We’re back and still aiming for a shorter show, but it’s hard when we’ve so much to fit in! So much to air and share, and so much that needs exposing or calling out. As usual, our take on UK and world news, excellent music and weed… loads of weed :)
To start, poor Morgan’s lost his queen, and thousands of tiny souls under his care have buzzed off to the Great Hive in the sky. But he’s not all bad as he’s also been giving free workshops, teaching young skaters how to laser-cut their designs into grip tape, promoting open-source and creative-commons approaches. We take a brief look back at our last show, noting anything that came up on reflection and correcting any errors. NotMorgs momentarily trades his sometimes ‘dirty’ language to discuss ‘clean language’: how to ask questions and retrieve information without distorting results by unconsciously influencing the person being questioned. Morgan challenges notMorgs’ opinions over haggis, and everyone else’s opinions on lean meat compared to other ‘less favourably viewed’ animal parts. NotMorgs recommends our website’s show notes – these very ones – and then challenges himself to throw away his script, before quickly retrieving it.
To the news! Actor Greg Wise is not happy about the HSBC scandal and HMRC’s failure to launch a criminal investigation. He’s hoping to start ‘a movement’ of people not paying their taxes until “those evil bastards go to prison” (his words), and we wish him luck in what we expect to be a very short-lived and ultimately unsuccessful movement. In immigration, David Cameron’s failed spectacularly to keep his “no ifs, no buts promise” of getting migration into the UK to under 100,000 a year, with reported figures being almost three times that at 298,000. Things seem worse for the people of Sweden, however, who have over 12 times the number of immigrants than the UK (per million population, 2013 figures). They’ve had to sack their whole team of ‘immigrant resettlement assistants’ after reports of widespread criminal activity including bribery, fraud, blackmail, and attempting to recruit immigrants to join militant jihadist groups like Islamic State. Staying in Sweden, we have Barbara L Spectre, co-founder of Paideia (the European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden) apparently combining the seemingly contradictory ‘#stopracism’ and ‘#endwhitepeople’ hashtags in one tweet, and Swedish company Epicenter offers its staff something “very modern, very 2015”: RFID microchips in their hands. NotMorgan speaks out about the microchipping of living things, no matter how dumb they might be, because of the various studies that have shown the harm that intra-dermal microchips can cause to animals. And while we’re on the subject of cataloguing the slaves, Europe announces that US and other non-EU citizens arriving in Europe between March and September of this year will be ‘biometrically screened’. Facial capture, iris scanning and fingerprinting are all part of the EU’s new ‘smart borders’ program. Many airports, seaports, trains and roads will be included. Participation is apparently voluntary, which is good considering an EU document expects a ‘medium’ risk of data protection laws not being followed.
Accordingly, and trying desperately to protect our privacy, notMorgan looks at ‘paparazzi-proof clothing’ and AVG’s anti-facial-recognition glasses. He also casts a doubtful eye at Pornhub’s touted invention, the ‘Wankband’, which purportedly generates energy but seems to be more about generating free publicity. Also, as a new FaceTime-compatible vibrator with a camera in the end of it comes to market, we wonder, slightly despairingly, what it will do for the culture of ‘sexting’. Morgan warns us about a ponce with a big laser: the USS Ponce which has new laser weaponry, and is no doubt ready to fire it at anyone who has resources the West wants. He then confuses himself, and quite possibly everyone else, by talking about quantum potential and the Big Bang.
In other technology-related news, Morgs tells us about Facebook’s new ‘suicide watch’ button, which notMorgan sees more as an appeasement to governments, reassuring them that they’re doing more to identify ‘potentially worrying’ people. Google, meanwhile, attempt to ban porn from their bloggers’ platform, but are forced to back down after protests from that community. Google and others are also building their ‘knowledge vaults’ and ‘fact databases’ – Google alone reportedly has 2.8 billion facts, with 271 million of them being ‘confident facts’, meaning they have a 90% chance of being ‘true’ – does anyone remember when facts were 100% true? Morgan agrees with others’ warnings that this could see non-mainstream, alternative viewpoints and sources of information (such as those dismissed as ‘conspiracy theories’) disappearing from search results, but he also sees the potential for some interesting, unexpected things to occur.
