Thursday, June 30, 2005

Are you a spy for the state? Are you a spy for the state?

Vitamin Wars

Blair opposes EU's directive to outlaw up to 5,000 vitamins

Published: 30 June 2005

Up to 5,000 vitamin and food supplements could be swept from the shelves of health-food shops under an EU directive due to come into force on 1 August.

Campaigners warn that despite a European ruling that the Food Supplements Directive is illegal, an amended version could be used to ban products used by a third of British women and a quarter of men.

Tony Blair, who raised the issue in talks with EU leaders this month, is known to oppose the directive on the grounds that consumers should be free to choose and the state should not interfere in products that do not cause harm. "He is driven on this by his anti-regulation instincts. But he is probably also influenced by Cherie," a source said.

Cherie Blair is reportedly a user of vitamins and supplements and her former personal assistant Carole Caplin campaigns on the issue.

Opponents of the directive say the Government is leaving it too late to influence the European Commission before a ruling by the European Court of Justice on 12 July.

Jenny Seagrove, the actress, said: "In the past fortnight we have heard new evidence about ibuprofen's link with heart attacks, yet here we have vitamins and supplements being swept off the shelves that never harmed anybody. Who is going to benefit when the supplements market shrinks? The pharmaceutical companies. "

Sue Croft, of Consumers for Health Choice, said: "We can't sit and wait for the EU Commission to make a decision. We need to persuade them now. The Government promised before the election that it did not want to see products lost that were legitimately on the market. There are 200 nutrients and nutrient sources that could be banned, affecting 5,000 products."

The EU directive is designed to tighten controls on the market for products sold as natural remedies, vitamin supplements and health foods. Instead of allowing a vitamin or mineral to be sold unless it has been proved harmful, the directive insists that only those proved safe can be sold. Permissible doses will also be capped.

The directive approves 140 substances for use in supplements – fewer than half of those in use. Substances can be added to the list only if a scientific dossier has been compiled and approved by the European Food Safety authority. That would cost from £80,000 to £250,000 per product.

In April the Advocate-General at the European Court of Justice, Leendert Geelhoed, declared the directive illegal. He found that the procedure for adding supplements to the approved list was confusing and said the directive had "the transparency of a black box". But he said the principle of an approved list conforms to EU law.

The directive was approved by EU governments in 2002 and manufacturers given until the end of July 2005 to prove their ingredients safe. More than 300 doctors and scientists wrote a letter of protest to Tony Blair, one million people signed a petition, and there were motions opposing the law from both the Commons and the Lords. [...]

What will happen next is that from August 1st, we will be gettting spam for Solgar products as well as Viagra, and someone in the united states is going to make millions fulfilling mail order for these products.

If any of my vitamins come off of the market because of this, I will be ordering them from outside the EU, or even better, buying them from a pharmacist that is flaunting these absurd regulations.

You are allowed to consume as many food preservatives as companies can pump into food without changing its taste, you can drink yourself into an alcoholic stupor, indeed, until you die, all without regulation, BUT vitamins you cannot take? I think not.

Oh yes, and Bliar is full of shit.

The Tao Te Ching Says It

"When you have institutions, know where their functions should end. Knowing when to stop, you can avoid any danger."
Tao Te Ching Ah yes; this fits in with just about everything we are currently concerned about.


has anyone seen the Independent's excreable new page design? Hmmmm, maybe if took less time to download on an ADSL connection than anything else on a 9600 modem I could give an impartial opinion. That typeface is an Avant Garde Light of some description, the 0 looks modified an the 1 has a shorter stub than what I've seen. - Abortion seems to be in the headlines again and the Today programme again trotted out the wonderful stories of early pregnancy babies' survival, the problem with this comparison is that the parents of these babies want their offspring to survive, those wanting a late-stage abortion presumably do not. More evidence of the programme's Catholic editorilal bias. - Simon Jenkins talks about over-centralisation of UK State and government interventionism

Edith Massey Is Your Guide

"The world of heterosexual is a sick and boring life" - Aunt Ida I actually thought of your post before I blogged the news, Akin - and I still take heart what you say about an independent form of marriage. Independent from what? I presume you mean independent from the state. But I see no reason why your idea of marriage (which is a better idea, IMO) cannot exist at the same time as state-sponsored marriage. It could, but ideally marriage is a private affair between adults and should have nothing to do with the sate. If both forms are running concurrently, you will have one set of marriages that exist under one legal basis, and another set that exist under a separate basis. Either way, both types would have to be defined in the law, which is where this trouble started; who has the right to define what marriage is? That people should be married at all comes from religious belief, and it should be left up to you your partner and what you both belive in. A non secular state should not therefore, be certifying marriages, since this is a religious and private matter. This is why autorities in some jurisdictions are now 'getting out of the marriage business', which is a good thing; everybody goes to get married in their own way, with their own pre nuptial agreements and arrangements which they then have to live by. You should be able to go to whatever church or temple or tall tree you can find, find someone that will marry you, and be married there. I myself have married a couple who did not want to go to church to do it. It happened at a special picknic, eleven years ago. They are still married. What I find fascinating, actually, sickening, is that types of persons, fatally inured to authority, desire to be certified in their personal affiars by the state. They cannot easily explain why this is advantageous because there are other ways in which they can get what they need, they 'just want to be like everyone else', when in fact, NOT being like everyone else makes them free. This is not only just about marriage either: it is about confirming that homosexual people can do the exact same things heterosexual people can do under law, regardless of the whether state-sponsored marriage is a good idea or not (ie: this would trickle down to adoption law because the rights of homosexuals have been confirmed and a precedent has been set). Actually, all of this business started because the partners left behind in same sex unions where one partner is dead have found themselvs disinherited because the union has no status in law. This has nothing at all to do with 'confirming that homosexual people can do the exact same things heterosexual people can do under law'. Confirming to who? The next leader of the Tory party is Gay. You can be gay and do what anyone else does, you have the same rights as everyone else. There are anti-discrimination laws spelling this out very clearly. Laws are not passed to prove things to people, they are passed to do very specific things and only those things, and the precedents in law only apply to specific areas and dont 'cross contaminate'. If the people who passed this legislation are thinking like this then they are in error. Everyone, gay or not, has the same property rights. If people organize their estates properly, there is no need for a state recognition of 'gay marriage' and this is actually advantageous to same sex couples because they can then write their own rules and live their lives exactly the way that they want outside of the control of the destructive divorce laws. Now, thanks to this legislation, they have to obey the rules of divorce and everything associated with the 'sick and boring life'. Anyone who would want to entangle themselves in this way ... doesn't get my sympathy. Whether or not people want the state in their affairs is their own business. No it absolutely is not. In order for people to choose to have the state in their affairs, the state has to enact legislation that affects everyone, and not just the total idiots that are begging to have the state in their affairs. You cannot say that some people want biometric passports / ID cards, and so they should have them, because everyone gets swept up in the mess and also has to pay for it to happen. Thats pretty obvious. The state should be out of peoples private business, especially business like certifying marriage. They should no more be doning this than they should (have) be(en) able to write 'bastard' on a birth certificate. Of course, the legal status of children is another reason why marriage is now entangled in the state and it is all to do with property rights, inheritance and peoples estates and titles. Its interesting that in France, where primogeniture was outlawed in favour of equal splits between siblings, the birth rate went down dramatically because people didn't want their estates to be broken up into many pieces and also they did not want raging arguments between siblings when the parents have died. Having more children penalized the future of your family. This is what happens when the state gets involved in people's most private business. The anti primogeniture laws in France have been a total disaster for that country, and onlly now are they being totally re-written so that people can have more power to arrange their own affairs, and well, France can be full of the French.

