February 28, 2005

the EU is a superstate

Backing up EU Serf and UE Referendums finds with an article in Times Online.

Ever closer union

Following a link from EU Serf I got to this item by EU Referendum, it appears that the Constitution will not be an end to intergration and the march to a federal state, but the beginning of the next phase. Of course the UK government assures us differently, so you have a choice believe some proven liars or the last leasons of 35 years of history. I know which one I believe and it ain't the government.

We are not alone.

The UK is not, as the Pro-EU people always seem to make out, the only majority Eurosceptic country in the EU the Swedish also want out, could this be that like us they also have a good economy and want to keep it rather than decend into Euroland stagnation and double digit unemployment figures.

WolverineTom: A geologist...like Randy Marsh

An encounter between an athiest and the creationists, concluding that:
"1. They need me to convert to religion, I don't need them to convert to believing evolution. If they get no more people to join their group, their religion would eventually die. On the other hand, when dealing with evolution, every single person could stop believing in it but the fact would remain that evolution would still be true. Scientific principles do not disappear if no one believes in them (the earth was not the center of the universe, no matter how much people believed it was back then).

2. They measure their successes on how many people they can fool on the evolution/creationism situation. They didn't get me, so they lost. I feel good about that one.

3. They depend on these tables to try and bring you in. Simply asking to accept Christianity doesn't cut it these days. They know they are losing, so they have to resort to the table displays and bulletin boards."
So true, but the sooner religion dies the better it will be for everybody. Not least the people currently repressed by it.

Down among the demented men - Nick Barlow's weblog

A critique of the horrible little Fascists at Christian Voice by Nick Barlow, going over their website or in his words
"I take a detailed look at their website so you don’t have to which, using Greenian logic, makes me Jesus, taking on the suffering for you. Ladies of loose morals seeking purification and redemption should form an orderly queue."

This included rooting out little jems like this
"the thought of a man remorselessly driving his penis into my dirty backside is an image that haunts me almost every night."
May I sugest Gaydar?

Boris Johnson MP: Prevention of Terrorism Bill

Boris Johnson MP: Prevention of Terrorism Bill

February 25, 2005

The Euroland Budget

There is a three week window to finalise the next EU budget, though perhaps it would be a good start to get the current budget to add up, doing something about the rampant fraud would be a good idea as well. The countries with large economies don't want to pay more but the Commision says "you cannot have more Europe with less money", but what if you want less 'Europe'? Germany appears to be willing to pay more, well they've been paying for everything since the EU was counded so no change there, in exchange for a release form the Growth and Stability [suicide] Pact.

Other news on the EU is that they are now planning to harmonise driving licences. Why? Waht has this to do with a free trade area? My licence is valid anywhere in Europe anyway. The reason is in the article "They will be also beneficial for fighting fraud, by creating a legal security system network in Europe", so it's the beginnings of a pan-european ID card, exactly the same way that New Labour is pushing ID cards on this country first through driving licences.

Anexation by Euroland is not inevitable

Another post from Iceland stating that Iceland is NOT on its way to join the EU. No matter the constant Pro-EU refrain of "Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated" it is not an inescapable fact that all countries will eventually be subsumed into Euroland. The current Icelandic situation is that the population is evenly split, 50-50 pro and anti, this is down from over 60-40 for the pro's. There is also no political party in favour of joining. None of them. Perhaps the Icelanders like their country, something that most UK politians clearly seem not to.

Why would a rich country join the EU?

Why would a rich country join the EU? Well it wouldn't, it would simply get nothing out of it other than a heap of regulation that would end up with it not being a rich country. This is what is being argued in Iceland anyway.

Scottish Parliament lines up against ID scheme

Scottish Parliament lines up against ID scheme | The Register: "The Scottish Parliament yesterday condemned the UK ID Cards Bill as flawed and an unacceptable threat to civil liberties, leaving the legal position of the ID scheme largely unchanged but positioning it as a live election issue north of the border. The vote suggests that the Scottish Executive's 'kinder, gentler ID' policy may not be enough."

House arrest bill 'unjustified and rushed'

The joint commitee on human rights has conclude, very quickly, that the House arrest bill is unjustified and rushed:
"The joint committee on human rights said there was currently 'no justification' for the proposed house arrest powers, which the home secretary, Charles Clarke, intends to keep in reserve.

These powers would allow politicians 'wide and unprecedented' powers of detention, yet the legislation was being 'rushed through parliament at a speed which prevents proper scrutiny', the report warned."
I guess someone managed to actually read it. As for the 'justifications' that are being wheeled out the Guardian also has another article pointing out how similar it is to a speach in the Alan Bennet play, a speach that was intended as parady.

parlimentary scrutiny of the EU

An article by EU Referendum on the level of scrutiny givern to EU legislation, the legislation in question being the C[r]AP. The papers that where needed where delivered just 24 hours before the debate and amounted to a total of 448 pages. Many believed that there are good arguements that the deversity of agriculture means that it would be better delt with at a local level, where they know what is correct for their region. Even though nobody understood it, despite the huge amount of paper work provided it was simply passed and will eventually wind up on our statue books without anymore scrutiny, perhaps when they have had more than 24 hours to understand it and been given all the information on it, by the UK parliment.

February 24, 2005

Christian love

an article from the times on 'christian love'. The love of love of guilt, shame, bigotry and descrimination.

Defending liberty

Lovely, a post quoting a powerful defence of civil liberties. And who was the speaker? Tony Blair.

7 Reasons Not To Vote Labour In 2005

"what's the point of a fascist government if it can't even make the trains run on time?"

Tim Worstall: The Dear Leader on Liberty.

Wonderful post by Tim Worstall tearing apart High Moral Tone's reasons for destroying civil liberties

why lift the arms embargo on China

An article by EU Referendum on why the EU is to lift its arms embargo with China, an undemocratic tryanny responsible for the wholesale and systematic destruction of Tibetian culture.:
"if there is little economic sense in European arms manufacturers pursuing the lifting of the EU's arms embargo on China, there would seem to be another reason why the EU is so determined to lift it.

The clue lies in Chirac, who yesterday described China as the European Union's 'strategic partner'. Here, there is a profound political agenda, and that rather precludes the US looking for greater co-operation with its European 'allies'."
So it does not matter how bad the people you are selling to are, or how much it will hurt your own industry, so long as they are not American.

Transcripts show No 10's hand in war legal advice

So the reason why the government has been so reluctant to publish the advise it was given saying that the Iraq War was legal comes to light at last. This 'legal advice' was itself no more than another dodgy dossier constructed to aid the case for a war that had already been decided was going to happen.
Transcripts of evidence given in private by the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, to an official inquiry suggest that the crucial advice on the legality of war, presented to parliament in his name, was written for him by two of Tony Blair's closest allies.

The document, seen by the Guardian, reveals the attorney general's private exchanges with Lord Butler during the course of his inquiry into the use of intelligence in the run-up to war against Iraq.

In them, the attorney general suggests his parliamentary statement giving legal backing to Britain's participation in the invasion was "set out" by Charles Falconer, then Home Office minister, and Baroness Morgan, the prime minister's director of political-government relations.

February 23, 2005

Hack a Bike

Very cool from a technical point of view, also notice how despite the extra work it took they made sure to try and be as respectful as practicable to the resource. It should also be noted that it was only one mistake, leaving the copy protect bit off, that made this hack possible. Which just goes to show how hard true security is.

A post on al-Qaradawi really preaches

Here is a post by a gay Muslim about what Ken Livingstone's friend al-Qaradawi really believes
Ken claims Qaradawi is a “moderate” who combats “socially regressive interpretations of Islam.” This is complete nonsense. Liberal Muslims all over the world reject Qaradawi’s intolerant views, which include the killing of apostates, gays, adulteresses and innocent Israeli civilians.

