Google Cuckolded

Google’s outrage over the voyeuristic antics of that spooky and sinister US snooping agency the NSA is comical and shouldn’t be taken all that serious. Google after all has been snooping on those of us who use their search engine, Gmail and other products for a very, very longtime. Google has manipulated our online activities for its corporate financial gain and shared this without our knowledge, as well as collected data about where we go, who we write to, what we buy and what we view. More recently Google announced that it had the right to use any of our created or uploaded data through Google+ despite our protestations. Furthermore the Google Chrome interface has a unique identifier that reveals its user. In addition they openly say they are spying on us online and we still hit the “I agree” button. Here are some of the more openly transparent ways they tell us they are snooping”:
“When you use our services or view content provided by Google, we may automatically collect and store certain information in server logs. This may include:

 Details of how you used our service, such as your search queries.

 Telephony log information, such as your phone number, calling-party number, forwarding numbers, time and date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls.

 Internet protocol address.

 Device event information, such as crashes, system activity, hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and referral URL.

 cookies that may uniquely identify your browser or your Google Account”
 We may use the name that you provide for your Google Profile across all of the services we offer that require a Google Account. In addition, we may replace past names associated with your Google Account, so that you are represented consistently across all our services. If other users already have your email or other information that identifies you, we may show them your publicly visible Google Profile information, such as your name and photo.
 We may combine personal information from one service with information, including personal information, from other Google services – for example, to make it easier to share things with people you know. We will not combine DoubleClick cookie information with personally identifiable information unless we have your opt-in consent.
 Google processes personal information on our servers in many countries around the world. We may process your personal information on a server located outside the country where you live”
It is indeed unfortunate that we all live in “The Kingdom of Glass, where nothing is private” (Nazarian, 2013) anymore, but we all seem to hit the “I agree” button and choose to live this way!


Nazarian, V. (2013). The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration .

The Myth of Free Speech & Facebook’s Tarnished Happy Social Community Image

There’s no such thing as free speech, in fact the notion or concept of Freedom is pretty flaky. We are never free from anything-there’s always a concept, an idea, an action or our own conscience which keeps us bound-up and shackled-in most cases to our own internal dialectic. Free speech is an illusory concept- especially when it comes to reporting anything as any report of anything seldom conveys the truth in any objective, rational way. Free speech has become a liberal mantra when anything which causes offense is criticized or causes outrage to others. We’ve seen the destructive nature of this illusory concept, especially when it comes to bigotry and scapegoating against others. Currently in the Western media there’s been a wave of anti-Semitism against Israel, and anti-Islamism against Muslims. This has taken the form of offensive cartoons and offensive articles which degenerate and stereotype the people of these cultures and religions. More recently there were the offensive cartoons produced by a French satirical newspaper showing the radiation effects on Japanese Sumo Wrestler. It was a very poor attempt at humor and a subtle, rather insidious dig by France at Japan’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
More recently Facebook has gained increased notoriety (perhaps to push up its share price?) by allowing further violent and offensive multi-media material to be uploaded and transferred through its service. Facebook is allowing decapitation videos and pictures to be freely transferred via its users. We may never, ever know how many authentic users Facebook has, or for that matter the real identity of those whom Facebook claim they can ‘authenticate’; nonetheless the idea that anyone would want to watch another person having their head brutally cut off is quite abhorrent to any well adjusted human being. Leaving aside Art imitating life and the special effects created by movie studios who glorify such violent acts; Facebook and any other service for that matter is simply promoting gratuitous violence under the guise of public interest, and that ever flaky notion of free speech. Given that Facebook allows children as young as 13 to use its service there should be a public outcry at this move. Warnings about graphic content are useless in the face of the prurient interests of the weak willed.
But perhaps what is more astonishing in this sorry saga is the claim by Melbourne University academic Dr. Suelette Dreyfus that “Facebook’s decision is a victory for freedom of Speech” She goes on to argue that bad things go on in the world and as such should not be hidden, and that Facebook through its social media site is simply “revealing truth” albeit it is an “ugly truth”. Dr. Dreyfus claims that social media are testing the boundaries of “free speech” through their “new coalfaces of digitally-based citizen journalism” Notwithstanding her conflicting mixed metaphors spanning from the industrial age to the present so-called digital age; such a claim makes no sense at all especially under the spurious claim of free speech.
Social media sites have an ethical and moral responsibility to censor offensive material and to promote ethics, morals and values which create cohesive societies not broken ones. Social media sites should exist to promote values which will create better communities and better lives. Instead they are becoming a haven for the dishonest and disaffected who plot, bully and work out ways of how offensive they may be to the ‘other’ whom for the most part they may have never met or may never know. Dr. Dreyfus’ opinion is sure to promote and provoke debate and that is a positive outcome I suppose. But her proclamation that “it’s a good thing Facebook has opted for freedom of speech on the issue” of allowing children as young as 13 years old (and adults for that matter) watch a man cut off a woman’s head is simply misguided and wrong.

