Archive for the ‘law’ Category

UK Human rights and Freedom extinguished

February 18, 2007

Hi Grit

The government in the UK, if re-elected at the next election, will be taking the final steps to abolish human rights, freedom and privacy for the individual UK citizen, all in the name of protecting us against terrorism.

If the labour government have their way, all adults over the age of 16 will, by 2009, be required to place their fingerprints on a central computer. The suggested law may even extend to “iris” prints. These moves are in addition to the requirement to provide photographs for driving licences; requirement to provide details for the census and annual local government property occupancy register (for council tax purposes); and the multitude of close-circuit television cameras that adorn our towns, streets, villages and roads. An extra measure of identity that is also being considered is to place our medical records in the same “identikit” of us.

Not satisfied with us already being the most watched nation in the EU, these latest moves will actually increase the gap between us and other countries, turning us into one of the most monitored nations in the world. Some may argue that these moves are positive, but are they? Let us consider the evidence.

1) COST:

Naturally, there is the cost of the citizen ID rules. The government suggest that this will amount to just over £5.4 billion ($10.8 billion). However, independent sources put the figure at £19.3 billion ($38.6 billion). This represents over £300 ($600) per annum, per citizen. In addition to this, it is compulsory for people to give this information at one of 69 centres through the UK, at their own cost. In some cases this means travelling up to 100 miles, irrespective of age, financial situation or infirmity. A round trip of this nature, taken in work time will cost the worst affected another £100 at least. Of course, this does not take into account the annual running costs of the scheme.

2) PRIVACY

A basic human right is that of privacy. The ability to live our lives without fear or favour, and to keep parts of our lives free from the prying eyes of others. From 2009, if these plans go ahead, this will no longer be possible. Some will argue that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, but that is not the point. Do I really want my health, age, medical condition, financial status and life history potentially exposed to every form of media and individual nationally and internationally? Our data protection act suggests that such information should be secure but, in view of the fact that the government has incorporated rules to allow certain organisations, commercial as well as government and non-government organisations to access the data, this guarantee no longer holds true.

3) DISCRIMINATION

Such a system will also lead to discrimination, both intentional and by devious means. Employers will be tempted to access medical and financial information about potential employees, therefore leading to unfair bias against certain applicants. This is particularly the case in medical issues. For example, take the case of a person who may in the past have had cancer. Although possibly totally cured, when such a person is set against an applicant who has not past health problems, which is the less than totally honest employer going to chose?

Medical, legal and financial practitioners will be able to access medical records, providing a situation where they can discriminate against those they do not want to assist.   

4) MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE:

No computer or other registration system is infalible and the identity system will be no exception. With personal and biometric information on around fifty million people on file, the incidences of misinterpretation, incorrect identification and transpostion of information will rise. As a result this is bound to lead to an increase in the incidence of miscarriages of Justice. Add to this the fact that none of the biometric identity measures are 100% accurate and it can be seen that this will compound the issue. A small example of this might occur with twins for example. Especially in cases of identical twins wrong identification is even more likely.

5) THE CONCEPT OF INNOCENCE

The United Kingdom laws have always been founded upon the rule of “innocent until proven guilty.” It is bad enough that in recent decades tax and other laws have led to a reverse of this process in such areas. Now, with the introduction of of these measures, such a foundation has been totally eroded. The onus on the citizen will now be to prove their innocence in all cases.

Does this mean that in future one has to keep a daily diary of life events to ensure that one cannot get into a situation where lack of evidence to suggest otherwise leads to automatic guilt? I work from home and, during the day, this means that there is no-one to provide an alibi for my whereabouts, especially if I am not on the computer. If I take two hours off for a bath and rest, will I in future have to log this and provide photographic evidence? 

6) IDENTITY THEFT

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes of the past decade. It is also one of the least obvious to the victim, unless it has been committed for financial purposes. How can we be sure that our identity will not be stolen or duplicated for other criminal purposes? What is more important is, if such an event does occur, how will we know until a crime, using our identity has been committed?

