Picture source :funny asduck

Money, Money,Money: the voting illusion

It’s election season. The amount of significance that can be attributed to that term varies for each individual, and this writer can state early that when it comes to general elections, such events grab very little of my attention.My serious attention anyway.

Election campaigns are sensationally entertaining, whether your politically minded or not.


The UK has just announced the depressing results of the general election (Conservative majority), while canvassing and election campaigns are still ongoing in the US and Ireland. Ireland is more preoccupied with its referendum on Gay marriage as of late, so the US will be the focal point.

It’s safe to say Obama will be ousted, so who will take the throne?
Clinton, a token of traditional US political history, and slightly more approachable because of the possession of a female reproductive system, which enforces an illusion of change, reform, good warmheartedness?
Or Bush, another token for the more violent, radical, and- lets face it- stupid side of US political history?

Or a variety of other candidates: Romney, Paul, Cruz, Rubio?

Who will you, the people, vote in?
Who will you, the people, pick? Who will you, the people, elect into government?

The answer to all three?
No-one. lobbyists-1-300x230You, the people, in addition to your opinions, and votes, have very meager influence in the lobbying and campaigning that takes behind closed doors, or sometimes out in public. With the Multimillion and billion dollar fiasco that is US lobbying and Campaigning, best believe when you simply follow the money in politics, your going in the right direction.

Take the Koch Brothers for example. With the intention to spend $886 Million in the run up to the 2016 election, ensuring who they want in power gets power, only the naive could think they’re little box-tick is enough to change the system.

But we know that, right? It has to be largely accepted, whether we like it or not, that general elections and voting is largely just a show. We know how it goes- they stand up there, say some speech, make some promises to do this,that, and the other, and we watch and say “Great”.

But deep down we know it’s all bollox.

Its largely accepted: Politicians lie.
We Expect Them to Lie.

But we still go and vote, fueling this endless cycle of pointless nonsense.

If anything, the voting process is there to assure Politicians and Government, that it is they who still have the power.

Anyways.

From following US news, specifically honing in on whenever the Dangerous Duo  are involved, their names resound in my mind like some evil duo of boss’s in a video game; or a partnership of villains from a movie. Perhaps the New Avengers movie (I should state clearly here I am not familiar with comic books at all), with the creepy pale Brother and Sister, who, at the beginning, use their powers for evil; until they realize the extent of the mass destruction they’ve unleashed.

Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver=Koch Brothers.

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I can’t be the only one who see’s it.

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“Kill them!”- The Farce of Fox News

Following the tragic events in Paris, Fox News has unleashed a torrent of racist, offensive, and full on incorrect and dangerous venom.

Russell Brand highlights (humorously) some of the bile, of which is shown and analyzed in his YouTube channel The Trews.

The events in Paris were truly awful, and shocking. However, the American media have used the tragedy to further its own a agenda by spreading fear and hatred of Muslim communities in the US and abroad, clearly evident in Fox News’s coverage and commentary on the events. I’m Irish and rarely watch Fox News, but was taken aback at how such poison and irrationality is permitted on US mainstream television. That woman is alarmingly scary.

Kill them!”
Bomb them!”

Really Judge Jeannie? Is that a sound minded, informed, or even educated response to atrocities which didn’t even happen in your own country?

And should a whole news station even allow such a gross emotional exploitation of people in and out of the US by calling for continued violence?

Evidently there is very little difference between the response of Fox News and the mindset of the Paris terrorists to things that upset them.


But then again, Fox News is owned by Rupert Murdoch.

6 Scary Secrets About Flying

Whether you like flying or not, there are some things better left unknown. That blissful ignorance is about to be shattered.

