Saturday 1 November 2014

Always be prepared to quit your job!

Always be prepared to quit your job!

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My philosophy to work is a bit different than perhaps many others'. I will work longer, under far more pressing duress and against more intransigent difficulty than many other people are prepared to contemplate facing against. I also am not amongst the victim-survivor class who tend to view a job as a desperately needed life raft, without which they would immediately die.

In the modern world we live in, it is all the more important not to view your job as a necessary prison or a fenced in time locked inhumane work camp. If you're employed by someone, in fact you are not merely an employee, you are a provider of a needed service. Your boss is your primary client. They are not by any means your lord and master, but rather someone who buys a product or service. They are someone who has bought into you, and what you can provide for them.

If you do the work you do for nothing other than to avoid being fired, counting down the hours, ever in fear of your vehement boss shouting at you, your life is additionally probably very, very, highly stressful.

You, as an individual, probably have a very different approach to clients however. Do you fear a client shouting at you? Does their raising their voice feel like the rug is being pulled out from under you, is the floor quickly approaching your unprotected face? Probably not. You probably also have a much higher tolerance for inappropriate behaviour from a client. They are not your life raft, you're not desperate to please them with sacrifice in the fruits of fear.

A job is a wonderful thing and it is something very hard to find for many people. However, if you view your work as a survivor's-only-option-life-raft, to be selfishly guarded and held onto for every moment, you're likely to treat it with the same divine fear, and under the same God forsaken stress as a shipwreck survivor might treat their last chance log rolling on the death besotted waves.

I personally believe that God put me where I am today. It might be bumpy seas or clear skies. Either way that log which is floating in the ocean, my job, is not my last chance of salvation. The stress of your job might leave you every day: crying out in your head 'I quit, I quit', and along with that 'I am certain today is the day I will be fired'. You will not drown if you are fired. You're not a survivor on the ocean, clinging on for dear life to a small splinter riddled piece of wood.

Often people are more terrified of their boss, than they are motivated to do a good job. If your boss is your superior and not your client, then your reputation with your boss might be much like a slave's reputation with their master. If however you view your boss as your primary client, you are far more likely to gauge your reputation with your boss, and to treat your boss in a professional manner. If you are a product, you need to be a product with a good reputation.

I like to treat my work as though I'm not working for my boss, but for God or some higher being who demands diligence and perfection. I get along very well with people in authority over me, but even if I did not get along well with them I would make sure that my standard of work was up to scratch in every way. The difference between working for a boss and working for a boss, all the while knowing and well-knowing, that your boss is not your master but rather your primary client, in the end comes down to your motivation. Are you motivated by fear, or rather by something much better then fear: the development of your personal brand and the selling of your services? The old adage of only following orders only stands up to scrutiny when your boss is the monstrous dragon of many a tale, seeking the decapitation of your head from your body, and chucking you out of windows in an old form of defenestration. You're far more likely to save your money producing company from destruction by speaking up at the right time, if you view your company as a client of yours. The destructive silence of the cowering employee along with many other results of having a master servant relationship with your boss, can be largely eliminated by viewing them as your primary client or as a representative of it. You are also much less likely to let go of your morals, if you view your job as a place to sell your skills-based work, rather than your last chance to avoid the gulag.

An employee who views their boss as their client, is far more likely to let their boss get on with their boss's work. They are separate from the company to some degree, they need only concern themselves with their own work, their own soul and their own integrity. Such a person is also much less likely to write a scathing resignation letter, or engage in too much workplace politics. The company merely is their primary client, they are selling their services to their client, and not their souls to a master.

Have you ever seen a hawker by the side of the road? They do not own the part of the street that they sell on. Your job is a contract perhaps, but in truth it is something figurative. What it consists of is you doing work and if it is good work, being paid for it. What makes you valuable is ultimately determined by the standard of your work, your ability to communicate this in words and actions, and the betterment of your brand. Nothing stops you from being very dedicated to your primary client, the company you work for.

The days of company loyalty are not over. However, the days of company loyalty to employees, nurturing them for 50 years until they become CEO, are something of the past. If you want your company to be loyal to you, you need to make yourself a supplier of skilled labour, and valuable to the company. You are a product, and if you want to survive in the modern world you need to be a product which people want to buy. Discussion of fairness or unfairness, is something that might emerge in the relationship between a master and the servant of a master. In a different sense it might appear between a client and a supplier. In the first, it might be in the sense of one complaining. In the second it might emerge in negotiation. In the first, below the surface, the person feels powerless and a desire to lash out. In the second they are empowered by the better framed status of their mind.

Whether your boss is middle management or in charge of your company, they are your interface with your primary client. Treat them as such. It will not only reduce your stress, it will hopefully make you work with a higher quality of output, with better strategic thinking and efficiency, and in such a way as to stand your ground and to make the living you desire to make.

In the end of the day, no matter who your primary client is, you are your own boss, and your business is something you need to look after in the long run. Your boss is your client, they are not your slave master. Run your business well, manage your finances soundly, and use your resources in a fit and proper manner. You are in charge of your own riptide through life. Your boss in the end of the day is not. So, always be prepared to quit your job. It is not the end of the world if you do. Rather, it is a strategic decision to be made with caution. It is no less strategic, and should require no less caution than continuing to work where you do.

Monday 27 October 2014

My experience with an Internet sexbot

My experience with an Internet sexbot

In Japan and other such nations there is quite a market for virtual girlfriends, for lonely men who will never find love with any real creature. A good search on Google will bring up many a program from textbased to graphics based, to stem the tides of loneliness and make men feel as though they have company. Pornography and the ancient art of striptease fulfil similar market niches' desires for great satisfaction and unhappy happy endings.

During my high school years I created a simple textbased answer program. It had its own favourite colour, but did not have a sex, and was not designed to abate loneliness with the alimentation of a virtual compensate. More than anything, it was a fun programming project.

Today I decided to log into Skype on my cellular phone. I was quite surprised to find that I had a number of invites to connect with other people on Skype. I accepted the invites. The moment I did, one of the accounts instantly began speaking to me.

I immediately suspected that I was being exposed to something beautiful, unique and fascinating. I got the impression that I was finally being exposed to a scam I'd only read about in online articles about criminal syndicates and their activities.

Those who desire to oppose human trafficking, created a virtual sex robot that pretends to be a little girl, and lures bad men in. The sexbot I had the pleasure of meeting however was designed to lure ordinary grown men. You might well expect a sexbot to be more responsive than the one I had the privilege of meeting. It did not matter what my responses were, the program clearly simply worked on any response. Some journalists have had the privilege of dealing with more advanced tools used by scammers. Mine did not even have a fake human picture. Nonetheless, by pure numbers it probably has worked on many, many men. Below are the screenshots of my enjoyable conversation with an all too responsive trap used by hackers and scammers. I hope you enjoyed the scintillating conversation.

Sunday 26 October 2014

Sending the troops in to stop Ebola, might repeat the American caused Spanish flu

Sending the troops in to stop Ebola, might repeat the American caused Spanish flu

The Spanish flu is about as Spanish as an immigrant to America from Mexico. It was called the Spanish flu because the Spanish first reported on it, Spain still had a semi-free press at that stage as compared to the United States in whose regular forces a terrible flu came to be birthed, and spread unabated in a national security climate of war.

'Epidemiological data indicate that pandemic began in the US in March 1918, at a crowded army camp in Fort Riley, Kansas. Subsequently, the transport of hundreds of thousands of infected troops in close physical contact between camps caused influenza to spread quickly even before troops assembled in East Coast ports en route to France. The troops brought the influenza to the trenches of the opposing armies and to other parts of Europe and beyond. ' (Harvard | 'Contagion')

During the war in question, American troops were tightly packed together, and health concerns were largely ignored. It was the troops who spread the flu from one end of the theatre of operations in which they operated to the other. The civilian population also caught the flu. Nothing is quite like an army to spread a disease. The Spanish flu was American, not Spanish. It was spread across countries by American troops and those they came into contact with.

Barack Obama has decided that he wants to send thousands of American troops to Ebola affected countries. Troops traditionally interact very closely and in close and intimate proximity to one another. Putting thousands of people into a dangerous situation, only for them to be expected to leave the situation, could well set up a similar catastrophe.

What would a better approach be? Simple to be quite honest: either sending in doctors, although America does not have any good record with Ebola on their own soil, never mind in Africa. The other option is something called subsidiarity: the money spent on deploying thousands of troops into a foreign nation, could just as easily be spent on funding local efforts to defeat the disease in such countries.

The same goes for any other country that desires to send the troops in to fight a disease. Those troops will eventually have to come home. The contingency available to the nations of the world of using resources already in danger and on the ground is certainly a better option in such a scenario.

Sunday 19 October 2014

The Islamic State succeeds for the same reason that Hollywood does.

