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A Battle Of Balaclavas - No Cuts March

A little of the coverage of the reportedly half a million strong peaceful march against the ConDem government cuts.


A Battle Of Balaclavas - No Cuts March - London 2011 - http://youtu.be/cO7YHtYw_Js

Just goes to show , when it comes to
TV news,
If there's no drama, it's not news?

If you're interested, there's a balanced video log
of the peaceful No Cuts protestors in The Guardian (The video starts automatically.)


Seems to me all the attacks were on corporations or symbols of corporation, no people were targeted(?) Attacks were against those who created the economic environment in which the cuts seem necessary, those who have benefited from the credit crunch, those, who should be the real target of the governments red pen!

Where's the witch-hunt for the bankers who sold the toxic debts? Where is the investigation to attempt to recover the cash? Without that money trail, how can we (the public) believe that any money has been 'lost', how can we know it's not just a corporate scam?

But the questions here are concerning the policing...
Did the violent element who joined the peaceful day of protest learn to disguise themselves from the current British corporate regime?
Does the fact that the police look like an army ready for war have anything to do with how we feel about them?
Do the police look like characters in need of our sympathy or dreaded cyber cops from some fearful dystopian future?

WARNING... WARNING...

Those of a Tory or Daily Mail disposition should look away now

BALACLAVA ALERT!


Police in riot gear - on Westminster Bridge in front of Parliament


Is it just me or is there a general feeling that the police are only out to protect the property of the corporations?
Should we not feel they are here to protect us?
If the police had been Bobbies would the violence have been the same?
Kettling is appalling - I refer you to my angry tweets after the students' protest in 2010
Kettling: Police crowd control method. Used 2 put protestors under pressure 'til they boil up into violence. #demo2010 #HumanRights #Freedom
And a little more harshly but hey I was cross!
Kettling: Where those not smart enough to go further in education jealously batter those who are into a similar stupor? #demo2010

When I was a kid, lol, hark at me but it's true, my town Bobby was a helpful chap
Old Style Bobby - Dixon od Dock Green

but the one's I see today, whom I pass on the street make me nervous, like they are going to arrest me for transgressing some corporate dictate of which I was unaware, or for breaking some law of which I've never heard.
What has happened to the UK police?
The answer may be here - It's an illusion - 2009 - John Harris - http://tinyurl.com/6x688dj

If we want our country back, do you think the corporations, the bankers and their Tory collaborators will give just it back? Or will it have to be taken?
We know what the #blackbloc have decided - what do you think?

This is one of the Too Many Questions
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Clear Evidence of the Noodle at Work?

Discovered deep in the welsh valleys...
clear proof that the 'real' creator is the Flying Spaghetti Monster?
Tangled noodly roots of a tree


Can any deny the noodleness of this obviously spiritual tree?
Is there any clearer sign that all things grow from HIS/HER noodley appendages?

And what other god has sneaked evidence of himself into a blockbuster Hollywood movie?
Remember the scenes in Tomb Raider which were filmed at Ta Prohm temple entrance at Angkor Wat?


Ta Prohm temple entrance at Angkor Wat - http://www.youtube.com/embed/yoEXnwJ7lfs

And, as his/her appendages can be seen at all the major failed civilizations of the world, can we assume this is visible evidence of his/her noodliness actually in the process of tidying up?

And his/her noodliness may have autographed items of his/her creation near you.
Search your nearby wooded areas - If you do find something noodly take a photo, upload it to photobucket, piccassa or somewhere and leave a link or embed the image here.

I have a sneaky feeling that there's way more evidence out there that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the true Creator and Pastafarianism the true Path than can be found for ANY other religious deity.

This is one of the Too Many Questions
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Re-Gilding The Cage

I just read a great article "Perceptions of Arab women have been revolutionised". Written by a woman, it's full, quite rightly, of passion an pride in the changes taking place across North Africa and The Middle East but specifically hailing, also quite rightly, the prominent role of women in the movements towards democratic reform that we have all witnessed with both astonishment and, certainly in my case, some pride at the constant bravery of humanity.