As a victim of Islamist repression, I am amazed the Mayor has dared to misrepresent a reactionary cleric like Qaradawi as a progressive; especially since Ken has never offered any support to those of us who have suffered at the hands of the Islamists.

Unlike Livingstone, I know what Qaradawi really stands for. When living in Algeria, I listened to his religious broadcasts in Arabic – uncensored and unedited to appease western liberals. I heard his Islamist bigotry firsthand. Qaradawi often defended the barbarity of Sharia law. He has a far right political agenda. His aim is to create a worldwide theocratic state, where every person is subject to his intolerant interpretation of Islam.
This man tried to claim asylum here and despite the Home Office admitting that he would face presicution, probably torture and death, if he was returned to Algeria his claim was refused. It should not have been, this is a man that will be killed if he is sent back. We have a duty to protect him. It is not like some immigrants that would want to help al-Qaradawi to destroy our sociaty and impose an Islamofascist theocracy.

Freedom? Why Europe's not bothered

A telegraph article on Continental Europes attitude to freedom, I say continental attitude because while Queen Tony may want to destroy the hard won freedoms of this country, which acted as the seeds of the freedom enjoyed by the whole of the Angolsphere, there are many that oppose him.

Blimpish: Flinching when they should be sneering

another attack on the horrorable house arrest laws.

burning the Magna Carta

As New Labour continues to try and destroy this country an article by the times and a couple of blogs on the subject. First is Cabalamat Journal about how the Home Secretary Charles Clarke is the biggest threat to this nation. Some really good points in here such as:
Clarke says he needs these powers because if the threat of Islamist terrorism. Let's consider the figures: there are about 1,500,000 million Muslims in Britain, and there have been no terrorist attacks in Britain caused by Muslims. By way of contrast, when the IRA and other terrorist groups in Northern Ireland were active, they killed over 2000 people -- but Britain didn't then give cabinet ministers the power to personally order the detention of anyone on a whim; and nor should we do so now.

The government will probably, when challenged about the lack of Muslim terrorism in Britain, point to the security measures they've instituted. "Look", they will say, "we've been tough," -- they like that word, do the government -- "and vigilant, and we've stepped up security, and that's why there's been no terrorism". This argument is bollocks. Consider how many times last year such groups as Fathers4Justice and pro-foxhunting campaigners have breached Blair's supposedly watertight security.

If there had been any Muslim terrorist groups operating in Britain, they would have been able to get past security too (not to mention that they could have chosen to attack less secure targets -- the government cannot put security guards and policemen in front of every potential target in the country). The real reason there has been no Muslim terrorism is quite simple: the vast majority of British Muslims don't want to commit acts of violence against the British nation.

Exactly, as Ho Chi Min said "the guerilla swims through the people as the fish through the ocean", so guerilla warfare, or terrorism, can only work if the host population supports the cause of the guerilla. Without that general level of support they are like fish out of water. What these draconian measures will do is make the groups that they are targeted against, probably the Muslim community, hostile and therefore more supportive of terrorists.
One of the arguments Clarke has used on why he should be allowed to detain people without trial, is that some evidence such as phone taps cannot be allowed in court, because if it was, terror networks would know too much about British phone tapping policy. But this is nonsense -- it can pretty much be taken as read that any Muslim in Britain, if they're ever had any association with any group the UK government thinks is dodgy, will have the telephone tapped and their Internet communications monitored. Certainly if I was a Muslim, that's what I'd assume.

And he would assume correctly. It isn't just Muslims either, all email is routinely intercepted and automatically checked to see if it matches patterns that could indicate the need for further investigation. Perhaps he is worried about himself being locked up under the draconian Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, as it makes talking about who's communications are being tapped illegal, it is even illegal to reveal it in court. Even if you are the person being tapped, or the having to help the police do the tapping as you work for an ISP or phone company. This legislation itself reverses the burden of proof meaning so that you have to prove your communications have no criminal content should the government not be able to easily tap them, such as if you have used encryption.

EuroRealist points out that what they are doing is removing some of the most basic rights that where put in place by the Magna Carta, and that "Mr Clarke and Mr Hain want to railroad detention without trial through the Commons in six days." six days! They are going to massively change the basic nature of the rule of law in this country and think it can be properly debated in six days? This may not be the first time New Labour has tried to get rid of trial by jury, but please six days to debate a measure that will destroy almost a thousand years of law and tradition. If the Fuedal Lords of the medeval england, hardly big on human rights a concept that had not even been invented at the time, thought that trial by jury has a good idea then what exactly can we say about the instincts of New Labour? Less liberal than a feudal baron is not exactly a complement.

February 22, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | Guardian daily comment | Protest as harassment

An article by George Monbiot about the horror of the governments 'Serious Organised Crime and Police' Bill and the way that it will trash even more of our civil liberties. George is normally factually accurate and his research is good. But his rather strident views tend to mask his point, that our right to basically any form of protest will be removed by this bill, rather than exentuate it.

Harry's Place: A convert speaks

Apparently al-Qaradawi, advocate of wife beating and murder, is a good representative of Islamaccording to a Muslim convert.

Times Online - Newspaper Edition

Interesting article in The Times about the current state of ethnic minority groups in this country.

MSNBC - Primate perversions

It appears that we are a lot closer to Gorrillas than previously thought.

February 21, 2005

fuel taxes

What to know why public transport is so bad when the Government is trying to get us out of our cars, through massive fuel taxes, in the name of the enviroment? Well, according to the times, it is quite simple. All public transport initiatives have to take into account the amount of tax the government will 'lose' by people not driving and add this into their costs. So only if the government will be able to squeeze us for at least as much money as it was getting before will it allow the scheme to go ahead. Which pretty well kills the idea that the massive fuel duty rises that have taken place over recent years have been anything to do with protecting the enviroment, as is normally claimed.
The Government receives more than £42 billion a year in road taxes, including £28 billion in duty and VAT on fuel.

This income falls if public transport improves because motorists will be more inclined to take buses and trains and will therefore buy less fuel.

Under the department’s rules for schemes, the predicted losses from road taxes must be added to the capital costs of public transport projects.

This is inflating the costs and making it much harder for authorities to win government funding for their projects. Authorities submitted more than 60 transport projects last year, but only eight were approved. The department could not say which schemes it had rejected or delayed approving because of the added cost of allowing for tax losses.

When good ideas go bad

The BSA, which isn't and organisation that I have any love for, is critising the EU for it's 'Open Standards' Policy. This policy means that well used standards such as DHCP, the wireless protocol 802.1 (WiFi or Airport), and even the GSM mobile phone standard will not be able to be used as standards within EU organisations or between EU institutions and national governments.


More on anti-semite Ken Livingstone

First a rebuttal of Kens claims that al-Qaradawi isn't a mysognist homophobe that supports terrorism. The a longer article in the Observer about the rise of what they call the 'Pseudo-Left'. People that claim to be left wing but will support anyone, no matter how despicable, so long as they are anti-american. Finally a piece in the Spectator (registration required) about Ken's, and the rest of the Labour Party's, use of anti-semitism in order to win back the Muslim votes that they lost by the Iraq war.

To summarise this article it basically states that the Jewish community having sucessfully assimilated into british culture are no longer a single voting block and will vote depending on who they think will be better for Britian as a whole. Muslims, being generally newer immigrants and not having assimilated into British culture to the degree that Jews have, still tend to all vote the same way for what they think would be better for the Muslim community. The Muslims are also a numerically larger group. This means that it makes better electral maths to court the Muslims vote even if the extreme tactics needed alienate, the smaller and more diverse, Jewish vote because of their anti-semitism.

Reg chats with ISS veteran

An interview with a International Space Station astronaut, one question that I notice they didn't ask was "How did you feel working on a project with very limited scientific merit, designed initially purely to give purpose to the Space Shuttle project, the cost of which is far in excess of that needed to get a person to Mars?"

