Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Arctic Amplification : Prof Peter Wadhams

From YouTube:

Professor Wadhams' May 2015 lecture where he explains how global warming has increased as a result of the melting sea ice in the Arctic and the knock-on effects of this change.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Farmer suicides soar in India as deadly heatwave hits 51 degrees Celsius

From the Independent - sweltering country seeks the relief of the monsoon, but this year's downpour could be up to 11 days late as officials blame climate change.

"India has set a new record for its highest-ever recorded temperature – a searing 51 degrees Celsius or 123.8F – amid a devastating heatwave that has ravaged much of the country for weeks.

Hundreds of people have died as crops have withered in the fields in more than 13 states, forcing tens of thousands of small farmers to abandon their land and move into the cities.Others have killed themselves rather than go to live in urban shanty towns.

Rivers, lakes and dams have dried up in many parts of the western states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat."

The full article can be read here."

Friday, 6 May 2016

EU referendum: Donald Trump declares his support for Brexit

From the Independent - Donald Trump adds to Cameron's woes with regard to Brexit by saying that he thinks Britain would be better off outside the European Union because immigration has been “a horrible thing for Europe”.

He also said: “A lot of that was pushed by the EU. I would say that they're better off without it personally, but I'm not making that as a recommendation - just my feeling."

This is in stark contrast to the message from Obama when he visited the UK last month and saying that the UK should remain in the UK - attaching implied threats that the UK would have difficulty obtaining a trade deal with the US if we left. No doubt Trump enjoyed contrasting so sharply with Obama and has criticised him for involving himself in matters that he believes are for UK citizens alone.

Cameron initially had described Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from the country, last year, as “divisive, stupid and wrong”, however, although not retreating on this view he has had to be more conciliatory now that Trump has, all but, won the Republican nomination - and has a good chance of becoming the next president.

Trump's comments on immigration obviously refer to the high numbers of Muslims that have come to the EU - particularly as a result of the conflicts in the Middle East - originally caused by the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq and aggravated by the military aid given to Libyan rebels in their attempts to overthrow Gaddafi. There is little doubt that many in the UK, those who have been most impacted by the high numbers entering Britain, will have sympathy with Trump's view and have suspicions that EU leaders have encouraged the movement of such high numbers - in order to drive down wage levels to help to boost the profits of global corporation's based in the UK and EU.

This view is reinforced by the attitude of the EU Commission's negotiators towards TTIP - where recently leaked documents have shown their eagerness to satisfy corporate America's wish to lower standards of protection across a range of issues.

It is likely that the issue of immigration will be focussed on more intently, particularly, by Farage and UKIP as the Referendum date draws closer. Trump's comments are likely to add to Cameron's concerns for he knows that this is the issue that is most likely to swing the result in favour of the 'Leave' campaigners.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Doubts rise over TTIP as France threatens to block EU-US deal

From the Guardian - French president rejects trade pact in current form as lead negotiator blames Washington for impasse a day after leak revealed ‘irreconcilable’ differences:

Although it does now appear that TTIP is a deal that will not be done, based on Hollande's insistence that the French will not accept the inclusion of the controversial ISDS clause - along with “the undermining of the essential principles of our agriculture, our culture, of mutual access to public markets”. Nevertheless, it would have been more reassuring if he had made this statement before the leak of TTIP documents on Monday that showed both the EU, who is negotiating the deal for the EU nations, is not following the mandate given to them to protect European environmental and health standards. 

Hollande faces a presidential election next year and, even if he does run - which is in some doubt - he will face a stiff challenge as the left is split. Should the candidate from the right win - with Alain Juppé and Nicolas Sarkozy both favoured by the bookies ahead of Hollande - it is very likely that they will be more relaxed about the issues that concern Hollande.

This will mean that those who had been hoping for the deal to be wrapped up before Obama leaves office are likely to be disappointed - nevertheless the odds on favorite to succeed him - Hilary Clinton [the Establishment candidate] - would also be very keen to see the deal sealed. So reason for hope - but considerable uncertainty still remains.

