Category Archives: Social Policy
Life is like a cash register, in that every account, every thought, every deed, like every sale, is registered and recorded. ~ Fulton J. Sheen
There is a conspiracy at the highest levels of government and the banking industry that wants to do away with cash ~ that is the notes and coins in your wallet, purse, and pocket. Here in England our Treasury Department, The Bank of England, (which is really another branch of government), the large high-street banks, and the major retail store chains are doing all they can to bring about the complete end of physical cash.
In the UK the number of free-to-use cash machines, (ATMs), is dwindling at the rate of about 250 every month, and that leaves shoppers and small businesses struggling to get hold of any cash, (source ~ consumer group Which). Add to that the number of bank branch closures which adds up to about 1,000 a year over the past 3 years, and one can see that the finance industry is just not interested in anything but card payments and electronic banking.
The thing is, cash is utterly reliable, whereas electronic payments systems can and do crash from time to time. Also some small businesses cannot afford the trouble and expense of installing a card reader and becoming a card merchant, so they are reliant on cash payments. In addition, for very small payments, a card is just a stupid way to pay. (And what stripper or hooker will accept anything but cash?)
However, the Government, the Bank of England, and the rest of the finance industry are doing everything possible to either promote cashless payments, or force cashless payments upon us. Electronic swipe cards are now the norm, which means no signature or PIN is required to make a purchase, just wave your card at the reader. Trust me, as a guy with 30 years experience in Banking and Finance, electronic swipe cards are not and never will be secure. And just you try getting your money back from your bank if you have been a victim of card fraud.
One high street bank in the UK is trialing a system which will allow customers to authorise card payments for any amount just using their fingerprint ~ and that is also totally open to a number of easy frauds.
The thing is Governments, Central Banks, the Tax people, High Street Banks, Major Retail Chains hate cash because; it’s expensive for them to handle, they cannot monitor your every payment and spending pattern if you use cash, and they have absolutely no control over your earnings and spending if it’s in cash.
If we are not all very careful, then very soon Big Brother will be watching your money.
These comments apply to the banking and finance industry in England, which I know a bit about, but they also apply in equal measure to the USA.
Some say that Cash is King. And others, that Cash is Dead, card and electronic payments are the real future. All I know is I can get cash-back from my favourite store if I just make one tiny card purchase.
The Bank of England is just another arm of Big Government
Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Due to a bout of insomnia I found myself listening to President Trump’ State of the Union address. What an uninspiring speaker that man is. Having said that, I am in no doubt that Mr. Trump will be re-elected for a second term in office.
One of his controversial standpoints concerns the building of a security wall / fence along the southern border of the USA with Mexico ~ to prevent illegal immigration, people smuggling, drugs and gun smuggling. The Democrats / Liberal Left are especially incensed by this policy, as are the liberal left in the United Kingdom incredibly angry about our referendum’s requirement that immigration into the UK from Europe and elsewhere be immediately curbed.
There is no doubt that one of the main reasons the British people voted decisively in 2016 to leave the European Union was to drastically cut immigration of all kinds, illegal and otherwise. This is not xenophobia, it’s common sense. Other than very skilled individuals, where there is an immediate job waiting, immigrants offer nothing whatsoever to their new country. In fact they are a net drain on scarce resources. There is also compelling evidence that immigrants are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime.
Things were different before this modern technological era, and now that population pressure is a very serious issue. In the past immigrants filled valuable roles in society, but today even ditch diggers have to be able to drive a back-hoe.
Theodore Roosevelt’s words are still applicable today. When I travel to the Southern United States it’s noticeable how many people have Spanish as their first / only language. In parts of England many Asian female immigrants cannot speak English. It’s sad, but one cannot be a true member of society if you don’t routinely speak the language. In this modern technological world, one cannot be a valuable member of society if you don’t speak English.
Some say that we should welcome ethnic diversity. And that opposing unfettered immigration is racist. All I know is that you’d have to be crazy to allow all and sundry to live in your home.
immigrants do fill lots of roles in the hospitality industry.
Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. ~ Albert Einstein
Smoking and drinking are incredibly stupid aspects of human nature.
Most people are constructive, positive, and trustworthy most of the time. However, practically all of us will have done something dishonest, disreputable, or negative in our lifetimes ~ maybe more than once. And then there are some people who are irredeemably negative, disruptive, dishonest, and lazy all of the time.
