Archive for January, 2015

Modern Hollywood directors must never have to try and watch their own films.

January 24, 2015

I’ve just watched the Hollywoog version of the Three Musketeers. I didn’t see much.

The reason is simple. American Director’s like verisimilitude; so scenes, set in dungeons and poorly lit spacecraft, have to be shot in such conditions.

These poor simple minded people mustn’t realise that whereas they and their cast can see in such conditions that doesn’t mean that their audiences can.

Their eyes can adjust to accomodate the limited light entering them, by dilating the pupils: The camera lens can’t.

That dark multitudinous hued tapestry, on the wall, appears as a bland, black emptiness on the celluloid/memory device.

The audience may be in a darkened Cinema, watching with dilated pupils, but all they see is that same bland, black emptiness.

They are morons.

They even do the same with the sound.

A whispered dialogue, in a crowded nightclub, is not possible, as anyone but a Hollywood Director knows.

Worse, when there is little background music, the superimpose a deafening soundtrack.

Why do scriptwriter’s bother crafting skilful dialogue, when we don’t hear it?

Why do Producer’s cough up for high quality sets and locations when we can’t see them?

No wonder more films are being produced as cartoons. Easier on the viewer’s and Producer’s. Kinder to the Scriptwriter’s.

Get rid of Director’s producing “art” and get people, who realise that they’re in the Entertainmennt Industry.

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Greedy Banker’s want to charge us for having to use bank accounts

January 24, 2015
A letter to the Daily Express (21/1/15) in response to a piece on the financial pages.
Obviously not one to be published.
I was angered to read in your financial section that the old bogey of charging us for holding bank accounts had re-surfaced.
There was some throwaway line about this country being a rarity in having free banking. A complete irrelevance.
The main excuse for paying the banks this money was that it was for our own good.
It wasn’t so they could have bigger bonuses etc., it was to “force” us to shop around for a better deal and to allow greater competition.
This insult to our intelligence thinks that bank charges come lower on our list of criteria than such ephemera as sponsorship deals for sporting events, or an occassional cheque in support of a local nursery, or even having more than one service counter.
We have been forced to accept wages (repeal of the Truck Acts) and pensions being paid into bank accounts.
We are fined by the utilities, unless we pay our bills by Direct Debit.
The only real choice regarding bank accounts is denied us.
Government measures to improve our lives, never seem to do so; they just dig deeper and deeper into our pockets.
Privatisation of the railways and the utilities was going too make them more efficient and cheaper.
Hands up those who believe that happened.

Censorship by force of Law is wrong.

January 24, 2015
A letter to the daily Express (21/1/15) in response to a piece by Ann Widdecombe:
Original:
No doubt Ann widdecombe is correct in her assessment of The Charlie Hebdo Magazine. I doubt much of its content would be found amusing on this side of The English Channel.
Here, when articles refer to the French, they usually contain adjectives such as “rude” and/or “arrogant”.
We wouldn’t dream of rebuking the loudmouth oaf, loudly spouting rubbish to those who will listen.
The French will.
They are not Muslim and have no problem with images of prophets and seem happy to pray to images of saints.
They do not see it as sacrilegeous.
The magazine was printed in their own country, in their own language, for their own people, according to their own sensibilities.
The support of Je suis Charlie is akin to the support, which would be offered by your neighbours, if a guest, in your house, demanded that it be re-decorated to their taste, or changed channels on your TV, because they found your viewing choice offensive.
That guest would be invited to leave in as robust language as that used by The Mayor of Rotterdam, rather than the muted tone expressed by those muttering “Je suis Charlie”, as George Clooney did.
Published Version:

French will not be cowed by Charlie Hebdo killings
NO doubt Ann Widdecombe is correct in her assessment of Charlie Hebdo. I doubt much of its content would be found amusing in the UK (“Is anybody thinking logically any more?”, January 21).
But the magazine was printed in France in their language according to their sensibilities.
The support of Je Suis Charlie is akin to the support offered by your neighbour if a guest in your house demanded that it be redecorated to their taste, or changed channels on your TV because they found your viewing choice offensive.
That guest would be invited to leave.

