Paddington Gitmo

They want 42 days detention without charge, what that means is six weeks of interrogation, here is what they did in just 12 days to one woman, it might seem familiar-

When Farrah arrived at Paddington Green, her clothes were taken from her. Suffering from diarrhoea, she was in constant pain. She described the basic washing and hygiene facilities in detention. “There was no toilet roll and only paper towels for body drying. I wasn’t even allowed to comb my hair.”

Exercise consisted of walking around in a circle in a small yard behind the station for five minutes while officers held guard dogs in each corner. Farrah said: “I was frightened of the dogs so rather than getting any exercise, I just found these exercise periods really frightening.”

She became unwell, suffering from diabetes, and a doctor was called on numerous occasions. He confirmed that an existing condition had been exacerbated by the stress of her arrest and detention.

She was not allowed to speak with her family for four days. Eight days had passed before the police disclosed the reason she was being held.

Farrah claimed the guards were constantly rude and aggressive when dealing with her. She was effectively held in solitary confinement and not allowed to communicate with or pass another prisoner when being taken to and from her cell between questioning. After four days, she was permitted to make a telephone call to her parents. They speak English but she was told to make sure she spoke in English and not in “your language”.

After 12 days of 24-hour detention in a cell and repeated questioning in a room with no natural light, Farrah was released without charge. No explanation was given and no apology made. She had no way of travelling home and was not offered assistance; her solicitor organised a taxi. She said she felt “tired, shocked and exhausted”, and had thought she was never going to get out. Her clothes were never returned.

After release, Farrah said she became increasingly paranoid, not wanting to leave the house alone. Her employers were understanding but the pressure of colleagues knowing what had happened to her, the increasing paranoia and her poor health forced her to quit her job. Friends and family stopped visiting, terrified they would become suspects by association.

Sicko No More- 59% US Doctors For Universal Healthcare

Of more than 2,000 doctors surveyed, 59 percent said they support legislation to establish a national health insurance program, while 32 percent said they opposed it, researchers reported in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. The [previous] 2002 survey found that 49 percent of physicians supported national health insurance and 40 percent opposed it.

“As doctors, we find that our patients suffer because of increasing deductibles, co-payments, and restrictions on patient care,” said Dr. Ronald Ackermann, who worked on the study with Carroll. “More and more, physicians are turning to national health insurance as a solution to this problem.”

“Across the board, more physicians feel that our fragmented and for-profit insurance system is obstructing good patient care, and a majority now support national insurance as the remedy,” Ackermann said in a statement. 

Many other countries have national plans, including Britain, France and Canada, and several studies have shown the United States spends more per capita on health care, without achieving better results for patients. 

I believe socialised healthcare is the single simplest step, a seed to halt the bloody menace of America the Empire and instead build America a country that respects and looks after its citizens and is not hated the world over. It would move resources from war-making to human life. From that many other changes for the better could spring, a national works program creating the clinics and hospitals would also help deal with the recession caused by corporate greed. And would be a finer use of labour than killing people for their oil. At its heart it is choice- to nurture or to kill. It would be the first time an empire recognised its imminent demise and treated rolling back its forces in so many countries not as defeat but as the opportunity for rebirth as a country fulfilling the promises of its founding. Paying mind to what happened at home instead of taking the commonwealth, the human capital of its citizens and using it for an imperialism serving only the wealthy elite. So it would be an extraordinary thing to happen, the odds are against it, the institutions of rapacious capitalism that have infected every facet of American culture are perhaps insurmountable. The knee jerk attacks by some (and most of the media) on Michael Moore’s Sicko demonstrated base unthinking phobia to the idea of paying taxes to care for humans rather than to bomb them. Is the corporate elite and hardcore right wing bloc, although less than 50%, able to dominate the majority wishes of the people, is there even a candidate that represents them (and not the corporate lobbyists millions needed to run). Put it this way, should a minority of people be allowed to inflict on the majority a system where people are dying in order to increase corporate profits and enrich an elite of that minority?

HAL’s Feeling Old, Annoyances

Tedious Whine Warning!-
My 2001 vintage PowerMac was pretty state of the art then, now however, a tad slow. Which is to say some features on the web I cannot indulge in, some video players some websites, worse though is advertising that because of lush flash presentations or movie loops suck up all ones resources when all you want to do is read text. Ok so the ads support the site…but this is subtle digital divide, have an old machine and you are slowly being excluded from the full panoply of the web. The worst offenders are any promotional sites for bands or films (and myspace, shudder), not that I would visit them much anyway, but I avoid them now because of their hefty presentations. It’s also annoying how a lot of sites spread articles over 2 or more pages, not because they are long, but to get 2 page views and thus increase revenue and ok so the ads support the site and I’m not paying for it so can I really complain? I always look for view on single page or choose the printable option to avoid the multi page or ad nuisance. Yes I know there are plug ins to block ads but they take some resources and they are not perfect. I’m roughly on course to have enough to get a new mac within a year at which point I will laugh at all the losers with old slow machines now that I am in the shiny new fast machine elite, hahaha!!!

Except, the point remains, that advertising is a given but as it becomes more intricate it excludes users with older gear from accessing some sites, a slow evolution of a tiered, class stratified web. Not forgetting the vast majority of people don’t have any access at all, will they all suddenly get the very latest laptops then replace them each year? Websites are often designed with only the newest fastest machines in mind, so I suppose this is a design issue, should not one look to be inclusive as well as innovative? There is often a tension between the two in any technological medium, but for those of us who devour reams of text via the web we aren’t too bothered about shiny, flashy accoutrements and it would be a shame if those extravagances begin to rob people of access to worthwhile information presented in the the very boring yet somehow still relevant words-on-a-page format. Design wise I am continually reminded of the Simpsons episode where Homer builds his homepage and simply includes every annoying animation & sound from the web, as if current design theory is simply- and the kitchen sink, awesome! And to show what a huge hypocrite I am, here’s a youtube player that has Homer’s homepage!

Well youtube is ok, it isn’t too bad for slow loaderingly-ness or machine stutter syndrome (if I’m lucky). I suppose it is also because I am a very bad consumer (plus y’know I’m like poor-ish), I don’t buy shiny shit I see advertised (I also try to keep in mind- reduce, re-use, recycle). If I need something or can no longer quell the desire to have something I research then find the best ‘thing’ for the best price then wait, then try to resist, then give up and buy it. Gaudy intrusive ads if they do anything create resentment in me towards the thing/service advertised. I don’t like psychic trespassers or rampant sheeplike consumerism (I’ll resist adding the youtube clip of Bill Hicks giving sage advice to those working in marketing -so have a link instead- you know the one).

So in summation (& with counter argument helpfully included)- whiny old computer having loser complains he can’t keep up with the super duper interwebs. Boo-hoo-hoo, it’s called survival of the fittest/richest, deal with it!

Well whatever (God bless Thatcher’s/Reagan’s children!), but I really don’t think a swanky flash animation of trees makes a car anymore environmentally friendly or air travel any less of a privilege that is destroying the planet. However getting a new computer every so often is way cool and totally sound, ahem.

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