Who are you afraid of?

I was on a train a few days ago.

A young Asian man with a beard and skull cap got on with a backpack, made his way down the aisle and sat down.
Some of his fellow passengers watched him all the way.

I was standing on this train with my mountain bike, and as such, had a clear view of the length of the carriage.
A few passengers on that train were directing furtive glances his way.

It occurred to me that because of his appearance, some of my fellow travellers had already marked this man out as someone to be viewed with suspicion.

In today’s society, our Government, working in tandem with the media, tell us repeatedly that we should be afraid.

There are threats everywhere; people are plotting to destroy our way of life.
All this propaganda results in the population viewing others with suspicion – whether it’s the current witch-hunt against Muslims, or the population being told that vast groups of immigrants are coming to Britain, taking our jobs, benefits and housing.

Where I live is a relatively quiet area.
When I stroll around, I’m not expecting to be blown to bits, stabbed or robbed.
But look into most newspapers and you’d believe that we live in a war zone.

The so called “War on Terror” is a sham.

A convenient sound bite which enables governments to change the law at will, and in the process taking away more of our civil rights.
This is a “war” that cannot be won.

Our leaders bomb some country that has never actively threatened the UK, and when the dust clears, the people who have been affected by our murderous rampage around the globe might be more willing to exact revenge upon the UK.

And the cycle continues.

We become complacent to the killing carried out in our name as the countries are not anywhere near us, and are usually de-humanized by our media.

We don’t get the see families destroyed when the bombs are dropped, the drones deployed, whole generations wiped out. Our politicians continually lie to us, telling us that this person or that was some high ranking official in whatever group is popular that week.

Ironically both the USA and the UK have in the past bankrolled and assisted a lot of the groups that we are now condemning.
But our Government tends to gloss over that.

The lies continue.

And we continue to believe our government is acting in our best interest.

Trouble is – they are not.

And while we continue to ignore this fact, nothing will change.

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2013.
All Rights Reserved.

The REAL Human Rights record of the UK

Some time ago, David Cameron (at the time, Prime Minister of the UK) raised concerns over alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.

It has been well documented that other countries over the years have had poor records on Human Rights, but perhaps we in the UK should look closer to home….

Diego Garcia is a tropical, footprint-shaped island located south of the equator in the central Indian Ocean.

It is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) and comes under a group of islands referred to as the Chagos Archipelago.

In 1971, The British Government decided to relocate all of the inhabitants (who were, incidentally British subjects who had lived on the island for generations) against their will to Mauritius so they could lease the Island to the United States to build an Army Base on.

This is in stark contrast to the British Government’s attitude to the Falkland Islands:

Inhabited by British subjects, we went to war with Argentina to protect the rights of the inhabitants to live on that particular island.

The majority of Diego Garcia’s Islander’s who haven’t died waiting to go back to their homeland currently live in squalor in Mauritius.
They have lodged appeals through the courts in the UK, and won, only to be overruled by successive British Governments using archaic secret powers you don’t get to read about in the mainstream media.
To add insult to injury, our government first stated the island wasn’t inhabited in the first place, declared the island a Marine Nature Reserve, and went on to say the island was not capable of supporting human life – despite the fact that there is a military base on it, complete with restaurants, shops, and army personnel.

In 2000 the British High Court granted the islanders the right to return to the Archipelago.
On 10 June 2004 the British government made two Orders in Council under the Royal Prerogative forever banning the islanders from returning home, to override the effect of the 2000 court decision.

On 11 May 2006 the British High Court ruled that the 2004 Orders-in-Council were unlawful, and consequently that the Chagossians were entitled to return to the Chagos Archipelago.

On 23 May 2007, the UK Government’s appeal against the 2006 High Court ruling was dismissed, and they took the matter to the House of Lords.

On 22 October 2008, the UK Government won on appeal, the House of Lords overturned the 2006 High Court ruling and upheld the two 2004 Orders-in-Council and with them the Government’s ban on anyone returning.

