Friday, February 17, 2012

Gossip: Hospital computers

Gossip: Hospital computers: Hospedia supplies computers to this hospital and most of the hospitals in the West Midlands. I've had one of their systems' personnel out t...

Hospital computers

Hospedia supplies computers to this hospital and most of the hospitals in the West Midlands. I've had one of their systems' personnel out twice and even she could not get the touch screen to function properly. If an advert appears there is no way to close it down which means you have to return to the main menu and start again, losing anything that might be open. When I get out I intend to complain about the poor system. It is most annoying because the service is not cheap.

Another of the system's shortcomings is a message box which pops up pretending you have a genuine message, or messages. This is just another way of locking the screen because if you go into it you cannot get out and any tabs you may have open are lost forever, including any work.

So I'm reduced to using my phone, the touch-screen of which is much better, though not perfect. This means I'm going to be largely incommunicado for however long it takes before the operation.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Only when I laugh (2)

After my near-sleepless night on the admission ward, and following some 17 hours observation, I was moved to a more general ward. All protestations to take my daily 2 hour walk fell on stony ground. The dogs must be really missing me - at least I tell myself that. But the truth is they are still being walked, just not by me, and for dogs I suspect loyalty is only as faithful as the next walk. So here I am, relaxing and pontificating, with my body getting used to a miscellany of drugs, most of the ones I binned more than eight years ago.

Apart from a student-nurse waking me up to see if I was breathing (so much for those who think I snore) things have gone quite well and I am settling in to a new regime, sleeping well (too well) and anticipating a significant wait before the operation, if other inmates' experiences are anything to go by. Despite rumours there is no escape plan. People are free to come and go, including visitors. Our NHS is great, doctors and nurses, and other staff. So what's the problem?

Over my bed is a television screen, a facility provided by private enterprise (as can be deduced by the cost to use it). Although I do not watch much television I thought this might be a useful means of keeping in touch with the outside world since it has a built-in touch-screen internet link and a telephone which is free for outgoing calls to home numbers, but 50p per minute for incoming calls from private lines. So I paid for £25-00 of usage (5 days). This would not have been unreasonable if the touch-screen worked properly. Instead it has a mind of its own and I have already lost a substantial amount of blog-text because of its peculiarities.

It is worse than just being inefficient and slow. The slider-bar which moves the screen up and down is temperamental and very often does not work at all. What's more it is close to the advert thumbnail and guess what! It is not unusual for an advert to fill the screen when you try to move the slider-bar. Most of these adverts are for internet providers, probably advertising on the basis that their services are better, and cheaper, than the hospital facilities; and whatever you do there is no way of avoiding having to look at these adverts. For example, if you try to close the advert thumbnail, with the close ad tab, this opens it up. Worst of all, once an advert is open it cannot be closed. Similarly when you press one of the on-screen keyboard keys you can never be quite sure what letter will appear. It may be the letter you press or the one next to it, either side, or the one above or below. But it doesn't matter how incomprehensible is the text you are working on because once the advert is up it remains up until you hit the return to MAIN MENU tab which, of course, closes everything down. There appear to be no alternatives, for example, the on-screen keyboard has no control keys, so the user is stumped.

Naturally I complained first thing Monday morning, and laid it on thick about sick people having to struggle with unworkable hardware for which they had paid over the going rate. When I added that I was sure she had heard all this before, she said she hadn't. From that I inferred that she had either been told to say that, or that patients do not complain. Having no reason to mistrust her I later asked the man in the next bed, Paul, if he had struggled with the touch-screen. He had, but he had not complained. Anyway, tomorrow the maintenance man for this company will be here, and, poor man, will have to hear the complaints all over again. You get what you pay for used to be the maxim.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Only when I laugh (1)

It's not funny. I'm in hospital. Having come to do a routine test on Tuesday I ended up being admitted. The test was at 10.00 a.m. but there was a long wait before the bed was available at midnight. Following a sleep-deprived night before test, and partly because of it, I was exhausted and really looking forward to a good night's sleep. First of all I was fitted with some stick-on extra nipples which made me look like a great Hampshire sow, then I was linked to a heart-monitoring machine like a Friesian milker. After the machine was switched on there was a regular bleep, with its echo, at two-second intervals like the sound of ping-pong games in the early days of personal computers. This would last all night.

