Thursday, November 30, 2006

They Hate Us for Our Freedoms, most definitely

A couple of groups of indebted tossers I didn’t mention in my earlier post were the Labour and Conservative parties.

According to the
Electoral Commission the Tories (the people behind Sort-It) owe £35m and the Labour party owes £23m.

What’s particularly amusing about the prospect of one or both of our main political parties going bankrupt is that NOBODY GIVES A FLYING FUCK IF THEY DO GO BUST.

After all they've done for us, eh? How ungrateful is that?

In fact, I suspect more than one or two people quite relish the prospect.
Given all the unrepresentative crap we’ve been subject to in this country for the last couple of decades, even the slightest possibility of our faux bipartisan political system crumbling because the two parties have busted themselves paying for one glossy advert too many is, quite frankly, delightful.

Admittedly, it would be like watching Al Capone go down for tax evasion rather than racketeering and murder but, fuck it, beggars can’t be choosers.

Our ruling political party was elected by just a fifth of the eligible population, more votes were cast against it than for it, yet it still commands an absolute parliamentary majority and, worst of all, a large number of its constituent MPs have continued to support wank legislation and rank behaviour that they know full well to be morally repugnant.

Fuck ‘em.

It would almost be worth embracing my Catholic upbringing just so I could start believing in Hell and fantasise about all those bastards burning there one day.

Backingblair, the website and campaign set up by people loyal to what they thought were Labour Party principles, as opposed to the principles of the Blair government, shut up shop a while ago. Which is a shame as I just loved their videos – especially this one and this one. Oh, and this one.

... and definitely this one

To quote from their closing statement on the
Backingblair homepage (which is worth reading in full)…

There are a number of things that the Blair government has condoned, allowed, enabled or instigated ... that are well out of order; 'little' things like pre-emptive military strikes, the use of media, black propaganda and even legislation to stifle dissent, detention without trial, torture and murder... we could go on and on.

Apparently we were supposed to stand by and let all of this happen so we didn't undermine the Labour Party.

Sorry, but no.

The best way to address the problem was to call Tony Blair to account - and do so while he still held office. This would have sent a message that governance through lies, spin and fear simply wouldn't be tolerated.

Sadly, it now appears that the majority of our representatives are so power-hungry, cowardly, browbeaten and/or hamstrung that Blair will be allowed to leave quietly via the back door.
This disgraceful state of affairs has done more to undermine the Labour Party than anything we could have managed.

It also leaves us with a big problem; the next set of dirt-bags who gain overall power will operate knowing that they can mislead the public on a grand scale (with the most severe of consequences) and still remain in power.

Actually, I think the people behind Backingblair are selling themselves short. Blogs and activist sites like Backingblair currently seem to be the most annoying thing on politicians’, and journalists’, radar. Both groups seem to be obsessed with blogs and are bending over backwards in their attempts to subvert or hijack the medium.

Hence the proliferation of me-too websites and blogs set up by political parties which are, without exception, mendacious, tedious and crap and the curiously ambivalent approach taken by ‘serious’ news outlets which involves flip-flopping between saying how shit amateur content is and announcing initiatives to scrounge submissions of User (i.e. unpaid for) Content.

What neither group, politicians or journalists, is willing to face up to is that an ever-growing number of people think that most politicians and journalists are lying, self-serving bastards and are frustrated that, thanks to our voting system and our buttoned-down media, they cannot express their contempt in a constructive way.

Which is a very good thing indeed. Not as an end in itself but as milestone towards maybe creating something better.

I wouldn’t, however, recommend holding our breath waiting for politicians or journalists to help create something better. What they would much prefer doing is finding a way of shutting us all up. Tony Blair’s ex Chief Strategy Adviser, Matthew Taylor, gave a blinding interview on the subject of political net content a few weeks ago..

Web Fuelling Crisis in Politics

"We have a citizenry which can be caricatured as being increasingly unwilling to be governed but not yet capable of self-government,"

"The internet has immense potential but we face a real problem if the main way in which that potential expresses itself is through allowing citizens to participate in a shrill discourse of demands.

"What is the big breakthrough, in terms of politics, on the web in the last few years? It's basically blogs which are, generally speaking, hostile and, generally speaking, basically see their job as every day exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are.

"The internet is being used as a tool of mobilisation, which is fantastic, but it only adds to the growing, incommensurate nature of the demands being made on government."

Personally, the only demand I would make of Taylor is that he go fuck himself and learn some humility in the process

On second thoughts, maybe I shouldn’t write things like that. Maybe I should subject myself to some kind of Voluntary Code. The kind of
Voluntary Code for Blogs being advocated by the likes of the Press Complaints Commission and that most saintly and truthful of public figures Alastair Campell.

No, I've just thought about and after careful consideration I've decided that they can go fuck themselves too


And for a taste of how the same debate is being advanced by our American cousins I strongly recommend watching this clip of former Speaker Newt Gingrich explaining why Americans should do-away with free speech, particularly on the Internet, before one of their cities is destroyed by terrorists.


