Will Yanukovych go peacefully?

February 22, 2014

Even though Ukrainian President and opposition leaders made an agreement which would reduce presidential powers and set an election before the end of the year, it looks like the many thousands of protesters in Independence Square and central Kiev won’t be going anywhere soon.  Despite what the opposition leaders say, many of the demonstrators declare they are not going to stop until Yanukovych resigns… or is toppled.

Things are not looking good for Yanukoych.  The Ukraine parliament has shown a shift away from him, by moving to release his arch rival and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is in prison for 30 months.  Yanukovych has left Kiev, apparently to go to Kharkiv in the east of the country.  Kharkiv is one of Yanukovych’s power bases; but there have been protests against him there too.  There are also rumours that he has fled to Belarus, but this is not confirmed.

Commentators think Yanukovych won’t leave quietly.  The agreement he made with the opposition said he wouldn’t call a state of emergency.  But if the protesters don’t leave Maidan, the agreement would be null and void, leaving it open for the president to declare martial law.  Then the demonstrators wouldn’t be facing police – the army could move in, using heavy weaponry which the protesters could not resist.  Main battle tanks and mortars would make short work of crushing the barricades and dispersing or killing the protesters.

However, the army might refuse orders to kill their fellow Ukrainians.  Some soldiers have already aligned themselves with the Maidan protesters.  If sufficient numbers of troops switch sides the military would refuse to kill their own and that would leave Yanukovych with no alternative but to flee – if he is not arrested or killed first.

But there’s also the danger of civil war breaking out, and perhaps the entire country being torn apart.  That is something that should be avoided at all costs.  Yanukovych must stand down now.

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I HATE HATE!!!

February 21, 2014

I’m not a clever man, I stole the title of my blog from Reagan Youth, a band that was around way back when people knew who Ronald McDonald Reagan was (In case you don’t know, Reagan was a senile puppet president who wanted to destroy the world into a fiery nuclear hell).  Reagan Youth did a song called “I Hate Hate”.  I love that song, even though the only lyrics I could make out was the chorus, which went: “I HATE HATE – I HATE HATE!”

I don't know who this guy is, but his shirt is A-1!

I don’t know who this guy is, but his shirt is A-1!

Anyway, I was googling myself (you ever do that? Kind of web-masturbation, your screen will stop working) and the lyrics to “I Hate Hate” came up.  I love ’em, and I think you will too!

I, as in M-E fuckin’ me!
Hate, as in H-A-T-E, hate!
Haaaate!
I hate up and down – I hate hanging ’round
I hate here and there – I hate everywhere
I hate this and that – I hate where I’m at
I hate near and far – all you hate is all you are!

Why hate the life you live? Hate makes waste – I’m positive
Why waste the life you live? Life’s to love – I’m positive

I hate one or two – I hate the world and you
I hate A to Z – I hate life and me

Why hate the life you live and hate yourself on top of it?
Why waste the life you live? Life’s to love – I’m positive

I hate hate! I hate hate! I hate…hate!

I…haaate!

Is life a losing war? There’s no need to fight no more!
You don’t have to lose no more – there’s a way to win the war!
Stop loving hate and hating love – when the fighting ends the war is won!
Stop loving hate and hating love – when the fighting ends and all is one!

I hate!

Kind of hippy-ish, all that positive love crap, yeah?  I guess that’s what I am – a hippy.  A nasty stinking hateful, hate-filled,  hate-fuelled hippy.  Fuckin flowers, I hate hating them, y’know? Check out the track below. “I Hate Hate” by Reagan Youth. I’ll bet most of you weren’t even born when they cu the disc. Never mind. Means the same no matter how old you are, where you come from, how much money you have to pay the Man to stop him raping your missus and burning your house down with the kids locked in the bathroom. We all gotta hate hate. Or you can join the hate and start wearing blue or brown.  Peace.

 
Oh, yeah, I forgot to say: at the start of this post I said I’m not a clever man.  And that’s maybe true.  I’m stupid… but I’m not fucking stupid.  You got that?  Good. 😉

Peace.  Again.

 
Martin Topping

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Spot the sniper!

February 19, 2014

Nice little feature on the Guardian website: a series on landscape photos by German photographer Simon Menner; each photo contains a sniper, camouflaged and hidden. So, look at the photos and spot the sniper. They’re very well hidden, I managed to spot him right away in just one of the photos; the others are fiendishly difficult. When you see the solutions, it generally becomes “obvious”… but not always.

Where is the sneaky so-and-so?

Where is the sneaky so-and-so?

There’s also a piece by Jonathan Jones on “the art of camouflage”, which explains the science behind concealment and mentions that “Designers are working right now on a Harry Potter style ‘invisibility cloak’ that can be 3D printed. The principles of camouflage can be translated to a nano scale by such technology, confusing the mind at a microscopic level.” Fascinating stuff for armchair warriors like myself, and I’m sure some readers will gain practical insight from the feature too.

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“Gay Mountain” and “Ukip Shipping Forecast” – well, they made me chuckle anyway!

February 14, 2014

Everyone must know by now how homophobic Russia is – not just in general street culture, but also in how the police “investigate” cases of homophobic violence, and in Russia’s “homosexual propaganda” laws that mean any gay teacher thinking of coming out had better think again if he/she doesn’t want to be a target for dog-shit throwing idiots or even losing his/her job!

