Archive for the ‘democracy’ Category

Cressida Dicks should be fired

March 15, 2021

As a former Police Minister and notwithstanding the lockdown and pandemic, this has got to be the most absurd, stupid and often brutal police response to a peaceful vigil. Hobnail booted, thick response when smart, risk assessed, intelligence-led policing was demanded. Sad night. — Tony McNulty

The Met’s overnight statement is an exercise in passing blame downwards. A princess was there: you think there were no political decisions made? Or public order plans set? Even if it was only the unit concerned out of control, who created the culture? — Paul Mason

 

Appalling scenes Saturday night, Met Police manhandling women at a peaceful vigil. A vigil for a Sarah Everard, a serving member of the Met Police charged with her kidnap and murder.

Sickening the statements from the Met Police the following day, we had to act the vigil was not safe.

Was it made safer, Met Police in the face of those at the vigil, pinning women to the ground, adding to the numbers present?

Unbelievable arrogance Cressida Dicks, unfit to hold office and should be fired.

What is equally of concern, today the government will try to force measures through Parliament, draconian measures, increased Police powers, to stop the right to demonstrate.

We have the right to peaceful assembly, to demonstrate.

The tweets speak for themselves.

 

 

Energy from waste incineration is not green energy

March 13, 2021

An excellent Channel 4 Dispatches programme The Dirty Truth About Your Rubbish only touched the tip of the iceberg.

Gordon Brown had a wheeze of off balance sheet accounting, the PFI scam. It made public spending look low, a prudent Chancellor. Infrastructure, hospitals, schools, incinerators, built by the private sector, leased by the public sector, for which the tax payer is paying ten times the original cost.

Incinerators have to be fed. Local authorities sign contract for minimum waste. If fall below, they pay penalties. There is thus a disincentive to reduce waste.

Government needs to step in and annul these contracts.

Incinerators emit CO2. They should be forced to buy carbon credits for their emissions, and be hit with a carbon tax.

Incinerators emit carcinogens and other toxins.

Mass is not created or destroyed by incinerators. What is left residual waste, plus what goes up the chimney.

The residual waste is heavily contaminated with heavy metals.

A scandal several years ago, residual waste spread on an allotment in the North East, the Byker ash scandal in Newcastle – in which the city council was prosecuted after 2,000 tonnes of ash from the old Byker incinerator was found to contain potentially cancer-causing dioxins.

Incineration is not green energy, it is dirty energy. It is also destroying valuable resources which should be recycled, or placed in an industrial biodegrader.

All these measures in place, many incinerators would no longer be viable, and those in the planning stage shelved.

The figures published by local councils for recycling, are for that collected, it does not mean that collected is recycled. it is going to incineration.

Local councils need to do more to encourage recycling, some do, most do not.

We all should do our part, reduce, recycle, reuse.

We should also tackle the worst offenders, Waitrose and M&S obscene levels of plastic packaging. Is it really necessary bananas in a plastic bag, a coconut shell hacked off, then wrapped in plastic shrink wrap?

Mindful Chef, owned by Nestle, deliver recipe boxes, overpackaging, obscene use of plastic. Their frozen food boxes, a card sleeve, plastic film over what appears to be a paper tray, a plastic-lined paper tray.

Waste does not exist in the natural world either in time or space, the output of one process is the input to another, a closed loop system. We should emulate the natural world.

In Lincolnshire, the official green agenda carbon neutral by 2050, two decades too late, opposition to on-shore wind turbines, support for oil and gas exploration.

Facebook declares war on Australia

February 18, 2021

Intimidation of Australia a small insignificant country by Facebook not acceptable.

This is Big Tech colonisation

Australians awoke to find their news sources cut off, government information, fire service, information on coronavirus, charities, but left untouched fake news. From outside Australia it was not possible to access Australian news sources.

Facebook is a cesspit of fake news. Facebook enabled Trump, enabled the storming of Capital Hill on 6 January 2020.

Facebook is a parasite on the work of creators. The content of facebook is not created by facebook, it is created by its users, by hard working journalists, by news organisations, by musicians, artists, friends sharing pictures. None of this information has been created by faceboook but facebook profits from all these content creators.