Yes indeed,
free expression really can destroy cities.

Could you make it up if you tried?

Well, at least it makes for a pleasant change from invoking the threat of on-line paedophiles. Maybe it’s their turn to be cited as the reason for clamping down on what people can say and do next week.

The Paedo-Finder General - serious about child safety

Or maybe it’s the turn of on-line file sharing networks.

I lose track.

Just who is it who hates us for our freedoms again?

I lose track of that as well


And as I've maxed out on the swears in this post I may as well go the whole hog and gratuitously slap in this photo that's been sitting in my 'to upload' pile for ages now...


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ludicrous Diversion redux

Back in September an anonymous video called Ludicrous Diversion appeared on Google Video.

Ludicrous Diversion is a half-hour long summary of many of the key reasons why some of us out here retain serious doubts about the official narrative of the London Bombings.

In terms of its factual content there was little to quibble about but it was released anonymously, is quite professional looking and teeters dangerously close to the brink of qualifying as fear porn. There’s a lot of fear porn around these days, particularly on the Internet. Material that paints a picture of Dark Forces at work in our World that are so ruthless and so powerful that there is nothing ordinary people can do to stop them

Remember, Resistance is Futile - and now for some other important messages from our sponsors...

The current undisputed King of Internet Fear Porn is
this bloke here...

Personally, the scariest thing about Alex Jones' work to me is the fact that he is only 32. If you ever watch one of his videos or listen to him on the radio you’ll swear that he’s about 55 and an old 55 at that. What has he been doing to himself?

No, scratch that question. I really don't want to know the answer.

Incidentally, Alex Jones' team are currently doing sterling work on the Litvinenko poisoning and have established without any shadow of a doubt that the person behind it was... Vladimir Putin. Which is another, admittedly small, reason to at least think about looking elsewhere for potential culprits.

That's not to say I'm not a heavy user of Alex Jones' material. His sites frequently include some real pearls such as this picture of spiffy new insignia being used by some British policemen posted here...

but I never forget that any Jedi Grand Master of Bullshit knows that the True Path to Disenlightenment requires selling a carefully crafted package of 95% truth, 5% dung.

Anyway, a few of us out here in etherspace had lingering doubts about the intentions of the producers of Ludicrous Diversion and squawked to that effect

So, it’s nice to see an interview given by Ludicrous Diversion’s makers to the people behind the July 7th Truth Campaign which has just gone up on the July 7th Truth website. They’re still anonymous and the essentially pessimistic nature of their film is not denied but as the makers say…

The public has already, for the most part, put the bombings behind them. The media obstinately refuse to reopen or requestion the London bombings. The British army is still entrenched in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the powers of the police are seemingly extended every week – most recently with the announcement of fingerprint scans by traffic police, the installation of iris scans at several UK airports, and the absurd ID card scheme which is little more than an appalling theft of huge amounts of tax payers money at a time when hospitals and schools are closing all across the UK.

We believe it is essential for us all to accept now that the absolute truth of the London bombings will never be revealed beyond reasonable doubt. The important thing is to make people understand that what can be revealed is still worth revealing, not least the completely illegitimate role of the media in creating the official story, the mindset of the police that the public are not entitled to see the evidence, but should accept what they are told on trust, and the obstinate refusal of the government to present even a pretence of a proper investigation into the worst attack on British soil since the second world war.

And if you're one of those members of the public who hasn’t put the bombings behind them and have already watched Ludicrous Diversion it’s still worth opening up the video on Google again just to read through some of the comments left by a hardworking, but intellectually challenged, shill down the right hand side. For example...

Hannif - How dare you besmirch my wonderous brothers, who gave their lives in martydom acts for all oppressed muslims everywhere.

Izadeen - the prophet will reward July 7 martys for their wonderful acts, and your stupid conspiracys will not take a way their sacrifice. We will slit you like pigs on the day of our rising

Dhul Fiqar - Blair can pay you to make this rubish to deny the great sacrifice of my muslim brothers, but all your laws will not stop us. We will revence.

Qasim - This is another Blair trick to deny what Muslims were willing to do. You will see us again and then your lies will be exposed

Yeah right, I so definitely believe that four psychotic whitey-hating jihadists watched the video and left four separate comments that reinforce War on Terror cliches within an hour of each other.

So, let's just say that a healthy degree of scepticism, be it with the comments accompanying a video or the video itself, is never a bad idea.

And you’ve got to ask yourself, what kind of person would make up stuff like that or, more to the point, why?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Tosser Within

The UK base interest rate
went up to 5% this month.


But average house prices went up by 8%.

Which presumably means that, as a UK homeowner, I must be somehow, er, richer


It’s a funny game this interest rate lark. Eight democratically unaccountable people sit in a room in the Bank of England and basically get to decide how much debt the rest of us can be induced into taking on and whether we are able to service that debt afterwards.

