Saturday, October 23, 2010

Whites Gentlemen's Club

Whites Gentlemens Club is based in Aldgate, London, They have all that you would expect from a strip club and some added twists you might not. They have 4 VIP themed rooms ranging from school rooms to dungeons. They also now offer a stripper in a limo service. Nice.

Click here for there blog for the latest news.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Why I pick on America.

An American friend of mine accused me the other day of having a downer on Americans. This simply isn't true, I think the American people on an individual level are great people. I just have a problem with the governments international policy and the behavior of large corporations on an international level. I believe there are much worse states than the United States and cannot really think of another country I would have in charge.

The main reason America is a prominent subject of my blog is that they are the self proclaimed "leader of the free world" and they should know better. The actions of the United States have dramatic effects around the world - and in an increasingly globalised world we need to think globally. Something I see little evidence of in the USAs international policy. Look at the recent outrage at BP and the almost complete unawareness of the Bhopal disaster in India amoungst the American public.

I hope that clears things up.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How America is taxing the world

Towards the end of the second world war, major powers came together to to agree on a new international standard for international trade. It was decided that all international trade would be done in US dollars.

As a result of this countries of the world have to hold a large proportion of their international currency reserves in dollars to protect themselves and ensure they can continue to buy oil even if their own currency devalues.

Recently The United States started printing money in quantities before now unknown. The key thing to understand here is that printing more dollars does not create more wealth it dilutes the value of the existing dollars. If originally there were 100 dollars in circulation and you print 100 more your new dollars are worth half what the old ones were.

This means that in effect the recent printing of over a trillion dollars was a huge tax on the rest of the world. China is the largest holder of dollars outside the US and I cannot imagine them being very happy about this at all. However, the two countries have so intricately tied together their two economies there is not much that can be done about it. America needs China and China needs America.

A proposed solution to this problem is the SDR. A currency whose value is pegged not to the dollar but a basket of major world currencies - preventing any single nation from taxing the world. China has suggested this is its preferred solution. Surprisingly the US is not so keen to see this become the new standard. I wonder why?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

US bans UK student from travelling to America for life for abusive email

A 17-year-old British boy has reportedly been banned from the United States after firing off an email to the White House in which he referred to President Barack Obama as a "prick," according to news reports.

Luke Angel, 17, of Silsoe, Bedfordshire was investigated after he expressed his dislike of President Barack Obama and the US Government.

The FBI got in touch with Bedfordshire police, who then visited Luke. The police said the e-mail was full of abusive and threatening language.

Angel reportedly did not seem too vexed about the ban. "I don't really care," he said according to the Daily Mail. "My parents aren't very happy about it."

Doesn't this seem like a gross over-reaction? Isn't America supposed to be the land of the free? Isn't the right to free speech one of the founding principles of the USA?

It strikes me that American's simply do not understand the reasons behind anti-American sentiment. We love and cherish you as individuals however, when it comes to your style of world governance - you leave a lot to be desired. Maybe watching this video may help our American cousins understand?



I wonder if this recent action will lead to a stream of British nationals writing to President Obama telling him what they think about him in an effort to get a visit from the police or FBI - A worldwide movement would amuse me greatly- they would never have the resources to read every email / trace the senders and encourage foreign police forces to respond to every email. I hope to see a facebook movement in the near future.

I've been to the US many times and think it is a wonderful country full up with very interesting and sometimes strange people. I personally do not think that President Obama is a prick, I think that he is an imperialist (US foreign policy sucks), a liar (why isn't Guantamo Bay closed?), who has more concern over winning votes than the sanctity of human life, who panders to the corporations whilst individual citizens needs go unheeded. Oh and did I mention I believe he is a war criminal guilty of many counts of extra judicial murder? (just look through the recently leaked docs at Wikileaks.) I wonder if I'll be able to visit my cousin in Florida next summer after my rant?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nothing Ever Happens

This morning I awoke to a song from my youth, Del Amitri's Nothing Ever Happens. I was inspired to write this blog article by some of the lyrics in this song, particularly this verse:

Bill hoardings advertise products that nobody needs 
While angry from Manchester writes to complain about 
All the repeats on T.V. 
And computer terminals report some gains 
On the values of copper and tin 
While American businessmen snap up Van Goghs 
For the price of a hospital wing 


It got me thinking. Why is a Van Gogh worth the price of a hospital wing? The simple answer is something is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. However, then you must ask yourself why someone is willing to pay that amount for it - could it be scarcity? after all there will be very few new Van Goghs being made anytime soon. I'm sure this is a factor in determining the final price, However, there are thousands of dead artists - some exceptional and pretty well known who will never achieve anywhere near 1% of these prices.

