life itself is just an historical movie

Rolling in Clover ?
Have you noticed how most well off people consider the ailments and woes of the marginalised and less fortunate are due to everything else other than the lack of money?

Young people in Ireland today are becoming increasingly frustrated and marginalised from attaining what they see as the ladder to social success and this is reflected in the tragic numbers of young people committing suicide and the numbers requiring or currently receiving treatment for “mental health” related problems. These are people who feel alienated within the society in which they live. That is something requiring a broad perspective of approach if it is to be tackled with any effective sincerity.

Young people are being born into a greatly changed Irish society and are growing up with its changed perspectives. Those changes in perspective have far outsripped the creation of a social infrastructure to match and young people are growing up with visions and apsirations that many of them find impossible to even start out upon.

In the last decade Ireland has become much more of a demand driven consumer production society—a situation in which by necessity menial production labour is in far greater demand than probably any other form of employment. It has become a land of fat cats getting fatter by the labours of the masses. As such, it has joined the modern developing world.

But for sure the roots to the difficulties go much deeper. Ireland has changed in other ways in the last decade. It has become a land flowing with legislation—never mind the porter. And though much of that legislation looks fine in principle even if it might not be widely agreed with—in practice the bulk of it is unworkable.

Legislation is, to all intent, what can and what can’t be done within the laws of the land. Yet there is little sense in politicians and civil servants spending many hours preparing and drafting legislation if at the end of the day it brings little real benefits to anyone except the politicians and civil servants who draw their wages from such labor.

If for any reasonable amount of time you stop to think about the world in which we live you’ll pretty soon figure out that beneath the glory paint it’s a pretty messed up place.

It shouldn’t be like that. It doesn’t even have to be like that. But it is. And it is so simply because we let it be so. We lack the guts to admit our own weaknesses, preferring instead to remain caught up in insignificant and meaningless hand-me-down pastures built on the foundations of a long ago established status quo that was decadent even to begin.

It takes real guts to put aside personal comfort and gain for honest appraisal. It takes guts enough to get out of straitjacketed indoctrination. It takes guts and believe me, the guts are still lacking, because to first find them, you have to learn how to really care.

You can smile, you can laugh, you can wrap yourself in the clover of a contented lifestyle but if you do, you’d better pray that life’s less welcome episodes pass you widely by, for if you by chance end up on their byways you’ll very quickly realise just what fragile and shaky foundations you had built your home upon.

Just like the people who built their homes along the world's tornado alleys and avalanche fields, many will somehow escape all dangers and having so escaped, will continue on in the illusion that they are in fact safe.

All of us, whether we like it or even choose to accept it or not, live as part of and within so-called society. Society is a collection of people living together as a community. Some see it as a Sunday afternoon in expensive clothing where it becomes ridiculously important not to foolishly put a luxuriously clad foot into a dirty gofer hole because it might leave blotches on some ivory tower built solely of banknotes.

And that is the problem. Banknotes. For some, their absence becomes the problem and they spend—and as equally often waste—much if not all of their lives attempting to accumulate them at the expense of their very own beliefs and principles.

It is difficult to see such endeavours for the futile expenditure of energy that they really are. Futile because:

The list is endless. But then, we have made human life into the universe’s biggest pretence and among our casualties is that very list. Acknowledged, but ignored. We continue to be subservient to our greed, to let money dictate our lives and the lives of others. How this may be changed is probably mankind’s biggest unsolved problem. And the biggest hurdle is our own greed.

Certainly the starting blocks are linked to a serious acknowledgement of the problem. But once off, it becomes necessary to realise that this is, and can be, no race. Nothing will be accomplished quickly and there are no individual prizes. And there are and will be many enemies along the course.

And the only true helper is keeping the faith.
Article © 29 May, 2003




Tuesday, March 18, 2003
by Keith Harris
As an Englishman born just a stone's throw from the seat of the industrial revolution, it has become difficult to equate the England of today with that of the nation that set out to defend the free world against the military ambitions of the Third Reich, Mussolini's Italy and the axis powers, and the Japanese Empire.

We have seen countless conflicts since the end of the two world wars. Israel continues to defy international law in much the same as Iraq did, and yet no allied forces are poised on the borders of Israel to force that country to remove its armed military forces from adjoining foreign territories and to cease its rocket attacks on those territories. These are confusing issues.

It is said that the young men and women of the military forces now in the Middle East will do whatever job may be required of them. Many of them may have misgivings. Many havre already lost their lives and many more may not return from active duty.

