Friday, April 30, 2010

The BNP's $230 Billion Tax Bombshell

The BNP has stated that would look to pay non-white people living in the UK, even if they are British, £50,000 to leave the UK for ever. So what would it cost if all of the non-white people in the UK took them up on their offer? I think total financial meltdown is an understatement. Let's do the maths...

There are 4.6 million non-white people living in the UK (2001 figures). So:
4,600,000 people x £50,000 = £230,000,000,000

That's £230 Billion!! To put that in context total UK spending is around £620 billion per year and the cost (just in incentives) is put at well over 2 times the total NHS/Health which is £110 Billion per year.

But that's just the incentive cost. Yes, you would not need to pay any benefits etc for these people any more, but nor would you have millions of working people no longer paying taxes into the pot. Plus they would be taking billions of capital with them out of the UK. Another blogger put this at £300 Billion - which is also an understatement as you need to cost in the administration of the scheme moving 4.6 million around, which would cost millions more and the loss to the economy. In short this is the policy a bunch of racist-fuckwits would come up with having a piss-up in the pub.

Danny Speaks! "Lets Talks Drugs"

Candidate Danny Kushlick has a press release out. Danny is the officially supported candidate of the Anarchist606 2010 Election Scrutiny Committee (i.e. me.):
"Parties must discuss drug legalisation and regulation", says Parliamentary Candidate

Danny Kushlick is standing as an independent prospective parliamentary candidate for Bristol West because the major parties will not engage on one of the most important issues of our time - the failure of the war on drugs. As a representative of the People's Manifesto he will stand on the single issue of the need to legalise and regulate drugs.

In 2002 David Cameron sat on a key Parliamentary Select Committee and backed a call for the UK Government to discuss legalisation and regulation of drugs, but he refuses to discuss this now. In 2003 the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit produced a report showing that supply side enforcement was the major driver of global harms related to heroin and cocaine. It was buried, forgotten and denied.

Danny Kushlick said: Our major party leaders are effectively duping voters into supporting a policy of drug criminalisation that claims to protect when it actually makes things worse the world over, including in my home constituency of Bristol West. Drug prohibition is based on the fantasy of ending the production, supply and use of illicit drugs, when in fact it does precisely the opposite. By gifting the trade to organised criminals and unregulated dealers, all that we have done is create the largest untaxed commodity trade on earth. The UK crime costs alone of operating the policy of prohibition amount to between £15 billion and £20 billion a year. We have thrown away £100 billion over the last ten years and will throw away closer to £200 billion if we continue it for another ten.

As shown by the report published yesterday by the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy, it is the enforcement of prohibition that has spawned extreme violence worldwide. Successive Conservative and Labour administrations have supported a policy that has failed to protect children, has fuelled property crime and recreated the gang wars that US Alcohol Prohibition did in the 1920s and 30s right here in the UK. Meanwhile both parties have even gone so far as to ridicule the debate.

All the major parties are in full possession of the facts that show that prohibition is the significant cause of what is commonly known as 'the drug problem'. The Conservatives and Labour have succumbed to populist fear mongering and have actively kept the debate out of sight of the UK electorate. Even the Lib Dems and Greens have kept their more anti-prohibitionist positions out of public view, and failed to give the debate the prominence it deserves. I am standing in Bristol West to give a voice to those voters who want to see this issue firmly on the political agenda and to challenge the major parties to take this on as a serious policy issue during the next term of Government.

We cannot forget that the crack and heroin used in Bristol West originates as opium and coca in Afghanistan and Colombia. It is the UK's support for global drug prohibition that is fuelling conflict in Afghanistan, Colombia, Mexico and West Africa and providing cover for unnecessary military intervention by the United States.

Fifty years of failed prohibition shows that we cannot stop the residents of Bristol West, or anywhere else, using drugs and this demand will be met by illicit production and supply. The simple solution to the failure of prohibition is to end it; to take over the illicit trade, by legally regulating drugs through doctors, pharmacists and licensed retailers. It is precisely because drugs are dangerous, not because they're safe, that today I call on all the candidates in Bristol West, and the parties they represent, to raise the issue of drug law reform up the political agenda. To join with me in encouraging an open and healthy discussion on alternatives to prohibition, to end the war on drugs and replace it with a system of tax, control and regulation that is effective, just and humane. The people demand a genuine debate on drugs.



Danny Kushlick is a former drugs counsellor in the criminal justice system. He founded the Transform Drug policy Foundation as a result of his experience.
Three weeks ago he was selected by Mark Thomas to stand as prospective parliamentary candidate for the People's Manifesto. The policies in the Manifesto range from the sublime to the hilarious:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Turning Rebellion into Money

One of my favourite Conflict records is a double LP of live stuff called 'Turning Rebellion Into Money' and on the back of the sleeve it takes the idea full circle declaring 'Turning Money Into Rebellion.' The first part of that is what sprung to mind reading about the cash rake-in of Sarah Palin;
Over the past year, Palin has amassed a $12 million fortune and shows no sign of slowing down. Her memoir has so far sold more than 2.2 million copies, and Palin is planning a second book with HarperCollins. This January, she signed a three-year contributor deal with Fox News worth $1 million a year, according to people familiar with the deal. In March, Palin and Burnett sold her cable show to TLC for a reported $1 million per episode, of which Palin is said to take in about $250,000 for each of the eight installments.

Woah - there's a lot of profit in pointing out how communist America has becomes. This right-wing rebellion is a whole eco-system of cashing making that anyone who's been to a festival would recognise...
A young woman named Bethany Owens was sitting at a small table, pulling bills from a leather satchel. The 20-year-old daughter of black conservative entrepreneurs William and Selena Owens, Bethany had spent the morning at her parents’ booth selling books and CDs, like her mother’s title The Power Within a Conservative Woman ($9.95) and her dad’s motivational CD Answers Beyond the Rhetoric ($19.95). Bethany began stacking up bills, doling them out like a Vegas dealer. “One hundred, two hundred, three, four, five hundred,” she counted. “Ugh! I gotta start over.”

“Five, six, seven, eight, nine hundred. Okay, that’s $3,300,” she said, piling bills into neat rows.

“Are there corn dogs here, somebody?” yelled Melanie Morgan, a blonde conservative talk-radio host sitting nearby. Just then, Russo informed her that he’d heard Palin had agreed to speak alongside Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh at Morgan’s upcoming charity event for the troops, which would mean more care packages. “Oh my God! This is fabulous. Sal, brilliant. I could cry I’m so happy,” she said. “That’s gonna be so many hundreds of thousands of dollars more.”

