Category Archives: Articles

Second Wind.

DECEMBER 28, 2015. That was the date of the last post to my blog. It seems such a long time ago now, but circumstances have kept me away from doing anything more than a little maintenance now and again. Fortunately my Twitter feed is displayed on the left side of the page, and will assure people that I have not died in the interim, as luck would have it. But the accident I did suffer could have been a lot worse.

Its now been one and a half years since then, and I still have no memory of what happened. I doubt that I will ever recover that now, but it has made me a great deal more cautious crossing a road – even on a pedestrian crossing.

Subsequent to that, my computer started to play up. Nothing too serious – just an unexpected freezing of the program currently in use now and again. The problem was the “now and again” bit, for on no two consecutive days would it behave the same way. Some days it would behave perfectly well most of the day, then crash in the evening. The next day could be a real nightmare, with it crashing every 5 minutes or so.

In addition to which, as the computer had previously been damaged in a flood, the battery contacts were not doing their job. This mean that on every restart I had to enter the date and time anew. This gets very tedious, very quickly!

Eventually my monitor died, and had to be replaced with a new one. Then the computer finally gave up the ghost, and I took the plunge with a new motherboard, new memory and processor (64 bit instead of 32). The two hard drives, power supply, and the case I kept, – everything else was new. The power supply had a clean up, but only managed to hang on for about 2 weeks, then it too bit the dust. It was quickly replaced with a new 700 watt unit.

I also had to update the operating system, which was an unexpected requirement. The motherboard would have run the old one if I had been able to modify the installation files in time. I will look into that later, when I have a spare hard drive.

Since the rebuild, I have taken the time to find my way around the new system, instal what protection I could against malware, and of course, make sure that my Antivirus (Avira) is kept up-to-date.

As it happens, I am also using Zone Alarm again. You may remember a scathing article I wrote about it after it was first taken over by Check Point –
THE MONSTER IN THE MACHINE. JANUARY 10, 2012
Fortunately Check Point have got their act together in the interim, and it is all running very nicely now.

As you may expect, I am no longer running a copy of my blog on my own computer. It was an interesting experiment while it lasted, but is not a real necessity. I will manage without it for a while, and see how things go.

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Contracting – Then and Now!

A group of cleaners at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have been put under disciplinary investigation by their employers after raising the issue of their low pay in a letter to the foreign secretary, Philip Hammond.

“Foreign Office cleaners disciplined after writing to Philip Hammond for pay increase”
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/oct/19/foreign-office-cleaners-interserve-living-wage

While being perfectly within their rights to seek better remuneration, it could be said that the way they went about it was by no means the best.

They should have first tried to handle with their employer, rather than go outside the company. This is true for two reasons:- a) both their employer and the contracting company would expect it to be handled that way, and b) the contracting company would not expect to take any action unless it could be shown that their employer was at fault.

In this case, the result was very bad for the contract workers.

Airbus A300This reminded me of a spell in Hamburg, Germany, in 1976, when I was working on contract for MBB, Finkenwerde. There was a group of us Brits working on contract there, but the group was split between two different agencies:- Premmit Associates, and Bothwick International. Premmit was the more experienced agency by far, which soon became apparent.

Payment was into a local bank in Finkenwerder every 14 days against signed time records. The problem with Bothwick was that they didn’t seem to be aware of the fact that public holidays in Germany were different to those in the UK, and several times this resulted in a non-availability of money in the bank. Representations were made to Bothwick, who promised to improve, but in fact didn’t. The situation reached a crisis point on one weekend when I had planned to visit my family in England, but had no money with which to do it!

Others suffered similar crises, especially families with children, who would suddenly find they had no budget for the weekend, as the payment had been delayed.

Of course, the people on contract with Premmit, had no such problems whatsoever, as Premmit was organised properly.

This presented a solution to the problem as follows:-

I requested an interview with the Personnel Dept. at MBB, (the client company), explained the situation, and explained the measures that had been taken to correct matters. The Personnel Manager was very understanding, and even offered to lend money to those left in dire straits until a permanent fix to the problem was available.

The fix was to remove Bothwick International from the list of approved agencies, and to allow all contractors who had been working with them to transfer to Premmit.

For the Germans it was simple enough. They did not want disgruntled contract staff on the premises – it would interfere with the work schedule. And time was always tight!

airbus-finkenwerder

As I had no intention of staying longer than the initial 6-month contract, I didn’t make the transfer, but most of the others did. The type of work we were doing was aircraft wiring diagrams, which was technically a long way below my normal work on computers. I couldn’t stay there too long without a permanent penalty in employment prospects, even though the salary was attractive.

