Unclear on nuclear?

hiro.c.

Another WWII anniversary seventy years on as the conflict drew to its conclusion. Not a military extravaganza of marching veterans, regimental flags, displays of military hardware, or fly-bys. There may be no laying of wreaths for the fallen soldiers or the hubris of battles won. It’s the anniversary of the unleashing of a mighty and destructive force, the Atom bomb, and the advent of nuclear weapons.

Was the opening of Pandora’s box a force for good or a force for evil? Seventy years on and the nuclear debate remains unresolved. Our planet has eight countries with a nuclear capability which, claim its advocates, are a deterrent to would be aggressors. In support of the case for a nuclear arsenal the acronym ‘MAD’ (mutually assured destruction), a doctrine of military strategy and national security, sold the case for the deterrent and as a cunning proposition of non-aggression.

In recent years following SALT2 and arms reduction, though not elimination, public awareness or concern for nuclear weapons seems to have virtually disappeared, with the odd spike to reinforce the subconscious fear and ensure the silos remain armed. Is that down to a healthy appetite for celebrity and reality TV shows, the 21st century’s “opiate of the masses?” So all is well.

Well? Well not quite. Britain’s nuclear arsenal is under attack from those troublesome Scots. The SNP are determined not to host the new generation of Trident missiles on their turf. Now another voice has been added to the debate. The Labour MP and leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn has pitched his tent in the anti-Trident camp. Hooray for the voices of sanity in a MAD debate.

Our current Conservative Government has put the fear of god into the electorate with battle cries of austerity and immigration. It has imposed draconian measures on the public to ensure we do not live beyond our means, yet they intend spending £100bn on Trident in the US arms market for our security. Now that is MAD. No actually it’s fucking insane!

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The Highwayman

highwayman

“Hear me people. We have now to deal with another race – small and feeble when our fathers first met them, but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil and the love of possession is a disease with them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break and the poor may not. They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule”

Chief Sitting Bull speaking at the Powder River conference in 1877

A Highwayman has taken to our streets, highways and wallpaper. A horse tied to the railings at No.11 Downing Street reveals the identity of the criminal as the incumbent, Mr.George Osborne, Chancellor (and chancer) of the Exchequer. I expect he will be phoning his barrister or arranging for my transportation to a penal colony for such an accusation.

Below I present the case for the prosecution.

Under the new rules, dating back to October 2014, DVLA no longer issue the Tax Disc, which was first introduced in 1921. The new system employs the wonders of digital tech, a ”move into the modern age’ according to the Treasury, to inform, issue and collect road tax. This seems imminently sensible, whilst also removing paper waste, approx.72 tons per annum, from the system and the DVLA’s contribution to a green revolution. Well maybe. I suspect there may be a Jeremy Clarkson Design added to the Autumn Collection at Osborne and Little.

Buying a second hand car previously had sometimes the bonus of a prepaid tax disc with some months to run before having to be renewed by the new ‘keeper’. That has now gone meaning the new ‘keeper’ is immediately responsible for updating the road tax while the previous owner receives a refund. Stay with me as the devious manoeuvres of the Treasury and said Minister are yet to come.

The flip side of the new system is more Gutenberg Press than high end digital. If a vehicle sold on carries a valid tax disc with some months to run the DVLA will reimburse the owner for full calendar months as with the old system. So a vehicle sold mid month is refunded from the beginning of the following month. However the new ‘keeper’ will pay from the beginning of the month in which the vehicle is purchased. In simple terms the car is taxed twice for the same month. With 42% of motorists unaware of the implications of the changes that’s a big lump of free money to the Treasury.

When I queried the DVLA on this their pat response was ” That is the rule”. So we have a 21st Century vehicle taxing system that leans heavily on the exploits of Dick Turpin, the 18th century highwayman, or a clever wheeze the Chancellor picked up from his banking cronies.

Application of “Modern Age” technologies provide us with the ability to make measurements to the Nth decimal point, discover exo- planets in solar systems light years from our own, yet DVLA cannot divide months up into days, hours and minutes. If this ‘new’ system is to be accepted as new then someone needs their knuckles rapped Mr.Osbourne.

p.s. will it be back to wallpaper salesman after the election?

The life of the finger

KIS

Fingers, fingers, fingers and fingers.

