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Control Freaks

Woman invoiced $5,488.51 for her own sexual assault

Lets play cave explorer

A New Mexico woman has reached a $475,000 settlement with the Customs and Border Protection agency after she had claimed she was subjected to six hours of illegal cavity searches.

The ordeal began when a drug-sniffing dog allegedly “alerted” on the ACLU’s client as she attempted to return from Mexico to her home in the U.S. Agents subjected her to a strip search at the border station, examining her genitals and anus with a flashlight. No contraband was found.

The agents nevertheless transported Ms. Doe to University Medical Center, where over the course of six hours she suffered an observed bowel movement, an X-ray, a speculum exam of her vagina, a bimanual vaginal and rectal exam, and a CT scan. These procedures were conducted without Ms. Doe’s consent or a search warrant.

Having found no contraband, CBP agents offered Ms. Doe a choice to either sign a medical consent form or be billed for the cost of the searches. Ms. Doe refused to sign, and was later billed $5,488.51.

The ACLU and lawyers acting on behalf of Ms. Doe obtained a settlement of $475,000 without any admission of wrongdoing.

The Independent and for additional reporting Texas ACLU.

I’m not quite sure what was most egregious, the fact that a mistake by Fido can lead to a cavity search or that having completed said procedure and taking 6-hours to do so, yet finding nothing, they billed this woman $5,488.51 for the costs of the invasive sexual assault they inflicted upon her.

That US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) coughed up without any admission of wrongdoing strongly suggests that they are completely happy with the process itself, just didn’t expect to get caught. It also suggests that in the same scenario CPB would do exactly the same again, which is also pretty repugnant.

For any ladies prepared to stand up for her civil rights, the opportunity to further embarrass the CPB (if such a thing were possible) and potentially make $475,000, bacon flavoured deodorant is available here: <link>

Quote of the Day, June 6, 2016

All of my life I have heard the left suggest that conservatives want to control what goes on in my bedroom. Meanwhile the left has infiltrated every room of my house as well as my garage.

–Commenter “czechlist,” at WUWT

BoJo’s Erdogan limerick in full

BoJo and the goat fucker

 There was a young fellow from Ankara,

Who was a terrific wankerer.

“Till he sowed his wild oats,

With the help of a goat,

But he didn’t even stop to thankera.

Not the greatest of poetic verse, but coming from someone who may one day be PM of an infamous Turkish great-grandfather (Ali Kemal), carries a little more weight than better written doggerel on this specific subject.

I actually prefer Douglas Murray’s efforts on the subject.

Recep Erdogan is the Turk’ll

Never tire of rim-jobs from his circle

Yet his chief-est delight

(Now Khilafa’s in sight)

Are the felchings he gets from Frau Merkel

As for myself, I was never a one for the burlesque, but if the guys from the Turkish embassy are “kicking butt and taking names” then my only contribution is that Mr. Erdogan can go fuck himself with a cactus and if he doesn’t have one to hand I am happy to supply it.

FDA puts the squeeze on vaping

Vape Away

The federal government on Thursday banned the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18 and required manufacturers to disclose their ingredients and submit their products to the government for approval.

The Food and Drug Administration’s action, which represents the first time the government has regulated the booming market of e-cigarettes, seeks to clamp down on devices that have become increasingly popular, especially among young people, even as they have been subject to almost no oversight.

The agency, which first said it intended to regulate e-cigarettes in 2014, also imposed the regulations on cigars, hookahs and pipe tobacco.

The effort is a response to long-standing concerns about what health experts call a “Wild West” atmosphere involving the multi-billion dollar e-cigarette industry. The battery-powered devices heat up flavoured, nicotine-laced liquid, turning it into a vapour that the user inhales, or “vapes.

Washington Post – The federal government is about to begin regulating the booming e-cigarette market

Not very surprising, because the absence of the dead hand of government regulation on the emerging vaping industry has long irritated governments, both in Washington, across the states and abroad.

Why should they steal customers from big tobacco and yet not kneel before the powers that be in Washington so that they can get their slice of the relatively lightly regulated and taxed vaping pie?

I smell the stale stench of big tobacco in this as well, for the vaping culture has cut into their US revenues and both big tobacco and local and state governments are losing out.

Key Pointers:

  • The new regulations generally require manufacturers whose products went on sale after Feb. 15, 2007, to get approval from the agency to continue selling their products. These reviews will allow the FDA to scrutinize ingredients, product design and health risks, the agency said. It added that it will allow the companies to keep selling their products for two years while they submit their applications and then for an additional year while the FDA reviews the submissions.
  • The rules also ban the distribution of free samples. Officials suggested they might eventually consider banning flavours in cigars and e-cigarettes, but said the topic needs more research. [JG – Let me guess…Cannabis flavour perhaps??]
  • In recent weeks, the e-cigarette industry has gotten support from some public health experts. In late April, a group of tobacco-control experts, writing in the journal Addiction, urged the FDA to be “open-minded” about e-cigarettes, saying that the products can result in a reduction in traditional smoking. And recently, the Royal College of Physicians concluded that e-cigarettes were likely to be beneficial to public health in Britain.