NotMorgan tries to look at social media but becomes disheartened and gives up after seeing so many stories of people dying whilst trying to take selfies. Instead, he looks at race relations: a school in California is promoting ‘white spaces’ where white children learn how not to be racist (because all white people are definitely racist, right?) and a textbook tells us that “there is no such thing as reverse-racism (or any form of reverse-oppression)”, it’s all about who holds the power apparently. And it’s a sad day for freedom of expression in the UK, as Morgan recounts how a petition with a mere 250 signatures was enough to have the Royal Northern College of Music cancel the concert of jazz musician and political activist Gilad Atzmon.
For NotMorgan, there’s definitely a whiff of something pungent in the air as the UK media delivers a slew of cannabis related news stories and studies. New drug-driving offences, fear-driven adverts to promote them and new ‘drugalysers’ to enforce them; a ‘legalise weed’ party standing for election; loads of new studies and reports into the effects of cannabis; lots of headlines screaming ‘psychosis’; and a Channel 4 programme entirely devoted to cannabis. With all this media coverage, notMorgan digs deeper, with three sections looking at these developments – is there some hidden agenda at play or is his paranoid psychosis finally kicking in? Firstly, he looks at the new drug-driving laws and the police’s powers to test for 8 illegal drugs and 8 legal, prescription drugs. This new law is going to criminalise drivers who aren’t impaired, but test positively as though they are, simply because of how long these drugs, both legal and illegal, remain detectable in the body. Research shows that cannabis users are more likely to drive slowly and carefully and avoid risks, and other studies show that there is no greater instance of drunk or drugged drivers causing more accidents than straight, sober ones. This doesn’t matter, however, as a young girl has been killed by a speeding driver, who happened to have cannabis in his system – all evidence goes out the window and everyone else has to pay the price for his stupidity. We look at new political party CISTA (Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol) standing for election and demanding a Royal Commission (an inquiry) into drug laws, whilst the same tired, old politicians who did absolutely nothing about drug laws when they were actually in power, line up to promise how things will be different this time, if only you vote for them. A new ‘Mortality Risk of Substances’ study finds that cannabis is 114 times less deadly than that Government-approved and heavily-taxed drug, alcohol. This’ll come as no surprise to anyone who remembers Professor David Nutt’s far more comprehensive 2010 ‘Harm Index’ study, which ranked cannabis well below alcohol and tobacco. We look at three other newly published studies: why cannabis gives you the ‘munchies’, its effect on muscles, and the risk of psychosis associated with ‘skunk’-like cannabis, compared to hashish. NotMorgan learns that one of his ‘superpowers’, an acute sense of smell, might be less to do with his DSM-type ‘specialness’ and more to do with his THC intake. And finally, a review of the Channel 4 programme ‘Drugs Live: Cannabis on Trial’: did we finally have a balanced, well-informed programme, including discussion of the relief brought to hundreds of thousands of people suffering terrible pain and debilitating illnesses and diseases, the wonders that reinstating hemp could do for manufacturing, why cannabis became illegal in the first place and the self-interests of those who lobby to keep it illegal? What about the studies into what’s happened in places where cannabis has been legalised (including the massive tax revenues and drop in crime rates)? Sadly, no. Right from its first trailers, the programme was an exercise in hype and how to get ratings by attempting to titillate the public with a general sense of adolescent ‘naughtiness’. Some studies and statistics were shared, with little discussion, but it was no doubt the headline-grabbing act of newsreaders, journalists and others smoking cannabis that had many people watch the programme. Newsreader John Snow rather dramatically and embarrassingly throws a ‘whitey’ in an MRI scanner, and talks about how cannabis robbed him of his personae and soul – “you know nothing, John Snow” – whilst Jennie Bond and an ex-undercover drugs officer experience quite the opposite: a “genuinely wondrous and fabulous time”.