7) PROTECTION AGAINST CRIME AND TERRORISM

The assumption that identity laws will offer protection against crime and terrorism is flawed in so many ways as to make it laughable. It only works if one starts from the premise that every hardened criminal and committed terrorist is going to abide by these laws. Naturally, Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists, and underworld criminals are going to assist the law by coming forward voluntarily to offer their biometric identity to the authorities. I think not! Such an assumption is, at best, insane.

There are those who argue that it is easier to catch someone who does not possess an identity card. How does that work? There are 60 million people in the UK and it is certain that there are not enough law enforcement agencies or officers to check each indicvidual. Add to this the fact that there is unencumbered travel in the EU through 25 countries and a determined criminal or terrorist has more than adequate escape routes. These are in addition to the many illegal ways of escaping from the country. Furthermore, why should such persons worry about being apprehended when there is always the route of identity theft to cover their tracks?

Although there may be rules and laws in place to address breaches of the protections in place, these are an “after the event” remedy, by which time the damage is done. Once the security of information has been broken, one cannot recapture the privacy, irrespective of how much money has been recovered in damages.

The hypothesis that these measures are a protection against crime and terrorism, as has been clearly demonstrated, is totally wrong. They will have little to no effect in these areas. 

In conclusion therefore, one has to observe that these new laws will have limited impact upon detering any major crime and terrorism attempts. What they will do is to damage the human rights of the innocent citizen.

the Brit

Anti-smoking police – £29.5 million

February 15, 2007

The UK government are at it again. Just when one thinks that they cannot waste any more money, the powers that be come up with yet another crazy scheme to waste our money. Not satisfied with all the cameras that are spread around the country, nor with the increasing powers that are given to police and local authorities, they have decided that we still cannot be trusted on our own.

This time it is all to do with the impending “smoking ban” which comes into force later this year. Under the new laws we will be banned from smoking in all public places. That includes bars, shops and resturants. The owners of such establishments will also be liable to fines if they allow people to breach the ban in their premises. However, as is this is not enough incentive to uphold this law, the government have decided to spend nearly £30 million ($60 million) of our money to train what they call “smoking” police. 

The task of these officers (undercover of course) will be to wander around all of the establishments trying to spot the illegal smoker in the act. What has to be borne in mind here, is what happens if a smoker is standing outside of a shop and the smoke from his/her cigarettes drifts into the shop? No doubt they will be fined for a “passive” smoke offence.

With this, and the recent case of smoke penetrating the wall into a neighbours house, it is not hard to imagine waking up one day to find one of these new “fag” detectors encamped in the cupboard under the stairs.

the Brit 

Democrats move toward socialized health care!

February 15, 2007

Hi Brit,

I hope the American people are happy, because putting Democrats in charge of Congress is already starting to pay unexpected dividends.  While the subject of socialized medicine was carefully avoided during the recent campaigns, here it comes: Mental health bill moves forward in Congress.  Of course, this sounds innocent enough, just another attempt to force Big Business to be fair to the little guy, in this case forcing health insurance providers to cover mental health treatments.  However, underneath the feel good surface lurks a sneaky plan to drive health care costs high enough that the average person can’t afford it, forcing the kind and good hearted Government to take over and protect the innocent, but not too bright, general public.  Placing Big Brother firmly in charge of another 15% of the US economy, is just a bonus.  What’s that old saying, “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it?”  So get that elective surgery now, because, after Big Government takes the reigns, the wait time for that nip and tuck or those fake boobs is going to be measured in years.  Oh, and pick up a good thick book, because the wait time at your doctor’s office is going to make a trip to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) seem like the service at McDonald’s.

the Grit

Disorder in the ranks of Global Warming fanatics?

February 10, 2007

Hi Brit,

It seems that the Church of Global Warming should pick a High Priest to coordinate things.

On one hand we have, Congress eyes legislation to fight climate change (which I mentioned previously,) many countries are trying to implement the Kyoto Treats, and the EU is in the process of adding all sorts of new environmental laws.