I don't see what the big deal is

I actually thought of your post before I blogged the news, Akin - and I still take heart what you say about an independent form of marriage. But I see no reason why your idea of marriage (which is a better idea, IMO) cannot exist at the same time as state-sponsored marriage. This is not only just about marriage either: it is about confirming that homosexual people can do the exact same things heterosexual people can do under law, regardless of the whether state-sponsored marriage is a good idea or not (ie: this would trickle down to adoption law because the rights of homosexuals have been confirmed and a precedent has been set). Whether or not people want the state in their affairs is their own business. However, there could be more done to publicise the alternative; the state is never the only way, after all. At least that is what I think.

Canadians get it wrong again!

I wrote about this marriage business before. These people are cRaZy to push for this legislation. Talk about running into the path of a pyroclastic know what I mean!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Mr Clarke dismissed as "fantastic" claims that people could be charged up to £300 for an ID card. He said they would cost £25-£30 more than the projected £63 cost of new biometric passports. He said he was prepared to limit the cost of a card. He also raised "the possibility of cheaper cards for poorer citizens which many of my colleagues have pressed as necessary."

So that would mean 90lb or so per person. For EVERYONE. Does anyone really think the gov't will bother lowering the price for "the poorer" when it would have the opportunity to fleece everyone to the maximum extent? Please! *clunk* Of course the real "price" would not be the 90 quid, but the collar 'round your neck. I would die before I would pay anyone for this (dis)service. Even if the gov't GAVE you money, this would be a ridiculously bad deal. I find it mindboggling that anyone could be so stupid and clueless as to vote in favour of this. There are 314 idiots in the House. (btw, has anyone seen the Independent's excreable new page design? Barf!)

the right to be in love

Same-sex bill finally passes After bitter two-year political battle, divisive legislation moves to Senate Ottawa — Canada is on its way to becoming the third country in the world to openly embrace homosexual marriage after the House of Commons gave its final approval last night to a bill that changes the definition to include same-sex couples. The historic 158-133 vote capped an intense and divisive two-year Commons battle that maintained its political drama to the end, as Liberal minister Joe Comuzzi resigned from cabinet yesterday because he could not support his government's move. Réal Ménard, a gay Bloc Québécois MP who has been one of the leading proponents of the bill within his party and within Parliament, said the vote was extremely important. "If you are gay, [no matter] who you are, whatever are your rights, you have the right to be in love," he said as his eyes welled with tears. "And I am very proud today for what we have done." .... I was in the coffee shop this morning and read this headline with "The Times They Are A'Changin'" in my ears. It's a good day! I am so glad that this bill has passed, and we can move on to other things. I know there are many citizens that are unhappy with this decision, they would prefer that "these kinds of relationships" stay hidden, scorned. To what end? We've done this for centuries, and it's time open our definitions. There is much to learn here about relationships, love, and innovative wedding parties! I am curious to see how the culture shifts with this decision. We've already seen developments in the wedding industry and in television, but I wonder how this will play out in the smaller communities in Canada, where minimizing difference will certainly have an effect. Added: HA! Barrie, you beat me to it!

If one thing means two then another cannot mean one only

I tried to make a post about the previous story last night, but Blogger was acting up and apparently deleted the post (even though I saw it published for a short second), but I figured this tale of our Premier's bigotry is more interesting anyway. Does he not realize he's lost and has no power over federal politics, no matter how he kicks and whines? Just because Alberta has TEH OI-UL, doesn't mean it has special importance over the other Provinces. Alberta may stop solemnizing marriages: Klein

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein has suggested that his province may get out of the marriage business altogether in the wake of the passage of same-sex marriage legislation in the House of Commons Tuesday.

Alberta Premiere Fascisto Ralph Klein. (File photo)

Klein was meeting with his members of the provincial legislature Wednesday morning to decide how to continue the fight against same-sex marriage. But he acknowledged Tuesday that he had few options. ''There are no legal weapons. There's nothing left in the arsenal,'' Klein said. ''We're out on a lurch.'' Klein repeated that using the notwithstanding clause is not an option because the definition of marriage falls under federal jurisdiction, and the province can't affect that. Instead, Klein proposed that the province might withdraw from sanctioning marriages and just recognize civil unions, leaving marriage to religious orders. ''We simply wouldn't be involved in the solemnization of marriage,'' he said. The Liberals' controversial same-sex marriage legislation passed final reading Tuesday night, sailing through in a 158-133 vote.

FROM JUNE 28, 2005: Same-sex marriage law passes 158-133

Richard Nixon on the Bohemian Grove

Richard Nixon said of The Bohemian Grove:

"the most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine..."


31 is not enough

Mr Clarke insisted ID cards would act as a “bulwark against the Big Brother society,” providing “real benefits to the individual and society” by limiting the scope for identity theft.
Doublespeak. Night is day, hot is cold, the truth is a lie.
“I argue that the identity card has real benefits to the individual and society and the ID card is a means of limiting abuse in our modern information society, rather than a means of adding to it ... “It gives individuals the right to secure verification of their identity.”
This beast, this nobody, this wrecker of Great Britian doesn't understand what a right is. A right exists wether government enacts legislation or not, as Dumbo will soon find out. As for 'secure verification of their identity' this is simple nonsense. The system is insecure by design, registering in it will make your 'identity' more insecure, as many people who understand what is being planned have pointed out in plain english, with an abundance of evidence. For generations the British have been able to transact without the system that is being planned, or anything like it. We can and will live without it. There are more stages to go through before this monumental disaster is solidified, but one thing is perfectly clear; thirty one people cannot be the tipping balance to enslave the entire nation. Nothing short of a 2/3rds majority referendum of the entire nation should be required to change the nature of the relationship between government and the people in such a fundamental way. Should this nonsense become law, be assured of this; you have no obligation whatsoever to obey and enroll in this terrible project, just as soldiers are not obliged to follow orders to kill non combatants and commit atrocities at the behest of command. And yes, there is no difference. You do not have to obey these laws. You should not obey these laws. Tell everyone you know that you will not be doing it. Make sure that you sign the pledge. One way or another, this project will fail and it will all burn.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Name that typeface

Does anyone know what typeface "1945-1990" is set in on the poster below? I'm always looking for nice sturdy sans-serif faces and I can't remember what this one is called. Poster From Here.

electronic music

The last week or so I've been getting mild psycho-kinetic feelings from listening to techno/electronic music and most certainly *without* drugs. A kind of a shifting sands sort of feeling, kind of a cross between cannabis wearing off and the empty feeling you have the day after drinking a bottle of vodka. Needless to say it's quite odd even though it's very mild. Not sure what brought it on but I hope it stays for a while. If it gets any stranger I'll see if I can get a job at the Independent.

