Musings and a place to store stuff

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European Housemates

You live in a house with 10 other people. For years you squabble and bicker. You make and break allegiances, you take over control of different parts of the house and steal each other’s things. You Tommy are good at it – and eventually you also commandeered the garden, and the shed for your own purposes. You also steal the next-door neighbours garden, their green house and an allotment. One of your house mates Hans is stuck in an upstairs room – he has no access to the gardens and gets frustrated. He eventually breaks out from upstairs and makes a move on everyone else’s stuff. A huge house fight breaks out which everyone gets dragged into. Ivan who lives in the attic takes the brunt of it – but no one thanks him because everyone’s scared of spiders. Everyone has lost though – so while Ivan lost two legs and an arm, Tommy lost a finger, Hans lost a foot and a hand.

Once everything calms down – everyone gets together at a house meeting and decides it has to stop. The bickering, the stealing stuff. Everyone agrees that they’ll instead of being selfish will work together.

It works – and for 70 years nothing gets broken, nothing gets stolen. Of course, people still won’t go in the attic because of the spiders, and everyone still grumbles that Hans talks too loud, and François has monopolised the fridge, but it works. They all just have to agree to be a little less selfish and get along. They begin to plan big things together – they’re building a new garden shed and a bird bath, they have plans to put a gate in the fence but are not sure how high to make it – they still argue a little, but they don’t fight.

Tommy one day though decides that he’s fed up with the fridge situation, with the communal living, with sharing everything. He has a pang for his glory days of the past when he controlled everything past the clothes lines and beyond. He calls a house meeting and tells all the house mates they can shove it. He reminds them that he lost a finger for them (Ivan scoffs at this) – Tommy says he’s going to his room and he doesn’t want anyone else to come in. There’s a few confused looks – Patrick reminds Tommy that they have an adjoining bathroom – so locking that door might be a problem. François reminds Tommy that locking the door of his room will also prevent Tommy getting out – but Tommy is fixed on it.  

Everyone tells Tommy that’s a sad choice but it’s up to him – they remind him that he did make a commitment to help finish the bird bath just last week, so ask that he honour his commitments.

Tommy refuses and starts going through the fridge looking for anything of his he can take back to his room.

As he slams his door Tommy bemoans how little ‘respect’ he’s had from everyone.

I wrote this in response to this telegraph article:

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Uranium One – The Horror Show that is American Politics

Anyone familiar with the Hillary Clinton Uranium story, will hopefully recognise it as a frightening horror show – and a lesson in how Facebook / Twitter and misinformation can now muddy elections and perceptions and make facts irrelevant.

Trump won the election almost exclusively because innuendo propagated through social media is a thousand times more effective than boring fact bound media news organizations.

A reminder – the accusation leveled at Clinton include

  • that she took bribes to sell American uranium to the Russians
  • that she had people murdered to silence them
  • that she is responsible for Americans being killed in Benghazi
  • that she kept an illegal private email server for all of her nefarious double dealing

These are all blatantly nonsense, and in a normal healthy political climate would be ignored – but republican desperation to return America to the right wing has caused a serious sea change that has all but shattered the democratic system.

So instead of Benghazi and the Email server getting ignored as it should of been it resulted in 8 republican initiated investigations. While all of them failed to find any wrong doing,  rather than accept the results, republicans immediately blamed Clintons sneakiness for their inability to find anything incriminating  (by murdering witnesses for example).

Donald Trump and the cable Fox news network ran the presidential campaign almost exclusively on this crooked Hillary rhetoric – in the two weeks before the vote, the Republican party was playing TV adverts and Trump was stating categorically that he knew Clinton was just days away from being arrested by the FBI for her crimes.


That is horrific behaviour and something you’d only expect to see in nightmare authoritarian dictatorships. However Trump won – and America went back to sleep being told that the media lies.

The Uranium story is fascinating because its another horror show and one which is playing out right now. If you look on the internet you will find tens of thousands of memes along the lines of ‘So Hillary – if Russia is such a threat, why did you sell them 20% of our uranium. Liar, or a traitor or both‘ or ‘Russia takes control of 20% of US Uranium on Clintons watch, with donations to the Clinton foundation – but main stream media remains silent‘.