Could it be the paintings aesthetics? Its beauty? I find it hard to believe that it is a million times more beautiful than a £100 painting from my local art dealer. I am aware however it is a million times more expensive.

Something else is affecting this paintings value - something other than it's scarcity and its aesthetic qualities. I thought about what other things seem grossly overvalued in modern society. Football transfer fees have reached astronomical proportions in recent years with fees nearing and sometimes exceeding the cost of a Van Gogh.

What do footballers and fine art have in common? They are both traded commodities. Unlike a hospital wing which is rarely if ever traded footballers and fine art all get bounced around with their prices seemingly ever increasing. Bankers and investors trade them trying to make a profit. It is these forces that skew the prices of a Van Gogh to that of the price of a hospital wing. It is no longer and maybe never was a mater of art for arts sake.

This seems like a great social injustice. A deep scar on a society  - it in itself shows how we as a society collectively value things. What is the solution? It's not an easy one - I'm not even sure if there is one. The abolition of money is the only way I ever see this stopping - with the world moving to a resource based economy. That is not going to happen any time soon. 84% of the world consider us religious although the world thankfully is heading in a secular direction. 99.99% of us belief in the power of money and its grip grows ever tighter - who doesn't want to be a millionaire, own a Ferarri, and Iphone 4, a yatch and a private jet in this day and age. It is this misplaced faith in the banking system alone that values a footballer more than a doctor and a painting more than a hospital.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

UK tax payer to foot bill for Pope visit.

In just a few days the head of the catholic church lands in the UK. The first visit from the Pope since 1982.

There are some similarities and some differences to this visit. Back in 1982 the UK was in the grips of recession and we were fighting a war in a far away country (Argentina.) However, the previous papal visit was welcomed by the British public and surveys suggest that this current visit is opposed by most. At the time of the 1982 visit the cost was estimated between £14,000,000 and £16,000,000 pounds according to Monsignor Andrew Summersgill the organiser of the planned event. Using the Bank of England's inflation calculator, an event costing £16,000,000 in 1982 would cost about £42,000,000 today. Now I'm not sure who paid for that one back then, but the cost to the UK for the current visit is estimated to be £15,000,000 + the security costs.

Terry Sanderson, president of the NSS (National Secular Society), said the benefits of the state visit did not justify its cost. Mr Sanderson is quoting as saying: "State visits are to do with improving trade relations or having some sort of diplomatic contact that will be useful in the future for improving trade - there's nothing like this in this visit.

The Catholic church has raised around £7,000,000 to cover the cost of staging the actual events. They also plan to charge up to £25 each for tickets to see the Pope. Tens of thousands of tickets for events during the visit have not been taken up because of a lack of demand from British Catholics, many of whom have been upset by the charges introduced. Senior Vatican officials have expressed dismay at the decision to charge pilgrims up to £25 to attend the major events.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in England and Wales said: “There have been misunderstandings about the pilgrims’ pass charges. This is not a charge to attend a Papal Mass. It is to cover the cost of transport and security at the events.”

REALLY??? In that case what was the £7,000,000 donated for? Aren't the UK government covering the security costs? I hope that VAT was charged on those ticket sales as a religious organisation it is exempt from most forms of tax in the UK. It strikes me that selling a single relic from their vast stock in the Vatican none of this money raising would be an issue - in fact, I'm sure the bible claims Jesus said :

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."


On this basis - maybe the Catholic church should start selling off all it's assets? What need is there for a church to hold onto valuable art work when people starve? The Pope recognises many of the issues in modern society - by liquidising some assets he might be able to do something about them. I might actually be impressed with them then. Anyway, I digress, that is a story for another article.

It strikes me that the negativity around his visit comes from a number of factors:

  • Catholics are a minority and the vast majority have no interest in his visit
  • The Catholic Church runs at a profit - the UK government does not yet we are expected to foot the majority of the bill.
  • The Catholic Church has in the past covered up acts of child cruelty and paedophilia.
  • The Catholic Church is inherently sexist
  • The Catholic Church is inherently homophobic
  • The Catholic church has recently and historically alienated Jewish and Islamic communities.
  • Preserving The Catholic Churches assets and reputation is more important than doing what is right or the teachings  of the bible.
  • The Catholic Churches approach to HIV and condoms in Africa has been less than impressive. 
  • Alleged involvement in the cover up of a priest involved with the I.R.A.