And for quite a few years now they’ve decided that an absolutely stonking amount of debt is a very good thing indeed.

And when they get round to deciding that there’s enough debt out there they’ll jack up the interest rates some more and fuck a few million people six ways from Sunday...

By no stretch of the imagination could I be considered a fan of banking and bankers.

But, it has to be said, that they are clever, clever bastards

I remember the first time someone explained to me how fractional reserve banking works – bank customer deposits £100 and bank pays 4% interest, bank then lends £1,000 off the back of that £100 and charges 7% - and saying to myself ‘That’s fraud isn’t it?’

Well, it is isn’t it?

I mean if the banks are just allowed to make up money and charge interest on it why can’t we all pay them back in kind with our own made up cash? Paying off your mortgage with Monopoly Money sure would beat having to do a shit job you don’t like very much or run the risk of having your house taken away from you because some c^nt in the Bank of England decides the interest cost of fantasy pounds, in terms of your labour, will be higher this month.

That’s where Keynes went wrong. His idea that economies could be sustained in troubled times by governments simply printing money and burying it for people to dig up and spend is so obviously nonsense. What Keynes should have advocated is private companies rather than governments being allowed to create money out of thin air and charging a premium for it rather than simply giving it away. That makes much more sense.

There is, of course, the small issue of the problems associated with there being too much made up money in circulation. Prices are bound to go up.

So maybe my flat isn’t worth 8% more than it was last year? Maybe the pound is just worth 8% less?

Of course, that can’t be right as inflation is only running at 2.5%.

I know this is so because the government tells me so.

But house prices are rising at 8%?

Domestic energy bills have risen by 38%?

The cost of pretty much all the necessities of life seem to rising at a way faster rate than 2.5% and if you start to factor in the impact of interest rate rises and the disproportionate impact increases in indirect taxes have on low to middle income earners it does seem to be much harder to make ends meet than it was, say, ten years ago.

Off the top of my head, it’s hard to believe that anyone could possibly believe that inflation is only running a 2.5%. Unless their lifestyle is based on the existence of a burgeoning army of low-paid migrants, consumption of cheap imported crap from 3rd world sweatshops and filling in any shortfalls in their personal finances by not providing for their future and loading up on personal debt



Still, no matter, everything will be fine unless the bankers jack up interest rates, constrict money supply and bankrupt a shit load of people who will then have to flog whatever they own for pennies in the pound to people who were clever enough, or well-informed enough, to get well-clear in time.

Just as well that sort of thing never happens. Well, only occasionally.

I still fondly remember back to 1992 when interest rates went up from 10% to 15% in one day and all the homeowners I was working with, people already hit by a slump in property prices, were sitting there, ashen faced, twiddling with pocket calculators, trying to figure out what the fuck they were going to do. Everyone was having a right old laugh I can tell you.

Negative equity means never having to pay off a £200,000 loan on a £200,000 property when a £300,000 loan on the same property at a higher interest rate will do.

And you’ve got to ask yourself why is your average punter so fucking pig ignorant of how money and credit work. Is that ignorance accidental?

Anyway, I mention all of this because of a bizarre wee website, dedicated to cautioning people against excessive spending and debt, that I’ve just visited…

I strongly recommend visiting it if for no other reason than to watch a video called 'The Tosser Inside'…

'Inside all of us lies a conniving dirty little parasite; the tosser within. He wants you to spend, spend and keep spending until you're in terrible debt. Ignore the tosser inside you.'

Curiously, the video makes no mention of the Outer Tosser(s)...

Outside all of us lie conniving dirty little parasites; the tossers without. They want you to spend, spend and keep spending until you're in terrible debt. Ignore the tossers outside of you.

What makes this all so bizarre is that
Sort-It is the work of the Conservative Party (!?)

Trust me, when the Tories start putting out material that holds people personally responsible for the obscene profits of the UK Financial Services Industry someone in a position to know really is expecting the shit to hit the fan.

The sooner we all go back to using tally sticks the better IMHO.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

For not so serious conspiracy buffs

For an example of a more consumer-friendly Unified Conspiracy Theory you could do worse than checking out the video of Rob Newman’s History of Oil which is up on Google here

Mirth Commissar Rob Newman playing to the proles - not quite as anti-establishment as he might first seem

Newman’s heart seems to be in the right place, his argument that we should be working away from oil dependency is a reasonable one, he has done his reading and he can be funny but he’s just as much a useful idiot as all the rest of us and his material is a nice illustration of the Wise One’s observation that no one single answer... is ever the answer.

As in, if anyone opposed to the invasion of Iraq, or all those other invasions, still thinks it was just about oil they really have quite a lot more reading, listening and thinking to do.