The long and the short of it is that by medicalising vaping they can put the brakes on an industry that they feel is under-regulated and under-taxed, and in so doing, slow down tax loses from tobacco revenues and appease the lobbyists of big tobacco.

This is all very well and not very surprising, but the problem with vaping is that the key ingredients of vaping fluid are fairly common-place, essentially propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine for the liquid, diluted nicotine and flavouring.

So excessive government intervention at this stage could probably lead to the entire industry going underground as home-made or black market manufacture. Given the pressure on tax revenues and from tobacco lobbyists I suspect that draconian is going to be the way to go for quite a while…

Reason to leave no. 879,628,391

e-cigarettes and vaping liquid

E-cigarettes are poised to be taxed at a higher rate across Europe, with France and two other nations calling for a minimum excise duty to be set at “the highest common denominator”.

EU diplomats unanimously agreed a call for the European commission to prepare a legislative proposal by 2017, in a draft document seen by the Guardian that EU finance ministers will sign off at a meeting next Tuesday.

No proposal will be tabled until after an exhaustive process of impact studies, technical analyses and public consultations. But if these hurdles can be cleared, officials say that taxing Europe’s growing vape industry could be desirable.

“There is an argument that it would be quite good to do something like minimum levels of excise duty for e-cigarettes. Member states could then decide whether to raise them higher or not,” one official said. “At present they don’t fall under excise duties like cigarettes, so maybe we would set a minimum threshold.”

At least 57% of the price of a pack of cigarettes must come from excise duty under the UK’s customs rules. Another 20% of the price comes from VAT, which Brussels has no powers to regulate.

EU agrees to tax e-cigarettes at higher rate

I know, I know, ex-smokers are always the worst but FFS! a product which helps people avoid the worst carcinogens of tobacco whilst still getting their nicotine fix is being targeted by the EUrocrats for the simple reason that it is depleting tobacco taxation without providing matching taxation elsewhere.

It just goes to show that as well as being pariahs as far as the health lobby are concerned the statists just want to milk vapers for tax like the good Milch cows that they are.

The harassment of tobacco users through both the health nazis and the sin taxes on tobacco have been a big motivator for people to switch from tobacco to vaping as it is and both their health and pockets are better for it – cue the bitching from the statists as they are cut out of the loop and hence this draconian proposal.

Your average man-in-the-street who vapes is not going to pay £60 for something that currently retails at £9.99, nope. What they will do is go down to Abdul at the local corner shop who gets them for £200 for a thousand from China and then buy them under the counter for £10.

As for the vaping fluid itself, it is fairly simplistic to make, consisting of commonly available substances +nicotine +flavour enhancer. The current price of a 10ml vape liquid is £4 and is about equivalent to 80-100 cigarettes which would cost around £45 depending upon the brand.

Anyone who thinks that vapers will suddenly put up with getting stiffed for a 1,000% increase because of some bullshit about “equal treatment” is hallucinating. Nope, what will happen is that it will be manufactured locally and Abdul’s corner shop will be flogging it for £5 once again.

Can we leave yet?

Beyond the Swedish Model

All Parliamentary Group on Prostitution

British men who use prostitutes while abroad on stag parties should be prosecuted in the UK under new laws that make paying for sex illegal, according to a report backed by a senior MP.

Sex tourists and businessmen who pay for prostitutes on expense accounts would also be criminalised under the proposals in the Sex Buyer Law report published today.

The report, commissioned for the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Prostitution by the campaigning group End Demand, says payment for sex in the UK should be made illegal and recommends Parliament “strongly considers” extending the offence to payments abroad.

Sex tourists who pay for prostitutes abroad ‘should face prosecution in UK’ (Independent)

So not only are we talking about the government proposing to turn the dynamics of the sex trade upside down and making what is already a grey area in UK law actually illegal (for the men so desperate for a shag that they have to lay out cold hard cash for it), but we are also going to criminalise that which other countries have already decriminalised and some of them (like Germany) only relatively recently.

How’s that going to work then? PC Plod & co. outside the whorehouses of Old Amsterdam then? No. Thought not. Just because the US Government thinks they can get away with extra-territoriality (one of the worst aspects of good old British colonial justice), the UK’s own Social Justice Warriors want a slice of the action.

Whilst this is allegedly meant to “help” your average streetwalker in that she can no longer get done by the police for soliciting (and therefore presumably no longer has to do “favours” for the boys in blue to turn a blind eye to her activities), what will not help her is if the “Johns” are too shit scared to approach her for fear of being arrested for what is already a somewhat fraught exchange at best.

As with drugs the current model of legalisation used in Holland and Germany strikes the right balance between allowing the ladies to go about their business in a non-threatening environment with tax being collected and their health being monitored.

