We are history makers

I must confess to being addicted to Downton Abbey, which my wife and I have binge-watched over the last few weeks.

I revel in the furnishings and costumes and displays of the times. The fashions and the cars have been wonderful. The treatment of the themes and developments of the day and the changing technology, culture and traditions has been well done.

In perspective, the series covers approximately the period from my father’s birth year in 1910 to just before the Great Depression. To think that at the start, there were no telephones and motor vehicles were new-fangled.

How lucky students of history have this rich live display of the times to better understand the context and concepts of values and societal change … and how close we are to history as it happens.

Yikes!! That is a sobering thought! So much has happened since my Dad was born … 

In his lifetime:

  • the horse largely disappeared
  • there were two world wars, his father served in one and he in the other.
  • the atom was split
  • a man stood on the moon
  • telecommunication enslaved the world
  • the degradation of the world was accelerated by oil.
  • the balance of power moved eastwards

I think what we are left with is that change is constant and it is better to anticipate it and embrace it, rather than resent and deny it.

Martin Luther King was wrong: we are the makers of history; we are not its product. Its time we accepted this.

 

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Justice fails

It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer“,  known as Blackstone’s ratio.

Avoid legal punishments as far as possible, and if there are any doubts in the case then use them, for it is better for a judge to err towards leniency than towards punishment”  is a statement attributed to Muhammad.

These are fundamental precepts in the administration of justice.

But the systems in practice fail terribly:

On the one hand, most crimes are undetected and unreported. Because of the above precepts an extremely low percentage, possibly less than 5% of reported crimes result in prosecution.

Where is the justice for victims?

jail birdsOn the other hand,  many people are apprehended by the justice system, processed, imprisoned and almost invariably degraded, dehumanised and criminalised by that experience.

This article was prompted by a TED video presentation by Robin Steinberg on the injustice of the bail system in the US.

The statistics presented were horrifying: on any day in the US, 75% of people charged cannot afford the bail set.

There are over 400, 000 people in custody awaiting trial, unable to pay bail.

jail life

We are talking of one of the wealthiest countries in the world, where bail is rarely refused. Imagine what it must be like in less sophisticated societies!

  • If you can’t pay bail, you likely can’t afford a lawyer, are unemployed and struggling to feed your family.
  • If you are employed you will likely be fired, your family .evicted from your home. In jail there is a high risk of assault and rape;
  • you are exposed to hardened criminals and gangs who enforce their demands. You have limited contact with your loved ones.

Jail is an ugly and terrifying place to be.

The bail project is an organisation which pays the bail of those who are unable to do so.

  • 96% of people sponsored in this way, return to face trial
  • Over 50% of these cases are dismissed
  • Less than 2% of those charged  receive jail sentences.

Of those that remain in custody, 90% plead guilty, many just to get out of jail.

The criminal justice system is a cruel failure where most crimes are undetected and many innocents plead guilty to avoid prolonged incarceration.

 

What are the options?

Probably some subordination of individual rights to community interest as universal surveillance becomes the norm..

Can you see that getting through existing Parliaments in western democracies?

nice day for rev

That is a topic for another day.

 

Get Down Woman

That is the title of a song written by John Fogerty and first performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1968 (see below for lyrics). I do not remember hearing it before today, but it expressed something that has been gnawing at my gut for some time.

vin diesel womanThe words are not an instruction, but as a plea, which is right for the times. The demands and displays by Western women seeking equality with men and the end to the exploitation and subjugation of women by men have grown and spread like a fever.

I support those objectives. However, I believe that the male and female psyche evolved in our lizard brains and are ingrained in our culture and beliefs. The physically stronger male is driven to dominate and impress with his superior skills and strength; the physically weaker but more astute female seeks out and enthralls the strong male who is likely to be a good provider and protector. get down

The growing economic independence of women in society since the industrial revolution has gathered impetus and has increasingly challenged and diminished men’s unrestricted dominance in the Western, Christian world.

The unrelenting criticism of male behaviour in modern times is increasingly shrill and condemnatory; its sheer volume pronouncing guilt without need fortell woman calm down process.

The solidarity expressed in the #metoo campaign is phenomenal, but dangerous, because the allegations are historic and invariably tarnished by the time lapse between incident and outrage.

The offences are deemed to be so gross and prevalent that all humanity is required to unhesitatingly condemn any and all allegations!

Children are likely to be infused with suspicions and fears that their fathers and all men are beasts, out to subjugate and molest them because they are weaker.

