Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Man Who Probably Killed Diana

This man could have been involved in the crash.

Diana, Princess of Wales, died on 31 August 1997.

Diana was at the Paris Ritz, having dinner with Dodi Fayed.  The paparazzi were outside at the front waiting to take a photo that might bag them a fortune. Dodi decided they would go out the back, and be driven by Henri Paul. Henri Paul drinks Ricard, a drink that looks like pineapple juice when mixed with water. Blood tests later show that he was three and a half times over the French limit, he'd also taken some drugs for a problem he'd had, and because he also smoked, that had masked the alcohol that might have been evident on his breath. Had it been known he was so inebriated he may not have been asked to drive.

Henri Paul drove the black Mercedes, with bodyguard Trevor Rees in the front, and Dodi and Diana in the back, at speed through Paris very fast. He negotiated one underpass tunnel, then came up to a second tunnel. The second tunnel turned to the left some 15 degrees at the same time as the roadway dipped down sharply.

Tyre marks outside the tunnel were left by the Mercedes on the road well before the dip down into the tunnel, and the tyre marks also showed a slight bulge at one point, a sign that something traumatic happened. But French police only concentrated their efforts inside the tunnel, and reopened the road after just 4 hours, missing this vital evidence.

A white Fiat Uno came onto the main road near the Pont de l'Alma tunnel entrance from the right, forcing the Mercedes to brake sharply. Tyre expert has confirmed the tyre marks were from a Mercedes and calculates the speed of the Mercedes to be about 104mph.

The Mercedes then collides on the Uno's left rear quarter and control is lost by the driver. The Mercedes then launches into the air at the point where the road dips down entering the tunnel. It leaves rubber tyre marks halfway up a wall on the right-hand side on the tunnel entrance approach - Amazingly the French police miss both the tyre marks on the road, and the tyre marks on the right side wall.

Even today, there are scratch marks on this wall at the entrance to the tunnel.

The Mercedes then glances off the right wall, and goes headlong into the 13th pillar of the tunnel, and instantaneously swings violently anti-clockwise, and ends up next to the right-hand wall facing the way it came in. Henri Paul and Dodi Fayed are killed instantly. The white Uno slips past, not wanting to get involved in an accident its driver contributed to.

Travellers report flashes of light, loud bangs and screeching of tyres. Flashes of light put down to headlights, and a car spinning out of control, rather than photographers on bikes that were out-paced with the speeding black Mercedes. Moments afterwards, the paparazzi finally catch up with their prey, surround the car and begin assisting. Diana is alive but dies later in hospital.

Look at the front side of the car. You can see white scratch marks - from the impact from the Uno.

The destroyed Mercedes shows white paint scratch marks on it's front right side, consistent with being in collision with a white vehicle before hitting the pillar with such finality. Forensic evidence is produced showing that only Fiat used that paint on their Uno's between a certain time-frame.

A witness says they saw a white Uno with a Paris registration coming from the tunnel, the driver had black hair, and a big dog in the back, with an orange muzzle, and the driver was looking in his rear view mirror, agitated. And the witness confirms there was black collision paint on the left rear side of the same car.

They can't find the car.

Then someone goes to a police station for some driving reason. His car is investigated. It turns that the car has been resprayed, red. At first Le Van Thanh says it was resprayed the day before the tunnel accident, but later admits it was resprayed the day after.

Le does not discuss the accident. It is likely that he is being protected from the media.

Trevor Rees survives, but has memory loss and cannot recall the incident.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Alt-Right America: Trump's Right Wing Worrisome Cabinet

As of January 19th, these were appointed by the now President Donald John Trump, 45th President of the United States of America. Sends shivers of worry out in every direction. The people he's appointed will boost use of fossil fuel, trample over health care, ignore global warming, encourage torture ... I don't see how his appointees to his cabinet will give control back to the people. This man is a con-man, and he's surrounded himself by many con-men and women.

And if you look at what he said to the CIA in his first visit, I feel that he is out of his depth, and winging it.

