Thursday, January 31, 2008

[suspense] will this blog continue?

There's every chance this blog will freeze into semi-perpetuity at midnight.

Technically the cable internet stops at midnight but if I post tomorrow morning, then the technician understood my plea in Russian and switched me over to another month. If I don't post, I need to brush up on my Russian - or else he does.

Exciting, huh?

[carmelita] all strung out in america

There've been many American posts here lately but this blog will be back to the UK shortly. I saw this America in the video [why, oh why are there only two minutes of the song?] and I saw the other America too. Interesting place.

[feminism] the reason the young man is what he is

[Chuckle] Vox sure knows how to put the boot in:
There was no shortage of women who didn't like it when men were responsible for everything. They wanted to vote, they wanted to work, they are demanding a turn to take the reins.

Fine, says the modern young man, who has been subjected to 16 years of feminist propaganda that women are just as good - better, in fact - than men at pretty much everything.

Not being given to whining and being largely practical, the young man is happy to leave the responsibility to the women who are demanding it.

Who in their right mind would trade models, games and football for marriage to some controlling bitch who's as likely to leave you as not?
Why do I like that guy so much?

Late note for Welshcakes, who said not a lot but was not happy:

I've just got off the phone from the girl I love and every syllable she uttered went straight through me. She's everything I adore in women - soft to the touch, passionate, exotic, difficult, impossible, superior to me in intellect, a polyglot, impossible not to make endless love to, appreciative of men.

Plus she was tongue tied and at a loss what to say. That's nice.

I ... we ... can adore women and everything about you, from the way you move, the things you do with your lips, the sheer excitement in your presence, the way our troubles just melt away when you're in our arms.

We can adore you and do, including you, Welshcakes.

That's why we hate feminism with a passion - because the strident variety which has consumed one half of humanity is so divisive, so mindless, so designed to separate and breed hatred, so designed to turn men from the women we'd love to love.

To hate feminism does not mean we want to chain you to the kitchen or to dominate you and if you think that, it's so, so sad. Most men - the non-vocal types - want to meet you in a spirit of love, not in a spirit of prune-lipped oversensitivity as to whether we're going to infringe your personal rights as a woman or whether we acknowledge your supremacy.

In my head you are superior and I go back tomorrow to 150 of you in one room with me for four hours - yes, I think you're superior but do I need it shoved down my throat 24/7?

It's one of the key reasons I left to come over here because the "just past young" give ... and I give in return.

[splendid isolation] who needs to be human

Demands comment:

One: How can any person take a machete to another human being—whose only transgression might be his race, or his nationality, or his tribe, or his religion— and not be plagued with guilt and agony over the taking of that life? I can't understand it. I can't put myself in their shoes. The enormity of what I'd done would destroy me, and I could not live with myself.

Lost in the mob, the mob mentality, welcome evil - take your place in our hearts and give us our vital spark. Lt. General James N. Mattis, February 1st, 2005:

"Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. . . . It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling. . . . You go into Afghanistan; you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”

Two: I am not consciously seeking to discover these linkages. When they reveal themselves I sit back, dumbfounded at the beauty and intricacy with which the unraveled had been originally woven. So too have I come to believe that there is no autonomy. No originality. We build on what has been.

We're not isolated from the rest of the world and yet, even walking amongst them, we can be brain dead:

Three: The people I met there seemed to always be shopping or sitting on benches earning money, for doing nothing. Apart from a group of horse-people (I later guessed I had been talking to a group of 13 year-old girls into horse riding) and a kind chap who gave me a free gun, little conversation was to be had.

Will I go back into Second Life? Not unless someone I know goes too. Otherwise it's a waste of time and utterly mind numbing. Without 'Linden Dollars' you can do very little except roam the streets and buildings as though you are the last person alive on Earth.

Think. Feel.

The day we're satisfied with a life of acquisitive routine, punctuated by holidays abroad in tourist centres, we cease to be human. The day we become the mob, we've become automatons.

Are we automatons? A check list - if for us, it's more:

Sex, not love;

Revenge, not forgiveness;

Ego scaffolding, not humility;

Pride, not pleasure in achievement;

Cold cyberworlds, not forest and river;

Pleasure seeking, not pleasure in others' pleasure;

Expensive houses and furnishings, not beautiful homes;

Knee jerk reactions and cliches, not thinking something through;

... then chances are we're well on the way to becoming a global, bourgeois automaton. Not that there's anything wrong in this - every film cast needs it's thousands of extras, after all. Hey, let's get passionate here, for crying out loud! As Warren Zevon puts it:

I'd like to go back to Paris someday and visit the Louvre Museum
Get a good running start and hurl myself at the wall
Going to hurl myself against the wall
'Cause I'd rather feel bad than feel nothing at all

The clip below is the man who isolates himself from humanity as distinct from the one who loses himself in the mob, both just as bad. First, a portion of the lyrics:

Michael Jackson in Disneyland
Don't have to share it with nobody else
Lock the gates, Goofy, take my hand
And lead me through the World of Self

Splendid Isolation
I don't need no one
Splendid Isolation

By the way, there's everything in here - the direness of American talkshow TV, compressed into "slots", book-ended with "comedy" and Mickey Mouse, the dated and a bit dorky session musos who are still excellent musos, a fun interview with Letterman and in the middle of it all, observing it all going down - the flawed homo sapiens himself:

[christianity] life in the fast lane

[adelaide] colin's backwater

Adelaide - is Jocko's home really as bad as Sleepy Hollow, Geelong?