If Gov’t enabled everyone to protect their home computers from hackers, they’d have less problems with cyber-terrorism

January 18, 2015

This was a letter to the Daily Express after a scare piece on Cyber Terrorism, which I believe was intended to back up Cameron’s approach to Obama about sharing  access to everyone’s tweets etc.

Ross Clark’s piece on cyber terror is quite worrying, not because the threat exists but because of the suggestion that we are vulnerable.
The Millenium bug problem pointed up the danger of software that had been disseminated without anyone upgrading it to allow for a spillover in the date calculation.
However the glitch was fixed and we did not, as threatened, have passenger planes falling from the skies.
It seems ridiculous that an industry, where Goldmann-Sachs has just announced average bonuses of £250,000, can not have taken measures to safeguard themselves from a cyber attack.
Fair enough, there have been recent debilitating hacker attacks but these have been trivial. The Sony attack was apparently an inside job. The attack on a computer games console was by a lad in Southport and exploited software intended to allow interaction. It was easily remedied. An important U.S. agency had its Twitter account hacked and had to quickly shut down, with no real damage.
Most of these hacks were trivial hacks, on par with my opening a spam email.
Just consider cyber attacks from a home computer aspect.
I have free anti-virus software, free anti-spyware and free anti-malware. I keep these up-to-date and use them regularly. My microsoft platform can help me recover from a computer crash by storing computer images on an independent hard-drive, which I can use to restore to an earlier version.
My house-keeping consists of a daily anti-virus up-date and computer sweep. This is followed by running software, which removes all temporary files, caches, cookies etc.
I check my e-mails, deleting, or blocking all spam. I then surf the Net, using software, which blocks pop-ups and pop-unders, which might take me to unwanted and dangerous sites.
In the event of my computer slowing, or giving some hint of unwanted invasive software (more often by commercial operations, than a hacker), I have a physical disconnect switch preventing internet access. I can run a cache clean and an anti-malware sweep, before switching back on.
I download my files (pictures, documents etc.) on a monthly basis, to a hard-drive.
New important files, or files, which I’m currently working on, are stored on DVD drive, or smart-card, immediately after use.
I’m aware that there are hackers, out there, who might, through devilment, or psychotic rage, may want to attack me and may crash my computer. I may lose some files but most will be stored off-line and data lost will be minimal and usually replaceable.
On a national scale, Governments have people, who can write computer code in real-time and they have sufficient computer memory to eavesdrop and record all our e-mails and other social media.
They and the Multi-nationals must be able to safeguard themselves to an even better extent.
The real problem with Cyber-terror arises from men who want to control everything directly through their own personal console.
I operate, on-line, only part of the day, with a single computer network. Large organisations could run three networks on a rotating shift system; Uploading files, using files on-line, down-loading and screening files.
There is no need for every part of every computer function to be networked and on-line.
Why should it be possible for terrorists to be hypothetically able to take control of an aeroplane? An aeroplane needs radio contact during a flight. That doesn’t have to be connected to any other systems, except for automatic landing operations, which the pilot should be able to over-ride with a simple switch.
Reduce the level of automation and put humans in control of network connection. E.g. if you want to shut down a particular Power Station, on the National Grid, don’t have somebody in a Master control room doing it with a button. Make him phone a person in that Power Station, who can question the decision.
Denial of service attacks rely on Bots.
If Governments, instead of trying to hack everyone’s computers, provided free software to safeguard home computer’s from such invasive software, then a lot of cyber-terror would be severely hampered.
 

Northward Ho! If plebs move up here, the rich would need shovels

January 18, 2015

London is too expensive for plebs.
Even well-salaried people can’t afford to buy their own homes and rents are ridiculous.
Journey’s to work are horrendously long and expensive.
Even with “The London Allowance” most working class people must find it hard to make ends meet.
Consider moving up North, if you can find a job here.
Rent on a terraced house is about £400 per month around Wigan.
Manchester and Liverpool both have a thriving theatre life with places of interest.
Both are about 10 miles from Wigan i.e. about the length of the Northern line.
The Lancashire coast line is one long stretch of sandy beaches, out to the horizon.
North Wales, The Peak District and The Lake District are a day trip away.
It’s not as hot and dry, in The Summer, but it’s not as cold and miserable, in The Winter.
The best part is, if all the workers moved up here, the rich bastards would have to clean up their own shit and the politicians would begin to realise that they are important at times other than polling day.

