Thursday, 10 September 2020

Is the Brexit Divorce Really Illegal?

 Is our PM lacking good faith? Not according to the chairman of Lawyers for Britain. Read on.

The Prime Minister’s plan to undercut parts of the Brexit divorce treaty has triggered dismay among EU bosses as negotiations for a trade agreement come down to the wire. The devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales are also outraged by the UK Internal Market Bill tabled this week, accusing Mr Johnson of trying to seize power, while his own ministers have said it will breach international law.

But Martin Howe, chairman of Lawyers for Britain, said the government’s UK Internal Market Bill was “needed to maintain the free flow of trade across the nation in the post-Brexit world”.

He made his point with three simple examples to prove why the government’s clauses "will not breach international law”.

Mr Howe said the bill would allow the UK to “protect itself from abusive exercise of treaty powers” by the EU following its departure from the bloc.

Writing for the Daily Telegraph, he said: “There is a general principle of international law that treaty powers should be exercised in good faith, and an EU blockage of reasonable ‘goods at risk’ rules under threat of using the treaty machinery to impose tariffs across the board could be classed as a bad faith exercise of treaty powers.

“The government’s clauses will allow the UK to protect itself from abusive exercise of treaty powers by the EU and are therefore a justified measure under international law.”

Senior EU figures are outraged by the proposal, which Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted would break international law in a "specific and limited way".

But Mr Howe argued the alteration of the constitutional status of Northern Ireland would “breach the core principle of the Good Friday Agreement”.

He said: “Secondly and more fundamentally, the alteration of the constitutional status of NI (which across the board tariffs on GB to NI exports would entail) would breach the core principle of the Good Friday Agreement.

“It is not only an agreement between governments but also with representatives of the communities in Northern Ireland.

“International law does not justify a later treaty to which these community representatives are not parties being used to over-ride the rights they enjoy under the earlier treaty, especially where it involves over-riding such a fundamental right as the right to self determination of the people of NI.”

In his last point, Mr Howe said the UK would not be “undermined by domestic courts having to impose international treaties as interpreted by a foreign court”.

He said: “The EU has a long history of disregarding adverse rulings by WTO disputes bodies, for example on subsidies to Airbus.

“The UK is in a position where our law allows us to ensure that the UK’s negotiating position under international treaties is not undermined by our domestic courts having to impose international treaties as interpreted by a foreign court even where it is contrary to the foundations of our constitution.”

Mr Howe said section 38 of the Withdrawal Agreement “preserves Parliamentary sovereignty” and “makes it quite clear that Parliament has the right to pass the clauses which the government is proposing and thereby override these errant clauses in the Protocol”.

Mr Johnson has argued that the UK Internal Markets Bill tabled this week is necessary to preserve unfettered trade within the UK and prevent a border between Britain and Northern Ireland.

But he has dismayed Brussels by threatening to breach international law.

Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin called the Prime Minister to express his concerns, including "the breach of an international treaty, the absence of bilateral engagement and the serious implications for Northern Ireland".


Monday, 7 September 2020

Scotland For Ever?

 Scotland For Ever? I hope not, unless they start to behave sensibly.

I think it's time to lay down the facts for the SNP to chew over. The likes of the wee Macbess need to woke up to the reality of life, as it is within the UK umbrella. They are running a huge deficit by squandering the subsidies they are given. The reality is that they are bad managers of a devolved economy. Join the EU, where they'll have less of a voice than we give Scotland in the dwarfing, main nation? Surely this is a bad joke! We are their main customer and I for one am fed up with her slapping us in the face with a wet kipper.

Saturday, 15 August 2020

In the Land of the Blind

 Probably in vain, on behalf of my highly talented mathematical eldest grandson, I direct a question at Gavin Williamson. It is this:

     Did you actually instigate testing of your prized algorithm to look for anomalies in its results? Did you also assess the likely volume of such anomalies? If so, how was it possible for you to approve its results? Do you not have independent advisers to help you, or is there total reliance on Dominic Cummings? Is this the Achilles heel of the present government?