Males are shrinking away and not engaging in this emotionally charged debate nor seeking a way forward. History is against them, crime has been re-defined retrospectively and they have been judged and found wanting (no pun intended)

Males will be less likely in future to abuse their superiority. The yin will repel the yang.

However, the offer of an apple will be less successful. A lot more affirmative action will be required to compel employment equity. Like all artificial remedies, its success is likely to be limited. The male propensity for sulking and resentment is profound: the chasm between the sexes will widen with less willing help from the incumbent, dominant male majority.

Resentment will fester, western society may sunder.

Cultures, where women remain subjugated, will flourish and dominate societies riven by sanctimonious crusades and repressed resentment; torn by the yin and neutered yang of democratic politics.

 

Get Down Woman by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Well, get down woman, before I have to go.
Well, get down woman, before I have to go.
You know, ya hurt me with your bad mouth,
An’ I just don’t wanna know.

Well, slow down, baby, and gimme a little time.
Well, slow down, baby, and gimme a little time.
If you want me hangin’ ’round,
Gotta give me some peace of mind.

Oh, get down boy.

Well, get back, woman, before you bring it down.
Well, now, get back, baby, before you bring it down.
Or you can tell it to the wall,
Without me hangin’ around.

Swift Justice

Ping!! – I checked the message on my wristphone.

It was from the Department of Justice: You have been identified as the perpetrator of an offence against the reputation of the State. Report to the Cleveland Magistrate at 10h00 today, failing which your digital access will be suspended.

In 2058, there is no alternative: the System always knows where you are; if your access is suspended, you will not be able to use transport systems, transact cryptocoin or even call anyone; every public building will bar your entry. You can’t even run into the forest as your embedded microchip will broadcast your location.

What have I done? I was pretty sure it related to an old 2012 article I had quoted from in my most recent sillysocksonfriday blog, on the consequences of the welfare state. The article cited increased costs, making labour markets too inflexible, with unintended moral consequences reducing the will to work and any sense of self-responsibility. It suggested that comprehensive social programs diminished informal caring relations and social networks, fostering social isolation and self-centredness.

The State is very sensitive to criticism and this is its way of suppressing dissent.

So I called my virtual solicitor, updated him and requested a barrister’s presence at my online meeting with the Magistrate. I advised that I believed it would be the same issue relating to civil liberties as my previous case. As this was not my first such clash with the State for criticism of their smothering welfare policies, they were again trying to silence me, despite the overthrow of my last conviction by the Global Appeal Court.

The universal Justice system was amazingly efficient and in this modern digital age, an issue could be decided and if necessary, appeal to national and global levels could be concluded within 3 days!

future judge Of course, all evidence was immediately available to the Magistracy (nicknamed RexRegina) as were all laws, precedents and customs. There was still a need for representation as local knowledge was essential to ensure that the State was consistent in its prosecution of the laws.

That was its weak point – some State Security information analyst equated criticism with sedition: the District Prosecutor had to react to all complaints and often issued a summons to try to pressure a plea out of accused parties which enabled a settlement. If RexRegina threw the charge out, his/her butt was covered (or so he/she thought!) I believe it’s time for this function to be digitised too!

It is remarkable that the main attributes of a courtroom lawyer no longer required a quick mind and a smooth turn of phrase; digital magistrates are unmoved thereby.

The most common complaint and effective defence was victimisation. This had been so since the emancipation of women, demise of apartheid, legalisation of homosexuality and the #metoo outcry of the minorities in the late 1900’s and early 2000’s. The sensationalism and emotionalism provoked by the media had led to major distortions of value systems and virtual lynch mobs. The System reaction had been the required verification of media reports by blockchain and the institution of the digital Justice system.

At 10h00, I and my barrister reported online in the virtual Courtroom in hologram. The virtual Magistrate ascertained that we could proceed immediately, heard my not guilty plea, found there was no offence committed and re-iterated that criticism was part of the freedom of expression. 

freedom of speech is a responsibility

The District Prosecutor was ordered to review his system to ensure that it contained details of my previous appeal case. 

I was awarded costs and ₿1000 compensation for malicious prosecution, which I donated to the Home Farming University.

To celebrate the endurance of the principle of freedom of expression, I ordered a tuk-tuk drone to fetch me from home to take me to lunch at the Lighthouse Restaurant. As a centenarian pensioner, one can’t afford a Jagjet! My virtual barrister joined me at no extra cost but of course did not dine…

drone-taxi

Just another day*

Awakened by the crowing of my Bantam rooster, I lay thinking of the day ahead.