97% of TTIP respondents objected to main clause : 1/3 were Brits.

January 16, 2015

This was the newsletter from 38 degrees

Good news: yesterday, MPs voted to say they want power over what’s in TTIP. [1] Tens of thousands of us got in touch with our MPs this week asking them to do just that – and we won!

It was a symbolic vote, and only a handful of MPs turned up. But now that MPs have said they think they should have a say on what’s in TTIP, ordinary people could have more power over the final deal.

Why? Because if a real vote happens, we can put pressure on our MPs to do the right thing. It’s an election year, so they’re worrying about what their voters think.

So – a step in the right direction!

And that isn’t the only good news on TTIP this week. On Tuesday, the EU Commission was forced to admit that 97% of people who responded to a TTIP consultation were against the bit of the deal that could let private companies sue our government. [2]

38 Degrees members flooded that consultation in our tens of thousands – a third (!) of all responses across Europe came from Britain. [3]

The EU has decided to ‘suspend’ negotiations on this controversial part of the deal. [4] Maybe they’re hoping this will make the fuss die down. They might try and put it back on the table when they think we’re not looking.

But we know that we won’t stop until the interests of ordinary people are put above the interests of big business. We’re turning the tide. Let’s keep going.

Thanks for being involved,

Megan, Susannah, Bex, Blanche and the 38 Degrees team

PS: TTIP – and 38 Degrees members! – made it on to the radio this week. If you’d like to listen, it starts at 35:00. Click here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04xg3kj

NOTES
[1] House of Commons Hansard: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150115/debtext/150115-0003.htm#15011570000001
The Guardian: MPs debate TTIP: Politics Live blog:
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2015/jan/15/nick-clegg-hosts-his-call-clegg-phone-in-politics-live-blog
[2] European Commission: Consultation on investment protection in EU-US trade talks:
http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/press/index.cfm?id=1234
[3] The Independent: TTIP: Activists triumph as contentious US free trade deal clause suspended:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ttip-activists-triumph-as-contentious-us-free-trade-deal-clause-suspended-9976090.html
[4] The Independent: TTIP: Activists triumph as contentious US free trade deal clause suspended:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ttip-activists-triumph-as-contentious-us-free-trade-deal-clause-suspended-9976090.html

snooping social media won’t catch terrorists

January 16, 2015

This is a letter, which was sent to the Daily Express on  15/1/15 and published the following day:

Original:

How quickly opinions change? It wasn’t so long ago that we were being bombarded by TV debates, Newspaper columnists and Editorials about celebrities, more particularly, politicians, deserving a right to a private life.
There were calls, by politicians, to prevent Journalists exposing the secret shenanigans of Important people.
There were calls to bring in legislation, such as that enjoyed by their counterparts, in France. Then, there were super injunctions flying out of court-rooms, tripping up members of the Media, who knew the identities of those engaged in various infidelities, and while speaking the names freely in their own inner circles, had to bite their tongues in the presence of the public.
Then we found out about how some journalists were able to achieve scoops by hacking telephone messages.
This was a “despicable and immoral act” and legislation was brought in to stop it.
Now, we are told, our own Prime Minister has gone begging for Obama’s help to carry out this “despicable and immoral act ” on everyone in the country.
How the minutiae of the lives of the masses can be of use to anyone but marketeers is not explained.
Those, involved in the Paris attacks had used 500 different mobile phones and had procured Kalashnikov’s.
They were well known to the Security forces and would, hopefully, have been under detailed scrutiny, yet were still able to prosecute their infamous acts.
I doubt the “Happy Birthday”, which I posted on Facebook would have helped prevent such an attack.

Published version:

Hypocritical social media spying won’t end terrorism

IT wasn’t so long ago that we were being bombarded with claims about celebrities and politicians deserving a right to a private life.

Then we found out about how some journalists were able to achieve scoops by hacking telephone messages.

This was a despicable act and action was taken to stop it.

Now our own Prime Minister has gone begging for Obama’s help to carry out a similar despicable act

by snooping on our social media posts (“FM’s web terror plea to Obama”, January 15).

Those behind the Paris attacks had used 500 different mobile phone calls and procured weapons.

They were well known to the -security forces and would, hopefully, have been under detailed

scrutiny, yet were still able to carry out their horrendous acts.