     To my dismay, when the PM enthuses about his robust system, he risks alienating many of those who voted for him last time. It is no exaggerating to claim that he has, through his chains of command, began to descend the downhill slope to obscurity.

     It is looking like he the one-eyed man in the land of the Tory blind. Bluster can be forgiven, but not when the pill he wants those in education, professionals and pupils alike, far too bitter to swallow.

    If Priti Patel can take time to visit border staff and assess immigration problems personally, can Gavin Williamson confirm he showed the same level of dedication in his role? If he did, why has this crucial aspect of audit seemingly been botched?

     What I haven’t mentioned, until now, is that both of my eldest grandson’s paternal grandparents are qualified mathematicians, who are as baffled by his savagely reduced A-level results as are those at his highly regarded, top-notch state school in Surrey. The alleged savants who defined the algorithm are pitiless to those who couldn’t sit their exams. They have no empathy with reality. Neither, so it seems, does Gavin Williamson or the ebullient Johnson, whose obvious shortcoming is the skill of numeracy.

POSTSCRIPT

I’ve just checked on the comments made on the Chief Exec of OFQUAL (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) when she was appointed in 2016. These appear to have been made by civil service insiders.

Bill Atthetill:20.03.2016 at 3:45 am

Sally does have a talent for securing jobs where her lack of experience appears to be irrelevant…

     Secret Squirrel:17.03.2016 at 2:29 am

A very fair assessment in many ways but I remain very unconvinced.

PCRs for example were scrapped because they led to little practical change. Whilst the method was sound, the follow through on diagnostic to action wasn’t there.

I would also disagree with the excellent manager statement. I saw nepotism and huge artificial inflation of roles and salary. The number of SCS roles in CCS shows that; even overlooking the staff on boarding.

What is very accurate is her ability as a policy civil servant and playing the game. I’m just very unsure of what real practical difference any of it made.

     Secret Squirrel:21.03.2016 at 6:12 am

Re: “but she was ‘in the thick of it’, surrounded by ineptitude, and by poor, uninformed, or over-informed, decision-making.”

That’s where you and I will disagree. My view is very firmly that she was part of the ineptitude. She had no grasp of the practical implications and consequently led a merry little band of hangers-on into many a dead end. 

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Alien Presence at the South Pole