Why fight and argue over the Name of God? There are plenty to choose from!

The ‘Keepers of the Keys to the Eternal Kingdom”  have never agreed on who holds the right key to fit the door of eternity, and throughout  millennia  of religious and spiritual belief we’ve come to accept and acknowledge that this is the way it’s always going to be. Nonetheless, the capacity for religions to fight among themselves, and disagree and argue about their particular claim to the Deity in the face of immense human suffering leaves me bewildered. For example, in terms of invoking the Name of God for a cause, there’s nothing more chilling today than hearing fighters in Syria scream ‘Allah Akbar” as they send missiles, bullets, grenades and chemical weapons into local neighbourhood killing innocent men, women and children in the name of religious orthodoxy.
It is an unfolding tragedy for humanity that different people of different faith and spiritual beliefs are never going to agree on many things and will never give ground on their respective claims to having private access to the Deity’s direct line in ‘Heaven’. Notwithstanding Prince Charles’s proclamation that when he ascends the throne of the United Kingdom he will be the defender of all faiths, such sentiments are just not shared by other commonwealth nations. He ought to take heed of this now and note that levels of disagreement have reached the heights of the absurd, as a Malaysian court rules that non-Muslims cannot use the word Allah to refer to their Deity.
Surely the concept of a universal Deity is bigger than all of the world’s religions combined? Furthermore whatever forms the Deity takes at any given time in history we can be quite sure IT isn’t too concerned about an argument based on nationalistic – religiosity and  linguistic reductionism about who can or cannot use the word Allah.  History throws up a plethora of terms for the Deity. For example the English noun God is used across cultures and countries to name the Deity and as far as I know no-one throughout the recent millennial of the Abrahamic religions has claimed copyright to it-at least not up until now.
The absurdity of this law is in its attempt to make a legal ruling based upon a meta-physical belief in a supreme being, without the physical evidence to support such an assertion in the first place. It is illogical. However if we are to accept this reductio ad absurdum then there’s very little to worry about because the great Deity literally has hundreds of names available for the non Muslim citizens of Malaysia and the world to choose from.

Firstly there are the 101 names of God:



Worthy of Worship
Yaz meaning worthy of being attuned; Praiseworthy
Lord of all
Lord of All
Without Beginning

Without Beginning

Without End
Without End
Root of Creation
Root of Creation
Endless Bliss
The End of All
Primal Cause
Ancient Cause
Exalted One
More Noble
Purest of the Pure
Most Open (Innocent)
Detached from All
Separate from All
In touch with all
Connected with All
Unreachable by anyone
Attainer of All
Who Can Reach All
Most Righteous
Most straightforward; Truest of All
Upholder of all

Who Holds Everyone

Beyond reason
Without Cause (Does not need a reason for existence)
Sovereign Reason
Reason for Being
Bountiful One
Creator of Progress
Ever Prolific
Creator of Growth
Reaching equally to all
Who Reaches Everyone Equally
Protector of the world
Protector of Creation
Never Changing
Not Different
Without Shape
Most Steadfast among the Steadfast
Most Determined
Lord Invisible
Most Invisible


All in all
Most Complete
Worthy of our profound thanks
Worthy of Thanksgiving
All embracing Goodness
Completely Good Natured
Har-naik faraih
All embracing Holy light
Completely Good Noble Aura