I doubt the “Happy Birthday”, I posted on Facebook to my gran would have made any difference.

Saudi Arabia has control of 60% of the World’s oil and uses that power.

January 12, 2015

Leo McKinstry wrote a piece in the Daily Express (12/1/15), which chided politician’s for not addressing the causes of Jihadism but merely hinted at Saudi involvement. I wrote this letter to The Express, because, I suspect that it is the Saudi’s who are, to a large extent, controlling world events and unless we are more open about it, their twisted religious views could eventually be imposed on all of us.

Leo McKinstry could go a little further in his attack on Western leaders denial over the cause of the Jihadist threat.
He mentions how the theocratic Saudi Government sentenced a blogger to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison, for insulting Islam.
Theocratic seems a mild word for a State, where children born to Muslim fathers are by law deemed Muslim, and conversion from Islam to another religion is considered apostasy and punishable by death.
Blasphemy against Sunni Islam is also punishable by death, but the more common penalty is a long prison sentence (I understand these are less comfortable than British prisons) .
He could have pondered on the fact that Saudi Arabia owns 60% of The World’s oil supply.
They control the oil price by a simple turn of the tap.
They are presently waging war on America’s fracking companies, trying to drive them out of business and return America into a dependency on Saudi goodwill.
It’s this goodwill, which possibly lies behind our leaders tiptoeing around Islamic issues and control’s our military activities in the Muslim World, where Saudi Sunni is to be favoured over naughty Shia.
Whilst this is still a Christian country, we’ve had enough of war’s originally based on Moses’s second Commandment.
Many Western citizen’s are increasingly anti-religious, rather than irreligious and this may be why so many echoed “Je suis Charlie”.
Whatever the truth of Charlie Hebdo, the “Je suis Charlie” sentiment reflects a concern that needs addressing and the first step is to find further alternatives to Saudi oil.
Fracking has dangers but the USA needs to continue subsidising it.
Nuclear power is dangerous but we need to take that risk.
It’s upto the politician’s to effect policy we want, not what the Sheik’s want.

@BBCNews What Crisis? this is an open letter to @David_Cameron from Robert Galloway

January 8, 2015

I took this off facebook so I could tweet it.

Robert Galloway

After some persuasion, my full letter. Please link, tweet, send on to politicians and the press. The reality needs to get out……

7th January 2015

Dear Mr Cameron and Mr. Hunt

As someone who works in A&E, I hear with interest that you have said that things in A&E are just busy and we are preforming well and not in a crisis.

I though, would disagree. Maybe it is just your sense of reality, which has made you say this or perhaps a lack of comprehension of the words busy Vs crisis.

Is it not a crisis that up and down the country thousands and thousands of patients are being looked after in corridors because there are no free cubicles for them to be seen in?

Is it not a crisis that many hospitals are declaring major incidents (to just cope with normal winter pressures) and some are having tents built in their car parks?

Is it not a crisis that patients who need discharging from the hospital can’t because social services can’t cope with demand? This means there are no free beds for the patients to go to and so they stay in A&E for hours upon hours.

Is it not a crisis when thousands of patients are having their operations cancelled because there are no beds for them to get into?

Is it not a crisis when every department in the county cannot recruit A&E doctors and nurses because they are emigrating or changing specialty because of the relentless pressure?

Is it not a crisis when everyday A&E staff up and down the country thinks it is a good shift, if we get a cup of tea, no member of staff is in tears and no one dies in the corridor on our watch? (As opposed to deliver the standard and dignity of care we wish)

Or are you saying it is not a crisis because you don’t want to admit the real problem and are a tad embarrassed by your mistakes. Because when you came to power you promised to invest in the NHS and not re-organise it. But actually you lied.

Health and social care are inextricably linked and you stripped money away from social care whilst still finding the money for tax cuts for millionaires. But worse still, instead of trying to modernise and improve the NHS (which it needs) and working to prevent an absolutely predictable crisis, you spent the time and billions of wasted pounds on an ideological drive to increase the role of the private sector into the NHS, which has just put profits before patients.

The reality is that the crisis (yes it is a crisis not just busy) in the NHS, is shown up in the corridors of the A&E departments.