Anti ID card groundswell mounting

A lurker emailed this:

Walking the Streets

A Traffic Wardens Diary

Seriously guys; anyone who believes that ID cards are a good idea needs their head read. In IT terms it’s a disaster waiting to happen. For the money wasting bureaucrats it's a dream come true. For the rest of us a nightmare. [...] hmmm, and one Jamie Vivid comments:
"but nobody cares" We dont care about what you do in Germany, or that you are willing to live in a police state; that has absolutely nothing to do with the people of the United Kingdom. The first german resident in these comments said 'where's the problem?' The problem is very clearly explained everywhere you care to look, most recently in the report created by the LSE, which no doubt, you have not read or even heard about. The Belgians, the Germans and all people who are inured to ID cards talk about them in a way that feels like they want other people to give up what they have given up, just because they have had to do so, "who do you think you are that you can live like free men whilst we cannot?" is the gist of all their comments. The people who are for ID cards are almost always computer illiterates and unaware of the true nature of identity theft. Either way, I totally discount and reject the idea that the British have to live in a certain way just because people in other countries do so. This is completely absurd and insulting; should we all live under Sharia law if the Germans decide to do so? I think not, and this is not a bad analogy, because when Turkey joins the EU there will be elements of thieir law that, using the 'its ok for us so it is for you' thinkers logic, should be brought into UK law simply because thats the way it is in Turkey. No one with any self respect is for ID cards and the compulsion to carry one whenever they leave their house. Its simply a violation of your right to travel and interact freely. Those that have lost this right or who never had it or who do not understand what human rights are, can see that the sky has not fallen because they have ID cards, yet, they are dehumanized nonetheless. You can get used to any situation; just ask the people from the former soviet union or the former east germany. They are so inured to being slaves that they want those bad sytems back because they are familiar and comforting. I will not register for this ID card should it pass into law, and I do not know a single other person who will do so either. Once again, if you live in Germany and like that sort of dehumanized system, you are free to live there and to suffer it for your entire life. We on the other hand, do not want to be dehumanized, and will not suffer this ID card being foisted upon us. Finally, have you not understood the part of the post saying that the UK Government wants to sell ID card data to private companies to fund the system? Just how low have you sunk living there in Germany, that you cannot see that this is a fleecing operation pure and simple? They changed the reasons for briinging in an ID card from stopping terrorism to stopping identity fraud, and now, at the end the TRUE reason is leaked; private companies are pushing for this so that they can fleece the populations data from a single vendor. Only the most stupid and slave minded fool would think that this is 'not a
And they cut him off!!

The damning ID report

No government department has argued for identity cards in the US on grounds of combating identity theft.263 In fact, the dominant argument is that a national ID card in the US would make identity theft more of a problem because of the centralisation of personal information it would entail.264 This argument was supported by the theft of personal data from three state ID issuing agencies over a two month period.265 In one case, the criminals stole blank licenses, along with an equal number of laminated covers with state seals, a digital license camera, a desktop computer and a license printer.266 In the US, the Social Security Number has become an identity hub and a central reference point to index and link identity.267 Obtaining a person’s SSN provides a single interface with that person’s dealings with a vast number of private and public bodies. There have been countless cases of identity thefts that were enabled by first obtaining the SSN. It is arguable that the existence and ease of obtaining the SSN and its importance across private and public databases is the reason why the level of identity theft in the US is extremely high. This situation applies equally in Australia where the introduction of an extensive Tax File Number has also increased the incidence of identity theft beyond the levels experienced in the UK.268 Consumer groups in the US have recently criticised the Senate Banking Committee for failing to take action to reverse this trend. The Consumers Union argues that identity theft will continue to rise until the relationship between the SSN and the publication of personal details in the finance sector can be reduced.269 In the United States, Blue Cross and Blue Shield recently decided to discard the use of Social Security numbers in order to reduce identity theft. Between April 1 and the end of the year, all of the insurance company's members will be given new ID numbers and new ID cards containing those numbers.270 As a result, Identity Cards with a new global unique identifier are not considered a reasonable solution to the challenges faced in the US. Rather, the measures that are promoted to combat identity theft include promoting the reporting of the crime to authorities (which only 25% of victims do), and notifying credit bureaus (only 37% have). [...] From the report. Now really, there is no way on earth that this legislation should be passed taking into account only this section of the report, since the UK proposal hinges upon the creation of a unique number issued to each person. Thinking aobut it, prevention of identity theft is reason alone to refuse to register for the card. This report says what everyone has been saying all along, the question is, will they pay attention to it in parliament, and if the answer to that is 'no' will the public refuse to register as an act of self interest. The bit before these paragraphs talked about the sorts of identity theft surrounding banking and credit. The companies who offer credit need to take responsibility for their own security; as we have seen over the last few months they are useless at it. They need to suffer the conseqences of fraud (losses) and should not be looking to government to put a band-aid on the shotgun wound that is their poor security.


Futura is one of the best typefaces ever. I have been intensely working with it since September. The way it conforms with the Golden Section is amazing. There is also something about its impartiality that attracts me; it could be seen as commanding but looks neutral enough to be almost passive. It's edgy enough to take nothing away from the words themselves. It also seems to know what 23 means. Truly one of the greatest works of art of the 20th century.

Monday, June 27, 2005


Quote 3: ...a failure could have a substantial and wide ranging impact. According to a Home Office Minister, “ID cards and the national register would be right at the centre of the wheel, and a whole range of spokes could be built up around it to meet a broader vision.”... HMP Strangeways


Quote 2: ...Immigration Checks On the issue of immigration checks, figures are more difficult to obtain. There are reports that immigration officials have apprehended individuals on public transport in order to ascertain their immigration status. Although this practice began in London, it is spreading nationwide... those arrested included 717 failed asylum seekers but thousands more people have been stopped and questioned by immigration staff using powers which the police are banned from using.”... A later article published in the New Statesman in November 2004 revealed that such stops are usually initiated under the guise of ticket inspections, but once apprehended, a suspect is subjected to questioning by immigration officials. Official policy on this practice is difficult to locate, although each of these stops should be fully recorded. Immigration officials are not subject to the same reporting procedures as police officers, and the Home Office has stated that: “the data is not collated centrally because it is impractical and expensive”. (I didn't pick this quote for the last sentence but it is quite amazing isn't it. For some reason a centralised collation/database of 'bad news about policing' is impractical and expensive, yet for the entire population and for far more irrelevant information it is some great idea.) Such “street operations”, as the Home Office has named them, are joint police and immigration operations. According to one ticket inspector, the officials target ethnic minorities, notably Asian people or those of Eastern European origin... The nature of the spot checks seems to be highly intrusive and individuals have been detained for ‘up to forty minutes’ in public, while their details are checked and their fingerprints taken on the new portable scanners... white Australians, New Zealanders or South Africans are not affected by these “street operations”, which gives a clear indication of the racial bias. ... If a person of Asian origin has the option of carrying an ID card or being subject to 40 minute ‘verifications’, then the description ‘voluntary’ becomes meaningless. The introduction of identity cards, whether mandatory to carry at all times or not, will enshrine and condone random, racially based stop-checking