On the other hand, we have, Climate Change Verdict: Science Debate Ends, Solution Debate Begins.  While I contest the “Science debate ends” part, having posted about this several times in the recent past, I point out the “Solution debate begins” part, as it relates to what I just mentioned above.  If there is still debate, even among the ranks of the faithful, as to what to do about Global Warming, then a rational person would have to question how our politicians can know what laws to pass to fix it?  If they understand things better than the Climate Scientists on who’s’ knowledge rests the concept and proof of Global Warming, perhaps they should write the IPCC reports on the subject.  Wait, sorry, I forgot, they did.  Still, one would think that some scientific basis would be needed to formulate solutions to a real problem.

On the gripping hand, I found this, UTSA researchers examine effects of global warming on Antarctic.  Now, call me crazy, but I thought this was “settled science,” and we know that the Antarctic ice is melting.  So, a rational person must ask, why are we waisting money examining things we already know all about?  Shouldn’t those funds be going to find a solution to Global Warming, or at least to implementing the solutions the politicians already seem to know about?

I have to say, Global Warming fanatics, y’all really should anoint a High Priest in an effort to get your act together.  How about AlGore?

the Grit

How long can you hold your breath?

February 9, 2007

Hi Brit,

I just read this, Congress eyes legislation to fight climate change, and immediately asked myself “how long can I hold my breath?”  After all, each of us expel the Evil Greenhouse Gas CO2 with each breath, and, now that Nanny Pelosi has the issue firmly clinched in her dentures, I expect that soon we will be faced with a Breath Tax, to encourage us to slow down our individual contributions to Global Warming.  By my quick, and not necessarily totally accurate, calculations, we in the US can offset her jet set life style if we each take 30 fewer breaths per day.  Of course, this increased interest in decreasing our breath rates will have at least one benefit, that being, getting some of the joggers off the road.

Although, considering that:

The White House said Snow was referring to figures from the International Energy Agency that from 2000 to 2004, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion grew by 1.7 percent, while in the European Union such emissions grew by 5 percent.  From: U.S. cuts emissions better than Europe: White House.

It would seem obvious to any rational person, thus excluding most Democrats I admit, that we are on the correct path to achieve the liberal agenda of reducing CO2 emissions without further Government meddling.  With liberals in control, of course, they will ignore the facts, raise taxes and piddle around in our lives until they manage to, not only, increase Greenhouse Gas Emissions, but, also, screw up our economy.  Typical.

the Grit

Drink and sex abuse in UK politics

February 9, 2007

Hi Grit

Want to know why are politics in the UK are in such a shambles? The following story that I found gives some insight into this situation. It involves the case of Fiona Jones, once heralded as one of “Blairs Babes”, a term that was given to the 100 women MP’s that came into parliament with him in 1997.

Twelve days Fiona was found dead by her 17 year old son. She was surrounded by empty Vodka bottles. It is obvious from this scenario that she was an alcholic, but how did she get into this position. “Parliament taught her to drink,” accuses her husband. It transpires that the Houses of Parliament offers cut-price drink to all members and that heavy drinking sessions are not uncommon. With it being a very close environment there is a culture of “you have to do this to become one of us.” 

The other contributory factor to Fiona’s demise was sexual harassment. From the reports it seems that the lady was continuously subjected to bullying sexual attacks and innuendo by her chauvenistic colleagues.

Surprisingly, only one MP (an ex-MP at that) mentioned Fiona’s death. The article itself seems to brush away the importance of the issues of drink and sex, blaming Fiona’s demise on other issues.

This story is not only tragic, for which our sympathies are extended to Fiona’s family, the root causes of it are indefensible.

Tony Blair and his government publicly depore the menace of drink, often quoting how much work time is lost as a result, and the health and safety issues surrounding it. The same government has introduced laws and cracks down hard on sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace. Why have these issues not been addressed in their own (private) club?

If we were found drunk in the workplace, the minimum expected of us would be to seek treatment. At worse we would be sacked for being unsafe to perform our task. If we were found guilty of sexual harassment in the workplace we would be fined, sacked or even imprisoned and our employers would be accountable as well. Why are the same rules not applied here.