On top of that, simultaneously worrying about peak oil and global warming, as Newman does, has always struck me a being pure doublethink (there's a lot of it about these days) and as for some of the solutions being advocated by people like Newman, well, bollocks to them. Environmental fears are being nurtured and played in exactly the same way as the fear of terrorism and the solutions being advocated for both bogeymen ultimately share awfully similar characteristics.

Though there’s no connection between the two I’m sure.

For serious conspiracy buffs only

Buckingham Palace doing its entirely coincidental dollar bill impression

For a long time now I’ve been interested in the more, um, esoteric side of the human experience – alternative science, alternative history, alternative this that and the other. Partly out of sense of curiosity but also because this stuff is often very, very funny.

And thus far I’ve reached a few tentative conclusions

  1. UFOs are definitely bollocks
  2. What passes for normality really is often just as irrational as anything a New Ager can come up with
  3. History really may have been touched by people, sometimes very powerful people, and fruity little societies that believe the strangest things

Of course, believing that there may have been, may be, influential groups out there who believe cranky things qualifies me a some kind of crank even though I most certainly don't share their beliefs.

To be fair, most people will acknowledge that fruity little covert clubs and belief systems do exist. They will, however, draw the line at accepting that these clubs and belief systems have had any significant influence on human events or that it would be possible for such hidden influence to be sustained for any length of time without either a) being discovered or b) going tits up somehow.

A fair objection.

But where’s the fun in thinking like that?

Ever since I first read Foucalt’s Pendulum I’ve toyed, off an on, with my own version of a Unified Conspiracy Theory that gathers up all the most persistent alternative beliefs in one narrative. The current draft version is sitting on the back of fag packet somewhere. I’ve never really got round to perfecting it because there have always been plenty of people out there prepared to put a whole lot more time into their own UCTs than I could ever could bring myself to and, to be honest, they all start sounding a bit samey after a while. The Masons/ The Illuminati/ Zionists/ Blood Sucking Pan Dimensional Lizard people/ ‘Them’ have been running things for ever. End of story.

Anyway, I mention all of this, even though I recall blogging it before, because I’ve just stumbled on a fab new website that explains everything, and I mean everything....

On the front page alone it covers such old favourites as

  • Freemasonry, Bohemian Grove, the Illuminati, and Zionism
  • More Zionism
  • Killer Asteroids
  • The Wrath of God expressed in the form of Hurricanes
  • Numerology
  • Manipulation of the Mainstream Media
  • Sacred geometry
  • Astronomical alignments
  • 9/11 Conspiracy Theories
  • Government sponsored terror
  • A bit more Zionism
  • The Impending Global Economic Meltdown
  • Handy investment tips for the Impending Global Economic Meltdown
  • Hitler
  • Millennial predictions for 2012

Plus lashings of quotes from the Book of Revelation, tons of animated gifs, a tasteful mixture of font styles and colours and a cheesy midi version of Amazing Grace playing in the background

It's got the lot

So much so that my browser chokes and comes close to dying whenever I open the page up

The Wikipedia entries on Disinformation and Misinformation present fewer difficulties.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Ginsu 2012

Now that the Millennium is safely out of the way, people with a taste for the Apocalyptic are having to cast around for a new date to get excited about.

And it’s not just End-Timers and Y2K consultants who were sad to see the back end of the last thousand years. Spare a thought for the manufacturers of 'consumer products of the future' such as the legendary Ginsu 2000 knife set, much beloved by TV Home Shopping Networks.

Ginsu 3000 just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

When the year 2000 passed we all lost something to look forward to. The benchmark date for the future is now in the past and we haven’t met Jesus and we’re not flying around strapped to bacofoil jetpacks.

Some time in the early 90’s I attended an extremely amusing talk given by someone who was ahead of the curve on this issue. After extensive study of the ancient Mayan calendar and close inspection of the engravings on the much-misunderstood sarcophagus of Pacal the Great at Palenque the lecturer concluded that our World would end not in 2000 but in 2012.

On December 21st to be precise.

He was, obviously, completely insane.

Everyone knows the 2012 London Olympics are scheduled to start on 27th July.

The Olympics Rings - A symbol of sporting excellence, healthy competition and absolutely no tie-in with bizarre neo-pagan Nazi iconography, no way

There are many reasons for someone living on the other side of the river from the 2012 site to be pissed off with the entire business but, right now, the primo cause for wanting to see someone take responsibility and dangle from a lamppost is the cost overrun thing.

One year in, and six years to go, and the estimated cost of the site has already risen from £2.2bn to £3.1bn, plus another £1bn put aside for possible future price rises (they will), plus £3-4bn of other sundry odds and sods.

Of course, seven or eight billion quid is bugger all in the national scheme of things but what’s really ticking me off about all of this is the line currently being trotted out by the people who lied through their teeth throughout the bid process…

‘Well, these projects always over run but don’t worry it will be good fun’

The bid was crooked from the very beginning and five minutes spent reading through it, as I and about four other people bothered to do, made it pretty clear that whopping over runs were anticipated. Over runs that were, ultimately, backed by London ratepayers NOT the deceitful weasels who presented the bid and promised that it would come in on budget. Seb, Ken, Tessa, Tony et al were handing out blank cheques with our names on them.