Would you want to pay for someone who heads a group that covers up paedophilia,  allows millions of Africans to die through their refusal to distribute condoms in sub-Saharan Africa despite the fact they have a large established aid network and at the same time considers homosexuality a sin and women to be inferior to men. Oh and they also used to burn people to death for not agreeing with them - I think they used to call it heresy.

In my opinion the Catholic Church is an organisation that spreads falsehoods. Not only should we not be funding it we should be actively protesting it. The Catholic Church purports to be an organisation for good. I personally believe that it is more interested in self preservation and expanding its influence politically, religiously and economically - after all it was born out of the Roman Empire and those empirical desires have never disappeared - at its height the Roman Empire had an estimated 120,000,000 members, today the Roman Catholic Church has 1,000,000,000 not bad for an empire that apparently disappeared nearly 2 millenia ago. 

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (Gospel of Matthew, 7:15 - King James Version).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Al-Megrahi has two more years to live.

1 year ago Abdelbasset Ali al-Megrahi was released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds as he was terminally ill with cancer and had been given only three more months to live. Today, he is still alive, living in Libya and is miraculously expected to live a further 2 years with the help of cancer fighting drugs from the US.

Is this a miracle? I doubt it. Is the government to blame? Is BP to blame? I'm not sure, they are being blamed for everything at the moment. One thing I am sure of though is that this stinks. I started thinking back to our previous dealings with Libya.

Less than a year ago our previous prime minister Tony Blair was in Libya being treated like a king by Colonel Gadaffi and a few overseas contracts have been thrown this countries way, probably to companies with affiliations to ex MPs and PMs, maybe MPs who are yet to be employed by the companies who won contracts, do I need to say any more than that?

A visual representation of the worlds priorities financially.

Click on the diagram to enlarge it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

ZEITGEIST - MOVIE (FULL VERSION) PLEASE SHARE WITH EVERYONE



Zeitgeist is a German word which literally translates as "spirit of the times". This movie has three distinct sections dealing with what it considers to be the main social issues present in our society. Those sections are:

1. Religion - this movie takes an atheistic stance and picks holes in all of the worlds major religions past and present.

2. Money and Debt - the movie explains our fractional banking system and puts forward the argument that society is built around debt which ultimately is a form of slavery.

3. Terrorism - this movie takes the stance that the powers that be (I.e. The United States Government) are responsible for the atrocities on September the 11th - not a small group of Islamic fundamentalists controlled by Osama Bin Laden.

Whilst this documentary is heavily biased towards anti-establishmentarialism it make some very good points about the world that we live in. Do I believe that there are evil puppet masters controlling every aspect of our existence? Forcing us to fight against each other. No, we are quite happy to be herded around with dangled carrots such as Iphones and faster cars keeping us at all times focused on our one goal - the acquisition of goods and money. In western society greed is very much seen as good.

I do believe that our governments exploit the darker aspects of human nature to keep us under control. Our individual obsessions with self gain and our preference to watch reality television rather than sort out the  pressing social and environmental issues make this job very easy. I also accept that a common enemy creates a cohesive society and that governments fully exploit our fears of terrorism and our inherent xenophobic tendencies. But, hey it's not just the governments that tell us what to fear, every day we tune into mainstream media to hear about terrorist acts, floods, earthquakes, rising crime and various flu pandemics. Each of us actively buy into this reporting every day and if we didn't the media would report something else. Fear or the unknown and a desire to preserve and protect your life, your possessions and your immediate environment are all perfectly reasonable human desires, we just need to learn to take what we read with a pinch of salt.

Do I believe that George Bush is directly responsible for September the 11th? No, however, he is responsible for the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where hundreds of thousands of people have been left dead due to the conflict. The United States response to the attacks was somewhat disproportionate in terms of civilian debt.

The documentary has a sequel called Zeitgeist Addendum. It proposes solutions to the problems. Look out for a post coming soon about this film.

George Carlin - Religion is bullshit.

This is one of my favorite George Carlin Sketches. I first heard it used in the movie Zeitgeist and started watching his various movies on Youtube. Do you recognise him? He is Rufus from Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure.