The Guardian article can be found here.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Dr. Steven Greer - "Call for New Witnesses": UFO, Secrecy, Cover Up, Free Energy +

Following the success of his previous program twenty years ago, Dr Steven Greer is appealing for more people to come forward to expose activities, within the general 'UFO' spectrum, that are paid for by the US government - but the President and/or other government officials have no knowledge of or control over.

What was uncovered from this previous exercise can be found here. Dr Greer claims that the belief that UFOs are visiting us, have been visiting us in the recent past and in ancient times has increased from around 20% to 49% in the US during that time.

This short YouTube video provides the range of issues that are covered by Dr Greer's appeal.

Leaked TTIP documents cast doubt on EU-US trade deal

Further evidence that the TTIP deal ia being manipulated behind the scenes to reduce environmental and public health protection has come to light as a result of leaked document.

The Guardian reports that the documents, leaked to Greenpeace, show a distinct preparedness by the negotiators to allow EU standards to be lowered in order to find agreement. The director of Greenpeace EU, Jorgo Riss, said:

“These leaked documents give us an unparalleled look at the scope of US demands to lower or circumvent EU protections for environment and public health as part of TTIP. The EU position is very bad, and the US position is terrible. The prospect of a TTIP compromising within that range is an awful one. The way is being cleared for a race to the bottom in environmental, consumer protection and public health standards.”

The involvement of corporate representatives is also exposed with matters relating to pesticides residues and food safety to be handed over to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Codex Alimentarius system through which corporate representatives are allowed to be included and sometimes lead national delegations.

Although the documents deal with a range of issues - it is further evidence [if needed] that the deal is being tailored to suit the, mainly US, global corporations at the expense of the citizens on both sides of the Atlantic. Although in the UK the parties opposing the Tories - who have demonstrated that their policies are intended to benefit the interests of the global corporations - have claimed that their opposition to Brexit is based on ensuring that social and environmental standards are defended against continuing Tory administrations - this leaked document demonstrates that this may be a hollow claim.

Although it looked as if the EU negotiators would be in the position to complete a deal to be put to the EU parliament by majority vote - it now seems that every national parliament will be required to ratify the deal because of the controversies. 

Since the attitude of the Commission has once again been exposed by this document - how can these parties continue with these claims when they must be fully aware that if we remain in the EU there is every likelihood that a deal along the lines of that demonstrated by the leaked document will be approved - because the majority of national administrations, within the EU, are of the right. At least, out of the EU, we would have a chance of reforming any measures put in place by a Tory government after the next election. We know from Cameron's failure to negotiate any real return of sovereignty with the EU that once measures are put in place within the EU - it is virtually impossible to amend them in any meaningful way.

The full Guardian article can be found here.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Leicester City's 'good karma': the Buddhist monks behind the Foxes' divine play

Something unexpected  has arisen amongst all of the interesting issues that have been written about Leicester City's astonishing success in the Premier League this year. Most articles have focused on the team's manager Claudio Ranieri - and there can be little doubt that his positive attitude has made a huge contribution to the teams success despite his poor record immediately prior to taking the job - but who would have considered that 'good karma' would also play a role? 

The teams owner, Vichai Sriaddhanaprabha is a Thai and a devout Buddhist who has a group of monks flown in from Thailand for each game to give blessings to the players before each match starts. The monks do not watch the match but chant and pray whilst it is played.  Essentially they give spiritual support to the players which they believe helps them to perform in a positive manner, keep them healthy and avoid injuries. They believe Mr Vachai to be a good man - which allows them to help the team.

This is a refreshing departure from what is the usual formula for success - although certainly not guaranteed - where someone who has made their fortune through some business activity will use this fortune to buy the best players in the world. There is no doubt that it does take a while for a group of the greatest talents to begin to work together, but it has been seen, particularly in this season, that if a player plays just for the money - it is difficult for them to be motivated when a game has no particular glory attached to it. As a result, managers of the biggest clubs have found that players from the locality, or young players, perform well consistently - even if they have less talent.

Given that the ethics of business have declined in recent years and often the accumulation of great wealth has been achieved through sharp practice or has caused genuine misery - usually to the business's workers - lets hope that Leicester do win the title and other club owners begin to follow their example. If the accumulation of wealth by ever more unscrupulous methods does continue to be the norm - ever more employees and the unemployed lives will continue to be blighted.

The full Telegraph article can be read here.