The Matrix has you!

When they learn how to plug you into a digital world, you might not ever know how to unplug and come back to the real world or even the reason why you should. They will probably start plugging in the old, disabled and poor into a new matrix of control as an act of kindness, in order to save us from ourselves.

My mum has finally sold her home in Cornwall and due to move to Devon next Wednesday; we are all really looking forward to it. Though moving during an energy crisis is not the easiest time to move if you’re trying to save money on your energy bills. Mum has spent hours over the last week on the phone to utility companies, banks and council officers trying to update her home location status with them and there are very few people left in those organisations to take her calls due to the reduction in customer services employees and a push to do everything online.

One of the key roles that I have to do in my job at the council in Exeter is answer the phone and speak to customers and as such my job is also under threat due to long term restructuring aims seeing this role as a money saving cost effective form of progress to get rid of. This so called progress has forced me to bounce in and out of work for the last 26 years of my working life, sometimes choosing to apply for new jobs prior to an organisation or role being shut down or sometimes being made redundant due to restructuring issues and businesses closing down while I am still employed at them.

I can honestly say I am a very good hardworking and dedicated employee in an area of employment that people no longer wish to employ. I know for a fact that the work that I do is hard work and still needs to be done. I solve problems that are presented to my organisations, I am always busy there is always something important that needs to be done. By sacking people like me that need to answer phones and work with customers it does not make those customers problems go away it just means those customers are either ignored now or processed via a different channel.

This job is one of the many work roles in the UK that has been rapidly phased out by many companies there is a money saving exercise to increase profits by not enabling customers to speak to staff in business and government agencies.

First that sacked the face to face staff and I did not speak out, although I too was made redundant.

Then they came for the staff that talked to customers over the phone and again I did not speak out and again I was at risk and at times made redundant or moved on.

Finally the aim will likely be to digitise the workings of staff customer service roles so that there will be none left to hire, and likely none left to speak out too!

I strongly disagree with the digitising and outsourcing to computers of employed roles within any organisations and my main reason for this is that is businesses do not need to hire people and people do not have money from working to afford to pay to put a roof over their head and feed and clothe themselves then the state will not hand them those resources on a plate.

Either so called wealthy societies such as ours learn to adapt to look after and resource their most vulnerable members of society be they pensioners, disabled or the out of work or there will be a considerable amount of damage and ongoing suffering in society to these vulnerable individuals people claim to care but often money and actions or even lack of money and lack of action speaks louder than words.

No mainstream political party in the UK grasps this nettle at present as both Labour and the Conservative parties consistently want to chase the right wing element of the voting public in this country which is why the labour party do not have my vote in the upcoming council elections and it is a labour party that is presently facilitating my next round of redundancy at the council.

I have just written to my local MP Ben Bradshaw asking him if he wholeheartedly endorse the new planned restructuring of employment roles that are going to take place at Exeter council by a labour council and merely blames the Conservative for the cuts that will be endorsed in customer services roles and can he explain to me why I should vote Labour in the next council election and vote in my own potential redundancy at the hand of a Labour lead Exeter Council?

Though I cannot stop the world from spinning even when it appears to be spinning out of control, I can at least look to make sense of the madness and express my disapproval in my own way to my political representatives at the very least.  

Life in an unemployable working world

What has your chancellor done today to make you feel good. Well nothing. If you are a pensioner, disabled or unemployed, with the biggest fall in living standards since the 1950’s there is nothing in this budget mini statement for you. Those that are vulnerable and suffering will only suffer more and be more vulnerable.

When I work and have a roof over my head that I can afford to pay for, I never have a problem with paying taxes this is partly under the naive assumption and understanding that I hope that my taxes are going to where they need to go to and arriving in good time to make a difference to those that need them. Well they say charity begins at homes and so should taxes.

My mum is a pensioner on a fixed income and so there is no help for her in this budget. I also really can’t afford to be out of work and even though my employment is at risk in the council that I work for again due to conservative party cut backs and savings need to be made by my employer I must still aim to look after my health and stay well and keep in work as the alternative of being out of work is just not an option.