This event was told by a whistleblower to regional Emmy award winning investigative journalist, Linda Moulton Howe.
     It was first seen on a documentary, via Prime Amazon, under the title of ETs Among Us 2 – Antarctica, Mars, the Moon and Beyond.
     In 2015, Linda was contacted by a man called Brian, who claimed to have been a naval flight engineer from 1977 to 1997, in a 20-year career. Much of it was spent at the American base of McMurdo, in Antarctica. He and the others in a crew of 15 to 17 people regularly flew a big Lockheed Hercules military transport aircraft C-130.The assignment was often to fly supplies and personnel over the South Pole to the Australian Camp at Davis, which was the other side of the continent, to the east. They would cross the Transantarctic Mountains that almost divide the continent in two.
     Almost every time they got to the same place called the Beardmore Glacier, they would see sliver discs glinting in the sun, either going up or descending nearby. These never went near the C-130 or the glacier itself. It seemed as if they were observing the same restriction as the C-130, which was to avoid flying over a specific 5 square-mile area.
     One day, they were notified that someone at Camp Davis had been seriously injured in a fire accident and needed to be evacuated urgently. It was suggested that if they flew over the restricted area, considerable time would be saved by not having to make the detour around it. They were told in response that it was where an ‘air monitoring station’ was located, but approval was warily given after it was pointed out that the C-130 would be flying at 35,000 feet and couldn’t possibly cause contamination on the ground below.
     Flying over the forbidden area, many of the crew noticed an artificial, big hole in it, leading underground. After returning to McMurdo with the casualty, they were told to meet an official wearing a suit, which in itself indicated that he was from one of the government agencies, as listed by Linda. He instructed them, “Under no circumstances are you to mention the hole to anyone, ever. It doesn’t exist, got it?”
     At the time, rumors were already widespread that there was an underground base in Antarctica, where ‘Extraterrestrial Biological Entities’ collaborated with the U.S. Government.
     Not long afterward, in 1996, the crew were given one of their regular assignments to ferry yet another group of 15 people from the National Science Foundation to a research base at Marie Byrd Land. This was located to the north west of McMurdo.
     The scientists were carrying an unusually large amount of equipment. The usual warnings were given to keep in regular contact, to ensure their safety. Days later, contact stopped, so extensive searches were made to try and find them, without any trace being found.
     Two weeks elapsed before the scientists made contact and the C-130 flew to collect them. Far from showing elation and high spirits, they stood around staring at the ground and unresponsive. They looked traumatized and were uncommunicative, boarding as the vast equipment was loaded.
     Brian told Linda that the crew were later instructed by yet another man in a suit, “Never talk to anyone about this.”
      In 2016, a nephew of Brian contacted Linda and arranged to meet her in a very noisy restaurant, on Brian’s behalf, since he still worked in the aviation industry, doing highly classified work. It was the nephew who told her about the group of scientists who had disappeared.
     What happened next was that Linda received a telephone call from an unknown number, for a male voice to warn her that ‘they’ knew all about her meeting with the nephew. She was advised that they didn’t like what was being discussed, and warned her to not to continue. She traced the call to the NSA; that is, it came from the National Security Agency. Two things concerned her: the first was that it is still so sensitive as to be closely monitored many years later, the second is that Brian was never made to sign any confidentiality agreement, so is at liberty to say what he likes.
     It annoys Linda that the government can conduct itself with impunity, and not be held to account for its actions.
     As a rider to this event, I coincidentally wrote a story about aliens occupying bases at both poles. It is based on the account related by a genuine U.S Admiral Richard E. Byrd of finding an alien base in Antarctica and entering a large hole to access it. He headed more than one expedition to that continent. Note the spelling of the base at Marie Byrd Land.
     A mere coincidence? I doubt it.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Sequel - A Sad End to a Friendship


There’s a sequel to this, which reads as follows:
     Research for my next book led me through the labyrinth of paranormal subjects, using the exhaustive Amazon Prime films and TV shows on the subject.
     Several levels down, I came across an exposé on the shady activities of the CIA, the papers about which were released in 2018 under US confidentiality rules. I had no idea it would include what turned out to be a documentary on its research into ‘distance viewing’’. This included personal testimonies by an elite group of its practitioners, who genuinely have this ability to read top secret documents held in vaults many thousands of miles away.
     Give them the coordinates and they can penetrate the storage locations to read the secrets held within. I kid you not. So good were the likes of Ingo Swann and Patrick Price at doing this that the CIA and FBI were convinced that they had a mole in their midst who needed rooting out.
     Finally, the ‘dime dropped’ and investments were made in utilizing the skills of these rare individuals, much like the USSR was already doing.
     This is where I came across filmed evidence that Uri Geller was indeed recruited by the CIA, who wanted to enhance his remote viewing skills. He’d proved, on film, that he could do the same thing by accessing a top secret file held securely. Remember, this was the same individual who later crossed swords with the stage magician Randi, the latter claiming that Geller was a fraud and ended up being sued in court.
     Some of this type of sightseeing activity I incorporated in one of my books. I didn’t know the full extent of Ingo Swann’s ability at the time, but what worries me now is the fact that he insisted he’d viewed green giants on the dark side of the moon, quarrying for its deposits and almost got caught. Gulp.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Interesting footnote

My blog suggesting that Muslim clothes would be ideal as Personal Protective Equipment was posted on Saturday 18th April.
I had in mind the Burka, with its postbox slot for the eyes.
The very next day, an unspecified shipment of 400k items was due to arrive from Turkey but did not arrive.
Turkey insists that the order was not placed until Sunday evening.
I do include on my circulation list some key MPs.
Makes you wonder doesn't it?