 The Islamic State succeeds for the same reason that Hollywood does.
The latest research into the Islamic State, which I prefer to refer to as Islamic Caliphate, a more accurate rendering: suggests that Islam is not the reason young British men are gallivanting off to Iraq and Syria, in search of thrills, forced concubines and the eternal sunshine of the violent sociopathic mind. It must be surprising for many, that a group which advertises how violent it is across social media, and brags about catching women and selling them as sex slaves for $10 each: could possibly not be about religion, as much as it is about sex and violence. Indeed, the Islamic State, the Goody-Goody Caliphate of the Righteous Martyrs Heading to Heaven, Might Not Be Such a Religious Group After All.

So why is this message, this gospel of sex, violence and sexual violence so popular among what young Westerners happen to flock like seagulls upon the fast food that is Iraq and Syria? It is the same message that Hollywood has sold centuries before it even existed. There is a reason why gory horror movies sell, the Islamic State Is selling front row seats to sociopaths, so close you can smell the blood on the bad guy’ s murder knife, in their version you can feel the knife in your hand… The same sort of garbage which fills up cinemas, which for years we have been told is harmless, has found a place to be harmful to the nth degree.

It has been said that Islamic State was inspired by Boko Haram (which my speech recognition technology with which I am dictating this article: thinks is: ‘Barker Horror’). Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of little schoolgirls, and stated that they would be selling them as sex slaves. This advertising by Boko Haram, gained global attention, as social media users flocked like beachgoers with fast food into the territory of seagulls. Boko Haram grew as a result, the fact that they were kidnapping little girls to become sex slaves no doubt appealed greatly to the sort of people who might want to join Boko Haram. Islamic State might have taken note. Boko Haram’s strategy will no doubt be seen as a great fait accompli, a great strategic victory, something to be emulated: by the many other violent men who desire to wreak havoc upon the world. After all, the Nigerian government decided upon a ceasefire, allowing Boko Haram to keep their substantial territorial gains, in exchange for the girls: who have since been radicalised, and likely support Boko Haram’s agenda.

The horrors presented by Islamic State, so delicately screened across television screens should not however hide the fact that their enemies are as bad as they are in many ways. Shia militias, and the Iraqi army, have been slammed by human rights groups for committing similar atrocities against Sunni women and men. These groups have even advanced into Yemen, undercover of media attention focused on Sunni militia such as Islamic State. Nor is the savageness of Boko Haram and Islamic state unique to their causes. The Libyan revolution for instance, and the counterrevolution currently occurring in Libya were both barbarically conducted. Amnesty International and others warned that the original fight to oust Gaddafi, with Western approval: was being driven by propaganda aimed at driving sub Saharan black Africans out of Libya. In such a case it is unusually strange that the International Committee of the Red Cross in Libya at the time was refusing access to humanitarian camps to non-Libyan citizens: that is: to sub Saharan African black immigrants.

Research has shown that veterans of wars are no more likely to commit crimes than other parts of the population, but the crimes they commit are proportionally more violent and induce more feelings of utter horror at what they have done among the general population. Post-traumatic stress creates violence. The Islamic State In Iraq And The Levant (ISIS) aka Islamic state, have an army that do not live upon bread alone, but upon post-traumatic stress and a love of sex and violence.

Many western children are raised upon both of these by the television screens. Any wonder then, that so many of the worst offenders amongst the Jihadist hordes hail from places such as Great Britain, and America. The little snake of sex and violence has eaten much sex and much violence, and has graduated into a massive anaconda. The video gamers who desperately wanted more real virtual reality have found reality to be even more enticing to the sickening urges they feel.

Research linking Islamist atrocities to sex, is not something new. It is alleged that pornography was found by the Americans in the house of Osama bin Laden. Many pieces have been written on the link, between violent pornography and groups similar to Islamic State: at the time being Al Qaeda, a less vitriolic but still utterly evil brother of its offshoot: The Islamic State.

The Islamic State might find their playground to be the Middle Eastern battlefield, but their nursery and the milk upon which they were fed are both located in the West, in movies, videogames, and music videos, in violent pornography and other sources that groomed these men into potential recruits for extremist organisations.

The wrongdoer is not Islam, but something far more primal, something far more primaeval than the Western mind can comprehend in any mind but its own. The Islamic State does not recruit solely through Islam, but rather upon promises of gore, rape and violence. Promises of power, not constrained by virtue. Sex and violence. Stirred in a teacup, in the house of naturalised British immigrant, powerless as they feel, they are gripped by the power that power promises, and the meaning that joining a terrorist group no doubt gives such poor examples raised upon the milk of violence, and a feeling of powerlessness in a western world that does not truly accept them, but has melded them from their very birth.

Saturday 18 October 2014

Why the Catholic Church would be unwise to change its policy on communion for divorcees.

Why the Catholic Church would be unwise to change its policy on communion for divorcees.

When I first started working as a divorce lawyer in early 2013, as a student counsellor at the University of Witwatersrand, I was worried I might be sinning or doing something wrong. I asked my confessor and reached out to Opus Dei, as well as Catholic friends in order to find out whether or not I should ask for a transfer to another unit. The answer was quite uniform. As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, divorce does not exist. As far as my priest was concerned, as with Opus Dei: I was not divorcing anyone, but rather litigating over custody of children and the property of the marriage. They informed me that I was doing nothing wrong whatsoever.

A lot of my work remains divorce, I’ve divorced quite a number of people and will likely divorce many more. As far as the Catholic Church is concerned however, I’ve divorced no one. For me this is an important distinction.

Protestant Christians often quote a part of the New Testament of the Bible, where Jesus Christ states that man must not divide what God has combined, except in the case of what Protestants call adultery. The actual verse does not refer to adultery, but to sexual immorality, with a specific Greek word which refers to a specific Hebrew word: which refers specifically to the immorality set forth by the law of the Old Testament. Catholics might not readily admit it, but the reason they oppose homosexual marriage is because they believe that no marriage takes place based on this verse. The purpose for which Catholics do not believe in incestuous marriage: is that based on this verse they do not believe marriage takes place.

It is a bit of a misnomer to say that Catholics who have divorced and civilly remarried are forbidden communion. This is not true, because as far as the church is concerned no divorce has taken place and no remarriage has taken place. The reason such people might be forbidden from taking communion is the same reason as I might be forbidden from taking communion: their actions or their thoughts consist of what the Catholic Church considers as mortal sin. In their specific case it is the sin of extramarital sex. But the list goes on and on: use contraception? You shouldn’t be taking communion. Spend a good time fantasising about extramarital sex, French kiss someone outside of marriage or without the intent of having sex later, masturbate, miss church the week before? You probably shouldn’t be taking communion.

A friend of mine in fact was informed by the Catholic Church that if they wanted to have an annulment within the church, they would have to firstly divorce civilly.

So what if that verse in fact referred to adultery? What is adultery? Adultery is sex with someone who is not your husband or wife when you in fact have a husband or wife. So the moment either party has sex with anyone else, a divorce is possible? Is marriage not at its essence a promise of sex and exclusivity in such? Is not divorce the dissolution or breaking apart of a marriage? So if you break the promise, you’re no longer bound by the promise? In such a sense marriage is only a gentleman’s agreement, or rather a gentleman’s and lady’s agreement. ‘I will only have sex with you until I have sex with someone else.’

If marriage is not exclusivity of sex, then it is not a lot of other things.

The Catholic interpretation of that verse is that God will not create a marriage where marriage is not possible, and a marriage is not possible where its essence is sinful.

Catholics will usually divorce and then get an annulment. An annulment itself is merely informative, of what God has or has not done. An annulment means that God did not cause a marriage to occur. Making the standards for annulments more lax, does not make it more or less likely that God did or did not cause an aeviternal bond to take place.

If you are in something the Catholic Church calls mortal sin, you should not take communion. That is the rule. Treating divorce or remarriage as a sin, other than perhaps the sin of scandal, is an incorrect view: the sin in accordance with Catholic doctrine is that of extramarital sex or adultery. A period of penance for divorcing and remarrying would thus be largely pointless. The divorce was not a sin. The extramarital sex which is ongoing throughout the penance is what the church would consider the sin. Thus the suggestion by many Catholic bishops of penance for divorce, completely and entirely misses the point. As it is in any case, such things are usually left up to parishioners and not to the priest. Churches are usually large, and urban. Plenty of divorced and remarried Catholics in any case take communion weekly.

I myself often commit mortal sins. I tend not to take communion on a Sunday unless I confessed the Saturday before. I value my privacy and I do not go into detail with my sins. I merely list one of the seven deadly sins and say that I have either done it once or many times within the past week or so. Mortal sin is very common among Catholics. Chances are, if they were honest with themselves: 90% of Catholics would not be taking communion every Sunday. That does not mean however that a 2000 year old tradition, tracing back to early writings attributed to the apostles: should so readily change simply because human beings do not always comply with the precepts of Catholic morality. What is so beautiful about the Catholic Church is that its doctrines do not change. It is a relic before modern conceptions of time began. The fact that the Catholic Church does not believe in divorce in a very literal sense is in fact to some degree something deeply beautiful.