Facebooks claims ownership of our data, of the data trails we leave behind.

Facebook is controlling the flow of information.

Marc Zuckerberg a thug.

Facebook must be broken up, stripped of WhatsApp and Instagram.

When G7 meets, must agree a revenue tax on Big Tech, levied where the revenue is generated. But G7 needs to go much further, there has to be international regulation of Big Tech.

We can all act.

  • do not use instagram or whatsapp
  • overwrite and delete all personal data
  • never tag friends
  • never quiz game survey

Facebook is a threat to democracy.

Were Facebook a state, Facebook would be seen to have declared war on Australia. And that is how it should be viewed, an act of aggression by facebook against a sovereign democratic state.It does not matter what we think of Australia, Australians or the government of Australia, this is an attack on democracy. Australia today, which country next?

The Hill We Climb

January 20, 2021

Amanda Gorman Poet Laurate reading of Inaugural Day Poem

The day started with Donald Trump leaving via the back door, a quick word with staff, Marine One to Andrews Airforce Base, a, subdued speech in front of Air Force One, incoming Administration wished well.

Joe Biden sworn in, a very powerful and moving Inauguration Acceptance Speech.

He said he works for the people. The people, not lobbyist, not Big Business, not Banks, not Big Oil.

To stop something worse than Trump, President Joe Biden must push through a Green New Deal, a radical progressive agenda, address genuine grievances of Trump supporters.

No partying, no celebrations, President Joe Biden got straight down to work.

Executive Orders to stop Keystone XL, re-joining WHO and The Paris Accord.

An executive order to wear a mask on Federal Property a step in the right direction to halt spread of Covid-19. 400,000 Americans have died, more than died during WWII.

A warning to White House staff during their swearing in. Anyone who shows disrespect to their colleagues will be fired. Bullying will no be tolerated.

Incredible and moving poetry reading by Amanda Gorman, 22-year-old Poet Laurate.

Press Conference later in the day by newly appointed White House Press Secretary a breath of fresh air.

Mob storms Capitol Building

January 7, 2021

We just had a violent mob assault the US capitol … No question the President formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob. He lit the flame. — Liz Cheney

Yesterday afternoon, a formality to certify Presidential Election results, astonishing scenes as a mob stormed the Capitol Building. A mob incited by President Trump.  

This was not a coup. But why was it allowed to happen?

It was known a mob was descending, egged on by Trump.

Why was the building not guarded?

Contrast with the unknown para-militaries on the streets for Black Lives Matter protest.

Or treatment of disabled protesters.

Or treatment of anti-Trump protesters four years ago during the Trump Inauguration. 

We have two weeks of Trump in power.

When Trump leaves office there must be an investigation of Trump, his family, his cronies, those who funded, and Facebook that enabled.

Those who stormed the building genuinely believed the election had been stolen even though no evidence to support their delusions. Why therefore do they labour under these delusions? Delusions spread and regurgitated on Facebook.

Republicans who tried to block certification of election result should be expelled. They are unfit to hold public office. They have failed their sacred oath to uphold the Constitution.

What we saw, was not a coup, not domestic terrorism. But what it shows is how fragile democracy. Never to be taken for granted.

Earlier, Trump standing behind a glass bullet proof screen urged his supporters to march on the US Capitol.

Trump incited a mob.

Twitter has suspended Trump for twelve house with the threat of permanent suspension.

The twitter account of Trump should be suspend until he leaves office.

The only modern parallel to what has happened was when the Spanish Parliament was stormed by fascists.

More recent past, storming of German Parliament by fascists, the Kapp Putsch in 1920.  It was defeated by a general strike.

To call the last four years Trumpism is wrong. It implies a philosophy. There was no philosophy other than Brand Trump, insatiable greed of Trump and his cronies. 

Now the Russian dirty money will dry up, what will Trump do as he will be of no further use.?

Let Trump set up a TV channel, and organise a boycott of every businesses that advertise on the channel. 

We must now act against the enablers, especially facebook. 