In our round-up of this topic, we discuss how the illegality of marijuana massively contributes to the paranoia experienced by some users, and how cannabis obviously isn’t for everyone – as evidenced by John Snow and his thoughts of knives and psychiatric units! – but this doesn’t mean that others who enjoy the drug, without negative effects, should be criminalised and sent to prison for its use. We agree that having a well-informed approach to drugs and, more importantly, to yourself – knowing yourself without ego – and taking responsibility for yourself, is the most important aspect. Knowing the drug and its effects, its strain and potency, and what has been used in the growing process are all important. As usual, it’s all about informing and educating yourself. As with Leah Betts, who died from drinking too much water whilst on ecstasy, it wasn’t the drug that killed her, but rather her lack of knowledge of the drug and how best to take care of herself whilst under its effects. But, unfortunately, factual, evidence-driven research is not easy to access, because of cannabis’ illegality and the lobbying of those who seek to keep it illegal for personal profit. Rather than the old, tired and clearly not working “just say no” approach, governments should follow the lead of other more compassionate and understanding nations and do everything possible to honestly educate drug users (and potential users), rather than criminalising them and potentially ruining their lives. There are 100,000 people criminalised each year in the UK for cannabis whilst, in other places around the world, people are quite happily getting legally stoned, “laughing their assess off and going about their day”. Cannabis is not a ‘gateway’ drug, the ‘gateway’ comes from drug dealers offering ‘other drugs’, and this ‘gateway’ would soon close when users are allowed to buy their cannabis legally without having to associate with dodgy dealers. And governments must also accept their part in this: how many young people think “well, you’ve lied to me about the effects of cannabis, maybe you’re lying to me about all the other drugs too”? Also, many famous, successful people have now admitted to smoking hashish when they were younger, including President Obama and some of the people on this very programme, John Snow included. Does this, in itself, not show that hashish is not the society-eroding, gateway drug it’s touted as being? Why isn’t hashish, at least, legal now? And what’s with all the headlines about ‘skunk versus hash’? Why does Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin empire, keep popping up, George Soros-style, calling for a review of drug laws? NotMorgan wonders whether a downgrading or even decriminalising of hashish might be in the works – Virgin or Monsanto hash anyone? No, we’ll grow our own, thanks ;) The sad fact remains that it’s far more likely that decriminalisation will come to the UK eventually, not because it should never have been made illegal, but because of the massive amounts of tax revenue generated when it’s allowed to be sold legally. NotMorgan’s final thoughts on the topic: the ‘war on drugs’ is actually a war on our personal freedoms, a war on consciousness. There are already enough laws in existence to punish anyone who causes harm, but until that point, when no-one is hurting themselves or others, governments have absolutely no right and no business in telling us what we can and can’t do with our own bodies and consciousnesses – so fuck off and get on with your job of representing the people you work for.
In his own lengthy piece, Morgan gives a much-needed health check to the NHS, our National Health Service. The problems of Scarborough’s A&E Department are reflected nationally – there aren’t enough resources to cope so people are left for hours to be treated in ambulances in hospital car parks, the same ambulances that others are desperately waiting for. Morgs looks at other burdens on the NHS, including 90% of councils making cuts to their social care, and abandoning those with ‘low to moderate’ needs. We look at the lack of protection for NHS whistle-blowers, who currently face bullying and losing their jobs. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says that he’s all for promoting transparency within the NHS but, as with most politicians who profess to promote transparency, he then does the exact opposite, by delaying a report that is critical of the NHS until after the election – how convenient for himself and his party. Delving into the world of murky finance (with the help of a ranty taxi driver), Morgs looks at the absurd amounts paid in interest when borrowing for hospitals, and the role of PFIs, the LIBOR rate and their impact on the shortage of NHS funds. NotMorgan contributes to Morgan’s well thought-out and serious piece by talking about the number of times his local hospital, rather bizarrely and obsessively, wants to keep swabbing his testicles.