The Swedish model does none of that, it simply persecutes the male (who are the primary purchasers of sex), without providing any other benefit in the name of “reducing demand” because of over-exaggerated claims of “sex trafficking”.

The authors of this report, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution should be all given “a short drop and a sudden stop” preferably with hempen ropes, because it is the only way to stop this sort of bansturbating nonsense.

Christ on an electrically charged moped give me strength.

In the House of Delusions

The Walls of Delusion

A meta-context is not a philosophy or a political belief, but rather the lens through which someone sees the world. It is a tradition of thought, a vibe, set of ‘givens’, the frames of reference within which questions are posed and answers found.

A person’s prevailing meta-context has an enormous impact on the way they make decisions and evaluate evidence.

Perry de Havilland

The house of delusions is cheap to build, but draughty to live in, and ready at any instant to fall

A.E. Housman

I was not born a libertarian (small ‘l’), but became one through a process that can best be described as “painful self-enlightenment” over several years, which is I suspect the same for most of us.

There was one specific point though, something that I can best describe as my “Road to Damascus” experience that forever killed the tribal Labour voter I had been up until then, and that was the proposed introduction of ID cards into the UK by the Labour government of Tony Blair.

This fundamentally illiberal proposal (which was murdered by infanticide by the NO2ID campaign) left me with an undiluted hatred of both Labour and more generally of the state itself. Over the five years from 2005 to 2010 when it was finally repealed, my entire meta-context – the way I viewed the world changed from that of a typical centre-left socialist to what I would now describe as libertarian minarchist.

As Perry wrote in the article above, nearly 14 years ago, most of the arguments that we see taking place in the mainstream media exist only within the meta-context of “the state-is-society” and any views that are contrary to this are treated as insane or anarchistic.

Indeed, for many years (before reading Atlas Shrugged) I inaccurately used the label of “anarchist” as a self-descriptor as it seemed the only label that described my fundamental opposition to the state itself.

During these years I took great pains to remove myself from the system, acquiring an Irish passport through my mother (who was born in Ireland), rehousing my family back in my wife’s homeland of Penang, Malaysia and for a while returning to live in Port Erin in the Isle of Man, which had been a refuge for my mothers family since they fled sectarian violence in Ireland during the late 1950’s.

All of this I did to express my outrage and attempt to repudiate the unfair claim that the British government had made over me, but it made me realise the meaning of liberty in its original sense and recognize the price that I would pay for my own personal sovereignty.

With hindsight, my actions were draconian and directly led to the alienation of my wife and child and various professional consequences that cause me problems to this day, but I still feel that I could not do anything other than I have done. It was a necessary evil done for the sake of my sanity and my soul.

The problem is that I am now left looking at a world which I no longer recognize nor really understand. It is like walking through the halls of Bedlam with everyone focussing upon their own delusions, from apocalyptic visions of climate change to the 3rd wave feminists and SJW’s with their micro-dissection of perceived injustice.

The Halls of Bedlam

I used to think that I was paranoid, but now I just feel that as a society Western civilisation has become complacent, corrupt and decadent. As with the last years of the Western Roman empire, we are beset by invaders without and traitors within…a combination that cannot last for long.

It seems to me that the meta-context of “the state-is-society” is fundamentally self-limiting, that in it’s very nature of ever expanding growth and scope the state contains the seeds of its own destruction.

I wonder why others who are far more knowledgeable about history and far more intelligent than I cannot see the same thing. Is it not obvious? The only conclusion that I’ve come to is that they either have too much invested in the current system or see the outcome as inevitable.

So the shadows lengthen and darkness falls…

The shadows lenghten and darkness falls

Campaign to save the common-or-garden idiot

Life is hard - especially if youre stupid

THE Swansea woman who posted a grossly offensive comment about Down’s Syndrome on Facebook in a hate crime has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Ursula Presgrave cut and pasted a comment from a website saying people with the condition should be put down – promoting what was described in court as a “tsunami” of responses online, including death threats.

Swansea Magistrates Court heard that people complained to South Wales Police about the message, and the 23-year-old was arrested.

Presgrave, of Talfan Road, Bonymaen, had previously pleaded guilty to sending an offensive message by means of a public communications network when she appears before justices today for sentencing.

Call Centre’s Ursula Presgrave given suspended sentence for Facebook Down Syndrome comments

Is society going to collapse because a Z-List celebrity and newly inducted member of the hasbeenerati placed her foot in mouth and posted a comment on LifeInvader sorry FaceBook that the perpetually offended are (quelle surpise) offended by? In short No.

How many children with Down’s Syndrome were led to their deaths because of this woman? Zip. Zilch. Zero. Nil. None. The square root of sweet fuck all.