Except, there is no hypocrisy here people - yes I suspect some in the tea party movement might wince at the profiteering from what is supposed to be a principled fight for America's soul rather than a big money-fest, but this is what they preach - profit is good, greed is good, the individual making cash above all is good.


However, this does kind of throw a spanner in the works of the idea that people like Palin are the same folk are the rank-and-file. Palin won't have problems with healthcare with $12 million in the bank. Ever.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Israel's Moral Limbo

Following on from my last post about Israel, I noted this impassioned plea for progress and peace by the Israel paper Haaretz:
"Unfortunately, Israel's 62nd Independence Day finds it in a kind of diplomatic, security and moral limbo that is certainly no cause for celebration. It is isolated globally and embroiled in a conflict with the superpower whose friendship and support are vital to its very existence. It is devoid of any diplomatic plan aside from holding onto the territories and afraid of any movement. It wallows in a sense of existential threat that has only grown with time. It seizes on every instance of anti-Semitism, whether real or imagined, as a pretext for continued apathy and passivity. In many respects, it seems that Israel has lost the dynamism and hope of its early decades, and is once again mired in the ghetto mentality against which its founders rebelled."

It seems that the current military and diplomatic strategy, born in the fires of Neo-Conservatism, has not delivered anything except more perpetual war. The problem is that Israel will not will a demographic war with the Palestinians. Peace is their only hope, but it is held in check by extremists on both sides and a militarised state that can only envision war.

Election UK: UKIP's Science Policy Fail

The Guardian has been getting some of the UKs top science writers to posts questions to the political parties on their science policy. This time it was the turn of the UK Independence Party - answered by their denial science spokesperson 'Screaming' Lord Monkton. This sounds like fun - and it is!!! Let's dive into UKIPs pool of stupid... They start off answering a question about Britain's science budget by banging on about global warming - or "global warming" as Monkton refers to it:
To restore a fair balance in science funding, all funding connected with "global warming" research will cease until a Royal Commission has heard the evidence on both sides of the case, with all the rigour of a court of law, and has substantively reported.

OK, so to pander to those who think global warming is a fascist NWO communist plot, he'd have a big public event to debate it's merits. Very open minded of UKIP? Except that though out the rest of the questions the 'open minded' UKIP approach is on display:
There must be an immediate halt to needless expenditure on the basis of a now-disproven hypothesis [of global warming]... The correct policy approach to the non-problem of "global warming" is to have the courage to do nothing.

Why hold a Royal Commission into a 'now-disproven non-problem'? There's either a logic-fail, or political manipulation going on here. It suggests that the intention is to bias the outcome before it has even begun. Very fair and balanced. Not. But not only that, but Monkton falls into a mutated version of the 'God of the Gaps' fallacy - the assumption that where doubt might exist, it must be proof of one hypothesis rather than being ... well, doubt:
The remit of the Royal Commission would be to decide: Whether and to what degree the IPCC has exaggerated climate sensitivity to CO2 or other greenhouse gases;

What if they have underestimated climate sensitivity to CO2? If the figures were found to be wrong (and Monkton has been shown that his figures are bunkum) what's to say they are wrong in a way that supports the denial view?

As proof of Monkton's scientific credibility (i.e. zero) the answers of the other questions are also great fun: On the issue of public health campaigns, Monkton shows us it laser-like understanding of human biology (which matches his knowledge of climate science, i.e. zero) in regard to too much salt in the diet:
Consider the prolonged campaigns to tell the public that salt is bad for them. There is little sound scientific evidence for any such campaign, since any excess salt is merely excreted harmlessly via the kidneys.

Except that an expert on the issue, Stephen Havas, M.D., a professor of epidemiology, preventive medicine, and medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine says otherwise:
The medical community has reached a consensus that diets high in sodium are a major cause of high blood pressure as well as pre-hypertension, or blood pressure just short of high blood pressure. This significantly increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

In answer to a question about Genetic engineering/Stem cell research, Monkton gives a priceless answer...
Wherever stem cells can be obtained by means other than the killing of very small children, it is ethical only to obtain the stem cells by means that do not involve the loss of little lives. On this basis, there is no reason why Britain should not play a leading part in stem cell research.

WTF?? There is a trashy but fun sci-fi thriller from 1990 called Dark Angel (or in the US I think it was called 'I Come in Peace') starting Dolph Lundgren where evil aliens go around killing people and harvesting biological compounds from their brains at the point of death. This seems to be how Monkton views Stem cell research - as a fictional cross between Dark Angel and the child-catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Very scientific.

The Guardian's analysis of the UKIP science policy calls it 'bizarre' and concludes:
On science, Ukip is dire, with no credibility in the scientific community and candidates who have a demonstrably poor grasp of basic scientific principles, which perhaps explains its general disarray and flip-flopping in areas such as health.

Ukip is the only significant party to support homeopathy, and the only party apart from the BNP still in denial over climate change. The appointment of Viscount Monckton as a science spokesman adds to the air of a party of old British eccentrics.


Woeful and bonkers.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Looking to the Election Results...

I'm not a huge believer that elections make real changes, but it is a huge survey as to where people see themselves politically (to an extent) and I think voting is still a tool to be used to progressive social change; "I'd prefer a labour government to a BNP one!". So what am I interested in come 6th May? I'll tell you...

- How Danny Kushlick did in Bristol West (Vote Danny!)
- How the Greens did in vote share (Bristol is a pretty Green city and I'm often surprised they do do better here...)
- How much we need to be worried by the BNP vote in Bristol (I'd expect a small rise, given the economic crisis, voter apathy and dissatisfaction with the existing political parties, combined with the drum-beat of anti-Muslim and anti-Immigration scare stories in the tabloids.)
- How well the candidates flagged by Ian Bone (and commentators) do.
- What the real outcome of the reported Lib-Dem swing will actually be (voters are often quite loyal to one party).
- If the BNP manages to get it's first MP and/or take Barking and Dagenham council.
- If the Greens managed to get their first MP in Brighton Pavilion.

So I am considering like blogging on the night... Also what is the twitter tag we're going to be using for chatting about Bristol results? #ukelectionbris?