The Road to Euro Serfdom: The Same Document?

A couple of interesting tip bits from EU-Serf. The first following up on the various ways that the the Constitution is being sold in different countries

“The constitution will create a political and institutional framework from which no one will be be able to withdraw. It is a big step towards a more Social Europe”
Jacques Chirac

“(The constitution) is an expression of Europe as a union of nation states . . . the rejection of Europe as a federal superstate”
Tony Blair

“Prosperity will be reinforced by the constitution. It puts in place a social model which endeavours to be the most just and most advanced in the world”
José Luis Zapatero of Spain

“This is a great step forward for the EU to become a true political union”
Jean-Luc Dehaene of Belgium

“Europe is a story of friendship and partnership. The constitution seals this.”
Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands

“The constitution is a massive infringement of our sovereignty”
Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic

Notice that Tony Blair seems to be the only one saying that the EU is not a state in the making, which contrasts completely with Jacques Chirac who explicitly says it is. Only one of these views can be correct and the second post explains which one. Chirac of course,
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told a Spanish radio station: “We will undoubtedly see European embassies in the world, not ones from each country, with European diplomats and a European foreign service.”

Britain and France would also lose their voices in NATO and their seats on the UN Security Council, said Zapatero.

Spain voters approve EU constitution

Spain voters approve EU constitution as everybody knew they would. The turn out was low, and so was the percentage voting yes compared to predictions. It was expected that the yes vote would get about 90%, but it actually got 75% 79% (the earlier number was from memory from what I heard driving in, after a bit of research I found it was wrong).

February 18, 2005

Software patents

Two articles one from the BBC, and one from The Register, from the differing styles I think the evidence of the BBC's subconcious pro-europeanism is fairly clear. But enough of that, the meat. The parliment has called for this bill to be restarted and rewritten. However this being the EU it had to ask the Commision that can decide to accept or reject it's proposal. Hopefully it will accept as this would be tow good things in one decision, one it would add some democratic legitimacy to the EU, two it would stop this stupid and destructive bill.

St Valentine's day and the joy of sects.

The fun loving Islamofasists of Saudi Arabiahave decided that selling red flowers is bad, any red flowers, and is enough to land you in prison. Apparently there are only two festivals allowed in their crazy world, Ramadan and Haj. Even celibrating the Prophets birthday is banned.

"Only we and Lesotho reserve seats for hereditary chieftains" Robin Cook

Great piece by Robin Cook, you know the former member of the Labour cabinate that actually has some principles, about the need to reform the house of Lords. This will never happen while Blair is in power as the reason for reform is to limit the presidential style of government favoured by Blair and move power out from the centre, a concept that is anthima to this government.
"We are at this impasse because Tony Blair will only accept a second chamber in which all its members are appointed, with the largest number being appointed by himself as prime minister. This would limit modernisation to moving from the 15th-century principle of heredity to the 18th-century principle of patronage."

www.AndrewSullivan.com torture round up

A quick round up on the way the war on terror is being conducted from Andew Sullivans blog.


The original memos on what kinds of toture is allowed by US personel

I am reminded of the famous Nietzsche quote:
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

another small step ...

Another EU Referendum post about the EU gearing up to create a pan-european prosecutor to deal with EU fraud, and there is enough work to keep them going for a while, based in the constitution.

The EU constitution, different where you read it

The always interesting EU Referendum has a post on a Times article on the way the Consitution is being promoted in different countries, with the proponents saying different things that they think will play well in there constituencies.

Of course they may not be trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes. It could well be that the consitution does say different things in different countries. However the times article as a hand guide to what it, as "300 pages of legales", actually says:
# It states that EU law takes precedence over UK law
# It makes the EU a legal entity for the first time, enabling it to sign treaties on its own
# It stipulates that all citizens of member states will also be citizens of the EU itself
# It creates a powerful president and foreign minister
# It simplifies voting procedures for the enlarged union of 25 member states
# It requires Britain and other member states to give up the veto on 63 policy areas. Many are mundane, but others, such as asylum and immigration policy, are highly controversial
# It includes a charter of fundamental rights

Harry's Place: Foreigners and Football

Good post at Harry's Place aboutthe number of foreign born players currently in the premiership, noting that people don't seem that bothered that Arsenal fields an entire side without any UK born players. He then goes on to point out how many people go to Europe, and watch European football. In conclusion:
My point is simply that in the world of football people were left to make up their own minds about foreign labour and European integration the two most emotive issues in British politics. And they decided that not only could they handle the changes but they actively enjoyed the opportunities they provided.

That is surely both encouraging for progressives and food for thought for those who insist that there are limits that cannot be exceeded and lines that cannot be crossed.

So it is all the media fault that most people dislike the EU.

However there is a different conclusion that could be drawn. People have no problem with other people from other countries or cultures. The ydon't mind people coming over here to find a job and contribute to our sociaty.

They have a problem with people importing their sociaty and not intergrating. They have a problem with some of the best institutions of their sociaty and the other sociaties that they have visited in europe, such as democratic accountability, being squandered for mere political point scoring. Dislike of the EU is not the 'little englander' syndrome as promoted by the media but a rational evaluation of the EU's performance to date.

February 17, 2005

Timothy Garton Ash: Stop this folly now

The guardian has an article on latest New Labour's cynical trick to try and win back some of the Muslim voters that it lost through the Iraq War, by sacrificing our right to critise religions.

Will this stop the far right from trying to demonise Muslims? No they will do that anyway. They need some one to demonise as without some easily identifiable enemy they have not reason to exist. It could even end up with them looking like marters which would be completly counter productive.

Will it stiffle artistic expression? Yes.

Will it stop people trying to raise awareness about some of the less savoury aspects of Islamic culture, or trying to argue for better human rights in the Islamic countries? Yes, Islam is not just a religous and moral system, it is also a political system. The Sharia is deeply ingrained as a requirement of Islamic countries, and as like all other parts of Koran it is beleived to be devinely inspired and therefore cannot be amended by mere human laws.

So we get our rights trampled on, and are no longer able to argue against the hatred incited by such people as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who advacates wife beating and murdering gays, but Labour manages to claw back a few votes.

Don't tell anyone and they might not notice the consitution

The European Commision has funds, our money actually, to tell people about the implications of the coming constitution, but the government has asked it not to do anything in this country. It obviously prefers peddling myths, and is affraid that someone from the commision might spill the beans on the truth of what the EU is about, political union.

The commision can critise however our economic management as it thinks that we might be about to breach the 3% GDP deficit limit of the Growth and Stability (suicide) Pact. It appears that it is fine to breach the pact if you are France or Germany and so suffering the consequences of being 'good little europeans' and handing over the control of your currency to Brussels. This warning despite our continued economic success, with growth rates far higher than Euroland.


The Kyoto Protocol was signed yesterday. Most of the blogs that I have read have been negative, because I tend to read people that are free market orientated and penalising fossil fuels is obviously an attempt to distort the market.

Climate change is real, and it is going to cause problems in the long term. The cuts to carbon emissions required by Kyoto are not enough to stop it, especially since they do not cover the developing nations like India and China. But the cuts to fossil fuel emissions are not Kyoto's most important part, the most important part are the carbon credits. Let me explain.

Imagine a company, it wants to sell one product but in order to create this product it also creates a waste by-product. It cannot not produce this by-product as it is inextricably linked with the product itself. To try and produce one without the other would be like trying to produce sodium (Na) from salt (NaCl) without producing and chlorine (Cl), the universe just won't let you do it. Since you have to spend money on creating this by-product this is going to eat into your profits so you are going to try and reduce the cost of its creation as far as possible. The company that reduces this cost furthest will be able to generate the most profits and so will be rewarded by the market.