It is my son’s 95th birthday! I must catch the 15h00 rocket to London. I’ll be there by 18h00 – in time to have a beer and watch him blow the candles out on his cake carrot. I should be back home by midnight, even though Brisbane is almost the furthest Earth journey from London.

I got up and listened to the good news while taking my shower massage. The shaver mask really left one’s face feeling fresh and zingy. The body scanner gave a ping of good health as usual. I haven’t had a problem since replacing all my teeth back in 2048.

I dressed as I scanned the vertical garden on the wall screen. There are some ripe tomatoes, peppers and radishes to harvest; the peaches and strawberries are ready too. Sometimes I miss the lawn but the space is better utilized by the three tower houses I had built. This was easily possible as private lawns were banned and  garages are no longer needed – no-one has owned a motor car for sixty years. With the world population now over 50 billion, living space is at a premium. Global Rule preserved the last 25% of the world’s forests and jungles just before they were consumed. The universal carbon tax saved us from melting down with global warming in the 2020’s. Well done Elon Musk (see blue link above) – he made it abundantly clear for us all, so voting for it wasn’t an issue. He also pioneered the colonisation of New Australia (Mars).

It is startling to think that next year I will reach Euthanasia Day –  I accepted mandatory death and cremation at 133 years of age, long ago. Since the rebellion of the middle-agers, refusing to serve the mandatory 30 years on New Australia (NA), finding more living space on Earth has become impossible. Global Rule has eliminated conflict: wars are no more and the Global Surveillance Judicial system has made crime almost impossible – so our numbers are no longer reduced by the death sentences on major criminals or banishment to NA.

instant justice

Of great satisfaction to me is the fact that politics and legislation, in fact the whole of government is e-based. All the corruption, errors, bias and partisanship of party politics was eradicated by the establishment of RexRegina, the e-Parliament system. Instantaneous referenda and decisions, laws promulgated and updated based on the latest intelligence make life clear and easy.

With the universal availability of free energy and water, every household produces their own food and the drone system enables barter exchange for more exotic needs. In order to avoid the overweight penalty tax, exercise is compulsory but you can take your dog for a run in the virtualpark and program your route to meet as many other people as you prefer. The PoopScoop drones take care of the messy bits.

The only major problems in the world now everyone had a home and education were the continuous tinkering with the gene pool and the lemming-like mass movements of people. Bored out of their skulls by the repetitive agricultural cycle of maintaining their own houses, growing and bartering their own food and ensuring the education and exercise of their child; thousands frequently transgress the virtual barriers of their suburban playgrounds to trash their neighbours’.

Nihilist and mass suicide cults are proliferating as the search for meaningful creativity becomes more difficult.

Enough negative thinking or I will have to have a chat with my Wobot to put me back on the happy track. Hmmm! I think a good old egg and bacon fry-up with boerewors and mushrooms is called for.

boerie and egg

(At least the meat tastes like the real thing, which I haven’t tasted since 2024, even if it is earthworm protein).

 

Maybe I will take a virtual visit to the Louvre to see the Renoir exhibition…

Just another day in 2083.

A day in the life … sometime soon

As I eased myself into the seat already moulded to my preferred posture, I replied to the pleasant Good morning to ye I received, grinning to myself because I was talking to a machine. Oh well, a mother’s training endures!

I was on my way to Bunnings to collect the customised shovel I had ordered this morning – a glitch had caused a drone jam, so it couldn’t be delivered immediately.

Amazing really – all I had to do is think about what I needed and tell Siri who placed the order, giving my specifications. Bunnings would have it printed by the time I got there and offered me a complimentary coffee as they could not deliver immediately.

whizz carThe self-drive car whizzed off, covering the 10 km distance in 8 minutes, while I flipped through my voting preferences on the issues before e-Parliament.

Amazing that the trip only cost me 5 zillBits – back in the day, factoring in motor vehicle purchase cost, petrol, rego, tolls and insurance, it had cost 20 times as much.

My shovel was loaded at the drive-through and my coffee was handed to me – exactly as I like it. Siri had already paid Bunnings.

I told the car to return via the Protein Bar so I could pick up some fillet vege fillet.jpgsteak – the new worm algae protein meat barbequed magnificently and gave me a perfect medium rare. The Bar took a box of my tamarillos, pawpaws and apple chives in exchange.