Recent research has found that the split itself in divorce, causes deep trauma to children even when their parents perceive them to be doing well with the divorce, even in amicable divorces. Granted, parents in a death match will have much more trauma upon a child and likely on a regular basis. However, the baseline of stress which causes children to achieve low grades, and other such consequences: exists even in amicable divorces. Research also finds that divorcees live shorter lives than couples who remain married. There is no doubt that divorce is something highly traumatic both for those who go through it and for their children. I regularly divorce people and I am not ashamed of it, but I don’t think the Catholic Church, the Catholic religion to which I belong: should change one of its oldest precepts, merely for the sake of appearing trendy. To the Catholic Church something highly traumatic, divorce, does not exist. To me that is something beautiful. It should not be changed.

Sunday 12 October 2014

Get a grip, you don’t have Ebola.

Get a grip, you don’t have Ebola.

Ebola no doubt is a terrible disease. It is incredibly deadly, it is very dangerous, and if not dealt with properly it can spread far and wide.

However, wondering about fear mongering does not help anyone. Do you want to prevent yourself from getting Ebola? Wash your hands regularly with soap and hot water, avoid touching your eyes and mouth and any cuts or injuries. Still not satisfied? Carry about some hand sanitiser with you, the type that kills diseases: and regularly apply it. Something like 4000 people have Ebola or rather had Ebola. That is a very small portion of the world population, and is much smaller then malaria, AIDS, or any number of diseases. At the current stage, people who want borders to be closed are more at risk of dying from snakebite than Ebola.

The massive spread in Liberia and other areas, is because of the deep superstition of the people in these areas, which saw them rejecting Western medicine, and blaming witchcraft for the disease, never mind their turning to witchcraft as its cure. When Ebola went into Nigeria, Ebola was quickly dealt with. Other countries likewise have quickly snuffed out the epidemic.

Yes, someone got Ebola, and a hospital negligently sent them home in America. Yes, despite purportedly wearing a full hazmat suit or whatnot: the American healthcare worker who treated this individual, has been diagnosed with Ebola. No doubt that sends shivers through your spine.

Unfortunately, even the best of doctors make mistakes, this is not a sign of the apocalypse, but something to be expected. Many healthcare workers, including the best in their profession, in the areas where Ebola has been ravaging: have died of the disease. The fact that this was picked up in the healthcare worker and he was isolated: is in fact a good sign.

As I have previously reported, measures such as thermal scanners at airports can only pick up Ebola sufferers once they have entered into the contagious stage of the disease. For about two weeks before that they might not show any symptoms at all.

So how can you protect yourself from Ebola? Basic hygiene. It is not foolproof, and you may not survive until the next apocalypse, but it is the best thing you can do right now. Go out and buy yourself some antiseptic hand sanitation. Wash your hands regularly with soap and hot water, and definitely wash your hands or sanitise them properly prior to eating. Don’t go around touching sick people and dead bodies. And if you do think you have Ebola, contact your local doctor and make sure you get good advice. Ebola cannot reliably be cured by medicine, but it can be treated and many people survive the ravages of the terrible disease in question.

C’est la vie. There is always a risk in being alive. Take the risk as it is: real, but unless you are in a certain country or a certain area, not quite as imminent as media would have you believe. Take precautions, be cautious, but don’t hyperventilate. You aren’t in the woods just as yet. Unless you are of course.

Saturday 11 October 2014

Rules for interpreting Facebook:

Rules for interpreting Facebook:

– The funnest times and parties are never photographed or put onto Facebook. Posing to appear that you are having a good time probably means you aren't having such a good time. A photograph speaks 1000 lies, but no doubt for you it is much fun having people believe them, or rather you think they believe them.
– Posting how much you and your lover are in love: probably means you're going through relationship troubles, or are dating them for their aesthetic or other markings. Literature and history is full of such things. But yes, do show public affection, which is not there in private.
– Posting about how rich you are, how blessed you are, how much stuff you are most blessed: the possessor of: might make you look slightly shallow, and might indicate that the products you claim to own are not in fact yours, or that you are secretly nursing depression or feelings of inadequacy, that Gatsby himself would aspire to mimic. Yes, we realise that you're not posting about people but about things which you hope other people will feel jealous of you for. They probably do feel jealous, which probably doesn't help your relationships with them.
– People are only capable of keeping up real relationships with 150 people: your friend with 5000 friends probably doesn't know who 4850 of them are any more than you do. But yes, feel jealous of them, and the 5000 friends, who they might not even have met, or may have met briefly in a bar, we hope, but don't have any real relationship with: except maybe about 150 of them.
– You might admire your friend with all of their wonderful photographs of them drinking and partying: their prospective future bosses do not. Be glad that you're boring, your friend who posts all of these is probably just as boring as you are, but nonetheless, in their delightful way: they always remember to bring a camera out with them and photograph themselves looking drunk, and appearing to be up to no good.
If you must use Facebook, use it to better mankind, to communicate honestly with friends and make connections. As for the other uses, we all know. It isn't a secret, it was not even a secret 10 years ago. It might seem good fun and no doubt, for you: it is, but it is not real life you are portraying. And we know that. So I guess it's fine. If you like things that way. But if not, consider making your Facebook about expressing yourself in a cordial and well thought out manner: rather than about impressing others with a persona who's not you. Just a thought, you don't have to listen to it, and please don't photograph it or hashtag it as a selfie. That is all for now. Do continue on with whatever it was you were doing. Yes, I can see that camera which you so visibly are pointing at yourself.

Use cannabis and you will go long-term bonkers, study finds.

Use cannabis and you will go long-term bonkers, study finds.

'Smoking the class-'B' drug while pregnant is linked with reduced birth weights, while long-term use can cause cancer, bronchitis and heart attacks, according to the paper' (The Daily Telegraph | 'Cannabis as addictive as heroin, major new study finds' by the Telegraph reporter on 7 October 2014: )

A 20 year long-term study of cannabis use and mental illness has found that the drug also known as dagga, marijuana, pot, or weed: can turn an average human being into a regular cooking pot.

I have never tried cannabis or any other drug. I have always associated cannabis with schizophrenia. While media, desiring to push the drug don't tend to report on this, it has been well known for many years. Research, spanning 20 years, conducted by Prof Wayne Hall of King's Cross College in London: who as it happens, also acts in an advisory capacity to the World Health Organization, has found that dagga indeed is quite the bad news plant. The professor is quoted as saying that if cannabis isn't addictive then nor are heroin or alcohol.

According to the Daily Telegraph, reporting on the study: 'one in six teenagers who regularly smoke cannabis become dependent on it, as are one in 10 regular adult users… Cannabis doubles the risk of psychosis and schizophrenia, with withdrawal symptoms including anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite and depression… Driving after smoking cannabis doubles the risk of a car crash with the risk heightened yet further if you have had a drink… As many teenagers now smoke cannabis as cigarettes.'

The study also links it to poorer academic performance and to underweight babies where mothers smoke cannabis.

A 20 year long study, no doubt does not reap the full effect of the much stronger modern cannabis, thought to be four times more disastrous to human mental health. So, to reiterate: the dagga is a bad news drug, and unlike pharmaceutical drugs prescribed by doctors: it harms you, it does not heal you. Speaking of bonkers, certain American states have legalised recreational use of dagga. When I took forensic medicine, in my final year of law school, we were taught by the morgue's experts on the matter: that increased drug use, in either victims of crime or perpetrators, directly correlated to an increase in murders and violent crime, and an increase in accidental deaths and non-survival of survivable situations. Cannabis is a bad news drug. Like other dangerous drugs, which were once used to relieve pain as medical marijuana users claim they use their drug for: dagga needs to be kept out of the hands of the vulnerable. An epidemic of mental illness is a threat to the public and a danger to innocent bystanders. Cigarettes present the danger of second-hand smoke. Cannabis also known as dagga: by contrast causes mental incompetence, and exposes innocent people to death by murder, negligence and plain stupidity. Dagga is a bad news drug. Make no mistake, alcohol likewise is linked to an increase in crime: however public drunkenness is a crime, and alcohol in low levels does not cause the same effects as drunkenness does. Dagga in contrast, has an intoxicating effect in small or large doses, to an extent that alcohol does not. There is no double standard when alcohol is allowed and drugs are not: excessive alcohol use in any public arena is met with jail time in the Republic of South Africa.

Those, however, who use dagga, can well find themselves in the prison of a most unsound mind.

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice, any reference to law is made purely for argumentative or entertainment purposes.

Sunday 5 October 2014

The latest Dragon NaturallySpeaking: bombs speech recognition out of the water.

If you are a lawyer by profession, you have probably heard of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I have used it for several years now. I have just updated from Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 to Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13. The difference between the two is just amazing.

I almost feel as though Dragon reads my mind as I speak. The transcriptions are more often than not, perfect.

I have decided to put Dragon through the ultimate test, transcription. How can I do this? I was going to take one of my old podcasts and ask Dragon to turn it into text. Yes there are errors, and it does not do well when I'm speaking in French at the beginning. However, in every other respect the result is amazing. As I speak now, I'm speaking slightly slower than I ordinarily do, with more gaps between the words I am saying. I always write with Dragon and this is what I'm used to doing. In the podcast however, I was simply aiming at speaking in an understandable and comprehensible manner for my readers.

