AFTER hearing pretty much every angle on the nuclear issue over the last two decades, it seems the best argument for not pursuing this technology comes from the nuclear industry itself: “The atom bomb is a huge risk to public safety and is the only rational reason not to support nuclear energy”. The comment made by none-other than John Walmsley, staunch advocate of harnessing the powers of radiation and head of the National Energy Regulator, came at a public lecture hosted by the Wolpe Institute, in Cape Town this week.

Which probably marks the first time anybody from the pro-nuclear lobby has said anything vaguely intelligent. Gobsmacked by this type of candour, I then challenged some of the radiation mob to put their technology where their greedy mouths are, and swallow a spoonful or two of uranium 235. If the stuff is so good for you, as they claim, then why not put it on toast? In fact the strange arguments being used to support atomic power these days sound pretty absurd.

Remember asbestos, natures miracle substance? Why not put asbestos sheeting in your home, or on your roof? If that doesn’t work, try uranium siding, or plutonium pebbles, the next best thing to coal dust. Can anybody trust the government or Martinus “Be kind to animals” Van Sckalkwyk to make a rational decision on the joys of asbestosis and lung cancer or global thermonuclear warfare and genetic mutations wiping out half of humanity while he’s still befuddled about the greenhouse effect and bedonnerd about the impact of the oil-industry-ANC alliance on peace, love and stability in Iraq?

Which is why I’ve given-up trying to figure out what makes scientists and ministers of the environment tick. It all seems to come down to the fact that men like blowing things up, and if it weren’t for eco-wimps and enviro-nerds we would all blow more things up while forgetting that women also love frying things — nuking pork sausages with radiation burn from an eco-friendly concentrated solar array, or heating up kosher casseroles with focused rays of envirosafe energy from the sun. Next best thing to burning tires – drill a hole directly into the earth’s core and tap the molten lava that spews forth with enough volcanic energy to heat a city the size of Johannesburg. Failing that, harness hot-air from cabinet ministers and sheep-farts from the opposition.

Your Nukeness,


copyright, all rights reserved, reprint with permission

Middle class media hypocrisy: One law for the rich, another law for the poor!

DON’T you just love the hypocrisy of South Africa’s media double standards? One law for the rich, another law for the poor? Wealthy media barons who proclaim to have your best interests at heart but at the same time, steal copyright, insist on not paying for services, push their bottom line way past your bread line, sacrifice principles and ethics because they only apply to other people like Wessans, and refuse to accept even a modest proposal, like printing the facts about a small case?

Read the Size Issue for the truth about Independent Media’s corporate lies and Supersized Media Cartels.

WELFARE STATE: Give VAT back to those who deserve it most.

WE’RE not asking for bread, although this used to be a rallying cry for the poor, the world over. We’re not asking for government subsidies on milk, or delivery of food parcels to those in need. No, all we are asking for is for our VAT BACK!

Giving VAT BACK to the poor, will alleviate pressure on other social services while enabling us to take control of our lives. VAT is an example of the most direct form of taxation, yet for those who spend all their income on food, clothing and shelter, VAT is just another example of big government and its hidden hand in our pockets, what economists euphemistically call “indirect taxation”.

How much tax actually reaches the poor when we are most in need? The answer is nothing or very little. More often than not, our pennys are handed over to the state to be spent on big budget items, such as military frigates, luxury airliners for presidents, and state banquets for foreign politicians.

By demanding VAT BACK — welfare in the form of a tax rebate, a leg-up rather than a hand-down — citizens are merely asking for what is rightfully theirs: How can you be 100% sure that you will never be left without a job? Homeless or without food on the table? Desperate or in need of assistance? Often dire straits coincide with other unexpected problems in life: A death in the family, a new-born child, a situation out of ones control, even marriage, separation or divorce.

Currently the only citizens to receive any welfare grants are those who qualify for assistance as a result of old-age, mental or physical disability, and children up until age 14. Which means that unless you are aged, infirm, or the legal guardian of a child, you could be left walking the street at night, seeking shelter, begging for aid, coerced into red-light employment or worse.


