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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Courts have been working round the clock this weekend.. the number charged with riot related offenses has passed a thousand.. and more than 25 hundred have been arrested, and are awaiting charges..
They're pulling out all the stops on this one.. developments related to last week's rioting in London, the East and West Midlands, Manchester, Liverpool and Gloucester, include US "supercop" Bill Bratton, the prime minister's new crime adviser.. who says communities cannot "arrest their way out" of gang crime..
Two men have been arrested over the death of Trevor Ellis, who was found with bullet wounds in a car in Croydon, south London, during Monday night's rioting..
Families of three men killed when hit by a car in Birmingham during the riots have praised people for their response, as police arrest two more suspects and are given more time to question three people who were already arrested..
Images of suspects continue to be displayed to shoppers on a large city centre screen in Birmingham.. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has been in Manchester, where more than 100 premises in the city and in nearby Salford were looted during disturbances.. and Merseyside Police have released CCTV images of suspects thought to be involved in rioting..
And while the Courts can hand out sentences the likes of 9 months for stealing £1.85 worth of bottled water in the vain hope stiff jail terms will stop looting in the future, those sentences are simply going to cause more resentment towards the Law and those who enforce it..

We might take a page from an Indian approach to the Law.. The 'Lok Adalat'.. or the People's Court.. is gaining popularity among locals in Tangmarg town of Baramulla district in India's northern Jammu and Kashmir state with its quick redressal of their grievances..
The Legal Services Committee of Tangmarg recently conducted a mega Lok Adalat and resolved approximately 500 pending cases..
Speaking to the media, Mohammad Abdullah Pal, a beneficiary from Srinagar, highlighted the importance of the Lok Adalat for the poor..
"We are very happy that the Lok Adalat (People's Court) has been convened here (in Tangmarg). People are not aware about the cases and courts. A lot of money is consumed during the trial of cases.. in the general courts.. and it involves many other things as well.. But this thing does not happen in the Lok adalat.. The judges lay down the Law as they see it and the cases are solved in front of the concerned parties in a dignified manner.."
Some might say a return to feudalism.. others might say empowering the community..

Many times we have mentioned, and decried the lack of 'ethic' in this country.. The common attitude that big ticket items, the likes of a house, are the 'right' of the working class, We have devalued our own worth, through decades of false expectation..
A lesson we should have learned well, some 70 years ago when last our economic house of cards collapsed.. And perhaps the worst of this situation is the expectations we have passed willy-nilly to the population of countries which never had them before..
A Serbian, 30 years ago, would consider himself lucky to have, say, a car. That same man may have willingly put his name of a two-year waiting list for that car.. and have accumulated a sizable down payment..
That same Serbian today, is waiting to be among the ranks of those in the Eurozone.. at which point Western Capitalism will sweep through the country. Those who saved for a 50% down payment on that car.. will be looking at 5% down and the rest spread over 5 years..
Mind you, that same Serbian, having been likely raised by the USSR, will likely have a saleable skill.. and skilled machinists, lathe operators, millwrights, welders, carpenters.. will be in demand in the rest of Europe, and indeed, in North America..
But we, the overindulged.. must re-evaluate our own mindsets.. and encourage our youth, those among the terminally bewildered, to take pride in having earned a days wage.. in having produced something tangible at the end of an eight hour shift..
And we must get a firm grip on the reality of what a job is worth.. What has actually been accomplished..
The fact is indisputable, that in a Capitalist system, there are going to be the rich, the middle class, and the lower class. The problem arises, when the lower class wants, without any effort on their own part, that which the middle and the rich have.. It is far too easy to stand and shout 'I'm as good as anyone else'.. when the fact of the matter is simply that many are not..
Talent comes in many forms, and should be rewarded according to their relative contribution to society as a whole..
But we make a mockery of this, and stockpile fuel for uprisings the likes seen across this country, when we see Bank Executives being gifted a million or more, while their business lost money on the year.. When we allow trading mechanisms the likes of short-selling to direct our markets.. And when we throw good money after bad, raising our taxes and cutting our social services.. to fund foreign markets..
And this brings us to the impracticality of the Eurozone, and the single currency..
That type of partisan wrangling which we saw in the States a fortnight ago, is magnified by the machinations of member countries in confederations the likes of the Eurozone.. When the financial health of the group depends upon that of it's weakest member, all are dragged down.. German, French, British taxpayers are expected to gift money they themselves don't have.. so Greece, Eire, Portugal, and possibly Spain and Italy can meet both their government payrolls, but the interest payments on the loans already accrued..
This is no way to run a United States of Europe..

Texas Governor Rick Perry entered the Republican presidential race today and jolted the crowded field gathered for an old fasioned 'GOP Barbeque' seeking to unseat President Barack Obama.. casting a shadow all the way back to the Midwest.. site of an important early test of his rivals' strength..
Perry told voters in a conference call yesterday from Columbia, South Carolina, that he wants to take on Barack.. and said that “I full well believe I'm going to win.”
About an hour later, he outlined his principles in a speech at a conservative conference in Charleston, South Carolina, declaring that if elected president, he would work to make Washington as “inconsequential” to Americans' lives as possible..
He accused Obama of providing “rudderless” leadership at home and abroad.. He declared that he wants to cut taxes and free businesses from the shackles of regulation to spark an economic recovery.. Perry spoke only a few hours before the release of results from a straw poll in Iowa, the state which holds the first nominating contest next year..
Voting started at 11 a.m. EDT..1500 GMT.. and was to run until 5 p.m. EDT.. 2100 GMT..
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney leads national polls and many states' surveys for the chance to challenge Barack, who is considered vulnerable in next year's election due to lingering high unemployment and the sputtering economic recovery.. But there is no shortage of rivals looking to emerge as the top alternative to Romney, who lost the nomination in 2008 to Arizona Senator John McCain..
Even before he officially entered the race.. polls of Republican voters showed Perry running only a few percentage points behind Romney.. who has been emphasizing his business background to persuade voters he can turn the economy around..
But many conservatives have not embraced him because of his past support as Massachusetts governor.. for abortion and gay rights and a health care reform package used by Obama as a model for legislation that Republicans loathe.. Evangelical Christians, a key part of the Republican base, also look askance at Mr. Romney's Mormon faith..

It must be noted..
Fidel Castro marked his 85th birthday.. outside of the public spotlight today.. with little fanfare around the aging revolutionary icon who is rarely seen in public these days but still casts a long shadow over Cuban society..
There were no announced celebrations of Castro's birthday, though the previous night two dozen musical acts from across Latin America held a concert in his honor..
"What we say in the songs of our invited artists will be little next to what he deserves," Alfredo Vera, one of the organizers, said late Friday.. "Congratulations, beloved and eternal comandante."..
The former president didn't make it to his own birthday bash.. hardly a surprise since he appears infrequently since he stepped down in 2006.. at first temporarily, and then permanently in 2008..
A gregarious public speaker as president, Castro is seen publicly these days in official still photographs and video footage, such as recent images showing him with Raul and a convalescing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez..
Castro seemed unsteady on his feet when he made a surprise showing at a Communist Party Congress in April.. walking to his seat with the help of an aide.. It was at that same gathering that the party for the first time named a Leadership Council without him on it, as Fidel left his last official position..

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