CAMRA MUPpets

After the Revitalisation project CAMRA started, whenever, no one really cared, they voted on many things.  Needing 75% approval but only achieving 72%, the organisation failed to recognise that all beer was equal, or something like that.

Cask was the ultimate and keg was secondary.

I’d agree but as we have learnt with voting…well as the Simpsons put it

 

You never get the results you want and most appreciate that and with an organisation such as CAMRA you can simply cancel your membership and leave and in all honesty that decision won’t impact on you enjoyment of beer and where to have it, well pubs may continue to close but CAMRA aren’t really trying to stop that, no one can except those who wish to continue spending money in those establishments.

Quote Joni Mitchell…

Many left CAMRA at that moment and bragged about it in a show of pure virtue, the stay-and-reform-from-within group looking slightly bemused by the whole process.

You pays your money, you takes your choice.

The insidiousness of the public health lobby groups coupled with an authoritarian nanny state is leading to us responsible adults being forced into to take numerous hits no only to our personal freedom and the appreciation of the fact we are responsible for our own well being, but also being hit in the pocket.

Tax, tax and more tax.

Which brings us onto minimum unit pricing, or MUP, and quite frankly I’ve just waffled on enough when the title of this piece would have been enough.

Like all CAMRA proposals, it won’t really have any impact as MUP will be steam-rollered in by far more powerful and of-the-zeitgeist organisations than the sandal brigade ever were.

Slow. Hand. Clap.

Just when voices against were required.

Fuck it.  I’ll just drink beer under my bed covers, locked in my own home, that way I might get some peace.  The stockpiling begins now.

Democracy – so good the Simpsons did the same joke twice.

Thanks for reading.

Stop And Scan

Police trial new Home Office mobile fingerprint technology

 

Insert your own worries, or jokes here…

 

Then again, Google will monitor your home and tell off your children for you.

 

But I suppose not buying makes this kind on private invasion more easily avoidable.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading (the government and The Sun webpages).

The Tyranny of Opt-Out Organ Donation

Will change to organ donor rules mean more transplants?

This isn’t a religious issue, I know it can be but for me it transcends all of that and it one about what can and can’t be done to an individual’s body.

There is the inescapable squeamish aspect to all of this, you need to be “kept alive” in order to have your organs harvested, even the word harvested isn’t probably the nicest description and then there is the fear that somehow signing up will almost tempt fate; “today I signed up to donate my organs, I feel good about myself, what are those people shouting, oh it appears that in my day-dreaming about my saintliness I’ve wandered into oncoming traffic.”

Also, the organs needing to be transplanted need to be in some form of good nick to start with, no point in transplanting a heart that’s had 50 years of use and abuse already put on it.

Simply put, my body, my rules, whether I’m dead and my organs are “of no further use to me” is neither here nor there, I’ll make the choice what happens, just like I make funeral plans and a will and wanting to simply be put out with the rest of the garden waste in the green bin.

People get a bit to precious about altruism, as if somehow this will simple nudge people into signing up (which is probably the intention) and that somehow if you don’t sign up (or indeed opt-out) you are hereby not eligible to receive anything in return should you need, its like kids only sending Xmas cards to those they got them off initially.

Then there is the whine about who ends up receiving the organs in the first place.  I remember legendary footballer George Best, he had done so much running around in his youth he’d developed a thirst* and as such had knackered his liver, developed jaundice and got a new one.

This is when you realise that as much as people apparently love the NHS like it’s a religion, there should always be some “buts” to the treatment some can receive and as much as I may preach about personal responsibility, while this is the structure of the UK health service, that is the way things will be.

The thing I find most galling about all of this and the holier-than-thou attitude of some is when it comes to blood donations.

You can’t transplant organs without blood.  You can’t really do much without blood and yet only about 6% of the eligible population of the UK actually donate.

The logic to some people’s argument is that they should never receive blood transfusions and basically every 3 months, wherever they are, whatever they are doing, a needle should be stuck into them and a pint of the red stuff withdrawn regardless.

Altruism when dead is one thing, people just seem to have a problem with it when their organs are still functioning.

 

The flip side to all of this is that I also think, if a person has signed up then no one should have a veto over the removal of their organs, it really is all about an individual’s own choice.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

*credit to Mrs Merton/Caroline Aherne, sadly missed.

He Had Won The Victory Over Himself

Police arresting nine people a day in fight against web trolls

It is good that they are concentrating on name calling because its ‘Not practical’ to investigate all crime

Oh, hang on a minute, we’ve found some more cash…

Online hate crime to be tackled by new national police hub

“Hate crime” the biggest Orwellian doublespeak nightmare made reality.

Still, you know, private companies can do what they want…

Twitter’s Dorsey: Site to get ‘more aggressive’ policing tweets

Even if they aren’t making any money and are losing revenue.

After the constant state spying on location, email and even encrypted conversations your only chance of a private and free conversation will be in your own home.