Not fish fingers or chocolate fingers or sticky fingers, but the fingers of the hand. Those digits that we use daily for signing, lifting, licking, pointing, poking, scratching, and picking, without a second thought. As kids we used them to investigate, to eat, to paint, counted on them, got them caught in doors, bitten by dogs, and waved hello goodbye.

We’ve even given them names:

the thumb or opposing digit allows for amazing dexterity in collaboration with it’s neighbours;

the index finger for doing just that, useful when pointing and as a substitute to language;

the middle finger mostly used to insult it seems, SWIVEL! ;

the ring finger, banded in gold. “ I do”, the longest sentence in any language;

and finally the pinky?

Answers on a postcard please.

It’s all that other stuff that would get any self-respecting digit a bad name. All that posturing that people do with their hands and fingers, an esoteric language perhaps learnt at the cost of an arm and a leg. Symbols or signs that identify an allegiance to a sect or a movement, to a victory over adversity, a pressing need to scratch ones bum in public, and of course the successful extraction of that irritating bogie that had eluded the probing finger.

And let’s not forget the religious finger pointers whose index finger points skyward for some god unknown reason. The sinister jihadis known as IS are handy with that finger. Are they indexing the real culprit behind their inhuman behaviour or is that what they would have us believe?

Answers on the same postcard.

Apropos to nothing…. Well Fingers:

In Bertrand Russell’s 1954 short story “THE MATHEMATICIAN’S NIGHTMARE: The Vision of Professor Squarepunt,” the number 5 said: “I am the number of fingers on a hand. I make pentagons and pentagrams. And but for me dodecahedra could not exist; and, as everyone knows, the universe is a dodecahedron. So, but for me, there could be no universe.”

I have a bit of a thing about polyhedra, more specifically the Platonic Solids, which have been the focus of a body of 3D works that still occupy my creative endeavours.

platonic-solids

War or Peace?

target

War. Wars give Government a sense of purpose and good media copy. We do wars well. We have devised weaponry down the generations for face-to-face combat and remote assassination. Children of the digital age are proficient at virtual war on their games consoles some graduating to actual combat. Images of drone strikes half way across the world delivered by an operative in a bunker in the Nevada desert are common and will become more so as the technology develops. Faceless combatants murder innocents in cases of mistaken identity. Collateral damage? No no. MURDER

Who are the winners in this war? Certainly not human beings. An increasing humanitarian crisis ensues of displaced peoples, of woman and children whose security has been robbed in the name of security, whose innocence is not considered by those who perpetrate these obscenities.

It’s not surprising that the Arms Industry is a global leader. Their agenda does not factor in the devastation to human life they facilitate, or the misery they cause. The numbers don’t figure on the bottom line. Investors, shareholders and governments are the beneficiaries not those on the delivery end of the product Such blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life can only be described as evil. Is there another word?

Peace. Now there’s a word we’ve bounced about in our vocabulary for a million generations. And, as yet, seem to have either misplaced or misunderstood it’s meaning. Our culture is awash with symbolism purporting to address our conviction. T-shirts, flags and Christmas cards emblazoned with the word amount to no more than lip service to the potential. Gatherings of protestors, revellers and photo op’s feature the two-fingered salute that signifies ‘Peace’. All this amounts to little more than pissing into the wind. Meanwhile religion offers an afterlife ‘kingdom of heaven’ to all who follow their tenets. What about ‘thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’? Just another slogan to entice the gullible?

How refreshing and what a privilege to have been a delegate at ‘A Time for Peace” with Prem Rawat in Dublin. The clarity and focus of his presentation leaves me in no doubt that this man knows exactly what peace is and how to open human beings to the possibility of actually achieving it in their own lives.

 

“ When people are at peace the world will be at peace”.  Prem Rawat

 

 

 

Groundhog Day 1

Amazon1

It’s Day 1

In Britain Amazon turned £4.2bn last year and paid corporation tax of £2.4m. It pays mostly just above the minimum wage yet is feted by the British Government on the grounds of job creation in areas of high unemployment. So grateful are the Government that they have given grants in excess of Amazon’s corporation tax. The Government also pays tax credits to the ‘associates’ to top up their meagre wage. That will be from Day 1 since it’s always Day 1 with Jeff.