Here are some clips to give you a flavour but whiz across and have a read - it's really 'hopeful and joyous'. (link below the quotes)
a group of Arab women wearing the hijab

Not only did women participate in the protest movements raging in those countries, they have assumed leadership roles there... ...Arab women have been proving themselves through continuous action on the ground, rather than in endless polemics behind closed doors.

...The open parliaments of Kasbah and Tahrir Square – where people met, communicated and expressed their political views freely – brought everyone closer together, promoting collective identity over divisions of class, ideology, gender, religion and sect.

Another stereotype being dismantled is the association of the Islamic headscarf with passivity, submissiveness and segregation. Surprising as this may be, many Arab women activists choose to wear the hijab. Yet they are no less confident, vocal or charismatic than their unveiled sisters.

...They refuse to be treated with contempt, kept in isolation, or be taken by the hand, like a child, and led on the road to emancipation. They are taking charge of their own destinies, determined to liberate themselves as they liberate their societies from dictatorship. The emancipation they are shaping with their own hands is an authentic one defined by their own needs, choices and priorities.

Guardian article here


If Arab women are truly choosing freely to wear a headscarf then fair enough, I've never had a problem with an article of clothing, my only concern is with the symbols of female oppression that are, or were, and if 'were', then with the honesty of reason for it's continued use.

Whether or not a woman is truly, freely choosing, the headscarf will still be seen, even if only by the orthodox. establishment, old guard etc, as a symbol of subservience to male dominance. And, you know, without wishing offend, it is exactly that. The modesty dictate comes from an authoritarian male god, and is traditionally 'enforced' by male overlords, village elders, fathers, husbands and brothers, but originally dictated in the works which takes them by the hand, like a child and delivers their needs, choices and priorities pre-packaged by a male purveyor of that wrathful male deity (Perhaps he should be termed Maleity).

Do people not see the striking similarities between the authoritarian dictators they are seeking to depose, have unseated, or with whom they are currently embattled, and the authoritarian God/Allah of the the Torah Bible and Quran?
How can one fight for a physical ideal of democracy whilst consecutively holding in highest esteem, as a spiritual ideal, an authoritarian dictator god? It seems patently obvious to me that these two ideals are at opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Seems to me, people across a number of nations have stood up collectively against authoritarian regimes and said...
"We want out of your stupid rules and regulations, your repression of thoughts and ideas. We are sick of you censoring what we can experience, we are human adults and expect to able to make up our own minds about things. We want to be free to live within a democracy; a set of rules of our own making. Rules that are fair and just to one and all. Get out of our country, you horrid dictator you. We've had enough of your nonsense!"

As I see it, it's a very small mental leap, actually not even a leap, it's more of a shuffle, to apply that speech to any god who expects you to follow silly rules of worship and prostrations, restricts free thinking and knowledge, and imposes restrictions of dress.

Is chasing the despot out of your country, symbolic of your desire to remove the despot from you thoughts or heart?
If you chase a despot from your country but continue to love the idea of despotism are you really making any lasting change?

When you chase the despot from your country but not your heart,
are you not merely re-gilding your cage?

This is one of the Too Many Questions
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YouTube - Christopher Hitchens Closing Debate Speech

"
Christopher Hitchens Closing Debate Speech - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgIcJb8i4m8

This is one of the Too Many Questions
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The Injustice Of Blasphemy

In our justice system, we recognise differences of crimes. We see a clear differentiation between carrying out a cold-blooded killing and having an instinctive angry reaction that results in a death. Even though in both cases the deed results in a loss of life, loosely, we'd see the first as intolerable behaviour and the second, depending on context, as understandable.
And the differentiation continues throughout; Murdering is different to Planning to murder and that's different to actually contemplating murdering which in turn is recognised as different to merely contemplating murder (for literary, philosophical etc. purposes).
My point is that our justice system judges the nature and gravity of the offence against, for the most part, the actually amount of injury caused. This is generally considered just and fair, and is probably the most egalitarian way of conducting inter-human disputes. However, in the case of blasphemy, I feel the normal rules of common sense break down and the law follows.

