promises of sex to lure a 16-year-old Israeli to his death. She pretended to be an American tourist and persuaded him to go with her to the West Bank where he was shot dead. She was given a life sentence. MOHAMMED AL-SHARATHA: born in 1957 in the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip. He was a leader of the Hamas special elite fighting unit "101" which kidnapped two Israeli soldiers, Ilan Saa'don and Avi Sasbortas, in 1989. The two soldiers were killed. Sharatha was arrested in 1989 and sentenced to three life terms and a separate 30-year-term.

KARIM and MAHER YOUNIS: the two brothers were found guilty in 1983 of the murder of Israeli soldier Avi Bromberg, who disappeared in 1980 after leaving his military base in the Golan Heights. They were sentenced to death but this was later commuted to life in prison.
SAMI YOUNIS: at 78, he is widely reported to be the oldest Palestinian prisoner held by Israel. He was also convicted of planning and carrying out the Bromberg kidnapping.

NAEL AL-BARGHOUTHI: known as the dean of the Palestinian prisoners who has spent 33 years behind bars. He was arrested in 1978 and accused of being part of a Fatah hit squad which killed an Israeli. "After 30 years of captivity, we are just soldiers returning to their bases," he told a Palestinian newspaper on hearing of his imminent release.'
So Israel free hundreds of muderers and accoridng to The Jerusalem Post there is even more inequity in the deal:
'Hamas did not agree to an Israeli request to abandon a policy of future IDF kidnappings as part of the prisoner-swap agreement with Israel, a Palestinian source told the London-based Al Hayat on Friday.

According to the source, Israel – which will release more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for kidnapped tank gunner Gilad Schalit – agreed not to target any of the prisoners once they have been freed.

...

A Hamas official in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, told Al Hayat that Israel was obligated to refrain from targeting any of the Palestinian prisoners as a part of the agreement'