Compare the transcript of Dragon, below to the version I painstakingly created as I am creating this very article and you will find very few differences. For me this is a massive step in the right direction. Dragon seems to comprehend me better than ever.

Follow the link to my original article, and read the transcription below to compare:

The following transcription is by automation by the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 platform.

[To listen to the podcast: follow the following link: ]

From Zimbabwe to South Africa pose a major health terrorism threat to the population agree Candice Bell fleeing their elaborate homeland for South Africa is not a top priority for the Zimbabwean police people who claim to lack adequate resources to close down 51 illegal border crossings which are operated under the auspices of business persons 50 of these illegal entry points are into South Africa the point allegedly are used by people smugglers and cigarette smugglers Zimbabwean authorities are not perplexed about 10% of South African of the South African population are not South African whatsoever a massive influx since the end of Apartheid has seen the nation upon the southern tip of the dark continent become a vastly diverse melting pot of people's and cultures recent controversial immigration laws have made one of the most liberal immigration systems in the world slightly more restrictive as a previous article by house new service has demonstrated the immigration restrictions likely are in response to sporadic South African incidence of deadly xenophobia Borders are a bit like tonsils in the most serious sense they hope to filter out undesirable pathogens such as terrorism commonality and disease which could kill the body at which service they rest in the case of South Africa I'll border defences against diseases such as Ebola are rendered useless when masses of population do not go through border checkpoints granted Ebola has an incubation period of some weeks and there is a massive chance that an Ebola sufferer will pass into South Africa before developing symptoms with a population density such as is found in Gauteng province Ebola could spread much faster in South Africa than it has in West Africa just as massive fires often destroy dozens of homes in South Africa's informal settlements and closely packed formal townships the extensive population density is ripe for the spread of disease persons in South Africa illegally are also likely to avoid treatment options such as hospitals xenophobia could also be worsened should the virus enter South Africa through an illegally present foreign individual besides haemorrhagic fever terrorism is a very real threat in South Africa Independent research by journalists and church organisations suggest that Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist group terrorism group Al should about has been operating in South Africa for several years now the group is thought responsible for many immigrant deaths specifically targeting Christians fleeing Somalia illegal entry points into South Africa also make it ripe for human trafficking and evil activity for which South Africa has become an international hub weapons trafficking is another very real concern Zimbabwe is unstable to say the least and our other neighbours are sometimes on the verge of civil war instability in South Africa's neighbours is hardly good for South Africa's economy and stability as a whole whether South Africa's laws on immigration are liberal or conservative should have no impact upon whether or not we adequately secure our border against illegal immigration the problem with illegal immigration is not immigration itself so much as what gets in through the border by the weak spots created by the influx of population South African police just recently announced the arrest of several dozen foreign nationals with false documents or expired documents some experts have estimated that several million individuals in South Africa are in the country clandestinely such a scenario is neither ideal for bona fides clandestinely immigrants who are often preyed upon by unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of their illegal status nor is it preferential for the internal and external security needs of the nation South Africa's rhino population would not be at risk of extinction were our border with Mozambique better patrolled also about would not be able to operate within our borders committing atrocities were our security systems at the border more efficient the location of each of these 50 illegal border crossings needs to be ascertained strategically by the South African government and combated with immediate effect as for the other debate as to whether or not South Africa should be liberal or conservative in its immigration policy that debate should be fought where it is rightly fought in Parliament there is very little danger in immigration to South Africa that this danger should not be under estimated in its very real impact upon the poor there is however very much danger inherent with this weakness in our border through which undesirable figurative and literal pathogens can spread undeterred and undeterred and damage the South African population whether in the interim or permanently Ebola spread so easily through three countries because the first case of an infant boy occurred very close to the border of the three main countries where it is ravaging a strong border is a vital first defence against many an evil the relatively strong protections at South African border posts mean little in protecting the population of the nation if vast numbers of people completely ignore all these points of intersection I neighbours Marc Aupiais thank you and good day

Saturday 13 September 2014

Oscar trial no miscarriage of justice, but certainly lost in translation.

Oscar trial no miscarriage of justice, but certainly lost in translation.

I certainly do not agree with the decision in the Oscar Pistorius trial, I would have found him guilty of Dolus Eventualis murder. That said, while I would be technically correct in such a precise movement, it would be blatantly against the wave of jurisprudence until this point, a wave the honourable judge followed exactingly, with also a good application of the laws of determining guilt in our 4000 year old legal tradition.

A top forensic expert told me in the early days of the trial that police had ruined the case against Pistorius, by contamination of the crime scene. I and others commented with derision on the defence choice to admit to the actual shooting of Reeva by Oscar. Oscar's own version of events, as events turned, is what got him convicted of culpable homicide. Complete incompetence by the investigating officer, and the televised nature of the trial insured as much. Witnesses were left to be influenced by media and by friends exposed to media. The pure length of the trial also left memories corrupted and weakened.

In my earlier work on this matter, I stated that Oscar would be convicted either of dolus eventualis murder, culpable homicide (think drunk driving), or putative self defence. Prior case law involving a Rugby player who gunned down his daughter believing she was an intruder, set a precedent linking such iffy butty cases to culpable homicide verdicts. Culpable homicide can land someone practically speaking in jail for 1 to 15 years. It is the second most serious crime in South African jurisprudential thought. Yes, kidnapping, hijacking, rape and other crimes are very serious and carry hefty sentences and must not be ignored, but culpable homicide is not candy and cloudless days. Culpable homicide is often the verdict pronounced for shocking crimes. The real difference between it and murder is very slight. Culpable homicide is not manslaughter or USA homicide. In our jurisprudence it is a very serious crime, and requires serious defect and wrongdoing on behalf of its practitioners. An accident will not land you in jail in South Africa, our law being so heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic doctrine of the evil mind (something other jurisdictions are less concerned with). Guilt however will condemn you in this light of law within our beautiful nation upon this, our Dark Continent.

There is dolus directus murder: murder for the purpose of murder. There is dolus indirectus murder: murder for another purpose, and there is dolus eventualis murder: when a person recklessly acts, foreseeing that their actions may have the consequence of an unlawful death. Culpable homicide is almost identical to the latter: except it is in circumstances where the judge does not believe that the person in question is seen as foreseeing the consequences of their recklessness, their negligence unto death, at another's expense.

As the forensic (proof for judicial purposes) aspects of the police were so heavily prejudiced by corruption and by negligence by officials, the testimony of police and police experts was cast into doubt. Courts of law do not base their decisions on things, but on the testimony of people, sometimes relating to things. A murder weapon is invisible to a judge, unless someone can testify why it is just that. The only story the judge essentially could go on was the self-prejudicial evidence of Oscar himself, and what little of the state forensic evidence that could be recovered, and could be aided by Oscarian contradictions on the stand.

Judges often prefer to be more lenient, while juries are often far harsher. Experienced judges often ignore legal technicality in order to be merciful. Past cases where friendly-fire occurred against perceived threats, have seen putative self defence convictions, and culpable homicide judgements sent forth. The judicial wave suggests that this is the appropriate course, even if the error as to the person who was to be killed has no effect whatsoever on legal guilt-worthiness. If Oscar intended to murder a criminal but murdered Reeva instead, then that is still murder.

But Oscar admitted on the stand that he just shot... possibly an attempt to get off based on sane automatism, but none the less. That sort of behaviour might suggest someone entirely in the present, somebody incapable of perceiving the future, and thus incapable of predicting that their actions would kill another. If this is a reasonable consideration, then dolus eventualis murder is no longer on the table, what is being viewed is the serious crime of culpable homicide at works. No foresight means no eventualis intention. Jub Jub was convicted on dolus eventualis not culpable homicide, not based on what he should have foreseen, but because he well knew school children used the road he drag raced on, at night, and because he did so anyway. It is easy to construct intention in such a case. However, a person gripped by fear, might be more likely not to foresee any consequences of their actions whatsoever.

Courts of law are not about emotion but about proof. A judge with 15 years of experience is far more likely to issue a just verdict than a trial by media, where the advocates involved are journalists seeking sensation and scoops.

On the same facts, in the stead of the honourable judge, I would have found Oscar Pistorius guilty of dolus eventualis murder. That said, the judgement is more than sound. Culpable homicide does not refer to an accident, it refers to guilt. Guilt for which hefty sentences are often to be handed down upon the backs of felons. It is only bloodthirsty to demand that a legal system honed over thousands of years adapt and adopt a system of twitter voting. Many an innocent man has been killed by lynching. Many a murder has been committed on accusations of things such as witchcraft. These procedures safeguarded in the wisdom of our constitution, as utterly essential. We cannot send a person to jail because the Daily Sun alleges that one of their readers is being haunted by the Tokolosh or any other mystical creature that media juries are likely to take much account with.

Nothing in this article should be construed in any ways whatsoever to be legal advice. Legal reference is supplied for entertainment and argumentative purposes only.

Sunday 7 September 2014

WHAT makes the exceptional as yet always not?

I return to my hovel little cave,
I turn off the light of day, and yet I sleep, sleep is better yet than life?
For up rises a hero, and beyond the horizon, they wreak hope and happiness,
And down they fall, lower than the villain they've slain,
And I despair, and look across the Atlantic, across the Indian and the Antarctic,
No hero ever seems the exception, nothing but illusion, but mirage.