One or more of that ilk broke into my apartment building last night, smashing the lock on one of the street doors in the process. Despite there being CCTV cameras monitoring the street outside this building, and further internal CCTV cameras inside, I hold out no hopes that any miscreant will ever be made to pay for this offence.
Another aspect of human nature is that it feels just too difficult to track down and punish petty offenders against the laws of property and human decency. We can all be lazy, indolent, and uncaring some of the time.
The main thing about human nature is that a leopard never changes its spots, (well, almost never). A person who is alcoholic, an addict, thief, liar, irredeemably negative, cheats, gambles ~ will always, always be that horrible person.
Some say that there is a really good person in all of us. And that given a chance we can all be a superior being. All I know is that some people aren’t even worth giving half a chance.
some are forever bastards and sluts
Achieve your dream life by rejecting pressure entirely.
Fear is mostly learned.
Low self-esteem is learned.
The experience of sin is learned.
Fear, expectations, obligations, shame, negativity, the notion of sin, anxiety, nervousness, shyness, cynicism…, plague most of us, and none of these are real, these are just emotions, these are things that we have allowed others to teach us.
A lot of our negative character traits are things we have learned through life; arrogance, addictions, alcoholism, brutality, complacency, criminality, dependency, envy, greed, intolerance, jealousy, lying, paranoia, promiscuity, timidity, vindictiveness….. We are not born with these character defects, we had to learn them, and they are not real, even though they feel very real.
Life is too short to spend in negativity. So I have made a conscious effort not to be where I don’t want to be. ~ Hugh Dillon.
Our thoughts, feelings, emotions, feel incredibly real. My own thoughts, feelings, and emotions were very real to me, and they ruled my life.
I could become very paranoid, jealous, and angry about my partner’s past ~ and that is insane. The past cannot hurt me, and there’s nothing I can do about it anyway.
We should not be a product of our negative thinking. We are not our thoughts, feelings, emotions, preconceptions, and assumptions. If we wish it we have free will.
Other things bothered me a lot; cyclists, bad drivers, charities, environmentalists, the medical profession, people in uniform, politicians, the stupid and the lazy people in this world….. I spent a lot of my time being annoyed, frustrated, and bad-tempered.
What I needed was a new way of looking at the world, a new way of dealing with all the bad stuff that was ruling and ruining my life.
What I decided was that, deep down, I didn’t actually care about any of this stuff, in exactly the same way that I don’t care one jot for the idea of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change, (man-made global warming). What I decided was all this stuff that had been bothering me, all the people and organisations that had been bothering me, could just Fuck Off.
I no longer give all this pernicious negativity permission to affect my life.
Now I can tell the World to; ‘Fuck Off and Have a Nice Day. Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out, and Please Don’t Keep In Touch.’
It’s a very empowering attitude. Obviously I don’t often actually say that out aloud, but just thinking it generates a very liberating feeling.
Try it. If something or someone upsets you, mentally tell yourself that you don’t give a fuck. If negative thoughts, feelings, emotions are plaguing you, then mentally tell yourself that you don’t give a fuck.
If some insane attitude or weird preconceptions of your own are ruining your life, just tell yourself that you don’t give a fuck, that you don’t even want to know.
Some say that we should be caring and compassionate, that we should give until it hurts. And, that we should accept the pain of the world and everyone in it. All I know is that I don’t give a fuck.
don’t let other people control your life
Life without trees is life without Love.
The street where I live is under serious redevelopment, which involves making a tremendous amount of mess. It also means that the contractors have cut down all the mature trees which used to line both sides of the street, and surround the old church, (which is now actually an art gallery).
Perhaps the redevelopment is a good idea, and the place will look much better when it’s all finished, but cutting down all the trees is just urban vandalism.
Where I live now looks as though urban riots / a small war has just been through there.
And, the old church / art gallery now looks utterly bereft. All such a shame.
As you can tell,
it’s still raining cats and dogs here.
Banning cannabis just makes it even more desirable.
Some say that using cannabis has medicinal benefits. And that using a little weed never hurt anyone. All I know is that regularly using cannabis will put you on a slippery slope to misery, degradation, and death.