This is not simple fringe extremism or conspiracy theory rhetoric – this is mainstream republican leading news. Fox News (Americas largest cable news network) covers this story daily and in just the last 3 days has spent 12 hours on the story – Trump has tweeted that Clinton should be arrested and the uranium deal investigated more than any other subject. Things like

Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn’t want to follow!“.

One in the last week was

There is so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton, and now the facts are pouring our. DO SOMETHING“.

Trumps Attorney General yesterday has directed federal prosecutors to investigate whether a special counsel is needed to dig into the uranium deal.

Its currently a feeding frenzy of misdirection.

The problem is, very few people in America look past the headline – and the news media, especially on the right have very little reason to have something as irritating as facts kill a good story.

So what are the actual facts.

Well the facts are irritatingly boring.

Firstly what is the implication. The implication is that uranium, that scary stuff which we know about from bombs was sold to Russians – by Clinton and she took bribes to do it.

Mmm Ok

  1. Is the uranium in question, weapons grade uranium? The answer is no – this is uranium for power stations.
  2. Is there something special about American uranium? No in fact Russia has three times more uranium than America – and America actually imports uranium from Russia and elsewhere.
  3. Was uranium sold to Russia? No a Russian energy company purchased a Canadian company that owns some mineral rights in America that includes land which contains uranium.
  4. Is the uranium leaving the US? No – even though the US government approved the sale of the company, uranium has not been mined and is not allowed to leave the country without approvals.

So then the uranium which isn’t for weapons, which isn’t unique to America, which Russia has three times more of, which the US actually imports from Russia is still in the ground and cannot be sold outside of the US! While the Canadian company who owns the land is now 51% owned by a Russian energy company, so nothing actually illegal or questionable took place then!!


So taking aside why would anyone need to bribe Clinton in order to do something which is entirely legal lets look at her involvement.

  1. Did Clinton have anything to do with approving the purchase? A committee for foreign investment with 9 members from various departments approves deals of this type. They can’t stop deals only approve them. The president is the only one who can object to the deal and stop it – So Obama. There is nothing to suggest that Hillary Clinton was involved in any way.
  2. Was there anything nefarious about the approval? No all 9 departments say they would still approve the deal if it came in front of them today.
  3. Was Clinton involved at all in the fact that this is nuclear material? No – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has to approve all transfers and according to the rules: “No uranium produced at the facility may be exported”.

So nothing questionable happened, Clinton wasn’t involved in any way, and it would still go ahead today and yet despite this:

  • Trump is tweeting about this daily
  • Fox News – The largest cable news provider in America has been running this story daily since 2015, and there’s been 12 hours of coverage in just the last 3 days.
  • Hannity Americas highest paid TV host  (paid $30 million a year by Fox News) had an entire program last night entitled “Crooked Hillary Clintons web of Corruption” (his show regularly gets 3.5 million viewers). He is also a close friend of Trumps, and appears in Trumps promotional videos.

This is blatant malicious propaganda.

The FoxNews clips above show how despite all of the fact checking sites debunking this story – they insist on running with the innuendo rather than kill the story with facts.

The same day, one Fox News reporter Shep Smith seems to have gone off the reservation by actually reporting the facts for a change (see below). So this is on the same channel that ran Crooked Hillary Clintons Web of Corruption five and a half hours later to 3.5 million viewers. Shep Smith concluded with this:

There’s never been any evidence that Clinton acted inappropriately and the Clinton State Department had no power to approve or veto that transaction. It could do neither.” Indeed, the State Department was just one of nine agencies that signed off on the deal and Clinton herself wasn’t even on the committee.

This is just one story – but similar frenzied republican attacks exist for the pro-gun lobby, the Mueller enquiry, Benghazi, Russian interference in the election, WikiLeaks relationship with Donal Trump Junior.

There is a history in Western democratic societies of begrudgingly succeeding to your opponent when you lose the election, and respectfully standing to one side and argue the opposition points until your next chance at re-election. However in Trump and Fox News – we have a party which went into the election calling Clinton a murderer, a nasty woman, crooked, a traitor and not once did actual political differences become part of the story.