So I get back to my job, and to time with friends from my University past.
I focus on words, and attacks and defences, on work, work, and work,
I resolve conflicts for my job. It is about solutions, not right and wrong,
And proudly I do my job, for law is what upholds life and living breath.

And yet, over the horizon, just out of sight, I pray to see a hero,
A real one, for once, an actual good person, not the amoral mass of our world.

I get back to work, for work is my life, and hope I subdue, ideology and belief in humanity's exceptionalism are distant now.
Checks and balances I uphold, in this imperfect system circling a second class little sun.
My heroism is amoral. I do not save any lives. I merely assist, and come to another's side,
And in the battle of legal words I empirically fight.

I am not a hero, but an amoral upholder of rights, and fighter for might be and might not be.
I am no hero, though I wish I could see one, perhaps a single good person at a distance, rising up from day and light!
For the politicians, and the celebrated ones... they are never whom they seem.
And quietly I serve my goddess, the law, and softly, I speak on behalf of others...

Sunday 10 August 2014

50 illegal crossing points from Zimbabwe to South Africa pose a major health, terrorism threat to the population.

50 illegal crossing points from Zimbabwe to South Africa pose a major health, terrorism threat to the population.

Immigrés clandestins fleeing their beloved homeland for South Africa, is not a top priority for the Zimbabwean police people who claim to lack adequate resources to close down 51 illegal border crossings which are operated under the auspices of business persons. 50 of those illegal entry points are into South Africa. The points allegedly are used by people smugglers, and cigarette smugglers. Zimbabwean authorities, are not perplexed.

About 10% of the South African population, are not South African whatsoever. A massive influx since the end of Apartheid has seen the nation upon the southern tip of the Dark Continent: become a vastly diverse melting pot of people and cultures. Recent controversial immigration laws have made one of the most liberal immigration systems in the world slightly more restrictive. As a previous article by our news service has demonstrated, the immigration restrictions likely are in response to sporadic South African incidence of deadly xenophobia.

Borders are a bit like tonsils in the most serious sense, they help to filter out undesirable pathogens such as terrorism, criminality, and disease, which could kill the body at which service they rest. In the case of South Africa, our border defences against diseases such as Ebola are rendered useless when masses of population do not go through border checkpoints. Granted, Ebola has an incubation period of some weeks and there is a massive chance that an Ebola sufferer will pass into South Africa prior developing symptoms. With a population density such as is found in Gauteng province, Ebola could spread much faster in South Africa than it has in West Africa. Just as massive fires often destroy dozens of homes in South Africa’s informal settlements and closely packed formal townships, the extensive population density is ripe for the spread of disease. Persons in South Africa illegally, are also likely to avoid treatment options such as hospitals. Xenophobia could also be worsened should the virus enter South Africa through an illegally present foreign individual.

Besides haemorrhagic fever, terrorism is a very real threat in South Africa. Independent research by journalists and church organisations, suggest that Al Qaeda affiliated terrorism group Al Shabaab, has been operating in South Africa for several years now. The group is thought responsible for many immigrant deaths, specifically targeting Christians fleeing Somalia. Illegal entry points into South Africa also make it ripe for human trafficking, an evil activity for which South Africa has become an international hub. Weapons trafficking is another very real concern. Zimbabwe is unstable to say the least, and our other neighbours are sometimes on the verge of civil war. Instability in South Africa’s neighbours is hardly good for South Africa’s economy and stability as a whole.

Whether South Africa’s laws on immigration are liberal or conservative, should have no impact upon whether or not we adequately secure our border against illegal immigration. The problem with illegal immigration is not immigration itself, so much as what gets in through the border by the weak spots created by the influx of population.

South African police just recently announced the arrest of several dozen foreign nationals with false documents or expired documents. Some experts have estimated that several million individuals in South Africa are in the country clandestinely. Such a scenario is neither ideal for bona fide clandestine immigrants who are often preyed upon by unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of their illegal status, nor is it preferential for the internal and external security needs of the nation.

South Africa’s rhino population would not be at risk of extinction were our border with Mozambique better patrolled. Al Shabaab would not be able to operate within our borders, committing atrocities, were our security systems at the border more efficient. The location of each of these 50 illegal border crossings needs to be ascertained strategically by the South African government, and combated with immediate effect. As for the other debate, as to whether or not South Africa should be liberal or conservative in its immigration policy, that debate should be fought where it is rightly fought: in Parliament. There is very little danger in immigration to South Africa, though this danger should not be under estimated in its very real impact upon the poor: there is however very much danger inherent with this weakness in our border through which undesirable figurative and literal pathogens can spread undeterred and damage the South African population whether in the interim or permanently. Ebola spread so easily through three countries, because the first case, of an infant boy: occurred very close to the border of the three main countries where it is ravaging. A strong border is a vital first defence against many an evil. The relatively strong protections at South African border posts mean little in protecting the population of the nation if vast numbers of people completely ignore all these points of intersection.

Saturday 9 August 2014

Terrorist group Islamic Caliphate take pictures in front of White House in show of presence. #IS #ISIS #ISIL #AlQaeda

As Barack Obama reinserts an American aerial force presence in Iraq, the ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State, as the Islamic Caliphate is often called in the West, has been showing its own presence in other ways.
The group which feels great joy in the embrace of barbarism, which has somehow become a selling point for it, is not as yet known to shy away from modern technology. The image you are about to see, does not appear to have been indexed by Google on any major sites.

It’s only presence seems to be on Twitter itself. The logo within the image is that of the terrorist organisation. Islamic Caliphate has supporters across the world who use social media to promote its cause. One such supporter of the group seemingly took a photograph of the White House, in a terrifying show of presence. The fact that I was unable to find any other example of the photograph, suggests the photograph is an original and the real thing.

The Islamic Caliphate is perhaps well-known for images of its decapitating soldiers of the enemies of the group, and for their genocide against Christians in Iraq and in Syria.

Such imagery, much like gang signs in an area: such brazen photography targeting the White House, however suggest that the group certainly has a sympathiser base amongst Americans or people in America, within eyesight even, of a building which appears to have similar architecture to the White House, or disquietingly within a stone’s throw of the White House itself.

Picture: truck and bus crash into house.

Sunday 3 August 2014

Ebola can be asymptomatic for weeks.

Ebola can be asymptomatic for weeks, it has emerged.

‘The Ebola virus has an incubation period of 4 to 16 days. The onset is sudden and harsh. Infected persons develop fever, severe headaches and muscle aches, and loss of appetite. Within a few days the virus causes a condition known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, which is marked by both blood clots and hemorrhaging. In the case of Ebola fever, clots are concentrated in the liver, spleen, brain, and other internal organs, forcing capillaries to bleed into surrounding tissue. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea with blood and mucus, conjunctivitis, and sore throat soon follow. A maculopapular rash (discoloured elevations of the skin) appears on the trunk and quickly spreads to the limbs and head. The patient is then beset by spontaneous bleeding from body orifices and any breaks in the skin, such as injection sites, and within the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and internal organs. Death is usually brought on by hemorrhaging, shock, or renal failure and occurs within 8 to 17 days.’

("Ebola." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Deluxe Edition. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2012.)

According to the Oxford English dictionary the phrase Ebola Fever entered the English language in 1976. It was named after a river located in the northern basin of the Congo of central Africa (Encyclopaedia Britannica), the northerly Ebola river, headstream of the Mongala river which itself is a tributary of the famous Congo River, all of which are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Wikipedia). Wikipedia places the Ebola river at: 3°19′24″N 20°57′38″E. Oxford describes Ebola, also known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever as “an infectious, and generally fatal viral disease marked by fever and severe internal bleeding.”

Encyclopaedia Britannica calls the Ebola virus a close relative of the Marburg virus. The Marburg virus was discovered in 1967 while records show that Ebola first attacked human beings in 1976. Marburg and Ebola haemorrhagic fever are the only members of the Filoviridae viral family to affect human beings. The same Ebola virus is known for attacking gorillas, chimpanzees, pigs and our own species, humanity. Ebola is differentiated by deep fever, profuse haemorrhaging and rash. Encyclopaedia Britannica states that in humans certain strains have fatality rates of 50 to 90%.

Just as Ebola itself is named after the place it was first discovered wreaking harm upon a population, the Ebola river: the five known strains of the deadly virus are named after the places where it emerged. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica: ‘Ebola-Zaire causes death in 80 to 90 percent of cases, and Ebola-Sudan causes death in 50 percent of cases. Ebola-Côte d'Ivoire, found in dead chimpanzees in the Taï National Park in southwestern Côte d'Ivoire, can infect humans, although only two human cases have been documented, and both individuals survived. Ebola-Reston, which was originally discovered in laboratory monkeys in Reston, Va., in 1989, was also detected in laboratory monkeys in other locations in the United States in 1990 and 1996, as well as in Siena, Italy, in 1992. All the monkeys infected with Ebola-Reston have been traced to one export facility located in the Philippines, although the origin of the strain has not been identified. Similar to Ebola-Côte d'Ivoire, Ebola-Reston does not appear to cause death in humans. The fifth strain, Ebola-Bundibugyo, was discovered in November 2007 in an outbreak in Bundibugyo district, near the border of Uganda and Congo (Kinshasa); it causes death in about 25 percent of cases.’ (Same article as quoted above.).