This story of Diego Garcia and the forced removal of  an entire generation of people is covered  in John Pilger’s excellent documentary “Stealing a nation.”

So the next time our government tries to highlight another country’s Human Rights record, remember that here in the UK, many things go unreported…

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2013, 2018
All rights reserved.

Would you rent your property to a black person?

In a recent episode of “Inside Out” broadcast on the BBC on Monday the 14th of October 2013, it was discovered the some Letting Agents were actively discriminating against black tenants.

What staggers me is certain sections of the media, in their outrage, are acting like covert racism is a new problem.

In the past, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve rung up to view a flat, only to find when I’ve arrived for a viewing twenty minutes later to be told the property is no longer available.

Racism is still alive and kicking.

To assume otherwise is frankly naive, and misguided.

On the other hand, my current landlord clearly doesn’t care what colour I am. We’ve spoken on the phone many times, but never met.

I pay my rent on time, he is content.

There is no place in today’s society for racism of any kind.

Problem is nowadays, in many cases, racism is a little more subtle.

I hope in my lifetime that we get to a stage where colour doesn’t matter.

We are all simply human beings, after all.

I doubt we’ll get there, but you have to have a little hope….

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2013.

All Rights Reserved.

Baiting the email scammers

So there I was, minding my own business, when the typical scam email appeared in my inbox.
Normally I’d delete.
But not this time.

They all follow the same basic pattern: they have money, they want to share, they need my details.
Fair enough. Who am I to pass up millions of free dollars?
Here’s the email:

Email Scammers

My response?

Dear Mr Van Der Kaap,
I am extremely intrigued by your offer, though before I reveal any personal details about myself, or the fact that I am the Managing Director of a well-known chain of shops selling the number one erotic toy, I have to ask who else have you told of this remarkable offer, as I find it hard to believe I am the only person you have made this offer to.
As such, revelations to another person would surely reduce my cut?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely,
Seymour Butts.

His response will be posted……

What printer companies don’t want you to know

I bought my first printer back in 1998, made by Epson.
After two and a half years of printing quite happily, it gave up the ghost. Flatly refused to work.
On screen was the message: “Parts inside the printer have reached the end of their service life.”
After only a few years?

I ran a cleaning cycle, and bought and installed new cartridges, all to no avail.
Then I rang Epson, who told me I could send them my printer (at my own cost) and they would service it, and send it back. The only problem was, the cost of this “service” was  way more than I’d actually paid for the printer in the first place.

So I bought a new printer, then did some research.

This is what I discovered.

Printer companies lure us in with the promise of relatively cheap printers, then sting us when we need to buy new cartridges – pretty much the business model of Gillette, the razor manufacturer.
All printers are made so they deliberately fail after a few years.
All printers have something called a Waste Ink Pad

This is a small brick-like absorbent pad which sits in the bottom of your printer, absorbing ink released every time you start up your printer, or when you run a cleaning cycle.

The problem comes when this pad gets full.

All that excess ink sitting in the bottom of the printer causes the printer to shut down, otherwise your printer would have a bellyful of ink sloshing about causing havoc with the internal electrical parts.

On top of this, all printers have a Protection Counter – an internal component which counts how many pages you print over the predetermined “life” of the printer.

Once a certain limit on the pages you can print is reached, your printer shuts down.
In the case of my second printer, this is set at a limit of 46750:

Image

Between this counter and the waste ink issue, eventually lights start flashing on the printer, and it inevitably stops working.

What happens next is the average consumer tries everything to bring their printer back to life, eventually gives up, then buys a new printer.

Then the cycle continues.

The second printer I bought was an Epson R220.

And it’s still going strong after more than 10 years.
When I bought this printer, I modified it a little.

Rather than the waste ink going to the bottom of my printer, it is now directed into a bottle outside my printer.

