The Boston Marathon and the inevitable castigation of Islam and Muslims

Two days ago several explosives tore into, what was supposed to be the finishing line in one of the world’s most recognised and beloved marathons, converting one of the most enjoyable moments in the sporting calendar, to a requiem of grief and sorrow.

Speaking as an international observer, I can only empathise as to how Bostonians might be feeling at this time. To inflict such a brutal attack on an event without political affiliation is truly deplorable and I hope for a quick and speedy recovery to all of those who were injured in the attacks and an ultimate resolution to this unpleasant affair.

This aside, America reacted with familiar prejudice in the ensuing hours following the event. With literal moments having passed, conservative commentators were calling for the death of all muslims, declaring Jihad in America and calling for reform to the recently revised immigration reform. How ironic. A young Saudi man, whose biggest crime was apparently to have attended the event and been injured in it subsequently, was rugby tackled as he fled the post blast commotion. This man was flanked in hospital whilst recovering from his injuries by the FBI, questioned, mentioned as a suspect, arrested and then released in a bizarrely discriminatory fashion. No such treatment was entitled to any of the other injured patients.

The American and indeed general Western media driven demonisation of Muslims is no new thing and shows considerable and repeated oversights, with no suggestion of correction or balance. The Oslo Massacre in 2011 was peddled over and again as having been the action of muslims until Anders Breivik was sentenced. Ditto Oklahoma City in 1995. Observer bias is a persistent characteristic of western media platforms and from the moment that two planes flew into the World Trade Centre towers, the script was written.

The 2010 Terrorism Situation and Trend Report reveals some, perhaps surprising statistics on international terrorism in the European Union. In 2009, there were 294 incidents reported as terrorism. Of those 294 incidents, 237 were carried out by European separatists. Another 40 attacks were performed by anarchistic parties. 1 of these 294 were performed by a muslim group. Let me put this in another way. 0.34% of attacks were caused by muslims. David Rapoport, an expert on terrorism, referred to a current wave of terrorism neutralisation based on religion and ethnicity inspired directly as a result of that fateful 2001 morning.

I don’t expect to see any changes in the coming months or years, simply because I am not an idiot. I know more than to assume anything different in the indoctrinated eyes of the western media. What I cannot fathom however, is the unrelenting self-sympathetic agenda of the American people. On the same day as the Boston Marathon, 33 Iraqis died and 160 were injured as a result of political unrest in the middle east, a direct result of American foreign policy. 200,000 civilian men, women and children have died as a result of the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 2,000 Pakistanis have died as a result of American operated drone strikes since 2004. Where are the interviews with these families? Where is the media haranguing of the western politicians responsible for these relentless atrocities? Can we be assured that Obama will not rest until he has brought the perpetrators of those events, aka himself, to justice? I imagine not.

Of course, there is every chance this might be the result of a Muslim attack and for that I cannot condemn it on strong enough terms. This however does not excuse the shameless agenda to point the finger in a brown face at every turn.

As a member of the human race, I feel saddened by the news of any death inflicted by intentional violence. It is a sad world we live in, where the colour of your skin and location of your death is considered of notable precedence.

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Origami or not to be.

A lot of you, dear readers, will not be aware of the talent I have for folding paper, in a way that’s just pretentious enough to make the rest of you feel inadequate. Of course, I am not beyond sharing this ancient art with yourselves, but be warned; the obnoxiousness and superior attitude takes years of practice and application. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. So anyway here we go:

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1. You’re going to need a pretentious desk first. I suggest an Ikea one – because no one else will have one of those.

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2. Next grab yourselves some paper. It doesn’t have to be a leaflet, selling property refurbishments but this was the closest thing to me for the purposes of this article. I’m proper lazy. #jeah

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3. Fold the edge furthest from you in a clockwise manner so it lies perpendicularly to the left lateral edge. This is an important step girl.

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4. Fuck you.