The US Food and Drug Administration, (FDA), has not approved marijuana for medicinal use, although a large number of doctors and their patients swear by its effectiveness and positive health benefits. Which is utterly delusional because a placebo is just about as effective as cannabis when it comes to relieving the worst symptoms of most illnesses. However, people still take medicinal marijuana to obtain relief from the more unpleasant symptoms of their illness ~ and not just to get high. However, medicinal marijuana will still give you a rush and get you high.
Cannabis in my view is being deliberately oversold as a medication, deliberately so by people whose primary objective is drug legalisation. Nations should be cautious and should not be seduced by extravagant and unscientific claims by noisy lobbyists. ~ David Raynes
This inevitable drug rush is because marijuana’s healing properties come from its high cannabidoil (CBD) content and critical levels of medical terpenes, flavonoids, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD, won’t get you high, but THC certainly will. Actually, there are more than 100 cannabinoids in marijuana ~ doctors and scientists don’t know what effect some of these potent chemicals have on the human brain and body.
Nevertheless, medicinal marijuana does show some slightly positive effects in treating certain psychological problems, and the pain from illness such as degenerative neurological disorders. Allegedly, medicinal marijuana helps ease pain, nausea and loss of appetite in people with HIV and cancer, and it just might help people with epilepsy or multiple sclerosis. It’s the CBD and THC that has these beneficial effects.
What THC does is make your brain release dopamine ~ the pleasure chemical, and to be honest, that’s why everyone uses pot, even the people who take it for ‘medicinal’ reasons. You will get high if you take cannabis for any reason ~ you will feel more relaxed, happier, and probably sleepy. You may also have hallucinations, delusions, short term memory loss, paranoia ~ and if you have pneumonia or bronchitis those illnesses will suddenly get a lot worse.
Cannabis does more harm than good, even when taken for medical reasons. New medical guidelines have been issued in Canada, (where cannabis is legal), warning that the negative effects of the weed far outweigh the minor benefits it has for most illnesses. The Canadian Family Physician journal states that in the few conditions where cannabis is helpful the effects are only marginally better than a placebo.
This Canadian guidance states that there is little evidence that cannabis could help many patients at all, and that the downsides far exceed the potential benefits.
Marijuana very strong stuff, especially the more potent types grown now, and its effects last a very long time. You will still be suffering from the after-effects of using pot four weeks later. Pot is addictive, and it’s also a gateway drug to worse things such as cocaine and heroin.
Marijuana is damaging and dangerous. If you use marijuana a lot you will probably get one or more serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia, anxiety and depression, memory problems, have difficulty with coordination, distortions in your sense of time and space, and have suicidal thoughts. Your work, social life, and interpersonal relationships will suffer. You will do risky and stupid things. To top it off, marijuana damages unborn babies too.
The real reason anyone uses cannabis is to experience the instant gratification of a THC / Dopamine rush. Anyone who craves instant gratification is immature and nowhere near being a balanced, grown up, grounded, and together person. They care little about the future, themselves, or anyone else. They have no real life outside of feeding their own wants, needs, and desires. They are unlikely to ever get well until they first learn to cure their own need for instant pleasures. This applies to anyone who demonstrates little self-control.
If you really want to turn into a Mr. Hyde, then smoke pot.
Guns make very small men feel very big.
The whole world must know by now that on St. Valentines day a nineteen years old youth called Nicholas Cruz carried out his very own cowardly massacre at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida. After about 7 minutes of shooting, 17 people lay dead, and 14 others were wounded, some of them critically.
Nicholas Cruz was expelled from that Florida High School for ‘disciplinary reasons’ after ‘getting into trouble’. It is now said that this cowardly youth is mentally ill, has a history of killing animals, showed off his kills and firearms on social media, and that his mother called the police to their home 39 times to try and ‘talk some sense into him’.
It is also said that the other students were very afraid of Nicholas Cruz and his propensity for violence when he did attend the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida.
So, how was it that Nicholas Cruz was, ‘perfectly legally’, able to buy an AR-15 assault rifle and magazines at Sunrise Tactical Supply, of 7600 Wiles Rd. Coral Springs? The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives say that; ‘No laws were violated in the procurement of this weapon’.
Really? And now 17 people are dead and at least 14 injured, some of them critically. Because Nicholas Cruz was allowed to legally buy an AR-15 and magazines.
The Colt AR-15 assault rifle is a military weapon of war, and a variant of the US military’s M16 rifle. Along with the Russian AK-47 (Kalashnikov), the AR-15 is the weapon of choice for terrorists and mass murderers who carry out insane random shootings. Stephen Paddock used a variant of the AR-15 to kill 58 people in Las Vegas on October 1st 2017.