Remover of affliction
Remover of Suffering
Beyond Affliction
Fulfiller of Holy Desires
Grantor of Wishes
Creator of Holy attributes
Creator of Noble Nature
Compassionate Judge
Generous with Justice
Merciful Giver
Grantor of Generosity
Bountiful Giver
Most Abundant Provider
Who Does Not Get Angry
Freest of the free
Independent; Without Worry
Deliverer from evil
Protector from Evil
Never Deceiving
Who Does Not Deceive
Never Deceived
Who Cannot Be Deceived
One without a second
Without Duality
Lord of desire
Lord of Wishes
Decreer of Sovereign Desire
Wish Is His Command
Aekh Tan
Soul Supreme
Without Body
Who Does Not Forget
Just Accountant
Keeper of Accounts
Knowing all things
Worthy of Knowing; All Knowing
Devoid of pain
Without Suffering
Most exalted one
Most High
Ever the same
Always the Same
Invisible Creator of the Universe
Creator of the Universe Invisibly
Creator of the Profoundly Spiritual
Creator of Much Invisible Creations
Hidden within the spirit
Hidden in Invisible Creation
Transmuter of Fire into Air
Who Changes Fire Into Air
Transmuter of Fire into dew
Who Changes Fire Into Water
Transmuter of Air into Fire
Who Changes Air Into Fire
Transmuter of Air into dew
Who Changes Air Into Water
Transmuter of Air into Earth
Who Changes Air Into Dust
Supreme Transmuter of Air into dust
Who Changes Air Into Wind
Supreme Transmuter of Fire into divine sparks
Who Changes Fire Into Jewels
Spreading Air everywhere
Who Creates Air In All Places
Creator of Lifegiving water
Creator of Much Water
Transmuter of Dust into Fire
Who Changes Dust Into Fire
Transmuter of Dust into Air
Who Changes Dust Into Air
Transmuter of Dust into water
Who Changes Dust Into Water
Master Craftsman
Creator of Creators
Rewarder of sincere desires
(Fulfiller of Wishes) *
Creator of all Humanity and its actions
(Creator of Mankind) *
Creator of all Human and Animal Life
(Creator of All Things) *
Creator of all the four elements
(Creator of 4 Elements) *
Creator of all the planets and all other worlds
(Creator of Stars) *
Never in doubt
Without Doubt
Eternally awake
Always Guarding & Progress Creator
Recorder of Man’s actions
Keeper of Limits
Lord of the Universe
Lord of Creation
Lord of Life and Wisdom
Wise Lord
Preserver of Creation
Most Capable of Preserving Originality of Creations
Renewer of Creation
Most Capable of Creating New Creations
Embracing All Creation
Who Can Reach All Creations
Giver of All Things
Who Can Provide Everything
Infinitely Patient
Lord of exisience
Lord of Existence
Forgiver of sins
Divine Creator
Creator of Justice
Rayed in glory
Full of Brightness
Haloed in Light
Full of Aura, Light
Lord of Justice
Giver of True Justice
Lord of Just Rewards
Lord of Good Works
Giver of Freedom for Progress
Awakener of Eternal Spring
Refresher of the Soul with Progress

(Wikipedia, 2013)

And, if that isn’t enough there are over 950 other names ascribed to the Deity too, so non-Muslims in Malaysia take your pick! But perhaps it is worthwhile to remember that it isn’t so much about the name, but more about those who claim adherence to any particular faith and how they practice it. To make a legal ruling on who can and cannot use Allah, God or Deity or any other name for that matter isn’t about religious faith or spirituality it’s about adhering to an inflexible ideology which just doesn’t understand that even the concept of a God is “beyond full comprehension by humans; has an endless number of virtues; takes on innumerable forms, but is formless; and can be called by an infinite number of names thus “Your Names are so many, and Your Forms are endless. No one can tell how many Glorious Virtues You have” Allah. (Wikipedia, 2013)


Wikipedia. (2013, August 19). Names of God. Retrieved from Wikipedia:


Lampedusa’s lesson for Australia & the Rest of the World.