By my reckoning that constitutes premeditated fraud and Seb, Ken, Tessa and Tony should do some hard time, same as anybody who tells lies to get their hands on someone else’s money.

Maybe they could be put to work on the convict chain gangs that the government is thinking about using to build the 2012 site

Lord Thieving Twat KBE - shouldn't that shirt be stripey?

Ho ho, yes, very funny. Like that’s going to happen.

People not being held to account that is. Convict labour in East London is definitely a go-er.

Er, hello, we've come to build a stadium...

I love democracy.

It’s not the cheerful, beaming faces of all those cute, loveable primary school children dreaming of Olympic Gold that’s making me feel grumpy. It’s the thought of the cheerful, beaming faces of all those cute, loveable property developers and merchant bankers and consultants dreaming of real gold. Aren't they rich enough?

Silly question.

Ff15mp Tops Google Search Listings...

... if you type in the search term 'jumbo stiffy' that is.

Surely I cannot be the first person in the history of the Internet to combine these two words?

Given that the Internet is a frequently potty-mouthed medium, a medium where even innocuous and obscure sounding word pairings such as 'Cleveland Steamer' and 'Rusty Trombone' generate literally thousands of results (126,000 and 66,000 respectively), I'm feeling quite pleased with myself.

At least I achieved something this week

Something is spooking the Ostriches...

Thanks to de for a direct link to the best episode of South Park for a long time?


Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Blue Oyster Card Part Deux

Henry Porter's documentary 'Suspect Nation' is currently up on Google Video. Who knows for how long though.

Worth watching if the prospect of an Orwellian Dystopia gives you a jumbo stiffy

So, who gets to decide what is rational?

On the subject of smug wannabee twat-messiahs for the Age of Reason who know that they have the answers to all the world's ills...

I’ve just enjoyed this Youtube video of Sam Harris, author of
The End of Faith, declaring secular jihad on anyone with religious faith -

Harris is introduced on stage with the lines…

In a progressively more secularised world it sometimes seems that the only religious people out there are fanatics and frankly I’m fed up with them. You look into any over the top cruel and wanton atrocity in the world today and the chances are you'll find some scripture-spouting nutbar judging and condemning and punishing and happily killing the innocent while cloaked in the garb of faith

Now the thing is I know that a lot of people, friends even, with whom I share views about lots of other issues buy this line of thinking hook line and sinker

The problem is that it is total crap.

No. Religion is not the major driver for conflict in the world today. But there are lots of vested interests out there who want us all to think like that. And it’s no accident that people like Harris, and their ideas and books linking terrorism to religion (as opposed to linking terrorism to occupation) get as much promotion as they do. They pose and posture as spokesmen for progressive thinking yet, at the same time, they perpetuate the hype and bullshit that are being used to justify fucking people over just because they don’t think like us.

When you look into any over the top cruel and wanton atrocity in the world today the chances are you’ll find somebody stealing something from someone else – oil, land, water, whatever. The underlying motivations rarely have anything to do with religion.

Sure, religion is often thrown up as a smokescreen but, to be honest, racial or political differences have been much more popular excuses for at least the last couple of centuries

There’s some classic doublethink going on here and it’s depressing to see how so many people on the Secular Left can, for example, condemn the invasion and occupation of Iraq as being ‘all about oil’ yet at the same time spout the old ‘religion is the cause of all wars’ canard.

As the Wise Old Sea Otter understands, you could do away with all religion tomorrow and the wars would just keep on coming.

Harris, and Dawkins, are flat wrong.

And they're acting like, and encouraging all those persuaded by their line of thinking to also act like, globalist bitches in the process.

That’s not to say that many religions are not riddled with dangerous gobbledigook that can be exploited by the wicked or the insane but, as Dawkins and his ilk like to conveniently forget, proving that the other bloke is ‘wrong’ is nowhere near the same thing as proving that you are ‘right’.

And without sounding like I’m quoting from some sappy chick flick, so what if religion appears to be irrational? So is appreciation of music, the concept of Good and Bad, platonic love, caring for the weak, or the rules of cricket – in fact, most of the things that separate us from animals, and Vulcans

Mr Spock - Doesn't laugh, only gets laid once every eleven years, unsettled by not understanding the LBW rule...

Fuck it, if we’re going to be super rational about things we’re going to have to strip out all sentimentality from human affairs and start favouring the genetically strong and selectively culling or sterilising the weak or the inferior.

Come to think of it, some unfortunate souls have already experienced life under ultra-secular regimes managed in accordance with rational ‘scientific’ principles.

They didn’t seem to enjoy it very much.

Ah, but that's because the Nazi, or the Stalinist, or the Maoist, understanding of what constitutes 'Rational' was flawed and Ours isn't

Yeah, right

The Wise One speaks...