DEMAND your VAT back. Believe it or not, the average South African will hand over the government *R33 600 spent entirely on food and given to the exchequer in the form of VAT. This is money out of your own pocket! What do we get in return for that expense? Very little. A parliament that does nothing but pass laws. A judiciary that does nothing except complicate the law-making process, and a president who spends most of the time outside of the country, fixing other country’s problems.

Where is the government when you suffer from unemployment? Who is their to look after you when you are ill? State Hospitals in spite of their elegant sounding names, do very little and still expect you to pay for services at the end of the day. Receiving your VAT BACK could be the start to a new life. Just imagine what the money could do. Suppose for argument sake that you considered VAT not as a tax paid over to the state but as an interest-free loan given to the fiscus on the understanding that it would eventually be given back, a loan instead of the forced hand-out to big government, red-tape and bureacracy that it really is.

Over the years your stake in the South African fiscus and the economy would be enormous, pure capital given away at zero percent and used to loan out to banks and other institutions at 8%. So why not ask for your VAT BACK now? Supposing a 30 year old male went on welfare payments today, “the dole” would take thirty years of paying back R500 a month directly into his account to pay off the initial “loan” granted to the fiscus, a loan given without much thought, just via the extraction of value-added capital through the course of ones lifetime.


A FIFTY year old female citizen put on the dole today would never hope to receive all her money back, private money given to the fiscus through the course of ones lifetime, considered as a loan, and would probably die before reaching the ripe old age of 100.

Whichever way one looks at the figures, even if one reduces the amount spent, say on consumption for the first ten years of life, *see figures below, the Welfare State is affordible not only in principle but in reality. Of course R500 is only an estimate — some people spend less others more. There’s also clothing and shelter to consider. The repayment of VAT spent on food alone over the course of ones lifetime does not half compensate you for the initial loans made to big government.

Ask yourself the question: how much is my personal contribution to the state’s coffers worth, ie. what would social welfare cost not just through direct income tax but via indirect taxation of goods and services ie VAT?

An impossible problem since one is always taxed, even if you receive a welfare cheque, that cheque gets taxed the minute you spend it.

South Africans are one of the most taxed nations on this planet yet receive very little in the form of social support. Think about the needy, isn’t it time we eliminated some of the worst forms of poverty such as begging? Or restored peoples dignity with the knowledge that each and every citizen is looked after, without race and class distinction, all taken care of without exception?

By demanding a direct payment of welfare in your hour of need, you will not only destroy the lie that you don’t deserve such a payment, but the illusion that this kind of money does not exist. Call your MEC, phone your political party, campaign for a welfare state that meets the needs of all its people.

(* a simple guess-timate based upon an average life expectancy of 40 years, x est R6000 pa spent on food, ie R500 per month = R240 000 spent in total, that includes a startling R33 600 or 14 % VAT handed over to government in the form of indirect taxation.)

For more proposals for a better future, send a R100 cheque or money order and a self-addressed envelope to:

(Engineer of the Imagination)
PO Box 4398,
Cape Town 8000
South Africa

Or for a short pamphlet on overcoming the master-slave-worker state, R50 cheque or money order to the same address.

Media Freedom: Cape Times gambling on collective amnesia

THE Cape Times is gambling that enough people in this country suffer from collective amnesia – that readers will forget what happened last week, or the week before that, and even last year and the year before. They are waging a bet that a small judgement against them means nothing. The Independent Group can afford to lose every now and then, or so the thinking goes, because it all amounts to nothing.

The cost of a small claim is so minuscule and the fall-out so minute that not paying attention is no big deal. Well, it should be. Not only do we need legislation combating media cartels and cross-ownership of media in this country, but we also need a corporate watchdog, that has the teeth necessary to fine newspapers who rip-off journalists, who rob poor writers blind, in broad daylight one should add, and who end-up suppressing not only their views but the facts behind their views.