LSE says ID card scheme is 'no go'

All identity systems carry consequential dangers as well as potential benefits. Depending on the model used, identity systems may create a range of new and unforeseen problems. These include the failure of systems, unforeseen financial costs, increased security threats and unacceptable imposition on citizens. The success of a national identity system depends on a sensitive, cautious and cooperative approach involving all key stakeholder groups including an independent and rolling risk assessment and a regular review of management practices. We are not confident that these conditions have been satisfied in the development of the Identity Cards Bill. The risk of failure in the current proposals is therefore magnified to the point where the scheme should be regarded as a potential danger to the public interest and to the legal rights of individuals. [...] The introduction of a national identity system will herald a significant shift in Britain’s social and economic environment. Many fundamental concepts such as privacy, anonymity and the individual’s accountability to government will be repositioned. The potential for merging, matching and sharing of personal information across the private and public sector will be made possible. For better or worse, the relationship between the individual and the State will change. [...] There is no evidence to support the use of identity fraud as a justification for the current identity card model. Many of the claims made about the prevalence of identity fraud are without foundation. A card system such as the one proposed in the Bill may even lead to a greater incidence of identity fraud. The Government seems intent on pointing to international obligations and precedents to justify the introduction of a national identity card. Our research indicates that a national identity card need not resemble the one that the Government is proposing, nor is any nation under an obligation to create such a card. Indeed, no other country has done so with such a pretext. [...] The proposed system unnecessarily introduces, at a national level, a new tier of technological and organisational infrastructure that will carry associated risks of failure. A fully integrated national system of this complexity and importance will be technologically precarious and could itself become a target for attacks by terrorists or others. [...] In its current form, the Identity Cards Bill appears to be unsafe in law. A number of elements potentially compromise Article 8 (privacy) and Article 14 (discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Because of the difficulty that some individuals may face in registering or verifying their biometrics there is a potential conflict with national laws such as the Disability Discrimination Act and the Race Relations Act. The proposals appear to be in direct conflict with the Data Protection Act. Many of these conflicts arise from the creation of a national identity register, which will contain a substantial amount of personal data, some of which would be highly sensitive. The amount of information contained in the register, the purposes for which it can be used, the breadth of organisations that will have access to the Register and the oversight arrangements proposed are contentious aspects. [...] The Government has consistently asserted that that biometrics proposals, both in the new UK passport format and in the identity cards legislation, is a harmonising measure required by international obligations, and is thus no different to the plans and intentions of the UK’s international partners. There is no evidence to support this assertion. We find that the Government is unnecessarily binding the identity card scheme to internationally recognised requirements on passport documents. By doing so, the Government has failed to correctly interpret international standards, generating unnecessary costs, using untested technologies and going well beyond the measures adopted in any other country that seeks to meet international obligations. Even in countries with identity cards, numerous safeguards prevent the development of a system similar to the one proposed here. We were unable to identify any country that established identity cards through an open parliamentary process. [...] This report concludes that the proposals currently being considered by Parliament do not represent the most appropriate, secure, cost effective or practical identity system for the United Kingdom. The system outlined by the legislation appears unlikely therefore to achieve its stated objectives. [....] And there you have the gist of it. The question as always is, "what is to be done?". We have seen how this government refuses to listen to anyone, and so with this report too as with all the others, they are sure to ignore any advice that does not concur with their plans. We know that this is a terrible idea; now all that is left is how do we make sure that the plans are utterly destroyed and forever taken off of the table?


you can download the LSE ID card report here - Choice Quote 1: ...debate is a rare occurrence. The identity systems of many countries have been inherited from prior regimes of a completely different kind: under Franco in Spain, registration by a Nazi Government, national ID numbers by the Vichy regime in France, national registration by the Church in Sweden, unstable governments in Greece, and Mussolini in Italy...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Computer illiterates at The Independent

The case is unproven, but ID cards are worth a try

26 June 2005

No liberal can feel comfortable with the idea of the state requiring law-abiding citizens to have their fingerprints taken and stored on a national register. Some people may be surprised, therefore, that this newspaper does not oppose the Identity Cards Bill currently going through the House of Commons. When people say that they object to identity cards on principle, it is often difficult for them to say what that principle is. It cannot be that we should never be obliged to prove to the authorities that we are who we say we are. The questions that matter are when the state has the right to demand to know our identity, for what purposes and what it does with the information it holds on us. [...]

This has to take the prize for the most stupid headline of the year.

The case is unproven, but its "worth a try"???!!!

If we were talking about a new experimental medicine to be compulsorily injected into every man woman and child in the country, would it be acceptable to say that its 'worth a try'...'suck it and see' ???

The Independent, whose cover is constantly plastered with false articles about proportional representation, the erosion of rights, the lies of the Iraq invasion, now proposes that its 'ok' to use the whole UK population in a dangerous, commercially driven, useless and damaging experiment (which the punters will have to pay for).

I want to smoke the crack that they are smoking.

And what if, you stupid idiots, it (by any measure) 'doesnt work'? Will the hundreds of databases, both private and public, be purged of all the data in them? Will the government willingly give up its system of complete surveillance and control?

Of course they will not. Once this Pandora's box is opened, thats it for everyone who was stupid enough to register. Short of a revolution, nothing will be able to completely dismantle all the databases and purge alll the scans NIRs and other information that has both leaked and been deliberately sold.

I simply cannot believe the ignorance, illiteracy and flat out stupidity of the editors of The Independent and all the other sensible papers.

It looks like a grass roots total rebellion is the only way this is going to be defeated, and even if this wrong headed legislation passes, when no one registers, the system will die, just like the poll tax did.

This will mean people travelling on expired passports, and people without passports travelling on birth cirtificates and drivers licences or passports from other jurisdictions. It will mean refusing to transact with anyone that unreasonably demands ID from you.

I have personally seen this being done already. A man walked into a bank to withdraw £1000 cash, The teller demanded ID. The customer refused; he had banked at the same branch for 20 years, and refused to jump through this hoop. The teller said he could give him £999 pounds without ID. The customer stood fast; £1000 or he closed the account there and then. About five minutes later, he got his cash on the order of the manager. Everyone, including the teller and the manager admitted that the requirement was absurd, and they collectively agreed not to obey it; a known customer collecting his own money should not have to jump through hoops to do it. This is common sense, and the stance of this customer is what is going to be adopted everywhere.


Suffer the consequences.

Brazen and Blantant

Personal details of all 44 million adults living in Britain could be sold to private companies as part of government attempts to arrest spiralling costs for the new national identity card scheme, set to get the go-ahead this week.

The Independent on Sunday can today reveal that ministers have opened talks with private firms to pass on personal details of UK citizens for an initial cost of £750 each. [...]

The Independent

Blantant and Brazen. Literally selling the population of the UK to the highest bidder, harvesting the data on each person compulsorily and then selling the shearings. Astonishing.