Election UK: Monkton Stands for MP of Denialismlington

Roll up! Roll up! All the fun of the fair! In the upcoming UK election of the most prominent global deniers of climate change had thrown his eccentric lordy hat into the ring and is standing for UKIP - and I was really looking forward to seeing how he would do in the democratic arena - but sadly (boo hoo) he's pulled out as..
A Ukip spokesman said the decision to withdraw was taken because a Restore Trust in Parliament candidate is also contesting this seat. It is Ukip policy, said the spokesman, not to field candidates against eurosceptic Conservatives or Restore Trust in Parliament candidates.

What a bummer. But Monkton's elevation to the position of 'chief spokesman on Climate Change' just bangs another nail in the coffin of any credibility that UKIP may have had. It seems little more than a drag-net of odd-balls, missfits, conspiracy theories and bat-shits. Adding the tin-foil safari hat of Monkton into the mix is a natural fit of bonkers:
UKIP Leader Malcolm Pearson said, "I am delighted that Lord Monckton has accepted my invitation to join UKIP as our chief spokesman on Climate Change. He was Margaret Thatcher's Special Adviser in Downing Street on a number of areas, including science. He is now perhaps the world's leading expert on the case against Man-made Global Warming, and as such is a household name in the United States and elsewhere.

Yes, having a hypocritical proved-wrong non-scientist classics scholar come conspiracy theorist as the spokesman for climate science is crazy is as crazy does - in action!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Election UK: Christian Party of Wales, What a Laff!

One of the things I love about an election is all the small parties that emerge. It is always fascinating to see what political permutations people will come up with - some interesting and some not - and some are, well a bit batty. So it was with great amusement that I encountered the Christian Party of Wales...

I saw their election broadcast on the telly and it is a bit odd to say the least. It shows a guy with a combat jacket and DMs on marching up a hill with a big pole on his shoulders. It then cuts to a guy who looks like the man from Bargain Hunt (but less orange) who talks about god for a bit then starts banging on about the EU (who'd have thought Jesus was so down on Europe!) while cutting back to the paramilitary march up the hill. Then the guy on the hill unfurls the flag on the pole - the flag of St.David (back flag with a yellow cross) and small bunch of people, led by another bloke in a combat jacket marches up the hill to the flag. Baffling really. Like a UKIP broadcast with more god in it.

So I checked out their manifesto. It's a mix of a few policies that sound ok then layers and layers of nutty god-shit. Including:
- Re-instate the teaching of ‘Classical’ subjects in every school.
- Ensure that proper balanced teaching and debate occurs in schools around the concepts of ‘Evolution’ and ‘Creation/Design in the universe’.

Then it gets really odd. This rich vein of US style freemarket capitalism emerges..
- Sell off state owned hospitals and healthcare facilities to private sector healthcare providers.
- Support radical cuts in the public-sector workforce in order to reduce both the size of government and the size of the government spending.

The immigration policy is pretty far-right (very Christian, not) and they seem to hate the EU. All in, it reads like a transplanting of US Evangelical bat-shit into this green and pleasant land. A twisted mutation of the bile, bible, BNP and UKIP.

I hope they are decimated on voting day. These people are crazier than a box of frogs.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Athiest vs Theist - Brother vs Brother

Bristol is hosing 2 talks as part of the Festival of Ideas; Christopher Hitchens, author of 'God is Not Great' and prominent atheist (amongst other things) and his brother, Peter with a talk entitled 'How Atheism Drove me to Faith' - but on different dates.

Awwwwwwwwww c'mon - put 'em on the same date and lets see the brotherly love turn to blood that is thicker than water...

Come to think of it, are they really brothers - they look similar...

And you never see them in the same room at the same Superman and Clark Kent?

Anyhow a couple of other talks I'd recommend...

- Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better (11th May)
- Do Statues Weep? The Importance of Scepticism (14th May) - one the tin-foil hat brigade should see.
- Ben Goldacre on Drug Company Bullshit (18th May)

Great stuff!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

To Vote or Not to Vote?

Anarchists tend to go for the not voting line (though, like herding cats, the ideas about how to engage with voting vary). This is a thoughtful discussion on the issue...
Firstly - my background is in anarchist politics, and I consider myself to be an anarchist. The more I think about it, the more deeply uncomfortable I am with a simple 'don't vote' message, and i think our critique of elections needs to be sharper (e.g 'no matter who you vote for, the government always gets in' - yes, but even as an anarchist, i'd prefer a labour government to a BNP one!). The more I think about it, the more I think that the 'don't vote' message is not the most politically purposeful one. Sure, we legitimize their system a bit by voting, but I legitimize their system by buying some food sometimes and getting a shitty privatized train to work (and please, if anyone is planning to level a 'well quit your job and cycle' thing at me, just don't - some of us need to work, and work useful jobs). Anyway, I feel that a more effective slogan would revolve around the message that whether you vote or not, there are much more direct and empowering forms of polilitical participation that you could also be getting involved in, and that voting is just the bottom rung of a massive ladder of political engagement (and, while some may not see it as one, it IS a rung, as having the ability to vote is better than not being able to).

I like the point, "i'd prefer a labour government to a BNP one!" Indeed, apathy, especially in elections with a low turnout like local and MEP ones does help the BNP, after all they got the 2 MEPs, not from getting more votes, but from less people overall voting.

So as you might guess, I'm voting in this election - and voting Danny K!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How Murdoch Corrupts Democracy

Confessions of a former Sun editor... (bold is my emphasis...)
Make no mistake, if the Liberal Democrats actually won the election – or held the balance of power – it would be the first time in decades that Murdoch was locked out of British politics. In so many ways, a vote for the Lib Dems is a vote against Murdoch and the media elite.

I can say this with some authority because in my five years editing the Sun I did not once meet a Lib Dem leader, even though I met Tony Blair, William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith on countless occasions. (Full disclosure: I have since met Nick Clegg.)

I remember in my first year asking if we staffed the Liberal Democrat conference. I was interested because as a student I'd been a founder member of the SDP. I was told we did not. We did not send a single reporter for fear of encouraging them.

See - it's not about reporting what is happening - it's about reporting what Murdoch wants you too think is happening. Reality engineering.

Yet another reason to move to democratic media.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

12 Rules to Crazy Thinking

It's crazy day, and what better way to spend crazy day then with crazy as a companion. Today's slice of crazy comes from this comment. What is sooooo cool about it is that it shows a fool-proof way to ....
to inoculate our youth against the rising flood of propaganda manufactured by Big Government, Big Media and Big Academia working together against the best interests of the American people.