And if you don’t believe me, please join any of the thousand of A&E staff up and down the country whom are all going through the same problems. Then reality might kick in; seeing people in their 90s lying in a corridor as there is no bed to go to, patients who need to go to intensive care staying for hours upon hours in A&E whilst their condition deteriorates, ambulance staff not being able to get to 999 calls as they are waiting to get their current patients into A&E, nurses not having time to care for patients – just provide treatment, and for the consultants on the shop floor trying to create order and safety in a chaotic environment.

We are so lucky to have the training and skills to do the jobs we do – but we just need you to make it possible for us to perform the job we love to appropriate standards.

It may be hard for all of us who work in A&E, but it is nothing compared to what our patients have to endure. But amazingly it is them that keep us going – with humor, good will and not complaining about us despite everything going on, along with a diabetic inducing amount of chocolate being bought for us

Mr Hunt and Cameron – I also want to ask you why you think we are performing well? You say it is because around 85-95% of patients get seen and discharged or admitted with 4 hours. (still the worst figures since we started recording this data.)

But that hides the reality. It is easy to boost this percentage with easy patients with cuts and colds and minor injuries – but what about the care for the patients who are genuinely sick – the ones who need admission. How quickly do they get seen and admitted? That is the figure that should be made available but isn’t. I don’t know what the numbers are, but from recent experience from up and down the country, I doubt that at the moment half of patients who get admitted do so within 4 hours from when they arrive; remember delayed admission leads to worse outcomes. Please start releasing this important figure as it will give a much better barometer for how the NHS is doing.

So Mr Hunt and Mr. Cameron – come down to any A&E and see the crisis/’just busy’ and when you do so, listen to the staff who can explain what needs to be done as opposed to listen to your political advisors.
In A&Es throughout the country, we are buckling under the strain and it is only because of everyone’s hard works and dedication that patient care is being maintained to the extent it is and morale hasn’t yet cracked.

It feels that we in the NHS (from porters, to managers, to nurses, to support staff, to paramedics, to hospitals doctor and GPs) are lions being led by donkeys. We are facing 1930’s public sector cuts driven by politicians with the mentality of world war one generals.

So in summary – please Cameron and Hunt, stop thinking about your political ideology and start thinking about our patients. Remember the NHS was set up after world war two during a period of unprecedented austerity – stop destroying it under the name of austerity.

Rob Galloway             (A&E Consultant)

P.s. it must be quite easy going on question time and the like, debating fellow politicians and public figures who everyone knows have their own agenda. But the shop floor workers in the NHS have only one agenda – our patient care; so the debate may not be so easy with us. I would love to debate with you about the NHS crisis and offer some solutions. Are you up for it?

the A&E crisis is because there’s too many sick people for the money.

January 7, 2015

Letter to D. Express (7/1/15) not printed (preferred letter blaming A&E crisis on immigrants.):

With the Government claiming that they are pumping money into the NHS, it is incredible that Hospitals are reported to be in crisis, with 6 A&E’s declaring “a major incident” . These and other’s are having to call extra staff in, yet still missing waiting time targets.
It’s small wonder that Labour is making the NHS its main point of attack in the up-coming election campaign.
The excuses being made aren’t going to placate voter’s, who selfishly think that their aches and pains and their fear of imminent death are more important than growing an economy, which holds no apparent benefit for themselves.
 
There seems to be no shortage of suited men, offering a variety of explanations for the present state of affairs.
Jeremy Hunt’s comment that these are exceptional circumstances is almost facetious as an excuse for the lack of foreseeable need for spare capacity.
The claim that there are more elderly and they are bed-blocking can’t be used as an excuse for  the present situation. This has been voiced as a potential problem for at least a decade. I.e. Successive Governments have had sufficient time to put suitable arrangements in hand and should have done so well before this Winter.
 
The claim that many attending for treatment should have gone to their local chemist may be applicable in the case of some numpties but it blithely ignores those, lying on trollies and whom, medico’s would have admitted, if there were sufficient beds.
Most of those waiting upto 4 hours, or longer, possibly in pain, won’t be blaming the medico’s for their distress and won’t take any comfort from Jeremy Hunt’s banal claim that things are worse in other countries.
 
The present Government had better hope that there is a significant improvement before May, if it wishes to avoid obliteration at the polls