Opinion

The personal convictions of columnists, presented in persuasive form.

Columbus Day Reconsidered

— Filed under: People & Culture, Opinion
First landing of Columbus on the shores of the...

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As many countries around the world celebrate Columbus Day today, I feel compelled to link to one of the most illuminating and powerful articles I've ever read about the supposed discoverer of the New World. In truth, it's an excerpt from a book by Thom Hartmann, and although it was originally posted online in 2007, it remains a timely and insightful piece of research into Columbus and what he represents in a broader context, even to this day.

Expanding, Hartmann says:

"This wasn’t just the story of Hispaniola; the same has been done to indigenous peoples worldwide. Slavery, apartheid, and the entire concept of conservative Darwinian Economics, have been used to justify continued suffering by masses of human beings."

and:… Continues …

We Strike, You're out?

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, Opinion
A stylized representation of a red flag, usefu...

So Ed Miliband has been elected the new Labour Party leader, and his Brother David has annouced his retirement from front-line politics.  Ed can thank the Unions in his election, but to anyone who is keeping up with UK news this was always on the cards.  The changes to Government spending has everyone chattering and not a small amount of people ready to join the numerous calls to strike, giving back the power to the Unions that has been absent for so long.

The Unions are already in a strong position.  The Government are playing right into their hands with their reforms, and the media is ensuring that doom gloom and poverty is announced on a daily basis.  Along with bonuses going to bankers that disgust your average man, and the very likelihood of the New Faces of Labour taking the line of "Old Labour", we are well into our "Winter of discontent Part 2 - Where's the hair?".  The departure of David Miliband is likely to see a split in the Labour party, and I do wonder if this is only going to enhance the power of the Unions.… Continues …

Three parties - One choice.

— Filed under: Politics & Government, People & Culture, Opinion
Nick Clegg makes the Liberal Democrats' Leader...

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Last week, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg made a speech to the Liberal Democrat Party in Liverpool, outlining all of the success that the party has already brought to Britain in the last 5 months, and the successes he aims to accomplish over the next 5 years.

Within this speech he claimed to be challenging political convention and tradition.  He claimed to have reversed the situation whereby the rich pay less in tax than the poor.   He has stated that the current government have guaranteed OAP's a decent increase in pensions.

Excellent speech.  Real hearts and minds stuff.  You could win a lot of votes with this rhetoric, and that's exactly what he did. So many votes that he effectively choose the majority of the Government, when he made a deal with The Conservatives.   Now its time for Nick Clegg to start delivering on his promises, because despite the speech, it seems that The Liberal Democrats are just another party.  Joining The Tories and Labour in a game of Bluff, but  presenting no options and blinded by their own lies.  Mr Clegg claims to be the leader of a party that promises to bring something new.  What's new Nick?… Continues …

Either we go into Space or we go extinct

— Filed under: Science & Technology, Opinion

Texas Tech alumnus Rick Husband was the final ...

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A couple of months ago world renowned Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said "It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species, Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of."

This did get some media attention however it seems to me that people in general could not care less about looking at the long term future of man and space exploration. We have not even been to the moon since the 70's and now the Space shuttle program is closing down with nothing yet developed to replace it. Going to the moon and then losing the will to plant a colony will almost certainly be remembered as the moment our civilization failed. It would be like Moses leading his people to the Promised Land, them looking over the mountain and saying, "Nah, too hard we are going back to Egypt."… Continues …

The Pope, Pills and Pop.

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, People & Culture, Opinion
Pope Benedict XVI during general audition

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So the Pope has been and gone, leaving behind him the opportunity for The Prime Minister to overuse the word "Faith", and attempt to paint himself in a golden light, using the darkness of the previous ruling party as a contrast.  Utter twaddle, in my opinion.