On its own this was a novel experience, but the man in the bed opposite, was something else, poor chap. Whatever his problems - and weight was one of them - they were of a very serious nature, which meant he needed regular attention, from dedicated staff who are a credit to the NHS. Just because some people are worse off than yourself doesn't make your own lack of sleep any more bearable; and at least the man opposite was sleeping even if it was not a peaceful sleep. With every breath he emitted an unspeakable noise which was a kind of pained snore, impossible to translate. Sleeping was something the staff, for some reason, did not want for him, or for me I felt, so they kept coming and waking him up. As soon as they had finished with him he was back into his impossible to translate snore pattern. By 4 a.m. I had not had a wink of sleep. Every time I felt I might shut out the ping-pong repetition and nod off something happened to make sure I didn't. A female patient who had been admitted that day was disorientated and screaming at the nurses, and, I learnt later, was hitting the staff with a walking stick. By the time security and staff had sorted things out it was 5 a.m. Some time between then and 6.30 a.m. - when they woke everybody up - I fell asleep.

After a wash I enquired of the man in the bed next to me:

"What time is breakfast?"
"I'm a little mutton Jeff."
"The doctor's not been down yet!"

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another war pending

Julie Pace in The Huff Post writes: "In a letter to Congress Monday, Obama said the tougher sanctions are warranted "particularly in light of the deceptive practices of the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian banks." One of four countries in the world without a Rothschild-owned central bank is Iran. What Obama really means is that 'we' cannot control Iran's money supply.

This is what a Nathan Rothschild said about my country in the nineteenth century:

'I care not what puppet is placed on the throne of England's empire. The man who controls Britain's money supply, controls the British. And I control the money supply.'

I have resigned myself to the fact that the United States is going to war with Iran. I wish my country would not get involved but fear it will. Sanctions are already being imposed by William Hague and as everyone knows, that is the first stage in waging war on oil-rich countries. Our (US and UK) governments over the last twenty years have had little regard for international law and the fact that Russia and China used their UN veto will have no consequence on the actions of these nation states any more than the League of Nations could control the actions of Japan's occupation of Manchuria (following the Muckden Incident, 1931), Mussolini's Italian excursion into Ethiopia in 1935 or Hitler's German ambitions in the Sudetenland in 1939. Eventually the world passed judgment on these aggressors.

A further confirmation that Israel, the US and the UK are planning war is the removal of staff from the US embassy in Syria. A fleet of warships is already in the area awaiting commands. Aggression never pays in the long term. Today it is the US, UK and Israel who are the aggressors. And they think they are invincible. Judgement day is coming for all. Let this cup pass.

Gossip: Nine years of neft-theft

Gossip: Nine years of neft-theft: Neft ( нефть) is the Russian word for oil. Nine years ago the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was hell-bent on a war with Iraq at the behe...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Nine years of neft-theft

Neft (нефть) is the Russian word for oil. Nine years ago the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was hell-bent on a war with Iraq at the behest of his transatlantic partner in crime, George W Bush. By that time many of us had realised the nature of Blair's politics, which had nothing to do with socialism and everything to do with his own feelings of self-aggrandisement, which were borne out when he posed with a big cheesy grin on his smarmy face, photographing himself in front of some incendiary event. In the run up to that war I wrote a weekly magazine on behalf of Small Heath 'Stop the War' campaign to try and raise funds. It was called Chimps and ran to 5 issues, by which time the war was already underway, and trying to stop it seemed even more futile than in the run-up. I am proud of my humble effort to change the world, though it was a rather forlorn hope with Blair at the helm of UK politics.

