The worth of a man

So, let’s say that, hypothetically, you’re an oil executive getting paid so much you practically crap money already, and under your watch the world has seen the biggest environmental disaster in US history and one which is set to cost your company over $30 billion. A non-exec would be fired and SOL; but this is an executive we’re talking about. For BP’s Tony Hayward, that situation has meant getting a full year’s pay (a million quid) and a 10 million pound pension. I’m in the wrong business, clearly.

Shockingly, would-be terrorists aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer

Months after warning of violence against South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone for their depiction of Islam prophet Mohammed, Abu Tallah Al-Amrikee (né Zachary Adam Chesser of New York, a.k.a. “Revolution Muslim”) was arrested trying to board a plane that was due to take him to Uganda (via a bunch of other places) so that he could then join Somali terror aficionados al-Shabaab. Chesser added a touch of genuine class to the attempt by taking his newborn son with him “so he would look less suspicious”.

So, how did the Feds get onto him? Basically they developed an interest in his blog postings and Youtube activities, then put Chesser/Al-Amrikee under tighter surveillance, which led them to uncover the not-exactly-brilliant-in-the-first-place plot. His plan for entering Somalia from Kenya involved bribing border guards with a $20 bill — so essentially the Feds saved the moron from getting kidnapped and held for ransom.

The crime is plain to see on video, yet no charges will be filed

When Ian Tomlinson was walking home on April 1st 2009 during the G20 summit in London, he certainly had no idea that he was starting on the last walk of his life. Tomlinson was assaulted by a riot police officer whose identity was concealed, and died of resulting injuries. The whole thing was captured on video and police lied their asses off about it until the video emerged showing their actions. Yes, in London, in the middle of the biggest protests since the poll tax riots, police managed to find the one man who wasn’t protesting in any way, and killed him.

But of course you won’t see it expressed with the term “murder”, despite it being what it was. If you take a violent action which directly results in the death of the person you committed violence towards, it is murder. That is sound and established legal principle. Except if the act was committed by a police officer, evidently, since it is now official that no criminal charges will be filed against the officer responsible for the assault, nor will the officer be identified. This is the most transparent and self-serving cover-up I have ever seen in my nearly-forty-years-long life. Basically all the police has to do in the future in order to wash their hands of responsibility for their own conduct is to hire coroners who are incompetent, like Freddy Patel (who will thankfully be struck off the rolls shortly), and automatically that negates the possibility of charges ever being laid.

This is absolutely shameful and disgusting, and a blight on the UK.

Once again, I’m shocked!

Not too long ago the SEC announced that it was pursuing an investigation against Goldman Sachs for fraud with regards to some funds they sold to their customers. The original story alleged that GS had created a fund that was designed to lose money, because they had a big customer who wanted to create a sure money-loser made up largely of “toxic waste” mortgages; the fraud was said to have taken place when GS turned around and sold parts of that fund to ordinary investors as a normal, hopefully-money-gaining investment.

Well, yesterday it was announced that Goldman Sachs reached a settlement with the SEC over the matter. They are to pay the Feds $550M — over half a billion dollars — to settle it. There was no admission of any guilt or responsibility of course so it would be wrong to imply either. That being said, it certainly goes to show how little one should trust investment bankers, unless one is a member of that particular job club. As those who like to follow these sorts of things in the news know, bankers are not your friends. They make a living based on what they can sell you, not based on your returns. The rest of the world lost its shirt in 2008 because of those guys, but did they miss out on their bonuses? Not a bit.

There’s low, and then there’s *low*

There are many, many questions regarding the police handling of the G20 summit that took place in Toronto recently, but this one takes the cake — a 57-year-old leg amputee had his artificial leg forcibly removed by Toronto police because “it could be used as a weapon”, and when he asked for it back he was told to hop. Since when is this in any way acceptable behavior for any human being? Also, when you consider that 700 people were arrested and released without charge, doesn’t that mean that there was little to no consideration of whether arrests were made with cause?

It’s kind of depressing to think that these people have a large number of nuclear weapons.

According to CNN, Americans didn’t understand a speech delivered yesterday by President Obama because he was using language that was too advanced for them to comprehend. The speech is generally accepted as having been written to a 10th grade level. On the other hand it’s now a hell of a lot easier for us foreigners to understand how George W. Bush managed to win two Presidential elections.