More than half of voters in an Adelaide newspaper's online opinion poll agree with Victorian Premier John Brumby - the city is a "backwater".

The poll had attracted more 2090 votes before 10am today, in response to the question: "Is Adelaide a backwater?"

Forty-eight per cent said Adelaide lagged behind the eastern capitals and another 15% agreed it was a backwater but said that was part of the appeal. Twenty-eight per cent said Mr Brumby was "just a jerk", and 6% based their defence on the number of major events on in Adelaide at this time of year.

The remaining 3% were unaccounted for by the News Limited poll.

Mr Brumby sparked a verbal joust yesterday when he said that unless Victoria pushes ahead with channel deepening in Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne will end up a "backwater", like Adelaide.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

[stupidity] some people never learn

How's this for stupidity?

A guy breaks a glass in his kitchen and the bits go under the table. He doesn't pick any of the bits up because he's in the middle of some project and then he just forgets until late evening. Barefooted, he then goes to the kitchen for a coffee.

He's still extracting bits next morning.

Just before he goes to work, the jug containing the bit of Christmas tree the love of his life brought him and which was adorned with metal plasticky type baubles - the whole thing decides to fall from the window sill to the kitchen floor and bits of metally plastic go everywhere.

No time, he has to go to work.

Comes home, kicks off shoes and takes off socks - yes, you've got it - goes into the kitchen to put the kettle on. He's still extracting bits this morning.

Yes - it is me. This guy needs training wheels and a nanny!

[u.s. presidential elections] how they work

Honest to G-d truth - overslept this morning and woke up at 9:11 a.m.!

Yesterday, I was explaining the U.S. presidential election system to my Min, as best I could, using yesterday's post but it was woefully inadequate when he started asking curly ones like:

1. Who are these electors? Are they the senators? Who chooses them?

2. What's the difference between a primary and a caucus?

3. Are these primaries and caucuses to select delegates for the Electoral College?

4. Why do they need an Electoral College? Why don't the people elect the President?

He's particularly interested in this because he has his own little election coming up over here and they're thinking of different systems in the future - Westminster, American, French and so on. Hope he doesn't ask me about the French.

So, if you're American, don't laugh at this piece, still in draft form, prepared for the Min and my students but please check it for accuracy. If you're non-American and were as much in the dark as I was, it might be useful. Of course you could look it up yourself but this is more summarized:

As everyone knows, the U.S. system is a series of checks and balances - hence the Constitution, hence the three way split of power - legislative, executive and judicial, hence the presidential election system.

The second thread running throughout is the traditional rivalry between constituent states and the desire to preserve states' rights.

As far as I can see, the presidential election goes through this procedure [reducing it to basics]:

1. Certain candidates emerge through the party system by wheeling and dealing and through attracting cash for the coming process - this happens in the year before the election;

2. The primaries and caucuses are used by the different parties, the two most important being the Democratic and Republican. within the 50 states, plus DC, to select delegates who will go to the party conventions later. Delegates are selected according to the methods the party decides it wants to adopt within that individual state - it's party business, not the state's [see below] - this happens from December onwards and the most important is Super Tuesday in February through March in the election year, when [currently] 22 states will select their delegates to the convention;

3. Conventions are held to formally select a party's candidate for the presidential election later that year but in recent years, they've largely been razamataz and everyone already knows the state of play. Not always though - there've been some surprises over the years. Each delegate attending that convention has basically "pledged" his or her vote to one candidate but only on the first ballot, after which they are "free".

4. Out of this come the various parties' choices for president and vice-president and these are voted for on election day in November by the people of the U.S., who are not voting for the candidate directly but from the people's votes, members of the Electoral College are elected and they vote 41 days later for president. It is therefore their vote and not the people's which elects the president and vp.

5. The whole thing is confirmed later.

Primaries, caucuses and conventions

The two methods for choosing delegates to the national convention are the caucus and the primary.

The Caucus

Caucuses were the original method for selecting candidates but have decreased in number since the primary was introduced in the early 1900's. In states that hold caucuses a political party announces the date, time, and location of the meeting. Generally any voter registered with the party may attend.

At the caucus, delegates are chosen to represent the state's interests at the national party convention. Prospective delegates are identified as favorable to a specific candidate or uncommitted. After discussion and debate an informal vote is taken to determine which delegates should be chosen.