As regards neft-theft Blair lied through his Cheshire Cat grin when he said if the war was about oil he could have 'cut a deal' with Saddam. But the truth was there were oil companies waiting in the wings of his theatre of war, so that when the battle-scene was over, BP, Tony Buckingham and a whole host of other western oil companies could tap into the mineral wells, and make rich people even richer. As Malthus reiterated 'the poor are always with us'. And Blair showed no concern for them. In his book they were expendable. It did not take a genius to know what was going to happen to poor civilians when the NATO pirates went in, all guns blazing.

The last issue of Chimps was written after the bombing had started. One of the first civilian victims was a little boy called Ali Ismail Abbas. In the bomb which killed his parents and other members of his family Ali lost both arms, had severe burns to his body and it was touch-and-go whether he would survive. I wrote a poem called Tony's Child which I published in Chimps. It finished:

Tony's child liked volleyball but now he has no arms
he cannot show the skills he learnt, all those magic charms.
No arms to touch, to love, to feel, he has no arms to kill.
It might be better if he died, and who knows perhaps he will;
he lies all day in bed and cries, for Tony's child is very ill.

The bomb that killed his family and took his arms away,
scorched his growing torso and God I only pray
this kind of thing will soon become a feature of the past
when men were seen as savages who used to maim and blast
little children with their bombs, and Tony's child's the last.

Again it was a forlorn hope. Tony Blair believed that history would judge whether his decision to go to war in Iraq was the right decision. I have news for him. As far as Iraq is concerned he is already part of history. As far as oil is concerned he has proved himself to be a liar and a thief. Let's hope there is a higher judge than history to try him for his
neft-theft, because all the perfumes of Arabia could not wash away the stench of thousands of deaths on his blood-soaked hands.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gossip: Why Dominic Grieve should resign over the death of...

Gossip: Why Dominic Grieve should resign over the death of...: Even if you do not get time to read the following post please sign the epetition (UK residents only) and distribute it widely. Liberty is a...

Why Dominic Grieve should resign over the death of David Kelly

Even if you do not get time to read the following post please sign the epetition (UK residents only) and distribute it widely. Liberty is at stake.

Over the last decade there has been an erosion of civil liberties and a breach of civil and human rights in the UK. These range from the abandonment of habeas corpus to the creation of foreign prisons where interrogation and torture can be committed without due scrutiny or legal representation. Habeas corpus is a long-established legal tenet to ensure that anyone imprisoned, should be brought before the court. Prior to Tony Blair’s second term as prime minister habeas corpus had only notably been suspended during the Treason Trials of 1790s, at a time when Britain was at war with France, and when it was feared that revolution might spread across the channel. Now President Obama has just signed off a bill to imprison “American citizens without charge or trial”.

A lack of human rights, and the overriding of legal procedures, is even worse today. The Attorney General is advisor to the government and the highest legal authority in England and Wales. The last three Attorney Generals, Peter Goldsmith, Patricia Scotland and the current one, Dominic Grieve, have each exceeded their authority. In an email to the Attorney General’s office on 18 May 2011, Christopher Stephen Frost, a specialist in diagnostic radiology, sought reassurance that due process would take place in establishing an inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly. In his email he pointed out that due process had not ensued with both Grieve’s predecessors, “Lord Goldsmith over his twice changed Iraq War legal advice and Baroness Scotland over the twice cancelled Serious Fraud Office investigation of British Aerospace”.

On 19 December 2011 Justice Nicol effectively brought to an end any chance of an inquest into the death of Dr Kelly, which is alarming since there never was a proper inquest. Instead the Hutton Inquiry dealt with this unnatural event clumsily and without properly cross-examining unsworn witnesses, as former MP Norman Baker, ably argues in his searching account The Strange Death of David Kelly. To add to the lack of justice from what was more correctly labelled “a whitewash” Hutton prohibited papers and photographs related to Kelly’s death from public scrutiny for 70 years, upheld by Dominic Grieve. If this stands when the documents are released it will be tantamount to the Clintons apologising for the United States’ experiments into the effects of syphilis on blacks and Guatemalans. A glib apology is hardly going to help anyone some sixty years from now when most people will have forgotten that Dr Kelly died because he told the truth that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction and that there was no forty-five minute capability for Iraq to deploy long-range missiles which threatened the United Kingdom. These were prime ministerial lies.