David Cameron has suggested that the Pope asked questions of the UK that would have people 'thinking about our society and how we treat ourselves and each other.' Mr Cameron also went on to say ‘Faith is part of the fabric of our country. It always has been and it always will be. Faith is not a problem for legislators to solve but rather a vital part of our national conversation. And we are proud of that.’ Spin, in fact spin so transparent that it makes Alastair Campbell's statement 'We don’t do God’ seem like it came from an honest person.… Continues …

Why Drugs Should Be Legal (Except Heroin)

— Filed under: Politics & Government, Opinion

I have a close friend. He smoked his first joint at 15, in his late teens he experimented with Acid and Speed, at university he took E’s and Coke at the weekend and in his adulthood he… is a respectable professional who pays his taxes, enjoys gardening and contemporary art.

If at anytime over the last fifteen or so years he had been unfortunate enough to be arrested for possession of these, he certainly would not have the job he has now and may have gone to prison. There is a lot of conjecture about how to reduce drug-related crime.

Well here’s an idea: stop arresting people for it.

The Right to Joke

— Filed under: People & Culture, Opinion
Hear no evil. Speak no evil. See no evil

Image by smileham via Flickr

At a social gathering recently, a friend of mine made an off-color joke; a slightly naughty comment which contained an element of race but wasn’t centered around it. It didn't play on stereotypes, but it certainly wasn't PC either. It might have offended some people, but to me it was so ridiculous that I didn't take it seriously.

Immediately, we were told that we couldn't joke about such things. One of several reasons given was that it wasn't appropriate because of our status - white males, with associated benefits. It wasn't right for us to make jokes involving people who hadn't had the same advantages that we had had in life. Despite the fact that the joke seemed relatively harmless, the entire topic was off-limits. One litmus test that we agreed upon to determine the acceptability of a joke was whether we'd say it to the face of a person of that race.… Continues …

BP: American Double Standards?

— Filed under: Politics & Government, Opinion
SHARM EL SHEIKH/EGYPT, 19MAY08 - Tony Hayward,...

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BP's Tony Hayward

It hasn't been a good time for BP CEO Tony Hayward, who has spent the last few weeks grovelling abjectly on television while being described in The New York Daily News as 'the most hated – and clueless – man in America'. BP has been the subject of protests in many cities, with protesters waving placards proclaiming 'BP=bad polluter' and 'fubp'.

President Obama, stung into action by criticism of his approach has weighed into the situation with unusually bullish language. Being quoted as trying to find out "whose ass to kick", he has given the green light to criminal proceedings to be brought against the BP board for the mass murder of the eleven rig workers, and has called for BP to be banned from giving dividends to its shareholders.

The President of the world's largest polluter and energy consumer, which consumes 25% of global energy with 5% of the world's population, has called the spillage "an affront to the American people".… Continues …

Options for Solving the UK's Deficit

— Filed under: Politics & Government, Opinion

I am not going to pretend to understand all of the implications of spending vs. cuts when it comes to Government but after reading articles on the BBC website with regards to the latest spending announcements, I am disturbed and worried.

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 29JAN10 - David Cameron, Le...

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The current Prime Minister, David Cameron has announced a further £67 million will be spent on ensuring bombs planted in Afghanistan were countered.  He has stated that Afghanistan is his number one priority and is a national security issue.  Britain currently has 10,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan.  He also suggested that he would not be looking at sending further troops, and that the £200 million from aid funding would be diverted from other budgets to assist Afghanistan in building up its Army, Police Force and Civil Service.

Don't get me wrong, I am all in favour, and proudly support the British Forces, I am just unhappy they are there in the first place. I may be wrong in thinking, but I firmly hold George Bush and his cronies responsible for getting England into this mess in the first place.  I had been told in the past that the reason England bent over every time America came calling for support, was due to a debt that we only recently paid back to America from World War II, when England was a financial mess, and Chamberlain requested help.  If this is the case, then nothing has been altered, we are still having severe financial difficulties, we are still doing the bidding of Former American Presidents work, and we are still getting shafted.… Continues …

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