The first time I reported on the Ebola virus was on 6 January 2009. The epidemic had broken out in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing 13 and infecting 40. Angola shut the border quickly for fear it would spread. I reported how swiftly diseases cross African borders. At the time I was writing that article a disease from a Namibian rat had killed several people in South Africa and a cholera epidemic was hitting Zimbabwe. The strain of Ebola during the 2009 outbreak was killing one in every three people. Most outbreaks of the disease seem to only infect and kill either one or two people, a few dozen or a few hundred. When a form of Ebola present in pork products in the Philippines was discovered to have infected agricultural workers, the nation authorised the slaughter of thousands of animals. Just a few dozen infections can cause a border to close, the current epidemic has passed 1000 infected people and is set to pass an even higher number shortly.

News services concerned with Africa, have been covering the current outbreak with deep concern. In West Africa, superstition about witchcraft and witches continues to pervade society. It is the type of place where a cat might be crucified for fear it is a witch in disguise. News services reported that several villagers had begun to believe that the doctors treating Ebola were causing the disease.

Those who enjoy the works of JRR Tolkien, will be familiar with a scene where Gandalf the Grey is treated with deep suspicion, because he always comes where something is wrong. The people thought perhaps he was the cause of the wrongness. He was merely there to try and prevent it. One of the great written linguistic traditions of humanity comes from China, where the written work came from omens in bones. Signs of the supernatural can pervade human thinking. During the plague it was believed that spraying oneself with toilet water could spare one from the disease. Of course, toilet water, refers not to something present in a toilet but a certain form of low scented perfume, also known as eau du toilette. People believed that foul smell itself spread the horrid disease, rather than only being a symptom of it. Belief in vampires also came from that period, the plague dead often appeared to move in their state of decomposition.

Media have relayed how African villagers see a white person and go running away in fear, shouting ‘Ebola Ebola.’ With doctors unable to treat victims and ordinary nurses and others claiming to have a cure for Ebola, the virus has spread further and further.

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica: ‘It is not known how the Ebola virus attacks cells; however, it has been postulated that the virus produces proteins that suppress the immune system, allowing reproduction of the virus to continue unhindered. Viral hemorrhagic fevers similar to Ebola typically are carried by arthropods and rodents; however, the natural reservoir for the Ebola virus has yet to be discovered. Among the suspected reservoirs for Ebola are bats, primates, rodents, and insects that inhabit tropical forests in Africa and Asia. Ebola can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, bodily fluids, and possibly respiratory secretions. The virus has also been detected in the organs of patients after recovery from the fever. Unsanitary conditions and lack of adequate medical supplies may be factors in the spread of the disease.’

While not all people who are infected with Ebola are assured a swift and horrible death, the Church of medical science has yet to create a miracle treatment. Encyclopaedia Britannica relays that while there have been tests of possible medical treatments, the current approach is anything but high-tech. Doctors ensure that a sufferer has enough fluids in their system, and attempt to maintain their important electrolyte balance, while giving transfusions of blood and plasma to prevent a person bleeding out.

While Britain has called an urgent meeting for fear that Ebola will take root in its own population, the Republic of South Africa has attempted to keep calm. It is claimed by the government of South Africa whether factually or not that South Africans are at very low risk of contracting Ebola due to thermal scanners at the borders. The government also claims that someone who is infected with Ebola would find it hard to illegally enter South Africa. Whether these thermal scanners will pick up Ebola when it is only incubating and asymptomatic is questionable. Likewise, an asymptomatic person could easily enter South Africa illegally via an ordinary penetration of the border. South Africa is a safe haven for refugees, and a mecca for illegal immigrants. We certainly are more at risk of an epidemic in South Africa than Britain is. We are closer to the epidemic.

The World Health Organization has called the Ebola haemorrhagic fever epidemic “out of control”, as it is spreading further than it can be contained. Because the people who are being infected with it are avoiding those who can slow down the virus and also isolate them, the perfect conditions are ripe for something terrible to occur. Whether this event will be a small localised event of graphic tragedy, or follow the path of the Spanish flu or the Black Death depends largely on whether or not the virus can be brought under control. The current news is disquieting, it is not being brought under control, and has spread further than Ebola ever has before.

Saturday 2 August 2014

Young Muslims abandon centuries of Islamic tradition to fit in, in America?

America's Associated Press has a very one-sided article lauding Muslims who give up what many Muslims consider essential parts of their faith to fit in with the moving cultural landscape occurring in North America. The article wrongly treats Islam as though it were a religion based on the Quran, as evangelical Christianity might be considered based on the Bible. The Quran while a holy book in Islam is a recording in writing of the things that Mohammed said and so forth. Much of Islam whether Shi'ite or Sunni, centres on the authority of various teachers within Islam. The tradition of Islam is as important to the life of Muslims as can be stressed. Interpreting the Quran so as to fit in, in America, would not be considered proper interpretation by most Muslims.

The Associated Press states their view that the Quran does not condemn homosexual sex and homosexual civil unions. They also state that many a modern American Muslim are doing away with any differences between the sexes. This might be all good and well if it were in fact the dominant trend amongst American Muslims, however the Associated Press focus their attention purely upon small minority groups which do not in fact represent the whole. If such an article were written about the Catholic Church, it would certainly meet massive objection from The Catholic League, for the simple reason that it misportrays a major world religion.

There certainly are many modern Muslim scholars who have brought great fruits into modern Muslim traditions from ancient times. However, groups which place their first identity not in their religion but in political groups, following a specific political party in a specific country, are not representative of the whole.

While the Associated Press write with much joy of the reforming of Islam, and its naturalisation into something it is not in America, this could not be further from the truth. Firstly, the major strands of Islam are in no need of reform. Groups such as Al Qaeda are based on reformed interpretations of Islam, which ignore centuries of tradition. The centuries old versions of Islam are in fact quite tolerant of other religions and people with other lifestyles. The Quran needs to be interpreted within its historic significance. Muslims adopting the American approach of cafeteria religion, taking what they like and rejecting what they don't: is hardly a newsworthy article but is exactly what is occurring amongst the groups quoted. A proper reform of a religion, returns to its origins and gains more understanding of what the religion meant. The Catholic counterreformation is an example of this within the Catholic religion. Looking back at ancient texts simply to reinterpret them to fit a cultural need, makes the culture the dominant acting party, subjugating and reforming the religion to its own needs. If the dominant party is not the religion itself but an external political force attempting to change the religion, then it is not true reform whatsoever but a form of imperialism being practised by Americans upon Islam. Many Muslim nations are in fact very tolerant of people of other faiths and other lifestyles. Islam has taken strides forward that were unthinkable in the last century, but these strides originated in Islam itself. There is a massive difference between people who attempt to redefine religion to fit their lifestyle, and genuine progress in understanding the roots of a religion. Muslim people for centuries have well understood the difference between civil and religious law. Muslim nations have often also been highly tolerant of non-Muslims. Muslims can be highly tolerant of non-Muslims also, while maintaining fully their belief in the essential doctrines of Islam.

The essence of tolerance, does not consist of forcing a person to change. If the Associated Press tolerated Islam they would not demand that it change and reject centuries of tradition as though they were worthless. Islam well knows tolerance, tolerance is precisely that, because it consists of respecting a person despite the fact that they act in a manner you might find unbecoming within your religion.

In this sense, the Associated Press article is in fact tragic as it does not tolerate Islam, but treats it as something "evil", so "evil" in fact that no orthodox Muslim of either of the major strains of the religion was given an opportunity to comment on the article. We always hear about how Muslim woman cannot pray in certain areas of a mosque, but very seldom about English gentlemen's clubs who do not permit female membership. There is a massive difference between treating the sexes as unequal, and valid ritual which spans for centuries. Men are not allowed in certain monasteries in the Catholic religion. Women are not allowed in certain monasteries in the Catholic religion. This is not something unjust, but something which is merely ritual. If a woman is not permitted to drive or is not permitted to be educated, then that is something of concern. However, whether men and women pray shoulder to shoulder or not has no effect on their everyday lives.

If the major leaders of Muslim religion across the world were in fact to endorse homosexual unions, gay sex, extramarital sex in massive casual doses, female imams and so forth then that would be newsworthy, that would be a change in a major religion. However, a couple of Muslims who give up their cultural identity to impress little white kids and the white and or Hispanic editors of the Associated Press, are mere outliers are not the core. How does the Associated Press think their article will be viewed in the Muslim world? Do they think it will make Muslim countries like America more, that they laud people who prefer America to Mohammed? Or do they think such articles as theirs will not be used as propaganda to spread extremism? In fact the American Constitution exists precisely to prevent people from having to choose between their god and their country, their rights and their country, their soul and conscience and their country and so forth.