Staying with healthcare, or the lack of it, NotMorgan looks at various negative reports emerging around vaccines. As autism continues to rise at a deeply alarming rate, from 1:10,000 births to 1:68, people continue to claim that vaccines are at least partly to blame. A new documentary ‘Trace Amounts: Autism, Mercury and the Hidden Truth’ is being screened in the US, drawing attention to the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal. The Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute, meanwhile, is linking autism with cell lines from aborted fetuses and retroviral contaminants in vaccines. Rather than conduct safety tests in this area, the FDA apparently regulated the amount of human DNA in vaccines to 10 nanograms. SCPI, however, has found between 142-2000 nanograms per dose. This as it comes to light that the CDC may have withheld negative findings of an increased risk of autism in African-American boys who were vaccinated prior to 36 months of age. And get this, xenophobes: the husky-voiced, seed-selling chap is telling us that 83% of vaccines are made in China. NotMorgan ends by looking at two current vaccine horror stories: firstly, that of a 5 and a half month old baby dying after being given 8 vaccines in one day, some apparently prematurely, and then that of Malcolm Brabant, a former BBC foreign correspondent who went “bonkers” (his words) and was massively debilitated for 4 years after receiving a Yellow Fever vaccination. Mental breakdowns and believing he was the messiah, Winston Churchill and the devil, before finally getting onto the road to recovery. A Yellow Fever expert has said that the vaccine can have “really severe and significant, serious adverse effects”, whilst the vaccine’s manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, apparently hasn’t reviewed the drug in years and says “it’s a small market” – a small market that includes high-street chemists, British soldiers serving overseas and wide use in Africa. The vaccine manufacturers are indemnified against causing harm, but negative studies and serious adverse effects including death continue to be reported, and organisations including the CDC are accused of covering up their own negative findings – all of this whilst some states and countries consider mandatory vaccination with no right to refuse it. How’s about we put people before profits and make sure the damned things are safe first?!!
NotMorgan also has an update of last show’s reporting into VIP paedophile rings, as Operation Midland searches the homes of former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor, Lord Bramall (former Chief of the Defence Staff, the most senior uniformed rank in Britain), and both the family and country homes of former Conservative Home Secretary Leon Brittan. Prime Minister David Cameron confirms our suspicions that he won’t be providing training in how to spot signs of sexual abuse for the teachers, police and other officials that his new laws will now prosecute for not reporting suspicions of sexual abuse. He says they’ll have to use their ‘common sense’. To avoid falling foul of this law ourselves, NotMorgs immediately airs his own suspicions: that these VIP paedophile rings clearly do exist, that police and others have helped to cover them up, and that David Cameron dismissing it all as ‘conspiracy theories’ is highly suspicious in itself. Also, our teachers are supposed to be keeping an eye on our children, but they’re being slowly replaced by ‘computer-based learning’. If we accept Xbox Kinect cameras looking for ADD in children, maybe we’ll also allow computers to look for signs of sexual abuse. What could possibly go wrong with that?
Finally, feeling unappreciated by a lack of listener interaction and support ;) we examine other career options: notMorgs looks at selling his poop to US faecal-microbiota-transplantation company Open Biome, whilst Morgan’s experience has him more suited to apply for Tavistock Town Council’s ‘General Hand Job’ vacancy. Please spare him this awful fate by getting in touch and supporting the show with your feedback or other contributions. Excellent creative commons music by Boogie Belgique plays us out. Enjoy!
