Ann Minch sums it up

Sometimes there is nothing to add....

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MPs Second Homes

MPs second homes remain a bug bear and now that politicians have started to filter back to the fray with their conferences, it would be good to hear at least one of the parties talk about the scandal of MPs expenses.

No doubt the fond hope politicians have, is that their abuse of expenses will have been forgotten and they can concentrate on more important issues such as clinging on to what so many believe is their career.

Many MPs do have a need for accommodation closer to London I don't argue against that point. (Other than the whole system is wrong, but that is well know by blog readers). But taking the starting point that we do have this system and we do have Westminster, there can be little doubt that MPs need to be able to get to there.

What is absolutely wrong, is that MPs purchase property, which is subsidised or paid for outright by the tax payer and the MP then takes the profit. This is completely different to House flipping, which is circumvention of Capital Gains tax payments. MPs use the system to make fat profits out of taxpayers when they sell the property the tax payer has paid for and this is plainly wrong under even the most cursory of glances.

There is no excuse at all for MPs being permitted to take 100% ownership of a home which is paid for out of public funds. This abuse must be stamped out immediately.

MPs must not be permitted to deflect the argument, by saying they now no longer are permitted to flip houses, that is a personal tax issue. They must not be able to pocket the profits on a house sale which has been funded in anyway by allowances.

An MPs second home paid for by taxpayers is not an MPs home, it belongs to the taxpayer.

image ( 'Going Once' Colour Edition by STATIC) courtesy of another wall
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Strictly Come Dancing Interviews

Strictly Come Dancing heading for BBC One and BBC HD on Friday 18th September, 8.30pm with the second show on Saturday 19th September, 7.25pm.

Pre-show thoughts by the dancing celebrities

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Political spin and fetish porn

Yet again the political parties are sound blasting about Public Sector spending after the election and once again listening to politicians thinking they are being clever by refusing to talk about what they will actually do is becoming increasingly annoying.

Political media advisers live in such effective sound proof boxes, that I don't think they can even hear what they themselves are saying. While the Conservatives are unclear about what they will actually cut, we at least know they are going to make cuts, but the Labour Party - no idea what their plans are.

Like a broken record, they all pound out the mantra 'difficult decisions' what on earth does that actually mean?

Politicians need to start engaging with the general public, discussing the issues, not politicians wish to lecture on, but the issues on which people want answers. The more political media advisers decide on the next 'headline' the less relevance it has and the less credibility the politicians have to a wider audience.

There is no point in politicians trying to engage each other in debates, when neither of them actual listens to what another politician says, particularly when that debate is not something which resonates with the general public.

Many people would like to know what cuts are intended and when, then a serious debate can develop, meanwhile the politicians want to sabre rattle over whether a 'cut' is going to happen or whether a 'cut' is only a tightening of the belt, it is fatuous and whilst appearing glossy to those in the Westminster cesspit is as edifying as watching '2 girls 1 cup', I wonder if that particular cesspit would have made for a more appropriate location? (If you haven't seen the clip I don't recommend it).
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I want to become a corrupt official

A great video by the journalist Zhang Jun which was originally running on the Southern Metropolis Daily has subsequently been removed, was looking at what young children would like to do when they grew up.

It was all going well until:
appeared on screen, at about 2:03 in to the video.

Earlier children had said the usual things, I don't know, a photographer, a painter, a pilot and the ubiquitous fireman.

The star of the video declared:

I want to be an official

The reporter questioned: 'What kind of an official'

To which she smilingly replied: 'A corrupt official, because corrupt officials have a lot of things.'

Her smiling response is superb.

Acted or real, it makes for great viewing and sadly shows corruption is not unique to British Politicians.

The video edit is classic irony as the final pupil says that she would like to become a music teacher and fades out to her rendition of Jasmine Flower.

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Is this research?

I heard about the Dishonesty research that was recently conducted by Brunel University and was as amazed as many people I spoke to about the findings of the researchers, so was all set to write a scathing article about Moral turpitude and the country having the politicians it deserves.

However, I wanted to find the research material the paper had been based on and found the website on which this survey had been conducted, the study is still open, so I decided to take the test and it really didn't seem to be based on very much at all.

The website itself highlights the 'wall of shame' and 'confessions' so automatically the site is goading the respondent that 'dishonesty' will give you a reward by showcasing your sins.

~Saw-whet Owl - Facing Backwards~Image by ~Sage~ via Flickr

The survey itself is also hardly robust. A selection of 5 video clips are offered, with drop down responses on offer. Some scenarios are clear cut, but too many require context, as in 'does your employer permit this to happen'.

There are questions on taking things from the stationary cupboard. When I ran an office based business, I explicitly gave staff permission to use company stationary, in a limited way, for personal use. So the 'is this right or wrong' had no context.

Having completed 5 videos the respondent has the opportunity to take another set of 5 videos ad infinitum as far as I could tell. The videos changing based on what appeared to be a random selection as occasionally videos previously seen were re-presented.

While the study received much publicity, I am unconvinced about the robust nature of the study.

Is there a possibility that 'scientific study' and 'Research material' is taken too much at face value.
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blue pulse

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North Korea and enriched Uranium

It always seems to come as a surprise to the UN that North Korea is continuing with its development of Nuclear weapons and the response by the UN is pretty well the same. More sanctions.

I don't quite know who the politicians think sanctions hurt, but they can't really expect the leadership of any country against whom sanctions are imposed to find life too difficult and certainly not in comparison to the general population of the country on which sanctions are imposed.

I created this montage of images from the Kore...Image via Wikipedia

Perhaps the intention really is for a bloody civil war to ensue, with UN peacekeepers riding in like knights in shining armour to condemn war atrocities clear up the dead bodies and tut, tut about the chaos.

Maybe it is in some bizarre belief that the leadership of the country will take the sanctions hit first and decide to cow-tow to the diktats of the UN, or more honestly the diktats of the US in their ever increasing desire to run the world.

I wonder sometimes if the political leadership of the US are just desperate to have the stamp of 'Empire' written in history books about the USA some time in the future.

A small country, targeted by the USA really only has one form of protection and that is Nuclear Weapons. With little doubt were it not for the nuclear weapons in Pakistan, the US would by now be fighting to overthrow the Government in Pakistan claiming a crusade against terrorism.

They may have flown missions in to Pakistani airspace and killed many people in the process, but having been told to back off, the threat of the nuclear trigger has made them listen. Would they had that threat not been there? I doubt it very much.

What does the UN and in particular the US expect the North Korean leadership to do? Hand over the reigns of power to a democratically elected Government? Do they really? Do they expect the political leadership of North Korea sit around waiting for another American led invasion?

Not only does political power breed arrogance it also breeds contempt towards other people. Just because the US is contemptuous of the North Korean leadership, doesn't make the North Korean leadership stupid, so they take action which they believe will stall an invasion and all the evidence suggest, if you have nuclear weapons, you are suddenly not such a roll-over.

The response to this reaction being, 'let's impose more sanctions'. After all they have been so successful in the past?

The aggressive machismo of American military power has so far resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians and the displacement of millions of people.

After 8 years of failing to build an Empire, it is long past time the US headed back to their apple pies and white picket fences. The world was a far better place 8 years ago and when the US gets back inside its borders, perhaps they could this time decide not to fund international terrorists.

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