The decision by Italian authorities to hold a State Funeral for the several hundred men, women and children who died after a fire was started on their boat as they were fleeing North Africa for a better life in Europe is tokenism at its worst, and comes too late for the victims of this terrible tragedy. Yet there are lessons to be learned for all Nations confronted with the unexpected arrival of displaced peoples.
Migration from one country to another to seek a different life should be everyone’s inalienable right. An objective look at a world map with its curious colored boundaries, where people are separated by language, politics, economics, religion and culture denies the obvious-our shared humanity. Instead it promotes the pernicious idea that one has either a positive or negative right to life depending on where they’re born.
Illegal immigration and human trafficking are symptoms of another more pressing global problem-the unfolding drama of mass migration due to climate change, war, crime, political oppression and terrible poverty. And until these are addressed and fixed criminal gangs will continue to seek out and exploit the most vulnerable who live in the worst of the geographical, political, economic and social environments in our world. They will extort huge sums of money from them with promises of realizing their great American or European dream. They will squash them into dilapidated, unseaworthy wrecks, or pack them like produce into trucks and transit vehicles and smuggle them into countries wrongly perceived as offering these hopeful migrants a better way of life. The sad irony is that those hopefuls who survive the ordeal hardly end up in a Promised Land. And perhaps what is more shocking is that those people charged with political, social and immigration responsibilities and duties in the countries where these unfortunates end up, deal with them in the same ruthless manner as the human traffickers. They treat these people with political expediency and a cold, calculating indifference to their desperate plight.
Nowhere is this more evident than in Australia-the land of plenty-a country which could quite easily hold up to a quarter more of its current population. Australia is one of the largest single land masses in the world. It is rich in natural resources and home to a mere 22 million people. But it has a pernicious and punishing anti-illegal immigrant policy, at one point sending potential immigrants to the phosphate bird-dung infected island of Naru.
Nowadays, well-meaning politicians and their supporters from all spectrums of the political divide in Australia send these hopeful immigrants, who are often traumatized through war, violence and political oppression to the failed State of Papua New Guinea, with its own internal wars (at one point it had two Prime Ministers who behaved like the anti Popes of the 3rd and 15th centuries) and out of control crime, rapes and murders. Banished to Manus Island, the hopeful migrants are locked up like common criminals and treated worse than petty offenders. They may be stuck with the ‘status of a non-person’ for years. In Australia, this extremely selfish example of political convenience is supported through an extreme culture of xenophobia which is endemic throughout the country and reinforces the absurd notion that some human beings are less worthy and less deserving than others. Yet, Australia isn’t alone when it comes to the harsh treatment of people who are the victims of the trade in illegal immigration. All wealthy industrialized countries show a growing intolerance and a lack of compassion for their fellow human beings. In doing so, they ignore the immense human drama of mass, forced migration unfolding in the world today, as millions flee the horrors of war, poverty, climate change and economic and political oppression. More open, tolerant and supportive immigration policies from the wealthiest countries is what is required, rather than the well-off assuaging their guilt over the dead through a State Funeral.