Jim Carrey and what he doesn’t know about Vaccinations

Jim Carrey’s a pretty funny guy. I grew up watching him cavort across my screen in all manner of ludicrous performances, like a drunkard mongoose and regardless of whether the film was good or not, I usually found some favour within it. I would still count Dumb & Dumber amongst my all time favourite films and I have lost count of the number of times I have watched the convulsing police officer drink Lloyd’s bodily excretions; you simply cannot put a price on physical comedy. Carrey subsequently did what most OH-MY-GOD-I’M-SO-RICH-LET’S-URINATE-ON-EACH-OTHER-FOR-FUN actors in his position do and shacked up with the first female he saw with a halfway decent face and ample mammary glands. Unfortunately for him however, this happened to be Jenny McCarthy, idiot extraordinaire (I’m not sure if that’s her official title). Why? Well, put simply Dr Jenny feels contrary to almost universal scientific opinion, and links vaccinations to autism. Her and Carrey’s views are by no means unusual – by any account, the world is inundated with morons. What makes their moronity particularly noteworthy, is their irrefutable office in the tabloid auditorium. People listen to them.

Edward Jenner, the father of immunology initiated an almighty shift in the management of communicable preventable diseases, when he inoculated a 6 year old boy suffering with smallpox, with pus from a cowpox pustule. The boy was cured and the first vaccination had taken place. In 1979, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Smallpox an obsolete diagnosis. It had been removed from the spectrum of human disease. Let me reiterate – Jenner had made a considerable dent in the removal of short people in our world. Of course there are those that still remain and they are recognisably irritable and obstreperous but the problems of knowing where you’re going to keep them, what you’re going to feed them and how often you’re meant to take them out for a walk are issues of the past. Because of Jenner, the world is a taller place.

Next on the agenda of disease eradication is Poliomyelitis, a mortally inflicting neurological disease which although holds no cure, is confidently preventable by means of the Polio vaccine. Via means of a concerted and applaudable effort from the WHO, the condition has been cut down with devastating precision to the tune of a 99% reduction in incidence and today only three unfortunate countries are claimed as endemic – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Considerable headway had been made to declare the disease obsolete by 2018 via the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, until some ominous reports of the murder of vaccination volunteers emerged from North Pakistan. Astonishingly, both the CIA and the Taliban were implicated but the program has pressed on regardless. Maybe that manner of response was to be expected, maybe not, I really don’t know. In either case it makes for disconsolate reading.

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Let’s be clear; no child born today should be die before their fifth birthday. The communicable preventable diseases that once rendered childhood a formidable and precarious journey are exactly that – preventable. Our resources should be extended from the affluent surpluses of the entitled, to the provision of improved public health for women and children, the world over. Our efforts should counter the dire inequalities our political constructs have established and give every human on this planet a chance to live.

Only not according to McCarthy. Not according to Carrey. Citing anecdotal evidence concerning the constituents of vaccinations and an association to autism, celebrities in the anti-life lobby feel qualified to unsettle a lifetime of immeasurable action taken on behalf of the medical community to rid the world of communicable diseases. Quite where or how this competence was attained has escaped me and if anyone has an idea I’d be extremely grateful for some input. Please email me at fuckjimcarrey@SMOKIN.com. I don’t know – maybe McCarthy felt a need to point a finger of blame, given her kid has autism. Perhaps Jim Carrey had nothing better to do. Perhaps they stumbled across the work of a very refined sort of pleb, Andrew Wakefield. Let’s talk about him.

Andrew Wakefield was an English Surgeon working at the Royal Free Hospital in London when he made the eye brow raising association between the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination and autism. I say eye-brow raising because that’s all we do in England really – raise eyebrows. We lack the capacity for full blown animation, but trust me, beneath those eye-brows, we were climbing across the ceilings. In a paper published in The Lancet in 1998, Wakefield suggested that a link was to made between the rising incidence of autism and possibly inflammatory bowel disease and the use of the MMR vaccination was of blame. Via succeeding reports, he advocated a triple stage vaccination, with each component of MMR given at separate intervals. The medical community went ballistic. Parents who had already been sat on the fence, jumped well and truly off into a lifetime of poor decision making on behalf of their hapless children. I was too young to be aware of what was happening at this point, so I can’t tell you what my reaction was. It probably wasn’t too constructive, I assure you.