How cool is that. This is like the daddy of all bullshit-detectors...
Jay Richards’ “When-Not-To-Believe-The-Science-Of-Scientists” is the best rebuttal to the relentless drum beat of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) zombies. ... Let's see, what might fit the logical absurdities ladled out in many of today’s AGW articles responding to ClimateGate revelations of scientific, political, media and academic misconduct and outright RICO ACT fraud? #10 looks pretty good to start with, but here, you choose the rest:

(1) When different claims get bundled together.
(2) When ad hominem attacks against dissenters predominate.
(3) When scientists are pressured to toe the party line.
(4) When publishing and peer review in the discipline is cliquish.
(5) When dissenting opinions are excluded from the relevant peer-reviewed literature not because of weak evidence or bad arguments but as part of a strategy to marginalize dissent.
(6) When the actual peer-reviewed literature is misrepresented.
(7) When consensus is declared hurriedly or before it even exists.
(8) When the subject matter seems, by its nature, to resist consensus.
(9) When “scientists say” or “science says” is a common locution.
(10) When it is being used to justify dramatic political or economic policies.
(11) When the “consensus” is maintained by an army of water-carrying journalists who defend it with uncritical and partisan zeal, and seem intent on helping certain scientists with their messaging rather than reporting on the field as objectively as possible.
(12) When we keep being told that there’s a scientific consensus.

OK, let's have some fun...
(1) When different claims get bundled together.

So bundling different things together makes them more likley not to be true. I don't see the logic in that at all. Lots of bits of science are inter-locking parts that mutually support one another, far from being a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength because it shows the predictive power of the theory. So what is commonly called evolution is in fact a number of interlocking ideas bundled together; natural selection, Mendelian genetics to name but two parts.
(2) When ad hominem attacks against dissenters predominate.

You mean like you called proponent of AGW 'zombies'? Should that not be re-phrased as 'When ad hominem attacks against me and the people who agree with me predominate'? Still that is not a logical position but an opinion as to how debate should be conducted.
(3) When scientists are pressured to toe the party line.

So when the Bush administration pressured scientists to toe the party line that proved AGW? Again, not a position of logic or evidence, but politics - which is subjective.

All the rest of these 'logical absurdity detectors' are subjective; i.e. down to the interpretation of the person involved; there is no logical framework at all, no reliance on data - it is a set of political guidelines designed to reinforce selection bias. If that is the basis for your understanding of science, then you are royally fucked...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

When Assassinations Make Things Worse

Part of the policy in the 'War of on Terror' thus far has been targeted assassinations. This has also been Israeli policy too. But does it work? It seems not..
[A study by] Jenna Jordan [pdf], a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago, in Security Studies. She did a large-scale study of violent organizations that had been dealt with by the assassination of leaders, and found that such assassinations generally caused the organization actually to last longer than groups that had not suffered such assassinations.

Ooops. So another failed tactic from the cowboy school of counter terror. But wait! There's more...
Ariel Sharon was convinced by some game theorist who knew nothing about Palestinian Arab society that if he could kill off 1/4 of the Hamas leadership, he could cause the organization to collapse. What I heard was that the original basis for this thesis was risk studies of corporations like IBM, where the models had shown that in case of a catastrophe that took out a quarter of the management, the organization would implode.

So Sharon’s government assiduously assassinated suspected Hamas leaders, killing the spiritual leader of the movement, Shaikh Ahmad Yasin, in his wheelchair as he came out of a mosque, along with 17 others, including juveniles. Then titular leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi was assassinated. And so on and so forth. But Hamas did not collapse. It won the 2006 Palestine Authority elections, and even when the resulting government was overthrown by the PLO in the West Bank– with US and Israeli help– it proved powerful in Gaza. The Gaza War was another Israeli attempt to destroy Hamas, which failed miserably. Israeli military leaders professed themselves astonished at how little resistance to the invasion Hamas put up, showing that they don’t understand movements. Movements can afford to lie low during attacks, because they have the resources and support to reemerge once the heat is off.

Assassinating movement leaders, as opposed to organization leaders, is usually worse than useless, especially if the movement has a strong social base in a compact population.

Back to the drawing-board then?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

When Denial Meets Facts...

Here's a bit of fun...
Canadian denier-in-chief, the retired geographer Dr. Tim Ball, got seriously (though not physically) roughed up last week in a presentation to the University of Victoria Young Conservatives Club.

Apparently expecting a room full of docile Stephen Harper fans, Ball found himself instead in front of a group of burgeoning climate scientists - young people who were quick to challenge him when he said things that were pointedly untrue.
For example, beginning at 1:21:20, he launches into a whole disquisition about how real scientists have been hamstrung by the IPCC because the politicians involved drew terms of reference that were ruinously restrictive:

"When it appears that the politicians are doing the honorable thing and having an arms length not political investigation, well they’re not doing that at all," Ball began.

"Here’s what Maurice Strong did with the IPCC: he defined a changing climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity. Don’t look at what nature’s doing, only at what the human causes are."

Student: (unintelligible)

Ball: "Yes, but they don’t look at the natural climate variability."

Student sotto voce “not true, we look at natural variation”

Ball, offering a new slide: "This is the definition produced by the United Nations Environment Program which was then adopted by the IPCC. This is the definition of what they’re directed to look at. They’re directed to only look at climate change that is due to human activity."

Student: “What about that whole second half (of the definition printed on the slide): ‘in addition to natural climate variability.’”

Ball: "Yeah, but they don’t do that."

Student: "But it just says to do it."

Ball: "You look at the list of forcings they have; it’s only those forcings caused by human activity."

Student: "You’re saying that volcanoes are caused by humans?"

Ball: "Well exactly. The volcanoes is one and look at the thing I showed you with Milankovich."

Student: "Yeah, but the IPCC accounts for volcanic activity AND Milankovich cycles."

Ball: "They identify them, but they do not consider them in their models …."

Student: "They certainly do …."

Ball: "No then don’t …."