In the case of a green energy company carbon credits are the product, electricity the by-product. No green energy company can currently sell their electricity on the open market at a profit, so green energy is not a viable business. By creating a new product that green energy companies can sell, Carbon Credits, at a profit the situation changes so that green energy becomes a viable business. The invisible hand of the market will then spur innovation to make green energy cheaper until it can be sold on the open market at a profit. At this point the market will phase out fossil fuels as they can no longer compete with green energy as they will both be selling electricity at the same price, but the fossil fuels will have the extra expense of the carbon credits reducing their profits while increasing the profits of the green suppliers. As this phase out happens the market for carbon credits will diminish as there are less buyers naturally eliminating itself.

The market is being manipulated, but it is being manipulated in order to get green energy out of the Catch 22 situation that it is currently in. It cannot get to the point where it is profitable without major investment. But no one is going to invest in a business that cannot make a profit and therefore generate returns on that investment. Especially if there are other companies in that market where their money would make a handsome return.

So who pays for it? Well the customers for the green energy companies are the fossil fuel energy companies, who will pass the costs onto the customers. However in a competitive market these costs will reduce over time as the costs of the carbon credits reduce as the green energy companies produce more and cheaper electricity of their own.

We shouldn't worry about the Americans not signing up. Should it work and the green energy companies be profitable they will invest, especially as they near market prices for their electricity, the entrepreneurial spirit that drives American culture is always looking for new markets where they can make a profit. Should it not work, well it would not have worked had the US been signed up either. Kyoto not working is a very real possibility it is after all very much a big government project and was created by must be the biggest committee that has ever been convened which is not an encouraging sign. If it doesn't then it was at least a valuable experiment on what not to do when it's successor is created.

Simply doing nothing and hoping climate change will go away is not an option, but neither is trying to pursued people to go back to energy consumption levels of some mythical pre-agrarian time, yes I'm looking at you George Monboit, when we apparently live in tune with nature.

February 16, 2005

The heart of Ken Livingstone

I haven't posted anything so far on the Ken Livingstone afair, mainly because it was so obviously odious anti-semitism that I didn't think it needed pointing out to anyone. It appears that I was wrong, sorry Mr Geras but there is no use splitting hairs over this.

After starting insulting Mr Finegold for no reason than he was doing his job, with the insults that he used instinctively of an antisemitic nature, Mr Livingstone deliberately then went on to call him a concentration camp guard. After he had been told he was Jewish. Deliberatly finding the most offensive thing he could to use as an insult based on this reporters religion.

He then refuses to say sorry because "why should I say words I do not believe in my heart". O.K. in a way it is good because re refuses to bend his principles for simple political expedient. But that doesn't excuse him as that the principle, the principle of anti-semitism, is wrong.

Microsoft blackmailling Denmark

GROKLAW has a translation of the original report on Microsofts aledged attempts to blackmail denmark into helpping it get software patents into European Law, which Microsoft denies. This is the reason that I am not Libertarian, big business can limit my freedoms just as easily as big government.

EU to collapse in 15 years - some thoughts

CIA gives EU 15 years before it collapses because of it's poor economic performance.
The experts felt that the current welfare state is unsustainable and the lack of any economic revitalization could lead to the splintering or, at worst, disintegration of the European Union, undermining its ambitions to play a heavyweight international role.

Part of the reason for this is high national debt as can be seen by this nice diagram and partly through the number of stupid regulations brought out by the EU such as droit de suite, which will kill the european art market, which stiffle business and the problems of creating jobs due to different EU regulations.

Not that people are particually productive when in these jobs, it simply isn't in our best financial interests to be as productive as, say US workers. Nor is it particually in our interests to breed, due to the current setup of the welfare state. So people don't. The replacement situation was similar in the US in the 70's, but when they changed the welfare system so that it favoured famillies the replacement rate went up. The favoured solution by the EU however, which cannot be modified by the member states, is to import workers from poorer, mainly Muslim, countries.

Which could be fine, but currently there are two problems:
One the second generation from the immigrants have very low educations levels and therefore very high levels of unemployment. This leads understandably to resentment, especially as islamaphobia tends to be blamed as the cause, and radicalisation.
Two, rapid visible imigration has always, and will always, cause fears in the host population, fears that can be exploited by Nazi scum to provoke riots. This tends towards an even greater polarisation between the comunities leaving the immigrants even more visibly 'other' and so even more the source of fear and resentment. From which a visious circle is formed.

However if this is a true assessment then by inverting the current conditions the results would also change.

Once the EU breaks up will once again be able set our own levels of immigration. By slowing the growth in the immigrant communities it might lower the fear so that more money can be directed at getting better results for the education of the Muslim minorities, which would lead to better job prospects, and so less radicalisation and more intergration. So long as there is jobs for them to fill that is, which requires a climate where business can create profitable jobs, which the EU is not exactly good at making. So the break up of the EU might not be such a bad thing so long as the government here is willing to make the required changes to take advantage of it.

SHA-1 Broken

Schneier on Security: SHA-1 Broken, this is big news. If the paper is for real then this is a very important, how important? Want to poison a Bittorent with bad data so it doesn't reconstruct into a proper movie? Want to fake someones digital signature? Or want to fake a legally binding document form the presidency of Bill Clinton, with this technique (if it passes peer review) you can and on an industrial scale. That is how important it is.

February 15, 2005

PM: Debunking The 9/11 Myths

PM: Debunking The 9/11 Myths - Mar. 2005 Cover Story

The Iraqi Election Results Map

A breakdown, with a map, of the results of the Iraqi Election by Patrick Ruffini found via Instapundit.

tweaking the tax system

tweaking the tax sytem to try and get government to encourage business growth. One quote that is particually relavent is "If you pay people to meet set targets, they will hit them regardless of what else you want." which is exactly what is wrong with most central government systems. They have to have targets, so they look for something that can easily be recorded and focus on that. Result they get the statistics they want but the actual service doesn't improve as resources have been focused on that area in order to get the correct statistics.

North Sea Diaries - A weblog of European politics

North Sea Diaries is contiuing its following of the tax harmonisation case of M&S vs. the Inland Revenue, as with most things EU the very large companies are likely to end up with an enormous windfall from the taxpayers, to the tune of £50million in this case with "£20billion waiting in the wings". Tax has many times been excluded from EU treaties, and is one of Tony Blairs 'red lines'. But as it has been previously excluded from treaties it is fairly obvious which way the ECJ will rule, that is against the national government.

Paradigms for Paranoids

In case the slight stiring of liberalism was no more than the result of the build up of gasses in the rotting corpse of James Stweart Mill here is a link to an article about software that could be useful in the coming age.

Is liberalism stirring?

There appears to be something stirring about the way that our individual liberties are being trashed recently. Probably to do with the passage of the completely unrequired and probably counter productive and deeply illiberal licence to live scheme through the House of Commons. First an article in the Graudian critising the government explaining:
Something deep in New Labour prevents large parts of the party from grasping and sympathising with the importance that so many British people rightly attach to a belief in their liberties.
Yes we've noticed this already, and so has The Register which has been following the issue for a while. The current excuse, which will have changed by next week, is that they are needed to control immergration, news flash Mr Clarke there are already documents used for controlling immergration. They are called Passports. The oppersition parties have even started doing their jobs and are meeting with Queen Tony to voice their concerns about house arrest without trial and could well get the horrific house arrest powers that the government wants watered down. It should of course have never been dreamt up in the first place. Luckily the House of Lords can stop it, as to use the Parliment Act for this peice of legislation would be against the Bill of Rights which is based on Declaration of Rights from which parliment gains its power to legislate. This is because:
That all Grants and Promises of Fines and Forfeitures of particular persons before Conviction are illegall
That the pretended Power of suspending of Lawes or the Execution of Lawes by Regall Authority without Consent of Parliament is illegall That the pretended power of dispensing with Lawes or the Execution of Lawes by Regall Authority as it hath been assumed and exercised of late is illegall
with Parliment earlier being defined as
Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons pursuant to their respective Letters and Elections being now assembled in a full and free Representative of this Nation
So if it is legal at all to mess with the Bill of Rights as the house arrest bill does it must get the approval of the entire parliment as for Queen Tony to do otherwise would surely be exactly the same as "suspending of Lawes or the Execution of Lawes by Regall Authority" which was made explicitly illegal.

another competitive industry for the chopping block

Cheap air transport, which has done more than anything else to bring the various peoples of Europe together, are next in line for a bit of EU madness with a set of regulations that will drive no frills airlines out of business. This of course despite the Barosso Commisions commitment to promoting growth and cutting back on damaging regulation.