Teaching in the Shadows of Social Injustice

Teachers in Brazil, protesting their poor working conditions and paltry wages for undertaking one of the most essential jobs in the world today-educating future generations-were brutally attacked by security forces as they protested for better pay and working conditions. While their rally was hijacked by anarchists and other groups fed up with the gross inequalities which have characterized Brazil for decades; the teachers’ protests are receiving more attention because Brazil is to host two of the world’s most watched and attended sporting spectacles: The FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic games in 2016.
Sport in itself is an essential part of the social and psychological dynamic of human societies, and has been for thousands of years. The kinds of sporting activities which have evolved through to today are for the most part based on fair competition with the sole purpose of excelling in and accomplishing extraordinary human achievements whilst showing courage, determination and perseverance in a particular field. These core values of competitive sport make any game or competition such an exciting spectator event and fuels local, national and international fervor to the point that one’s life-style, social status and reputation may be determined by the sport they follow and the club brand to which they hold allegiance. Football, Cricket, the NBA, the NFL, Tennis, Baseball, Rugby Union & League, as well as Swimming, Sailing and Skiing are featured among the top elite sports in the world. The respective affiliations and clubs which host these sports are for the most part multi-billion dollar a year industries and are legitimized through their own hierarchical structures and law governing bodies each in some way linked to the corporate world of advanced capitalism. And herein lays the rub for ordinary folk.
What justification can there be for paying anyone in excess of $400,000 per week when the global average wage per week is around $600 per week; if you are lucky enough not to be born in any of the developing countries of the world? While top footballers like Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo offer us scintillating performances as skilled footballers; from a social justice and equality stance there is no justification for the kind of money they earn as professionals. Therefore, it is totally acceptable for teachers in Brazil or anywhere else for that matter, who may only earn as little as $1600 per month to protest, given their profession is essential, while footballers’ jobs, and myriad other sporting professionals’ jobs are non-essential.
Brazil has come to accept the gross social and economic inequalities in its country as the norm. This is wrong. The people’s right to protest is an inalienable right, especially as they are paying out billions of dollars on their country’s credit card to host two of the world’s most prestigious sporting spectacles. While the World Cup and the 31st Olympiad will bring a lot of kudos and cash to pay off the debt accumulated by the country in the short term, the long term goal of providing decent housing, decent jobs, decent wages and alleviating poverty fades away.
Nelson Mandela reminds us that the globalization of professional sport means, as it so often does, “that the rich and powerful now have new means to further enrich and empower themselves at the cost of the poorer and weaker, and that we have a right and a responsibility to protest in the name of universal freedom”.

Hope and Despair in Africa

One of the most encouraging stories to emerge out of the secret and sinister world associated with the global pharmaceutical industry this week is a report that a pharmacological company in the United Kingdom is to market the world’s first malaria vaccine. GlaxoSmithKline is seeking regulatory approval for the world’s first malaria vaccine after preliminary findings from its drug trials suggest that its drug significantly reduced the number of malaria cases in Sub-Saharan Africa. The company has a murky past though. In July 2012, the pharmaceutical giant pleaded guilty to criminal charges and agreed to a $3 billion settlement of the largest health-care fraud case in United States history, and the largest payment by a drug company in the US. The settlement was related to the company’s illegal promotion of prescription drugs, its failure to report safety data, bribing doctors, and promoting medicines for uses for which they were not licensed (Wikipedia, 2013). Let’s pray this significant hope for the future of infants, children and the peoples on the African continent is not sullied with the same misfortunes.
I have traveled extensively throughout West Africa and on occasion have been ill and required hospital treatment. The health care systems I encountered and experienced were served for the most part by caring and compassionate medical personnel, who had to make do with outdated equipment, a lack of State of the Art equipment, and dwindling supplies of the drugs necessary to stave of illness and the effects of serious infections and afflictions like malaria. So, this is great news for Africa, in particular for its most vulnerable and poorest, who suffer beyond measure from neglect and exploitation by those in whose hands is concentrated all the wealth and power of the continent.
According to reports the drug which GlaxoSmithKline want to introduce was found to have reduced the number of malaria cases in children by almost half. While it did not eradicate the disease, this is a significant step towards that goal for those countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where many millions of cases fill their hospital wards. However, as has been pointed out many times, the ability of the mosquito to outwit the drug corporations is renowned, and there are some strains of malaria which remain drug resistant. Nevertheless, with the support of the non-profit Path for Malaria Vaccine Initiative, supported through the philanthropy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it is hoped that the World Health Organization will approve and recommend the use of the drug. The downside to this good news is that it may not be until 2015 that we see the drug introduced to the most vulnerable communities in the malaria infected countries of Africa. But it does give hope.
Then again hope can quickly turn to despair as on the same day we learn that on a continent where the majority of people live in poverty and earn less than $1.25 a day there are 55 billionaires. 20 members of this group are from Nigeria where the average wage falls below $1:00 a day.
The 55 African billionaires have a combined wealth of $143.88 billion dollars. Such statistics suggest another kind of illness for which there’s no known vaccine: Greed. The World Bank estimates that there are over 400 million people living in poverty in Africa. In West Africa the average yearly income for each person is $309. This compares with an average yearly income for each person in Sub-Saharan Africa of $470. The region’s economic growth has averaged only 2.5 percent during the past three years while its population has been growing by 2.2 percent a year. Moreover, over 55 percent of West Africans life on less than $1 a day; life expectancy at birth is only 46 years; secondary school enrollment is at 20 percent; forty-two percent of adults are illiterate; and malnutrition affects 29 percent of children under the age of five (The World Bank, 2013). What the use of a fine house if you don’t have a just, fair and tolerable planet to build it on? (Thoreau, 2013)

