Awesome if used right

Am I the only one thinking that this could be a great tool for close-up news coverage of dangerous / secretive events? Add sound to the video and increase the battery life, and the possibilities for wildlife coverage or war zones are incredible. That and not having to struggle in a press of journo’s covering an outdoor event to see what someone really said.

First hand news, first hand, at an affordable price. Coming soon via drone technology. Awesome if used well. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Now the possibility exists that watchers can be watched right back.

It might even be fun.

Re: my previous post

The point I was making, or trying to make; is that lobbying organisations pose as charities by giving the barest of lip service to the work of a charitable institution. If you got that, you will understand how howlingly funny I find the video below.

Yes, give these fake charities taxpayer money to pay for lawyers and lobbyists to lobby for new laws to outlaw and prevent smoking, drinking alcohol, meat eating, Canadian oil pipelines, cheap energy from shale gas and well, everything…….

You’d only spend it on enjoying yourself, anyway.


Here’s a riddle for you.

When is a charity not a charity?

When it’s primarily a government (or privately) funded lobbying organisation.

This is not a joke.

As one whose real life CV contains a good deal of volunteering for various (UK and Canadian) registered charities, I’d like to think I know the difference. My charity work has always been focused on the practical; restoring, cleaning, delivering, fitting and rebuilding kind of work. From rebuilding computer networks, helping restore a near derelict local facility to full use to scrubbing some horrendous gunge off various aids for the disabled. That sort of thing.

Over the past few years I’ve noticed an increased politicisation of the voluntary sector. Where lobbyists, disguising themselves as registered charities, do pure advocacy work for various clients, including Government agencies. Where I have no issue with citizen advocates speaking up for the less able and impoverished, what I do have an issue with is Government paying ‘charities’ to further the Governments (and their friends) own agenda.

Let’s take a classic example. Remember the Climate change kiddie snuff porn video by advocacy group 10:10? When I wrote to my UK MP to object, I was told plainly that the UK government would ‘continue to support’ such messages. 10:10 had purportedly received sponsorship from EU and UK sources to produce that obscenity (As well as Sony and O2). Now, forgive me for being as bit dogmatic here, but is that charity? Does it assist the poor or less able? No. It does help the vested financial interests who make their moolah by boosting energy prices and farming taxpayer funded subsidies. Most certainly not the poor buggers who are currently in ‘fuel poverty’.

The Devils Kitchen runs a little website called, which lists the details of some of the UK based lobbyists posing as charitable institutions.

This stuff isn’t new. It’s been doing the rounds on the UK blogosphere for several years now. See Tim Worstall’s 2009 piece on the Adam Smith Institute website. Now the mainstream are playing catch up.

Of course there have always been scam artists who pose as registered charities or who put out collection boxes for said charity with no intention of passing on the public’s generosity to the real organisation. What really pisses me off, as a real life worker for charity, is the biggest fraud of all; Governments paying advocacy groups to lobby for Government policy using taxpayer dollar.

The end result

Currently, the libertarian end of the blogosphere is under assault (Again?) from the forces of darkness. Cranmer has had some come catspaw using the ASA. Witterings from Witney from another source (on a three year old post? Is someone taking the mick?), and there are mutterings in various comment columns about “We’re coming to getcha.” (Oh noes, not again). Some sites, offering informal advice based on personal experience have been shut down by regulators. Bloggers, even in ‘free’ societies have been raided by Police and even faced criminal prosecution simply for publishing their version of events (Tallbloke over ‘Climategate’ springs to mind, follow the ‘Holly Grieg‘ subject blogs for others). Never mind the (Very) hastily taken down Greenpeace threat last year “We know where you live” – seriously? Just because of a disagreement on an issue – even though reality tells a different story? Talk about acute humour failure. Definitely the Violet Elizabeth Bott approach to dissent; (“Do what I want or I’ll thcream and thcream ’till I’m thick – I can too!” ) No one is fooled. Behind the attempts at suppressing free speech blogs come the echoes of marching jackboots, and it isn’t a pretty sound.