Well, what with the Winter Olympic Games being hosted in Sochi, Russia, the UK television Channel 4 has released a wonderful video wishing all athletes the best. Well worth watching…

Which leads me to a second video. Recently the Ukip (former Conservative) councillor David Silvester said the terrible floods ravaging England are divine retribution for Britain’s same-sex marriage laws. Silvester, a Henley-on-Thames councillor who defected to Ukip in protest against the gay marriage laws, said that the country had been “beset by storms” since the passage of the new law on gay marriage because Cameron had acted “arrogantly against the Gospel”.

In a letter to the Henley Standard he wrote: “The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war.

“I wrote to David Cameron in April 2012 to warn him that disasters would accompany the passage of his same-sex marriage bill.

“But he went ahead despite a 600,000-signature petition by concerned Christians and more than half of his own parliamentary party saying that he should not do so.”

He added: “It is [Cameron’s] fault that large swaths of the nation have been afflicted by storms and floods.

“He has arrogantly acted against the Gospel that once made Britain ‘great’ and the lesson surely to be learned is that no man or men, however powerful, can mess with Almighty God with impunity and get away with it for everything a nation does is weighed on the scaled of divine approval or disapproval.”

Now Nicholas Pegg, a South West university graduate has shot to Twitter fame with a comical take on the row over comments. It’s definitely worth checking out:

Ukip actually backed the loon at first, before a saner mind realised that backing Silvester was not doing the party any good. But it’s too late for the right-wing loons to distance themselves from the furore. We all know how Ukip feel on the subject – watch the video, then you’ll know too!

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William Roache found “not guilty” on sex charges

February 6, 2014

William Roache, the actor who plays Ken Barlow on Coronation Street, has been found not guilty on rape and other sex charges.

Roache was cleared by jury of raping a 15 year old and sexually assaulting 4 other teenage girls during the 1960s and 70s.  Of course, there was no physical evidence after so long, so it came down to Roache’s word against the women’s.  The eloquent Roache won over the jury with his candour.  He admitted to cheating on his now dead wife, but that he wasn’t interested in young girls.  He said he liked “mature and willing” women.

One has to wonder why the alleged victims came forward so many years after the alleged assaults.  The women are now in their 50s and 60s.  One theory is that the alleged victims were angry after Roache said in a New Zealand TV interview that victims of sexual abuse  brought it on themselves.  The Daily Mirror reported in March 2013:

In an astonishing TV interview, the Coronation Street star said it was easy for famous men to be “trapped” by adoring young groupies who throw themselves at them.

And he said of the victims: “If you accept that you are pure love, and if you know that you are pure love and therefore live that pure love, these things won’t happen to you.”

The remark prompted interviewer Garth Bray to ask: “To some people that sounds perhaps like you’re saying victims bring things on themselves – is that what you’re saying?”

Roache replied: “Not quite, but then yes I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives.”

The defence claimed that the women were jumping on the Jimmy Savile bandwagon.

Regardless of anyone’s motives, we must all remember that Roache has been found not guilty.  He will be returning to his role of Ken Barlow on the long-running TV soap drama Coronation Street, where fellow actors  Michael Le Velle and Andrew Lancel were also accused and cleared of sex crimes.  So, unless the Crown Prosecution Service want a “second bite of the cherry”, which is highly unlikely, we must accept he is innocent and not have any of this “no smoke without fire” nonsense.

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“Billionaires’ Row” farce shows the truth behind the bedroom tax

February 2, 2014

The government’s bedroom tax punishes the poor who have “unused” rooms in their homes; yet the rich are allowed to own whole streets of empty houses while the country’s homelessness problem gets worse and worse.

Look at the “Billionaires’Row” scandal reported by the Guardian. At least £350m worth of property is sitting unused in The Bishops Avenue, the so-called Billionaires Row, in the London borough of Barnet. The vacant and often ruined properties include 10 mansions previously owned on behalf of the Saudi royal family that have not been lived in for up to 25 years. Local housing and community activist Phoenix Rainbow said it showed “gross mismanagement of the space we have in this country”.

Clive Betts MP, chair of the Commons communities and local government select committee, said the situation in the avenue was “an astounding and stark example of the empty homes problem”. He called for councils to be given powers to treble rates on empty homes after a certain period. Betts said: “People can claim to do what they want with the property they own, but how must those living in cramped and poor accommodation feel when they see some of the most palatial, beautiful, properties with incredible amounts of space going to waste?

“This is a government obsessed by under-occupation of two-bed council houses in London occupied by people with nowhere else to go. But in the same city you have mansions unoccupied with no action being taken.”

Labour’s policy is a 100% council tax levy on empty homes; it estimates there are 50,000 empty homes in London.

Local authorities have the power to take punitive action against absentee landlords who leave houses empty, but the “punitive” action takes the form of council tax hikes that the owners of The Bishop’s Avenue would laugh at. On The Bishops Avenue the fine would be just £1,416.20 a year. And in any case local authorities have little interest in dealing with the problem despite the disparities between the treatment of the rich and the poor, revealed by the numbers of homeless people sleeping rough and the bedroom tax on the poor. Barnet council’s Conservative leader, Richard Cornelius, said: “The Bishops Avenue is in its own little bubble and frankly has little connection with the rest of Barnet. I would rather spend public money bringing family houses back into use than get involved in battles with the lawyers of billionaires.”

Of course, this does not impress those who want something done about homelessness. David Ireland, chief executive of the Homes from Empty Homes campaign, said “There are countless people in inadequate housing and here are homes on The Bishops Avenue that could be used. I call on the local authority to use empty property management orders or enforced sale of these properties. If they showed they were willing to do that it would force other owners to take action.”

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