Student: "Yes they do: I run models … ((interrupted)"

Denialist: Can we have our Ball back please?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Understanding Crazy Conspiracy Theories

This is a great article helping you to understand the ideas that spawn to make the average conspiracy theory...
In my opinion the anti-science movement engage in:

1. Cult-like behaviour: dogmatically supporting the all-knowing Leader,
2. Conspiracy theory: there is a global conspiracy to hide The Truth,
3. Misunderstanding what science entails: i.e. if there is one thing science cannot explain that proves all those things that have been elucidated (evolution, germtheory) are wrong,
4. Double standard: even if science is right it does not apply to their specific case, i.e. because of their unique nature Intelligent Design, homeopathy, paranormal claims, et cetera, should not be held to the same standard as the scientific community,
5. Thinking that attending Google University (Dah Google) equals years of study, and doing research, in a certain field -expert opinion is just that: opinion,

The last point - 5 is an important one. It's the classic of the Dunning-Kruger effect. Where a little knowledge is dangerous - when not applied with a little humility to understand how far you've have to go to fully understand the area.
* Anti-global warming:
1. Cult-like behaviour: The Leader (lobbying groups) discovered The Truth (global warming is non-existent) and it is treated as dogma,
2. The Truth is a highly unlikely theory which ignores a multitude of evidence disproving it,
3. Conspiracy: climategate proves scientists are hiding The Truth,
4. Misrepresentations and logical fallacies: the fact scientists debate the details proves there is no scientific consensus,
5. Double standard: claiming unethical behaviour of scientists while ignoring actual misconduct by "sceptics."


Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Grayness Of Life

This is the title of a talk and it makes it sound like its about dull stuff - but the grayness refers to the fact that things in life are not black and white. That life has lots of gray moments. The remarkable thing about this talk is that it is by Nate Phelps - a son of the so-called preacher Fred Phelps and his God Hates Fags churchy thing. What becomes apparent from the talk is that Fred Phelps is not a man of god. Far from it. He's a coward. A bully. A bigot and an all round mega-prick. He sent his kids out to sell sweets so he does not have to work. Uses religion as a control for his abused family. Beats the wife and kids in the most horrific way. This is a shocking story - but it is also a story of survival.

Good on you Nate, my secular blessings go with you for sticking it to the man.

(It's in 6 parts...I recommend all.)

Parts 2,3,4,5 & 6.

Phelps takes religion to the typical cult place; I am right 'cos god says so. But unlike other cult leaders such as Koresh or Hubbard he does not have the charisma to gather more than a smattering of vulnerable followers - so uses his family as the congregation to his wired nationalism-voodoo cult.

What a massive, massive prick.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Monkton Puzzle - Freedom and Climate

Laird Monkton has been making a good living from promoting the denial of climate change. He is often booked as a speaker by denial-fests and free-market loops worldwide. So what is his appeal to the small but vocal group of people that come to see him? Simple; freedom. Monkton promotes climate change as a communist plot and part of a nefarious Fu-Manchu like scheme of global government. He casts himself as the freedom fighter - using his non-science education in Latin to unravel the complex science of global warming. He fights against government intrusion and for the little guy.

But it was not always so. Back the in 80s when AIDS first appeared, Monkton - then inside the corridors of power - was happy to use fear as a weapon. He promoted the solution to AIDS; global mass quarantine;

"there is only one way to stop AIDS. That is to screen the entire population regularly and to quarantine all carriers of the disease for life. Every member of the population should be blood-tested every month ... all those found to be infected with the virus, even if only as carriers, should be isolated compulsorily, immediately, and permanently." This would involve isolating between 1.5 and 3 million people in the United States ("not altogether impossible") and another 30,000 people in the UK ("not insuperably difficult").

Wow - imagine the global legal powers you'd need to enforce a mass program of testing and quarantine? You'd need global treaties dis-empowering each individual person on the planet and subordinating them to an enforced programme of medical testing. You'd need to build loads of internment camps worldwide (of the kind conspiracy theorists love talking about) and the like. Imagine the cost of this? It would be an astronomical cost, I would guess dwarfing the cost of mitigating climate change.

Not only that - I can't see how it would ever work. You'd need 100% accuracy in the testing to contain it. Human error would ensure that would not happen if nothing else. People would resist as internment is the consequences of getting caught out... It would be a total disaster.

So only a few years ago, our brave freedom fighter was proposing an unworkable global testing and quarantine system for AIDS and now we're supposed to see him as a freedom fighter against global treaties of climate change.

Give me a break. He's a snake-oil selling knob-head making a fortune from scientifically illiterate, idealogical blinded punters and promoting the interests of far-right free-market ideology.

He's not a freedom fighter, he's an enemy of reason.

The Catholic Church's Blame Game

The Catholic Church and it's supporters seem to be engaged in a huge game of pin the tale on the donkey. In this instance, the tail is the blame for the scale and scope of the Church's child abuse scandal and the donkey is who the blame should be attached too. Seemingly blindfolded, the church and it's supporters are pinning that tale all over, having blamed..

- Satan
- Atheists
- The Jews
- The kids themselves (how fucking sick is that!!!)

In fact it seems they are willing blame anyone, except the people who might actually be to blame (i.e. the Pope and his cohorts).

Face it Mr Pope, when you sink to blaming the victims and the Jew, you've lost the argument.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Climate Denial's Snake-oil Man: Monkton

Monkton is an idiot. He is a snake-oil salesman who is cashing in on fears over climate change. What gets me is how many people fall for his shit. He gave a presentation where he talks about how the imminent signing of the Copenhagen treaty would usher-in 'world government' and how former communists had taken over Greenpeace and all that jazz - conspiracy inside conspiracy bound so tightly it would make anyone's logic-centre explode on contact. Yet people fall for this shit.

So where is the video announcing that what it meant for the New World Order plans that the Copenhagen treaty failed? It failed because sovereign nations could not agree; which means the NWO must have zero influence over them - it's almost as if the NWO and the evil plans outlined by Monkton as a certainty, don't exist? Wow....

Still, here's another video well worth the watch about how Monkton's crap works so well. It is the science equivalent of cold-reading...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Why I am going to Vote Danny!

Hot on the heels of Ian Bone's suggestion that; "unlike most anarchists I think standing in elections can be a useful tactic in the armoury of the revolutionary..." - I agree that it is worth voting as it's a great way to make a bit of mischief and also if you don't vote scum like the BNP get in - who rely on apathy to win.

In Bristol West, a guy Called Danny Kushlick is standing for the People's Manifesto - which has some fun and some serious stuff on it...
1. The introduction of a Tobin tax (Robin Hood tax) on foreign financial transactions.

2. The Daily Mail should be forced to print on the front of every edition the words: "This is a fictionalised account of the news and any resemblance to the truth is entirely coincidental."