The Primary

In the early twentieth century there was a movement to give more power to citizens in the selection of candidates for the party's nomination. The primary election developed from this reform movement. In a primary election, registered voters may participate in choosing the candidate for the party's nomination by voting through secret ballot, as in a general election.

There are two main types of primaries, closed or open, that determine who is eligible to vote in the primary. In a closed primary, only a registered voter may vote. For example a voter registered as Democratic can vote only in the Democratic primary and a Republican can vote only in the Republican primary.

In an open primary, on the other hand, a registered voter can vote in either primary regardless of party membership. The voter cannot, however, participate in more than one primary. A third less common type of primary, the blanket primary, allows registered voters to participate in all primaries.

In addition to these differences, there are differences in whether the ballot lists candidate or delegate names. The presidential preference primary is a direct vote for a specific candidate. The voter chooses the candidate by name. The second method is more indirect, giving the voter a choice among delegate names rather than candidate names. As in the caucus, delegates voice support for a particular candidate or remain uncommitted.

In some states a combination of the primary and caucus systems are used. The primary serves as a measure of public opinion but is not necessarily binding in choosing delegates. Sometimes the Party does not recognize open primaries because members of other parties are permitted to vote.

Further notes on primaries and caucuses

Each state is given a number of delegates by the party machines, proportional to the state's population and each state has its own method of choosing delegates.

The Democrats use a higher ratio than the Republicans, which means they have more delegates overall. So from Colorado, the Democrats selected 61 delegates and the Republicans selected 40.

Some give all their delegates to the winner, some break them down by districts, and others dole them out depending on the percentage of the total vote each candidate receives.

Nowadays, all delegates are "pledged" to a candidate before they are elected to go to the convention. However, these pledges don't last past the first round and, after that, delegates are free agents. Prior to this, delegates elected on behalf of one candidate often went to the convention and made deals with one of the other candidates, essentially making the primaries meaningless.

Now, with pledged delegates, it is the conventions that are probably out of date as it has been a long time since there was even a second ballot at either major convention. (Compare this to the 19th century where at one point the Whig convention went through over 250 ballots to elect a majority candidate).

So when Bush won Colorado, what that means is that he got most of CO's delegates to the GOP convention to represent him.

The conventions are effectively over when one candidate gets over half of the total national delegates, which gives him a majority at the convention. That happened in March for both Bush & Gore, so the primaries after March didn't matter very much.

The delegates from each state meet at the convention to vote for the candidate they represent. They have a big party, wear silly hats, and hold up signs saying things like "Colorado for McCain".

Remember, the delegates determined in the primaries are committed to vote for their candidate only on the first ballot at the convention. After that, they can vote for anyone. McCain "released" his delegates to vote for Bush so that Bush could have a unanimous vote.

At the convention, the party delegates also write the official party platform.

The whole delegate system was intended to replace the "smoke-filled rooms" where powerful members of the party secretly chose a candidate. The Constitution doesn't talk about how party nominees are chosen, so every party can decide for itself. Smoke-filled rooms and secret processes are perfectly legal; we just use this primary process because people like it better.

A caucus, on the other hand, is a bunch of people of a political party who show up at a party meeting and decide, by whatever system they want to use, who their choice is.

The Republican Party uses a winner-take-all system in which the delegate or candidate with the most votes in a state's primary or caucus wins the right to be represented by ALL of the party's delegates at the national convention.

Federal law doesn't dictate how states choose their delegates.

The term caucus apparently comes from an Algonquin word meaning "gathering of tribal chiefs," and the main crux of the caucus system today is indeed a series of meetings.

In Iowa, the caucuses themselves are local party precinct meetings where registered Republicans and Democrats gather, discuss the candidates and vote for their candidate of choice for their party's nomination.

The Republican caucus voting system in Iowa is relatively straightforward: You come in, you vote, typically through secret ballot, and the percentages of the group supporting each candidate decides what delegates will go on to the county convention.

The Democrats have a more complex system -- in fact, it's one of the most complex pieces of the entire presidential election. In a typical caucus, registered democrats gather at the precinct meeting places (there are close to 2,000 precincts statewide), supporters for each candidate have a chance to make their case, and then the participants gather into groups supporting particular candidates (undecided voters also cluster into a group).

Again - the whole business is entirely according to how the party wants it to be - the government doesn't come into it officially.

The Electoral College

It may surprise you to know that Russia has a more direct presidential election process than the United States. In the United States, a system called the Electoral College periodically allows a candidate who receives fewer popular votes to win an election.

In fact, there have been several presidential candidates who won the popular vote, but lost the election because they received fewer electoral votes. In Russia, where no such system exists, the candidate who receives a majority of popular votes wins the election.