Religion - my experience

The very word RELIGION makes my skin crawl. I suppose I am an Atheist/Pantheist (whatever, I don't really like 'isms') and have been since my early teens when I "lost my faith". I personally feel that I found reason when I rejected my parents religion and started making my own decisions about the nature of the world around me.

I was raised as a Christian, went to Christian schools and on the whole bought into the whole story of the bible. I lived a happy existence shielded from the pain and suffering that a large portion of the world go through on an every day basis.

I had always liked to involve myself in philosophical and religious debates with my church friends and my teachers about the bible and nature of god. Although this had always just been a form of recreational verbal jousting. I just like arguing and deep down I still considered myself Christian.

I first began to question my beliefs after the death of my grandmother when I was 12. I felt so upset about what I had lost and looked to the Church for answers. There were many that came and I found comfort in their support and love and the belief that she was "in a better place". As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months I slowly returned to my normal old self.

Next it was my grandfathers turn to die. He had cancer and fought a brave battle against it which he eventually lost. I looked to the church for answers once again - and those familiar words were repeated to me again. After continually asking why? why me? why them? the only answer I seemed to be left with was "It is gods will"... This answer was, for me, woefully inadequate. I prayed to god for answers - but no one responded. A bit like when I last emailed a complaint to Virgin Media. But hey maybe God was busy or deemed my prayer too trivial to respond to.

My school exams would be upon me in a few years time and one of the subjects I chose to study for my GCSE's was history where I was able to learn about the Crusades. With further study I was able find out much more about the bloody past of the Christian church and was shocked at how people who subscribed to a book that teaches love and tolerance (on the whole - we can all find that odd fire and brimstone passage) felt that such behavior was acceptable. It wasn't only the followers of the faith that I began to question. After all if God is all loving why does he kill first born sons and send floods to destroy people? I was explained that God didn't do that anymore after the "new covenant". A new covenant? What's that? Surely an Omnipotent being exacted justice in the same way for eternity as he transcends time and space?

The more I questioned the more I got confused. God made everything, including evil - why would you bother with that one? Why didn't God make more things edible to stave off famine. If God performs miracles including healing and resurrecting, why hasn't anyones arm or leg ever grown back? Does god not have time for amputees?

The evidence that God wasn't there, wasn't capable or wasn't bothered was growing by the minute. The only evidence I could find to suggest God did exist was all the people who claimed to have a relationship with him themselves. Initially I was jealous and wondered why God didn't bother talking to me. I'm told two thirds of the world hold religious beliefs, surely all these people can't be wrong? Then I remembered how the world was flat until it was round. Hmm, could it all really be bullshit? really? It took me a good few years to work out that all these (mostly good) people we're mistaken.

In my opinion the need for religious beliefs comes from the ways our brains are hard wired. We are programmed to be cared for and looked after by a parent.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Facebook Credits - The new global currency

Today I logged into Facebook to see that I had received 25 Facebook credits with a value of $2.50 USD. What are Facebook credits I wondered. I investigated and found that they could be used to purchase premium services and for you to play premium games.

With a user base exceeding 500 million, this new currency already has more users than most countries on earth have as a population. This is an exciting prospect which I believe has the best chance yet of creating a micro payment system for the net that actually works. Facebook takes a 30% cut of this virtual currency when you purchase credits.

At this current time there is no method of cashing out Facebook credits, I suspect this is an attempt to avoid taxation, banking and gambling regulation. Although in time for this currency to succeed it will need to be possible to be used in all circumstances, this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Apple generates huge revenues from its app store and Facebook wants a piece of that pie. If successful this virtual currency has the potential to revolutionise the world,  potentially to depose Paypal from its dominant position and to steal Googles crown in the PPC market. However, I'm sure the other players in this market will not just roll over and let this happen - I look forward to seeing how they react.

Becoming increasingly dependent on a currency controlled by a private corporation has its downsides. Other virtual currencies have been subject to hyper inflation and virtual crime. If Facebook can prove their currency is stable and convince websites to start accepting their payments we will see the web being revolutionised.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Charles Taylor is on trial - why Isn't George Bush?

Former President of Liberia Charles Taylor is charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for murder, rape, conscripting child soldiers, enslavement and pillaging. This trial has caught the attention of the media with stories of super models and blood diamonds. He has pleaded not guilty.

So what is a war crime?

