Thinking out loud

lionelis @

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China, Tibet and Olympics

6th April 2008

It's simply amazing that we condone China's actions not just in Tibet but to even its own population. And yet the powers that be, have elected they deserve to hold the Olympics there. It says volumes about the kind of people who get into positions of power to be able to make such crass decisions. The bare facts are, that those people who have gained the power to select where the Olympics are held, an event which we generally look upon as an honourable event (hence our disgust at those that cheat), have somehow deemed it fit that a disgraceful country such as China can take this jewel and use it to falsely promote themselves.

Undoubtedly it all comes down to corporation. Just about everything these days comes down to the power of money and as world wide corporations possess most of it, it is pretty obvious then that at the end of the day, they will be calling the shots. China is a dream to the corporates and as they don't have a human face, it matters not one jot to them if there are human atrocities going or not. So long as they satisfy the accountant and shareholder, they won't give a stuff about some faceless individual suffering. Did the world of capitalism give so much as a sniff of support when China invaded Tibet and chased out a peaceful nation of people. Of course not. There was no financial gain to go help Tibetans unless someone has a way of making a buck from gentleness.

I'm glad there were great protests today in London as the Chinese waved their symbolistic torch under everyones noses. It says realms too, that the Chinese news carries no mention of such outrage at the Chinese government, merely edited newsreel of a few shots where nothing could be seen to be happening. It shows the Chinese government for what they truly are. Cowards of the truth.

Will any of you who read this do anything to help. Most of you will think you'd like to but your'll look for that bargain when next shopping and that it happens to be made in China (that's if you look) will likely have you buying it with the excuse, well that's the way of the world and I can't afford the more expensive option.


Of course, you could try living without such item,, there's always something else.

The Banks and Mortgages stitch-up

10th April 2008

First of, as things stand at this present day, the UK is not in a depression, the industrial side of our nation is robust (production in Feb was ahead of forecasts), unemployment dropped 35,000 last month and the stock market is on the up since the Bear Sterns crisis.

So what's the problem?

Predominantly it is because the banks won lend to one as they used  Those who do not have loadsa cash sitting in their vaults have to borrow it from somewhere and to do so, those with the cash are charging a higher rate. One could therefore argue that it is those banks that are cash rich who are causing the problem. It goes back to that old adage, if you have money, you can make money. 

In the world as a whole, it is a fair analogy that 90% of the worlds wealth is held by about 10% of the worlds population. Oddly, it seems to me that this ratio holds at all levels of society. If you go into say a boat marina, the overall value of all of the boats added together may come for example to 10,000,000. But when you look around, your'll notice it a small percentage of those boats add up to 90% of the total value. Of course, this is just my own reckoning and some smart statistician could prove it wrong (but then we cynics know all about how to make stats read what ever the person paying for the research want them to read). When we apply the 90/10% ratio to the banks, once again, we can see that the whole banking industry is dictated to by just the big few.

It comes as no surprise then that HSBC jumps in to the market announcing it will be a white knight and 'save' those folk with mortgages coming up for renewal. HSBC is in the top 10% of banks and has its own very deep pockets. It is able to pick up the new customers it wants (and refuse those it doesn't) thus making itself richer at the expense of other lenders. 

I think you call it capitalism. Has anyone worked out yet that capitalism ends with one winner which means eventually, one person/corporate will own everything!

So what's the stitchup.  Easy, the few banks with the cash have pulled down the shutters. They were happy enough to take everyones money, even to soak up the dodgy loans (sub-prime) but now the market is a bit shaky, rather than work there butts off to help out, they would rather just say 'Closed' and let the minions sort it out. In essence, they won't open until things have settled down again and there's a nice big juicy profit in it for doing, in effect, very little.

If you always thought banks were rotten... you were right.

Protestors damaging the world

27th April 2008

Hydro electric generation is a passion of mine. It is clean to produce compared to other forms of energy. Nuclear has it's obvious potential health hazards and the clean up at the end of a nuclear plant is horrendous. Coal, gas and oil fired generation has its obvious pollution problem as it pumps CO2 out plus a variety of other intoxicants. Biomass has some benefits, not least that there is a plausible argument that the amount of carbon produced when using biomass as a fuel is in balance with nature.

Wind and solar are great! Free power and the only pollution as such is what goes into making the structures required to generate the electric (but then that counts for any generating structure). And then there is water - hydro.