It is not enough to have an industry-appointed ombudsman, staffed by the same people who dish out bias in the news. It is not enough to have toothless trade unions like the Media Workers Association, or one or two departments of journalism indebted to big corporate donors for their finances. What we need is press freedom built upon something a lot more stable than large corporations.

A thriving testimony then to small publications: web-logs such as this one, self-made periodicals, microzines, student sheets, political rags, photocopied samizdat, xeroxed manifestos, open soapbox rants, and literature from the gutter. You can make a difference by breaking this story. Take this page (and others) out of the electronic realm. Press scan, print and publish and vote for a vibrant alternative press that is able to advocate and express non-mainstream views. Create a counter-dialogue to the mainstream debate that involves nothing more than the same old voices — one-sided conversations that invariably traverse the same politically-correct contours without taking into account difference, uniqueness, eccentricity, idiosyncrasy and minority opinion.

Visit The Size Issue, where you can pull down mainstream complacency by downloading the truth about Supersized Media

SOME Quasi-Evil, Semi-Evil characters Robert Kirby seems to have forgotten about.

Fagin, spendthrift character who refuses to give an extra bowl of soup to the homeless, from Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist.

Willie Wonka, strange boss who keeps oompa loompas locked up inside a factory and forces them to make sweets. (Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Cruella de Ville, a rich celebrity bitch who treats ordinary folk and especially reporters like dogs, hence the term news-hound.

Scrooge McDuck, a greedy capitalist and rich uncle of Donald, always bribing people, especially editors with the currency of the 1950s.

Nigel, the poncy English neighbour from the CTM wall-tile adverts, always reading the Cape Times sports section — never trust somebody who reads the Cape Times sports section, especially when they don’t know anything about cricket and sportsmanship or figuring when another man is goddamn broke.

and finally,

Doctor Evil, Mike Myer’s infamous robot-like stooge who plots to hold the world to ransom, including South Africa’s lethargic press, from his evil lair in the Independent Irish hinterland, for the unbelievable sum of $1 000 000.

CONSPIRACY: Is Bobby Fischer, the chess champ stark raving sane?

IS BOBBY FISCHER, the world renowned chess champion mad because he rails against America and jews? I think not. Although Charles Krauthammer of Time Magazine would like us to believe monomania is behind Fischer’s flouting of official US policy, for instance, the embargo against Yugoslavia , merely defying one of the George Bush’s is no grounds for insanity.

What is insane is the notion that America can be governed by one family. That democracy can be replaced by the mob, that a new kind of dicatorship can arise, simply because unilateralism is allowed to hold sway and turn into empire. That the fear of Islam can breed a generation intolerant to religious freedom, even the strange beliefs of chess players like Bobby Fischer. (BTW I am an ethnic Jew)

I have no doubt that when George W Bush spoke of an approaching war in an interview with Larry King shortly before he became president, he meant it. I am more than convinced that when the full horror of sept. 911 occurred, the republican government was rushing its network lists of whose-in and whose-out, past a president whose war to liberate Iraq was really an attempt to cement power in Washington.

After one of the most popular peace-time presidencies in American history, it was not hard to see Republican strategy for what it was, an attempt to destroy Clinton’s democratic legacy by returning the world to that epic battle – Gulf War 1. If Bush were an evil genius he would probably have taken over the entire planet with CIA stormtroopers, but since he is an evil idiot, the Bush resolve was more along the lines of: “lets turn the whole of country, including the world into Texas”.

For obvious reasons, the real story of how the world came close to globalising overnight into one shambolic nation without borders will never be told, at least until we figure out the strategic implications of invoking the Nato Treaty whenever there is a domestic dispute involving so-called terrorists. Until proven otherwise, those World Trade terror suspects are innocent. In fact we do not know yet, if they exist, or whether perhaps the incident was the world’s worst fly-by-wire incident?

Until the US legal system succeeds in convicting trade terrorism of its supposed misdeeds, we can only surmise a conspiracy, that yet again, a Reichstag fire occured, a Bay of Tonkin, a 9-11 that says more about the mindset of people who play chess and deploy numbers than those who read Torah or study the Koran.