Sunday, 19 April 2020

A Sad End to a Friendship

 A couple of years ago, I went to stay for a week with a friend, in Lincolnshire. He has a son, who lives locally and had expressed an interest in meeting me.
     “That’s good”! I thought. “He’ll want to talk about being an author!”
Far from it. After an amiable meal, when we men were alone, he started to berate me for writing Sci-Fi. He got really hot under the collar, telling me what tripe it is, all this talk about UFOs and aliens, without apparently even bothering to see what I write, which is intended to be humorous.
     By this time, my so-called friend had his elbows on the table and was looking from one to the other of us, seemingly revelling in the exchanges.
     It culminating in the son telling me that a sceptic I’d never heard of had discredited the whole thing. He mentioned the name Randi, who was in the habit of issuing a million dollar bet against anyone who could prove that it was a genuine thing, this sighting of UFOs, or that aliens exist.
     Knowing in depth that proven, multiple sightings have been reported by credible witnesses such as military and commercial pilots, police officers and naval personnel, I accepted the challenge and invited him to give me his email address so I could forward the evidence. He glared at me then his father, but bade goodbye and left. I felt stunned by his reaction, which was practically him wild-eyed and foaming at the mouth, I kid you not.
     When I got home, I looked up this Randi, first name James, who had made a name for himself attacking clairvoyants, spiritualists, and astrologists and was himself a professional magician. See the article in
     The Los Angeles Times, dated Sept 13 1991 with keywords ‘Uri Geller’ ‘James Randi’ ‘The Psychic … and the Skeptic’.
    
What intrigued me was that I could find no mention of Randi making any attack on those who claim to have seen UFOs or aliens. The attacks on me were based on an incorrect interpretation of events!
     Furthermore, Randi’s attacks on Uri Geller had resulted in court actions, in which Geller had provided proof of being recruited by the CIA to ‘influence’ the decision making of leading Russian politicians.
     It financially crippled Randi over the years and helped make Geller a rich man.

The question I ask is: why should anyone get so agitated as to denounce someone like myself without checking his facts? The son in question is a grammar school product of true ability and a pillar of local society. But, he’s done this type of thing before, so I found in the local press.
     The friend himself flatly refuses to read my brand of Sci-Fi because he too dislikes it.
     Oh dear, what sad, sour notes on which a friendship ends.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

A brilliant marketing idea that Hancock has clearly not thought of

But should have, by now. What is it? Re PPE for the health service.

Why has no one thought of buying full, flowing Muslim robes with eye slits for the head? 

There must be millions of those floating around, reusable as well.

Hell, there's enough Muslim women in the health service, and the male Muslims could use them as well, when on duty.

A simple, detachable infill to filter breathing and a plastic shield to match, plus fabric belt  knotted around the belly and  it'd be in service in no time.

Who'd care what colours they are?

A Classic Contradiction to Ponder


El Pais in English has the following contradictions to make one wonder:
First up: GOVERNMENT ADVISERS SUPPORT REOPENING SPANISH
 SCHOOLS IN SEPTEMBER
Third up: SPANISH HEALTH MINISTRY WARNS THAT CORONAVIRUS COULD BE SPREADING IN HOMES

Thus, we have known meeting places, pestilence centres, schools, where germs are spread liberally, being opened in the autumn, with pupils and staff returning home to have personal contact with relatives and friends.

What a conundrum!

Couple these approaches with demands in the UK by opposition parties for the British Govt to state a clear, specific strategy to take the country forward post-Lockdown, whilst trying to avoid accusations of political mischief making, and you have a bad situation made worse.
     In a war, you often have to wait for the enemy to make a move before it can be counteracted.
     You can make all manner of contingency plans, before deciding what will be best under the circumstances.
     In defence of Keir Starmer, it must be remembered that he is a successful Human Rights lawyer. This invariably requires compromise from all parties in litigation. It helps to explain why he chose to go for a second referendum as the best compromise in the last election.
     This makes him the least worthy individual person to choose, again from an unattractive bunch, as the future leader of the UK. It isn’t in his bewigged nature to make clearcut, decisive decisions. I don’t think he understands the cut and thrust need to define strategy or tactics ‘on the hoof’.

