Ravings From The Bog

Sammy Wilson Shows His True Colours

bigotry-and-racismNo surprises here then! Our Sammy has decided he wants Northern Ireland to return to the bad old days of bigotry and racism. He has actually said that employers should favour local people over foreign nationals when it comes to employment. Sammy, ever heard of the Fair Employment Commission? It’s no surprise that Poles, Lithuanians, Asians and others are still being assaulted and burnt out of their houses in the more Neanderthal parts of NI, with encouragement like this from one of our “leaders”. Embarrassing!

Our Sammy!


Guantanamo Bay Closing Down Sale!

This is hilarious! Hopefully something similar will happen soon…

Thomas Jefferson The Time Traveller?

Another financial screw up!How did Thomas Jefferson get it so right all the way back in 1802? Did he have a time machine? Obviously not, but this quote is right on the money for what we’re experiencing now.

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” Thomas Jefferson 1802

Very prescient!

India Government Wastes Billions On Vanity Project

In another example of wacky government, India launched a moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, while millions of it’s population starve due to government inaction and disinterested officials. Malnutrition is rife among India’s children in a society riven by self-interest, caste discrimination and feudalism. This is a disgraceful episode in India’s history and should not be something celebrated as a matter of national pride.

US Meddles In Georgia Again

Following the recent conflict in South Ossetia, stoked by US/NATO’s support and encouragement for Georgia’s  incursion into the area and the subsequent Russian reaction, the US has now decided to meddle further and get further involved in this volatile situation by giving Georgia US$1bn. Simultaneously, they’re upping the ante with some gunboat diplomacy flooding the Black Sea with US Navy ships and even a US Coastguard vessel. No matter what twist Fox News puts on it, this is meddling in a foreign sovereign state’s backyard and is asking for trouble. Again, we see that George Bush and Dick Cheney will take any action available to them to increase the price of oil so that their cronies in the oil companies increase their fat profits even further. Could this US$1bn be put to better use to help the 24,000,000 citizens on food stamps this year???

The US has announced $1bn (£564m) of aid to Georgia for reconstruction after the conflict with Russia.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the aid would be used to rebuild houses and infrastructure – but not for military purposes.

Georgia has requested $2bn in funding from the international community.

Fighting between Russia and Georgia began on 7 August after the Georgian military tried to retake the breakaway region of South Ossetia by force.

Russian forces launched a counter-attack and the conflict ended with the ejection of Georgian troops from both South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia.

Russia has since recognised the independence of both regions, though no other country has.

“We are responding to what we consider to be urgent needs,” said Ms Rice, as she announced the aid package.

“With our full support and the support of the entire free world, a democratic Georgia will survive, will rebuild and will thrive,” she said.

 On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also announced that Georgia was to receive a $750m (£422m) loan.

The IMF agreed in principle to offer the help amid concerns that Georgia’s growth would be seriously hampered by the recent war.

The US announcement came on the day Vice-President Dick Cheney began a visit in the region – but not Russia.

In Azerbaijan, he said he was bringing “a clear and simple message for the people of Azerbaijan and the entire region: the United States has a deep and abiding interest in your well-being and security”.

Mr Cheney will next go to Georgia and Ukraine.

In Georgia, he is expected to stress US support for President Mikhail Saakashvili – the man the Kremlin dismissed on Tuesday as a “political corpse” whose leadership it did not recognise.

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev has also accused the US of helping Tbilisi build its war machine and called on America to review its relations with the Georgian authorities.

Faced with a chorus of international calls for Russia’s isolation, Mr Medvedev has said Moscow does not fear being expelled from the G8 group of rich nations nor does it fear Nato cutting ties with his country.

Early this week, European Union leaders agreed to suspend talks on a new partnership agreement with Moscow until Russian troops have withdrawn from Georgia. But they did not threaten sanctions.

Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who stepped down as president earlier this year, praised the European Union’s “common sense”.

But he warned that Moscow would respond to the growing presence of Nato warships in the Black Sea, where Russia’s navy has a huge presence.


Hey Fatty! Don’t Kill That Polar Bear…Nonsense!

Rarely have I read such tosh. Evil fat people are now blamed for global warming, instead of the governments around the world, particularly in the UK and US, where successive regimes have failed to invest in public transport and freight-carrying railway systems and allowed countless “entrepreneurs” with their small and medium haulage companies running thousands of small and large trucks across the country. What about those buses too? I was continually blasted by huge amounts of exhaust fumes and hot furnace-like air being expelled from the backsides of New York buses when I was there in July (it was already 98°!) and there were hundreds driving and parked with both engines and air-con running. How many fatties does it take to waste the energy or create the CO2 that one of the behemoths release in one day?

Conveniently, and I fully expect that this study was funded by some Big Pharma company, oil company or other vested interest, this argument completely ignores the fact that big business and their puppets (Thatcher and Reagan) have created such a massive cheap and under-educated labour force and have failed to create the conditions to sustain this workface fairly and healthily (hence the almost twenty-eight million Americans expected to receive food stamps this year and the fact that Wal-Mart, McDonalds and Yum Foods, owners of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, all pay such low wages to their employees that they need to rely on welfare packages such as Medicare).