MORAL REGENERATION:To snip ones penis or not?

To snip ones penis or not? Age of circumcision too low for boys?
How to keep politicians out of the bedroom and more!

THE Christian fundamentalist organisation, the ACDP have proposed that the age of consent should be raised to 21 across-the-board, to meet legislation in the pipeworks that would level the war between the sexes and the age to which one may legally consent to having sex without threat of state intervention. In other words, the threat of teenage sex amongst our nations youth needs to be countered by a backwards move into the stone age.

Not so says the ACDP who are encouraged by attempts to ban nicotine, as well as the raising of restrictions on under-age smoking from 16 to 18. Surely time to tell politicians to get out of the bedroom? No doubt, because the way the ANC’s quixotic moral regeneration programme is going, with its cowtowing efforts to mate the ACDP’s sex politics to its strange fraternisation with the former-National party, we could all end up having to wait until age 21 to have sex, and in the cases of initiation, new laws may proscribe exactly when and how men are circumcised.

In fact since circumcision and initiation schools are the death sentence for a few unfortunates, they should be banned altogether, or so the ACDP and its hill-billy logic goes. Should Government have a hand on everything including ones balls? Is it time to say, enough is enough — keep your hand off my crotch? Are we shedding foreskins so that the government can tell us what to do? Do we need laws to tell us how to make love?

That’s the trouble with equating democracy with the freedom to encompass and absorb all opposition, even if that opposition is diametrically opposed to core democratic principles like freedom of religion. Instead of merely tolerating far-right groups like the ACDP, the ANC continues to sway under attack from the Christian far-right and its naive proposals, like reintroducing the death penalty for teen-age sex. Soon, we could all be forced into one church, to go to the same Sunday School, to worship Jehovah in one Kraal? No circumcision before age 21?

Being a Jew of dubious ethnic orgin and therefore forcibly circumcised at 8 days old, I still don’t believe anybody should ever be forced to worship the god Jahweh with a blood sacrifice. In fact no man in his right frame of mind would ever consent to circumcision — its something that is done to mark the male species as different, (as if having a penis was’t enough of a leap of imagination as far as creation is concerned) with a wound similar to the way Zulu’s initiate boys into manhood along with a moral imperative to perpuate a particular culture, a unique way of life, a specific modality of thought rather than a majority rule lifestyle. In other words, too late to re-attach what was taken by the Beth Din, even though the ACDP think they can turn back the clock, restore my foreskin and forget about keeping kosher.

Which is why people who believe we can all be conditioned overnight into accepting one world view, one religion, along with a sexual drought like the Lovelife (wait for 2010 deflowering campaign), need to be bludgeoned by sermons from the mount, like the moral regeneration movements current mode of thought that says postponing sex until later in life is healthier than no sex at all. In fact just about the only sex one is likely to have these days is with a government official demonstrating how to reattach ones prepuce (the scientific name for your foreskin), which is what ACDP supporters deserve.

Velociraptors of the New Age

The final installment on Supersized Media from

WHILE seemingly efficient, giant-like media organisations, often proclaim new labour-saving methods, “media production on a tight budget” or herald moves to rationalise the work place, “the information-technology revolution” yet inevitably, the media operates under a “necessary illusion”. To use Noam Chomsky’s phrase the media’s societal function is no longer the “standard conception of media as cantankerous, obstinate, and ubiquitous in the search for truth,” but rather a terrible dependency upon powerful vested interests, as it has been for centuries ever since Gutenburg invented the printing press.

Indeed, if it were not for the Christian Church, Gutenburg would not have been in business printing bibles and religious paraphernalia. In a sense it was media theorist Marshall Macluhen (with his Mechanical Bride) who first pointed out the hypocritical relationship between Calvinism and news media, and it is the same appeal to the Gospel according to O’Reilly, that the Independent Group now proclaim their innocence.