Ergo, who are her victims? what is the real crime here? because if we exclude the world of the SJW’s, the ‘Perpetually Offended of Tumblr Wells” then the only guidance that we can receive from this posting of Ursula Presgrave is that she is a narcissistic idiot. The last time I looked in the Hansard index, being an idiot was not a crime, more a state of being.

In all fairness, I am in favour of the exposure of idiots, indeed it is one of the great pleasures of modern society that idiots, like prophets are self-announced and seldom recognized in their own country.

Jeremy Corbyn is an idiot, still supporting the Marxist / Leninist diatribe despite 70-years of Communism clearly demonstrating that it doesn’t work. Do we silence his monumental acts of idiocy over Trident or support for Hamas? No – we splatter it across the pages of the daily newspapers so that we can reveal his idiocy for all to see, we don’t sentence Jeremy for having offensive views (certainly I find pretty much everything about Jeremy offensive), so where do we draw the line?

The Common-or-garden idiot in mating plumage

The common-or-garden idiot (also known as the female “lesser spotted tattooed fuckwit”) in mating plumage 

Are some kind of idiots worth saving because of prestige or is it only the common-or-garden idiot that needs to be ground into the dust? Maybe this is just elitism in another form? Jeremy Corbyn – another string to your bow perhaps?

In light of this, I think it is time to start a campaign, write to our MP’s and let them know – the common-or-garden idiot should not be persecuted for its behaviour; it should be brought out into the sunshine and lauded for the depth of its ignorance and stupidity.

Save the Idiot!


Antony Flew cites an observation by Bertrand Russell, and an Islamic manifesto from the Islamic Council of Europe:


When in 1920 Bertrand Russell visited the
USSR — decades before the Politburo found it convenient
to present itself as the Protector of the Arabs — he discerned
similarities between Bolshevism and Islam: “Bolshevism
combines the characteristics of the French Revolution with
those of the rise of Islam”; and “Marx has taught that Com-
munism is fatally predestined to come about; this produces a
state of mind not unlike that of the early successors of Ma-
hommet.” So Russell himself concluded:

Mahommedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social,
unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of this world
… What Mahommedanism did for the Arabs, Bolshev-
ism may do for the Russians.

As a clear, commendably honest and altogether authoritative
epitome of the totalitarian character of Islam consider this
manifesto issued in Leicester, England, on behalf of the Is-
lamic Council of Europe:

The religion of Islam embodies the final and most com-
plete word of God … Departmentalization of life into
different watertight compartments, religious and secu-
lar, sacred and profane, spiritual and material is ruled
out … Islam is not a religion in the Western under-
standing of the word
. It is a faith and a way of life, a
religion and a social order, a doctrine and a code of
conduct, a set of values and principles, and a social
movement to realize them in history.

—–From “The Terror of Islam,” 1995.

Dear Home Secretary – Get Stuffed!


The home secretary, Theresa May, this week invited the biggest US internet firms and British telecoms providers to a meeting to seek their support for the legislation, officially known as the draft communications data bill.

The legislation is expected to include powers that will require firms to collect and store for 12 months the browsing history of users, along with records of voice calls, messages and text services. It might also require firms to give the police and security services access to the data.

But requirements to store browsing history can do nothing if the communications are encrypted, as are an increasing proportion of online services. More and more web surfing is done through a secure connection, represented on the web to the user by the https prefix in a browser address bar.

UK war on encryption will struggle without the US onside

Now don’t get me wrong, the chances are that the Home Secretary (equivalent to the Minister of the Interior / Homeland Security), may be either being really clever or really dumb. Given past experience of politicians I would go for the latter…in fact really, really dumb would be closer to the truth.

The reason why we have switched to more-and-more sites being https:// as opposed to http:// (i.e. unsecured) is more about being perceived to be secure than actually caring about being secure.

I remember having this conversation at my .com business in 1998 and the argument was along the lines of “If we switch from http:// to https:// we can bang on about how secure customer data is based upon it being encrypted rather than the fact we are flogging our customer mailing list to all and sundry for 40p a name”.

Now don’t get me wrong, those were cynical times and I was (and still am) a cynical person, even though I exited the Internet business in Autumn 2001.

Nevertheless, for a small but significant part of the population (i.e. those with > 50% of their brain functioning), they will object to Frau May’s suggestion and indeed will ratchet up their encryption levels accordingly (as in continuously connecting to a non-UK VPN as I and many others already do to bypass such draconian intrusion).

Those who are in the terrorist business already will be using ‘alternative means’ of communication anyway, so the only people likely to be caught out by this are the idiotic self-radicalised Muslims who are looking to bomb their way to paradise and a golden palace filled with virgins (gender unspecified).

I wonder how long it will take for some crowd sourced app site to come up with “F*ckTheSnoopers” app, which generates 10,000 fake URL requests for every real one, whereby actual activity would be drowned out by a dense fog of noise and bullshit.