The AR-15 is a lightweight semi-automatic rifle, either 16, 20, 0r 24 inches in length. It fires either the US .223 Remington, or 5.56 x 45 mm NATO cartridge, with a probable rate of fire of 90 rounds a minute, and an effective range of 600 yards. It is said to be a very user-friendly ergonomic weapon.
The gun laws in Florida are very lax. Florida is a ‘shall issue’ state and will routinely allow ‘concealed carry’ licences for handguns. You don’t need a permit to buy or carry a rifle or shotgun in Florida, nor do you have to register your weapons. You can buy as many guns as you like, all at the same time, including assault weapons with large-capacity magazines, and .50 caliber rifles. All you have to be is 18 years of age, (or a minor must have the permission of their parent or legal guardian), and you can equip yourself to start a reasonably sized war in the State of Florida.
Nicholas Cruz wasn’t old enough to buy a beer, but he was more than old enough to buy a deadly weapon and carry out his own St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
And Florida is not alone, the most lenient gun laws in the USA are to be found in; Arizona, Alaska, Wyoming, Vermont, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Utah, and South Carolina.
From England, the gun laws and gun culture in the USA look utterly insane. The US Constitution’s Second Amendment looks like a throwback to 1765, 1776, and 1783. The British Redcoats are not going to march down Pennsylvania Avenue anytime soon. The only time an American President likely to hear the massed bands of the Brigade of Guards play ‘The British Grenadiers’ would be on a State Visit to London.
Keep your Second Amendment and keep your mass shootings.
You are in our thoughts and you have the deepest sympathies of all England
Core Values are who you are when no one is watching.
Appreciation of natural beauty is one of my core values.
I cannot claim to know, accept, and understand in detail what my core values about Life are. In fact, I even had to check the definition of ‘core values’ before I could work on knowing, accepting, and understanding my own core values. The various definitions seem to coalesce into;
Core Values are Fundamental Beliefs and Principles that guide a person’s conduct and relationships with others.
It would appear that Core Values can be positive, negative, or pretty meaningless and neutral. I firmly believe that almost everyone has all three types of core values, and we all have more negative core values than we would like to believe.
My own negative core values include;
- Everybody lies.
- The world is full of fools, and 90% of the people I meet will be much less intelligent than I.
- The world is a dangerous and brutal place, and a man has to be capable, knowledgable, and tough to survive and thrive.
- Casual sex, first date sex, sex with multiple partners, picking up girls in bars ~ are all reprehensible behaviours.
My more positive core values include;
- Treating my friends with kindness, consideration, acceptance, understanding, and unselfish love.
- A belief that there is great beauty in this world, and it should be protected, celebrated, and appreciated.
- Life is short, and I should therefore make the very most of every minute of every single day.
- I should continue to strive for self-improvement and self-awareness.
- We should treat all others as well as we possibly can, just as we ourselves would wish to be treated.
If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals. ~ J.K. Rowling
As it goes, I have a small problem with the quote from J.K. Rowling, as it makes the assumption that some people are superior to others, ergo some people are inferior. Actually, this is true, but it is not a pleasant thought.
My wishy-washy, neutral and meaningless core beliefs include a belief that politics, and religion are pointless, dishonest, and self-serving. Which may really be more negative than neutral.
There are some other words which resonate with me when it comes to my core values;
Honesty, Integrity, Individuality, Enjoyment, Trustworthiness, Reliability, Wisdom, Simplicity, Learning, Discipline, Truthfulness, Politeness….. All of these words should probably form part of my written core values.
It’s actually all pretty difficult stuff. I think I need to meditate, or take a long walk, or just let my subconscious mind ponder the whole subject of my own core values for a while. It could take the rest of my life. It should take the rest of my life.
Dawn seen from the garret.