Fortunately the lifespan of media, (and media theorists) like dinosaurs is finite. New forms of media such as blogging, the Velociraptors of the New Age, are able to tear apart the preconceived notions of Anglo-Saxon superiority. The hold on truth that supersized media cartels have had in this country for decades is being rapidly surpassed by small web-logs (like this one) that can outpace even the most agile Brachiasaurus, because that in essence is what the Independent Group is, an outmoded, super-sized dinosaur with a small brain unable to adapt to climatic change.

Far from being the super-stealthy beasts as some economists would have it, media cartels are slow to react to changes in the way people consume meaning. To put this in a nutshell — The public are just not that dumb anymore and even the most ardent reader can sense when writers are getting ripped off or taken for granted. Are you having the wool pulled over your eyes? Is the truth being hidden from you? How long will Independent be able to keep up the charade? Judging from the way editorial policy has been managed, indefinitely it would seem, considering there aren’t that many writers left and the whole media business is now run by editors and their infernal machines.

Machines it is sad to say, like your very own home computer, have taken-over many of the processes once considered the preserve of media workers. As humans get replaced by software, less and less people benefit from the media production process. The food chain is thinned out, power is concentrated in the hands of the few-on-top, while those below take strain. Eventually, one technocrat is left in control of the same amount of verbiage, information/content, as twenty or thirty equals would have been a decade ago. The result is an amplification of the inherent weaknesses in the system, as recent decisions by Independent’s editors concerning HIV-testing/Sexual Health and the handling of the tricky Invasion of Iraq will bear out.

Blogging however, is so rapid an advance by the body, that soon the head will have no reason for being: The evolution of super-sized media it would seem, has come to resemble a giant Brachiasaurus, slowly feeding off the imaginary public swamp, and comprised fabulously of a large body of lowly-paid workers, with little chance of advancement; no middle management and a minuscule head containing (a vaguely consciously-aware brain). Blogs on the other hand don’t need content managers, have little use for market-censorship, and don’t have half the propaganda workload that nine-to-five employees of the Independent Propaganda Machine have.

Blogs are in essence the Seventh Estate, the digital safety-valve, the new electronic steam-whistle blowing off facts about the fact that O’Reilly’s media organisation suppressed the facts, or emphasising that his group ripped off writers, or colouring his refusal to make amends or even acknowledge guilt. Yes, that’s right, according to the Gospel according to O’Reilly, “the facts are whatever he says they are” and “he’s not guilty even if his labour practices are found guilty by a court of law.”**see note.

Progressively the new technology-driven savings on “the cost of labour” are being funnelled up the food chain through the giant brachiosaurus-mind to its small head on top. Some techno-driven people above the clouds, the central brain, it seems have forgotten that most ordinary people dwell far below, hence the puny feet beneath the body. Supersized but to no avail, the higher the CEO’s salary, the bigger the discrepancy in wages, the greater the class divide, the larger the language gap, the more enormous the ego trip, the point is finally reached where the beast ceases to evolve, where it is necessary for the head to attack the body and vice versa.

For all intents and purposes, the Independent Media Cartel is an extinct animal, an historical footnote on the path of progress, waiting for you, the blog reader, Velociraptors of the New Age, to ask the right questions, interrogate the right facts and to question these dinosaurs to find out the terrible truth — who or what exactly controls the new economy of truth — and in answering this question, thereby diminishing both the Independent Group, the size-issue and its reason for being.

Pelindaba: Bureaucratic lies about radioactivity.

THERE’S a new bureaucratic lie about radiation doing the rounds, and it goes something like this — since background radiation is always present in the environment, a couple of extra roentgens won’t kill you. Which is like saying having a few x-rays for dinner is good for women and children and forgetting the nasty effects of gamma and other short bursts of radioactive energy on the human body.

I’m not a nuclear scientist but the point made by environmentalists seems to be that we need to eliminate the risk of radiation sickness and genetic mutation altogether because the effects of a nuclear disaster are so dire and the consequences so massive. The risks of another Chernobyl far outweigh any advantages, notwithstanding the side-effects on health — extra cancers, carcinomas, melanomas etc.