3. There should be a referendum before going to war.

4. MPs should have to wear tabards displaying the names and logos of the companies with which they have a financial relationship, like a racing driver.

Now given that the local rag, the Evening Pest, is owned by the Daily Mail, I can't see them giving him much coverage. But they are the past and I am voting for the future. Given that the Daily Mail is a hot-bed of anti-science, drugs & immigration hysteria - I can't see them giving him much coverage.

So it is going to be down to us. Bug given that social media gives us a scope that we've not had before; witness the toppling of the carefully orchestrated Christmas No1. by Rage Against the Machine, and you can see that winning is possible. This is not a protest vote; this a real vote. But also given the media/government hysteria on drugs of late, it is time for a bit of rationality into the debate. So yes, I'm voting Danny.

I've got nothing against the LibDem MP, hell, I even voted for him 2005 to send a message to Labour over the war. But if we elect another LibDem MP, then it's all a bit meh. If we elected Danny - that would cause some ructions for the powers that be: that would not be the end of it - far from it - but it is a step in the right direction of getting of real, grassroots democracy going.

But it is also important because Danny is the policy director of Transform - who campaign for sane drug laws. The media-friendly 'ban it all' approach we're been taking for the last 50 years or so costs us over £1.2 billion per year and yet drugs are cheaper and more freely available than ever before. I want to see policy change to something that works. People are going to use drugs, whatever, so lets deal with that and move on... I live in St.Pauls and see the fallout of the failed policy regime day-in and day-out. Enough.

So, c'mon fellow Bristolains - lets Vote for Danny! If the Daily Mail hate him, you know he's worth your support!


You can hear him on the GoatLab radio show playing tunes and talking about his work on drug law reform.

There is a facebook group started:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Drugs: Does spending £1.2 billion a year help? Who knows? Who cares?

Here's a classic from Transform's blog:
The Government spends £1.2 billion a year on measures aimed at tackling problem drug use, yet does not know what overall effect this spending is having.

Get that? The government spends £1.2 billion a year and they have no idea the effect it is having. This means that it might not be very effective. It means that it might be really effective. But it also means that it might have the opposite effect - that the government spends £1.2 billion a year to make the UK's drug problems worse.

What kind of a way is that to run a policy?

I noted before that the director of Transform, Danny Kushlick, is standing in the Bristol West seat - his election would be an amazing victory for a common sense approach to drugs.

You've got my vote, Danny!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Drugs! Danger! Evil! Think of the Kids! Eeek!

The media has once again failed us on the issue of drugs. This seeing account gives an image that goes beyond the bounds of reality...
In November last year, the Sun published a story under the headline: "Legal drug teen ripped his scrotum off". Quoting a police report, the paper said an unnamed teenager from Durham needed hospital treatment after mephedrone made him him "rip off his own scrotum". An internal police report had said: "One individual states that after using it for 18 hours his hallucinations led him to believe that centipedes were crawling over him and biting him, and this led him to receive hospital treatment after he ripped his own scrotum off." However, it carried on: "This information was taken from an internet blog and as such it should be treated with the credence such information deserves." The officer said he took the story from a website that sells mephedrone, and that his warning was not printed. The owner of the website that hosted this blog,, says the posting was a joke.

How could the media fail us so? The banning of a drug does not mean that we are safer as a results. The war of drugs has failed and yet the media pushes the same failed ideas and policies over and over. Still there was one bright spot in this article:
The media's coverage has angered some who work in the drugs policy field. "The misreporting of mephedrone deaths is a crass example of the potentially lethal alliance between press and politicians that by default ends in a ban that often creates far greater harms than those caused by use," said Danny Kushlick, of the drugs charity Transform, which opposes prohibition.

Danny is standing in the election for Bristol West - where I live! He's a great bloke - smart, funny and he genuinely cares. He's got my vote and I'll be blogging more about him as time goes on...

Friday, April 09, 2010

US based Exxon Mobil - 2009 reported $45.2 billion profit - taxes paid? $0.

That's right denial funding oil giant Exxon Mobil used complex tax schemes of avoid paying any US income tax on it's $45.2 billion profit:
Big Oil giant Exxon Mobil, which last year reported a record $45.2 billion profit, paid the most taxes of any corporation, but none of it went to the IRS. ... Exxon tries to limit the tax pain with the help of 20 wholly owned subsidiaries domiciled in the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands that (legally) shelter the cash flow from operations in the likes of Angola, Azerbaijan and Abu Dhabi. No wonder that of $15 billion in income taxes last year, Exxon paid none of it to Uncle Sam, and has tens of billions in earnings permanently reinvested overseas

But Exxon ends up looking like a tax angel next to the makers of everything from media, to guns to car, General Electric;
Most General Electric, which generated $10.3 billion in pretax income, but ended up owing nothing to Uncle Sam. In fact, it recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion.

Wow. Nice.
I'm speechless. Greedy bastards.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wikileaks Video of US Army Killing Civilains

This is a really sad and shocking video; a US gunship shoots at a group of people killing them - the group includes 2 journalists - then when a passing van stops to take a wounded man off to hospital - decided the shoot the shit out of that too; the van has 2 kids in it. The gunner and his mate a quite nonchalant about it all declaring that it is the parents fault for taking their child into a war zone; but the whole fucking country is a warzone. What choice did they have?

This is pure and simple murder. And the US military has been busy lying and covering up the murder. I found this video on PZ Myers's blog and his comments are sobering:
They shot journalists and children, all the while laughing and congratulating themselves on the 'nice' pile of bodies they had produced. And when they see soldiers on the ground rushing injured children to aid, they say, "Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle."

I am ashamed. We are the storm troopers, the murderous invaders, the butchers of children, the laughing barbarians. We aren't in Iraq to help those people, our troops are there to oppress them…when we aren't gunning them down outright.

Oh, and go ahead, turn on your TV news. The top stories on CNN are the iPad, Jessica Alba planning to adopt a baby, and Tiger Woods. Doesn't that fill you with confidence?

In war the first casualty may be truth, but sadly the second seems to be kids.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Israel's intransigence to make peace is now becoming a wider US strategic problem

A comment on the Israel/Palestine thing which seems to be flaring up of late. Sadly people are dying again. My comment is about what is driving the current hardening of US words to Israel?

Could it be the US military has had enough of it's client state? Here is the testimony of uber-US general, the aptly named Patreaus;
The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the AOR. Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large-scale armed confrontations. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens thelegitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas.