They are not a logical race, Wise One! They go around chopping down trees for tables, when they have perfectly good tummies to eat on. How logical is that?!

Otter Leader: Yes! The great Dawkins said we cannot tolerate those who don't use reason! How reasonable is it to eat off wood instead of your tummy?

Wise One: Well perhaps the great Dawkins wasn't so wise. Oh, he was intelligent, but, some of the most intelligent otters I've ever known were completely lacking in common sense. Maybe, some otters do need to believe in something. Who knows? Maybe, just believing in God makes God exist.

Otter Soldiers: Kill the Wise One!

Comedy Gold - as was this...

of course dear old Dickie is famous for not taking himself too seriously so I'm sure he giggled along with the rest of us

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Blue Oyster Card

If you’re one of those people fortunate enough to live and travel in this great city of London you probably carry one of these buggers by now…

No, not a tin of corned beef. I'm talking about ..

The Oyster Card

In the words of the Head of Oyster Propaganda...

The oyster protects a pearl in much the same way that the card protects the cardholder's money.

The Oyster also records a detailed log of every journey you make on public transport and offers scope for tracking your other movements as well; all of which information can be made available God knows who.

but talking about pearls sounds nicer and more reassuring

You can, of course, continue to pay for bus and train travel with cash rather than an Oyster Card but there’s an increasingly heavy price premium associated with that. How does £4 for a one stop journey on the Underground sound? Attractive, uh?

Alternatively, even if you do cave in and use an Oyster card, you currently have the option to continue travelling anonymously with an ‘unregistered’ card but you can’t buy monthly or annual season tickets.

Not having money to burn but not having a hard-on for faceless corporations knowing my movements either, I have plumped for the middle way and use an unregistered Oyster Card

But even then London Underground staff were dead keen for me to give over my name and address when I got the card – I was handed a form requiring my name and address to complete, even though it is not necessary for an unregistered card, and then I was told I would not have to pay a deposit on my card if I did give up my name and address.

London Underground definitely has a hard-on for knowing what I’m up to.

All with my best interests at heart, I’m sure.

Anyway, I tried topping up my unregistered card the other day and the terminal at my local tube station informed me

‘You are currently using an unregistered card. Please register your card before continuing’

And it wouldn’t let me stick any money on it.

I tried again a few hours later and the message wasn’t repeated

So, presumably, the software has already been coded to one day tell all of us with unregistered cards to go fuck ourselves and get registered. A system glitch gave me a privileged glimpse into our future.

I did try and speak with someone straight after my card was rejected but I was told that nothing could be done about the issue locally and that I would have to contact Central Services (or some other equally Brazilian term, I can’t quite remember) to put things right.

OK, me not being able to top up my travel card without yielding personal information is not a big issue in the scheme of things but, taken individually, few of these encroachments into personal liberty and freedom are.

The scary stuff will start to happen when, as is increasingly the case, all this stuff gets joined up - ID cards, CCTV surveillance, personal financial data, travel logs and all the rest. How long until that will happen? Five years? Ten years? At the current rate of change you have to start thinking sooner rather than later. Whatever, it's not really a question of 'if?' it really is just about 'when?'.

Forget about any abstract concerns about privacy or the relationship between the citizen and the state, once all this stuff is wired together we’re all fucked in a very real and tangible way. Big Time.

Mass control of individuals will become as easy as writing a batch file and pressing a button. And there will always be some power-grabbing sociopaths ready to write those batch files and press those buttons in order to ‘protect’ society from some hyped-up or bullshit threat – terrorism, global warming, crime, anti-social behaviour, name your poison.

Just think for a minute how much fun your favourite dictator from history would have with the capabilities all this intrusive technology is coming close to delivering…

He could basically target discrete groups of people based on age, sex, income level, medical records, the kind of things they watch on digital TV or the Internet, what they say in their email or on their phones, how much rubbish they throw out every week and countless other variables, varying from the trivial to the significant. And once he has targeted them he can deny them access to cash, transport, goods, services, communications, whatever takes his fancy.

Quite an alluring prospect I would say.

Of course, most believe that this kind of nightmare dystopia
could never really happen in practice – British citizens are protected by age-old laws and traditions that guarantee personal liberty and the right to protest.

Provided that is they don’t start acting like terrorists – gathering in groups, chattering on the Internet, undertaking direct action in the face of political complacency and corruption – subversive shit like that.

Whether this coincidence of increased surveillance, databasing and erosion of rights that we’ve witnessed over the last ten years is the product of accident or design kind of depends on whether you take an Evolutionary (aka 'rational realist') or Creationistic (aka 'conspiracy theorist') view of how things happen – but it
is happening.

My gut feeling is that there will come a time when enough people wake up to what’s going on around them. And when those people start trying to do something about it they will discover that preparations have been made for just such an eventuality well in advance. The shit, as they say, will hit the fan.