One of the key employment threads that I have seen throughout my lifetime is that if a job is important and needs doing that is not a guarantee enough to ensure that someone is willing or able to pay for that work to be done. I have worked for a wildlife charity that ran out of money to pay to it’s staff, a recycling centre that sold its remanufactured products to customers that failed to make enough profit from its works that it did that then went bust and also worked in government organisations that have been shut down due to changes in political parties in central government. None of these business, charity or government closures are in any way a measure of progress and improvement to the economy or even to society.

British capitalism is weird, incompetently wasteful and institutional corrupt. Though I Will still ironically support it over a regime in which I don’t even have a say or a vote. On the one hand we belch out huge sums of money to the monarchy for knighthoods (knighthoods to people that stand in our second house of power of government or house of lords). The house of lords still exists as it suits those in power to not have a second house that actually wields any power that would be a threat to those in the house of commons thus the status quo remains and reform does not appear to be an option, as the politicians at the top on the political right continue to line their own pockets with money exploited from the governing system as it exists with the purchasing of power and influence from those in power to those formerly holding power or in positions to financially benefit from the decisions made at the top. It’s a kind of old boys network that stinks with the smell of corruption and jobs for the boys mentality.

On a separate note the British monarchy also are people that inherit lands and earn profits off their own lands that do not deserve or require a penny from the state or from the common man or women of society and yet we fund and employee them as if our very lives depended on the patriotic cash with which is given to them from the state or the lack of taxes they pay for the resources and incomes that they earn. Our head of state is not elected; they are born into the role. Also unlike many modern European countries we do not invest in modernising infrastructure and political socioeconomic infrastructure as a given. We cut it down rather than build it up, again its easier to throw a pound in a budget statement to the queen than it is to the poor or to social and economic infrastructure projects. People will vote to spend money on the wealthy whilst spending on the poor is a vote losing issue.

Those at the top of the income pyramid continue to profit at the expense of those at the bottom. There is more chance of a person releasing themselves from this horrible and damaging system though the action of committing suicide than from earning enough money to no longer need to worry about money and get out of this socioeconomic trap that as rats we appear to run around the wheels of and face the trials and tribulations of only blaming ourselves when we fall down in a system designed to let us fail.

Do not worry I am in no way at risk of suicide myself but have born witness to many souls due to themselves seeing no way out from the chains of debt and an inability to earn money in this society due to the difficulty of holding down or even getting a job that you can do that pays the bills. Suicide of those that see no economic way out of there circumstance should be seen as politically sanctioned crime and murder and not the fault of the actual victim themselves.    

I will continue to try and keep a roof over my head and work in an economy that no longer wishes to employ me with areas of work that I am able to undertake, whilst trying to keep my head above water and myself healthy and sane. Please wish me best of British luck in these weird and difficult times to live and try to exist.

Mumford and Sons – Little Lion Man

Decent dissent within Putins Russia

If your Putin you try not to worry about the power of your opposition from within your own country you can always criminalising any that oppose your point of view and threaten all that oppose you with a 15-year jail sentence. The west finally has a cause worth uniting and fighting for whilst Russia on the other hand looks to legislate, dictate and indoctrinate those that are forced to watch and listen to why it thinks the invades of Ukraine is wrong.

While the west will not put boots on the ground or planes in the sky over Ukraine, Putin claims his war is not even a war and his occupation and bombing of civilians is not even taking place. One super power says it cannot commit, whilst another claims’ it has not committed to a war in Ukraine and the atrocities it clearly repeatedly does for Putin are not actually happening.     

Thousands of people have been arrested in cities across Russia for protesting at the bloodshed in Ukraine. New laws have forced the BBC, CNN and other media organisations to suspend their reporting from the country. They are not allowed to describe Russia’s assault on Ukraine as an invasion.

In a Russia, the truth of the war on Ukraine is available. The risk comes in sharing it. Putin’s Russia has brought a new intensity to its crackdown on independent news.