 

The rump would be accompanied by fresh salad from my own vertical garden and home-made sauerkraut. I was also going to toast some crickets as they were now juicy and plump. That was why I needed the new shovel – to be able to transfer compost from the waste processing output to the garden rows.

I was really proud of the fact that my home is self-sustainable and produfuture house gardences sufficient to supply the sixty-five families that now shared the Bahr Place precinct.

 

Overcrowding wasn’t such a problem if one used the wonderwall barriers which muffled noise and projected scenic view holograms but didn’t affect birds or rain – I even had a rooster which crowed the dawn every morning! No complaints either when I listened to Bohemian Rhapsody at max volume.

(I revert to my old naturally deaf ears…)

 

The chickens give me eggs and meat and are happy scratching through my vertical gardens on all the walls and the roof. The water tanks give me prawns, mussels and trout. Admittedly my fruit trees need to be pruned regularly as the basement area iss under 3 metres high. The arnica did exceptionally well and was great for aches and pains from a hard day’s gardening, as did the marijuana I grew under licence for pain relief of the few remaining cancer victims not cured by gene therapy.

 

Mind you, who am I to complain – I am only 95 and Siri told me my body indicators showed I was in perfect health and can expect to live another 30 years at least, before I get treed. I am proud of the fact that I have reversed cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s and still have one of my original knees, eyes and hips!

become a tree

(I  have refused my great grandchild’s request to clone me for her next child –  I believe we are all unique and special in our own way and should stay that way).

 

 

Happy Hooleydays?

I received a ‘happy holidays’ non-Christmas card from a switched on friend and curled my lip in mild disdain. Why must a Christian First World tradition be modified into the New Age One Size Fits All practice?

It stuck in my craw…!

But like a burr on a blanket, it scratched. So I thought I’d scribble a blogbleat to vent my discomfort. I started giving the practice some thought.

Wikipedia tells me that Christmas cards were first produced for sale in the 1840’s by a founder of the Penny Post in England. Hmm! A marketing ploy!?

first xmas card
The First Christmas Card

 

Most emphasized merriment and happiness with scant religious tones that pervaded most cards in my Christmases in the latter part of the 20th Century.

incwala tromboneBut thinking about it more, I recall the Incwala holiday in mid-December in Swaziland – when the King was purified and the First Fruits were celebrated.

This common African ritual has been re-formulated in the US as Kwanzaa, an African American cultural commemoration and promotion of sound African communal principles.

Yule was an indigenous midwinter festival celebrated by the Germanic peoples, later supplanted by the term Christmas tide.

Iranian people celebrate the night of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice as, “Yalda night“, which is known to be the “longest and darkest night of the year”. In this night all the family gather together, usually at the house of the oldest, and celebrate it by eating, drinking and reading poems. Nuts, pomegranates and watermelons are particularly served during this festival.

menorah

Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights and it remembers the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. In 2017, Hanukkah is from in the evening of Tuesday, 12th December until the evening of Wednesday, 20th December.

omisokaŌmisoka (大晦日)—or ōtsugomori (大晦)—is a Japanese traditional celebration on the last day of the year. Traditionally, it was held on the final day of the 12th lunar month.

The origins of Hogmanay may be derived first footingfrom Norse and Gaelic observances, including gift-giving and visiting homes of friends with special attention given to the first-foot, the first guest of the new year.

Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honour of the god Saturn, held on 17 December of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through to 23 December.

wassail

Wassailing was drinking an old English toast during the custom of carolling; Mumming was an old English practice of dressing up and partying, probably originating in the old Roman Saturnalia of mid-winter.

hollyHolly, ivy and mistletoe were used in celebrations of the Winter Solstice Festival to ward off evil spirits and celebrate new growth.

My conclusions after this brief socio-historical analysis are that:

  • The Christmas period is celebrated in many non-Christian cultures for reasons other than commemorating Christ’s birth.
  • Christmas cards are just commercial dross with no special intrinsic significance
  • People all over the world celebrate and feast at this time
  • For whatever reason, this time of year is a time to gather and feast with loved ones and rejoice in new life, first fruits and forget the evils of the past year.

Sorry to say, but the way the inclusive, bunny hugger, non-discriminatory world is going Christmas Day will soon be re-named Universal Happyday or some such anodyne label.

Whatever! – It’s a good time for a hooley or two!

Happy Hooleydays to y’all!

May y’all find some time to wassail with your cobbers, rejoice in the good things of life and be thankful._hooley_time