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I have software which resets the protection counter, and have a Continuous Ink System installed, so I’m not paying for overpriced ink cartridges:

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So the next time you purchase a printer, be aware you can do this too.
I use Epson printers as they are the easiest to modify.
I avoid HP printers like the plague (unlike most Epson’s, they use a replaceable print head – the bit that does the actual printing – so more money for you to part with when this part inevitably fails.), as in my experience they go wrong more often.

If you follow the above tips, you’ll enjoy years of printing, just as I have, at reasonable cost.

Copyright © Mark A. McPherson 2013.
All Right Reserved.

Britain and the lies on the “War on Terror”

Nowadays, it’s remarkably easy to brand anyone a terrorist.

Often no evidence is required.

If the government and certain sections of the media brand someone as a radical terrorist with suspected links to a certain group, then it must be so.

Generally the brainwashed population blindly accept this as fact.

Take the widely publicized case of Abu Qatada, who is currently under worldwide embargo by the United Nations Security Council Committee 1267 for his alleged affiliation with al-Qaeda.

Abu Qatada has been systematically imprisoned in Britain since 2002, when he was first detained under anti-terrorism laws.

In spite of various government officials branding him dangerous and radical, he has not been prosecuted here for any crime, or actually charged with anything.

Our Government is currently trying to deport him, having extracted a “cross my heart” promise from Jordan not to torture him.

I don’t know the man personally, and I don’t know if he is as dangerous as Theresa May (current Home Secretary) keeps on telling us.

What I do object to is our current policy of locking people up under draconian anti-terror laws, and not actually charging them with anything.

The normal civilized rule of law dictates that a suspect is apprehended and charged, and a case is built. The suspect then goes to court, and, if guilty, they are convicted and go to prison.

Not in this case. This man has previously been bailed from prison, then re-arrested.

In November 2008, Qatada was rearrested at his home. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission rescinded his bail, stating he had not broken bail conditions, but “might do at some time in the future”.

So in this country, we release someone on bail, then put them back in prison on the basis they “might” break their bail conditions in the future – even though there was no concrete explanation given for this assumption.

Not unreasonably, I would actually like to see some evidence against this man.

I have read through a vast amount of news reports, and so far, despite the British government branding him a “Fanatical Radical Cleric, who is clearly dangerous” they have not so far provided any evidence to support this claim.

Our government tells us something, we blindly believe it.

I’ve read the claim that Abu Qatada was Osama Bin Laden’s “right hand man” in Europe, and depending on which newspaper you read, this opinion has been credited to everyone from a Middle East Terrorism expert, our own government, various newspapers, a High Court Judge, and my dog.

I could declare I suspect my neighbour was Saddam Hussein’s Right Hand Man in Camden Town.

I could say it.  Doesn’t make it so.

Not unless I quantify this statement with evidence.

The same government who now tells us what to think is the same that has lied to the British public numerous times over the years:

Weapons of mass destruction, North Korea launching missiles at Europe, various dictators once propped up and sold weapons to by the West, then branded murderous dictators who must be bombed. If few innocent civilians lose their lives in the process, that’s unfortunate.

The real problem with the so called “War on Terror” is that if you bomb your way around the world, all you really do is give various people a reason to hate you, and foster revenge.

And when we’ve devastated all these countries under the ludicrous guise of liberating them and promoting our particular brand of democracy, we’ll dehumanize all the people our armed forces have killed.

They are no longer people, but become “insurgents”, “rebels” or “enemy combatants”

The reality is ordinary civilians are killed in these invasions – someone’s mother, brother, father, sister.

After our rather biased media get through reporting these “unfortunate” civilian deaths, we seem to forget that an Iraqi, Afghan, Palestinian, or African life is no less precious than anyone one else’s.

Biggest irony is that when we in the West bomb another country and murder people, we are clearly spreading democracy.

If someone else does it, they’re rogue states, headed by evil murdering dictators.

And of course, we’ll teach them violence is wrong by bombing them….