If we fail to act, where it ends is Auschwitz. 

DiEM TV: Another Now with Yanis Varoufakis

December 4, 2020

Putting one of the ideas in Another Now into action, last week Black Friday, one day of action against Amazon, buy nothing from Amazon,  do not visit their website, Make Amazon Pay.

During the pandemic Jeff Bezos has increased his wealth by $85 billion. Wealth begets wealth. Jeff Bezos can afford to take risks, have a long range vison, fund loss making projects, within Amazon can leverage projects to benefit all aspects of the business, we see this with artificial intelligence, when Amazon recommends a book it will be possible worth reading.

Facebook abuses its position, as we saw with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook knows more about us than we know ourselves, we are commodities to be used and abused and sold, it can target and manipulate us.

On reading Another Now I thought when do we fight back, when do we start the guerrilla tech war against the tech giants, against the banks, against dirty industries?

We need financial engineers, software engineers, leading researchers in artificial intelligence, who know where to hit vulnerable fragile systems with coordinated attacks.

The fight has begun with Make Amazon Pay, one day of targeted action against Amazon, buy nothing on Black Friday do not even visit their website on that day.

One week on from Black Friday, over 400 parliamentarians from across the world including Yanis Varoufakis and Jeremy Corbyn join in the call to Make Amazon Pay.

A tweet by Mark Dodds suggests a target for the UK, pubcos, a day when we do not drink in any tied pub or corporate pub chains.

Pubcos are zombie companies mired in debt. When they tire of relieving fools of their money they sell off their pubs for redevelopment.

There is action we can all take.

Support local indy businesses, buy coffee from a speciality coffee shop where they care about coffee, you will quite literally taste the difference.

During the first lockdown, I visited little independent shops, the local butcher, baker, fishmonger, fruit and vegetable market stall,  not once did I visit a supermarket. And it was safer to shop in these  little shops, limited numbers, I was in and out within a couple of minutes.

We do not have to use WhatsApp or Instagram, there are alternatives, post pictures to twitter not Instagram, use Skype not WhatsApp.

Facebook must be broken up, stripped of WhatsApp and Instagram.

We should overwrite all personal information on Facebook with false information, allow a couple of days to propagate through the system then delete. Never ever quiz, game or survey on Facebook,  these are scams to harvest your data, as Cambridge Analytica used very effectively. Never tag friends.

There are alternatives to using Amazon if wish to buy books on-line. But better still, pay a visit to your local bookshop.

Amazon provides a platform for third party vendors and these account for around half the sales through Amazon. A somewhat crappy website Bookshop.org does the same, except demands a larger discount from indie publishers than they give Amazon and for bookshops they make less on a book sale than if you walked through their door and bought a book and the sale is not fulfilled by the bookshop.

Writers can do their bit, stop directing to Amazon, support local bookshops, ask your publisher to offer Amazon discounts to local bookshops, at the very least as special offer when books are published.

Tech giants should be taxed on revenue where that revenue is generated. The same should also apply to tax dodging corporations for example Starbucks.

Our lives are controlled by algorithms, Big Tech owns the algorithms. The world of We, a world controlled by numbers.

Amazons suggests what I may wish to read, YouTube what I may wish to watch.

Big Tech has monopolised research on AI. To whose benefit, who has oversight?

Those who speak out are fired.

The treatment of employees by Big Tech who dare challenge their lack of ethics is not restricted to Amazon, as we see with the treatment of Timnit Gebru by Google.

Google fired the technical co-lead of the Ethical Artificial Intelligence Team Timnit Gebru for raising issues of ethics.

Please sign the statement in support of Timnit Gebru.

A day of action against Google in support of Timnit Gebru. What form should it take? For example a coordinated walk out by Google staff on the same day of no use of Google Chrome or YouTube.

Support and use open source software.

Download and install Brave, a faster alternative to Chrome that cuts out the crap.

Brave is a free open-source web browser.  It blocks ads and website trackers, and provides a way for users to send cryptocurrency contributions in the form of Basic Attention Tokens to websites and content creators.