Cannabis and the War on Personal Freedoms:
BBC News UK: Drug-drive changes and ‘drugalysers’ come into force
YouTube: UK’s new fear-based anti-drug-driving advert
AOL Cars: Drug-driving laws actually catching far more people on cough and cold remedies
Cannabis Culture: ‘Stoned drivers are safe drivers': article with links to studies
NORML: Marijuana and Driving: A Review of the Scientific Evidence
cista.org: New UK political party CISTA (Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol)
The Huffington Post: Nick Clegg and Richard Branson call drugs laws ‘a colossal con’
Science Alert: ‘Mortality Risk’ study finds cannabis 114 times less deadly than alcohol…
BBC News UK: …but Professor David Nutt’s 2010 ‘Harm Index’ is far more comprehensive
Wikipedia’s article on Professor David Nutt
The Guardian: Cannabis ‘munchies’ explained by new study
Science Alert: Marijuana and muscle control
Science Alert: Increased risk of psychosis with ‘skunk’, but not with hash
The Huffington Post: Pre-programme publicity for Channel 4’s: ‘Drugs Live: Cannabis On Trial’
Channel4.com: Channel 4’s ‘Drugs Live: Cannabis on Trial’ programme
Alternet.org: Pat Robertson says smoking pot is ‘slavery to vegetables’
AOL: Swedish company Epicenter offers to microchip its staff
If you’re thinking of microchipping your pets (or humans), please visit:
Chipmenot.org: Animal Adverse Microchip Reactions
‘Selfie Sickness’ continues to cause accidents and deaths:
The Telegraph: 2 people (in one week and at one resort) fall over 1,000 feet taking selfies
HLN: Parents fall off cliff to their deaths in front of their young children whilst taking selfie
Inventions and products:
NewScientist Tech: Telescopic contact lenses
HuffPost Tech: DJ Chris Holmes and Betabrand design ‘paparazzi-proof clothing’
The Daily Mail: AVG’s anti-facial-recognition glasses
(NSFW) HuffPost Tech: Pornhub’s ‘Wankband’
(NSFW) HuffPost Lifestyle: The Svakom Gaga Selfie Camera Vibrator
The Huffington Post: The USS Ponce’s new laser weapon
New Scientist: Non-lethal blinding weaponry
Wikipedia’s article on Thiomersal/Thimerosal
Red Ice Creations: Autism and cancer related to human fetal DNA in vaccines
Examiner.com: Whistle-blower reveals CDC cover-up linking MMR vaccine to autism
Infowars.com: “83% of vaccines are made in China”
Red Ice Creations: California infant dies after receiving 8 vaccinations
The Telegraph: Malcolm Brabant: How a jab plunged my life into madness
Morgan’s health check on the NHS:
BBC: Scarborough’s A&E problems reflected nationally
BBC: A&E worsens – Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s and Andy Burnham’s comments
BBC: 90% of councils cutting their social care for those with ‘low to moderate’ needs
BBC: Lack of protection for NHS whistle-blowers
The Guardian: Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt promises transparency but stalls report criticising the NHS
YouTube: The Artist Taxi Driver interviews Joel Benjamin on PFIs, the LIBOR rate and their impact on hospital funds
New Scientist: Google and other companies racing to build ‘knowledge vaults’ and ‘fact databases’
New Scientist: Google want to rank search results on “Knowledge-Based Trust Score”
Red Ice Creations’ sees Google ranking on ‘facts’ as ‘Orwellian’
VIP paedophile ring update:
Exaro UK: Police search the properties of Leon Brittan, Lord Bramall and Harvey Proctor
The Huffington Post’s reporting on Harvey Proctor, including his audio interview with the BBC
Exaro UK: Former Conservative MP Harvey Proctor gives statement after police search his property
Other podcasts mentioned in the show:
TV, movies and video mentioned on the show:
Zeitgeist (2007) (link to the whole documentary in HD)
Zeitgeist: Addendum (2008) (link to the whole documentary in HD)
Zeitgeist: Moving Forward (2011) (link to the whole documentary in HD)
UK’s new fear-based anti-drug-driving advert
Home page for the documentary: ‘Trace Amounts: Autism, Mercury and the Hidden Truth
YouTube: Bill Hicks ‘Revelations’ (link to the whole feature)
Books mentioned on the show:
‘Matthew is a Little Unwell’ by Malcolm Brabant
Kindle version: ASIN: B00XXZC
Music mentioned on the show:
Copyright and Creative Commons Licences:
The Reflective Air Podcast is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence with the exception of the material (and its relevant copyright law) detailed below:
Audio clips featured in the show are used in accordance with ‘fair dealing’, as defined in Sections 29 & 30 of the ‘Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1998′.
The music sampled for our intro music is:
Introview (con Jim Raing) by Nuerma Pópulis Chicla, found on Jamendo
released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Licence.
The music played for this episode’s outtro track is:
‘Forever And Ever’ by Boogie Belgique originally found on Jamendo.com
released under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivs Licence.
We would like to thank the artists who make their music freely available for others to use.
Find out more about Creative Commons Licences and help transform the way we create and share media.