But things have to get a lot worse before that happens.

Me, I hope to be sitting on an island on top of a mountain of canned food before then

/ rearranges tinfoil balaclava for optimum fit

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

From the archive

I was tidying up my Youtube favourites just now and came across this old chestnut - a real doozy of a clip if you haven't seen it before -

...taken from the pilot of The Lone Gunman TV series - first aired 4th March 2001. It makes my brain hurt a little every time I watch it.

And it juxtaposes very nicely with Condi Rice's claim on 16th May 2002...

“I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center...'

Somebody was most definitely having a laugh

Monday, November 20, 2006

Still, it could be worse

A little while after making the last post I spent a happy half hour reading up on samogon (moonshine) production in Russia.

And, for the record, I have tried it and it scares me.

I have enough problems with my vision and mental well-being as it is.

Anyway, on my travels I discovered that moonshine production is actually legal in New Zealand

Like, wow, that explains so much.

It’s all so obvious now.

Sadly, along with the flesh-eating sandflies that make all those stunning photographs of miles of empty beaches possible, this aspect of the New Zealand experience is shockingly absent from official tourism materials.

Sandfly Alley

An introduction to the exciting and cost-saving world of moonshine production can be found here, including a link to an outfit which tries to shake the popular association of illicit spirit production with heavily-armed insane old men by the simple expedient of draping bikini clad women all over their distillation equipment. Sadly, the images are also plastered with copyright notices so I won't reproduce them here as my mama didn't bring up no fools and only a fool would want to tempt fate by crossing a psychotic Russian Oligarch and a bunch of heavily-armed insane old moonshiners all on the same day.

Instead, how about this beauty

Per the accompanying blurb...

Bob’s MoonWater Still - This is a real proven unit and works very effeciently. The real jouney for fun begins when you run off your first batch. It will change your life forever. It will create great memories that will last a life-time."

It plays havoc with your spelling though



One thing most people who spent any time in post Perestroika, post 1998 Rouble collapse Russia can broadly agree on is that the situation there was pretty shit.

Moscow had a Dodge City air about the place, policemen weren’t being paid, human life was cheap, and the only people who appeared to have money in their pocket, a lot of money, were sleazy gangsters and people working for carpetbagging Western businesses, including me, who would find themselves sitting next to some rather ‘colourful’ characters in bars and restaurants.

Outside of Moscow, life was even more shit and ordinary people took to drinking wood chip alcohol hoping that it would all go away. And for many it did.

No, it wasn’t nice at all.

And, sitting on top of this whorehouse of corruption and despair were the Oligarchs.

An unsavoury bunch of fuckers who had looted Russia blind whilst Yeltsin was too drunk to notice or care.

And then Putin came to power.

Or rather Putin was given power by the Oligarchs, who seemed to be labouring under the impression that he was a mate of theirs.

And then, for reasons only known to Putin, he turned around and reamed them.

And it comes as absolutely no surprise that the number one exile destination for those reamed, sleazy, corrupt, gangster Oligarch fuckers was London.

Welcome to my city boys, we love ya!

...from Russia actually

Yes, London, a place where a man who has looted billions from his countrymen and is wanted for murder, theft and fraud in his home country can walk tall, shop in Bond Street, buy a football team and generally carry on as if his farts smell of rose petals.

Curiously, the Oligarchs are the one group of asylum seekers who often receive pretty sympathetic treatment in the British Press.

However, as fine a time as these Oligarchs are having here in Blighty some of them still have a score to settle with Putin and there’s also the small issue of all that lovely oil and gas the Russians are sitting on top of not being managed by the right sort of people who understand how the World works.

Which gets me onto the subject of fugu and a story that’s being splashed all over the mainstream media today

A former Russian KGB colonel living in Britain and poisoned by the toxic chemical thallium has returned to intensive care, doctors have said.

Alexander Litvinenko, 43 - a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin - fell ill on 1 November after a meeting at a London sushi bar

(As an aside, Litvinenko is co-author of the book 'Blowing Up Russia - Terror from Within' which accuses the Russian intelligence services of staging false-flag Muslim terrorist bombings in the late 1990's - not many of the reports covering his alleged poisoning get round to that)

About five seconds of research connects Litvinenko with a guy called Alex Goldfarb and an organisation called the International Foundation for Civil Liberties – both of which are bankrolled by Boris Berezovsky.

A very sleazy oligarch indeed

Boris is the man who

  • cheated thousands of ordinary Russians out of their life savings
  • benefited from one or two conveniently-timed and unsolved murders
  • is wanted in Russia for fraud and corruption
  • tried a similar stunt in Latvia by turning up with his business partner Neil Bush (George’s brother) and prancing around Riga then bottling out just before the Russians sent a few boys over in helicopters to arrest him
  • has spent a healthy amount of money buying entire newspapers in the East and individual journalists in the West with a view to portraying (democratically elected) Putin as a vicious despot and (far from democratically elected) Berezovsky as a fearless campaigner for democracy and civil rights

and so on and so on

Now the question is this - How is it that little old me sitting in my poxy flat in Lambeth can make a direct, and I believe rational, connection between the alleged poisoning in London and a sleazy billionaire douchebag fixer who’s obsessed with overthrowing the existing Russian government and going back to the Good Old Days and none of the newspapers can?