As mentioned it is now a crime — punishable by up to 15 years in prison — to publish “fake” information about the all-out attack on Ukraine. The government has blocked Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and news websites aimed at Russians, such as Latvia-based Meduza. It is a crime for the average citizen to publicly post information that contradicts the government line.

In a meeting on March 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke of a “necessary self-purification” and called on Russians to cast out any dissenting voice. 

“The Russian people will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and simply spit them out like a bug that accidentally flew into their mouths,” Putin said. 

Natasha Rastova, a former Russian journalist and author of two histories of Russian journalism, said the restrictions on free speech marked a turning point, even by Russian standards. 

“In a matter of days, Putin went from being the leader of an authoritarian state to becoming a full-scale dictator,” Rastova said.

Despite the new restrictions, Russians can still access news from outside. The risk comes in sharing it.

Russians who want outside news have to be adaptable. Facebook is banned, but with software called virtual private networks, users can circumvent restrictions. 

That said, special apps are not essential. Broadly, the internet still operates. Connection speeds might be slower after a leading internet service provider dropped its service, but Russians can read articles from the BBC, CBS News and other news organizations. They can watch videos on YouTube.

“Despite all the efforts of the Russian authorities to clean up the information space, alternative sources of information still exist in Russia,” said Viktor Muchnik, who ran the independent news website TV2 in Tomsk, Siberia, with his wife Viktoria.

We reached Muchnik in Armenia, where he fled after the government shut down TV2 on March 7.

Many younger Russians use the encrypted messaging app Telegram to follow Russian-speaking reporters they trust. They can see reports, photos and videos within the app, or open links they find there.

Russians know they might be stopped by police who demand to see their phones.

“In the event that someone is stopped and searched, even just having those apps on one’s phone could be risky,” said Paul Goode, the McMillan Chair of Russian Studies at Carleton University in Canada. 

Russians risk severe penalties if they are caught sharing banned information.

“Russians can be fined and prosecuted for facilitating the dissemination of ‘fake news’, discrediting Russia’s army, and supporting international sanctions on Russia,” Goode said. “This includes posts and re-posts made on social media, including even posts made by other people on one’s discussion thread.”

While younger Russians get their news from the internet, older Russians watch television.

“A lot of people still watch television, which is completely controlled by the state,” said  Anton Shirikov, researcher and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “These people tend to be older, from smaller towns or villages.”

Television delivers the government’s message. When Putin made false claims about the people of Donbas facing genocide at the hands of the Ukrainians; of the U.S.-backing bioweapons labs in Ukraine; and of Russia having “no other option for self defense,” that is what Russian television reported. 

The massive bombing of Ukrainian cities and civilian deaths are minimized.

When younger Russians show their parents videos of missiles hitting apartment blocks in Ukraine, they face denial. Michnik said it goes against the message their parents have been hearing virtually every day for eight years, since Russia annexed Crimea.

Jonathan Becker, a political scientist at Bard College, shared a message he got from a friend inside Russia. The friend’s wife installed Telegram on her mother’s phone. The mother is a Putin supporter.

“She still thinks that all the videos she watches are Ukrainians bombing themselves,” the email said. “What can one say?”

The Russians we contacted all said that these intergenerational splits are common. 

They and other observers also raised the concern that international efforts to pressure Russia economically could undermine access to outside news. When Visa and Mastercard stopped processing credit cards in Russia, that affected some internet users.

“It is increasingly difficult for Russians to pay for foreign services like virtual private networks, so it’s conceivable that this escape hatch could be closed off eventually by the impact of international sanctions,” said Goode.

There is also the fear that some of YouTube’s restrictions on advertising revenues inside Russia could make it harder for independent journalists to finance their work.

Russian journalist Mikhail Fishman was an anchor for the independent station TV Rain until he left Russia on March 3. He said unintended ripple effects could become even more important as Russians begin to feel the sting of economic sanctions.

“The more impact the sanctions have, the more will be the demand for alternative sources of information,” Fishman said.

21st Century War

To look into the global suffering of the world would be a very dark place to try and gain any insight from or find any truths concerning what had led to wars and what are the long term consequences for us all.