Aldous Huxley nailed the major weakness of suppressive tactics in 1941;

“For the means employed inevitably determine the nature of the result achieved, whereas, however good the end aimed at may be, its goodness is powerless to counteract the effects of the bad means we use to reach it. Similarly, a reform may be in the highest degree desirable; but if the contexts in which that reform is effected are undesirable, the results will inevitably be disappointing. These are simple and obvious truths. Nevertheless they are almost universally neglected.”

For a given value of ‘good’, I might add – there’s a downside to everything; and ‘good’ is mostly subjective anyway – even more so when preceded by the word ‘greater’.

So it is with attacks on free speech. In seeking out offence everything becomes offensive. Pointing out that something can’t work / isn’t working means being labelled a ‘Denier’. Highlighting the failures, areas of suspicion and dodgy dealings of an administration makes you a ‘Hater’. Mildly contentious comments that some might find slightly objectionable (Mostly if they contain a good deal of objective veracity) are turned into ‘Hate speech’ by offence seeking drama queens. Setting official agencies on people because of a flimsily perceived ‘offence’, likewise.

Like a school playground ruled by sneaks and snitches running to teacher every time their feelings are hurt, this creates an ugly place to live in, so such behaviour poisons discourse and spreads a fog of disinformation. Not to mention creating a huge enforcement overhead. It prevents open and reasoned examination of an issue, and hides that which should be known. As with war and truth, honesty is always the first casualty because in order to shut people up, the primary weapons are always emotive lies, disinformation and exaggeration.

Essentially what we’re dealing with is immature offence seeking such as;
“Mummy, Mummy! They’re saying bad things about me!”
“Mummy, Mummy! They’re smoking at me because I’m a non-smoker!”
“Mummy, Mummy! They’re drinking at me just because I’m teetotal!”
“Mummy, Mummy! They’re shooting guns at targets and it fwightens me!”
“Mummy, Mummy! They’re eating bacon sandwiches at me because I’m a Vegan!”
“Mummy, Mummy! They’re saying I’m bad because I tell on them all the time – stop them Mummy!”

All of the above have one thing in common – they are invented ‘offences’. Of course said attacks on freedom of expression are dressed up in grown-up speak, but the impulse that drives such behaviour is nonetheless childish, born of unreasoning fear. There’s only one real cogent response – overt mockery. Specifically Shakespeare’s classic from Twelfth night; “T’hart a fool. Go to.” or the more modern “STFU” and variants thereof. Which is why I often respond to them in baby talk and parody. “Has Oo had oo’s feelings hurt, den?” highlighting the attacks for the contemptible, selfish and immature outpourings that they are. Not to do so is to allow the jackboots to march again – and 20th century history holds a grim record of what that led to.

Here’s an Australian perspective on why freedom of speech and expression is so important. H/T Just about every blog I link to, but I believe the Angry Exile was first by a nose.

To Quote the late, great Ray Bradbury; “For it is a mad world and it will get madder if we allow the minorities, be they dwarf or giant, orangu­tan or dolphin, nuclear-head or water-conversation­ist, pro-computerologist or Neo-Luddite, simpleton or sage, to interfere with aesthetics.” The old adage of the road to hell being paved with good intentions springs to mind. For a given value of ‘good’.

H/T for the Huxley quote from Ends and Means to this post by Sackerson at OOL.

Home again

To my unbounded joy, Mrs S has returned from the UK, and Youngest is home after her four month road trip through the States. They have brought the sunshine with them, which is very pleasing.

Stories are being literally poured out at me about who did what to whom, Youngests visits to FBI building and various cultural centres, like Museums and Courthouses (She’s a law graduate, what can I say). There was also a telling little snippet from Mrs S, who witnessed the Diamond jubilee barge parade up the Thames. The weather on that day in London was not pleasant apprently; “Absolutely bucketing down.” According to my other half, as the Queen stepped off the Royal Barge, there was a moment when Elizabeth II glanced up at the leaden, rain filled sky with an air of disgust, and indulged herself in a small ‘rolling of the eyes’ moment. A kind of “Oh bloody hell, what now?” expression on the regal visage.

Kind of says it all about the UK really.

Am looking out on a sunny BC morning and indulging myself in a small, smug ‘Glad I don’t live there any more’ moment.