Better out than in

The following summary is extracted from a report found on the New Frontiers Foundation

The UK attracts more investment than Germany, France, and Italy combined. There is no sign that keeping the pound is damaging this, or infact doing anything to this at all, as most companies favour the regulatory and legal systems of this country over Euroland. Exchange rate risk is not a major factor in long term investment decisions, you would be stupid not to invest in the USA because exchange rates can change, the returns on investment of the dynamic US economy more than cancel out these short term fluctuations. If anyone was truely worried about currency fluctuations it should be remembered that it is the dollar not the Euro that remains the global currency of choice. By staying out of the Euro our exchange rate has remained more stable relative the dollar, to the currency of the largest and most dynamic economy in the world, than the Euro has.

Despite the government claims that over haft our trade is with the EU the actual figure is 49%, under haft, which accounts for 19% of UK GDP, and this figure is declining. We infact have a 6% trade defict with Euroland, meaning where we to pull out and they try anything nasty they would have more to lose than we would. The simple fact that they couldn't do this as we would still be a member of the EEA and EFTA which both have free trade agreements with Euroland, and that any sanctions they decided to try and impose would be ruled illegal by the WTO. Not that the single market can be seen as a catalyst for improved future trade either as according to the Kok Report for the Commision (2004) and UNCTAD (2004) intra-eu trade, goods and services, has shrunk since the launch of the single market.
Reports by the US Senate, the IEA, and others have found no evidence for the claim that leaving the EU would have a large and negative effect on UK trade and investment. Being outside the EU's Common Commercial Policy and CAP would allow the UK to remove damaging tariffs and restrections on trade, while changing our relationships with the SM [single market] would allow us to trade almost as freely as we do now without the large and growing cost of EU regulation.

few are willing to find the genius within

We need to look at the brighter and more settled students and begin to raise their profile and achievements.

Why are we always in the failure end of the spectrum with children who have profound social problems, which many schools realise are beyond their capacity to resolve? School for these children will only be a containment area. In other words, many of the initiatives are simply about crime prevention. Osler’s work is a contribution to a report called Excluded From School: A Gendered Story of Behaviour.

What about those high flyers and conformists students who are not in this category. We need to challenge black students to greater heights – stretching their enormous potential, not trying to give voice to those on the criminal edge – this is the domain of social workers and psychologists.

This isn't just a case for children from minority groups, all must have the opportunity to learn as much as they are able.
The untold story about black children in our schools is that the real neglect is of those children who seem to be doing well but few are willing to find the genius within.

Charles and Camilla

An interesting post by Laban Tall on charles, Camilla and Republicanism, personally I hope that they live happily as love between two people is something that should always be celibrated. As for an consitutional issues that the Church may have about devorcees marrying, well perhaps it should try dragging itself into this century, perhaps a look at the statistics would help.

Commission likely to fight UK emissions move

The FT has an article, discovered by EU-Serf, Showing how is really in charge of our enviromental policy, when the UK government decided that it would increase the amount of carbon dioxide produced by industry the EU Commision told it that it could not and it would take it to the ECJ if need be, which will of course rule, as always, in favour of more power going to Brussels. This is in order that we meet our Kyoto Treay targets. However we are already on course to not just meet, but beat the targets set by Kyoto. This is while maintaining a strong and growing economy, unlike Euroland.

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Iraq agency 'run like Wild West'

According to the BBC "Iraq agency 'run like Wild West'"e : "Almost two years after the war, 80% of the $18bn set aside by the US Congress for rebuilding Iraq remains unspent." with a large amount of the money that has been spent either been wasted, spent at above what should have been paid had their been competitive tendering, or simply swallowed by corruption. However at least this is in the open and it is being investigated, unlike the ranpant fraud in other international organisations hint hint.

February 14, 2005

BBC NEWS | Business | Bankruptcy strikes young debtors

Bankruptcy strikes more young debtors: "Sixty percent of the 9,000 personal bankruptcies last year were in this age group and they owed up to 60,000 each." guess that what happens when you amke saving unattractive, borrowing easy, and encourage debt with things like student loans.

Is gay marriage older than the Bible?

Is gay marriage older than the Bible? Probably. Homophobia in western sociaty only really got into its swing towards the latter Roman period as christianity took over.

taking a monster to fight a monster

In a rare sucsess for gene therapyaltered HIV have been used to attack mice tumors, using HIV to attack cancer. I'm normally very unbeat on GM and the wonders of science, but if this is able to make me worried about its safety then this must really be an area to tread carefully. However as genetic traits that tend to give better HIV resistance are being identified it might not be as insane as it sounds, use one genetically engineered thign to kill your cancer, then a second one to stop the thing killing the cancer killing your entire immune system (which gets a battering in conventional chemo and radio therapies anyway).

Eurocrats above the law

According to the telegraph Euroland beaurcrats, their families, and dependents, are going to made immune from proscecution and taxation:
Although questioning of this curious Bill has been led by a tireless Eurosceptic, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, it has raised the eyebrows of even such a committed Europhile as Lord Wallace of Saltaire. He was surprised to discover that, since his wife is a director of the Robert Schuman Centre, part of the European University Institute, he will share her "immunity from domestic taxation" and other privileges, as her "dependent spouse".

The danger of this Bill, according to Lord Wallace, is that it will create "two classes of people – those of us who are subject to domestic law and pay our taxes and parking fines, and an increasing number of people who do not".

While insisting he is a "strong supporter of the further development of the European Union", he regards "the powers, privileges and status of the Commission and many of its agencies with mixed feelings", fearing that "there is a real danger of a popular backlash against the emergence of this privileged elite".

The significance of this is that, as Lord Wallace himself pointed out, there are ever more of these EU bodies whose staff enjoy privileges above national law. In response to a question from Lord Pearson, the Government itself only named 28, ranging from the European Railways Agency and the European Plant Variety Office to the European Monitoring Centre for Racism and Xenophobia, although the Foreign Office concedes that its list will have to be updated "as new bodies are added".

Luckily there is also a case going through the courts that might rid the rest of the country from revenue raising powers of parking tickets and any other penalties issued without a trial. This also has a cunning sting in the tail if the case is sucsessful and the government rushes through nwe measures to restore it's revenue stream:
If all these bodies imagine that, under the Laws judgment, they have a simple remedy – namely to rush through an Act of Parliament explicitly overruling the Bill of Rights – Mr de Crittenden has another trick up his sleeve. The Bill of Rights may have been enshrined in an Act of Parliament, but the Declaration of Rights on which it was based was a contract between the sovereign and the people. It is by that Declaration that the monarch occupies her throne and by which Parliament enjoys its power, and it cannot be repealed.

This must surely also be extendable to other areas where you are punished without trial, such as house arrest? Not that it would be a very good idea to surgest it, given the previous precedent Tony may just decide that the Declaration of Rights must go, together with parliment and, as a sop to the Labour back benches to get it through, the queen. All hail Queen Tony.