Our government is responsible for making decisions that affect the health and safety of its citizens and, in many cases those of other nations. They are supposed to make sensible, sober decisions regarding matters of local, national and international importance. How can they be trusted to do that if these sorts of incidences are occuring?

No doubt this is the tip of a dangerous ice-berg. The government’s treatment of this lady is deplorable. The governments failure to maintain the same rules and regulations that they apply to its citizens and their employees is unforgivable and, in my view, a criminal dereliction of its duties.

the Brit

Mobile Technology a threat

February 7, 2007

  

Hi Grit

It seems that the latest technology is coming under threat from governments worldwide, especially when it comes to controlling their usage.

Recently, the UK public have been informed that the use of mobiles, iPods, walkman’s and other equipment whilst driving can lead not only a fine but also a driving ban. Now it appears that New York is taking it a step further. You fine city is considering imposing fines of $100 dollars for people who are using this equipment whilst crossing the road.

I would mention that you have a little catching up to do as our regulations extend to eating whilst driving as well. However, do you not get the feeling that before too long we, the citizens of the world, will be banned from doing everything apart from putting one foot in front of the other once we leave our front door?

the Brit

A little more EU help?

February 7, 2007

Hi Brit,

I just read this, Criminal code raises fear over EU powers, and, from my outside perspective, it sounds pretty bad.  If I understand it correctly, this gives unelected officials the ability to write criminal laws that trump laws in individual member nations of the European Union.  Scary.

the Grit

Can you say “buying votes?”

February 4, 2007

Hi Brit,

While y’all have almost completely sunk into the warm, smothering embrace of the Nanny State, we still have a few vestiges of freedom and self determination left, such as worrying about our own health care.  That is, until John Edwards gets elected, and this evil rich guy isn’t afraid to spend other people’s money buying votes: Edwards: raise taxes for healthcare.  It’ll be interesting to see how many votes he can purchase with a promised $180 BILLION of looted cash that will, supposedly, come from higher taxes on his fellow fabulously rich country men and women.  The targets of this bribe are the 43 MILLION Americans who are without health insurance.  Mr. money bags doesn’t mention if he is going to weed out those who could afford coverage, but decide not to do so.  Of course, if we get into details, it seems that our trial lawyer champion of the people is playing tricky games with the meaning of words.  “Rich” for example, appears to mean anyone making more than $200,000 per year.  His rather expensive plan also calls for an attack on our economy through adding more regulations and costs on business. 

Not to be outdone, I have a health care plan of my own.  I say we confiscate, ah, that is tax at 100%, Edward’s new super luxury estate, and put that $6,000,000 in a fund to buy health care for poor people.  Just the interest on that should cover decent insurance for 50 to 100 people.  Be a sport John, use your own money to buy votes.

the Grit

Speaking of Big Brother

February 3, 2007

Hi Brit,

I’m sure y’all have those automated cameras at intersections that take your picture and give you a ticket for running the light, all without the need for human attention.  Well, here’s proof that they don’t work as well as they should, NYC Ticket Says Man Ran Light in Rowboat.  What’s shocking about this incident is that, when the man questioned the ticket, it was dismissed.

Of course, not all police activity is automated, and some of it is high quality work by honest and  dedicated individuals.  Take this for instance, Wis. Police Chief Tickets Himself $235.  I think Chief Knoebel deserves a medal. 

Go Colts!

the Grit

Hillary slips, admits she’s a whore for socialism!

February 2, 2007

Hi Brit,

While I have never had any doubt that Hillary Clinton is, at heart, a socialist, she finally admitted it to the world today, Hillary on Oil Profits.  In this short clip from her speech, she proclaims that, as President, she would take the profits from the oil companies and invest it in research programs.  I’ll leave the rant about alternative energy and its general state of being a pipe dream until later.  However, I must take a moment and explain to the Candidate From Hell that the race is for President.  If she wants to be Dictator, she should go to Cuba or Venezuela.  Even though I hope daily that Bill finally gets tired of her and adds her to the long list of dead Friends Of Bill, this admission of greed and corruption having a prominent place in her personal philosophy, once again demonstrates the stomach turning ugliness that is the true face of the Democratic Party and liberalism in general.

the Grit

Time to get a bicycle.