With all your technology and gadgets switched off…while perhaps making sure you they can’t lip read either

 

Thanks for reading.

Brewdog – If a dog barks in a forest and no-one is around…

…do only foolish sycophants easily parted from their money hear it?

 

So the obvious nature of this blog is “pointless, small-time beer blogger tries to make name for himself by having a go at THE ‘craft’ brewer in the UK.”

I’ve been loathed to write articles about said brewery in the past due to the fact that their Modus Operandi is to create controversy and any kind of mention, good or bad, is extra advertising and recognition for their brand.

I have nothing against the beer that they make.  I’ve had a lot of it in the past, I’ve got glassware and even a t-shirt.  I’ve got quite a few emails from a lovely woman called Angela who apologised every time I placed an order because it was always delivered incorrectly.  They were professional and went above and beyond in correcting the order and even providing additional beer by way of an apology.

I stopped buying their beer around the time they started shoving bottles up the backsides of taxidermal animals.

It wasn’t because of that, it was because around that time Brewdog apparently fell foul of the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) for using naughty swear words.

Which enable them to generate more “punk” advertising.

Only the ASA had receive one complaint and that was from Brewdog themselves.

There are few things I like more than beer but one that stands clearly above the booze is freedom of speech.

So by all means do market you product however you feel and use whatever language you want I’ll support you in that quest, I just won’t necessarily contribute financially.

The problem I have is it freedom of speech (and more worryingly, freedom of thought) is under attack from all quarters.

The crusade for morality that I grew up with in the 1980s led by Mary Whitehouse and her merry band of religious and conservative (politically & morally) nut-jobs that lead to the banning of films and stickers on albums has now been flipped on its head that now it is generally the politically liberal who seek to curb any speech or thought that anyone may get offended at.

One term is called micro-aggression.  Look it up, to have a mind-set like that is not only closed to ideas is not only unevolved but is also just plain dangerous.

What does this have to do with Brewdog you might ask?

Well to me complaining about your own language to generate more hype and then to use this to play the victim is not only just typical of spoilt bullies who are used to getting their own way but slowly chips away at free speech, a speech that the marketing department at Brewdog rely on heavily.

This was brought into stark reality a few weeks ago when the article below appeared in the Guardian.

UK craft beer: taking over the world one pint at a time

It featured a quote from the well-respected blogger Melissa Cole who said of Brewdog:

“A lot of their stuff is disingenuous, dull or mildly offensive…”

Which it is.  They are indeed disingenuous and dull but offence is up to each individual, I personally don’t find anything they do offensive other than chipping away at free speech…

…so on cue, James Watt plays his victim card with the bullying tone…

He then witters on about something completely unrelated…

Good use of advertising a new beer launch…

If you read the full conversation you can clearly see Miss/Ms/Mrs Cole defends (not that she has to) her position very well, in clear and simplistic terms that even the most dull and disingenuous fuckwit could understand, addressing both Watt and some of the more insalubrious adherents to the Brewdog cult fanclub crowdfunding shareholding.

What is actually most gratifying is that most of the comments of Watt’s tweets about this incident do point out that the emperor does indeed have no clothes but squeaky wheels do get the grease and boy are they greased well.

The problem with Brewdog and their marketing MO is that their prime audience is composed of the easily offended (as well as the easily pleased) and they are the exact people who chip, chip, chip away at the foundations of free speech and I’m less bothered about them not buying Brewdog products or starting up po-faced petitions as am I about the impact it has on everyone else’s ability to think and speak how they so wish.

Long may they continue to brew the good beers they generally produce and long may they be called out on their bullshit which, like the boy who cried wolf is every time they open their pie-holes.  This may seem like bit of an over reaction and it may well give Brewdog too much credit, but like water dripping on concrete, every little whine about things that offend someone erodes these freedoms I and many others hold dear.

 

Please whine below if you need to, I’ll field all (or most likely only the 2 I’ll receive) of your comments.

 

Thanks for reading.

Cancer, Terrorism – It Is All Just Bad Luck

Most cancer types ‘just bad luck’

That was the headline at the start of 2015.  To be fair, most people with any sense of reality will have known this is pure logic.  You can do some things to lessen your chances of getting some forms of cancer but in the end it is still the equivalent one of those late night roulette and poker shows.

You pays your money, you takes your choice.

We can only go so far in keeping ourselves cancer free.

Likewise we can only go so far in keeping ourselves from being dead from terrorist attacks.

In many attempts be state officialdom to ride the typical hysterical reactions to terrorist murders in the West; following the Charlie Hebdo shootings, the current boss of UK spook agency MI5 came out with many “No.Shit.Sherlock” comments.

The public are quite aware you can’t stop every terrorist attack, we also know they are trying to kill us and we are also aware they will probably never stop, killing as many as you can and there are many waiting to replace them and they will always be thinking of new ways to carry out their violence.

All this while obviously calling for more powers of surveillance.

Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, popped up on the BBC to talk about the arming of regular police.  Granted he said it would be measured, but it plants the seeds that we the public should expect more guns on our streets, used by people who still haven’t mastered how to discharge their ‘soft’ weapons like pepper sprays and tasers in the correct manner.

We are always in danger, not from cancer and terrorists but from knee-jerking ourselves into more state control.

Our rationale lost in hysteria.  Our fear of the uncontrollable leading to giving up freedoms for the illusion we will be safer.

There is a Benjamin Franklin quote – overused but none the less true.

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

It is a cliché, true though it is, to say that terrorism is a cancer that needs to be faced down and fought with as much vigour as one can muster when diagnosed with the actual disease.

But where as 1 in 3 people will likely have cancer at some point in their lives, the chances of being a victim of terrorism are far smaller.

In the fight against terror and against cancer it is worth taking a look at what legislation has been brought in to combat these threats, or what facets of our lives are now being carved open and pried into and most importantly what is being restricted, if ever so subtly.

Then ask yourselves if you actually feel any less vulnerable to either threat.

The Interview – A Guide to Free Speech Hypocrisy

I woke on this Christmas Eve to the news that Sony will show The Interview in some cinemas and was receiving praise from numerous quarters.

For those who have missed this news story, which has been a wonderful exercise for all involved in both censorship, propaganda, publicity and hypocrisy I can summerise it like this.

Sony made a film called The Interview, featuring the generally above average James Franco and the massively over-rated Seth Rogan in a story about an assasination attempt (apparently successful if that matters) on the life of Kim Jong-un, the living ruler (though not actual ruler, those titles still lie with his dead father, Kim Jong-il and grandfather, Kim Il-sung) of North Korea.

Sony apparently fell victim to a cyber-crime in which a lot of “embarrassing” emails were leaked and a lot of films were made available online.

The hackers made threats, pertaining to attacks on the scale of September the 11th, if The Interview was shown – what followed was the biggest hypocritial nonsense by both politicians and the media seen all year – and that is saying something.

First of all, I’m no big fan of North Korea, but like most I’m only really know what I read about it, but I’ll take it as face value that it is a dictatorship, its people live in abject poverty and the leadership are lunatics with nuclear weapons capabilities.

The media, fully milking the teet of 9/11 threat references then proceed to round-up “cinema-goers” for on the spot interviews.  Most seemed unmoved, even more had never heard of the film – but this didn’t stop the media pushing the “movie-goers are frightened” headline.

Cinemas didn’t want to take the risk of showing the film, not probably from the threats, but that showing a film to an empty cinema is a money loser.

Sony, now with a dwindling numer of screens to release it on, “pulled the film” from general release.  From a business point-of-view  I actually don’t blame them, they need to make money, they don’t have control over cinemas so why lose money too?

They were then pillored (rightly) by both the “righ-wing” press and the Hollywood “liberal elite” and everyone inbetween for them apparently bowing to “terrorist demands”.

So the media, culpable of raising the panic and the fear then can perpatuate their own banner news story to then rally more voices about how great and free America really is (it is better than most).

At the same time many smaller cinemas said they would show it, or screen Team America: World Police instead, a film whose antagonist is the aforementioned Kim Jong-il, a film that didn’t spark anything from North Korea when that was released in 2004.  Though the internet and cyber stuff has come on light years in the decade since then.

These screenings never happened either.

So as it stands, at the time of year “when family is most important,” some smaller arthouse theatres, benefitting from a shed load of hype, will screen The Interview; mainly because security is probably easier, not only from North Korean terrorists, but from the more likely source of an American with their arsenal of weaponary not limited to an Uzi 9mm and a phased-plama rifle in the 40-watt range.

The thing about censorship and free speech is it is not supposed to be a fluid thing, it should be an absolute.

But we live in a world where we are conditioned to be upset and outraged via a social media network wanting only free speech so long as they agree with you, and an old media desparate to still seem relevant by drumming everything up to hysteria levels.

Fox News naturally went nuclear when they heard about a 2006 film pondering the assassination of 43rd US President George W. Bush.  The Daily Mail in the UK went similarly bat-shit crazy over a recent book by Hilary Mantel where she fantasised about killing former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Bush and Thatcher are icons to the right-wing, especially the antagonists; equally bemused and entertained at the pure hatred from “the left” that is felt for these two people.

But liberals are no more “for” free speech than those on the right.  I wrote about some of this a while ago

In fact the “liberal elite” of the UK have spent most of 2013/2014 trying to get the press regulated.

Not only that but on numerous occasions they’ve become bullies trying to bully perceived bullies from speaking out about anything, mainly on the pretence that what might get said or all ready has been, will “hurt someone’s feelings.”

To be critical of someone online can get you labelled “a troll” solely because your opinion might not fit the status quo.

What is certain is that speech is not only being restricted but also dumbed down and with it any sense of the ability to think for yourself.

Think on that in 2015.

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.