Get real about interoperability, Mr Gates

An open letter from the creators of the Opera web browser to Microsoft to stop talking about interoperability and start doing some.

UK's 'useless' quangos under fire

The BBC has a report on Quangos, there are currently 529 of them 20% of which have been set up since Labour came to power in 1997. They have a side bar of the 'most useless quangos' which includes the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, not that there is much democracy to be found in Westminster.
" Mr Lewis[author of the Essential Guide to British Quangos 2005] wants a public inquiry into regional development agencies which cost £1.8bn a year - cash he says which "appears to be almost entirely wasted"."
Now I'm sure that I've read somewhere that the setting up of the Regional Development Agencies was related to the EU, this could just be that that level of waste is an Euroland hallmark, however I haven't been able to find any proof. Just that the regions that the regional development agencies cover just happen to be exactly the same as the regions for the Euroland Parliment.

Jaw-jaw on hunting is a sop to MPs for war-war in Iraq

An article in the guardian on Fox Hunting sums up my views perfectly:
"This was a crust thrown to Labour MPs to thank them for supporting an unnecessary, illegal and immoral war, which Blair took this country into simply to demonstrate his uncritical loyalty to the most reactionary American president in living memory, and which has killed at least 20,000 and possibly 100,000 innocent people.

As the election approaches, with a further drop in turn-out all too likely, politicians are wondering why they are so widely despised. Here is their answer. Blair got his war, Labour got their hunting ban. I hope it makes them all happy."

We must not forget that this measure was rushed through in a day using the parliment act three days before the Labour Party Conference, where there was to have been a debate on the Iraq war which would have been very embarassing for the government. Fox Hunting gets banned, the motion gets dropped after the proposers are subjected to enourmous political preasure. The hunters where a convienient minority group to be picked on for short term political gain, which is one of the most despicable things that you can do in politics.

February 10, 2005

The Globe and Mail: North Korea admits having nuclear weapons

There are tow countries ,each have despotic dictators. Both have no concept of human rights. Both masacre their own population. Both have invaded their neighbours. Both want WMD. But only one actualy has WMD. Which do you invade? The one with the oil of course.

Bring Back the Commies!

Tim Worstall critiques Neil Clark of the Guardian. I read Mr Clark's article today thought that it was very odd, so it's nice to know that I'm not the only one. According to Mr Worstall the entire economic basis that the article is based on is false, to the point of being little more than a communist fanticy

Landlords 'deliberately running down estates'

According to the Guardian there are Landlords in Liverpool 'deliberately running down estates' in order to have them redeveloped in a very cynical money grabbing scheme.
  1. Landlords deliberately allow housing estates to sink into disrepair.
  2. landlords seek to redevelop the area, normally with very cheap, very high density housing.
  3. Permission is givern due to run down nature of the area.
  4. any tenants that own their homes are forced to sell at
    market rate, which is much lower than it should be due to the run down nature of the area. This gives the council a potential healthy profit in terms of property at bellow real market rate.
  5. Rebuild smaller, higher dencity, properties that are then rented to a greater number of people than before. So more Profit.

A rather sneeky way of reversing the 'right to buy scheme' and making a considerable amount of money at the same time.


More on this story and the Fuckit that is behind it by Tim Worstall, yes my use of Fuckwit is a blatant piece of GoogleBombing, but Prescot is a very deserving case that I am happy to lend what PageRank I have to. This has also been covered by Boris Johnson in his Telegraph column and Boris's blog.

European software patent law hangs in the balance

European software patent law hangs in the balance from The Register

Guardian Unlimited | Guardian daily comment | An electoral curse yet to be lifted

Norman Tebbit on Black Wednesday, or Bright Wednesday as he called it as it got us out of the ERM and into the longest sustained period of growth ever, unlike Germany that is in stagnation.

Tories outlining policing plans

Some proposals that seem to be just about sensible policies from the Tories according to the BBC, the police Chief Constables remain in charge of day to day, but the current police authorities would be replaced by partially elected bodies instead making them more accountable to the populations that they police. The risk about it being this could lead to the single issue groups getting disproportionate influance.

Lets look at this in relation to Peel's Nine Priniples of Policing:
1:The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.
People care more that their streets feel safe than whether criminals if they are caught go to jail, which is the current metric of sucsess. So by bringing more emphersis on what people want, in order to get votes, this might be improved.

2:The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.
This would be seriously improved, as should the public not approve police actions the elected offical will lose his job and will therefore make sure that what the police do does meet public approval.

3:Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.
Same as point 2, an improvement.

4:The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.
No change, this is a day to day matter of procedure that will be delt with by the Chief Constable.

5:Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.
This could be effected badly by the proposal as the elected offical will be constantly trying to "seek and preserve public favour" in order to get votes.

6:Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient.
No change, this is a day to day matter of procedure that will be delt with by the Chief Constable.

7:Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
Maybe a small imporvement as they will be directed to focus more on what the public is in favour of therefore seeming more like the attitudes of the public.

8:Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
No change.

9:The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.
There might be an improvement here as the metric of sucsess will no longer be statistics of "the visible evidence of police action" as in the current system but by people feeling safe and happy with the way that policing is carried out.

Howard also wants to cut down on the red tape that police officers have to fight through to get anything done. Now all governments say they want to cut red tape, but none do. The best that can normally be hoped for is a slowdown in the accumerlation of the stuff.

As these proposals transfer power away from political elites and towards ordinary people it is very unlikely that Labour will steal these policies, despite their track record of stealing most of the Tories policies in this area. They are currently saying that the Tories policy would not work because they have stopped supporting ID Cards.

Telegraph critiques Scaremongering Straw

The Telegraph is running an article disposing of the myths that where resently peddled by Jack Straw in order to try and support the EU Constitution.

bias in the referendum question

in a story from EUobserver.com it appears that when asked the referendum question "should the UK approve the treaty establishing a Constitution for the European Union" 36% said yes and 29% said no. However the polls have been solidly sceptic for year so why the sudden turn around. The answer, there was no turn around as in a seperate poll asking "If there were a referendum tomorrow, would you vote for Britain to sign up to the European constitution or not?" 54% of people said no and only 26% said yes, which is around the rate that has been said for years.

So is there bias in the question? Overty no, but look at again closer, "should the UK approve the treaty establishing a Constitution for the European Union", given the fact that most people do not identify themselves as European it could be interpreted as asking "should [us in] the UK approve the treaty establishing a Constitution for [them in] the European Union". Nowhere does it say that we have to sign up to the consititution, it just asks should it be established. That should it be established we would have to sign up is not even infered anywhere unless you have lots of background knowledge. So the interpretation could then be "should [us in] the UK approve[, but not automatically sign up to,] the treaty establishing a Constitution for [them in] the European Union"

Prince Charles to marry Camilla

Well it has been a long time coming but Prince Charles is to finally marry Camilla, expect an outcry. Particually from the tabloids, you know the same ones that hounded Diana to death then posthumously set her up as a saint. Personally I only see marrying for love can only ever be a good thing, and we know this is going to last, as the relationship has already lasted twenty years.

February 09, 2005

Times Online, religious hate

Asian people are having grafti scrawled on their homes, there cars vandalised, purely from religious hatred. Islamaphobia surely? Well no these are people that where Muslim but decided to convert to Christianity. Nothing is being done to help them despite the very real danger to their lives, Muslims that loose their faith face execution according to traditional teachings, because of the fear of being accused of Islamaphobia.

"For police, religious authorities and politicians, it is an issue so sensitive that they are accused by victims of refusing to respond to appeals for help. It is a problem that, with the crisis of identity in Islam since September 11, seems to be getting worse as Muslims feel more threatened.