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Anyway, what Wakefield omitted to mention was the following. Several years prior to his ludicrous paper, he had been hired by a solicitor called Richard Barr who had intentions of bringing a class action law suit against the manufacturers of the MMR vaccine. The idea of this collaboration was to bring the vaccine into disrepute. Around the same sort of time, Wakefield craftily pitched in his own vaccine patent for Measles and made his merry way to the bank, laughing malevolently and rubbing his hands with glee. I might have made that last part up. In either case Andrew Case was a very naughty man. In the end, following some remarkable investigative journalism, Wakefield was exposed for the twat he was and his medical career was swiftly ended, at which point he fled to the US to be embraced with open arms by the anti-vaccination lobby. Americans eh? All of this I could probably ignore, I possess the necessary requirements of apathy, but this is where the situation really begins to stink. His original paper was based on un-ethically conducted investigations on 12 children. TWELVE CHILDREN. Is that a representative population? Where is the sample size calculation? What was the inclusion criteria? What was the p value? WHAT’S WITH THE SHITTY STATS BRAH? I can put up with a lot but I have no time for poor mathematics. No time whatsoever.

Every 2o seconds a child will die of a vaccine preventable disease. 17% of the global mortality of children under the age of 5 will be due to innocuous causes. There are 30 million children in the world today who are at risk of never having the chance to live due to failure to vaccinate. The issue is one of poverty and inequality, of inhumane politics. Not of celebrity science. If a parent fails to vaccinate their children, their stupidity is not simply reflected upon their own unfortunate child, but also that of the community their child resides in. Herd immunity will only get you so far. The Anti-Vaccination Body Count have set up an online graphic representation of the lack of insight by Carrey, McCarthy and co, in an simultaneously hilarious and tear-jerking affair. To summarise, since 2007 there have been 113918 preventable illnesses in America, the result of failing to vaccinate and a further 1126 deaths. As of 2007, there have been no directly causal diagnoses of autism made following vaccination. Not a single one.

With respect to Jim, I’ll look forward to his next film, if he ever tries to make another. I’ll laugh at the funny bits and leave the cinema, having thrown a palpable portion of my pay cheque at some faceless multinational, thereby placating the conditioned materialistic part of my mind for the best part of several hours. Consumerism – Woo! As for vaccinations, 1.5 million children will die this year because of preventable diseases and that, is no laughing matter.

Love and the Mathematical Odds of falling in.

If you speak to a person and you speak to them about love, they will undoubtedly inform you, (if they have had such an experience), that falling in love may be the most incomparable experience one can undergo. On awakening their lover’s name dances through their mind, resuming the merry carousel of the previous night’s reverie. The mundane becomes sufferable and every little iota of this punishment we call life becomes somehow bearable and relevant. Everything means something. Nothing means everything. Anything is possible (if you have the time and money and means so probably not). No doubt at some point a reference to birds singing will declare itself and at this point it is important that some distance is made between yourself and this unashamed moron. Falling in love is a statistical phenomenon, no more, no less. You fall in love with the first person you happen to be romantically mauled together with because of their telling proximity to whatever miserable section of the world you happen to find yourself. No one is made for you.

Life is pretty simple like that. Think back to the scene from Donnie Darko regarding ‘The Lifeline’ and its extension from Love and Fear and how you chortled at the incredulousness of Donnie in refusing to believe that anything could be as simple as degrees of love or fear, provoking him to ask the teacher to ‘Forcibly insert the lifeline into my anus!‘ Good times.

As it happens, I don’t think her or Patrick Swayze (Paedo extraordinaire) were too far off. Only I disagree with the inferences, so let’s change them to Hate and Love under the assumption that you only ever like or dislike someone or something to varying degrees. It really is that binary. More complex inferences such as indifference, I would suggest occur because you are a worthless pawn in a consumer state and your mood is simply reflective of the way you are perceived by your fellow man. I don’t know man, I’m not a psychologist.

Back to falling in love. Under the assumption that there are two primal emotions, let us presume that you either like or dislike someone from immediate introduction. Since they are only likely to be liked or disliked and the options are two-fold, the subsequent probability of each outcome occuring is 1 in 2 or 50%. Therefore, right from the start, 50% of the losers you meet, you will never fall in love with.

Then let us also presume there are 15 inherent characteristics of the ideal person. These 15 characterisics in any person, regardless of time or place or wallet status would make you fall bewilderingly in love, swimming in a sea of your own semen happiness. On this level, for you to love someone, it is clear that a majority of those characteristics would be needed. So therefore > 8 characterisics in 15 would make you fall in love.