I laughed heartily when I heard this poem

Another reason why I don't keep a gun in the house The neighbors' dog will not stop barking. He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark that he barks every time they leave the house. They must switch him on on their way out. The neighbors' dog will not stop barking. I close all the windows in the house and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast but I can still hear him muffled under the music, barking, barking, barking, and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra, his head raised confidently as if Beethoven had included a part for barking dog. When the record finally ends he is still barking, sitting there in the oboe section barking, his eyes fixed on the conductor who is entreating him with his baton while the other musicians listen in respectful silence to the famous barking dog solo, that endless coda that first established Beethoven as an innovative genius. --Billy Collins

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Voters at CNN have spoken! If Saddam Hussein had been doing stealing property from private people to sell to developers, I wonder what the pundits would have said? is where the poll lives. Two thousand more people than in that PNG, and still at 1%. The Supreme Court is the last stop in the avenue of redress, so 'what now' when they come to bulldoze your house? You get the guns out, and die like they did at Ruby Ridge and Waco, thats what. All of a sudden, the Militia and their views dont sound so 'psycho' do they?

Software Patents In The EU

Here is some correspondence on the subject of software patents in the EU, sent to Dr. Charles Tannock, our MP.

I run a small software company in your constituency.

I understand that the EU's legal affairs committee rejected most of the
effective amendments that were proposed to the Computer Implemented Inventions

This means that American style software patents could be forced into law
throughout the EU.

Should these proposals become law, it would be a disaster for our company, and
it would mean that we would have to outsource our software operations to a
jurisdiction that did not have software patents.

So that you can understand just why these proposals are so wrong, please read
this vivid article in The Guardian:,12449,1510566,00.html

by Richard Stallman.

Please do your part to put down these wrong headed proposals, which will damage
my company and stifle our ability to innovate in the EU.

If you have any questions about what we do and how this will affect software
developers in the UK, please do not hesitate to email me.

And the reply:

Thank you for your letter and for registering your concerns about the proposed Computer Implemented Inventions Directive.

Earlier this year, the Council Presidency has now formally adopted the Common Position which they were entitled to do this under its rules of procedure, which are the responsibility of Member Governments, not the European Parliament. However, the Directive must still be approved by the European Parliament before it becomes EU Law, and we have full rights to amend it. It has now been considered by the Parliament at second reading and amendments have been submitted. These will be voted on during the July plenary session.

The objective of this Directive is to clarify existing EU Patent Law and provide patent inspectors with a common framework within which to examine and if appropriate, grant patents for genuine innovations involving digital technology. An explicit objective of the proposal is to ensure that computer software or business methods that do not involve new innovative concepts, making a technical contribution are excluded from patents. This will give the EU a distinctive and different position from the US and Japan.

We need to consider the potential effect of the Directive on software development. I think that the problems here can often be exaggerated. There is little evidence from the USA that software development has been slowed down by the US patent regime. If the EU Directive is passed, it will be more restrictive than the current US patent environment. There is little sign from the USA, of large companies pursuing small companies for patent enforcement -evidence suggests that the opposite is the case. Also, patent specialists consider that the passing of the EU Directive will exclude the attempted enforcement of existing US patents across the EU. We may need to tighten up the proposal to ensure that this happens.

We are also especially concerned to protect innovative companies, especially small firms, using digital technology to produce genuinely original technical solutions. We have been contacted by many of them and they are very concerned that they may be excluded form the patent regime by inappropriate amendments to the EU proposal. Patent royalty income is very important to these companies and is a major incentive to innovative research.

Lastly it is important to consider the impact of the Directive for the European Union to remain competitive in global markets. If Europe's capacity to protect innovation in the field of technology is reduced, compared to other regions of the world, we may in the long run no longer be able to sustain our standard of living by innovation.

For example, European car manufacturers will increasingly compete with low cost Chinese car makers. It would clearly be a disadvantage for European manufacturers, if Chinese producers have access to innovations without incurring research and development expense, because there is insufficient patent protection. We must have a fair and balanced internationally competitive framework.

In the end, the Parliament must balance all the arguments and reach a sensible solution.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Charles Tannock MEP

And my reply:

Thank you for your reply Dr. Tannock. Our concern as a developer of software is that an unlimited number of patents will be granted for methods that are not true innovations. For example, someone in the USA owns a patent for showing when a person is typing a response to an instant message during a chat session. The granting of this patent has stopped Skype Inc., who are based in Estonia, from implimenting this very useful feature in thier VOIP telephone and messaging system for fear tha they will leave themselvs open to a lawsuit. Skype has close to three million users on line at any one time, and have had one hundred and twenty five million downloads of their innovative software. Skype was developed by a small team, and it has taken the world by storm. They, and the milions of users they serve, are being hampered by software patents right now; Skype could be a better service than it is currently, if software patents did not exist. There are many wrongly granted US patents for software ideas, and they have a direct effect as I have just demonstrated on the kinds of software that can be written and distributed in Europe and througout the world. European software developers will not benefit from software patents, they will in fact be encumbered by them. We will not be able to release fully featured and useful software at will, and other jurisdictions that do not suffer from software patents will immediately begin to flourish, and steal an advantage over us. Europe will be protecting its programmer's ability to innovate and compete in the global market by rejecting software patents outright. We will only have protection if we are free to write software and use methods in any way we choose, without having to look over our shoulders constantly to see if our software infringes someone's patent. The patents involved in the manufacture of cars and all other physical methods are completely different in nature and effect from the ideas contained and expressed in software. This is made vividly clear in the Guardian article that I asked you to read. Certainly, if you are the inventor of a new chemical process or a new clasp for a car door, you should be able to patent that and then recieve royalties for that genuine innovation, but what software does and how it is impliemented is completely different to physical innovations. If software patents become a part of the rules in the EU, it will, for example, be possible to patent software methods for operations (i give this example so that a non software developer can understand my point) like adding or subtracting two numbers and displaying them to a screen. No one could argue that anyone should be granted a patent for a method of adding numbers together, but in essence, this is precisely the type of patent that is being graned daily in the USA. In the above scenario, we would not be able to write a software calculator for use on the world wide web, (say, as partof a mortgage website) without paying a royalty to someone. Clearly this would be unnaceptable to any reasonable person, and yet, this is precisely what is happening right now in the case of Skype and its missing 'other person is typing' feature. They are not going to impliment this very useful featue in their software because someone owns the patent for this idea, and they are frightened of being sued. As for the Chinese having access to innovations without incurring research and development expense because there is insufficient patent protection, the fact of the matter is that if a company needs to write software to do anything, including writing a calculator programme, it needs to hire programmers to sit down and innovate at computer screens. Skype, if they decide to impliment the missing feature, will have to create the software to deliver this feature from scratch. We can see from this that in fact, software patents actually stifle innovation and software writing skills, because programmers are stopped from reverse engineering problems and expressing them in software. I guarantee you that programmers in India and China, who are already benefitting from outsourcing of software development will be gaining skill and work at an accelerated rate if software developers in the EU are restricted by software patents. The only sensible solution in the case of patent law reform is to exclude software completely from the rules. Software developers will be free to innovate and release fully featured software at will, free from the fear of any legal attack. Developers will be encouraged to move their software businesses into our jurisdiction, and those that are already here will be encouraged to stay. Software development is very different to traditional manufacturing. It can be moved anywhere almost instantly, because no physical apparatus is needed to do it other than a laptop and an internet connection. Should patents be applied to software at any time in the future, companies will incorporate in other jurisdictions and move development into those jurisdictions. I hope that I have helped you some way to understanding why software patents are a bad idea. They must be ruled out completely if we are to maintain our advantage. [...]