In summary; Israel's intransigence around to make peace is now becoming a wider US strategic problem...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Let's All Get Together - for a Fun Religious War!

Lots of people seem to point to Islam and say how it is a fundamentally violent religion. Yes it has it militancy - waaay too much of it, but if you raise your gaze up you'll soon see that all religious have their own violent, warlike militant nutters looking for nothing more than the spilling of blood in the name of god...but what I'd never considered before is the positive side of religious war;
“God brings a war because he needs to bring the best out of us. When we shine a light, it’s brightest when we come together [in war].”

Awww, religious war is like a huge love-in; provided your down with the right strain of god-murdering rage - this example is Jewish...
A cellphone video is shown depicting dozens of Israeli soldiers just before entering the Gaza Strip. This video was given to Dvir Bar-Chai [a radical Jewish settler] to cheer him up after being injured and hospitalized. The soldiers are seen dancing together and singing a religious Zionist song about getting revenge “just this once” against “the Philistines.”

The Philistines were a people who lived in the southern coast of Canaan, in the middle east back in the day - with whom the Israelites did lots of fighting. It is also a term to refer to the 'other' i.e. people not of your religion/views and who are without merit.


Monday, April 05, 2010

Stop Climate Change: Vote it Away!

Denialist commentators are great fun: they seemingly have a limitless supply of bonkers - however they have a very limited supply of logic (it ran out for them about 1995). So a recent article about the exoneration of Phil Jones from the CRU elicited the usual outputing of nuts. Here's one of my favourites:
VinceOZ : 02 Apr 2010 7:54:35pm

What a crock, its all a scam and we will vote about this and it will END.

Climate Change is a waste of good CO2.

Gazzoks! Why didn't I think of this? The science is pointing to huge problems with they way we live via CO2 emissions and so we solve the problem by voting it away. "All those in favour of repealing the laws of physics say Aye?" - Aye! - and it's done. While they are at it; can we repeal the laws of gravity because I've always wanted to be able to fly!

Here's another gem:
IanB : 03 Apr 2010 7:34:55am

Any investigation into climate science, global warming, climate-gate or climate change that does not include uncensored input from people like Ross McKitrick, Lord Christopher Monckton and Steve McIntyre is a farce.

Brilliant! The way to have an impartial investigation into climate science; give a platform to 3 non-climate scientists who are already opposed to the consensus on climate change (an economist, a mathematician and a clasics scholar). Amazing way to do science. What the commentator missed is that anyone could already submit uncensored input - and McIntyre did as did a number denialists.

And one more classic:
Chris Ryan : 03 Apr 2010 7:36:04pm

Gremlin, AGW is a myth concocted by those that want to make a killing swapping "carbon credits" on the exchanges. It does not exist.

"In the last 15 years, there has been no statistically significant global warming." So said Dr. Phil Jones of CRU and Climategate fame. Remember, this is the guy who feeds the data to the IPCC.

Remember too, the Climatic Research Unit at East Anglia University is funded by BP, various nuclear power companies, Greenpeace and the WWF. It is anything but an impartial, honest organization.

As might many denial claims of forums, the poster offers no evidence of the claims. However I did do a bit of research and the only references to it's funding I could find was that it was a government funded institution primarily funded by government sources. Even the denial camp's research seems to show this. No mention of BP, Greenpeace et al.

But hey, how needs evidence, when you have denial! Let's go with the fantasy that Greenpeace and the WWF, having run out of things to campaign against (the whales are all OK and the rainforest has been saved and no animals are endangered any more) decide to collude with the climate change scientists to create a global conspiracy - and yet no evidence of this comes in in their emails?

Yeah right. And the NWO proves the moon is made of green cheese.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Climate Aliens Stole my Goat!

It's conspiracy time again! Yes, we are witnessing the birth of extraordinary conspiracy theories into public life driven not by evidence, but by ideology and the childish unwillingness to face the truth:
Like the HAARP conspiracists, who believe that if they can prove that earthquakes in Haiti, Sichuan, Kobe, and Chile furthered US imperial interests then they have as good as proven that the US military artificially induced them, these Global Warming denialists conflate consequences with causes. If “a” benefits “b,” they seem to be thinking, then “b” must have had a hand in “a.” The existence of anthropogenic global warming necessitates global solutions, which empower international institutions. By the light of their faulty logic it follows that “a” must be a Trojan horse—a fraud concocted out of whole cloth by the International Elites, who are looking to impose their Global Supergovernment on a world that is in reality cooling. Ipso facto, the scientists whose research supports global warming must have been corrupted by the Elite’s money.

Thus “Climategate”—the hacked emails between scientists at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. To put a conspiratorial counter spin on the alleged conspiracy, if they hadn’t been discovered, someone would have had to invent them. As early as 2003, Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, then Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, had declared that “with all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that manmade global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? It sure sounds like it.” Upon the release of the Climategate e mails he swiftly demanded a Congressional investigation of what he called “the greatest scientific scandal of our generation.”

The release of 1000s of emails from the climate-hack didn't show any of the aledged conspiracy - a handful of emails about avioding FOI requests and use of the scientific term 'trick' do not a global cabal of evil scintists make. Indeedthe 1000s of emails should have been stuffed full of requests of fake data and instructing the 100s of other climate scintists in what the 'offical' line of the evil cabal was/is. But no - nothing. The climate-hack ws a damp squid for the conspiracy theorists.

The whole article is really worth reading, but here is the killer point;
In the real world, it seems, some scientists are no less subjective than English professors and politicians. But if it’s lucre that provides the motive for bad science, then it’s worth noting that there’s a lot more of it sloshing around the coal and oil industries (and for that matter, local TV news operations) than can be found at most research universities.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Fox News Falls for Global Warming Hoax

There is a hoax news story doing the rounds:

Global Warming Activist Freezes to Death in Antarctica

Famed global warming activist James Schneider and a journalist friend were both found frozen to death on Saturday, about 90 miles from South Pole Station, by the pilot of a ski plane practicing emergency evacuation procedures.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing", recounted the pilot, Jimmy Dolittle. "There were two snowmobiles with cargo sleds, a tent, and a bright orange rope that had been laid out on the ice, forming the words, 'HELP-COLD'."

One friend of Prof. Schneider told ecoEnquirer that he had been planning a trip to an ice sheet to film the devastation brought on by global warming. His wife, Linda, said that she had heard him discussing the trip with his environmental activist friends, but she assumed that he was talking about the Greenland ice sheet, a much smaller ice sheet than Antarctica.