Here we are a year later – and still Clinton remains a hot button topic amongst republicans, Trump and the propaganda wing of Fox News. At Trump rallies supporters still chant ‘Lock her up’, Republican Senators demand the FBI leadership resign because they’ve not found evidence yet to arrest Clinton. Trump on his flight back from Asia spoke more about his desire to see Clinton arrested than he did about the mass shootings at a school that took place that morning. A fact he tried to later rectify but mistakenly tweeted about the wrong mass shooting.

He tweeted 

“May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas.

“The FBI and Law Enforcement has arrived.”

The current shooting is in California – A mistake Trump made because he cut and pasted from the mass shooting two weeks ago and forgot to change the location.


This is Trump cutting and pasting about a previous mass shooting.

None of this can last. Unfortunately the lies have been set so permanently into the minds of republicans that cognitive dissonance will ensure they blame, the lying media, fake newsdeep state or the undrained Washington swamp before admitting to any actual facts.

I think this is scary to even the republican traditional leadership – who are starting to realise that they’ve used propaganda to whip up a frenzy to get a narcissist television host into the White house. They’ve been trained to scream for blood, and its hard to see how they’re going to be de-programmed. They’ve even started turning on republicans that question them – with twitter attacks being launched by Republicans on Sessions, Bush and others if they don’t stay on message.

All very frightening.



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How to have a damn and blast whilst in Swindon

Swindon often struggles to be represented in a good light – but I had to laugh at the article yesterday from Swindons premier free paper SwindonLink.

The article entitled: How to have a blast whilst in Swindon (SwindonLink 1/2/2017 is a veritable rollercoaster ride through things that aren’t in Swindon, aren’t open or strange irrelevancies.

I’d assumed it was written by a volunteer contributor or student but we have the creator of the Ocelot and ex-Daily Mail, ex-Evening Advertiser reporter Jamie Hill to thank for this gem. I assume Jamie is paid by the word and also that he was having an off day.

The opening paragraph promises that visitors to Swindon will be ‘in for a treat’ and that anyone in a travel party will feel happy and entertained. Sounds great – what follows is a handy guide to the area, as Jamie puts it ‘to have a good ol’ blast’.

First up Shopping – we are advised that there are shops, and are given the helpful tip that in order to fully enjoy shopping it may be worth visiting ‘after payday’.

Here, you can expect to find almost every well-known national and international retailer so it may be worth visiting after payday to fully enjoy spending your days here!

Next up – we are into the section on Casinos. Swindon doesn’t have any casinos, but this doesn’t deter SwindonLink from making it number two on the handy Swindon visitors guide. We are told that the ‘Casino Lover’ amongst us, during the visit to Swindon may like to drive a further 50 minutes to Reading.

If you’re not inclined to drive a quarter of the way across the country to feed your gambling habit, we’re advised that we can gamble online and a link is provided to online casinos. Strangely the only link provided in the entire article.

 If you’re a casino lover looking for a little gambling action while visiting Swindon, then maybe pop in on your drive up here or alternatively curb your cravings by visiting the numerous UK online casinos ( available.

We’re then on to safer ground – with the famous Great Western Railway Museum. That’s a fantastic place and should arguably have come above gambling in Reading or the existence of shops in Swindon – it may also have benefited from a web link.

Next up we seem to be needing the use of a car again. This time Jamie advises us to go visit ‘Go Ape’ in Swindon forest. Now the closest ‘Go Ape‘ facility to Swindon I could find is certainly in a forest – but its the Forest of Dean over 50 miles away in Gloucestershire. Sadly in the opposite direction from the casino.

With the next item I thought for a second that Jamie had got us back on track with advice to visit the Maize Maze.

The Maize Maze is a great day out for all the family as it allows you to take the time to become one with nature and walk around the amazing maze! There is a picnic area and a shop that offers great cakes and snacks too.

That sounds great…… unfortunately… as the ‘Maize Maze’ website explains (he didn’t include a link), the maize this year only managed to grow to a height of 6 inches in places. Far from ‘becoming one with nature and walking around the amazing maze’ – it seems you would be able to step over it, which is why it is closed apparently until next year.