What Earthlife Africa are not weighing up unfortunately is the half-life of the plutonium still sitting at Pelindaba, the 200 000 years or so it will take for our nuclear programme to cool down and to get the surrounding environment back to normal. What they should be saying is that people who support nuclear energy are real fools – the same fools who believe putting asbestos in homes is economical. The same idiots who spray poisonous DDT to get rid of malaria, or pollute our rivers and destroy wetlands to increase production.

Lets end this debate once and for all by saying a big fat NO to nuclear energy, down with the dirty radiation lobby and YES to geothermal power, wave power, wind power and other sources of clean electricity. Lets work to free our continent from the antiquated Cold War nuclear industry and its terrible contribution to the arms race and in so doing, set an example for the rest of the world to follow.

CANNABIS DAY: Time for serious debate over Ganga Housing?

IT SEEMS impossible to have an intelligent debate on the drug issue in this country. An oxymoron perhaps, but for one, advocates of reform tend to alienate their own constituency by linking drug use with beneficial side-effects like housing. The build housing with ganga bricks brigade are really starting to look stupid and one can only hope that they move on to more motivationally-sound projects.

Take biogas and green fuel, both readily available as an interesting side-effect of growing hemp. However, waxing lyrical about the industrial herb does nothing to calm fears that what one is really advocating is the devils weed itself, and of course satanic dance rituals performed by lascivious black men eyeing rich white folk and their young daughters. Which is why the real issue is not just rastafarian-style reform, but also drug control — (don’t reach for the prohibition remote control yet!)

On International Legalise Cannabis Day, people want to know how long the effects last, will we have doctors going crazy on reefer madness, pilots flying jumbo jets into Table Mountain and all because old Von Hunks could smoke more than Lucifer? In the UK for instance, apart from the usual campaign to inform the public of dagga’s potential as a recreational drug, the reform movement actually got the silly Blair government to deschedule cannabis to a status more inkeeping with its mild intoxicating effects.

Perhaps cynically to appease the anti-war lobby? But it is said that General Blair did so honestly because of a more crucial battle, the war against heroin addiction and the reason is pretty obvious — equating dagga with hard drugs like heroin does nobody any good. For one, it alienates the youth (like the longhaired skaterboarders who attended the march in Cape Town on Saturday) who can see no reason to be scared of marijuana; and then more problematically, it sets a precedent whereby deception becomes part and parcel of our country’s supposed moral regeneration.

The official lie becomes self-fulfilling, because once you have smoked dagga and then realised the scare stories are so much piffle, the next move by anyone going though an experimental phase as Bill Clinton can tell you, would be to try out everything else on schedule 1 (I’m not sure exactly how the scheduling works in South Africa, but I am pretty sure there’s a category that’s still conveniently out-of-bounds even for doctors of psychology).

The result is worse than simply decriminalising Dagga. Twenty-somethings who don’t have a hope in hell because they’re addicted to Tik, or Crack or worse for most of their life. Speed freaks who don’t trust the government because the government lied to them about Dagga. Heroin addicts who don’t give a damn either way — because they’re passed smoking and inhaling and now inject because they’re used to being %&*£$@ over by the pro-drug lobby, as much as by the prohibition narcs. Which is why the legalise ganga movement desperately needs to find a new path between scare stories on the one hand, and the harsh realities on the other.

What seems to work is the logical imperative of progress and reform. Dagga deserves more leniency because its African, because its not like other drugs and so on and so forth. In any event South Africa with its constitutional right to psychological integrity, lags far behind western countries like Australia and Britain on the issue of reform, and its all because of those damn bricks — you know the ones I’m talking about. Now that I’ve finally got the recipe courtesy of eTV, I’m still as befuddled as the first time I read that more energy goes into the creation of one brick of hashish than an entire episode of Backstage.

— all rights reserved, copyright 2005, reprint with permission.