Sonny Perdue: Secretary of Agriculture, he could  prioritize the profits of big agribusiness and trade over the interests of American farmers, workers and consumers

David Shulkin: Secretary of Veterans Affairs, he's not a veteran, and Trump wants Veterans Affairs overhauled.

Jared Kushner: Senior Advisor to the President, Trump's son-in-law, lacks experience in politics., may not actually be allowed by law to take a role in his father-in-law's administration.

Dan  Coats: National Intelligence Director, supports torture and widespread government surveillance, banned from Russia.

Kellyanne Conway: Counselor to the President, plays down Trump's worst habits and excusing his bad behavior, shifting focus to worst behaviour of others..

Mick Mulvaney: Budget Director: has aggressively pursued the defunding of Planned Parenthood and the prevention of Syrian refugees from entering the United States. Would shut government down rather than reach a compromise.

Ryan Zinke: Secretary of Interior: Non-believer in climate change. Describes the overwhelming evidence behind climate change as "unsettled science" .

Rick Perry: Secretary of Energy:  Likely to shift the department away from renewable energy and toward oil and other fossil fuels that he championed as Texas governor.

Rex W. Tillerson: Secretary of State: no experience in the public sector, strongly in favor of free trade, Russia even awarded him Order of Friendship.

Gary Cohn: National Economic Council Director. president of Goldman Sachs and COO

Andrew Puzder: Secretary of Labor: lacks government experience, his burger chains have drawn criticism for featuring scantily clad women.

Linda McMahon: Head of the Small Business Administration, billionaire co-founder and former CEO of the wrestling franchise WWE, she and her husband donated $5 million to the Trump Foundation, according to The Washington Post.

Scott Pruitt: Head of the Environmental Protection Agency. He has been a booster of the fossil fuel industry, doesn't believe in global warming.

Gen. John F. Kelly: Secretary of Homeland Security, job will be building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Ben Carson: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, no experience in government, opposed an Obama administration effort to improve housing integration,  has also criticized government programs meant to combat poverty .

James Mattis: Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Corps general, shares Trump's approach against America's enemies, particularly Iran, views "political Islam" as a threat.

Steven Mnuchin: Secretary of the Treasury, career started at Goldman Sachs, hailed as a "financial expert" by Trump insiders, he has no experience in government. He purchased a bailed-out bank for pennies on the dollar and then aggressively foreclosed on tens of thousands of families

Jeff Sessions: Attorney General, hardliner on immigration, described the Ku Klux Klan as "okay until I found out they smoked pot", said a white lawyer who had black clients was "a disgrace to his race", called the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) "un-American".

Wilbur Ross: Commerce Secretary, wealth is estimated at $2.9 billion, buys troubled companies "on the cheap" and sell them for billions of dollars in profit.

Betsy DeVos: Secretary of Education, a billionaire businesswoman, has sought to steer money away from public schools and into private and parochial schools,

Elaine Chao: Secretary of Transportation, has worked in three Republican White Houses.

Tom Price: Secretary of Health and Human Services, the leading voice to repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, staunchly pro-life,  opposes funding for groups like Planned Parenthood, he's against the Obamacare mandate that provides free birth control, and he's against same-sex marriage.

Reince Priebus: Chief of Staff, lacks government experience. Cozy with Republican members of congress, he doesn't necessarily know how to run a government.

Steve Bannon: Chief Strategist and Senior Adviser, holds extreme conservative positions like white supremacy, anti-immigration, and anti-feminism. has worked for Goldman Sachs, "I'm a Leninist," he once told a writer at the Daily Beast. "Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that's my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today's establishment."

Mike Pompeo: Director of the CIA, has spoken out in the favor of the CIA's use of torture, which, according to a Senate report, included "waterboarding...the use of electric shocks, dogs, nudity, hypothermia, and mock executions."