To illustrate, two similar scenarios.

Scenario 1.
There is a room full of people all chatting and drinking. Two human rights activists, Dawn and Derrick, are talking about a news story of a local rape case. Dawn makes the comment that "It appears the woman started off 'asking for it' but then changed her mind".
Derrick, not really comfortable with talking about the story and thinking it's supposed to be a party, simply agrees, "yes, circumstances of consent in date rape cases make rape very difficult to discern and a man is falsely accused."
Fatima overhears the conversation and calls the police. She complains that Derrick is "Promoting the concept that it's okay to doubt the veracity of a rape victim's claim."

What would the police do?
Most likely they'd explain how no offence had been committed and while they understood her point of view, there's really nothing they can do.

Scenario 2.
There is a room full of people all chatting and drinking. Two human rights activists, Dawn and Derrick, are talking about a news story of a recent stoning in a theocracy. Dawn makes the comment, "It's shocking! It appears the woman was caught talking to a man who was not her husband and her religion says that's the punishment!"
Derrick, not really comfortable with talking about the story and thinking it's supposed to be a party, simply agrees, "Yes, it's dreadful what goes on; religion has a lot to answer for. It's very wrong; how could any real god sanction such vile barbarism?"
Fatima overhears the conversation and calls the police. She complains that Derrick is "Promoting the concept that it's okay to doubt the veracity of the words of her god.

What would the police do?
Sadly, in some countries, where there's a theocratic justice system, the police would be around to capture the blasphemer, 'try' him then put him prison and eventually behead him or, maybe if he's rich, score some kudos with those in power and let him off with a fine?

Actual theft or damage, of goods, life, or liberty has not been perpetrated in either scenario; no actual physical action has taken place and 'offence' has been registered ONLY within the mind of an observer.
Now, whether it is a learned response or not, can that really be considered as anything other than a self-inflicted thought crime?

And so, to the question for this post...
Why is the 'offence' in Scenario 1 not treated as harshly as the 'offence' in scenario 2?
Do we collectively truly believe that the difficulties rape victims face are less worthy of protection than what is, arguably, merely a fictional character from a very old novel?

I don't think we all truly do, so why is the special pleading allowed for blasphemy?
Why is there this injustice in favour of blasphemy?
Which prompts the further muse, Why even have a blasphemy law in a non-theocratic state?
Must it be because a blasphemy law benefits the rulers in some way?

Finally then, just something to ponder on...
Is Blasphemy the only self-inflicted thought crime?

Or can you think of others?

This is one of the Too Many Questions
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YouTube - 'America Is NOT Broke': Michael Moore Speaks in Madison, WI -- March 5, 2011

'America Is NOT Broke': Michael Moore Speaks in Madison, WI -- March 5, 2011 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgNuSEZ8CDw:


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Prison Cell Or Psychiatrists Couch?

On the 22nd November last year Rotary Club stalwart Rose Spanswick, 60, took a knife from her kitchen, disguised herself in a hoody then knocked on the door of her neighbours James and Sheila Patmore. When retired nurse Mrs Patmore, 74, opened the door, Spanswick barged her way in and knocked her to the ground, stabbing her repeatedly. Mr Patmore came to his wife's rescue, restraining Spanswick and both he and his wife survived.

From the reports I've seen, it seems to me that Rose was, at the very least, not fully rational; "stabbed repeatedly" tells you all you need to know about her state of mind. And I'd suggest by the comments of the judge, her defence counsel and even the victim's son, everyone involved with the case is of a similar opinion.

Defending counsel Philip Wakeham said: ‘For a woman of this character to stand in the dock and plead guilty to three very serious charges can only be described as a downfall of epic proportions.’