….because she’s worth it…every penny and every URL…

The Ethics of Fossil Fuels

Well, dear Reader, from the title you would be justified in wondering whether Fossil Fuels even have ethics. Are FF’s conscious? Can they think? Are they more Platonic or Aristotelian, or perhaps even Hegelian in their metaphysics?

In this little number, Alex Epstein — a former fellow of the Ayn Rand Institute and the founder of the Center for Industrial Progress, a think-tank thinking about energy resources — debates one Bill McKibben, sometimes said to be on the same plane of Enviroloonyism as the Bore.

I present this not because I think you will wish to watch the whole thing (unless you are into masochism), nor because I think Mr. Epstein, be his heart every so rightly placed, is the greatest debater since Socrates or somebody (he could learn a lot from James O’Keefe), but because I am genuinely interested in whether Mr. McKibben’s performance strikes you as it does me. It might take you a mere 10 minutes, or maybe half an hour, of watching and hearing the man. If no one cares to commit his gut reaction to pixels, I will tell you what I made of the McK performance, in a day or two.

Go pour yourself a nice tall chill glass of bathtub gin, neat, and settle in. –Oh, bring your Pet Rock. You may feel the need to be Soothed even beyond the powers of the gin.

Freedom is a state of mind


“Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always.”

– Mohandas K. Gandhi

Unlike some members of this parish who maintain a pretty pessimistic view on life, I’ve always been an optimist, a “glass is half-full” kind of guy. Why this is the case I couldn’t tell you, partly hormones I guess, partly genetics, mostly just having the ability to shake of the blues, look out of the window and say “Let’s Go!”.

This is also why, when people worry about the ever more draconian laws and regulations being passed by their legislatures, the security diktats of their executive or boundary creep of their judiciary, I just smile and nod, because we’ve been here before, time after time and whilst periods of collective totalitarianism do occasionally arise, they always contain within themselves the seeds of their own destruction.

Regimes, like the Nazis under Hitler or Mussolini’s Italian fascists tend to be based upon the cult of personality and when the leader is dead, everything else will wither away too, soon enough.

A modern example of this in progress is Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe. The man is a classic kleptocratic tyrant who is largely maintained in place by those tainted by their own actions during the civil war and throughout his long tenure as de facto dictator.

Mugabe’s underlings know full well that after his inevitable death (he’s 91 after all), there is little likelihood of a smooth transfer of power to another of his lieutenants and certainly not to his fucking wife (as Mugabe himself has suggested). The likelihood is that after his death they will be on the run, either from their own compatriots or from the long arm of the law.

Socialist regimes tend to be different, in that although they are often lead (initially) by charismatic leaders nut cases (Lenin, Castro et al), their underlying support is collective.

Soviet leaders after Stalin were fairly representative of this “representative of the collective” model leader, with each one somehow older, sicker and more lacklustre than the last until Mikhail Gorbachev, whose idealistic reforms brought the whole thing crashing down.

Could such regimes exist in the West during our lifetime? Possibly.

Certainly the European Union is more similar to the Soviet Union of old than the chrysalis of an emerging “United States of Europe”, but as Stalin once quipped of the Pope “How many divisions has he got?”

Whilst the European Union is deprived of military capability and real economic and political power, it will remain as little more than a retirement home for failed European politicians and a gravy train for bureaucrats.

As for the United States, I’m not so sure. Their civil and provincial police forces appear to me more akin to South American paramilitary units than coppers applying the “Peelian Principles” of coppering (certainly as Sam Vimes would appreciate it), which seems to demonstrate the point that the US government is more afraid of an uprising of its own people than real “enemies, both foreign and domestic”.

As I say in the title though, ultimately freedom is a state of mind and with all of their draconian laws, re-education camps and killing fields, freedom of the individual is a flame that is hard to quench and as the fall of the Berlin Wall demonstrated, once freedom is let loose once more it burns brighter than ever.

This is why in a world filled with those who hate us and collectives that would restrain, imprison or murder us, I still have hope for the future, because the future will not be theirs, it will be ours.

The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

―Princess Leia

RAFF Protests Halite Decision

Unfortunately they’re doing it wrong.

For once Residents Action on Fylde Fracking and I have something in common.  Sort of.

Who is Halite?  Once calling themselves Canatxx they are the people who want to store pressurised gas in salt caverns slap bang in the middle of a geologically unstable area, full of brine wells, a collapsed salt mine and geological faults, in my neck of the woods.  The YouTube video I have linked to will explain why 40,000 local residents have been fighting for years to resist this insanity.

There are no weasel words like might or could or maybe.  Brine wells at Preesall have collapsed in the past and one is in the process of collapsing.  The depression in the ground is growing fast and an entire field has been lost to it already  Another well is filled with God knows how many tons of mercury sludge courtesy of the now departed ICI.  Just image what will happen to the water table if that bad boy collapsed.  And Halite want to store pressurised gas right next to the brine well field.  Let’s not forget the partially collapsed salt mine.  And did I mention the natural faults that gas can migrate along?  Well it needs saying over and over.