'Muslim movement accepts once-taboo causes' by the Associated Press is linked to below:

I will not be leaving Facebook any time soon.

Thoughts on why I will not be leaving Facebook any time soon.

I think many people joined Facebook almost as a game. They tried to build up as many connections as possible and were not discerning in their choices. I take a similar policy to my LinkedIn as I take to my Facebook: by choosing whose invitations to accept or ignore, by determining who to add: I am able to avoid being simply annoyed with Facebook. Yes, every connection on social media might be potential business as proponents of Facebook have pointed out, however a mass of connections does no one any good. What does good is the real human connection increased or formed through Facebook or other social media. Posting to a mass of connections might well get you more visibility, but it can also result in others becoming incredibly annoyed with you as a person they have never actually met or only met for a short time, I believe it is this numbers game which has caused many to hate their Facebook account. Also, many people like to show that they know how to party on Facebook: although in reality the party is often nothing but a photo shoot, nonetheless a negative impression of the person is formed in the business person's mind.

For me Facebook like all social networks is not the end but the means. By Facebook I can connect with human beings and be connected with by human beings.

I have often found that upon adding a person on Facebook who I got to know in real life: I discovered that they were not the type of person I thought they were.

If Facebook is bad it is because it involves more exposure to other human beings. There is the famous story of the cosmonauts stuck in a satellite circling the earth, becoming crazed and homicidal in their thought patterns.

If someone's posts annoyed me, I can unfollow them without unfriending them. I can also have full control over what pictures appear on my profile. Fortunately we have a lot less to fear from Facebook if we do not portray ourselves through our actions, undesirably.

Sooner or later, the very people who are annoyed with Facebook will become annoyed with whatever other social network they follow. Perhaps it is nothing else other than overexposure to something: much as one might become annoyed with a certain foodstuff if one eats it every single night. Perhaps also, their annoyance with Facebook is suggestive of the type of company they keep, for they are not fleeing Facebook but they are fleeing their friends upon Facebook.

I would be interested in your thoughts.

Saturday 26 July 2014

Why Julius Malema is quite wrong to pursue his Parliamentary helmet and onesie campaign.

Why Julius Malema is quite wrong to pursue his Parliamentary helmet and onesie campaign.

You will have noticed much violence in the Gauteng legislature of late. Parliamentarians being locked inside Parliament by use of chairs. Police using tear gas against EFF supporters wearing onesies, helmets and other attire. The rules of parliament in Gauteng demand formal attire from parliamentarians. The uniform of mine workers, and the clothing of domestic workers such as maids do not count as formal according to the provincial Parliament located in Gauteng.

It is not, however, as though EFF members cannot afford to wear a suit. It is very likely in fact that EFF women had to go out and buy maids' outfits and EFF men had to go out and buy overalls and safety-helmets. Julius Malema has often worn a suit. He has even had the audacity to bare the bottom half of his birthday suit on one occasion. This is certainly a man with more than one suit to wear, who does not need to wear overalls. In fact, the EFF wearing overalls or the uniform of maids: is a bit of a fancy dress occasion, resembling a uniform for the group. Of course, the ravages of gender theory do not seem to have affected the EFF whatsoever. The men all dress as miners, the women all dress as maids. The EFF in essence is making a statement, partially a cry of bloody murder against the ANC, partly an attempt to associate with the far left and unions. And more than anything, an attempt to ruffle feathers, an attempt to rouse rabbles brought to South Africa by the man who suggested we go to war with our neighbour Botswana because they like Americans.

Most commentaries on this issue have missed the point. They claim that the ANC is elitist, perhaps as stereotypical and false a statement as portraying all men as mine workers and all women as maids. They believe that demanding formal attire is the equivalent of persecuting the poor. They compare it to Nelson Mandela wearing formal tribal gear at his trial. They should perhaps also compare it to the colonial era demand that ‘natives’ wear trousers in town.

The thing about it is, that the EFF are well paid by Parliament. They can perfectly afford to wear suits, they do outside of parliament in fact. It is a bit like the Communist kid refusing to wear his school uniform and instead wearing a shirt with Che Guevara proudly emblazoned upon the front. It is perhaps also resembling protest by Ukrainian group Femen, in which they bare their intimate assets in violation of morality rules, to make a point.

Does this make mine workers and maids the victim of politicking by the EFF? Are they the butt of a bad joke? Or do the highly educated EFF parliamentarians desire to portray themselves as from a class they do not belong to. Mine workers and maids if they are lucky will take a taxi home perhaps to a shanty town. The EFF in their attempt at a Venetian ball at Parliament, in their fancy dress party uniform: can climb into a BMW or a limousine and cruise happily back to their large homes in Sandton. By dressing like mine workers the EFF can isolate these social stereotypes and the EFF can give mine workers a message, that they are not welcome in Parliament.

The question no one is asking is why Parliament has the rules it does. We don’t see Julius Malema objecting to demands from tribal chiefs that women not wear pants. We do not see Julius Malema objecting to school uniforms. Why does parliament demand that parliamentarians dress in a certain manner?

In the British Parliament, or rather the Royal Court at the time: a true endeavour emerged involving formal and informal dress. The most important women in the Royal Court would wear their pyjamas to the court chambers. The most important men likewise would dress very casually. The least important people present would dress the most formally. Formal dress was a sign of respect to others. Formal dress was a sign of respect to the Royal Court and the social class system of the time.

Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, gave a parable about heaven involving dress. He said that those who were figuratively not properly dressed to enter heaven would be destroyed. His parable was thus: a king invited people to his wedding. Certain people came to his wedding but not in formal wedding clothing. The King destroyed these people. Dressing inappropriately was a sign of grave disrespect to the King and the union he was to enter.

The supporters of Julius Malema bring up the case of Gandhi. They state how Gandhi went from dressing as a Westerner, to wearing nothing but a loincloth: the equivalent of underwear. They state how Gandhi met the Queen dressed as such. The problem with the argument is thus: Gandhi dressed in such a manner so as to disrespect the Queen and the British Empire, so as to show that he is a rebel who has no respect for Britain or its Queen. Gandhi demanded that Indians wear Indian attire and not adhere to the dictates of Western fashion. Gandhi was putting himself as an equal to the Queen, in fact as a superior to her.

Whatever culture you adhere to, would you dress casually to a funeral or to a wedding? Would you dress casually to dates with the person you respect deeply? Especially in the amalgamate of different cultures forming the common cultural phenomenon of the so-called black culture in South Africa, dressing formally to formal events is important. Imagine if you were getting married, and a person who can afford a very expensive suit, and has one: decided to wear fancy dress and come as a vampire. Would this be respect or disrespect? Would you celebrate them or consider them to be a disruptive force with no respect for you? Imagine if someone came to your wedding wearing a Che Guevara shirt, and a sign spouting Communist ideology? Are they not hijacking your wedding for their own cause? Are they not showing disrespect to you by not dressing appropriately for the occasion?

Imagine if Julius Malema and his followers were instead dressing as Catholic priests and nuns. Imagine if they were doing so specifically so they could disrupt Parliament. Would the Catholic Church be impressed with such actions, or consider Julius Malema to be mocking the Catholic Church and politicking at their expense?

Imagine if you went to the doctor, and your doctor, not being a mine worker, was for some sort of jest wearing the attire of a mine worker? Imagine if you went to the doctor and your doctor, not being a domestic worker, was in some sort of jest wearing the attire of a French maid? Imagine if you went to the doctor and the doctor was dressed as a vampire. Would you consider your doctor to be showing you respect or disrespect? Is it appropriate for your doctor to wear fancy dress, and dress as a profession they do not belong to? Would it be appropriate for mine workers to go underground wearing the attire of a doctor, or of a French maid? Doctors dress in a certain way because of their profession. Lawyers also, whether they have the money or not will wear a suit. Is it comfortable to always wear a suit? Is it comfortable to wear it in the heat of the day? Lawyers nonetheless wear a suit. Lawyers are instructed to bring honour to their profession in the way they dress and in the way they act at all times. A lawyer might dress as a miner or a maid to a fancy dress party or on Halloween. A lawyer might dress as such if they are going down a mine. However, would you consider your lawyer to be respectful towards you if they did not wear a suit?

The EFF had every chance to give their parliamentarian positions to maids and to miners. They chose instead to give these positions to highly educated elites. To add insult to injury to the sort of people who vote for the EFF: they then dressed like their perhaps incorrect stereotype of what their constituents dress like. Do mine workers only ever wear overalls? Do mine workers wear helmets to a date with a woman, to a wedding or to a funeral? People are not what they do, people are who they are. Julius Malema is suggesting that mine workers would disrespect Parliament by dressing in their everyday work clothing rather than as though they were going to a wedding or to a date.

Parliamentarians have worn formal African wear before. If you could wear it to an African wedding, you can wear it to Parliament. If you could wear it to an African funeral, you can wear it to Parliament.