Every four years, on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November, millions of U.S. citizens go to local voting booths to elect, among other officials, the next president and vice president of their country. But the results of the popular vote are not guaranteed to stand because the Electoral College has not cast its vote and what the people actually voted for was not the president and vp but for the Electoral College.

The Electoral College is a controversial mechanism that was created by the framers of the U.S. Constitution as a compromise, some politicians believing a purely popular election was too reckless, while others objected to giving Congress the power to select the president. The compromise was to set up an Electoral College system that allowed voters to vote for electors, who would then cast their votes for candidates, a system described in Article II, section 1 of the Constitution.

Each state has a number of electors equal to [but not actually comprising] the number of its U.S. senators plus the number of its U.S. representatives. Currently, the Electoral College includes 538 electors, 535 for the total number of congressional members, and three who represent Washington, D.C., as allowed by the 23rd Amendment.

On the Monday following the second Wednesday in December, the electors of each state meet in their respective state capitals to officially cast their votes for president and vice president. These votes are then sealed and sent to the president of the Senate, who on January 6th opens and reads the votes in the presence of both houses of Congress. The winner is sworn into office at noon on January 20th.

Most of the time, electors cast their votes for the candidate who has received the most votes in that particular state. Some states have laws that require electors to vote for the candidate that won the popular vote, while other electors are bound by pledges to a specific political party. However, there have been times when electors have voted contrary to the people's decision, and there is no federal law or Constitutional provision against it.

In most presidential elections, a candidate who wins the popular vote will also receive the majority of the electoral votes, but this is not always the case. There have been four presidents who have won an election with fewer popular votes than their opponent but more electoral votes.

In 2000, for example, Al Gore had over half a million votes more than George W. Bush but after recount controversy in Florida and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Bush was awarded the state by 537 popular votes. Like most states, Florida has a "winner takes all" rule. This means that the candidate who wins the state by popular vote also gets all of the state's electoral votes. Bush became president with 271 electoral votes.

Today, a candidate must receive 270 of the 538 electoral votes to win the election, so George W. Bush won the 2000 election by one electoral vote. In cases where no candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, the decision is thrown to the House of Representatives by virtue of the 12th Amendment. The House then selects the president by majority vote with each state delegation receiving one vote to cast for the three candidates who received the most electoral votes.

Here are the two elections that were decided by the House of Representatives:

1801: Thomas Jefferson

1825: John Quincy Adams.

The goal of any candidate is to put together the right combination of states that will give him or her the 270 electoral votes plus. It's a numbers game.

Nomination of electors

If you're wondering how someone becomes an elector, it turns out it's not the exact same process across the board. It can actually differ from state to state. In general, though, the two most common ways are:
  • The elector is nominated by his or her state party committee (perhaps to reward many years of service to the party).
  • The elector "campaigns" for a spot and the decision is made during a vote held at the state's party convention.
Qualifications to be an Elector
  • He or she cannot be a Representative or Senator;
  • He or she cannot be a high-ranking U.S. official in a position of "trust or profit";
  • He or she cannot be someone who has "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the U.S.
Usually, electors are people who are highly politically active in their party (be it Democrat, Green, Libertarian, Republican ...) or connected somehow to the political arena, such as: activists, party leaders, elected officials of the state and even people who have ties (political and/or personal) to the Presidential candidates, themselves. Potential elector candidates are nominated by their state political parties in the summer before the Election Day. The U.S. Constitution allows each state to choose its own means for the nomination of electors.

In some states, the Electors are nominated in primaries the same way that other candidates are nominated. Other states nominate electors in party conventions. All states require the names of all Electors to be filed with the Secretary of State (or equivalent) at least a month prior to election day.

Hope that clears it up.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

[suddenly] the one word it's best not to hear

Something to cheer us all up on this snowbound evening. :)

Donne should have written: "No man is an island, especially in Russia." Perhaps he would have, if he'd lived here.

Networks mean survival here and the strongest network is family. I'm just astounded that I have to actually argue with western blogfriends that the family is the best available unit when such a question is not even a question in Russia.

Tragedy can hit suddenly - completely life-altering tragedy - this is so the world over - but in the west, despite even the NHS debacle, there is an infrastructure which kicks in, a safety net. Here there is none. The derelict, the streetkid, he's not picked up by a hospice outreach programme, there is no lifeline to call.

He simply dies.

Or she goes into prostitution. The real westerner simply cannot get his mind round this. But surely, in these days of improved medicine, mobile phones and so on? No. We are, all of us, living on the edge each day and that is why, when I don't hear from my friend for two days or he from me, fear kicks in. Not anger, not resentment - it's far worse - fear. Especially in winter.

An aspect of this is that the melodramatic and unnecessary drama then becomes the living reality - and it does do this, it really does.

The Russians are blunt because they must be to survive and any westerner living here must also be so, otherwise he goes down. There is no planning and speculation is a pointless exercise because tomorrow might be your last. It's in every aspect of life. More spuriously, if you see a pair of shoes you like and you wait till tomorrow to decide, they won't be there.