Amazon employs somewhere in the region of 21,000 people in Britain in several large warehouses. These Employees (‘associates’) work from Day 1 in ‘fulfilment centres’ where employment is neither secure nor fulfilling. Jeff’s inspiration for the business model is more Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ than George Lucas’ ‘American Graffiti’

The efficiency of the organisation is exemplary in its ability to deliver goods. Oh that our Government was a percentage as efficient. Instead we are lumbered with worshippers of a Golden Cow. All this edifice can really provide for the people of this country is a false profit.

Jeff is said to be canny and secretive with his future ventures. I suspect he may be developing an army of the legendary Amazonians to marshal us mere mortals to his will. Not so with Blue Origin. This is Day 1 expansionism. He is fast exhausting the Blue Planet and its inhabitants with his wilful exploitation. Such notions as ‘associate’ and ‘fulfilment centres’ are laughable in one whose corporation is a purveyor, amongst its 100 million items, of self help and self fulfillment books . The man may be a success in dot.com world on Day 1 but as a human being he’s a ‘fuckwit’.

OXFORD Dictionary

NOUN

 ‘fuckwit’      

VULGAR SLANG

A stupid or contemptible person (often used as a general term of abuse).

The Oxford Dictionary can be purchased from Amazon.

Unfortunately a social conscience, Mr. Bezos, you will not find on Amazons shelves.

 

 

Other useful definitions in the Oxford Dictionary

NOUN

associate

 Pronunciation: /əˈsəʊʃɪət

A partner or companion in business or at work

NOUN

fulfilment

Pronunciation: ful¦fil|ment

Satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s potential

Is there anybody out there?

 

seti

The search continues unabated for extra terrestrial life out there in the vastness of space. Radio telescopes are the explorer’s tool of choice. These giant dishes point at the sky in search of faint signals, which may indicate other intelligent beings in some far flung corner of the universe.

Using the Drake formula Astronomers have concluded that there are 50,000 exoplanets capable of sustaining some form of extra terrestrial life. Now Frank Drakes formula, for those of a scientific or mathematical bent, is based on assumptions and probabilities.

Drake

 

OK so far?

The boffins may rightly take exception to my take on their research, but the variables are invariable. For instance, I dare suggest that after 120 years of wireless communication we are novices in harnessing radio signals, having only recently upgraded from amplitude modulation to frequency modulation. So it’s a big ask that somewhere out there ET has the ham radio set in the attic tuned to a similar waveband. That so much energy is invested in this quest raises more questions than it can hope to answer. Even assuming we receive a signal from deep space what will be the response? A new generation of intergalactic CB enthusiasts,

”Breaker, Breaker First Mama “4 10” Big Dipper”

The more likely outcome will be the Ukippers of the planet screaming from the rooftops about health tourists, state scroungers and job thieves.

“Oh yes, we in Britain know all about that. So don’t think you’ll be welcome here with open arms intelligent or not!”

Any Intelligent Extraterrestrial checking out planet Earth will already have concluded that current world events don’t add up to a tourist friendly location not even for residents.

“I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.”      Humphery Bogart as Rick in Casablanca.

Thanks for that Rick, but we are talking seven billion isn’t that a game changer?

 

 

A tissue of lies?

green2

Mr. Sainsbury, as a customer I commend you on stocking products that reflect and promote public awareness. As a dynastic Greengrocer, who includes green products on the shelves, your green-ness has been compromised by being somewhat green when it comes to graphics. As was my own reaction, this product must surely have caused a smile or a snigger in the household department as customers browsed the shelves of toilet tissue. Recycle Toilet Tissue indeed!

The package says it all though there may be an essential piece of information or punctuation omitted. I suspect, Mr.Sainsbury, that someone was not paying attention. ttEither that or that same someone is shitting us or taking the piss, which may be concealed in the small print, since no one has noticed or they are too green to say. Conversely, having been assured that my observation is old news, I would have thought a Corporation of such standing in the best interests of commerce would have withdrawn said packaging, had litigious exchange with the graphic designer, and assured customers that the wording did not reflect on the product’s content.

As a consequence I can only conclude that the product description does indeed describe the contents accurately, a double entendre, reasoning that customers will assume, as I have, that the product has been inappropriately labeled. I suspect a smear campaign is already afoot and the truth will be flushed out. When the banks of the cesspool of incriminations finally breeches the shit, most assuredly, will hit the fan.