Funny that

I'm not sure what pisses me off most. The fact that my country, my government, has given haven to Berezovsky, his mates and, more to the point, all that stolen money or the fact that its so easy to jerk us all off through the media. I think it's probably a draw.

(file under - People who write about this bloke get shot)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The UK Establishment - It's Blackmail-tastic!

And to prove I’m not just a cynical bastard who never sees the good in anything...

Congratulations to this year’s BBC
Children in Need Appeal

I’ve just visited the official site and so far it has raised a heart-warming


towards helping needy children in the UK

Feel the Love...

Which works out at roughly the equivalent of five hour's worth of UK 'defence' spending or just a little bit more than the £18,000,000 the Beeb is paying Jonathan Ross over the next three years - which averages out at something like £2.37 for every on air reference he makes to tossing himself off. How he kept a straight face whilst appearing on the telethon I’ll never know

Actually, he didn’t

Stef's Jonathan Ross Impression:

Hey everybody, I had a wank last night!

That'll be £2.37 please

No matter, there’s plenty more lovely loot where that came from. The BBC is putting in for yet another licence fee increase next month - with an aim to securing a steady supply of Important Information from former MI6 double agents and Knob Gags for future generations.

Coincidentally, the Beeb are currently putting together a documentary about the death of Doctor David Kelly. The producers are
being coy about whether they will pay any credence to conspiracy theories about Government complicity in Dr Kelly’s death but they have promised that they will get round to deciding what they will say before the documentary is broadcast – about a month after the licence fee decision is announced.

None of which is in any way reminiscent of the police kidnapping Tony Blair’s special friend and chief fundraiser Lord 'Ooops my office just caught fire' Levy and holding him in custody immediately before the recommendations of the Fully Independent Stockwell Shooting Inquiry were announced.

I also recall some mutterings that the policeman heading up the Levy investigation, John Yates, has to be kept on bit of a tight leash (Down Mongo! Down!) as he was the sap who led the investigation into Paul Burrell that all went a bit pear shaped, leaving him looking like a bit of a tit.

That would be the investigation that led to the trial that was stopped part way through by a phone call to the judge by Prince Charles. A call made the day before Burrell was due to take the stand and spout some nonsense about what certain Princes enjoy doing on a Saturday night, embittered ex wives compiling dossiers, custody battles, car crashes in Paris, guff like that.

Anyway, it all turned out OK. Lord Levy was released and the Stockwell Inquiry established that absolutely no-one, especially not any policemen, was responsible for shooting an innocent man in the face nine times. And the solution to the Lord Levy issue is for political parties to receive state funding - at a level and terms set by the political parties. And I’m sure that if there was anything untoward with the Stockwell, Kelly, Levy, Burrell or Diana stories the BBC would have been all over them like a rash.

I do like happy endings. Well, some people are happy.

Lies evolve too Two

More from Omar Nasiri here in the Sunday Times; including details of his life in Al Qaeda terror training camps in Afghanistan, or is it Finsbury Park, or maybe they lived in a shoe, or maybe Brigadoon. The bullshit continues to come on so thick it's hard to keep track of it all and know what's real and what isn't - which presumably is the idea

Coming soon... Terror Training Camp - The Musical

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Lies evolve too

Whoo-oo, it’s turning into Evolution Week on my blog

And whilst I have strong personal doubts that living things evolve in the manner advocated by the likes of Richard Dawkins I have absolutely no doubt that lies do. Well, sort of.

Poorly adapted lies faced with strong environmental pressures (aka the Truth), are then subject to (not so random) mutation and subsequent selection until they are adapted to exist in their new, truthier, environment.

An example:

Once upon a time there was a lie that the Leaders of our Government had incontrovertible intelligence that Iraq had WMD

Then some middle-ranking government officials said that was bollocks

And, now, viewers of Newsnight and readers of the Guardian are witnessing the birth of a beautiful new super-evolved version of the lie…

Al-Qaeda 'planted information to encourage US invasion'

A senior al-Qaida operative deliberately planted information to encourage the US to invade Iraq, a double agent who infiltrated the network and spied for western intelligence agencies claimed last night.

What is new, if Nasiri is to be believed, is that the leading al-Qaida operative wanted to overthrow Saddam and use Iraq as a jihadist base. Nasiri also says that part of al-Qaida training was to withstand interrogation and provide false information.

… Asked whether he thought Libi had deliberately planted information to get the US to fight Iraq, Nasiri said: "Exactly".

And I’m a monkey’s uncle