Truths are often taught or indoctrinated from the winners and learned by those who are left behind, concerning global events and across world history. I have been looking at a variety of sources in order to attempt to gain an insight concerning what was going on in the world prior to the invasion of Ukraine from a perspective of wars of the 21st century. There do appear to be parallels between the western war on terror post 9/11 with oil and gas grabs and Putin’s allegation of his needs to invade Ukraine.

Many people seem to state these days that care equally about the people of Palestine, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Iraq as they do about the people of Ukraine but the international community and our media outlets do not care so much for the people of Palestine as it does for the people of Ukraine. Though I don’t think the bombing and murdering of one nation over the bombing and murdering of another nation is a competition and when one power occupies another or attempts to do so we should see one occupier as less wrong or of less importance than another. Two wrongs do not find a right.

I have also been reading articles on the natural resourses wealth of Ukraine and why these are strategic recourses that Putin desires and ones he thinks will provide him with tactical advantages in the future. The invasion of Ukraine and the plan to undertake such an invasion was not the first act of war in the 21st century.

Unfortunately the US and UK are not innocent in these land grab incidents, or oil and gas grabbing and occupying incidents, which appear to have emboldened Putin into thinking I could do something similar to that and have potentially got us into the mess where we collectively all are today.

Sadly the world’s economies are hugely addicted to oil and gas that is pumped out of the planet and our thirst for these resources that we need like a vampire nation feeding on the blood of oil and gas in order to sustain our modern form of existence means that we we have the potential to purchase oil from any regime at any cost to our society and biosphere. Like a junkie that does not know it has a problem or has an inability to reflect or count the cost of its addiction or know when or even if it can stop we continue to inject oil into the veins of our global mechanical, industrial economies. We claim that by doing so we sustain life and the economy, whilst in reality putting it all at risk.

Although ultimately Putin might see the actions and historic shaping of the globe as some of his reasons and justifications to invade Ukraine but only he is the one that acts on his impulse to inflict the horror of war on the Ukrainian people.

When the US and UK invaded Iraq it was seen as regime change and though the initial conflict was won swiftly the long-term war and casualties inflicted on the country if Iraq cost many lives. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. But the terrorist attacks in the United States changed forever the lives of Iraqis.

In their aftermath, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, swiftly deposing the Taliban regime that had been sheltering Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al-Qaida terror network blamed for the attacks. Only some 20 years later to leave Afghanistan knowing it could not successfully occupy the land allowing the Taliban to retake power there.

President George W. Bush identified Iraq along with Iran and North Korea, as part of an “axis of evil” and asserting that its brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein, was armed with weapons of mass destruction and had ties to al-Qaida. No evidence of either of it ascertains were ever found and no trials have ever taken place concerning crimes against humanity for the actions and consequences of the war in Iraq. The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq has spurred a decades of war, which has had consequences that reverberate across the region and the world to this day.

To Prep or not to Prep

Am I mad to consider prepping for a serious emergency or disaster or am I mad not to? It feels like thinking the unthinkable.

I have made some small changes to my life recently just in case there is nuclear situation that effects the Ukraine, Europe or the world, or a nuclear accident at a power plant in Ukraine which might risk people not being able to go outside their homes.

  1. I have empty water bottles in my kitchen stacked together that I could fill up quickly.
  2. I invested in a new pair of sturdy walking boots and thick pairs of walking socks in case I need to walk a long distance anywhere at any time for any reason.
  3. I have purchased a new first aid kit and first aid book as my old one was a number of years out of date.
  4. I have purchased a radio that can be recharged by a hand wind up and used in an emergency with no electricity. It also has a phone charger on it.
  5. I have a new windup torch again charges through a turning handle which does not need batteries or electricity.
  6. I have purchased a number of protein bars which I eat normally anyway but I have more than I would normally have just in case I am suddenly in need of food and shelter in my home.
  7. I am going to hopefully clean out an airing cupboard on the weekend too so that I could use it as a shelter if needed in an emergency.