February 2, 2007

Hi Brit,

Just thought I’d warn you about, Use a mobile… and lose your vehicle.  Actually, after reading the article I think you’d better get a bicycle.  We have a similar, and under reported, law, allowing police to confiscate property they suspect was purchased with money made from drug crimes.  The local police confiscate enough cars to pay their expenses from the resell.  This is the reason one should never carry large amounts of cash over here.  Studies have shown that a high percentage of the currency in circulation has detectable amounts of cocaine on it.  Thus, any given wad of cash will probably set a drug detection dog off and, poof, the police get your money.  Note that there is no trial, no need to show cause, just a suspicion by the officer.  The process to protest the confiscation is a very lengthy and expensive process with no guarantee of success.  Ah, freedom, I do miss it.

the Grit

BBC double standards

February 2, 2007

The BBC, a UK media organisation that has been at the forefront of the issue of Global Warming, has come under attack from one of its own presenters. He says that, despite all their talk about the need to reduce the danger from things such as carbon emissions, the corporation is doing exactly the opposite.

Jeremy Paxman says the the BBC are guilty of double standards. On the one hand they are promoting restraint and conservation to members of the public, whilst still sending journalists around the world in jets and other so-called “damaging” transport, making no attempt to seek to reduce their “carbon footprint.” Why is this not a surprise? The term “do as I say, not as I do” springs to mind.

The BBC’s response when Paxman asked the questions was that their programmes were helping by airing the issue. As he says, you don’t solve the problem by just talk!

Situations like this devalues the argument significantly when someone or body pontificates about what we as individuals should be doing on issues such as Global Warming, relying on the underlying guilt factor to press home the message, whilst at the same time they are ignoring their own advice and warnings.

To me this type of action only confirms that the media is in Global Warming for the money and increase market share. Such reports are not likely to persuade people that the issue is to be taken seriously.

the Brit

Danielle interviewed by police

February 2, 2007

danielle.jpgHi Grit

The incident in the Big Brother house is continuing to rumble on. Yesterday Danielle was interviewed, in her lawyers office in London, by police as they continue their investigation in the “racism” and “bullying” incident. The meeting took three hours, with her management saying that she was happy to cooperate with them.

the Brit

Blair to become the next Nixon

February 1, 2007

Hi Grit

The “Cash for honours” saga is continuing to gather momentum. Last week Blair was secretly iblair-1a.JPGnterviewed by the police for the second time over the scandal. One Scottish party leader suggested that, instead of his friendship with George Bush, perhaps the British public should be looking more towards his likeness to Richard Nixon. From the response by Blair, it was easy to see that this current development has him rattled and the bookmakers, who don’t often back a loser, lowered the odds of him being charged from 12/1 to 7/1. Perhaps the picture from earlier was not so far off the mark

As he approaches retirement, the man has now achieved a record that no other previous PM can compete with. Tony Blair is the first Prime Minister to be interviewed by the police. As simply a mere citizen, it would seem to me that the honorable thing to do at this stage is to step down. However, that does have its down side.

Waiting in the wings to take over the job is George Brown, a Scotsman. Bearing in mind that a vote in Scotland yesterday showed that 74% of Scottish people thought that being part of the Union (UK) was a mistake, I have visions of us English people being cast adrift in a Dunkirk type flotilla of small vessels as Scotland takes over the entire country.

the Brit 

European community

January 31, 2007

Hey Grit

At present the EU has a few little problems with regard to militant regimes, of which Iran and North Korea are but two. I shall probably get my head bitten off by someone for this, but here goes.

The EU now consists of 25 countries. The intention in the minds of the Eurocrats, as I have said before, it to create a single European state. A part of that is also the ambition to be considered a superpower of the magnitude that Russia was and the US is. Don’t ask me why this is the intention, I don’t know, but all the evidence points to this.