Michael Flynn: National Security Adviser, retired Army lieutenant general , comments about the Muslim faith verge on Islamophobia, led chants of "lock her up" directed at Hillary Clinton. Praises "alt-right" (extreme right wing conservatism) internet trolls.

Nikki Haley: United Nations Ambassador, surprisingly a Trump critic, but lacks foreign policy experience, and opposed the settlement of Syrian refugees in South Carolina.

Want more? Read More

Friday, 20 January 2017

Hard Hrexit, Or Soft Hrexit? Houghton Regis Votes to Leave Bedfordshire

Last year Houghton Regis voted to leave Bedfordshire, but the population remains split over the decision.  Leave won by 52% to 48%.

Key Leave campaigner, Mr Park Avenue, said, "It was a momentous decision, Houghton Regis has voted to Leave, and we're now free to trade with the rest of the UK, and control our boundaries."

When Article 50 of the Treaty of Bedfordshire is invoked, the other 125 settlements in Bedfordshire will discuss Houghton Regis' decision. Negotiations over Houghton Regis leaving Bedfordshire will then begin. A draft deal will be put to Central Bedfordshire Council (59 members). Also to be consulted are  Luton Borough Council (48 members) and Bedford Borough Council (41 members). The draft deal will need to be approved by at least 82 settlements with 65% of the population of Bedfordshire. And then the draft deal needs to be ratified by a Parliament of all Bedfordshire Councils. At the end of two years, negotiations can be extended further but only if all 125 settlements agree. If there is no agreement to extend then the Treaty of Bedfordshire ceases to apply to Houghton Regis.

Following Hrexit, the office of Deputy Town Clerk will embark on asking for quotations from counties all over the UK, to clear away the town's household rubbish; providing housing benefits; schools and education; dealing with anti-social orders; providing services to encourage employment; road repairs; council housing repairs; children's services; pollution control; control of libraries and the countryside; gritting; electoral registration; registration of births deaths, marriages; health and social care.

Depending on negotiations, new passports may need to be issued to anyone who wishes to leave the town, and all visitors may need to be processed before they can enter. New employment will be created to build, and police, a new wall that will be erected around the town to keep out undesirables.

Unexpectedly,  the main supermarket in the town, has already declared that they will be leaving Houghton Regis and seeking an alternative location within Bedfordshire. A spokesman for the company said, "After Hrexit, it will be harder for people from all other parts of Bedfordshire to shop here, so we want to be where most of our customers will be."

 Mr Park Avenue, said, "We're now free to trade with the rest of the UK. We have other grocery stores in Houghton Regis, we should be loyal to them. And we'll approach the other main stores to supply us. I'm sure we can get a better deal. There's too many foreigners in shopping areas like Luton, anyway, and Milton Keynes is much nicer."

But it wasn't clear 'who' would approach the other stores to broker a better deal for Houghton Regis. The Town Clerk advised that negotiating with major grocery suppliers to come to Houghton Regis within the UK was outside her remit.

Houghton Regis will also lose it's police force. "Not to worry, we'll set up our own police force, and I'm sure they'll do a better job than Bedfordshire Police ever did for us," commented Mrs Park Avenue. The Town Mayor was unavailable for comment when we asked him how he was going to set up a town-wide police force, but was seen in worried conversation with a Mr Willows, and the words "consultation" were mentioned.

Social Services and Highways Maintenance are currently provided by Bedfordshire, and the office of Deputy Mayor of Houghton Regis would have two years to negotiate with them to take over running the services for Houghton Regis. "We'd like a reciprocal arrangement with them so that we can continue to offer this to our residents." But Leave campaigners have insisted that Leave means Leave, saying they want a hard Hrexit, not a soft Hrexit.

Mr Ad Infinitum commented, "Taking back control of of our boundaries will put a stop to developers coming here to ruin our countryside. Planning in Bedfordshire has gone too far, taking up all our wildlife spaces."