 

A message in a bottle

Strange brew

Scarlet Johansson has recently resigned as a Goodwill Ambassador to Oxfam. She has a promotion contract with an Israeli Soft-drinks Company, Sodastream, whose factory is located in the occupied west bank. This apparent conflict of interest provided a contention. Whether Ms. Johannson need explain herself to the world for her sponsorships or ambassadorships is for her. That old adage ‘let he, or she, that is without sin cast the first soda stream canister.’

‘The village that fought back: Five Broken Cameras’ is a documentary compiled from the video diary of Palestinian farmer, Emad Burmat in collaboration with Israeli director Guy David. The documentary about Bil’in villager’s peaceful protest against the annexing of their land with a ‘security barrier’,and settlement provides evidence of murder, violence, bullying, and vandalism by the Israeli Army and West Bank settlers. The 52nd State has a siege mentality that feeds on the support of an international lobby, yet it is responsible for some atrocious human rights violations.

Someone somewhere will hear the anti-semitic klaxon crank up to international volume. When there is focus on the Jewish State, which does not mention Moses or Solomon or Sodastream, it seems destined to wear shame. To clarify my position I was brought to be a disciple of a Jewish Prophet, Jesus.

My sons went to school with a young Israeli guy who spoke English with a liberal use of ‘fuck’, which he had acquired in conversational exchange. I say liberal because it was also used to teachers and parents alike. Lets call him…..Abraham since he willingly sacrificed the English language on the altar of ignorance.

“Cup of tea, Abe?”

“Ah Fuck, yea Gerry. And have you biscuits?”

“Yea I’m sure we can find some.”

“Fuck, great, thank you.”

When Abe returned to Israel to fulfill his destiny and obligations to The State, National Service and the Kibbutz, he kept contact with his school friends. One afternoon I received a call from Israel. Without a preamble the caller stated that he was a Mossad Intelligence Officer and demanded information on the caller responsible for calls to my number from Kibbutz Geshur.

I fear I may be regarded anti-semitic in my response. Pointing out to the caller that if he were, as stated, an Intelligence Officer then it was his job and not mine to answer such questions, so I told him to ‘Fuck off’ and hung up.

New Years revolution?

soap“The true fulfilment only comes from within the depths of your being. This is the place, from within you that the peace needs to emanate. We become philosophical about peace. Peace is not a philosophy: peace is a feeling.” Prem Rawat

Mindfulness:

‘The Buddha advocated that one should establish mindfulness in one’s day-to-day life’. That is to say be conscious of who you are as a living, breathing human being, and how you interact with others. It’s a simple science for how we should live our lives. Paramahansa Yogananda’s book ‘Metaphysical Meditations’ contains advice in simple verse. If I may paraphrase from a selected verse, ‘Why if you are having a bad day should you take that out into the world to infect others around you?’ We’ve all been there and bore witness to the outcomes.

Being conscious is something worth striving for as it gives meaning to what we are doing here in the first place. A door opening, the veil withdrawn, chose your own metaphor; there are plenty to choose from. Simply put: Be conscious and at peace with yourself.

Mindless:

When actions are carried out with little care and attention, with no feeling or concern for outcomes they can be described as mindless. The word is often used in conjunction with violence, a negative state of being. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t our natural inclination towards being comfortable and relaxed, the default to be in sync with those around us? You don’t have to agree with all shades of opinion but that’s not a reason for dispute or violence, is it? Can we find accommodation with others and agree to differ, be civilised?

Fun:

That’s what missing between the two states of being, and the two words. Enjoying Life is not a selfish pursuit because it can only be achieved when you’re in sync, in harmony with your true nature. From childhood when the age of reason was achieved our tender consciousness was pummelled with notions of inadequacy, guilt, and imperfection. That we should spend our lives living for some future reward was taught by those who did not know,passed down from previous generations who did not know. Layers of ignorance about our true nature have blighted the human experience. Put the fun back into mindless and lets party.

‘Enjoy yourself it’s later than you think

Enjoy yourself while you’re still in the pink

The years go by as quickly as you wink

Enjoy yourself enjoy yourself

It’s later than you think’

Song by Carl Sigman and Herb Magidson