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coping with only one hand
in the film noir bad day at black rock Spencer Tracy plays a one-armed man coping with deception, difficulty, and danger. a few days ago i sprained my right wrist, and from my limited recent experience, coping with anything while you can only use one hand is damn difficult.
typing this blog post with my left hand is much harder than you’d think ~ maybe there are keyboards specially adapted for only one hand.
basic daily tasks ~ washing, shaving, and dressing are taking me a long time and much thought. going out, for example to do some shopping, is just not going to happen. how vulnerable is having only one good hand making me feel?
household chores are unbelievably time consuming ~ cooking and washing up the dirty dishes takes so much effort it will have to be take-out food and ready-meals until i can use both hands again. i did some laundry yesterday, and found i can’t neatly fold clean stuff. if i lost the use of my right hand on a long-term basis, either i’d have to send out my laundry, or get a home-help. (there’s a snag with a home-help for me; nobody is allowed to come into my garret.)
other ordinary tasks such as bed making are problematic with only one good hand ~ and i have no idea how i’m going to tie my shoelaces.
all this makes me realise that if one doesn’t have the usual complement of fully functioning bits, then one’s day-to-day life becomes difficult, slow-paced, frustrating, expensive, and maybe reliant on others.
a really good society would give extra help to those less fortunate, to those with physical, or mental, or other problems. however, i don’t see too many signs that we’re living in a good society right now. at least, my sprained wrist should get better soon, and in England treatment for my sprained wrist is ‘free’. i’m kind of glad that i don’t live in the USA today.
The writing was on the wall when Britain refused to have anything to do with Europe’s grandiose, fatally flawed scheme to replace the national currencies of its member states with a single pan-European currency, the Euro.
The usual suspects were all in favour of Britain dumping the Pound Sterling, and accepting the new Monopoly Money currency. Left-Liberal politicians, Europhile officials, and the leaders of big business all warned that Britain was destined for economic failure if we did not adopt the Euro ~ well that was a load of bull droppings. The Euro has proved a disaster, especially for the smaller, less wealthy countries, Greece, and Ireland being two notable examples.
These same usual suspects are trumpeting the same doom and gloom now that the people of England have voted to leave a club we didn’t even know we were joining. If you lived here you would be heartily sick of the amount of air-time the pro EU BBC are giving to the vapid talking heads.
Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. ~ Rudyard Kipling
The European Union was sold to the English as a free trade zone, not as an attempt to replace the sovereign nations of Europe with a sort of United States of Europe, with a single European Government, mostly made up of unelected technocrats. This was just a small part of the internationalists goal of a one-world government. Not only that, the corrupt European Union receives, net, billions of £ from England, every single damn year. Some of that money comes back to the United Kingdom disguised as EU largesse.
And that is called paying the Dane-geld; but we’ve proved it again and again, that if once you have paid him the Dane-geld you never get rid of the Dane. ~ Rudyard Kipling
There are some immediate downsides to the English electorate’s decision to walk away from the European Union;
- Total chaos in the United Kingdom’s political system. (We English despise all politicians, with the exception of Churchill, and possibly Thatcher.)
- Total chaos in the financial markets, especially the City of London. (So what, some City cowboys are just using Brexit to make money.)
- A down-grading of Britain’s credit rating from AAA+ to AA. (Good, we borrow too much anyhow.)
- A resurgence of the loony Left-Liberals, all of whom are saying that the electorate was wrong, stupid, ill-informed, and we want another referendum, preferably one we can rig. (Have you seen the joke they call Jeremy Corbin?)
- New calls for Independence in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, and by the way these countries don’t want to leave the EU. (Good, these countries are a drain on England’s prosperity, and they all hate the English.)
You want to know what the ‘man on the Clapham Omnibus’ thinks about those downsides ~ the average Englishman doesn’t give a damn. We do not like being told what to do by a bunch of Johnny Foreigners, we don’t like uncontrolled immigration, we really don’t like politicians, unelected officials, the leaders of big business, and pseudo intellectual professors who would like England to be a communist country. As always England will prevail in the end.
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone, and so hold on when there is nothing in you except the will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ ~ Rudyard Kipling.
After the immediate chaos, the politicians had better negotiate an EU exit deal which is satisfactory to the average Englishman. If they don’t, if they try to sell the same old stinking fish in new wrappings, the chaos you see now will be as nothing to the upheaval to come. Politicians need to remember that the ballot box is a two-edged sword, and sometimes it cuts off the heads of the complacent.
Historically, England has always looked to the sea. Every single time England has become involved in the politics of Europe it has cost us dear.
Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour. ~ Churchill
My American friends also have reasons to be worried. As you are about to celebrate your Independence Day, the independence of the U.S.A. is under increasing attack by the United Nations, ably assisted by your incumbent President and staunch UN proponent, Mr Barak Obama.