I would be very surprised if any of the MPs who are going to vote on this have ever written a programme, or are aware of any of the ideas behind programming. This means that they are going to get it wrong, and that we are going to have to respond accordingly.

The Goose and the Gander

Africa rejects action on Zimbabwe
The African Union has rejected calls from the UK and the US to put pressure on Zimbabwe to stop its demolition of illegal houses and market stalls.

An AU spokesman told the BBC that it had many more serious problems to consider than Zimbabwe.

The UN says that 200,000 people have been made homeless. At least three children have been crushed to death.

Urging the AU to take action, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described recent events as "tragic".

The opposition say the demolitions are meant to punish urban residents, who have rejected President Robert Mugabe in recent elections.

He denies this, saying the crackdown is designed to "restore sanity" in urban areas, which he says have become overrun with criminals.


"If the government that they elected say they are restoring order by their actions, I don't think it would be proper for us to go interfering in their internal legislation," AU spokesman Desmond Orjiako told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

His comments were backed up by South Africa, Zimbabwe's giant neighbour, which some see as the key to solving Zimbabwe's problems.

Presidential spokesman Bheki Khumalo said he was "irritated" by calls from UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to do more to end the "horrors" in Zimbabwe.

"South Africa refuses to accept the notion that because suddenly we're going to a G8 summit, we must be reminded that we must look good and appease the G8 leaders," he said.

"We will do things because we believe they are correct and right." [...]


In the USA, its OK for the government to demolish homes to make way for commercial development, but in Zimbabwe it is NOT OK to do this.

The homes being demolished in Zimbabwe are illegally built; there is even more 'right' for the state to demolish them than there is in the eminent domain case in thee USA, where one resident had been living since the early 1900's; the houses are all constructed legally, and the sole reason why they are to be moved is to make way for a commercial developer to make a profit.

This is what we call double standards and it is this sort of thing that totally discredits the western governments in the eyes of everyone who can see. Thankfully every nation on the African continent is openly refusing to budge on this, which is the correct position to take.

When you start to do things the right way, then and only then will you have the moral authority to advise anyone else what to do and how to do it.

Magna Carta and the end of American property rights

Property and Freedom: From Magna Carta to the Fourteenth Amendment by Professor Bernard H. Siegan SYNOPSIS Property rights are integral to the freedom and prosperity that Americans enjoy in the twenty-first century, although their centrality has often been disparaged and their long and esteemed historical pedigree doubted. Yet the provenance of these rights can be traced back to King John's acquiescence to Magna Carta in 1215. Early English property law that followed in its wake would greatly influence property law in the United States. In transmitting the English property rights tradition to American soil, the most important conduits were the commentaries written by Lord Edward Coke (1552-1634) and Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780), both of which were eagerly read in America in the colonial period, by the framers of our Constitution, and by their early successors both in politics and on the bench. [...] I say again. + (39) No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land. From Magna Carta. Well, it looks like the American Supreme Court has changed 'the law of the land' so that a free man can be seized or imprisoned, stripped of his rights and possessions, outlawed and or exiled, deprived of his standing in any way, and can be proceeded with force against him, and others can be sent to do so, by the will of property developers and with the authority and judgement of the law of the land. It's so simple!

Court OKs land seizure for private projects

Court OKs land seizure for private projects

By Charles Lane The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that local governments can force property owners to sell and make way for private economic development when officials decide it would benefit the public, even if the property is not blighted and the project's success is not guaranteed.

The landmark 5-4 ruling provided the strong affirmation state and local governments had sought for their increasing use of eminent domain for urban revitalization, especially in the Northeast, where many city centers have decayed.

The ruling is expected to have no effect in Washington, which forbids the use of eminent domain for private development. At least seven other states forbid using eminent domain unless it is to eliminate blight.

Opponents ranging from property-rights activists to advocates for elderly and low-income urban residents argued that forcibly shifting land from one private owner to another, even with fair compensation, violates the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits the taking of property by government except for "public use."

But Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority yesterday, cited past cases in which the court has interpreted "public use" to include such traditional projects as bridges or highways as well as slum clearance and land redistribution. He concluded that a "public purpose" such as creating jobs in a depressed city can also satisfy the Fifth Amendment.

Stevens was joined in the majority by Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

Stevens' opinion provoked a strongly worded dissent from Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who wrote that the ruling favors the most powerful and influential in society and leaves small property owners little recourse. Now, she wrote, "[t]he specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory."

O'Connor was joined in her dissent by Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

The ruling resolved one of the remaining high-profile issues this term. The court is expected to rule Monday on the constitutionality of Ten Commandments displays on public property.

The redevelopment program at issue in the case, Kelo v. New London, Conn., is the city's plan to turn 90 acres of waterfront land into office buildings, upscale housing, a marina and other facilities near a new $300 million research center being built by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. The complex was expected to generate hundreds of jobs and, city officials say, $680,000 in property-tax revenue.

New London, a former whaling town with a population of about 24,000, is reeling from the 1996 closing of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, which had employed more than 1,500 people.

But owners of 15 homes on 1.54 acres of the proposed site had refused to go. One, Susette Kelo, had extensively remodeled her home and wanted to stay for its view of the water. Another, Wilhelmina Dery, was born in her house in 1918 and has lived there her entire life. [...]


Attack of the Smiths

Thanks for that barrie, but you quoted the 'wrong' part!!!!
It is now nine months since I obtained the first of the "Downing Street memos," thrust into my hand by someone who asked me to meet him in a quiet watering hole in London for what I imagined would just be a friendly drink.

At the time, I was defense correspondent of the London Daily Telegraph, and a staunch supporter of the decision to oust Saddam Hussein. The source was a friend. He'd given me a few stories before but nothing nearly as interesting as this.

The six leaked documents I took away with me that night were to change completely my opinion of the decision to go to war and the honesty of Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush.

They focused on the period leading up to the Crawford, Texas, summit between Blair and Bush in early April 2002, and were most striking for the way in which British officials warned the prime minister, with remarkable prescience, what a mess post-war Iraq would become. Even by the cynical standards of realpolitik, the decision to overrule this expert advice seemed to be criminal. [...]