The difficulties the the EU is the mixture of countries that it comprises of. Almost all of them, at some time in the past, have been bashing each other. Not many centuries ago the UK and fighting with Spain and, less than a century ago we were all bashing it out with Germany. Even more recently, some the countries that were admitted this year were at each others throats internally. Therefore you have quite a volitile mix.

This brings me to my main point. Firstly, the mix described above means that the EU in any area of conflict a) cannot often decide whose side we want to be on and b) cannot be relied upon to stay on the side that we originally vote for in the first place, especially if any decision made is needed to last for more than six months.  Secondly, in its bid for superpower status the EU in its wisdom (or lack thereof) often believe that the way to assert this is to object automatically with anything that the other powers might agree to. Hence the reason it seldom votes to agree with the US, as is the case here.

In my view the EU is now showing one of the drawbacks of globalisation (amongst many) at nations level. Namely, that mixing cultures and political structurs in this way is a receipe for disaster. I am not saying that every EU member state should agree with everything the US does, far from it but, that is the whole point. Each country should be allowed to make up its own mind on the matter.

Of course, the other effect of this process is that it makes the UN even more impotent than it already is (and viagra will not solve the problem), because whilst individual member countries can vote one way in the UN, only to have the powers that be in the EU to say “we don’t like that.”

The case in point, Iran, of course is a classic example of these problems. Yes we have business and energy interests in Iran, but then visa versa is true as well, so it is not as fearful as the EU make it. My view is that if the EU or any other country disagrees with the US over this issue it should be honest and say so, not hide behind excuses, which is what they are doing.

It seems that no one in the EU administration is capable of listening to reason at the moment as they are too focused on building ivory towers or, even worse, a modern day tower of babel.

the Brit

Death by hanging

January 31, 2007

Hi Grit,

You will remember all the todo there was about Sadam Hussain’s hanging? I have just found another very descriptive, detailed and gruesome account of a hanging in Scotland, although without video. You might well be wondering how this could be, bearing in mind that the UK no longer have the death penalty.

The answer is that this hanging took place 178 years ago. It involved a man named “Burke” of Burke and Hare fame. You will note that the media coverage then, was just as outrageous as it is now. However, in those days at least the public did not hide their feelings, being prepared to pay 20 shillings (must be over £20,000 now) to watch the event.

Just goes to show that, despite the technological and civilisation advances, we still have the same basic instincts as we did then.

the Brit

Look out! The light bulb police are coming!

January 31, 2007

Hi Brit,

Besides being a sign of the end of the world, it’s also one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read lately, California may ban conventional lightbulbs by 2012.  (notice the target date)  Of course, since this will leave the poor in the dark, the State will, no doubt, pass out the free bulbs along with free condoms.  However, considering the eco-freak attitude of California’s population, this also proves that they are either poorly informed or insane.  You have read the packages on those fluorescent bulbs, haven’t you?  They contain mercury.  That is, they contain it until they break.  You can’t even throw them in the trash, least they contaminate the local landfill.  So, between all the extra hazardous material clean up teams, the cost of special disposal on a grand scale, and the expense of a light bulb police force to make certain no one smuggles an evil incandescent bulb into the state, I’m not even sure it will save energy.

the Grit

One more day, and Venezuela dies.

January 30, 2007

Hi Brit,

 Chavez set to receive decree powers in Venezuela

There should be a world wide moment of silence 😦

the Grit

Death penalty!?!?

January 30, 2007

Hi Brit,

While there are vast quantities of arguments both for and against the death penalty, some crimes, at least to me, are so heinous that I have no doubts as to the appropriateness of slaughtering the criminal.  All due process should, of course, be followed to insure the guilt of the monster about to be dispatched.  By now, you’re probably thinking of Saddam and his too horrible to speak of crimes.  Good guess, but wrong.  Instead there are criminals walking among us that are less well known but even more unspeakable.  When caught and tried, deep in my heart, I feel they need to be terminated with extreme prejudice.  Here is an example, South Korean duo arrested for 1.6 bln spam e-mails.  Honestly, I’m not sure there is a country today that has a method of execution gruesome enough to be appropriate for this crime, however, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t around and send them off to the worst we can find.

the Grit