Faith takes on a meaning all its own, the longer you live here close to the streets and markets.

The exhortation of Christ that he will come like a thief in the night, at a time no one expects, is immediately applicable to this country. Make sure you've taken care of all the details before you go out each day. At this moment, the trouble is with my friend and his family. Tomorrow it might be me. There are always two or three issues with everyone - I have mine - but they usually stay relatively benign, dormant.

Then a conjunction of circumstances suddenly renders two of the three malignant and that's your life blighted. It's in this context that I approach cyber-issues as less than life and death, given that I'm due for a fall of my own in 2010. Like wars, it's already been arranged and you just take it as it comes.

So the only thing is to utilize the remaining time, to get your novels, your small legacy, up and running, take care of property matters and then, like any batsman in cricket, just keep stroke making until they finally get you.

After all, everyone has to go sometime.

I like this one too but it requires patience. That's about the amount of snow we have but not the enemy shooting at us. At this point. :)

What´s the Difference Between Us and Them?

Warning: Politically incorrect post ahead. All who may be offended best not to read!

That was the question posed by one of my professors during the intensive January mini-course. We were talking about fish. In Spanish, there are two words for fish: pez (when the fish is in the sea) y pescado (when it´s on your plate). In my seven (soon to be eight) years of speaking the language, I always have messed up things like this. There are also words for chicken when it´s in the barnyard and on your plate, well, you get the idea.

So, I messed up pez y pescado. My teacher looked at me and laughed, ¨Matt, you know the difference between us (Spaniards) and the Japanese?¨
¨What is it?¨ I aksed.
¨We eat pescado, they eat pez.¨

One of the things I truly love about Spain, they are brutally honest and very politically incorrect. They say what they think. If you aren´t warned about it beforehand, it can be quite offending. For instance, two Saturdays ago, I was going to a nightclub with a Spaniard friend of mine. Before leaving, my landlady suggested I change my jacket.

Another thing I love about Spain are the TV ads. Here are three of my favorites:

Renault´s Twingo Ad put to classical music

Seat (a Spanish car company) ad for the Altea XL put to the great Civil War song ¨When Johnny Comes Marching Home.¨ I asked my landlady about all the English language songs used in the ads. Her response was, ¨Well, we´re quite Americanized.¨

Finally, my personal favorite, a Vicks Nasal Spray ad. Notice at the end the part that says ¨Read the instructions of this medicine and consult the pharmicist." That is one part of Spain´s TV ads I don´t like. Every, and I mean every (without exception), medicine ad has to have that at the end of the ad, as required by law. It gets quite old when three or four medicine ads happen in a row (sadly, that has happened several times in the past few days). I mentioned to my landlady´s son, if I were to go to Hell, that would be my punishment, seeing that screen over and over again. Not a second after I said that came another ad. He looked at me and I said, with a solemn face, ¨Why??????¨

Alright, that´s all for now. I might not be able to post again for a while because the computer I use right now has weak net capabilities and Internet cafés, while cheap, aren´t high on my list. Until next time!

[report card] enter name here

Report Card

Opportunities: Excellent

Arrogance: Overweening

Sense of responsibility: Nil

Charisma: Outstanding

Gift of the gab: Professional

Talent: Low

Trades on: Greed of the gullible

Result: Disaster

[cry inequality] or else do something about it

Dave J quotes M.N.Marger:

The power of a dominant class or ethnic group is not simply the power of force but also the power to propound and sustain an ideology that legitimizes the system of inequality.

In reality, however, the opportunity structure is hardly equal, and the dominant values of individualism, competition, and achievement favor those who are wealthy and can easily avail themselves of the opportunities for success.

This simplistic analysis is very much that of my student days when, at 20, I looked around, saw inequality everywhere and wanted it all swept away and a new utopia put in its place. We were young, we could do whatever we wanted if we all banded together. The analysis suited a mind susceptible to simple solutions but considered itself to be sophisticated and all-seeing - that was me at 20.

A detractor the other day called me "adolescent" and he might have been close to the truth because I do still think we can change some things. Some, in a limited way and for some time.

My initial comment at Dave's was:

There's an element of truth on both sides. The inequality is so ancient that the central decision makers are better educated, housed, clothed and fed and operate at a higher level in all ways except spiritually. This is wrong but intergenerationally perpetuated.


The spiritual nature of much of the leadership, itself a subset of the old and new money, is atrophied - there is no need to exercise the spirit when the primary purpose is to protect wealth - and pragmatic people tend to be the most unspiritual and therefore tend, by degrees, to the level of the beast.

Beautiful example here in our town is of a porcine wheeler-dealer, [so he projects himself], living in my friend's housing block, who parks his car in the middle of the lane and conducts aggressive deals by mobile phone, blocking everyone around, before going up to his flat for a vodka. Zero concern for anyone else whatsoever - voice harsh, cruel piggy eyes and so on.