My point is that many millions of obese British and Americans are obese largely because they rely on cheap fast food to feed their families.

And now it’s their fault that Global Warming is increasing – I don’t think so!


Don’t Eat That Burger – You’re Killing A Polar Bear!

The weight and consumption habits of the overweight and obese are worsening the pace of global warming, said two researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in a letter to the medical journal Lancet.

It takes more fuel to transport people who are obese and therefore heavier, Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts wrote. In addition, heavier people do not just tend to eat more food: they actually require it. The researchers calculated that it takes an obese person 1,680 calories per day just to maintain their body functioning and another 1,280 to sustain their daily activities. This is 18 percent higher than the caloric intake required for a person with a normal body mass index (BMI).

BMI is a measure of weight relative to height that is used to calculate healthy body weight. A BMI of 18 to 25 is considered normal, while a BMI above 25 is considered overweight and one of 30 or more obese.

But according to Edwards and Roberts, 40 percent of the global population has a BMI in the neighborhood of 30 or more.

“We are all becoming heavier and it is a global responsibility,” Edwards said. “Obesity is a key part of the big picture.”

The production and transportation of food is a major source of greenhouse gases, the researchers noted, with agriculture responsible for a whopping 20 percent of global emissions. They also faulted the overweight for contributing to global food shortages.

“Promotion of a normal distribution of BMI would reduce the global demand for, and thus the price of, food,” the researchers wrote.

Tim Church of Louisiana State University questioned Edwards and Roberts’ focus on obesity, noting that 25 percent of the food produced in the United States is thrown away.

“We throw away far more food than the extra 460 calories per day [that Edwards and Roberts] point out,” Church said. “In other words, most of our food overproduction is due to waste, not overeating.”


PTSD Contributing To 8,500 Ex-Servicemen In British Jails

One major legacy of the Vietnam War was the trail of broken marriages, veteran related crime and general Post Traumatic Stress Disorder issues experienced by society in the US at that time. Forty-odd years later, we shouldn’t be surprised that 1 in 11 prisoners in the UK is an ex-serviceman. Between Northern Ireland, the Falklands War, Iraq and Afghanistan, there are potentially plenty of PTSD sufferers out there who need help. As usual in this country, it comes down to money:

“The MoD said counselling was always available to personnel, troops had briefings before and after postings, there were six mental health therapy pilot schemes, and veterans could have free assessments.”

Counselling and assessments must be made mandatory rather than “available” to troops returning home after any conflict, when many of them are in no position to judge whether they need counselling or not.

Up to 8,500 former members of the armed forces are serving sentences in UK prisons, it has been claimed.

Probation staff union Napo said its figures suggested about one in every 11 prisoners used to be in the forces.

It has led the union and Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd to claim there is a lack of support for ex-service personnel.

The Ministry of Defence said it worked closely with charities to support veterans when they left the service and those who went to prison.

Both the MoD and the Ministry of Justice said they planned to carry out further surveys soon to “ensure we have up-to-date figures that will help us better target the help we provide for veterans in prison”.

Mr Llwyd said thousands of former members of the armed services who served either in the Gulf or Afghanistan had been subsequently convicted of offences and jailed.

He claimed that “effectively when armed personnel return, there is no help for them,” and said the position in the UK “contrasts greatly with the way the United States provide counselling and assistance to their armed personnel”.

“I have come to the conclusion that if proper treatment was available for these disturbed servicemen, hundreds if not thousands would not have offended,” said Mr Llwyd, the leader of Plaid Cymru’s parliamentary group.

“The government is letting them and their families down very badly indeed.”

Mr Llwyd said he had been unsatisfied with the initial response he was given when he raised the issue in Parliament after concerns were raised by his constituents in Meirionnydd Nant Conwy.

A criminal lawyer by trade, he saw ex-servicemen being sentenced in north Wales courts for assaults “with worrying regularity”.

He was told in a parliamentary answer that figures from “nationally representative surveys” of some 2,000 prisoners in 2001, 2003 and 2004 showed the proportion of former armed forces prisoners was 6%, 4% and 5% respectively.

The MP contacted Napo, which represents probation and family court staff, which then gathered evidence from 22 probation areas.

Napo said its initial findings and data from the group Veterans in Prison suggested that “as many as 8,500 former soldiers are currently in custody in the UK”. On 15 August, the prison population was 93,574.

Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of Napo, said the number in prison could be greater than 8,500, and its studies suggest there could be more than 7,000 in England and Wales, and another 1,000 in Scotland.

Mr Fletcher said the “vast majority” of offences were violent and related to drugs or alcohol.

“There is no systematic availability of stress-related counselling. This should be made available without delay and would drastically reduce the number of receptions into custody”.

An MoD spokesperson said: “The MoD works closely with the service charities to support veterans when they leave the armed forces and for those who find themselves in prison.

“The Prison In-Reach initiative already provides advice on the support available to veterans before and after their release. Robust systems are in place to treat and prevent PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and other stress disorders.”

The MoD said counselling was always available to personnel, troops had briefings before and after postings, there were six mental health therapy pilot schemes, and veterans could have free assessments.

The Ministry of Justice said prisoners were given support in addressing the issues which led to their behaviour.