Friday, 10 April 2020

UAP Diclosures

What is meant by that? I didn’t know, until a leading TV newsman asked Hilary Clinton a question about UFO disclosures. She corrected him by stating that the correct tittle being used by the US government is now,
              Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, or UAP for short.
“Oh no!” some of you may groan. “There he goes again, getting on his hobby horse!”
     My reason for doing so is simple. After taking Amazon Prime membership and using its video service to stream whatever I like, I tend to watch what I want in the afternoons, when I feel sleepy and select some programs to do my laborious writing research into alleged alien activity. It’s what I do as a Sci-Fi writer. The wife doesn’t complain, as long as it doesn’t interfere with her watching what she likes, such as Four in a Bed, and Life in the Sun.
     This time, I chose an hour-long film called ‘Aliens at the Pentagon’, narrated by the drowse-inducing, highly boring Nick Popes, who claims to have over 20 years’ experience in some secretive department of the UK civil service, only a few of which were devoted by him to heading up the UK’s UFO research program, whilst implying that it was a lot longer than that. The producer of the film describes him as the ‘true life Fox Mulder’.
     I failed to nap that afternoon, after realising  that this film was highly relevant to US Govt disclosures about UFOs, because why? Because it gives the factual timeline, over 70 years since the Roswell incident, for what the USA authorities have actually been doing about investigating UFOs.
     It culminates in the New York Times publishing its thoroughly researched and corroborated proof that UAPs exist and have been witnessed by unimpeachable sources. More of that later.
     Although UFO incidents have been recorded well before the crash in July 1947 at Roswell, near the Walker ‘Very Heavy Bomber’ USAF base that was involved in dropping the first ever atomic bomb (look up the Aurora Texas UFO incident that occurred in 1897). The military attended the scene of the crash at Roswell later, first claiming they’d recovered wreckage from a UFO, then rescinding the widely reported news the next day, saying it was the debris of a weather balloon. This contradicted the many eyewitness statements, but to hell with all that!
     The crash happened at the height of a series of reports of UFO activity, one of which was reported by pilot Kenneth Arnold. He claimed to have seen a formation of nine saucer-shaped objects flying over the Cascade Mountains in Washington State, at speeds in excess of 1,000 mph. Media attention was growing as similar sightings kept coming in over the next few weeks.
     The Govt response was to create new projects and collate UFO reports under titles like Sign, Grudge and Bluebook, the latter being the most prominent, under its now infamous Majestic 12 high-ranking officials. Reliable sources included the military, police officers and civilian pilots.
    Bluebook lasted from 1947 until the plug was pulled in 1969. The USAF ‘wanted out’ so its successor was chosen, called Condon, run by Colorado University. Undue attention was placed on reports that had an alternative explanation, to discredit them. Officially, it was insisted that UFOs posed no threat to national security and there was no further investigation to be made.
     In December 2007, Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid initiated AATIP or Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, to be funded by a token $22 million fund over five years. It was insignificant in the overall Defense Budget of $600 million, which was ‘how the Pentagon wanted it’.
     This was run by Luis Elizondo on the 5th floor of the Pentagon building. Much was (and presumably still is being) spent on an aerospace company run by billionaire Robert Bigelow, which was involve in building components for NASA, amongst others. On CBS News, Mr Bigelow stated that he was ‘absolutely convinced’ that aliens exist and that UFOs have visited Earth.
     Not all is funded by the Department of Defense, but also by the super-secretive DIA, or Defense Intelligence Agency. By these devices, the Freedom of Information Act is bypassed.
     Why go to these lengths of concealment if there is no threat by aliens to the defence of its citizens? The amounts being spent are staggering. Why belittle people who claim to have been abducted by aliens, for example, or suffered ill-health in close proximity to alien vessels?
     The answer is that any public admission of the existence of aliens could lead to mas panic and an avalanche of legal cases.
The likelihood is that the USA possesses its own UAPs, capable, as the director of Lockheed’s Skunk Works boasted, “of reaching the stars.”
     One verified instance of UAP sightings was reported by two USAF pilots, after being told to go to the coordinates shown on the radar of their aircraft carrier. They located them on the target hairlines of their own radar and conversations took place, remarking on their vastly superior capabilities to those of their own, latest generation, jet fighters. Upon losing sight of the UAPs, they were told to rendezvous at an aerial destination some 70 miles away, imaging being told, when some 40 miles from that point, to be told by the radar operator on the carrier that the a UAP had been spotted, already there, waiting for them! How was that possible, telepathy, deduction or what? [On reflection, it must have been easy to intercept the telecoms.]
     Mr Elizondo tendered his resignation from the AATIP in 2017, to Defense Secretary James Mattis, complaining that the project was not being taken seriously enough. Since then, like a host of politicians, leading military officers and celebrities, he has joined an organisation called the ‘To The Stars Academy’, to raise public awareness. Check out its website.
     The likely approach will be soft, to acclimatize the general public to the existence of aliens and their UFOs, without admitting there had been a 70-year cover-up of lies and deceptions.
Congratulations to Nick Pope on his masterly résumé of the situation.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