On the other hand there are most certainly groups and ethnicities that when they do have the opportunity, do not grasp it with open arms and work their butts off to escape their plight but instead adopt a lazy, handout mentality, a carping "everyone discriminates against me so I'll sit on my butt and watch TV, then go out later and mug someone because nobody give's a rat's a-s- about me" approach to life.

So yes, it does quite often come down to individuals but also to a mentality which feels sorry for itself without actively seeking solutions, a mentality which leans on the state as the provider without understanding how that state sustains itself in the first place - by taking earnings from people who work for those earnings, give or take a few hundred thousand criminals.

Moving tangentially into the world of sport, there is a piece in Cricinfo which sums it up:

"What they needed was a solid innings from Lara. What they got was someone who seemed not to care."
By way of explanation, this was offered:

A story broke in India's Outlook magazine claiming that immediately after the game Lara had told the Kenyans that losing to them was not as bad as losing to a team like South Africa. An unnamed source was quoted as hearing him say: "You know, this white thing comes into the picture. We can't stand losing to them."

From the Koori to the PAC, it's the same story. Utilize the fashionable catchcry "racism" [others use feminism, ageism, every -ism under the sun] to justify your own failure when the truth is that there are people who are simply lackadaisical and expect handouts, on one hand and there are people with a Calvinistic work ethic who actually succeed, on the other.

It is possible to succeed in western societies like Britain and the U.S.

We had Ugandans and Kenyans at our London school and they were not sons of rich princes - they grew up in New Cross and Brixton but their parents and ultimately themselves, wanted to be lifted out of the mire and into a mentality of hard-working success. It's rubbish that, in these societies, a person can't succeed.

Admittedly, most will never grasp the reins of power but that's our plight too because power is all tied up by cabalists like Common Purpose, the CFR, the Bilderbergers and so on but that's hardly the issue mooted in the first quote in this post.

In the end, it comes down to another simplistic rule:

The moment you start moaning is the moment you stop succeeding.

[encryption] thou shalt have nothing private

The documents on my computer are encrypted but:

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) was changed last autumn to allow police to force people to hand over passwords or keys to encrypted data. Refusal to do so is a criminal offence carrying a penalty of two years in jail, or up to five years if the issue concerns national security.

And yet there is still a slim hope:

The government's new powers to force the handover of encryption keys could be vulnerable to a legal challenge under the Human Rights Act's guarantee to a fair trial. People who refuse keys or passwords face up to five years in jail.

The problem with this iniquitous act is that it allows the government, e.g. the ODPM, to decide whom they consider undesirables and can then break in and arrest the ordinary citizen along with the genuine terrorist threat - all swept into a waterboarding prison under the charge of sedition.

Section 22 says:
It is necessary on grounds falling within this subsection to obtain communications data if it is necessary-

(a) in the interests of national security;
(b) for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime or of preventing disorder;
(c) in the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom;
(d) in the interests of public safety;
(e) for the purpose of protecting public health;
(f) for the purpose of assessing or collecting any tax, duty, levy or other imposition, contribution or charge payable to a government department;
(g) for the purpose, in an emergency, of preventing death or injury or any damage to a person's physical or mental health, or of mitigating any injury or damage to a person's physical or mental health; or
(h) for any purpose (not falling within paragraphs (a) to (g)) which is specified for the purposes of this subsection by an order made by the Secretary of State.

[super tuesday] february 5th

The theory
In the United States, Super Tuesday commonly refers to the Tuesday in early February or March of a presidential election year when the greatest number of states hold primary elections to select delegates to national conventions at which each party's presidential candidates are officially nominated. More delegates can be won on Super Tuesday than on any other single day of the primary calendar, and accordingly, candidates seeking the presidency traditionally must do well on this day to secure their party's nomination.

What to watch for

Although the results are reported by state, district results are quite important:
Each district typically has three to five delegates to award. A candidate needs at least 15% of the vote in the district to get any delegates. So in a race where only Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama meet that threshold, they are likely to divide the delegates evenly if there are an even number of delegates available. That makes the districts with an odd number of delegates the most valuable, because the winner will automatically get an extra.

The 2008 race
But Mr. Obama heads into the 22-state showdown as the underdog. The Illinois senator trails Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York by large margins in polls in most of the big states voting Feb. 5. And he lacks the time or resources to campaign intensively in many of those far-flung races to close the gaps.

"Clinton is harvesting her long-term campaign investment," says Cole Blease Graham Jr., a professor of political science at the University of South Carolina. "The Democratic establishment seems to be more behind her."
So, despite Obama's successes, the Lizard Queen appears to have done the number crunching and is likely to emerge the victor. This would surely be a result favoured by the Republicans as her divisiveness might just tip the balance their way.

On the other hand, the allegedly most corrupt machine politician of modern times might just have the numbers to head the U.S.A., come 2009. Lord have mercy on America and the world.