Anti-fracking campaigners have reacted with anger and frustration at a Government decision to allow a controversial gas storage facility on the Fylde Coast.

And I agree with their reaction.  Three applications from Canatxx/Halite have been rejected by local government because of the real danger of catastrophe yet some cretin in central government has given the green light to this insanity.

Energy minister Lord Bourne has, on appeal, granted permission to Halite to create a huge underground gas store in salt caverns at Preesall despite three rejections of the plan and massive public opposition.

Now residents and campaigners opposing shale gas say that decision by the Department of Energy and Climate Change was undemocratic and bodes ill for their own battle against energy company Cuadrilla.

But this is where my strange comradeship with RAFF and their associate anti-fracking groups parts way.  You see their “protest” appears to be purely selfish.  They don’t seem to care about the real dangers of the Halite proposal.  They only seem to care about how it will affect their own cause and how they can exploit it.

Two bids by Cuadrilla to test frack on the Fylde were rejected last month by Lancashire County Council, but the shale gas explorer could yet appeal to a Government inspector.

It’s not about Halite, you see.  It’s about Cuadrilla and the appeal they will no doubt be submitting.  A real danger has been hijacked to support an anti-capitalist cause that really would benefit all if fracking were permitted to go ahead.  That really piddles me off.

Barbara Richardson, from the Roseacre Awareness Group, said: “We are appalled by this decision to overrule local democracy and fear that Westminster will try and intervene in the fracking debate too against the wishes of the people and elected representatives.

What Barbara doesn’t tell you is that Mike Hill, who was campaigning on an anti-fracking ticket, was wiped out during the GE by the Tory incumbent who I believe is actually pro fracking.  It seems that democracy is something of a loose concept in Barbara’s world.  At this point I will add that the proposed Roseacre site is highly problematical because access will be a nightmare and Barbara does have a point.  However there is no such problem with the Plumpton proposal which I support and Barbara doesn’t.  She is opposed to fracking absolutely.

“We elect local councillors (parish, borough and county) to represent us and this is democracy in action. Local people understand local issues and the will of the people.

Yeah, I saw how the craven sods at Lancashire County Council were cowed by a few tens of anti-fracking protestors and voted against the advice of their own legal department.  Democracy my left nether cheek.  Perhaps you think the 40,000 plus local residents fighting the Halite plans can be co-opted by proxy to your own cause, eh Barbara?

“To blatantly ignore this is sheer arrogance and a recipe for disaster. We will stand with the people of the Wyre.

That’ll be a “yes” then.

“They have spent years to successfully defeat this, with good grounds, and even had the support of the Planning Inspector as well as local councils. They must be absolutely devastated.

We are devastated and we are still fighting.  But Barbara, where were you and your pals all those years we were fighting Canatxx?  How come we get your support now?

“Fracking is an altogether different game as it could affect over 60 per cent of the UK, and should Westminster intervene again, I am sure it will have serious repercussions.”

Whereas gas storage is a dangerous game and has the real potential to affect more than 60% of the residents of Fleetwood, Knott End, Presall, Stalmine, Steynall and parts of Thornton if the storage caverns rupture following the collapse of a brine well (it has already happened in the US which is why storage of the type proposed for Preesall has been banned in the US on safety grounds), the gas escapes and finds an ignition source.  All thanks to Westminster intervention.

All that seems to bother Barbara is the precedent set by overturning a decision made by local government.

Alan Tootill, from the Preston New Road Action Group, said: “This confirms our worst fears.

“This government has no concern for local democracy and local decision-making.

“Over 40,000 people objected to the Preesall applications and three times the plans were turned down at local level.

I didn’t hear your voice raised against the initial Canatxx/Halite proposals either Alan.  I don’t recall you standing up at the many meetings and voicing your concern.

There is also a familiar name mentioned in dispatches.  You’ll find her in the comments below the Mike Hill post.

Tina Rothery, from Residents Action of Fylde Fracking, said: “It is awful news not just for the people of Wyre but for the rights of local people anywhere in the UK.

“That central government can overrule the clear will of the people and their Council that has three times rejected this application, makes a mockery of our ‘democracy’.

“Many of us have been fighting to keep fracking out of Lancashire for nearly four years now and the recent support of Lancashire County Council was very welcome; with this announcement today though at the overturning of the decision on Halite, we are of course deeply concerned about what will happen next in this campaign as well.

See what I mean?  They’ve tagged on their anti-fracking campaign to the Halite fight.  I know Tina by sight having seen her on TV and in the papers several times but I don’t recall seeing her at the Stop Canatxx meetings either.  All of a sudden the Canatxx/Halite cause has become the No Fracking cause.  At least in the anti-fracking eyes.

Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Tony Bosworth said: ‘This decision raises big questions about the Government’s commitment to local democracy because this facility was turned down several times before Westminster stepped in to make it happen.