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1. Pilot’s spend most of the flight asleep
Being an airpilot is an extremely exhaustive job, so its no surprise that flight crews work naps into their work schedule. I remember once on a particularly bumpy flight to Atlanta, a pilot plopping himself down in the row behind me, pulling over a curtain, and going asleep. In these circumstances the co-pilot is flying the plane, but it has become increasingly often for pilots to wake up and discover whoever is supposed to be flying the plane asleep also. In February 2013 two pilots fell asleep on a flight over Hawaii, flying past their destination. The Air France disaster on flight 447 found the pilot asleep moments before the crash killed 228 people. The NTSB has called pilot exhausting an ‘insidious’ problem. So chances are when your attempting an inflight nap, there’s others-namely the pilots- who are way ahead.
2. Planes are filthy
Airplanes-from the blankets to the trays are ridden with germs and bacteria. Recent studies have shown  bacteria such as MRSA and E.coli can live on planes for days. Millions of people travel everyday, and planes dont always have enough time to be cleaned down and disinfected in between flights. So keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy. (excuse the pun)

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3. Plane water is filthy
Water for plane lavatories and even your tea and coffee come from the planes tank, which has been known to harbor bacteria such as E.coli and other harmful bacteria. So unless your water is coming from a sealed bottle, you should probably pass on the beverage.

4. Most of the time, pilot’s aren’t even flying the plane
Most commercial airliners are flown by computers (the autopilot), which means flight crews have very little to do after take off until landing. Arguably this may be safer as it reduces the risk of human error, but it also means pilots in the industry don’t get as much hands on practical experience with the aircraft they’re flying.

plane404_673848c5. Planes are old, but rarely get full inspections
During routine maintenance checks, only sections of the aircraft are inspected, as full checks can take months- which would result in a loss of business to airliners. In an extremely competitive and demanding industry, airline companies are always trying to reduce maintenance and fuel costs, even if this means postponing the maintenance of old planes (most of 20-30 years old) which have likely experienced wear and time, as some planes fly over 7 flights per day- thats 210 a month, thousands a year

6. Pilots don’t always tell you whats going on
“We tell passengers what they need to know. We don’t tell them things that are going to scare the pants off them. So you’ll never hear me say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we just had an engine failure,’ even if that’s true.” – Jim Tilmon, retired American Airlines pilot, Phoenix

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Britain’s Prince Andrew linked to US ‘sex slave’ abuse case with Jeffrey Epstein- David Icke was right, again.

A woman has filed claims billionaire banker Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused her multiple times as a minor, and loaned her out to various high profile individuals, including Prince Andrew. One of the most recent stories to come out in the mainstream media, shadowing Icke’s claims years before.  Obviously, Buckingham Palace has denied the claims. Full story here

Come Fly With Me

2014 has a been a disaster for the aviation industry. According to statistics, 2014 was the most fatal year since 2005. The disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight mh370 is still a mystery today, and coupled with the shooting down of another Malaysian airliner over a conflict region in Ukraine, and the recent Air Asia tragedy; the events of 2014 has proved just how complex and conflicted regulations within Airline industry can be.

8th of March– 239 Lives were lost in the MH370 inccident
17th July– 298 lives were lost in the second Malaysian Airlines inccident over Ukraine
24th of July– 116 lives lost in the Air Algerie crash near Gossi
28th December– 162 lives lost in the recent Air Asia crash in the Indian sea

(Data from aviation Safety Network)

Coupled with other incidents around the world involving smaller aircraft and fatalities figures, the total number of fatalities for 2014 is 1,320.

While 2014 is still far from being the deadliest year for flying, and is still one of the safest years to date; the above incidents (while all maintaining very unique and diverse circumstances) have resulted in the death of 100’s- friends, partners, children, parents- who should have arrived safely to their destinations.

As NTSB investigations are still ongoing, it can be presumed that factors pertaining to weather, airline error, pilot error and mechanical failure may have a played a part in one if not all of the events above. However, in this day and age, does it not seem slightly incredible that a passenger jet can be authorized to fly through a conflict airspace, and be subsequently shot down by military? That, despite years of training, a supposedly trained crew can lose control of an aircraft? Or that despite extremely advanced aviation and tracking technology, a commercial jet can simply vanish, all 239 lives with it?