Suspending habeas corpus has led to the imprisonment of a British subject, Babar Ahmad, for more than seven years without charge. Another former prisoner, Algerian-born Hider Hanani, was held for more than seven years without charge and on his eventual release from Long Lartin prison was effectively put under house arrest. Long Lartin, Belmarsh and Woodhill are our Guantanamos, except they are on UK soil, whereas Guantanamo Bay is not in the US, so in that respect, before Obama’s latest deplorable contravention of the Bill of Rights, we were more culpable in our disregard for habeas corpus and the rule of law. Tony Blair labelled Guantanamo Bay an ‘anomaly’ and the Attorney General, William Goldsmith, called for its closure in 2006, without either addressing our own anomalies. Our reputation worldwide is probably as low as it has ever been in the last hundred years. I would like to see that reputation restored. That is another reason why I am calling for Dominic Grieve to resign.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Where does Adam Werritty really fit in?

On Monday I mentioned Atlantic Bridge, a pseudo educational charity set up to fund, among other things, Werritty's trips with the Minister of Defence, Liam Fox, trips he should not have actually been on since he had not been vetted by Whitehall. Atlantic Bridge, whose honorary president was Margaret Thatcher, was financed by Jewish businessmen until it was closed down by the Charity Commission. Today Craig Murray has once again broken a piece of news the type of which very rarely gets seen in the newspapers or on television. Quite rightly he asks where people get their news, because in this day and age they are not getting the whole news. Himself a former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray has repeatedly and determinedly questioned the goings on of ministers and ambassadors and in particular the relationship between Matthew Gould the British (Jewish) ambassador to Israel. The interests an ambassador should be pursuing are those of the country he represents, but increasingly it seems that Matthew Gould's main interest lies in his support for Israel's stance on waging war in Iran, a country in which Gould formerly worked as Deputy Head of the Division in Tehran at the British Embassy.

This latest revelation regards requested information under a freedom of information request to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. His request was responded to but the documents requested were only commented upon, and copies were not actually sent to the former ambassador. It is clear from Craig Murray's persistence that Gould and Werrity have met together with David Miilband, and also with William Hague, in Gould's former roles as speechwriter and private secretary. Murray raises the question of the role of Werritty at these meetings, since none of them was minuted, and Secretaries of State are also heads of MI6. He speculates, quite rightly, as to whether Werritty was acting in liason with other secret services like MOSSAD.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Moseley Bog and Sarehole Mill

January daffodils in Moseley Bog

My dogs love Moseley Bog. It is steeped in history, not that they would care one way or another, but it is in an area where Tolkien spent his early years, and the house Tolkien lived in is only a three hundred yards from one of the entrances to the bog. Tolkien scholars inform that the bog and other places of interest are woven into his fantasies. Another feature of the area is Sarehole Mill, which is even closer to where Tolkien lived.

Sarehole Mill last week

Sarehole Mill was once in the hands of Matthew Boulton's father, also called Matthew, during the 1750s. Boulton is as responsible as any single individual for the prosperity of Birmingham, and together with James Watt, they gained fame for, among other advancements, revolutionary improvements to the steam engine. Boulton, however, was not the only entrepreneur with connections to Sarehole Mill. John Baskerville, who gave his name to a typeface, lived with the mill proprietor's wife, Sarah Eaves, for many years. He married her when her husband died. Recently she gave her name to a typeface too, Mrs Eaves.

Sarah Eaves was hired as Baskerville's housekeeper and they "lived in sin" at a time when living in sin really was a sin. Boulton too, was not in favour with the church, having married Ann Robinson, sister of his first wife Mary following Mary's death, both very wealthy young women. In those days this would be considered incestuous. It might not incorrectly be conjectured that it was the Robinson wealth that built the famous Soho works.

So when I walk the dogs around Moseley Bog and along the River Cole I am aware of the fascinating history on my doorstep.

After the walk