Thursday, 5 January 2017

Remoaners, Exiteers, and the 3rd group - Put Me in the Third Group

I asked a simple enough question and got a storm of a response yesterday. "So our best divorce lawyer has resigned, and we're still hoping for a successful Brexit?"

This may turn out to be a rambling, load of tosh, it's not researched, it's more of  "an awareness". But I'm going to write it anyway.

So, I did argue on the Remain side. We had a vote. It was close. The weekend that followed was amusing and an all time low, like the one I've often had after any election campaign, especially one that's not been won. Gove stood aside, Boris went off to play golf, Farage came on telly and wrongly got slated via TV AM for saying there won't be £350m going into the NHS, more like £250m, he said. Wrongly slated, because that slogan wasn't his, It came from the LEAVE EU campaign team, which he was not in.

In a marriage, there could be one partner thinking they want to get out, and never letting the other partner know about those thoughts. Then, the idea of divorce comes up, it's mentioned to the other partner who at first denies it as a blip, perhaps even ignores the idea,

While I was an original founder member of the Liberal Democrats, coming from the Liberal Party, the one part of policy I was never comfortable with, was that bit about wanting to be closely involved with a federalist Europe. The EU, its policies, it's ins and outs, were never interesting enough in my life for me to pay any attention to.

Just about the only piece of  "EU" that I did find interesting enough to pay attention to, was that MEPs are voted in by proportional representation. So that was why I voted in EU elections, to keep PR alive. We even had a Lib Dem MP for the East of England out of it. Then this MP started sending out newsletters to members of all the  things he was doing for the East of England. I even read some of them. But it all felt unconnected to my life, so dull was it.

Along comes UKIP, making some noises, I get the idea that they're some sort of racists, anti-EU and diametrically opposed (according to others in the Lib Dems) to Lib Dem themes, so I must therefore do everything to see them off. But actually, it's about leaving the EU, an idea I ignored, because I assumed people thought like me, that the EU was boring and wouldn't be interested anyway.

We move on a few years more and now the other marriage partner really means it. They want a divorce at all costs! Suddenly, we have a vote looming, something the 'out now' partner has been plotting and planning for years, something which the 'stay in' partner has to flounder around searching and worrying over what the problem is.

Then the vote is called ! The preliminary divorce papers arrive through the letter-boxes! Calamity! Panic! What are the counter-arguments? The 'out partner' has no need of counter arguments, their mind was made up long ago!

By the time the vote came around I had left the Lib Dems for local and personal reasons. Even if I took the political compass test now I would come out midway between Liberal (edit: Democrat) and Social Democracy. In the run up to the Referendum vote, I was not a member of any political party, and still am not. I went into the run-up with an open mind, but soon found myself looking into and supporting the 'stay-in' side. For me, it was a very late awakening that the EU had actually brought us a lot of very good things.

The vote is held. Cameron resigns. The 'stay-in' partner sulks away as the judge delivers his verdict. The 'out now' partner cries "Bloody hell, I'm not married any more. What do I do now?" At first no one quite knows what to do. Gove stabs Boris in the back, Boris appears more bumbling than ever. Theresa takes on the challenge leading the busted up family in a search for new lodgings.

It's at this stage that I get to really look at Farage in the 'work' he's done as a Euro MP. In his amazing attacks on EU officials - there's plenty of YouTube video on this. I actually start to conceive the idea that this guy Farage might actually be a very Liberal free trader, and very much more democratic than anyone else in my sphere of life has ever dared to suggest before.

The divorce is over, it's agreed they will part. I've voted, so have others. We must adhere to the vote. Then out comes Tim Farron, and latterly others in Parliament, saying they will campaign to stay in. I think,  "Mr Farron you are a chump, you won't get me back on that stance". We voted on it. You lost, Tim. The marriage is over. So get over it. The 'out-now' group will be forever unwilling to try again. The 'stay-in' group will hang on, and hang on, and hang on, as long as they can, because they are in denial and don't accept the need for the divorce.