Let’s put it to an example. If you meet 100 people in a day, there are 50 poor blighters who you will sneer at from the outset. This leaves us with 50 potential Cassanovas. Based on the above we have decided that of these 50 remaining people, the odds of your falling in love and buying the new Taylor Swift album is based on these blokes owning greater than or equal to 8/15 characteristics. Assuming these characteristics are linear, the calculated odds of making your heart beat just that much faster, is a clean 26.6%.

26%? TWENTY SIX PERCENT. Those capitals are for you dear reader who has reached into a pocket to fetch their glasses. Yes, it is a statistical fact (maybe) that of every single Joe you meet, you are 26 times out of a 100, likely to fall in love with them. Those are statistics my friends and you cannot argue with numbers (trust me, I’ve tried).

To summarise; I suggest getting absolutely ruined with alcohol this Friday and heading to your local discotheque for a good old pelvic shuffle. At some point, annoy the DJ to the point where they allow you to commandeer their microphone, in order to break the crowd up by sex, whereupon you take your personal gender choice (mine’s a lady) and in divisions of four, break the crowd up repeatedly, inanely and mathematically and until finally you are left romantically entwined with one hapless indvidual. Go and kiss them. 26 times out of 100 you will fall in love.

 

I really hope my girlfriend doesn’t read this.

Rest in Peace, Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher was 87 when she died. Having suffered a series of transient apoplectic episodes in the not so distant past, she finally gave way to one final indefeasible thrombus and predictably, in her wake, Britain has been turned on its head (metaphorical, not literal) figuring out what to do with itself; whether to mourn in self-pity or not, and just how much black clothing should we be wearing. When do we start wailing and beating ourselves in public, oh ruler (David Camwrong). DELIBERATE PARODY NOTICE.

The problem with the iron lady was not so much division of opinion, but outright electoral polarity. I don’t think I would be wrong to suggest that simply dividing society into the “have” and “have not” is enough to identify her sources of support. There were countless reports of Britons mourning and rejoicing in tandem in our proud nation’s first manic-depressive pity party (BYOB). One minister of parliament, George Galloway even suggested she ought to

“Burn in hellfires….”

It has been an odd occasion.

As far as I am concerned, Margaret Thatcher was a deplorable woman. Here was a lady who stood for the abolishment of society, who viciously undermined the trade unions and labour industries, who enabled affluent class profiteering, who kick started the privatisation agenda of public services (from which we have never looked back), who consolidated the North-South divide, who alienated Europe and jeopardised trade; in short – she left an incredible amount to be desired. They didn’t call her the milk-snatcher for nothing.

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For all of those who feel I should mention some positive attributes, the one lonely mandate that comes to mind is the selling of council houses to their occupying owners thereby enabling some investment into a system under which so many had been marginalised. Those who remember her ventures in the Falklands would do best to refer to the current celebrations by certain resident Islanders. Apparently they didn’t appreciate this benevolent act of jingoism as much as we presumed they might have.

I, like always, digress. My points are simple and two-fold. As far as I am concerned a death is a death regardless of the subject. Although I carry no sympathy for her as a politician, I mourn the passing of a person and my genuine condolences are sent to her surviving family. Those who find humour in this mortality might do best to recognise their own.

My second and final point is simple. We are responsible for remembering this lady. We will create her legacy. It is important that the very history which carved this country in two, does not progress into some perpetuated myth of honour and integrity. Disquiet is a disservice. Those of us who cast ourselves as liberal must resist the inevitable hagiography and preserve her deservedly shameful political thumbprint for the dark and ominous cloud it was.

To conclude I leave you with a quote from Billy Bragg. I don’t think I’ve heard it summarised better.

This is not a time for celebration. The death of Margaret Thatcher is nothing more than a salient reminder of how Britain got into the mess that we are in today. Of why ordinary working people are no longer able to earn enough from one job to support a family; of why there is a shortage of decent affordable housing; of why domestic growth is driven by credit, not by real incomes; of why tax-payers are forced to top up wages; of why a spiteful government seeks to penalise the poor for having an extra bedroom; of why Rupert Murdoch became so powerful; of why cynicism and greed became the hallmarks of our society.

Raising a glass to the death of an infirm old lady changes none of this. The only real antidote to cynicism is activism. Don’t celebrate – organise!

The murder of my lover, Pablo Neruda.

