Columns

Money Talking and Walking

— Filed under: Opinion

So the trial of the media is all but over.  Rebekah Brooks seems to have skipped all responsibility.  Andy Coulson has been made scapegoat and yet that maybe brought into question due to the bumbling antics of sort of chosen leader David Cameron.   Rupert Murdoch has made a mint.

A full-page apology ad published in British ne...

A full-page apology ad published in British newspapers by News International.

Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How has justice been wronged so badly?

It all starts from power and money.  Rupert Murdoch has it.  Throughout the whole trial he has controlled everything he could control. Other players like Rebekah Brooks and her coven have been gift a hand from a man I am sure they worship more so than any deity they might have strayed upon during their scrap to what life they perceive was worthy.  Andy Coulson sued News Corp to cover his costs, and indeed News Corp are going to pay at figures around £60 million at current estimates for the trial itself, and we the tax payer could be paying around £40 million.  That sticks firmly in the craw.  Especially considering by all accounts it could turn out to be the biggest waste of tax payers money.  It may happen that Coulson and his retrial are already compromised by none other than David Cameron. 

In terms of what we managed to actually prosecute, we only have one ham-handed success as I see it.   Yet that success is meaningless in terms of goals I would have set for the whole investigation.  At the least I was hoping for punishment to be metered out with the intent to ensure that news companies are governed correctly and understand that the people they make their wages from are to be treated as such.  We did not reach deep enough into the underbelly of what really is going on behind the many powerful doors Rupert Murdoch and in fact he turned the whole darn affair to his advantage.  We have been handed a man to call bad, to be convicted and sent down.  One high ranking member of the chain.  Despite all indications that this who wrong doing ethos was rife and still is rife within the Murdoch empire.  Despite a deep look into the history of Brooks and Coulson which revealed they were the same in many ways.  The drive, the intelligence and the will to do whatever it took to achieve their aims.  

Some things to think about.  Firstly, the tactics of the defense played a large hand in how the evidence was delivered.  They played the system of evidence presentation to their advantage.  Evidence had to be submitted without any reference to why they were evidence in the trial.  Therefore the Crown (thats us!) were only allowed to make an opening statement.  This leads just two people attempting to present a story from masses amounts of evidence, with an army of defending lawyers pointing out the haphazard manner in which evidence was pieced together.  The evidence itself was selective to say the least.  A story of a safe being lost.  A safe.  Being lost.  I repeat for gravity.  How could the hierarchy not know about all that went on?  What exactly is that has all powerful men fawning over Rebekah Brooks?  What evidence was not presented, due to either off the record evidence or due to deletion and destruction? Given all the power in media how much can we trust them? How much wool has been pulled over our eyes?… Continues …

Riots, Wrongdoing and Aggravation

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, Opinion
Tottenham Riots

Image by Beacon Radio via Flickr

With more than one disaster competing for the top new headline position within the last few weeks, it does indeed feel as anything is possible at the moment.  Sitting from my safe haven of the North East currently, eyes glued to the unfolding dramas and pinching myself occasionally to ensure reality has not bolted out the door.  This country could quite easily be on the cusp of a civil war, revolution, be plunged into the sad reality of martial law(perhaps shipped in).  Whatever does eventuate, you can be guaranteed of two things.  Politicians who began the who fiasco, will be parading around  ensuring the required amount camera time and pithy sound bites are dished out, and it will damage our economy even further meaning more doom and gloom headlines for the foreseeable future.  Its grim up north some say, but at the moment at least we don't have to content with violious vagabonds tearing up our city centres.

The most beguiling of all recent stories is the eruption of wanton looting, burning and an array of different criminal acts being carried out by large gangs of young louts across the country. This feels like the culmination of blunder after blunder everyone currently in positions that have been gifted to the   The media come time and time again to the conclusion that Blackberry Instant Messager has had a large part to play, as have many internet social and communicative tools.  Bit of a shame for Blackberry really, getting caught in the crossfire between an large amounts of media companies attempting not to implode and venting their frustration at the recently departed bedfellows also known as current and previous members of the government, and a large percentage of disenfranchised, muppets with a thirst for Carling Special Brew, chucking things, especially if they can be ignited then thrown, and the odd 32 inch tv or 500.… Continues …

It's the End of the World As We Know It, and I Feel Fine!

— Filed under: Breaking News, Politics & Government, People & Culture
Muammar Qaddafi, the Libyan chief of state, at...

Image via Wikipedia

Okay folks. Here we go. Anyone who has read my previous articles will no doubt be aware that I have very sceptical views on what we like to call “democracy” and even more sceptical views on the foreign policy of pretty much every government, especially that of the UK and our (for now) younger but more hard-assed sibling the US.

I’ve sat back in wonder at the situation we find ourselves in regarding the Middle-East/North Africa and the seemingly organic democratic uprisings of its trodden on citizens.

It’s the largest political shift in our lifetime and may determine the course of our entire species. There, I said it. People are skirting round this point, but what’s at stake is the exposure of the deceptions our respective governments carry out, the response to which by those of us who hold none of the wealth could trigger a forced change in the way we approach politics on the whole.… Continues …

Gulags in the Land of the Free

— Filed under: Politics & Government, Opinion
The prisoner's dilemma is an example of game t...

Image via Wikipedia

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever" - from George Orwell's 1984

For millions of Americans this is their future. How else can you describe a person's future as a prisoner of the American Prison Industrial complex? Take a look at the facts and figures and what you will find is incredibly frightening and something needs to be done about it.