The concept of a war crime is a relatively recent one. Up until world war II it was generally accepted that horrible things happen during war. But during World War II the murder of several million people - mainly the Jews killed mainly by Nazis, and the mistreatment of prisoners of war by the Japanese, prompted the Allied powers to prosecute the people they believed to be responsible for these crimes.

On wikipedia it is described as:

"violations of the laws or customs of war"; including "murder, the ill-treatment or deportation of civilian residents of an occupied territory to slave labor camps", "the murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war", the killing of hostages, "the wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, and any devastation not justified by military, or civilian necessity".

So is Charles Taylor guilty of any of these crimes? I don't know. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting for one minute that Charles Taylor is innocent of these crimes or a nice man - I personally have never met him. One thing is clear to me though. These war crimes trials that take place seem very unfair and very one sided in favour of the powers that be.

Take George Bush for example; The man who famously led the "coalition of the willing" into war in Iraq. Now I'm no expert but I think we caused some "devastation not justified by military, or civilian necessity" there. It was justified if you believe they had "Weapons of Mass Destruction" but even George Bush himself has expressed that the belief that it was an "intelligence failure".



Let's look at another point - "The murder or ill treatment of prisoners of war." Well, the United States decided rather conveniently that there were no Prisoners of War at Guantanamo bay - only enemy combatants. Because of this the United States decided the Geneva convention did not apply.

So why is one man on trial and another enjoying his retirement? Because one is an American and one is an African? Is mobilizing the worlds most powerful army, dropping daisy cutter bombs and deposing Iraqs leader that different to selling diamonds to buy weapons to fund a conflict in a neighbouring country where people chop each others hands and legs off. I cannot personally see the difference from a moral perspective.

How about we try and and look at it from a mathematical perspective. Iraq Body Count - puts the total number of civilian deaths at around 100,000. Deaths from the civil war in Sierra Leone come to around 75,000.

How about based on the outcome? In fairness both countries seem better off without these leaders and the world a nicer place.

Can anyone present a reasonable argument to me why one former president should be enjoying retirement and another facing the prospect of the rest of his life in prison when both have blood on their hands? I look forward to your responses.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Facebook and Privacy

It seems that the news is filled with stories about people having issues with Facebook privacy. I just don't see what all the fuss is about. May I at this point explain that I view facebook through the eyes of a 20 something single male with a solid understanding of computers and the internet - I am not a young child nor am I a technophobe...

I have nothing to hide and hence my facebook page is completely available for all to look at. I use the most open settings possible - I want people to find me on the net. Then again I also have no problems with walking around naked - so I'm not your average Jo.

I appreciate some of you out there may want to keep them holiday pictures and family photos a little bit more private - but really you should think twice before uploading said photos to the internet? Privacy on the net is after all virtually impossible.

I also noticed that one of the main doomsayers in the mainstream media who seems to have a real downer on my good friend facebook is my eternal enemy The Sun newspaper. I wonder why this could be? Could it be that Rupert Murdochs News Corp owns facebooks arch rival Myspace?

The bottom line is I feel facebook and privacy do not really mix. However, rather than changing facebook I think that society needs to change its opinions on privacy and open up to the very nice idea of sharing. I also feel that whilst bad things can happen online, bad things can happen in the real world. One way to stop all these bad things from happening is to throw away your computer and never leave your house again. However, that wouldn't be much fun would it?

My First Blog Post

For some time now I have been toying with the idea of starting up a blog. At first I wasn't too sure what I would put up on here. But after experiencing Facebook firsthand I now see the benefits of sharing my thoughts and findings regarding the world, with the world.

Oh no, I hear you cry! Not another blog about another persons boring life. Details of what I ate for dinner, what TV shows I watch etc.... well, whilst this blog will undoubtedly contain some things you find of no interest it strikes me that I have a special skill that most other people lack.

Throughout my childhood and into my adult life I have always found that I tend to argue lots with people. This isn't a bad thing. I love arguing, other people may not share my belief that arguing is a good thing. However, I feel that if we all agreed, the world would be a very boring place. My views are often very different to that of my friends who I feel just sit idly by letting the world happen without questioning the reasons behind why things are the way they are or how they could change them.

I'm not just talking about the big issues in life such as war, famine, disease, energy security etc.... I like to pick apart the little world, all the small things that happen to us every day.

It is my intention to use this blog to explain to the world at large why I believe things are the way they are and suggest reasons to change them. You may not agree with me - but I'd love to argue about it with you.