Malaysian airline wreckage in Ukraine


Business is Business
It must always be born in mind that the commercial airline industry is a business, and when it comes to cutting costs and corners, airline giants are no strangers. To survive in an ever changing and competitive industry, Airlines are increasingly forced to find ways to reduce costs, but the extent to which these efforts jeopardize safety are ambiguous. Reducing fuel costs, maintenance costs and staff costs, will inevitably result in performance issues. Reluctance to recall faulty aircraft, or take longer routes to avoid bad weather on strict time schedules, all pave the way for discrepancies between safety and cost efficiency. This is not to imply that the industry actively seeks to endanger the lives of its flight crew and passengers; but rather that the events of 2014 have revealed, quite publicly, that airline procedures can be rife with error and poor judgement as result of the constant pressure to meet high demands, while maintaining low running costs.

We’ve all heard it before, “flying is the safest way to travel”. And, technically it is. but it depends on a significant number of factors, some of which are being unfortunately being compromised to meet business needs.

Flying is so many parts skill, so many parts planning, so many parts maintenance, and so many parts luck. The trick is to reduce the luck by increasing the others.

-David .L Baker

Review of Russell Brand’s ‘Revolution’

Many of you may be shocked to learn of Comedian Russell Brand’s recent switch to political/current affair commentator. I know I was. Along with serious appearances on PrimeTime and elsewhere, in addition to Brand’s youtube channel “The Trews- News you can trust”, the comedian is using his name and charisma to provide his followers with a source of genuine unbiased political thought with regards to current affairs, terrorism, corporations, and a lot more. He has been involved with a number of protests such as the Irish Water Protests, marches against austerity measures in London, and most recently the New Era Housing estate movement. Many have been critical of Brand’s involvement and career change, and yet while Brand’s trademark egocentric,downright barmyness features strongly throughout, it in a way validates the overall earnestness of his agenda.


Russell Brand
Brands latest book Revolution is similar to The Trews in ways- the sometimes seemingly directionless ravings, the critique of modern day news reporting, politicians and figureheads, the sarcasm, the breakdown of overly complicated political jargon to layman terms, and more seriously, a persistent nudge in the direction of a worldwide, peaceful revolution.

How to take an ex sex and drug addict seriously on such a sombre level? Especially when the blatant hypocrisy of a celebrity whose benefited significantly from the exact structures he claims are failing is acknowledged? Well, I suppose you don’t have to. However, the research in Revolution which reference notorious academics such as Dave Graeber and Noam Chomsky among others, lend Brands work a credibility not so easily refuted, and coupled with Brand’s explanation of serious political and revolutionary ideologies through humorous means, make Revolution appealing to those without an interest in politics. And even if you don’t agree, its both an eye opening and entertaining read. If nothing else, Revolution provides insight to the reader of Brand’s own realization of the unfairness, greed and injustice that is rampant through all strata of society today. And he puts it simply:

“Unless you are the CEO of a a major corporation, you too in 2014-15 are repaying taxes to a Government that doesn’t represent you; they represent the interests of big business.”


Its worth noting that much of Brand’s work references spiritualism and faith,and specifically a spiritual revolution. It all sounded a bit too tree-hugging-hippy-ish to me too. But under all the spiritual anecdotes, there is some solid sense and logic to Brand’s thinking. Does Revolution call for a revolution? Yes, in a way, though not through the traditional connotations. He references Gandhi, in that people need to “Be the change” and that to truly see the injustices and failing of modern day democracy, we must break away from the capitalistic and materialistic mindsets so embedded in society.
Possible? Of course.new
Appealing? To some.
Successful? Depends.

Overall, Revolution is a work designed to, if not inspire mass revolt, then to encourage people to think for themselves and challenge the economical,corporate and political systems of today. To question the logic of following, maintaining and supporting a system that in all honesty, does not benefit the majority, but the elite few. Revolution is deliberately not overtly serious and thoroughly researched as to disengage readers, and this is where its success is, as those without an interest in politics and economics are not alienated. The lack of such may pose issues for the more academically minded, but even so it still references controversial topics such as trade agreements, foreign policy, bank bailouts and tax evasion. Arguably, it may just be the regurgitated rhetoric of pre-existing academics and ideologies, mingled with spiritualism and black humor, but regardless its a stimulating, provocative and engaging read.