The reason I cannot show up in Parliament wearing board shorts, or my pyjamas and slippers: is because Parliament is not like a shopping centre. Parliament is not like my home. Parliament is not like an average South African workplace. Parliament has a set uniform which is not a party uniform. While we adhere to party politics in South Africa, we do not have only one representative for each party, specifically because we believe in South Africa in the importance of each and every individual parliamentary representative being an individual. The EFF insisting on a uniform for the parliamentarians, takes away this individuality and the individual strength of their parliamentarians. The EFF is one man, his name is Julius Malema. Like China’s Mao, he demands that his supporters wear a uniform. Their minds likewise must adhere to his mind.

If anything, by refusing to adhere to the dress codes of Parliament, dressed in fancy dress in the guise of a mine worker or a maid, Julius Malema is suggesting that mine workers and maids are nothing but their jobs. He has made them the cruel butt of his joke: the person attending a wedding or funeral dressed in casual clothing. This is not a show of respect towards mine workers and maids, but a betrayal of them as nothing but what their jobs demand they dress as. This is in fact disrespect by Malema towards these people, whether they realise it or not.

If you ask anyone who supports the EFF attempt to force Parliament in Gauteng to allow the wearing of onesies: they will grin very widely. The reason for their grin is the disrespect Julius Malema intends to convey. They think it great that he is usurping the rules of Parliament, and thus the authority of the parliamentary body. They think it wonderful that his supporters desire to lock people into buildings and fight with police. Che Guevara is famous because he was a rebel. As a doctor he broke his oath and slaughtered countless civilians. Yet, he is a ‘hero’ because he stood up to the man. Julius Malema first came to light to the public when he bore his arse to his opponents. He is loved because he is a disruptor. He is not a force for peace or unity. Imagine then if he became president as his supporters would have be. Would he accept the type of disrespect he has paid the current authorities? Or would he object to it and punish them?

Friday 25 July 2014

The University of the Witwatersrand toughens its standards for law.

The University of the Witwatersrand toughens its standards for law.

The Wits Vuvuzela newspaper covers the confusion, outrage, and satisfaction of students at Oliver Schreiner School of Law. The supplementary exam regime is being struck off the roll. Only final year students will be allowed to write supplementary exams shortly, and even then it will be restricted to a single exam. When I attended the University, if you got a certain mark below passing you were allowed to write a supplementary exam, and thus did not have to redo the course for another year, provided you satisfied the minimum requirements the first time you wrote the exam. Practical legal training schools are also expected to adopt a similar practice, in future demanding 50% to pass a subject. The pass mark at the University of the Witwatersrand has been 50% for many years, but supplementary exams allowed students who got 49 or 47% to rewrite the exam.

The seeming move by the University of the Witwatersrand towards scrapping supplementary exams, follows a massive shakeup that has already been occurring at the law school. Students no longer study Roman law and customary law. The syllabus of many subjects has been made more practical and less theoretical. The LLB law degree which I took, which saw half its students drop out every year, has been scrapped in favour of BCOM LLB and BA LLB, with their wider variety of subjects of a nonlegal nature. When I did my LLB degree I took all but five of the law subjects at the University, and was able to pass all of these. Already the law school is restricting the amount of optional subjects the students can take, the wide legal education I got is being replaced by a wider general education for law students, with less background in the law and less opportunity to fail.

The ridding of the supplementary exam regime, no doubt exists to maintain the prestigious nature of the Wits law degree. Students will no doubt graduate University possessing the core skills they need in their profession. Unfortunately this means that the wide academia that Wits used to stand for must fall by the wayside. Certainly the calibre of students in the subjects which they understand will probably become much better now, after all they only take a small amount of subjects and must focus to make sure they don’t land up getting below 50% as there are no supplementary exams. The University will certainly win consistency from this, but I fear the consistency will be one with the loss of some of the excellency of those students who were able to handle the heavier workload and more abstract teaching of past years.

Taking land from wealthy white South Africans without negotiation or compensation would most hurt the poor.

Taking land from wealthy white South Africans without negotiation or compensation would most hurt poor, demographically often black, South Africans.

There is a strange irony when the actual implementation of government policy designed to aid the poor, in reality would hurt the poor deeply. When South Africa introduced its constitution, it enshrined amongst other things the right to land, including the rights of people to have the government restore the land which was taken from them or their community during Apartheid. Our neighbouring countries do not have such rights to land as we do in South Africa. In large parts of Africa, the government sells already occupied land to large corporations who promised investment. The investment often does not occur but yet the land is utilised for massive agricultural farms or factories. Whether the occupants of the land are merely people who for many years have rested upon it and gained their livelihood from it, or prior to that were true owners is often irrelevant. The government, with or without compensation removes the land from them, in sales in which they had no say, to foreign corporations of the type which have no care for them. This is what happens when there is no right to land.

Zimbabwe has an even stranger system of land tenure. White Zimbabweans were chased from their farming estates in a violent version of no negotiation and no compensation policies being put forward in South Africa. What happened next however is very different than one might have expected. The war veterans as they called themselves wanted land ownership. This is one thing they still lack in every way. Yes, they are permitted to farm on the land they took from the dead and fleeing. The government however does not permit them to own the land. Some were given certificates originally, and have now been given a different type of document: in both cases these land usurpers are not given ownership. Their property can be taken back at any time by the government should it find that they are not utilising it profitably. This might seem reasonable at first glance, a determination to ensure that agricultural land is profitable. Unfortunately, because the farmers do not own the land in the case that they are not profitable: the land is worthless as far as real security is concerned. Banks will not loan money to farmers without security. If things go wrong the bank have nothing to sell to regain their money. Perhaps the Zimbabwean government might decide to force banks to loan the money. Unfortunately that would create an even worse predicament. Would the loans be unlimited, would they be based upon creditworthiness? How would banks get their money back? Surely also interest rates would have to increase radically to do away with the high risk of default. Perhaps the Zimbabwean government could again prevent these high interest rates? In that case the banks would likely have to cut back on staff, leave the country, or shut down.

Let us however look at what is the likely implementation of a no negotiation or a no compensation policy involving South African land in white hands. Would this only involve land from which black South Africans had been removed? Could the land only be taken from white owners, or from anyone who bought the land from those who gained it from the government? Would such a policy take into account the massive population growth South Africa has encountered since land was taken? Would only those who were pushed off a certain plot of land gain land, and would this land actually be worth anything given how much the population has grown?

South Africa’s customary land system itself has been much criticised in the way it leaves ownership of the land either with the chief or with a corporation under his control. The problem again lies with real security of tenure. Land is so useful because it can be sold by a bank if the loan defaults. The American property bubble which caused the recent Great Depression was caused by unscrupulous lending without adequate real security. It was a dangerous economic move which damaged the world economy and South Africa deeply!

Currently, the slow but steady path has been for the government to negotiate for and buy the land in question from the current owners. There has been suggestion that negotiations should be removed and that mere court process be followed to retake such land. In the past I have argued that this would be unconstitutional, as a court rendered value is not the equivalent of free market value nor to the triple value often given out in expropriation, and endangers the financial system and property ownership in South Africa. What is even more dangerous is the punitive system suggested by certain factions of Parliament: the taking of land from the new owners without compensation. Any property which was taken from black South Africans under Apartheid would become worthless overnight. No one would want to buy property which can gain junk value the moment a government official so desires. People often have mortgages over their properties. If these people were to default on their loans, the banks would not be able to sell their properties. Banks would become reluctant to give mortgages over such properties. The question then would be which properties are targeted: those of any white South African? Those specific properties which were taken when the population was much smaller and property values were much less? Who would be given the property? What if the property is now agricultural land? It takes about eight years for a person to learn to farm properly if they ever do. The type of confusion which would emerge in the market would be dangerous in the least.

A white person who cannot take out a loan on their property is less likely to spend what money they do have on goods and services, on entrepreneurship, on hiring more staff. Banks would be less likely to loan out as much as they do, and employees would suffer. The real effect just on this superficial first stage level would be devastating to the economy of the country.

The second part of such a process however would be far worse. If the courts declare that it is acceptable to take the land of white South Africans for the sake of retribution for Apartheid, with or without compensation and based on the non-market value valuation of a court official if any value at all: it does not just disrupt the financial markets. It weakens the right to property that black South Africans benefit from as well. Righting the wrongs of Apartheid is certainly a part of the constitution, but if this part of the constitution is permitted to destroy altogether the right of land of one part of the population, it weakens the right of land altogether in an incremental snaking of bad legal jurisprudence. Black South Africans have been protected from large corporations, and their seemingly beneficial deals with the countries around us, which have hurt the average man. They have been protected by their tenure to land. The more this right is weakened for the sake of policy, the more policy will permit the weakening of the right! That which has been a great protector of South Africans against the might and deep influence of corporations could well disappear forever. Because of uncertainty involving E-Tolling, the government was permitted to make a massive deal with a foreign company against the will of those impacted if statistics are correct. This is a policy decision of the government. It resembles in many ways the policy decisions of South Africa’s neighbours, except that in South Africa we have a right to land. A right to mortgage our land is just as important as the right to possession or temporary possession. In the end the entire item of clothing that we call our constitution and legal system could unravel due to shortsighted opportunism, the same type of opportunism that saw the evil system of Apartheid begin.

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Mention of the laws of South Africa is merely made for argument’s sake.

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