Then maybe Friends of the Earth ought to hand back the millions in taxpayer money, whether taxpayers agreed with it or not, that has been handed to FoE by various governments over the years.  It’s obviously a matter of principal after all.  But I guess, like Barbara, your perception of democracy only goes so far, eh, Tony?

“This must not be repeated in order to force fracking on Lancashire after the county refused to swallow the hype from central Government and the fracking industry.”

“This must not be repeated in order to refuse fracking on Lancashire after the county swallowed the hype from minority anti-frackers and the Big Green industry.”

There, fixed it.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Bourne, who is the Minister responsible for energy planning consents, said the Halite plan was strategically important for the nation.

Yeah, because what the Scammell truck would a Professor of Law know about geological faults, collapsed mines. the unsuitability of layered salt beds, unsafe brine wells and other unimportant shit that affects the lives and safety of tens of thousands of locals?  Oh and we’re considered an area of Special Scientific Interest too because of the rare fauna and flora living in and around Morecambe Bay which will be grossly affected by the brine outfall. Why, after so many years,  has central government, after even that towering intellect, John Prescott, recognised the serious flaw in Canatxx/Halite’s planning applications, suddenly made this perverse decision?  Well I have a theory.

Wyre has been a marginal seat for a long time.  Since 1997 it has been tinkered with twice which gave us Hilton Dawson (Lab) a decent MP who worked hard for the constituency before resigning and returning home to his native Northumberland. Then came Ben Wallace (Con) who also fought hard on the Canatxx front and moved over to the newly created Wyre and Preston North in 2010.  Despite Labour stacking the boundary decks in its favour we got Eric Ollerenshaw (Con) clinging to his seat by the skin of his marginal teeth, only ever rebelling (well abstaining really) against the Tory whip once but who still recognised the dangers posed by the gas storage proposal and added his effort to the fight against corporate venality and stupidity.

Then in May, 2015 we get Cat Smith (Lab) also on the slimmest of majorities, with her BA in sociology and gender studies who, while paying lip service to both the anti-Halite and anti-fracking camps, clearly hasn’t got a bloody clue what she’s talking about.  Perhaps, once in a while, when she isn’t too busy identifying herself as a Christian, socialist, feminist, republican, trade unionist and LGBT, she’ll pick up and read The Idiot’s Guide to Wyre Estuary Geology so she doesn’t look a total fool and will finally be able to tell the difference between a landslide and a great big Scammell off sinkhole.  Meanwhile we get the standard leftie gobshite response to Lord Bourne’s decision by calling for the “launch of a new action” and “seeking urgent clarification” rather than going up to the idiot and hitting him with FACTS.  But then she did previously work for Jezza Corbyn so she quite possibly has a good grounding in political stupid.

And my theory?  Well Lord Bourne has nasty previous when it comes to the opposition.  He plays very dirty tricks and then lies about what he’s done before being forced to come clean.  Ask Rhodri Morgan.  Lord Bourne got handed this particular chalice when it turned out that Amber Rudd’s brother , Roland, heads a lobbying company, Finsbury, that numbers Halite amongst its clients.  Given Bourne’s scandalous history could the recently tinkered with constituency returning a Labour MP be an underlying reason for his perverse, against all common sense decision?  I think we should be told.

Here’s the “offical” reason for the decision.

He said: “Investment in new energy infrastructure is essential if we are to keep the lights on and bills down.

“This is a major project which will benefit the local economy by creating jobs and stimulating businesses.

Yes, we’ve seen how central government keeps the bills down with bills hiked up to feed the heavily subsidised and deeply despised renewables monster.  As for the local economy, destruction of the environment aside, there may be a temporary injection of jobs to construct the storage caverns and build a pipeline to connect with the main grid at Garstang.  But honestly, long term, how many people will it take to press a button at the control station in order to release or store gas?   Three hundred?  Four hundred?  Try a handful.

What is the impact of millions of gallons of concentrated brine that Halite propose to pump into the sea off Anchorsholme as they carve holes in the salt?  What will happen if the geology ruptures a cavern and the project goes sky high tits up?  The infrastructure to deal with an explosion doesn’t exist.  There are mainly small villages and narrow country lanes in this part of the world.  That is providing, of course that no structure damaged in the blast doesn’t block those narrow country lanes and blocks access to the grossly inadequate emergency services.

Oh and the storage capacity that Halite proposes will give a close to zero contribution to keeping the lights on.  Selling the gas back to the grid at premium rates will keep bills down how?   The man is a moral bankrupt and a weapons grade pudendum

“Gas is also the greenest fossil fuel and helps us lower our carbon emissions, which is important in the UK’s move to a cleaner energy future.”