Talk has also focused on the military use of western journalists and the refusal to permit the reporting of matters that the military do not want reporting. Meanwhile White House press briefings ridicule journalists who ask questions deemed too awkward by adopting a condescending attitude. These are people put into power through election. They do not have any inherent right to such power but appear to have forgotten that fact.

In the UK, as no doubt elsewhere too, the government retains the right and power to requisition public facilities services for military use in the event of a national emergency. These include the closing down of certain major trunk roads to all but military use, for instance the trunk road network linking Plymouth with Southampton and Dover; and the shutting down of the national telephone systems except for designated users.

Meanwhile UK politicians in Westminster argue about action they might take which they designate as being in the 'national interest'. The national interest is a criterion they appear intent on deciding for themselves without input from the general public. It is a convenient excuse, that if accepted, removes the need for deeper examination while matters that are truly also in the national interest; the presence of poverty, breakdowns in medical or emergency services to name a few, skip the criteria. This is not a condemnation on a personal level. It is a look at what is going on as a result of world events.

In articles published elsewhere on this web site, US journalist Jason Leopold sets out the case that the agenda for war in Iraq was set out years ago in the think tanks of the Pentagon and the White House, and that the currently unfolding events concerning the US in the Middle East are taking place to an already decided strategy. There is also a disturbing article (Free-Speech Zone The US administration quarantines dissent) on this site relating to what has been referred to as the US authority’s attempt to stifle protest.

At the onset of hostilities in Iraq the US utilised a broad range of communications facilities including e-mail to send messages to Iraq's military commanders urging them not to retaliate and simply put down their weapons and capitulate. The Pentagon said the messages have received a 'favourable' response. We are in effect seeing the active deployment of the mightiest military power in history to date.

A few hours earlier Colin Powell made the comment that the US had 'done nothing' to deserve it being attacked by terrorists and to be the target of the hatred in which America was perceived to be held by many in other countries.

This is a selective and isolate perception. Holding to it without taking a broader view to encompass the rest of the world is to fall victim to arrogant misunderstanding. It also implies a US belief that the rest of the world wishes to live the US lifestyle.

Writing many years ago, German philosopher Immanuel Kant drew the conclusion that the eventual outcome of any capitalist society would be the descent into anarchy. Greater disparate wealth incites a perceived need for greater defence against any perceived 'threat'. It is a vicious circle than cannot be broken from within the capitalist lifestyle, for the very existence of that lifestyle is dependent on disparate wealth.



A Perspective
Shortly after the end of World War II the British government of the time deliberately infected the Scottish island of Gruinard with anthrax as an experiment.

The island is located close to Ullapool off Scotland's north-west coast and is most certainly within very easy wind reach of the mainland, one quarter of a mile to the east.

Ullapool is the largest nearby settlement or town and is just a little over 10 miles away as the crow flies but the Scottish coast, less than one quarter of a mile from Gruinard, is dotted with villages and settlements, and was at the time of the experiment.

If that is not scary enough, the post-war government also planned to explode an atomic bomb in Scotland in another experiment that, thankfully, was never carried out. The plans for this experiment can be found in documents released from secrecy.

Sun UK journalist Lorraine Kelly writing of the Gruinard episode on 20 Oct 2001 commented "God only knows what the scientists were thinking of back then".

What indeed. In the early mid-1980s I wrote a commissioned article relating to the efficacy of county emergency plans for Sussex and Kent - contingency plans drawn up to be activated in the event of a nuclear disaster of up to ‘melt-down’ scale occurring at the twin Dungeness power plants.

The plans called for an evacuation of the population from no more than a three mile radius of the power plants and included the establishment of refugee, or evacuation camps well within the predicted fall-out range. In fact, weather conditions could extend the fall out blanket to the bulk of the UK and would most certainly shroud London and the Home Counties. Now a nuclear bomb ain't like a peashooter that you can just nip out of range of in just a few hops.

Dungeness 'A' went into service in 1966 as a Calder Hall type of reactor and was then given a maximum 'safe' operating life of from 10 to 15 years. However, even by 1984, when I prepared and wrote my article, the material of the buildings at Dungeness A, which was then still functioning, was considered too radioactive for the reactor and associated buildings to be dismantled or demolished, and this in a report by the UK nuclear inspectorate..

I have to take a short break here—I've just spotted some suspicious looking types hanging around in the street beneath the window...


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