This is stuff that I never thought I would have to do but I am fearful that we are potentially closer to  a nuclear catastrophe whether that be from a power plant accident in Ukraine or from the actual launching of rockets from Russia and it all feels so bloody unnecessary.

I feel guilty thinking and writing about this stuff. It’s easier to write down what I am up to on here than talk about this with others at the moment.  

Frank Turner – Be More Kind

Because it is our home

Such a simple answer to a straight forward question that speaks volumes about who the people of Ukraine are with their strength and resilience that they possess and why we must now all look to emulate, donate what we can, and advocate to who we can, our politicians and fellow citizens on their behalf.

This answer was to a question that was brought up by an extraordinary mother with 3 young children (who thought her self not extrodinary at all), she has a 4 month old baby and they were all presently sheltering in Kyiv in Ukraine. She was being interviewed on the radio today to listeners in the UK. Her husband is working on a checkpoint and she has only seen him once since the war broke out for 20 minutes when he visited the shelter too.

She talked about the collective of the people in those shelters how they took things only day at a time. Things we take for granted like food, life and liberty are all now in the balance for her and her family and the fellow Ukrainian citizens that seek shelter with her in Kyiv.

They don’t plan what is going to happen next week as they don’t know if there shelter will have been bombed by then or even if they will still be alive (those were her words and thoughts not mine) They also cry a great deal together but somehow find things to share to laugh about together too. 

Today this young mother went above ground to the shops to try and get some food and managed to get some bread and bits and pieces she also came across a sweet shop that was still open with two young girls serving at the counter who she bought some sweet and chocolate from and this is where she asked the young girls behind the counter the simple question “girls why are you here?” And they answered her by saying “because this is our home”.

Again I will now ask you, why are you here? The same answer ricocheting right back to me again. Which is, because it is our home.

Deacon Blue – Cover from the sky

Tsar Putin – The Gas Father

As Russian troops mass on the Ukrainian border and worries of the invasion grow, Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to peddle a familiar Russian line about the conflict: that Ukraine belongs to Russia and that the two are “one people — a single whole.”

All men are created equal [but some are more equal than others]

Not only that but his peddling his hate for the west from his regurgitating of his view of the history of the world he also now extends his views into the perception that he is the enemy of the west and he is the righteous good guy in the unfolding history of the world. Democracy smocracy who cares if you have freedom of thought for your people, freedom to vote by your people, freedom of speech about people, when in the past you used to be the bad guys right you gave birth to slavery, Hitler and colonialism.

Russia on the other hand has in the past starved and murdered its own people under the leadership of past Tsars and Communist leaders in the name of power and progress. No one is innocent under the magnifying glass of a historian, whilst at the same time no one should be tard with the same brush and we should certainly not aspire to repeat the mistakes of the past. If Putin has no intentions of rights wrongs of the past it’s all about power it has only ever been about power and will always be about power.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men. -John Dalberg.

In reality, Ukraine has long been distinct from Russia, and Putin’s current mythologizing of the Russia-Ukraine relationship fits a pattern of falsehoods designed to reconstitute imperial glory, and more importantly, to shield Putin from the threat of democracy in former Soviet republics — and possibly in Russia itself.

Putin is not the only old fossil on the block as he has huge reserves of natural gas to play with and presently supplies 40% of the European market. The more he has a hissy fit and continues to turn the screw on anyone he deems fit to then the greater the power to inflict pain on others he can flex.

 Ukraine, for its part, is distinct from Russia in many ways and has been influenced by a number of different cultures, including by Central European countries in the west, and present-day Greece and Turkey in the south. Over the centuries Ukraine was also conquered by a number of different groups, including the Mongols, Lithuanians, Poles, Austrians, and Swedes, as well as, eventually, the Russian Empire during the reign of Catherine the Great.

 You would not see Britain reinterpreting its own history to reinvade Ireland simply because some people in Northern Ireland see themselves as British and end up starting World War 3 off the back of it. Well that is exactly the position Putin is putting the world in due to his beliefs and propaganda around the Ukraine.