Mind-boggling pettiness eviction of market stall by bully-boys at Lincoln City Council

July 9, 2020

Covid-19 has accelerated shopping on-line by at least ten years, failing High Street chains floating on a sea of debt are falling like flies, shedding staff, and this will accelerate as furlough ends.

Enter dysfunctional Lincoln City Council in an act of mind-boggling pettiness decides to evict a fruit and vegetable market stall from Lincoln Central Market falsely claiming the stall too big.

The stall was a lifeline for many during lockdown when they carried on trading, especially for those who could not get out when they set up a veg box home delivery scheme.

Steve Sharpe has run a market stall in Lincoln for 35 years, with the help of his daughter Beth four years within Lincoln Central Market.

The stall accounts for at least 80% of the market football. If the stall goes it will hit the few remaining stalls in the market. It will also hit indie businesses in Sincil Street. It will hit those who rely on the stall for a low cost source of fresh produce, and there is nothing as fresh as grown by Steve and picked that morning. It will hit local coffee shops and restaurants that rely on the stall for their fresh produce.

All of this counts for nothing to the council bully-boys who are waging a vindictive vendetta against Steve for daring to criticise the appalling state of the market, the lack of investment.

Lincoln a county town in the middle of an agricultural county yet lacks a decent market.

Rules of the market:

  • stall within allocated space
  • rent paid monthly in advance
  • trading within specified times on Market Days
  • allotted space clean and tidy
  • eviction on a whim

The market stall always clean and tidy. If not within it allotted space, the difference must be marginal, it is not obstructing any thoroughfares, end of the stall is in line with other stalls.

Council jobsworth claims stall exceeds its allotted space, that have held extensive talks with the stallholders.

Steve and Beth dispute this.  No discussion, hand delivered letters claiming non compliance.

It is not beyond the wit of the most incompetent council jobsworth to delineate the stall boundaries with chalk lines. If there is then a dispute resolve through arbitration not eviction. And it is not as though space is at a premium in an empty dying market.

The alleged discussions, produce minutes (accuracy of which will have been checked by Steve and Beth otherwise worthless), date, time, duration, location.

Council jobsworth claim the stall is unfair to other traders in the market. Difficult to comprehend how a stall that generates at least 80% of the market footfall is placing other stalls at a disadvantage. On the other hand, eviction of the stall that generates the footfall the market will die as will lose most of its footfall.

A formal complaint has been lodged with the council leader

  • richard.metcalfe@lincoln.gov.uk

who to date has not had the courtesy to respond.

And just when think the council bully boys can sink no lower, are now claiming the reason for eviction is secret, cannot tell.

The market is public space, the loss of the fruit and vegetable stall is a matter of public interest.

The council in cahoots with the local coop has trashed the outdoor market, Sincil Street, Cornhill, destroyed local businesses, to attract chain stores and eateries that can find anywhere and everywhere that lose the sense of place, increase alienation, drain money out of the local economy.

The hidden agenda would appear to be to destruction of Lincoln Central Market for redevelopment.

What is the hidden agenda? Having trashed the surrounding area, destroyed local businesses, is Central Market next? A dirty back door deal with the local coop?

Look to the Butter Market in Newark where local traders were kicked out to bring in Cosy Club. Sound familiar?

Something stinks and it is not the smell of rotting cabbages.

Please sign the on-line petition objecting to the eviction.

If live in Lincoln please contact your local councillors and local Member of Parliament Karl McCartney and ask them to stop this eviction, and at the very least go and visit the stall talk to customers and check for themselves the facts not rely on officials running a vindictive vendetta for criticism of a badly run market.

Racist comments on local media

June 10, 2020

Racists wallow in their social media cesspits, reinforce and normalise their racist views then spew it out across social media platforms.

An example of this was a few months ago when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visited a detention centre for migrants, the abuse she received in person when she visited was a mere glimpse behind the curtain of what was happening in closed facebook groups, where pictures were being posted calling for her to be raped. Closed facebook groups for past and serving Border Force officials, federal agents, government employees.

In Clear Bright Future Paul Mason touches upon these closed facebook groups where fascists and racists fester.