Monday, January 28, 2008

[next james bond] who's a pretty boy then

[davos] one bomb would do the trick

[slavery] in deepest, darkest britain

Tale of deepest, darkest Africa?

An undercover reporter was offered several children for sale by their parents in Nigeria: two boys aged three and five for £5000 ($A11,231), or £2500 for one, and a 10-month-old baby for £2000.

Teenage girls — including some still pregnant — were willing to sell their babies for less than £1000. One international trafficker, tracked down in Lagos, claimed to be buying up to 500 children a year.

Nope - Britain. To be specific:
Impoverished African parents are being lured by the traffickers' promises of "a better life" for their children, thousands of miles away in cities including London, Birmingham and Manchester. But, once brought to Britain, the children are used as a fraudulent means to obtain illicit housing and other welfare benefits, totalling tens of thousands of pounds each a year.
Nice to know the old ways are still being observed. Lovely people in the world, aren't there?

[dolly] would you eat her?


The USFDA assures everyone that everything is all right:
After reviewing numerous scientific studies, the US Food and Drug Administration found that food derived from cloned cows, pigs, goats and their offspring is as safe to eat as products from conventionally bred livestock. Stephen Sendoff, director of the FDA's food safety division, said: "The likelihood that anything would go wrong from a food safety standpoint is unimaginably small."
Well, that's a relief - departments of state's assurances can always be fully trusted, can't they? The hallmark of state administrators is competence, after all.

You have any issues with that? By the way - love that name "Send-off". Yes indeed. :)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

[quantum of solace] don't we all need it?

Nice article with Daniel Craig commenting on Quantum of Solace:

It is a direct sequel to Casino Royale, beginning an hour after that film ends, with Bond devastated by his betrayal by true love Vesper Lynd.

"He had his heart broken at the end of the last movie and that certainly is a spur for him in this one," said Craig, 39, straight from the set in sharp grey suit, crisp white shirt and cufflinks.

"I'd be lying if I said there wasn't revenge in his heart. But it's more than that. That spurs him on, but that's not what the movie is. It's not a revenge movie. It's about him figuring a few things out."

Producer Barbara Broccoli said the film, directed by Marc Forster (Monster's Ball, The Kite Runner), mixes Bond's "inner turmoil" with action - and of course gadgets - as he tries to stop a shadowy cabal trying to bring down the world economy.

Nice premise but can't help thinking it's a bit risky coming out with this directly. I know I'm doing the same on this blog but I've always been prepared to go up in smoke, which appeared to happen two days ago. Still, s'pose they know what they're doing. I like that Bond, in Craig's words:

"...wants his closure."

On the title itself, Craig says it's about:

"that spark of niceness in a relationship that if you don't have, you might as well give up."

"That spark of niceness." After the really unpleasant things which happened this morning via my e-mail, I'd have to agree wholeheartedly that that's what life is all about - that spark of niceness.

As for James Bond, he's a sad case. He's looking for niceness but thinks it can come through the barrel of a gun. Similarly, I was offered friendship today by someone telling me he had the power to "eat me for dinner", to destroy me but he'd give me one last chance and let's be friends. Interesting ideas on closure, solace and friendship.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap unless one of the two is of a forgiving nature and is willing to turn the other cheek.

[tyranny] we stand up or we go down

Wikipedia image called 'Telescreen'

The Reactionary Snob comments:
Apparently students will not be allowed to access the student loans facility if they do not sign up to ID cards. But wait a second! ID Cards are going to be delayed (nobody saw that coming - this lot's record with large scale IT projects is woeful. I wouldn't trust them to finish a wank on time let alone a major project). And not only are they being delayed they may end up not being compulsory.
Englisc Fyrd continues:
And so the saga continues, Labour get told "No" but they keep rephrasing the question until they get a yes. Of course that's if they bother to ask the question in the first place.
Now, in the light of a nasty e-mail this morning calling me:
... an attention seeking control freak, a delayed adolescent, stupid enough to get sucked in to the agenda of a thoroughly vindictive liar ... I'll kill your blog for ever [which I'll now add to my testimonials]
... it's clear that, just as we have to stand up to this sort of thing in the blogosphere and keep blogging until people like this really do shut us down, so we, as citizens have to stand up to ID cards because the moment we meekly accept them, it's the thin edge of the wedge.

And for those of a theological bent, let's not forget it was written about 2000 years ago that there'd be chips in our right wrists or foreheads in order to "buy or sell", as they put it.

For sheer literary power though, you can't go past this as a final comment:
I do apologise if my glee is obvious, but these disingenuous bastards deserve to see their flagship; full of cannonball holes, listing badly with the rigging falling about their ears; slip serenely, unmissed, unwanted and unloved beneath the cold grey waves.