Pinochet was another CIA funded wanker undesirable. After years of American funded opposition to the Chilean government (because the US loves liberty) Pinochet stormed to power and set about categorically shutting down the opposition, abandoning parliament, censoring media and torturing and killing leftist opponents where necessary. Liberal dissidents such as Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, better known as Pablo Neruda, then prominent public icons were marked figureheads for removal.

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It has lately transpired that Neruda may have indeed succumbed and been an un-knowing victim of Pinochet’s regime. Recent investigations into his death, have suggested that Neruda may have been killed by a malignant inocuolation, twelve precocious days into the Pinochet take-over alongside several other thousand citizens, cut down by the Junta. Neruda’s untimely exit was attributed to Prostate cancer. Chileans mourned. The world shrugged and Pinochet stormed onwards. Neruda is to exhumed in the weeks to come.

Neruda was a man, who had pissed off America for some time. A nobel prize winning laureate, poet and diplomat was seen as an enemy that required removal. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of encountering the poetry of this man could see to the contrary. His word continues to resound amongst the ears of the world over, rolling from their lips, dancing through the breeze with poetic instruction. Anyone who has ever fallen in love can hear the resounding familiarity of his word, the palpitating onomatopoeia ; anyone who has ever felt testament to a cause has felt his hand upon their shoulder, anyone who has longed for something better has looked at the world through mis ojos, “My Eyes.”

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We are capable of some profoundly malevolent actions, human though we are. We can turn on our televisions and sit in cold apathy to the world outside, watching poverty, social injustice, oppression, war, famine, disease, multinationals, consumerism, politics, capitalism and genuine fear of our own pointlessness tear us and each other apart. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians have perished in the previous months whilst the UN security council sits powerless in fear of Persian and Russian older brothers. Our world is fighting and dying for politics.

Neruda was by no means a model human being, but he was a start. He didn’t have all the answers but for his brief period on this stormfront he lit up a strip of land off the Pacific.

I can’t say a lot but tonight, I can write the saddest lines.

 

So now he’s gone and I buried him,
and that’s all there is to it.

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Guerrilla Gardening and why I might be gardening your Garden. I’m genuinely not even trying to place a pun here.

A few years ago I grew a sunflower. It stood proudly outside my flat gazing out onto the Atlantic, not aware of the simple happiness it allowed me. I felt like a parent, gently co-ercing it into existence, feeding it, watering it, telling it about all the bad weeds in the neighbourhood and how it wasn’t to get caught up with the ongoing turf wars…. Come on people, that was funny. Whatever dude, screw you.

I moved flat in that very summer relocating several hundred miles in the process and devastatingly had no choice but to abandon it, watchfully waiting. I never knew what became of it. I like to think it went on to bigger things (*chortles) but there’s every chance it withered away, lonely and out of existence.

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Plants do that. Nature does that. Occasionally the green arms of the unfettered fly persistently in the face of adversity but ceaseless winds crush the spirit; form is temporary and the winters bring an inevitable climax to the perennial season. Compounded by our relentless drive to pollute our environment, plant life is denied the basic right to survive and cultivate itself.

If you, like me were raised in an urban jungle, your life has been spent seeking wide open spaces, parks and fields. Certainly the urban sprawl carries its own charisma and allure but this is matched entirely by the quiet subtle charm of a vegetable patch. The meek simplicity of a flower pot (with or without the endorsement of flowers in my opinion).

It was with great relish then that I saw this short film, certainly a remarkable venture by an inspiring group of individuals. Guerilla Gardening is old hat in many places and certainly in the UK can be traced back as far as the swinging 70’s. Armed with a spade and a hoe (I really have no idea what I’m talking about) these folk dedicate hours of their time tending to their local plant life, clearing out rubbish and waste, planting trees and other perishables and as a result enduringly improving the landscape of their communities.

Provoke change through direct action.

At a time when, there is so much negativity emitted from and bestowed upon our US cousins, this video however is a commendable act of positivity. It makes me want to tend to the gardens around me with a smile on my face whilst singing along to Owl City (Ok not that happy); to dote upon my environment and preserve it for the generations yet to come. No doubt I have been swept up in a beautifully constructed short film, but inspiration is inspiration whatever the source. If you need me, I’ll be in the garden with a balaclava. Don’t call the Police.