Judge Anthony Scott-Gall accepted that her actions were those of a ‘desperate woman’ suffering a ‘moment of madness’, but said the ‘frenzied attack...was a deliberate attempt to rob two vulnerable people in their own home’.

The victims' son, Julian said: "Hubris and the desperate need to keep up appearances prevented her from asking for help to alleviate her worsening financial situation."
"It led her instead to try and cover up her plight by committing crimes so calculated and brutal that they could have ended the lives of two innocent and decent people."

Rose Spanswick was sentence on the 2nd March 2011 to eight years in prison.

Source articles...
Daily Mail - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1362306/Rotary-Club-stalwart-gets-years-knife-attack-neighbours.html
BBC - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-12625726

Eight years! That's 8 years - rapists get less, some murderers get less.
She may not be 'mad' in the sense of clinically barking but she was obviously desperate and has quite frankly gone a bit nuts; she doesn't need 'prison', she needs counselling / psychotherapy.

It occurred that perhaps it was a cost issue, that psychotherapy would be too expensive, so I've done a bit of checking.

Cost of keeping one person in a UK prison per annum £45,000 (May 2010 report from Prison Reform Trust)

Cost of keeping Rose Spanswick in prison for 8 years
(She'll probably serve a lot less but that's the sentence so that's the basis for the calculation.)
£45,000 X 8 = £360,000
More than a third of a million!!

Cost of visiting/calling/emailing a private professional psychotherapist / counsellor £40 - £150 per hour but Government provided 'NHS' counsellors could probably be secured at a lower cost than the 'private' average of £95, so we'll say an average of £75 per hour.

Cost of handing down an 8 year suspended, probationary or 'community service' sentence conditional on Psychotherapy?
Say the person visits 3 times a week (Mon, Wed, and Fri) every week for the 8 year sentence.

3 X £75 = £225 per week
£225 X 52 = £11,700 per annum
£11,700 X 8 = £93,600 - 8 years total

That's just over 25% of the cost of similar prison term. And, I suggest, almost immeasurably more valuable to the prisoner and society than banging 'em up in a lord of the flies environment.

After 8 years in prison, which prisoner is likely to be saner than when they started the sentence?
The one thrown to the prison lions, to be bullied, tormented and demeaned
or
the one kept in touch with reality under the guidance of a mental health professional?

At only 25% of the cost, it's got to be worthy of a pilot scheme to find out, hasn't it?
Especially at a time when the government is scrooging every penny

Now, I realise that this would only deal with the root of the problem, the punishment for the crime would have to be considered (8 years community service sounds almost worse than prison to me though), but the prison service is supposed to rehabilitate.
It seems to me that the 'punish and rehabilitate' ethos is archaic, a suggestion hinted at by the UK's re-offender rate (PRT report) and I feel it may be time to look at it the other way up, so to speak, the ethos perhaps should be rehabilitate and punish.

We generally think of the punishment having to fit the crime, that the prisoner should suffer for his or her actions. And that's fine whilst we are thinking in terms of 'direct retribution', but I wonder if vengeance, the sort of karmic re-balancing our justice system attempts to achieve, is fundamentally flawed because it can never truly redress the victim's loss; there is no rolling back of time to prevent the crime occurring, which would be the only way to erase the psychological damage done to the victim.

Whilst we(society) do want offenders punished for their crimes, I think maybe we'd be more comforted if we knew that any offender reentering society, will return as a well-adjusted individual.
I think what we are all looking for is not punishment so much as justice, for the victim, for the criminal but also for the wider society in which we all rub along.

If method's to rehabilitate; for the wider benefit of society, were held higher in the judge's mind than clap 'em in irons and throw 'em to the dungeon rats maybe we'd see an improvement in the rehabilitation numbers?

And, in the longer term? A calmer society?

This is one of the Too Many Questions
PEACE
Crispy
Please leave a comment - Anything will do
The best communications are often,
THREE WORDS OR LESS
OR ONE OR MORE FINGERS!

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If you enjoy what you read here
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21 days in May


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