Yes it is quite funny. But even more fun the the deluge of joy the death of a person set off in the denialoshpere... They simply could not contain their joy. Here's a couple of samples from the amateur comedy session it set off:

Or maybe they thought that South Pole polar bears would snuggle up to them and keep them warm.

There ain't no loon, like a Global Warming loon.


Ho ho! Death! Funny! Ha ha!

Anyhow, that bastion of error-checking and accuracy Fox News fell for this one hook-line-and-sinker, but they have deleted the post how, however the all-seeing Google cache has still caught it.

As for spotting a hum-dinger of a hoax story - c'mon 2 seconds Googling the famed guy's name tells you all you need to know - plus the details of the story are very silly. Oh yeah - that and the date the story was timed to the the internet - the 1st April.

Hmmm; it's almost as if these news outlets and bloggers are ready to believe any old shit provided it appears to validate their political ideology??

Save Bristol's Libraries!

Save Bristol's libraries from the Bristol IWW - good on 'em for this campaign as Libraries are important social spaces for sharing and learning!! We need more not less put into them.
The Bristol Branch of the IWW trade union is calling for strong and decisive action from other unions to stop brutal cuts wrecking Bristol's library service as the IWW today launch their own campaign against the cuts.

Bristol's library service, run by Bristol City Council, is looking to cut £225,000 from the libraries budget this year, largely by axing nine staff across the service. This is despite the libraries budget being underspent by £181,000 last year.

Most of these cuts will be made at the city's flagship Central Library where staff say users may have to wait two hours or more to obtain books and information from a slimmed down and understaffed reference library.

The council is also proposing to spend over £0.5m providing 'self-service' facilities at libraries and will then only provide one supervisor for every two branch libraries in the city.

IWW spokesman Frank Hutchison says,"Bristol City Council have promised there would be no cuts to frontline services. They lied.

"Libraries are among our most important and much-loved public services but here in Bristol the service is being systematically destroyed to save money.

"Meanwhile, despite the huge public outcry and concern, the traditional trade unions are sitting on their hands and failing to act.

"If they won't, we will. These unions are not only letting down their members but the wider community too.

"We will therefore be holding a public meeting in the near future to bring together library staff, concerned service users, other workers worried about the threat of cuts to public services in the city and the wider public."

The IWW says it will be fully committed to any campaign that's launched as a result of this meeting and will look to resource and fund that campaign as best it can.

"Doing nothing - or worse, doing a backroom deal to sell our library service down the river - is not an option," said Mr Hutchison.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Comment on Professor Phil Jones's Exoneration by MPs

Another enquiry has cleared climate scientists of any wrong doing, confirmed the science of AGW and hammers the denial case... Here's a couple of choice comments (one):
A few weeks back I suggested the denial movement should be careful for that they wish for: the chance to put climate science “on trial”. Well, it would seem this was such an opportunity. If one read the submissions you will see all the luminaries of the denial movement attempting to cast doubt on the science and attack the reputation of scientists - including a submission from our old friend Richard S. Courtney. It was a major effort on behalf of the denial movement to exploit the stolen CRU emails to discredit the science. And it failed spectacularly. It was a co-ordinated “push” by the denial movement to influence the outcome of the inquiry. And it failed spectacularly. It was the denial movement’s attempt to legitimise their claim the science was “fraudulent”. And it failed spectacularly.

This is their “Dover moment”: when both sides are given equal opportunity to present their arguments and evidence. It is up to an objective body to assess the veracity of each of their respective claims (see my post Putting climate science on trial: what is the worst that could happen?).

In Kitzmiller v Dover, the ID/Creationist movement was dealt a serious body blow. The climate change denial movement has just suffered an equally significant blow. This is what happens when the peddlers of propaganda attempt to take on science.

And two..
No doubt virtually all of the core findings will be ignored by the anti-science crowd, who will continue to push their while conspiracy theories about climate scientists.

Indeed, this outcome has the fingerprints of the NWO/Communists/Tree Huggers/Fascists/Lizards etc all over it... so we will be told.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Troops Charity in Costs Scam

Charity is important. It's a basic form of mutual aid and cooperation. Giving to help others/a cause with no gain is recognised as a valuable human trait, and with good reason. But when you give to an organisation that is a charity, you want to know that it is doing what it claims and not spending the money on other stuff. Now some costs going on administration, running costs, further fund-raising is inevitable; it would be impossible to expect 100% of the money to go to the cause. So what is a good percentage that goes to the front line of the cause? Some say that 75% of donations going to the front-line is a good figure, and if this drops below about 65% then the charities in question, "...are simply not living up to their missions." Another source says 60% is the minimum but agrees that 75% or more going to the cause is an efficient charity.

So square that with the 'Freedom Alliance' which is managing to give between 20% and 4% (just just fucking 4%!!!) of donations to the cause;
In fact, less than 20%–and in two recent years, less than 7% and 4%, respectively–of the money raised by Freedom Alliance went to these causes, while millions of dollars went to expenses, including consultants and apparently to ferry the [US Right-wing Celebrity, Sean] Hannity posse of family and friends in high style. And, despite Hannity’s statements to the contrary on his nationally syndicated radio show, few of the children of fallen soldiers got more than $1,000-$2,000, with apparently none getting more than $6,000, while Freedom Alliance appears to have spent tens of thousands of dollars for private planes. Moreover, despite written assurances to donors that all money raised would go directly to scholarships for kids of the fallen heroes and not to expenses, has begun charging expenses of nearly $500,000 to give out just over $800,000 in scholarships.

Sean Hanity is a right-wing dick-nut and it seems has an ego much bigger than the charity he supports. Check this;
Of course, as the [Fox news informant] tells it, there’d be a lot more money every concert to go to the cause if Hannity didn’t demand–and get–use of a Gulfstream 5 plane to fly him and his family/entourage to the concerts; a “fleet” (that’s the word the guy used) of either Cadillac or Lincoln SUVs for him and his family/entourage; and several suites at really expensive hotels for him and his family/entourage. The promoter apparently values Hannity’s star demands at well over $200,000 per event. The source says he heard that Oliver North pulled Hannity aside at one of the concerts and told him that this had to stop.

Fuck me - when you are being pulled up regarding your personal ethics by Oliver North - a guy who smuggled drugs to fund hit squads - you know you're down the moral black-hole.

Updates on this story here and here.