‘Human Experimentation Was a Core Feature of the CIA Torture Program’

Interesting piece

Did You Check First?

If journalists and officials began talking about the tests that CIA psychologists conducted on suspected terrorists at U.S. black sites, would Americans demand the prosecution of those responsible?
– 2014/12/18

Source: www.truthdig.com

“[B]ecause the concept of torture has been so muddled and disputed,” she <Lisa Hajjar, a professor of sociology at UC Santa Barbara>concludes, “I suggest that accountability would be more publicly palatable if we reframed the CIA’s program as one of human experimentation. If we did so, it would be more difficult to laud or excuse perpetrators as ‘patriots’ who ‘acted in good faith.’ Although torture has become a Rorschach test among political elites playing to public opinion on the Sunday morning talk shows, human experimentation has no such community of advocates and apologists.”

—Alexander Reed Kelly.

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

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Can you afford to be healthy?

We’ve all been there. Shopping isles, foraging for the items we normally throw in our trollies, but wait; something catches our eye on the same shelf. Organic. Hmm. Same item but apparently better for you, and alas, more expensive. Less chemicals, GMO free, No artificial flavors ect. and of course it probably is better for you. But can you afford it?


Government: “Eat healthier”

We hear it regularly, government plans to tackle obesity and related illnesses, often preaching to us, the consumer, to “Eat healthier, Make better choices”. These statements do nothing more than insinuate that the blame is on society; poor eating habits result in poor health. It’s your fault (lets ignore for a moment the vested interests the Healthcare industry and pharmaceutical companies have in unhealthy societies). The truth is while more and more people are becoming aware of poor quality food standards and the health dangers cheap, processed, chemical pumped foods offer, people cannot simply just “eat Healthier”. It’s not like go exercise; walking and running are free. It’s not like get more sleep. Antibiotics and arsenic in the chicken. Growth hormones in the milk. Cancer causing sweeteners in, well, just about everything. Now that your aware of such dangers, surely you can spend an extra 15 minutes on your shopping trip to read the label of every item you pick up and make better, healthier choices.

Truth is, a shocking number of people can’t. Cancer causing, processed, dangerous foods are stocked in every food store at low prices, as opposed to organic foods (if your store even stocks them) which are generally more expensive, and less plentiful. In new study published by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, low income Americans would have to spend almost 70% of their income to meet the national dietary guidelines. So, while it’s all well and good for the government to simply blame societies lack of education regarding food, or allocating it to laziness, gluttony ect, and while this may be true in some cases, the fact that Governments maintain low food standards resulting in mass cheap food production that harms health is rather telling.

Bluntly, if low income families (nearly half of the USA) can’t afford a healthy lifestyle, this results in widespread unhealthy lifestyles, which results in health issues, which subsequently leads to a need for health care, which funds a booming Health and Pharmaceutical industry.

We are allowing ourselves to be told we’re to blame by the very organizations who are keeping us unhealthy.
Governments, Food and Healthcare companies need to stop allocating all the responsibility and blame for nationwide poor health and obesity epidemics to people and start taking responsibility for allowing the present day situation, where it’s cheaper to buy a box of doughnuts in Walmart then a bag of sprouts.

The R Bomb: The Abuse of Political Correctness

That’s racism.
“RACISM!”
“……..that’s just racist.”

thethinkinggaill

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, many of us have heard or read in the news numerous issues regarding racism and discrimination within the last few weeks. It seems nations worldwide are dealing with the topic, for instance the UK has had a flurry of issues regarding the political party UKIP, and whether protecting British homogeneity is racist or a legitimate concern. Ireland a few weeks ago had a ‘racist’ problem due to a lynch mob who protested outside a Roma gypsy home, the inhabitants of which were believed to be engaged in various criminal gangs and acts in the area. The US at present is under extreme scrutiny with regards to its law enforcement system, with the prolific deaths of 3 unarmed African American individuals at the hands of White policemen: Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner. However though ethnicity undeniably plays a part in all the…

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