Black Lives Matter and the racist troll farms are now on steroids. Seeing young black and white march on the streets is fanning their hatred.

Black Members of Parliament have received a torrent of abuse. Dawn Butter has thanked her staff for filtering it out and having to read it.

What is shocking, is what is appearing in local media comments, and I am not suggesting it is the local media, it is the racists commenting on the local media reports of Black Lives Matter protests.

Surrey Live had to issue a warning following its coverage of a Black Lives Matter protest in Guildford. Not that the warning has been heeded. But it is as nothing, the rabid racist comments  on The Lincolnite coverage of Black Lives Matter protests in Lincoln. And just when think cannot get any worse it did when a student had the audacity to speak out about the racism he has suffered.

Local media has to do more to root out this racism. Every single racist comment logged, reported to police and facebook, then those posting the racist comments blocked.

And why does it matter?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tells of landlords in the Bronx who set fire to buildings with families inside in order that they could collect on the insurance, then blame the local community for burning down the buildings.

Dominic Cummings press conference

May 25, 2020

Strange times.

What we have witnessed over the last few days could not make it up if tried.

Mirror and Guardian break story of Dominic Cummings trip from London to Durham by car in clear breach of lockdown. In the car, two adults with covid-19, a small child.

Lockdown rules were clear, stay home, only go for exercise and essentials, food, medical reasons. if covid-19 symptoms self-isolate away from others in the household, no one in the household permitted to leave the house.

A small child in a car with two people with covid-19. or suspected covid-19

Did they stop en route, for fuel, a break to stretch legs, toilet, bite to eat?

At the time London was recording high number of covid-19 cases,and should have been cordoned off, County Durham relatively low number of cases.

Tories demonstrating  their lack of integrity, falling  over backwards to defend Dominic Cummings, without being in position of the facts.

We then learn, seen at Barnard Castle. Seen again at a later date after return to London.

The story changes. It was in seek of child care. Mother of Dominic Cummings says an uncle had died.

Ordinary people had people they were close to, could not be with them when they died, could not attend their funerals.

I had a family friend die, a veteran of WWII Bomber Command. Very sad he had died, very sad no one could attend his funeral.

Cabinet Office tweet they are to investigate a mischievous tweet. Investigate Dominic Cummings for Breach of Civil Service Code of Conduct? Er seemingly not.

Sunday Pepsi Trump gave a stomach churning press conference, defends Dominic Cummings, did what anyone would have done in the circumstances.

Actually he did not, he broke the rules, other people complied with the rules, hard as it was, as they did not wish to spread covid-19 around the country.

Fired by Theresa May for lying, Gavin Williamson does the rounds telling all who would listen, Dominic Cummings telling the truth. How does he know. Er, Dominic Cummings had said.

When press camped outside home of Dominic Cummings, he made very clear his position: I don’t care what you lot think.

Having completely fucked up his own press conference, the following day Dominic Cummings to give a press conference.

The press conference was given in the back garden of Downing Street, and no, it is not the Rose Garden.

He was almost contrite, he admitted breaking the rules without admitting he had.

At times somewhat bizarre,  a 30 minute drive to Barnard Castle to check his eyesight was ok.

But what was telling, and does not appear to be picked up on, he had so much to do and had to get back to London. And what he outlined was an executive role not that of an adviser and very much what one would assume would be the role of the Prime Minister.

Should he resign or be fired? No, it would not achieve anything

He gave an account of what he had done, and why, from his perspective reasonable, but if everyone had, not reasonable.

And that is the dilemma. What is reasonable for an individual in their best interest is not reasonable for society. We are seeing lockdown breaking down, and the fear now is complete breakdown.

But on the plus side, he was not evasive he answered questions politely.

I would rather see Dominic Cummings once a week head the Downing Street briefing and give straight answers not what we normally get, and I would rather see him on the record than off the record briefings, sources said.

If this is the guy calling the shots, than |I would rather hear him tell us why and be open to scrutiny, not the incomprehensible waffle we get from Pepsi Trump.