Muslims who lose their faith face execution or imprisonment, in line with traditional Muslim teaching, in many Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and Yemen. In the Netherlands, the former Muslim MP Ayan Hirsi Ali had to go into hiding after renouncing her faith on television."

One convert from Islams said of her experience:
"“We had bricks though our windows, I was spat at in the street because they thought I was dishonouring Islam. We had to call the police so many times. I had to go to court to get an injunction against my husband because he was inciting others to attack me.”

She fled to another part of Britain, but the attacks soon started again as locals found out about her. “I wasn’t going to leave again,” she said, adding that it was the double standards of her attackers that made her most angry. “They are such hypocrites — they want us to be tolerant of everything they want, but they are intolerant of everything about us.”"

and later in the article this quote stands out:
"The most high-profile British apostate is Ibn Warraq, a Pakistani-born intellectual and former teacher from London, who lost his faith after the Salman Rushdie affair and set out his reasons in the book Why I am not a Muslim.

He recently edited the book Leaving Islam, but finds it hard to explain the hostility. “It’s very strange. Even the most liberal Muslim can become incredibly fierce if you criticise Islam, or, horror of horrors, leave it.” "

This is a religion that publicly executes people, amputates limbs, promotes the multilation children so they can never fully enjoy sex. It is completely intolerant, and yet demands that we are extremely tolerant of it. Why should we? Our culture is better than Islamofasism, and it is the Muslims themselves that have made that judgement by emergrating here away from the feudal Islamofasistic countries. They think that there is something better about the way that this country is run that the way that their homelands are. That something is a liberal market economy that is capable of generating high paying jobs, but it would not be possible without the basic social liberalism that Sharia destroys.

Euro Fraud

yet another fraud in Euroland. Link formEngland Expects, the interesting thing that he as pointed out is that between drafts the report he refers to was toned down so that the word 'fraudulent' was taken out. Perhaps this is because in the context of the giant fraud that is the EU they didn't condider it to be fraud but rather just business as usual.

The case for the constitution

EU Referendum is covering the case for the EU Constitution as it was laid out on the Today program this morning, and then goes on to critique it. I'd only like to add one bit to the canard that always bugs me. The EU claiming that it has kept the peace in Europe since the Second World War all on its own. EU proponents always seem to forget that for 40 of the 50 years of peace they came to have created there was this little thing called the Cold War happening. The most probably enemy was not Germany (who following WW2 have followed a policy of pacifism, much to their economic benefit) but Russia.

According to EU proponents it was nothing to do with NATO and the Warsaw Pact pointing enough nuclear weapons at each other to destroy all life on the planet several times over, and itching for an excuse to destroy the Yankee Imperialists/Evil Soviets at the first oppotunity.

I can see them now in Moscow, general one says
‘Comrades we will sweep through Germany, France, and the low countries. We will wipe the capitalist pigs from the earth!’
‘But Comrade General haven’t you heard they are lowering their trade tariffs of Coal and steel. This will change our battle plans completely.’
‘Yes Comrade Major, we cover a mere 11% of the planets surface. How could we possibly confront that kind of economy of scale?’

February 08, 2005

notes on gay marrage

legal reasons why gay marrage should be legal in the USA, ignoring the simple moral reasons why it should be legal and as ligitimate as any other kind of marrage between two people that love each other.

more Iraq fraud and corruption

update from the Guardian on fraud and corruption in Iraq, caution the article is by USA hater
George Monbiot.

UK youth interested in politics

According to the BBC: "81% of 16 to 20-year-olds feel strongly about issues like crime and education". Yet only 20% vote. This is quite clearly not apathy like the parties claim, apathetic people do not have strong views, so it must be something else. While I do vote I normally vote for one of the fringe parties, Green or UKIP, simply because none of the main parties represent my views. They are all to some degree authoritarian. They all believe that problems are best solved from the centre.

February 07, 2005

Terror laws face new court test

The permenant 'state of emergency' called by David blunket to destroy our civil rights protect us from terrorists is being challenged in the European Court of Human Rights, a challenge that I hope will be sucsessful. I just wish that it where possible for a court in this country, or even shock horror parliment, to have struck down this horrible peice of legislation. That we could have stood up for our own heritage and traditions, like the right to a trial before your peers enshrined in the Magna Carta, without the intervention of Euroland. However I am in this case greatful for the presence of a superior power to the Government of the country. I just worry about what this power could be used for in future as it does not have the checks and balances of democratic accountability, which the home office does have and was still able to create this draconian horror.

Iraq corruption

We all know about the massive corruption in the UN Oil for Food program that lined the pockets of the people involved. If you haven't here it is in The Independent, The Observer, and the Telegraph along with an opinion piece calling for the dismantling of the entire overblown talking shop.

This took place over the course of ten years from a $64 billion project. What you may not know is that the corruption has continued under new management. According to the BBC's File on Four programme of the $20 billion of oil sold to pay for Iraq's reconstruction $8.8 billion is unaccounted for. Yes you read that correctly 44% of the funds have gone astray. This may not be on the Oil for Food scale, yet, but it has only been going a couple of years.
"One US company is accused of massively inflating its profits by setting up sham companies to send fake invoices which the coalition paid."

I was against the war as it was not in the national interest to stir up more hatred in the middle east and act as recruiting sargent for the Islamofasists. I also believed that it would be primarily a war for oil. This could be seen by the areas that where protected from looting after the fall of Sadam when it became clear that there where not enough troops to secure everything.

Not oil for the average SUV loving American, access to the Iraqi oil fields could have been gained much cheaper by lobbying the UN to get rid of sanctions. No this was about getting money to the multinationals that had financed George Bush's election campaigne. Had they go santions removed then while oil prices may have gone down for consumers as supplies increased the companies that would have benefitted would have been French as they had the exploration rights (you now see the reason for Frances anti-war stance other than simple anti-americanism). Now of cause it is mainly American multinationals that have the exploration rights, as well as the multi-billion bananza of the reconstruction, and billions more from the privatisation the Iraqi utilities.

Tory party set to withdraw ID scheme support | The Register

The Tories are abstaining rather than voting against as I would have wanted. But it's something. With Labours majority there wasn't much of a possibility that this wasn't going to get passed but at least we now have the House of Lords to try and stop it. Unless New LAbour decides that it is time to 'reform' them again.

Mandelson criticises Humphrys' 'bias' on Europe

EU Commisioner Peter Mandelson has been critised the BBC's coverage of the EU, claiming that it holds a eurosceptic bias according to a confidenctial letter reported in the Guardian and The Times. Perhaps he considers eurosceptisim not simply rolling over and spewing out propoganda. Perhaps this is because it reported the EU's massive levels of fraud, which it would rather keep hidden by gagging any whistleblowers trying to get it to the, barely, democratic European Parliment. It obviously has nothing to do with the reality of the BBC's mild europhile bias that was found by an independent investigation. Independent being something that Mandelson quite clearly is not being an EU Commisioner. But then again being New Labour his relationship with the truth may not be the same as everyone elses.

Newsnight and Mayor Livingstone

It appears that Mayor Ken is getting hot under the collar about London's crime rate being compared to that of New York. A comparison that does not show London up that well.Civitas: Newsnight and Mayor Livingstone. Instead of getting all European perhaps it would be better to do something about it rather than shoot the messanger. Perhaps reform the way that policing is carried out, say by changing the way that the statistics are complied so that it gets more police on the streets preventing crime.

February 04, 2005

Scientists Find Missing Matter

Dark matter, that is matter that is known to exist, because without it the galaxies would not have enough gravity to form in the way hey do, but can't be seen in the known stars has been found according to Wired in the form of huge interstella, and intergallactic, clouds of hot gass.

Computer-Created Art

Computer-Created Art :: Apple-X.net :: Alternative Mac Tech News, Analysis, Reviews, and Opinion. soemthing to come back to and write on further.