My emphasis. What is very important about this piece is the following. This man, this idiot, was told by many important and knowledgeable people that the impending invasion of Iraq was wrong. He was told in no uncertain terms that there were no 'weapons of mass destruction' in Iraq, by both UN weapons inspectors and repeatedly by Tariq Aziz and every other high level member of the legitimate Iraq government, via CNN. The legitimate Iraq government said also, that the threat of war was being made by a criminal gang headed by bush, and that there was no basis for it at all. And every word that they said was the absolute truth. Now. Someone, some unidentified stranger, puts a piece of paper in his hand in a pub and all of a sudden, his mind is completely changed. This man, who helped and helps shape opinion with his wrong headed words, is a perfect example of the sort of creature who believes that only his experience is the 'real' one and that everyone else's experience is just a part of his extended dream. If that were not the case, he would be able to listen to other peoples words and then look at a problem from their point of view. If he were able to do this, he could never have been for the invasion of Iraq and the 'ousting' of Saddam Hussein. He would have believed the countless people who explained carefully and in detail why this invasion was in every aspect, wrong. Anyone with a working imagination, and a true understanding of how planning and government really works could never have supported such a flagrantly illegal and criminal act of war. What astonishes me, and really it shouldn't with a man bearing a name like 'Smith', is that these journalists trust polititians that are on the side of power. Its almost like Vietnam and all the other outrages never happened, or they have never read about them, or they have read about them and agree with them, or that they believe that for their generation, the nature of politics has suddenly can it be that people like Smith are so monumentally stupid? This 'Smith' is like the Oxford graduate that thought torture was a necessary evil in 'the war on terror' ... untill he volunteered to be put through a mock Guantanamo himself and experienced what it was like personally. His mind was changed completely also; another example of the type that has education but no imagination, no ability to empathise with other human beings; read the words of this monster yourself. There is of course, the other factor. Tariq Aziz says someone is a liar, a man called 'Jones' says, "no that's not true". People like Smith always believe Jones over Aziz. Why? Who cares. What is important is that the mass of people feeding the war machine wake up and simply refuse to do it. Then the diabolical journalism of the Smiths in this world will not matter at all, and we can laugh at their ignorance. Now Smith, in thie new piece is trying to slather a salve on his scalded concience by writing this drivel about the 'facts' in these irrelevant memos that are the latest distraction of the anti war morons. The fact of the matter is that people like Mr. Smith are now sharpening their nibs against Iran with their nonsense about bloggers being free to disparage the Iranian government, about how the Iranian elections are not legitimate, fueling the bolier of the war machine with ignorant fire fanning words, until one day, a new invasion will be launched, the plans for which already exist, and people like Smith will be cheering it on from the sidelines like the animals that they are. Then, someone will 'leak' the plans and another Smith will rail on about war crimes etc etc, all the while ignoring the core of the matter; you have no business supporting the invasion of any country for any reason whatsoever, and thanks to the mentality of the mass of people who finance these illegal operations it is going to be done again and again forever unless the anti war movement wakes up and attacks the root of the issue itself. Always understand this; when the sun comes up on another part of the earth when its the middle of the night over your head, it is indeed bright daytime anywhere else where the sun is shining. Your reality is not the dream that other people inhabit. Other people are real. Iranians, Koreans, Zimbabweans and people in all these 'outlaw' nations are not just figments of your imagination; they are real, and they have the absolute right to solve their own problems, and if they say they are working in the interest of their countries, then you have to believe them, take their point of view into account fully and understand the complex histories of their development. Anyone who talks about 'ousting' leaders and 'regime change' like Jack Straw-man Straw and all the others are warmongers and murderers. If you support them, then you are a murderer, just like Smith, murderer, who suported the pointless slaughter of Iraqi children to achieve his narrow minded and immoral goal of 'ousting' the president of a country that he has never even been to, and has no connection with in any way.

Secret Wars

But another part of the memo is arguably more important. It quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the U.S. had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." This we now realize was Plan B.

Put simply, U.S. aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone were dropping a lot more bombs in the hope of provoking a reaction that would give the allies an excuse to carry out a full-scale bombing campaign, an air war, the first stage of the conflict.

British government figures for the number of bombs dropped on southern Iraq in 2002 show that although virtually none were used in March and April, an average of 10 tons a month were dropped between May and August.

But these initial "spikes of activity" didn't have the desired effect. The Iraqis didn't retaliate. They didn't provide the excuse Bush and Blair needed. So at the end of August, the allies dramatically intensified the bombing into what was effectively the initial air war.

The number of bombs dropped on southern Iraq by allied aircraft shot up to 54.6 tons in September alone, with the increased rates continuing into 2003.

In other words, Bush and Blair began their war not in March 2003, as everyone believed, but at the end of August 2002, six weeks before Congress approved military action against Iraq.

The way in which the intelligence was "fixed" to justify war is old news.

The real news is the shady April 2002 deal to go to war, the cynical use of the U.N. to provide an excuse, and the secret, illegal air war without the backing of Congress.

Michael Smith - Common Dreams

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Identity Cards of Russel Higgs spacer image Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 23

Everyone Fights, No one Quits

You know what you have to do. Ummm you mean "you know what you must NOT do". :p You must not under any circumstances, register for this or any government system that assigns you a unique number in a central identity database. I wonder what the people at LSE have to say about the problems associated with a central register of unique IDs. This is the main problem with the system they are proposing. There is no need for a central database, so why are they pushing for one? Maybe they just don't know what they are talking about. OR Maybe they don't read the Sun!



security is only human

A call centre worker in Delhi sold the bank account details of 1,000 British customers to a newspaper reporter, it was reported today. The details have emerged on the same day that police launched an investigation into alleged call centre security breaches. The City of London Police began an investigation after receiving a dossier of information from a newspaper journalist outlining a number of banks whose security may have been compromised. An undercover reporter was sold information on a thousand accounts and the numbers of passports and credits cards for £4.25 each, according to the Sun newspaper. The information could allow criminals to access the financial details of unwitting victims and lead to the raiding of accounts and the cloning of credit cards. Guardian YOU KNOW what this means. You know the government will be keen to get companies to use ID cards as the sole/principal form of identification for entering contracts with the public. You know that access to ID card information would inevitably lead to disclosure of NIR information. You know that the government wants to involve offshoring to deal with NHS queries. You know that either your ID would be successfully hijacked or that an intercepted 'ID theft' attempt would lead to a suspension of your ID information and thus access to any services the government limits access to (Healthcare, DSS payments, freedom of movement, etc.) You know it is cheap enough for anyone with the motivation to get this sort of information You know what you have to do.

circuit bent digicam

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Reuters [...] Abraham said it was clear that complaints dealt with by her office were just the "tip of a much bigger iceberg", noting that in its first year 1.9 billion pounds, or a third of all tax credit awards, was overpaid. The Inland Revenue had assured the Ombudsman that initial difficulties with the tax credit system were teething problems which would be fixed once new computer systems bedded down. [...] It does beg the question whether the government is in fact the biggest single cause of UK 'Identity Fraud' does it not? Would you trust NIR requested information with these charlatans?!?

LA Goats

"At 4am the paper's managing editor got a call from the office. Explicit images known as 'goatses' had appeared on the wikitorial page. The experiment was terminated."

on the count of three

Preselected gigs: 1 - Johnny Cash - 198? 2.x.x --unknown/forgotten bands that tour remote bits of the country-- 3 - PWEI/Prodigy - 1993 Gigs I selected: 1 - Man... Or Astroman? - 1994/5 2 - Autechre (live club set) - 1994/5 3 - Gescom & "Sophie + Franz" - 1995/6/7?