(In spite of that, we found out that the German permanent staff workers were on a higher salary than we were, and they didn’t have the inconvenience of working in another country.)

In general, the agencies were not trusted by the working population. They were regarded as greedy swine who were taking an exorbitant rate out of our salaries just for being in the right place at the right time, or knowing a little bit more than the rest of us.

This made it almost compulsory to find out exactly how much of a rake-off they were getting from the client company, and anyone that took too much off the top soon found they were having trouble to find recruits. Word soon got around on the jungle telegraph, and greedy so-and-so’s were black-listed.

Agencies do have value, but not if the costs are too high. Agencies working with people abroad should be able to manage comfortably with a 21% mark-up. If working solely within the UK, the mark-up should be no more than 15%. If you find yourself working with an agency that is charging more than that, ask for a better rate. If you don’t get it – MOVE!

Enlightened agencies will have realised that to keep their clients happy, they have to look after the staff they supply. This is borne out by the present situation resulting from the Hamburg episode above – Premmit Associates, and Bothwick International.

You can find Premmit Associates at http://premmit.co.uk/index.html
The company still exists, some 40 years later, with the same man still in charge – Reginald Gourgey. The nature of the company may have changed, but its success depends on the vision and capability of this one man.

Bothwick International, on the other hand, no longer exists. See https://companycheck.co.uk/company/01148576/BOTHWICK-INTERNATIONAL-LIMITED/financial-accounts
where you will find that the company has been dissolved, and there are no accounts available.

Knowing the people involved, I find that this is no surprise at all!

JUDAISM AND ZIONISM ARE NOT THE SAME THING!

In fact, it is even more complicated than that, with Jews, Israelis and Zionists, with subdivisions in each category. However, as the intention is to try to reduce random acts of antisemitism, we might just find that sticking to just the two classifications will suffice.

The following text, and the title above, are taken verbatim from the web page –
http://www.nkusa.org/AboutUs/Zionism/judaism_isnot_zionism.cfm

We would like to take a few minutes of your time to prevent you from making a terrible mistake that may have disastrous results for many.

You have always without a doubt heard and read much about the political crises in the Middle East in which the State of Israel plays a central role. This is, in fact, an ongoing series of crises with potential to bring the greatest misfortune on the entire world. Tragically many believe that Zionism and Judaism are identical. Thus they conclude that the entire Jewish people is responsible for the actions of the Zionist government and the world crises which emanates from it.

This is a Grave Error!

The truth is that the Jewish faith and Zionism are two very different philosophies. They are as opposite as day and night. The Jewish people have existed for thousands of years. In their two thousand years of Divinely decreed exile no Jew ever sought to end this exile and establish independent political sovereignty anywhere. The people’s sole purpose was the study and fulfillment of the Divine commandments of the Torah.

The Zionist movement created the Israeli state. The latter is a persuasion less than one hundred years old. Its essential goal was and is to change the nature of the Jewish people from that of a religious entity to a political movement. From Zionism’s inception the spiritual leaders of the Jewish people stood in staunch opposition to it.

To this day Torah Jewry remains forever loyal to its faith. Zionists want the world to believe that they are the representatives of the entire Jewish people. This is false! The Jewish people never chose them as their leaders.

The Zionists have deceived many well meaning Jewish people via terror, trickery and false propaganda. They have at their disposal the use of a nearly universally subservient media. Whoever attempts to criticize them puts his livelihood and, at times, his very life in danger.

However, despite the media blackout and easy resort to terror the simple truth remains unrefuted and irrefutable:-
ACCORDING TO THE JEWISH FAITH AND TORAH LAW THE JEWISH PEOPLE ARE FORBIDDEN TO HAVE THEIR OWN STATE WHILE AWAITING THE MESSIANIC ERA!

The Creator gave us the Holy Land thousands of years ago. Yet, when we sinned, He took it away and sent us into exile. Since that time our task is to wait for Him to send the Messiah. At that time, the Creator alone, without any human being lifting a hand or saying a word, will bring us together and take us out of exile. He will likewise establish universal peace among all mankind and all will serve Him in good will.

Some religious Jews, confused by Zionist propaganda quote Biblical verses that state that God gave the children of Israel the Holy Land. They overlook, unfortunately, those verses which say that He took it away due to our sins. They further ignore those prophecies which explicitly describe the last exile’s conclusion as a Divine, not a human process.