As the saying goes, ‘What Goes Around, Comes Around.’

I’m referring to the current respiratory pandemic, Covid-19.
     I listen to my daughter and her partner, who’ve both had it and are now on the road to recovery. Like many others who report its effects on them, I recall being in a similar situation when we I was younger. It was before a counter remedy was available and it was simply called the Flu.
     Every year, each generation dreaded its onslaught. It usually arrived from Asia and it too was a killer. We were lucky, because as young adults we had strong constitutions. We needed to have them, because it would result in weeks off work, most of the time spent laying in bed coughing and sneezing. There was no option, it laid us low and we were incapable of much movement, suffering high fevers and discharging large volumes of mucous.
     Sometimes, we‘d feel well enough to go back to work because we had to, or our wages would be stopped, and we’d catch it again with the same or greater ferocity. This would cause our employers to get alarmed when more people were laid low. I once had to defend myself against the charge of shirking, providing proof by getting certificates from my doctor. Anyway, my poorly condition was obvious and my accuser left the room with his tail between his legs.
     Which brings me back to the reports I hear from the youngsters today about how bad they felt when they caught Covid-19. I know I’m wasting my time telling them what it was like when I was their age, but I state with conviction that it was far worse in its widespread impact. Bedrooms were really cold in those days, central heating is now the norm, unless you’re a pensioner and can’t afford to use an electric heater.
     When people were hungry, there were no foodbanks to give comfort to the needy. They looked thin too, not like those pitiable souls now, who uniformly look well-fed and possess large, flat-screen TVs, PC tablets and mobile phones with contracts to maintain.
     When Channel 4 made a documentary on the allegedly poverty-stricken younger generation of today, it is hard to empathise with them because of their dependence on others putting food on their tables when they have so much material wealth. Clearly, food comes well down their pecking order of priorities and the concept of poverty needs redefinition.
     To return to my original theme, I listen to the claims of how ill people are feeling when struck down by Covid-19 and think, “You’ve no idea of what it used to be like in the past. If you did, you’d stop moaning. It’s been mild for you, so far!”
     Then I take a step back in remorse. My gut feel is that it’s going to get far worse than what’s happened up till now, perhaps not in Northern Europe, but in places like India and the rest of Asia. You can almost guarantee that their populations will be severely reduced.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

I don't need the money

I don't need the money and I really enjoy writing, so I'm giving away all my books on Smashwords for free. It means that owners of non-Kindle ebook readers can access them. This month, I'll do the same on Amazon. but for shorter periods.as per their rules for giveaways.
     Much to my pleasure, they're flying off the electronic shelves, which means that some of you are taking advantage of their leisure time while they can.
     My heart goes out to all of you in this pandemic and I dread the fate of those who live in populous countries like India. I've been there and the overcrowding is horrendous.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Life After Death