As an anticlimax later, we later heard from Pepsi Trump, a timetable of how lockdown will ease,  From 1 June car showrooms and street markets. Street markets fine, but car show rooms. Mid-June all shops to open. Nothing yet on coffee shops, restaurant, hairdressers.

Indie coffee shops, restaurants should be open at the same time as street markets if able to spread their tables into the streets, restricted to outside seating only. It helps kick start the High Street, improves the ambience of city centres, but is being held back by backward councils living in the Dark Ages.  [see Reclaim the Streets]

There is still no track and trace app available. With each phase of relaxation we need to be able to monitor what is happening.

Adapt the German app, open source, destroy app post-pandemic, anonymise data for research.

Our High Streets are not going to recover through chains. Several have collapsed, M&S and Next have junk bond status. People can shop on-line for the crap found in High Street chains.  We should not waste the opportunity to re-imagine, reinvigorate the High Street.

With our focus on Dominic Cummings we are in danger of missing the bigger picture. We risk Dominic Cummings being made a Tory scapegoat to distract from the failings of Pepsi Trump. It is the Prime Minister who should resign.

We have over over 26,000 covid-19 deaths, close on 27,000 covid-19 deaths. Had UK acted a week earlier on lockdown we would have a quarter of this number of deaths.

Chima bought us time, we squandered it. We saw what was happening in Italy and Spain, we sat back and did nothing.

Germany, when death toll was less than a hundred, implemented lockdown. UK waited until measured in hundreds. Germany had in place track and trace. UK nothing. Deaths in Germany several thousands, not tens of thousands.

Greece, total number of deaths 170. Less than UK records in a day.

In UK, thanks to insanity of Stay Alert, lockdown is breaking down, UK heading for a second wave.

 

 

Fire Dominic Cummings

May 23, 2020

Dominic Cummings malignant cancer at the heart of government.

Lockdown rules were clear. Lockdown means lockdown, means Stay at Home.

Only allowed  out for exercise, to buy essentials, visit doctor or other medical needs.

People have been heartbroken at not being able to visit dying close family and friends, not attend their funerals.

People, have been fined for breach of lockdown.

Dominic Cummings broke lockdown to travel halfway across the country. He did so whilst he and his wife were infected with covid-19, accompanied by a small child.

Rules on infections quite clear, if infected with covid-19, self-isolate within house from other family members, they in turn can’t come into contact with others. Child was put at risk for duration of the journey. Or maybe they put the child in the boot with its own air supply.

But Cummings did not break lockdown once. Whilst Up North, he went on a little outing maybe more than one, we as yet only know of one. He returned to London, then went Up North again. That is three breaches of lockdown. A QC has forensically dissected his actions come to the conclusion,  a clear breach of the rules.

He should be fined maximum amount. He should be fired.

Looking forward to all those cabinet ministers who excused Cummings first trip to Durham trying to explain his second one. Minsters who lack any integrity who spout what they are told to say.

On his first trip Up North, his car an incubator of covid-19, did the car stop, toilet breaks, fill up with petrol, get a  bite to eat? How many did they infect en route?

UK has more covid-19 deaths than any country in Europe. Second only to USA.

China bought us time, we squandered it.

We saw what was happening in Italy, then Spain, we sat back and did nothing.

Too late to enter lockdown, peddling of bogus science, too late to ban mass gatherings and sporting events, close schools, close pubs bars clubs, implement mass testing, lockdown London, an app to track and trace, failure to close airports, quarantine for all arrivals.

Germany has placed source code of its app in the public domain. Why do we not adapt, open source?

And to the catalogue, add the insanity of Stay Alert, which has led to the breakdown of lockdown.

The arrogance of these people is they think they can do as they wish, show contempt for ordinary people.

Please follow the advice of Paul Mason, share, tweet, like on social media, that Dominic Cummings must go.

If Boris Johnson refuses to fire Dominic Cummings there must be a Vote of No Confidence in Boris Johnson. These are mass murderers with blood on their hands.

Think what the death toll would be if everyone behaved like Dominic Cummings. Thanks to the insanity of Stay Alert, lockdown breaking down, we are all about to find out.


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