The Creator has commanded every Jew to follow the ways of peace and to be loyal to the country where he lives.

Torah true Jewry waits patiently for the Messianic redemption. They have nothing to do with any kind of pseudo “Jewish State” and its aggressions against other peoples. They have a deep sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians who have suffered the most from Zionism’s false teachings and barbaric actions.

The Zionist state is not a Jewish state. The Zionists alone are the only ones responsible for their actions. Authentic Jewry has and will continue to oppose the very existence of this blasphemous state.

May all mankind witness the true redemption.

Copyright 2003, Neturei Karta International

A Night of Pure Pleasure!

Before we go any further, “A Night of Pure Pleasure” has nothing to do with sex whatsoever, so if that’s what you expected, sorry to disappoint.

I refer in fact to a night some years back now, when I found an on-line poetry competition on the Guardian website, quite by chance.

There was an article by someone (sorry, I forgot the name, but I think it was Simon ——-), and underneath in the comments section there was a host of Limericks.

Now, as I was teaching at the time, and Poetry was one of my subjects, I was interested, of course. In addition to that, the Limerick is one of my favourite verse forms, so wild horses were not going to drag me away from the computer!

I watched and I waited.

I needed to see where the flow was going before I made a move. There was large number of contributors on-line, so new posts were coming thick and fast. When I coupled the posts to the names of the people posting, I could get an idea of how fast they were composing new Limericks, and I thought “Ouch”, this is serious stuff – I wonder if I can keep up?

I bided my time, then jumped in, posted one of my standard verses, and waited for a reaction. It wasn’t a repeat of any previous post, I had already checked them all.

The reaction wasn’t long in coming. A new name had appeared in the list – mine – and people started to respond to it.

Now we were at the make or break stage. I needed to compose a new Limerick “on the fly” as it were, and post it in response to the others. A couple of minutes of furious thought, and I had it. Type it in quickly, and send it on its way. I was in!

To my amazement and delight, the Limericks kept coming. Page after page of comments scrolled by, with 50 or so Limericks to a page. And my Muse was in top form – I was keeping pace with the best of them.

Gradually the numbers started to dwindle, as people who had to go about their lives signed off and left the group. In the end, there were just two of us left, and a moderator, and the other guy, who came from somewhere in South America, I think, was really good!

We continued our conversation in verse for a while, but unfortunately the moderator had run out of steam, and suggested that we close down. I protested, (in verse, of course), and suggested that he could sleep if he liked, while we carried on.

But then, my South American partner also sent a Limerick to the effect that he too would have to close down.

Sadly, the fun was over.

By this time, dawn was breaking!

Reluctantly, I said my goodbyes, and shut down the computer.

The whole of the next day, people kept asking me what I was smiling about!

Media Conspiracy?

It really is amazing!

On the 23rd of November, 2011, an event of major importance took place in Kuala Lumpur – A War Crimes Tribunal in Malaysia has found former US President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair guilty of war crimes for their roles in the Iraq war – and the main media sites in the UK, ie. BBC, Guardian, Telegraph, reported – NOTHING!

A search was made on each of these sites to ensure that I had not missed the report inadvertently. The search drew a blank in every case. I suspect the same will be true of all major media outlets. There seems to be a blanket agreement to keep the matter from the public eye. However, my sources of information pointed me to the right spot – http://www.presstv.ir/detail/211590.html – Bush, Blair found guilty of war crimes

If you Google for “Bush, Blair war criminals”, you will find other sources too, but none of them mainstream news sites.

Bush may be comparatively safe, if he stays at home, as the US is not a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. But Blair, and the UK, are quite a different matter.

Even now, Bush is taking the risk of being arrested abroad rather seriously. A search for “Bush cancelled speaking engagement” returns 125,000 results on Google, and I note that arrest warrants have been issued for him in Switzerland. The web page at http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/02/gordon-duff-bush-“blood-money”-tour-cancelled/ carries the leader “Former President George “W” Bush has been forced to cancel a highly paid speaking engagement to an Israeli group in Switzerland. Bush was going to be arrested as a war criminal. He is now fighting extradition. This will not be reported in any American mainstream media.”

On 28th November, 2011, I wrote to the editors of the BBC, Guardian and Telegraph websites to ask why a matter of such widespread importance was not being reported on their site. Until now, I have not received a reply.