Gabrielle Aplin – Light Up The Dark

Happy Lunar New Year & it’s also my blogs birthday

The Lunar New Year celebration is intended to usher in a year of luck and prosperity. It’s time to close the chapter on the old one and welcome the year of the tiger.

It appears I find it easier to celebrate my websites birthday easier than I do my own. Congratualtions to me to writing in this space for another year, well done me! I don’t worry about my own birthday coming around so much, but I used to feel wow another year has been achieved well done, where as at the moment on new years day or my birthday it feels more like what the hell has just happened in the last 12 months, I hope that everyone that I care about is still ok. Whereas celebrating the maintenance and management of a blog is an achievement in itself.  

As a dyslexic that struggles to write a word let alone find time to have the energy to write a word down I am pleased about what I do here. I have never been short of imagination or thoughts, or at least I don’t think have. People often describe people like me as someone that thinks to deeply or over thinks things. But I like to see myself more as having an ability to say and do the simple things that I sometimes think we should all do like speak or write the truth to power and friends.  

You can always sugar coat a perception or opinion that is not one that a person sees or wants to see or might find hard to look at. At many times in many ways I think others view my perception on life as a little delusional perception of reality and at times they would probably be right but when you look at problems or ideas from different angel’s or view points you are nearly always bound to see something that the eyes of other either could not see or closed their eyes to.    

After all it would be boring if we all did and said the same thing from the same view point. Our opinions and views are shapped and born along the paths we walk alone as well as influenced from the views of those we know.

Villagers – Set The Tigers Free

All people should be treated equally

The following definitions of democracy are commonly understood and accepted

Government by the people especially: rule of the majority

A government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.

All that sounds very straight forward and who would argue against that well if you watched any TV in the UK or picked up a so called News Paper then you might have been under the misimpression that we have a one state controlled media promoted through TV and written publications all singing from the same hymn sheet.

A picture of the UK has been attempted to be painted this week of  a county full of royalist worshipping citizens whom need to be reminded every 15 minutes through news bulletins, and documentary dramas that we have a monarchy they are very wise and superior to us mere mortals, intellectually, spiritually and genetically. There will be no talk of the future of the monarchy in anyway of whether we want, need or even should have one moving forward. If you are not crying at your TV because someone you have never met and never loved has died, then there is something wrong with you. It’s all quite an odd state of reality really.

The British Royal Family is deeply part of the political fabric even though the monarch is claimed to be above politics is still a deeply political position. The head of the machine of the states is our monarch and the tentacles of the state and our poorly unevenly handed media went into overdrive in the last week showing just how important to the system the promotion of the status quo is within the UK and chance of change or how such changes might take place in order to make our unwritten constitution and the construction of how our state works and to whom it works for are very remote.

Are we merely born into a system where the blood line of a head of state is more important than the blood line of any and all other citizens born with in it? If the answer to this question is absolutely yes, then this system is very much archaic and needs much needed reform which may never come.

We have a house of lords with some peers appointed from state supporters (none elected though the ballet box and some life long peers). They are responsible for keeping an eye on our political laws and ensuring due process is undertaking in parliament.

There are many who ridicule democratic due diligence, process and democratic political power. The reasons for these are often complicated and not easy to understand or even see. But most notably if you are not in favour of democratic due diligence, process or democratic political power it is because you have an invested interest and already receive power from an alternative form of government within which the ordinary man or woman does not have such power or privilege from.   

Van Williams – Revolution featuring First Aid Kit

Trump Supporters are coming to town

Trump supporters are coming to town, Tump supporters are coming to town

You’d better watch out you’d better not run’ I’m telling you why.

Trump supporters are coming to town, Trump supporters are coming to town.

Trump supporters are coming to town.

Their making a list and checking it twice, there goner find out who votes for Trump or allegedly stealing their rights.

Trump supporters are coming to town oh yea

You’d better not vote, you’d better not be elected, you’d better not follow the rule of law I’m telling you why, Trumps crazy supporters are coming to Capitol Hill.

Trumps time is done, for his chickens have come home to roost.

A truly disgusting day of many disgusting days in the time of Donald Dead Duck President Trump