Finally the handy guide, closes as it began with another vague title. This time simply Parks. It doesn’t bother to list any, other than to say that they are on the land, and that Swindon is full of them (they certainly outnumber casinos).

One of the great things about Swindon is that it is a land enriched with Victorian parks and gardens. Swindon is full or areas that offer extended woodland and centres of cultural heritage so you will never be short of things to do

Swindon is a fantastic place with lots to see and do – and I can only assume that SwindonLink were having an off day but as a Wiltshireman might say ‘ It did make I chuckle’.


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The Magic Traffic Lights (23 traffic lights for one junction)

I’ve always thought the number of traffic lights on the Great Western Hospital entrance on Marlborough Road Swindon were excessive. Today though I just thought I’d count them and post them online.

The picture below shows the view coming from East to West (Top) from West to East (Lower left) and from the hospital (Lower right).

In total then (and I have no doubt I’ve missed some) I counted 23 separate traffic lights. This is a junction which you can only approach from 3 directions! It’s essentially a T-junction with 23 traffic lights?

Is the road planner trying to one-up the Magic roundabout which is only 3 miles from here, by designing something equally magical?



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Fox News Trying to Sell Boeing P-8 Poseidon on missing flight MH370

Watching the BBC news last night I saw that the Malaysian Prime minister had gone on TV to report that the UKs AAIB (Air accident investigation branch) in conjunction with British satellite Inmarsat had provided some new data based on calculations they’d performed. The data puts the missing aircraft MH370 in the middle of the Indian ocean, too far from land to have done anything but crashed into the sea.
This news was reported widely and was included in the prime ministers speech below:

“This evening I was briefed by representatives from the U.K. Air Accidents Investigation Branch, or AAIB. They informed me that Inmarsat, the U.K. company that provided the satellite data which indicated the northern and southern corridors, has been performing further calculations on the data. Using a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort, they have been able to shed more light on MH370’s flight path.
“Based on the new analysis, Inmarsat and the AAIB have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth. This is a remote location far from any possible landing sites.

I was curious as to how Fox News decided to report this, and was a little surprised to see ‘Bill O’Reilly’ on the ‘O’Reilly Factor’ play back the video from the prime minister, with the front chopped off so that it just left his statement that the plane was in the ocean without any evidence. Fox then went on to attack the Malaysian prime minister and Malaysia using words like unreliable, botched, premature, conflicting, lack credibility, incompetent, slow on analysis, conjecture and ‘obscure facts’.

Later in the day on the Sean Hannity show on Fox – the same thing, they had cropped it even more this time – and then ripped into the Malaysians, and mentioned that a Boeing P-8 Poseidon was on its way out. Strange I thought, why mention that aircraft that’s not even there. Next thing they’ve got an aircraft expert up and put three different planes up behind him and he mentions the superb Boeing P-8. Later on a question to him from Hannity, “Which of these 3 planes do you think will be best used in this case”!!!!!!!! WTF.
Alarm bells are ringing and I’m wondering – why on earth is a Boeing P-8 being mentioned more than the Inmarsat and British Air accident investigation board which has just been pushed down in the conversation. The British expert gets very close to saying the Chinese aircraft is better and gets shut down by Hannity.

Has Fox got shares in Boeing I wonder – do a quick google and no, so what about if I google ‘Rupert Murdoch’ and Boeing. BINGO. Twice.

Two weeks ago apparently Murdoch got into trouble for claiming that it was probably terrorists that took out the plane. Here’s some of his tweets:
“777crash confirms jihadists turning to make trouble for China. Chance for US to make common cause, befriend China while Russia bullies”
“World seems transfixed by 777 disappearance. Maybe no crash but stolen, effectively hidden, perhaps in Northern Pakistan, like Bin Laden.”
“777. Still think this a reminder that US and China should be working more closely on Muslim extremist threat.”

Then I discover that Rupert Murdoch is close friends with the CEO of Boeing and run an organization together with 6 other capitalists called the ‘Partnership for a New American Economy’. Can it be that Murdochs and Foxes desperate attempts to make sure this is terrorists on no evidence, and preferring to talk about the Boeing rescue aircraft in a good light rather than the satellite data that’s just determined the aircrafts probable location – has anything to do with this?