I'm not saying that people who commit horrible crimes shouldn't be locked up but when one in every 18 men are either behind bars or being monitored there is something wrong in society. As of June 2009[update], 2,297,400 were incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails  This means America, the land of the free, has the worlds largest prison population. The worst part is that although crime rates have declined by about 25 percent from 1988-2008 the Prison population has increased dramatically in same period. This cost the states $47 billion dollars in 2008.… Continues …

Afghanistan Is A Lost Cause

— Filed under: Politics & Government, Opinion
President Barack Obama with Afghanistan Presid...

Image via Wikipedia

Today in the News US President Obama said progress was sufficient to permit a "responsible reduction" of US forces to begin in July.

I'd like to ask what progress? Afghanistan still is by far the worlds largest producer of opium and has the 2nd most corrupt government in the world. Transparency International rates only one country, Somalia, as worse.

The cornerstone of the coalition strategy in Afghanistan calls for the Afghan government to eventually take over security and to provide stronger government institutions and services. How can this happen though in a country where the police set up checkpoints and stop cars demanding payment for permission to pass. In 2009, Afghan citizens had to pay approximately US$ 2.5 billion in bribes, which is equivalent to 23 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).… Continues …

Revolting youths!

— Filed under: Politics & Government
Nick Clegg election homepage for libdems.org.uk

Image by Rob Fenwick via Flickr

The recent peaceful demonstrations planned by the NUS in response to the Lib Dems U-Turn on tuition fees have all turned sour resulting in a blame game between the students and the Police. The NUS and it seems the mass media have blamed a mixture of heavy handedness on the part of the Police and the hijacking of non-student youths with various mixed agendas.

I feel, as opposed to the notion of these hijackers being organised anarchists and the like the whole affair is the resultant “spilling over”, of tensions between generations.

For so long the youths (yoofs) of our society have been marginalised and pilloried by a succession of reactionary governments and mainstream media resulting in a socio-political shift in the collective consciousness of the country which instead of encouraging and nurturing our future generations, serves only to demonise, alienate and disenfranchise them resulting in an unprecedented lack of trust between “them” and “us”.… Continues …

"No Disassemble!"

— Filed under: Politics & Government
Flank photo of Johnny 5 robot from the Short C...

Image via Wikipedia

As an aviation enthusiast I have been aware of the development of the increasing autonomy of military technology for a number of years. In the apparent pursuit of making life easier for pilots by decreasing their workload has morphed into a sinister beast however and we are at the point where a number of seemingly disparate technological military advances could converge and make sci-fi like future conflicts a reality.

What follows is a run-down of the areas I find a concern.

UAV/UAS

UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)/Unmanned Aircraft Systems technology is a relatively new direction, where the pilots fly the aircraft as though are on board (following all rules of the air) themselves but are actually in front of a screen flying the aircraft remotely. Initially UAV’s were envisaged as a means of assisting the air power forces by providing “spy” roles such as finding targets and relaying the info to the correct arm of the air power wing and then providing imagery of the aftermath of any strike operations. The most developed UAV is the RQ-1 Predator, initially designed for reconnaissance purposes. In the winter 2000-2001 (post 9/11) tests were conducted with the view of arming Predators with Hellfire missiles (a lightweight but highly effective and accurate missile as used on AH64 Apachehelicopters), these tests culminated in the successful test attack on a stationary tank with 3 missiles. The head of the CIA at the time after seeing how successfully the Predators reconnaissance of Afghanistan was vocal in his support of the arming programme and had the updates accelerated so as to target Osama Bin Laden.  The armed version was re-designated MQ-1 and software and technological upgrades are frequently applied. They have launched hundreds of attacks during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom with some moderate success; however a large number have been destroyed for varying reasons. The Bae System Taranisis the latest development in UAV, it even looks nasty!… Continues …

The Wake of the Week - Everyday Stories

— Filed under: Breaking News, People & Culture, Opinion

Do Good or Do Right?

— Filed under: People & Culture, Opinion

I hate “Do-gooders”. There we go. I’m setting my camp out early with that statement. More to the point, I hate “Evil-doers”. But I find it very hard to distinguish between the two as without one the other would not exist and before long and the closer you inspect you will find a point where the two merge.

Tell me you have not been in the following situation good reader; you have been invited to a social occasion, whether it be a party or a alcoholic gathering of sorts, or any given group activity/gathering for that matter and you are struck dumb by the arrogance and downright unashamed patronising gloat-fest spouting from the mouth of a herd member, going on and on about which charity they support, what “fun” activities they have taken part in to raise funds and or awareness and what “connection” they felt to the current chosen concern.… Continues …

Cuts, Cuts, Cuts.

— Filed under: Breaking News, People & Culture, Opinion
 Labour Party poster for U...

Image by Adrian Short via Flickr

It would seem that the focus of the press at the moment is all about the changes to Government spending and how it is changing the services that available to the British Punter.  Doom and gloom stories are about all of the time and it would be  a ostrich-like news fanatic of me not to point some of this stuff out. 

Education changes have been making the headlines, mainly due to ongoing "riots" during student protests over fees.  Not like Riots back in my day mind, they were proper riots with proper pipe bombs, coshs and  Riot Squad everywhere.  A Gentleman was charged this week with "violent disorder" for throwing a fire extinguisher through a window such was his rage.… Continues …

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