A historic first step for the Hurd/L4 microkernel port

A historic first step for the Hurd/L4 microkernel port it runs, finally

Law and Order

Some notes on Law and Order, the first is an article by Civitas about crime and how in the neighbourhood of the author they have had to go to the lengths of employing a private security guard to patrol the streets because of the levels of crime in their area. This is despite the Home Office saying that crime levels are falling. However the article contains the answer to this seeming paradox, the offical crime rates falling while crime experienced rising, quite simply most happened to children how are not included in the official figures as the article puts it:
"the ‘most accurate measure ever’, 10 out of the 17 crimes in my neighbourhood did not happen."

And the crime rate has grown so much that some crimes simply are not reported or even noticed anymore, they have just become part of everyday life:
"Petty theft and criminal damage to cars has become so commonplace that no one counts up any more, let along reports it to the police."

So it is not really a paradox at all the offical crime rates falling while crime experienced rising because the official crime rates are wrong.This is the same as how the government can claim that waiting lists are universally less than six weeks even when people are waiting more than that time. The official figures are wrong as there are really two lists. The official waiting list that the government gets its numbers from, and a second unnoffical pre-waiting list that people get put on until they can be guaranteed being seen in six weeks at which point they get on the official list. Why? Equally simple, money. If the list gets to long then the hospital gets its budget cut for 'failing to deliver', but if it gets too short then it gets it's budget cut as it obviously is not in as much need as other hospitals. Hence the waiting list stays exactly at the government target level.

This is not a pure New Labour phenomina, it happens where ever you get a micro-managing government spewing out targets. The most imfamous example being the China's Great Leap Forward under Moa. Each village collective was givern a required amount of rice that it had to produce. Knowing that they, and their villagers, would be killed if they failed they fudged the figures to stay alive. The tactics included planting rice to close together so it looked like there was more to the inspecters, which then made it die. End result Moa thinks that he has produced the largest harvest in Chinese history, whilst in the countryside people died of the famine that he had actually caursed.

This has been picked up by a serving Police Officer in his weblog, who has much sympathy for the lady that wrote the article for Civitas, Harriet Sergeant, as he has to deal with policing a the ground level and understands the stupidity of the current situation as only a Police Officer would saying:
"Hiring private security is not a cheap option, but it seems as if the people in the area have lost all faith in the police and no-longer even consider calling them. My favourite part of the article is when the Borough Commander says: ”We are so focused on reducing crime that we don’t have the officers to patrol.” Eh? How does that work? More to the point, who is that Borough Commander, and how is he reducing crime without officers on the streets?

I suspect it’s a combination of specialist squads and strategies. Peel’s principles, first published in 1829 and often quoted by this officer, are now nothing more than historical curiosities."

Policing requires boots on the ground, you cannot control an area unless you have people in that area. This is the same thing that was found, on a larger scale, in the aftermath of Gulf War 2. The Americans could defeat Sadam very quickly with comparitively small numbers of troops. But they could not maintain law and order with only these small number of troops leading to widespread looting, theiving, hostage taking (mainly of Iraqis and for money). Which in turn is leading to the ordinary Iraqis to ignore the offical authorities take matters into their own hands. The spirt is similar to employing your own security guard, it is just the scale that is different. Mrs Sergeant was only facing muggers and burglers, so a private security guard is all that is needed. In Iraq the Iraqis face terrorists, hostage takers, and murderers so more force is required to take back their streets.

There is a reason why the tabloids where making such a fuss over people being able to defend their own homes, people where worried. They did not know whether they could do anything at all when they where burgled, and that is when not if. However the Guardian chooses to poke fun at these fears, saying that you should just let the burglers get on with it as your safety is more important than you video recorder. They quite clearly see that crime is just part of modern life and something that the more prosperous have to bear as a result of their prosperity. This is simply not the case. Nobody has the right to steal from me because I work and save up to buy things. I should be able to defend myself, but more importantly I should not have to be prepared to defend myself, I should not expect to be burgled. But that is not the kind of easy crime that can raise the detection and conviction rates, which is the statistic is used to guage performance. From the article when the author talks to a cafe owner that had basically had his shop taken over as the headquarters of a local gang:
There seemed to be an extraordinary level of criminal
activity in such a small shopping street. Where were the
police? Sid shrugged, ‘The local police are never here.
We get different people assigned to walk the beat for the
day but it is not seen as a crime hot spot. The police do
not seem to realize that people want something done.’
Suddenly we noticed a warden ticketing the people
carrier, ‘If only the police were as effective,’ said Sid

The police spend all of their time on revenue raising uncrime, speeding cameras, parking fines, etc. because it is easy. Set up a speed camera on a safe bit of motorway and you will quickly rack up a large number of fines as almost everybody goes at 80 on the motorway, bringing in money for the treasury, and raising the number of 'crimes' detected and convictions gained. But the public do not care about speeding we care about feeling safe in our homes. Where all of these speeding fines issued by actual policemen then it might make a difference based on the experience of New York as
When Bratton took over the New York transit police in 1990, the
police started arresting everyone who had not paid their
fare. The result proved startling. One out of every seven
fare dodgers was wanted for a serious crime. One out of
every 21 carried a weapon. George Kelling points out it
is the same with car crime, ‘You think bad guys become
good guys when they get behind the wheel?’ Major criminals
and, incidentally, terrorists, commit petty crime ‘and
that’s how you catch them. Check out who is parked illegally
on that disabled parking space!’

But in order to get these results you need a trained policeman. A speed camera cannot spot if someone is on the wanted board in the local station, it cannot tell if they have a weapon, it cannot look in the back to see if there is anything suspicious that needs further investigation. But it is cheaper, and not doing any of this means it can catch more and so generate more revenue.

The articles ends with the principles of policing that where laid down when the service was founded, probably something that the home secertary would be advised to read, when he isn't busy locking people up indeffinantly without trial that is.
  1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
  2. To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
  3. To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
  4. recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
  5. To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion; but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth and social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour; and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
  6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advise and warningis found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
  7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police. The police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interest of community welfare and existence.
  8. To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, an to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary or avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
  9. To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.

Point 1 is nolonger any kind of priority and because of this they have lost so much credibility with the public that they nolonger have point 3. As the article is at pains to point out point 9 is ignored, as is seven as the sureest way of getting a policeman to respond to an incedent is to say that you are going to do something yourself. Point 2 is also something that should be remembered as the current revenue raising priorities do nothing to "secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public" when they do nothing about real crimes like theiving. Quite the reverse based on the reaction of the man Sid in the article to the traffic warden. It is only really point 5 that is in evidence, because of the proffessionalism of the officers themselves. Where it up to the government I can see that the idea of "not [sic] pandering to public opinion; but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law," would soon disappear.

A change to the metrics of sucsess is needed away from the current wrong crime figures to the prevention of crime and disorder. This maybe harder to get into sound bite statistics but it is the way to really reduce crime and the fear of crime, and should this be taken up then I would expect that a return to the rest of Peels points on good policing would probably follow.

Two articles on ID cards by The Register

The first is about a report by a Tory think tank ridiculing the ID cards and pointing out the hypocracy of the government stand there are some good quotes from Peter Lilly MP who is opposing ID cards in Parliment such as:
"ID cards fit squarely within the New Labour mould. They have the smack of modernity – witness Ministers' talk of biometrics, smart cards and new technology; they are nakedly populist; they make Britain more like our European neighbours, many of whom have identity card schemes of one sort or another; and they reflect New Labour's desire to nanny and control us."

The second article points out that the way that they are being phased in is not in accordance with the Human Rights Act, as it would be descriminatory with some people having to have one and others it being voluntary. It is easy to see what the government response to that being taken up in court would be from the house arrest powers El Duci has granted himself, it will suddenly be compusary for everybody.