I like logic. So I am both perplexed and frustrated when individuals start campaigning against green forms of energy. These protests are things like 'unsightly', 'visual impact' and 'environmental disturbance'. Things such as windmills spoiling the landscape are beyond my comprehension. Do these sort of protestors not stop and think for one second that the visual impact of a 100mtr tall wind turbine is absolutely nothing compared to a landscape blackened by pollution. It staggers belief that someone could be that thick to think a revolving structure which does nothing than interrupt ones vista is going to be as harmful as a place to live where the land could be decimated to nothing more than a barren desert.

Maybe these folk don't mind if the human race is wiped out. But then what are they protesting for if that isn't their point? The wildlife? That will go to if the lands become uninhabitable save for a few resilient species. Or there is the protestor who jumps and shouts that the amount of energy produced is insubstantial. Ho-hum, well if there is any valid substance behind that then please explain. ANY amount of green energy produced, no matter how insignificant is worthwhile. The only time there is a point to insignificant power production is where the environmental impact in producing the structure to make the green power produces more pollution than it saves. 

Usually, I am 100% for people being vocal and making their views known and even on this point I believe people should stand up and spout off. However, when doing so, they should consider the cost to the environment they are causing by delaying the implementation of green energy production, thus allowing extra production of deathly emissions by existing methods.

Basically, put brain into gear before engaging mouth!


Put a crap chicken in your tank

28th June 2008

TV good living guru, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has managed after considerable effort, (not to mention 30,000 of his own money and another 50,000 from others) to force the supermarket chain at it's 2008 AGM to take a vote on to stop selling poor quality chicken on the cheap. Tesco infamously pushed it's campaign to sell a chicken for 1.99 which is possible because the chickens are so intensively bred and fed on cheap soya bean produce, imported from Brazil.

The AGM vote on whether to stop selling crap chicken managed to raise 10% of the shareholders support. Sadly, it would have needed 75% to make the Tesco's board change direction to say buying chicken that at least met the RSPCC's recomended levels of chicken rearing. 

Tesco were bitterly opposed to having to stop selling a crap quality chicken as it would have affected it's profits and they made every effort to promote that their cheap chickens were affordable to all. They were gifted with the line that 'in these economic times', inciting we are in some kind of recession or poverty struck, here in the UK. We are in neither! However, I do recognise that there are low paid people who need to be able to afford to eat and more importantly, eat healthily. 

Every one on the planet deserves to get access to food of decent quality at a realistic price. But there's a harsh reality to that. It doesn't give everyone the right to be able to eat what they want or that there should be a lot of suffering on some other animals part or indeed the workers used, to create cheaper food. I will happily take a gun and shoot a bird for the pot but on the same hand, I will not shoot more than is needed and I do not believe any animal should have anything but a quality life. The Tesco crap but cheap chicken (and other supermarkets are equally as guilty, it's just Tesco's are the biggest inflictor's of suffering ) has anything but quality. It is forced to put on weight at as faster rate is possible and the nutritional value is a waste of space.

Now here's an analogy I often ask people to consider and fits the Tesco crap chicken ideally. 

If I tell you this chicken is poor quality as it has no health benefit and by eating it you are damaging your body. It is full of fat, over 1000% more fat than a chicken produced in the early 70's, has a minimal fraction of Omega oils compared to those organically reared and the nutrient levels one may expect to find in meat are virtually extinct - BUT IT IS 1.99,,,, would you still buy it?

Sadly, the answer is probably yes, especially if you are a bit tight for cash this week and you have hungry mouths at home to feed.

Now here's another question. Petrol prices are now over 1.20 a litre (which equates to 5.40 a gallon in 'old money,, or for any of our Yank friends passing by here, about $9 a US gallon). If I offer you, legitimately, a litre of fuel for 40 pence a litre but inform you it has impurities in it, is not very good for your car's engine and will cause it harm,,,, even at 40 pence a litre, will you buy it?

No. Of course you wouldn't because we know putting poor quality fuel in our vehicles is going to end up costing us more. Repair bills would be bad enough but there's also the loss of use that comes with having the car in the workshop for a period.

So why don't we see our selves in the same way. Why are people more readily acceptable to putting crap fuel in themselves as opposed to their vehicles. I think it is because humans see themselves as kind of indestructible, yet we know all to well from government figures, that those on low incomes do not live as long or enjoy as good health as those on better incomes. Tesco's and the like are directly to blame for helping this situation.

By providing cheap crap food, it entices the consumer to purchase it. But if the food was proper quality, be it a bit more pricey, the consumer would have to buy other foods. Plant foods can provide just as healthy a diet as animal foods and cost a lot less. Taking away cheap crap meat will not deprive the consumer of anything other than eating a better diet. Sure, some will bemoan missing their bit of meat (and one doesn't have to go without completely, just cut back) but in the process you achieve two things,, a better you and less infliction of pain on others.

Tesco's - you are a disgrace !!












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