The pragmatist in me says it is over. The best way forward is to move on with the situation, work out the best settlement, and do the best to remain friendly with those former parts of the EU institution (the marriage). The third group: moving on with the situation.

I'm in the third group, and I like to think that my question at the top shows my concern that out of this divorce, moving out of the 4 bedroom family home, we might just end up in the shed at the bottom of the garden.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Legacy Announcements, but Cart Is Before the Horse

Posted to BBC Three Counties Facebook Page:

All these announcements, but no plans as yet, and no public consultation yet, although I hear some pc will take place later this year.

How is it justified to announce all these facts, even before a planning application has been submitted? :

"The Legacy Foundation has announced the beginning of building work on 1,300 homes just outside Luton, set for completion in 2017", http://www.bigissue.com/ Oct 21st 2016 . That is stated as a fact, implying that it's all gone through planning, and making local people feel as though they have not been consulted.
"They will start work building 1,300 homes just outside Luton in 2017" BBC 21 Oct 2016. That is stated as a fact. And on the BBC web site.
"The first project sees 600 of the 1,300 homes built in Houghton Regis, near Luton, designated for social and affordable housing." http://www.bigissue.com/ Oct 21st 2016. Another statement of fact before any planning decision.
"The players' current project will see 1,300 homes built in one of the most deprived areas of the UK in Houghton Regis, near Luton, with 600 properties currently designated for social and affordable housing." BBC 21 Oct 2016
"It will have a leisure centre, swimming pool and a sports academy - where one of them will be training local kids once a month - and a creche." http://www.homesandproperty.co.uk 27 Sept 2016. Another statement of fact without plans yet.
"They hope to break ground on their first project in early 2017, with the first flats ready for moving into a year after that." http://www.homesandproperty.co.uk//27 Sept 2016 Nothing wrong with "hope"!
 "A 22-hectare site in Kingsland, north of Houghton Regis – one of most underprivileged areas in the UK – will be the first location to implement the Legacy model" http://www.cladglobal.com/ 21 Oct 2016. Another statement of fact, when other projects may end up being first.

The cart is before the horse.
There should not be a presumption in favour of granting planning permission.
Councillors have to be impartial to decide on planning matters.
As yet there are no plans  in the public domain.

Some notes I copied down from a few websites in 2016:

Football stars Rio Ferdinand, Bobby Zamora and Mark Noble will be revealing the plans this year for a £400 million housing development, with 1,300 homes, on a 22-hectare site in Houghton Regis,  in partnership with Central Bedfordshire council and funded by Aviva Investors.

It will have a leisure centre, swimming pool and a sports academy -  where one of them will be training local kids once a month - and a creche.

Legacy is the brainchild of Ferdinand, who grew up on a council estate in Peckham.

Zamora, 35, from Barking and now a striker for Brighton and Hove Albion, adds: “We don’t want to use the word ‘estate’ for Legacy schemes: we want them to be communities.”

Plans are currently under wraps as the details are worked out.

“We need to make it clear we ain’t just three footballers who just sit here,” says Noble. “We understand the scheme. We have sat in rooms with people who shaped the business model, and some of the most influential people in the industry for the last 10 months, and we understand it fully. We’re not just the faces of it.” (source )

Ferdinand says it’ll take three to four years to prove that the housing model and the legacy programme work and are sustainable. “I’m chomping at the bit to get started,” says Zamora.

According to The Big Issue  in October, "The first project sees 600 of the 1,300 homes built in Houghton Regis, near Luton, designated for social and affordable housing." The Legacy Foundation has announced the beginning of building work on 1,300 homes just outside Luton, set for completion in 2017

Of the £400 million development Zamora says that a minimum of 40 per cent of units will be social, affordable or key worker housing in each development, with an aspiration to 50 per cent.  They hope to break ground on their first project in early 2017, with the first flats ready for moving into a year after that. (source)

In an unrelated event, Cllr James Jamieson, Leader Central Beds Council, announced the opening of the Woodside Link on 10th December, even though it wasn't actually open. MORE ...