The World Bank. (2013, April 12). West Africa: Facts and Figures. Retrieved October 8/10/2013, 2013, from The World Bank:,,contentMDK:20179737~pagePK:34370~piPK:42768~theSitePK:4607,00.html
Thoreau, H. (2013, October 8). Family Letters. Retrieved October 8, 2013, from goodreads:
Wikipedia. (2013, October 2). GlaxoSmithKline. Retrieved October 8, 2013, from Wikipedia:

Violent Video Games & Societal Violence

The recent release of the violent, anti-social video game Grand Theft Auto which promotes among other deplorable behaviors, theft, murder, sexual assault and indiscriminate violence, was responsible for the stabbing, assault and robbery of a young man in the United Kingdom on the 24th September this year. The woeful paradox was that the victim was returning home with his purchased copy of the ‘game’. Rather ironic isn’t, as he was set upon by three teenagers aged from 14 to 17. They stabbed and robbed him of his copy. Is this not further clear evidence of the harm violent video games, which are marketed as entertainment, cause in our societies?

Benjamin Franklin the United States of America Needs You!

The kind of crisis gripping the political elite in the United States of America and causing mayhem and havoc to ordinary people’s lives is a sorry spectacle for the the rest of the world. In some countries it would be enough for the military to step in and launch a coup, while in others million could be galvanized and take to the streets. But in the United States, while people express their frustration and disappointment or agree or disagree with their elected representatives-it’s pretty much business as usual for the worlds largest economy and most powerful democracy. People continue to do what they do best-consume. And they consume a lot in the US especially the hate filled rhetoric of the Barmy Right Wingers, whose opinions these days seem to dominate the media roadshows, nightly news and the loonies producing those bigoted self aggrandizing radio talk shows.
Since the election of the country’s first African-American president, and the decline of the far-right under the disgraced presidency of George W Bush, US politics has polarized. The right hates the idea of a left-leaning liberal black man, who supports the poor and disenfranchised, champions Gay rights, equates marriage beyond gender stereotypes, adopts equal opportunities for all women, and reforms health care under the Affordable Health Care Act, leading their country. But he does, and that’s that.
The Republican Party loathes him. Yet over 51% of the people loved him enough to re-elect him in 2012. Obama won the popular vote by more than 6% securing over 65 million votes, and securing an easy victory in the Electoral College of 332 to his opponents 206. The people spoke and Obama was given a clear mandate to govern. Yet, 11 months down the line US politics is a malfunctioning, inoperative, broken system. The government has run out of money and its civil services are broke. The Republicans hold the Affordable Care Act as a hostage and refuse to pass a bill which would see ordinary people get their wages, and the country pay its dues on time. In effect the US Republican party is disenfranchising over 65 million of the US citizens who voted in the 2012 election. They recently approved and passed a bill which would cut $ 40 billion off the food stamps program which helps the desperately poor of their country.
Jeffersonian democracy was once an ideal for those Nation States wanting a transition to egalitarianism through the ballot box. Instead it has become a de-based spectacle – a system of government embroiled in blackmail, infighting, intimidation, coercion and chaos, and perhaps one to be eschewed in favor of alternatives. Does it make Chinese authoritarianism and Russian coercive governance look like more sustainable substitutions? Benjamin Franklin once said of the United States of America “We are more thoroughly an enlightened people, with respect to our political interests, than perhaps any other under heaven. Every man among us reads, and is so easy in his circumstances as to have leisure for conversations of improvement and for acquiring information”. Unfortunately this is not the case today.