Given the present circumstances in which we live, it may be opportune to consider what possibly lies in store for us when we pass on.
    The following is presented in an optimistic vein.
     I have always thought that no categorical proof of life after death could possibly be justified factually. That was until I saw a TV program called 'The afterlife Investigations.’ It followed the séances of 4 British mediums, conducted under controlled conditions with sceptical scientists over a 5 year period.
     Live audiences participated in various countries, events in each were recorded and scientists used every conceivable ploy to prevent or prove fraud. At first, it looked corny, with silly voices being heard, then events grabbed my attention. It became riveting to watch, so persevere if you feel either morbidly inclined or view the afterlife with an open mind. If you believe the easy cop-out that when “your dead you’re done”, then nothing will convince you.
The official website can be viewed by entering the key words
     Scole experiment
At which site, the sub-heading
     Documentary Film
Can be viewed in its hour-plus entirety on YouTube.
     The Skeptoid podcast by Robert Dunning is selectively damning, but I would point out that the sections of it devoted to criticisms are devoid of mention of an aged Italian who claimed to receive voices over the ether. He used an ancient radio to communicate with the dead, even when all its valves had been removed, and was subject to rigorous testing.
     I have never known the official skeptoids to be anything other than scientifically myopic and scathing when it comes to the paranormal.
     I saw and heard what they did to undermine a young Russian girl’s self-confidence, when she later qualified, in spite of the character assassination, to enter a prodigious medical centre in Moscow. She has a track record of diagnosing the ailments of others in her region with great accuracy. The skeptics (sceptics in British English) even went to the lengths of blanking out her vision and hearing, to make it impossible for her to communicate with potential patients. It was moronic behaviour.
     The podcast even claimed that the experiments conducted by four and more mediums would be world-changing if true. Mmm, have multiple sightings of UFOs by airline pilots achieved that lofty goal, or religious beliefs been shattered? People believe what they want, which gives me solace, based on what I have witnessed at various times in both aspect of daily life.
     As a penultimate parting shot, the next time you hear someone facetiously singing ‘happy birthday to you’ whilst washing (not scrubbing) their hands, suggest they sing a couple of times,
     Ring a ring o’ roses
     A pocket full of posies
     Atishoo! Atishoo!
     We all fall down.
As associated with the Black Death. It’s far more appropriate.
     Finally, the latest news is that we can expect to be released in a couple of weeks, but then suffer a series of lockdowns interspersed with multiple resurgences of the virus. It is being compared with the similar 1918 flu, which killed 40 million people.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

A lack of forethought

    A lack of forethought by some people is conspicuous, especially in a crisis. This became apparent during the spread of Covid-19, when some of the younger generation were interviewed in the vicinity of the Vatican in Rome. These were couples in their twenties and thirties, taking advantage of uncrowded spaces to enjoy the relative calm of their surroundings.
     Time and again, they stated how they felt relaxed about catching the disease, since their age group did not anticipate suffering serious consequences, only a mild ‘touch of the flu’.
     Had they paid attention to the expert warnings being issued, they might have seen informed opinion that, similar to SARS, it can last for life. Also, that it mutates and can recur in a deadlier version. SARS, or Serious Acute Respiratory Syndrome, can be spread by secretions from the mouth and in excrement (stools). It originated in China, so its provenance is the same.
     Their views might have been tempered with extreme caution had they been more diligent. Likewise, did they give any thought to the potential consequences on their own families and older generations back home? Strolling around in places where Covid-19 is spreading like wildfire is inconsiderate, reckless self-exposure.
     Remorse comes too late for such people and one can only wonder at their lack of common sense.
     A similar sentiment applies to self-professed experts in Covid-19, who allow potential carriers of the virus from Italy and other hotbeds into the country unchecked. They are free to mix with innocent locals not previously infected, and indeed have proven to be carriers of Covid-19.
     Those in authority seem to be unaware of the risks of open frontiers. How is it possible for them to be blind to the obvious risk?
      I am alarmed at the prospect that a future mutation may carry the risk of infertility. Who can say if this unleashed virus was not deliberately induced by an undemocratic, authoritarian Chinese government hell-bent on reducing its burgeoning population?
     Unlike Jeremy Hunt, who naively believes it happened by chance in Wuhan province, I have a less benign view on the source of the outbreak. The finger of blame points at the laboratory at the epicentre of the outbreak. It has been identified as the source of the outbreak. Was this truly an accident?
     If I am correct, watch for a significant worldwide population reduction. That or escalating climate change will ultimately get us.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

What a curious technological world we live in.