Solstice flowers

It's the longest day of the year and my huge peony bush finally decided to bloom - about half of the two dozen flowers are fully open now, huge pink fluffballs 7-8 inches in diameter. Unfortunately I'm a nerd and have no digital camera, so you'll have to take my word for it that they are beautiful! I have cut off a few that were towards the wall and arranged them on the kitchen table to add some much-needed colour. One of the wonderful things about the peony bush is that having an anthill nearby assists the blooming as the ants eat apart the bulbs. Cool. My first and second concerts were sometime in 1997 or 1998 - I can't remember exactly - and were U2's "popmart" tour and The Rolling Stones "Bridges to Babylon" tour. I can't quite clearly remember which one was my third, either, it was either Sloan at a venue that is normally a petting zoo, or Semisonic at the University theater - both 1998. On Saturday I saw Xiu Xiu at the Freemason's hall in Edmonton, and they put on a very good show! Unfortunately the venue was not a sit-down affair, even though the band's dynamic, hushed music begged it. The opening band was quite surprisingly noisy and pretty much kicked me in the balls with its spastic microphone feedback action/crazy dance. Also, there's a new evil DMCA bill in Canada. Prospects: bad.

First, second and third gigs

My first gig - Ronnie James Dio at Leeds Queen's Hall, May 1986 My second gig - my brother's band Forbidden Testament in a pub in Boston, Lincs, June 1986 My third gig - Iron Maiden at the Hammersmith Odeon, November 1986 Now name yours...

In other news...

Shark sunburst

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Celebrated the longest day as per usual this year again, with me and GF zooming off in pursuit of the setting sun. As ever, it was big and orange and sank slowly over fields and hills. Roll on summer!

Mass intestination!


Cover photo: A stun shield in a county sheriff’s office, 1999. The electro-shock, transmitted through the vertical strips, is activated from a button on the handles. The brand depicted is believed to be one that can deliver a 75,000 volt, 3-4 milliamp shock at 17-22 pulses per second. Stun shields are used in numerous prisons and jails in the USA, primarily in the forced removal of inmates from cells, an operation known as "cell extraction". This photo, and those on pages 5 and 35, are video stills, courtesy of Eurovision Productions. INTRODUCTION
    "In court Wednesday, the accused killer wore a gray sweater, concealing all but the bulge of a shock belt... Five bailiffs stood by, one in plain clothes, another with his hand on the button to send electric pulses through Overton should he make a drastic move." From news report of first day of Thomas Overton’s trial, Florida, 20 January 1999(1)
On 18 March 1999 Thomas Overton was sentenced to death in Florida. Throughout his trial he had been made to wear a remote control stun belt, giving an officer the power to subject him to a 50,000 volt electric shock if the "need" arose. Accused and convicted of capital murder, Thomas Overton is a figure easily demonized. But a society’s response to its criminal offenders provides an insight into its respect for fundamental human rights. Execution is the most extreme penalty in a country which in recent years has seen a marked shift away from policies designed to rehabilitate criminal offenders, towards a much greater emphasis on punishment, incapacitation and human warehousing. Since 1980 the combined prison and jail population has more than tripled, and is now approaching two million inmates.(2) Even though huge sums have been spent on building new detention facilities, the expansion has not kept pace with this phenomenal growth, and overcrowding has contributed to dangerous conditions in many institutions. Such conditions, together with the pressure to substitute technology for staff in order to cut costs, has helped to fuel the development of new methods of inmate control. One such method comes in the form of electro-shock stun equipment, such as stun guns, stun shields, tasers and the stun belt. The use of electro-shock stun technology in law enforcement raises concern for the protection of human rights - not surprisingly, given that electricity has long been one of the favoured tools of the world’s torturers.(3) Portable, easy to use, and with the potential to inflict severe pain without leaving substantial visible marks on the human body, electro-shock stun equipment is particularly open to abuse by unscrupulous law enforcement officials(4). Of concern also is evidence which suggests that electro-shock devices may produce harmful or even fatal effects, particularly in the case of persons - diagnosed or undiagnosed - suffering from heart disease, neurological disorders or who are under the influence of drugs.(5) International standards encourage the development of non-lethal weapons for law enforcement, in order to decrease the risk of death or injury inherent in the use of firearms and batons. But these standards state that new weapons must be "carefully evaluated" and their use "carefully controlled".(6) The US authorities have failed to live up to this standard as electro-shock weapons have proliferated around the country’s law enforcement agencies, especially at local level, without rigorous independent testing, evaluation and monitoring. Of additional concern is the export of electro-shock stun weapons from the USA to other countries where they may be used to commit torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.(7) This will be examined as part of a forthcoming Amnesty International paper. This current report reiterates Amnesty International’s call on all federal, state and local law enforcement and correctional agencies in the USA to suspend the use of all electro-shock weapons until and unless a rigorous, independent and impartial inquiry, including thorough medical evaluation, can prove that they are safe and will not contribute to deaths in custody or torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The organization is further calling on the US government to suspend the manufacture, promotion and transfer of such electro-shock weapons until such an inquiry has taken place. The organization also renews its call for an outright ban on the manufacture, promotion, transfer and use of the stun belt. Amnesty International believes that uniquely amongst stun equipment, the use(8) of the stun belt, even when not activated, constitutes cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as outlawed under international law. The stun belt is the main focus of this report. THE STUN BELT: CONTROL THROUGH FEAR
    "Electricity speaks every language known to man. No translation necessary. Everybody is afraid of electricity, and rightfully so."(9)
A stun belt is a weapon that is worn by its victim. Unlike when faced with other electro-shock devices, the prisoner or defendant is physically in contact with the stun belt the whole time it is used against them, which may be for hours at a time. This constant reminder of the belt’s presence makes the threat of its activation all the more real. Its electro-shock can be set off by a law enforcement official operating a remote control transmitter up to 300 feet (90 metres) away, including as has happened in several cases, by accident. On activation, the belt delivers a 50,000 volt, three to four milliampere shock which lasts eight seconds. This high-pulsed current enters the wearer's body at the site of the electrodes, near the kidneys, and passes through the body, causing a rapid electric shock. The shock causes incapacitation in the first few seconds and severe pain rising during the eight seconds. The electro-shock cannot be stopped once activated. [...]

Plot Summary for Fortress (1993)

A futuristic prison movie. Protagonist and wife are nabbed at a future US emigration point with an illegal baby during population control. The resulting prison experience is the subject of the movie. The prison is a futuristic one run by a private corporation bent on mind control in various ways.

Summary written by Mark Allyn {}

In a futuristic USA, it's forbidden to give birth to more than one child for each woman. As usual, you can escape to Mexico to avoid the authorities in USA, which is exactly what John and Karen Brennick were trying to do when Karen is pregnant with her second child (their first child was born dead). When they think they have made it they are discovered and put to prison (for 31 years), a modern prison called the "Fortress" where the prisoners are controlled by lasers, neutron-cannons, cameras, mind-scanners and electronic pain-causing devices in their stomachs. With those odds, John still plans to escape with his wife. [...]

Intestinate Brennick! And here is a detailed review.

compare and contrast

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