I agree but what would be the point of pumping gas from underground only to pump it back underground?  The only people to benefit from storage is Halite who will buy cheap and sell at a premium rate at great risk to the locals.  Halite propose to do it here because back in their native US they would be given very short shrift.  You see storing gas in layered salt, most particularly anywhere near a field of brine wells (we have more than a hundred of them), is banned because it is demonstrably unsafe and a threat to life. Is that what Bourne calls stimulating businesses?

And if he really believes that gas is the greenest fossil fuel will he be insisting that the Drax power station will be converted to gas instead of burning CO2 producing wood pellets from felled US forests?

No?  Thought not.

Enforcing the unenforceable

Enforcing the unenforceable - the 10 commandments

You would think that politicians large and small would have enough incentive not to make utter fools of themselves before national audiences on TV or the front pages of national and even local rags, but evidence suggests not – hyperbole before idiocy it seems.

I’ve never been involved in the legislative process, only in the attempted implementation and enforcement of pollution legislation for Her Majesty’s inspectorate of Pollution (HMIP) as an IT consultant back in the early 90’s, but one of the most important aspects of any proposal must surely be not to propose legislation which is unenforceable. Surely?

The passage of unenforceable laws (such as the various alcohol/drug/gambling prohibitions in the US) or laws which can be easily circumvented/ignored (censorship/licensing of pornography for example) end up bringing the law as a whole into disrepute.

When police officers are catching bank robbers and muggers they have the support of the law-abiding majority, but when they end up as petty enforcers of public morality or expression then such widespread public support is lost.

Take David Cameron and his idiotic “ISIS use encryption, therefore lets ban all encryption” viewpoint. Even the most cursory understanding of how the internet works would make you realise that such a proposal if implemented would mean the end of internet eCommerce in the UK, to highlight just a single instance.

The only purpose of such unworkable schemes seems to be to lay the groundwork for ever more draconian (and expensive) monitoring regimes which either never work or are so intrusive that people go elsewhere.

One insider at a major US technology firm told the Guardian that “politicians are fond of asking why it is that tech companies don’t base themselves in the UK”.

“I think if you’re saying that encryption is the problem, at a time when consumers and businesses see encryption as a very necessary part of trust online, that’s a very indicative point of view.”

Maybe I am being naïve, but the only beneficiaries of this sort of thing are civil service bureaucrats and the massive IT and outsourcing companies which win the contracts to implement all this crap.


How to encourage smuggling

UK Plain packet cigarettes

The price of a pack of 20 cigarettes could reach £15 by 2020, suggests a report by the Independent Cancer Taskforce.

A pack of 20 ciggies currently comes with a £9-10 price tag, but guidance from the report’s ‘six priorities’ suggest a cost increase.

Cigarettes could soon cost £15 to fund cancer treatment

Setting the nanny state healthcare diktat aside, I can think of nothing worse for UK customs evasion than the current moves towards plain packaging and draconian cigarette duties. Presumably the view of the health lobby is anyone who pays £15 ($23.40 USD, $31.74 AUD) for a pack of 20 cigarettes is an idiot anyway, but this simply exposes the ignorance and patronizing attitude of the health lobby itself.

Detailed studies of the impact of cigarette taxes going back to the 1920’s and 30’s have shown that when cigarette taxes rise disproportionate to the surrounding states then smuggling rises and total revenue collected falls, this can occur even when the marginal duty rise is quite slight if the rise breaches the revenue maximising point on the taxes notional “Laffer curve“.

The New York Times reported in 1938 that opponents of the tax argued that two types of “border activity” would result from imposing taxes on cigarettes.

The first, border shopping, occurs when consumers purchase cigarettes directly from retailers in low-tax jurisdictions. The second, cigarette bootlegging, occurs when criminals illegally transport cigarettes from a low-tax to a hightax jurisdiction to expropriate the tax differential.

The warnings from the 1930s turned out to be highly prescient: both of those types of border activity soared in subsequent decades as cigarette taxes in New York rose.

Cigarette Taxes, Black Markets, and Crime – Lessons from New York’s 50-Year Losing Battle

As part of the never ending escalation against smuggling ever more sophisticated duty labels came into use along with more draconian enforcement against personal-use, small-scale and wholesale (criminal) smuggling – all of which costs and behavioural changes are seldom mentioned by the proponents of higher taxes.

Smugglers have traditionally tried to source original, foreign market replacements as illustrated by French, Spanish, Polish warning labels on smuggled packets. However, higher margins can be obtained if they can successfully pass-off off their own packed-and-packaged  counterfeit cigarettes as home market originals.

So something costing 30 pence per packet to manufacture, filled with higher toxicity “chop-chop” tobacco will flood the streets and more disreputable corner shops. Even at half the £15 per pack price of the  duty-paid originals, they will sell like hot cakes.

None of that revenue will go to the exchequer and overall the health of smokers will be worse as they will be smoking cigarettes with higher tar, particulates and carcinogens than duty-paid originals.

My conclusion – The health lobby really hates smokers and wants to kill more of them faster while depleting the treasury. I bet you won’t find that anywhere in their report.