For the moment, I will ignore the pandemic spread of the coronavirus that gains momentum as it mutates into something akin to Anthrax.
     I also wish to ignore the self-induced climate change that look likely to turn low-lying areas of the UK into a series of islands for Kayakers.
     Burying my head in quicksand allows me to focus on mundane matters like using VPN technology on the internet. This seemingly enables someone like me to gain access to TV and films in other countries without my actual location be detected. I have in mind watching UK TV whilst living most of the time in Spain.
     The idea is this: VPN technology hides my true location by masking it via computer servers located in the country I wish to pretend to be my true address. The feedback I am getting, upon deep investigation, is that the likes of the BBC and Netflix are finding ways to detect such servers dedicated to the likes of me. Then, having found them, they are flagged as being VPN servers and their users are barred from accessing broadcast TV contents, which are supposed to be restricted to allocated Geographical locations. Local freelance agents will try and keep on top of such situations by switching to other (as yet) undetected VPN servers. In this way, they justify charging fees that earn them a decent living. I don’t need nor want that type of help. The giveaway for this dodge is the cheap annual costs levied by VPN providers. They tie you into their longer contracts knowing full well that VPN is hard to maintain.
     The reason I got to grips with all of this? I bought myself a Smart TV that is preprogrammed to receive Prime and Netflix, which now have subsidiaries based in Spain. The problem is that the locals here are indigenous Spaniards, who expect their main language to be Spanish! The residual problem is that, having dubbed the original English version of a show or film into what they want, the dedicated Amazon Prime team randomly discards originals without a care in the world. If my experience is anything to go by, the UK version of Amazon Prime has a far broader choice of English shows and films.
     How did I find this out? In my initial naivety, I bought an Amazon Firestick 4K from Amazon Spain that shows programs in ultra-high definition. I intended to return it, in a short period, after I found it was unnecessary, since it duplicated the same features as my Samsung Smart TV, which is preset for Spanish versions of Prime, Netflix etc. What I found out next changed my mind.
     Inadvertently. Using the Firestick, I chose Amazon Prime for my first trial period and selected English as my preferred language. Guess what happened? It automatically selected Amazon UK as my Prime supplier, since that is where I my main account is held. Prime UK is my chosen country and monthly subscriptions are now taken from my UK bank account! It was a glitch that Amazon Spain referred to Amazon USA for a policy decision to be made. The upshot was that, whilst I was informed that Spain is my geo-location, Amazon UK is happy to keep me on its books, since that is where my account is held so, without quibble, I became the beneficiary of Prime UK.
     Whilst I do not have reliable access via VPN to BBC IPlayer, there is a whole range of free UK programs including BBC channels that are still available to me. This means that I can discard my Sky box, if I wish and buy a Humax box to record anything freely shown at inhospitable hours, like after 11pm for me and my better half.
     I’ve decided to dispense with VPN and enjoy using the Firestick, without accessing Catch-up TV. In the process I am saving the 40GBP I was paying each month to Sky UK. I could also join Sky Spain (Sky.es) for a small monthly fee and see a range of USA channels that provide Sky UK with its fair share of source channels, as and when inclined.
     Longer-term, my gut feel is that the world as we know it is changing for the worse anyway. Stock up with survival rations and expect to call on Dignitas remotely before starvation sets in. No one in their right mind will want to travel on airborne cattle trucks as the virus spreads. I predict that collapse in the stock markets will escalate, as airlines find their traffic rapidly diminishing and people choose isolation in preference to socialising or using holiday homes. I pity the kids today far more than my generation, which is doomed anyway to a shortage of breath.