Yes, I’m enjoying the sight of HMS ID Cards wallowing, holed beneath the waterline, as the venal, mendacious poltroons who launched and sailed her try vainly to make her appear watertight. May every politician be so visited by the lies and fraud they perpetuate in such graphic fashion.
My goodness, can that man write or can that man write!

[medical advice] mousemedicine

Think Mousie's going to be struck off for this gratuitous advice:

* If you are choking on an ice cube simply pour a cup of boiling water down your throat. Hey Presto! The blockage will instantly remove itself.

* Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold while you chop.

* If you suffer with high blood pressure, simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure in your veins. Remember to use a timer.

* If you have an irritating cold, take a large dose of laxatives, then you will be afraid to cough or sneeze.

* Contact lens wearers: keep your eyes snug and warm this winter by adding a few drops of chilli sauce to your cleaning solution.

For more of these helpful hints and the very best medical advice, Mousie provides over at his place.

[girls smoke] the new generation

I question the figures:

[A] Bath University-led team said "aggressive targeting" of women by tobacco firms was behind the rise [in female smoking in Russia]. Researchers monitoring 7,000 people over 11 years found 7% of women smoked in 1992, compared with 15% in 2003, the Tobacco Control journal reports.

Manufacturer British American Tobacco said the increase was due to Russians having more money for cigarettes. [However] the researchers, who also included teams from University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said tobacco advertising had been virtually non-existent in the Soviet Union. Companies invested heavily in developing the market, promoting smoking as part of the new 'western lifestyle' [Dr Anna Gilmore, lead researcher]

[O]nce the break-up [of the Soviet Union] started, the nationalised smoking industry disintegrated, allowing the big tobacco firms to push their products. The report said the firms became "rampant" and by the mid-1990s it was estimated that half of all billboards in Moscow and three quarters of plastic bags in the country carried tobacco advertising.

Lead researcher Dr Anna Gilmore said: "There can be no doubt that the marketing tactics of Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and the like directly underpin this massive increase in smoking that spells disaster for health in Russia.

The reason I question the figures is that I'd estimate now that, of the younger girls I know and see over here [up to 25 years of age], maybe 70% smoke and that might be a conservative estimate.

The issue today has become sidetracked because of, for example, the U.K.'s heavy handed and draconian legislation which I commented on here and here - the idea of the government legislating on the matter is anathema to millions of people and those pushing such legislation now have a nice label attached - anti-smoking nazis.

The moment government does these things and the blogosphere attaches a catch-all label, all real debate flies out the window and it's back to the good old entrenched positions all over again.

As in climate change.

This, in turn, leads to this sort of thing and most people, including myself, would agree with the publicans. It then makes this sort of thing so much harder.

On the other hand, non-legislative national campaigns can be effective for a short time. In Australia in the 80s, there were two major campaigns I recall. "Slip, slop, slap" was aimed at reducing skin cancer and was pretty effective. It became quite cool to sport a white nose in the sun and to wear a hat and light shirt on the beach, as a counterweight to the image of the bronzed Aussie.

Another campaign was against smoking and there were buses which toured schools, replete with videos, smoking machines and stats. These targetted young kids and the obvious question was how ethical it all was - libertarians might say not very. The bus was popular with the kids though because of the "show" the young people manning the bus put on and the kids definitely thought the issue through.

Some time ago, this blog drew attention to the dangers of female smoking as more insidious than male but what effect would such a post have on a girl? I'd say next to zero.

I'm in a position to talk to hundreds of girls a week about it but as most readers would suspect, the best result such a campaign would achieve would be marginal, at best. Girls parrot the words and agree 'oh yes, it's a terrible thing' and they'll tell you how terrible all their friends are smoking [but not them] and then they'll go to the club that night and of course they're all smoking.

Sites like Parentingteens are virtually nowhere - convincing parents themselves but how many teen girls would read a site like that?

They're much more likely to read this and there's no mucking about here - it's straight into it, pushing girls smoking and these sites are all over the place, interwoven with porn on Google searches - interesting how the tat industry is so keen to associate smoking and teen sex as part of the new youth and a whole generation is being pied-pipered into it.

This is the most balanced site I can find but again, how many girls are going to tune into it?

I have absolutely no idea what to do to stem this tide. Labelling anyone who raises concerns over young females smoking immediately puts that person in the "anti-smoking nazi" camp and I'm dead against government legislation on the matter.

So where to go from here? I just hate seeing wrong things succeed and right things get nowhere.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

[almost back] with friends like this

I'd like to thank the person or persons who hit my Mac yesterday and wiped out the MacOS. My mate asked what I expected with a post like the last one.

You did well, my friend. It's almost back but it's been an effort. More later.

UPDATE: 04:04, Sunday, local time

Finally off and running with the latest version of MacOS with lots of goodies and though it took 11 hours to complete the job, it was worth it. As for whether I'd run a post like the last one again - on occasions, yes. The number of people who read it, as distinct from commenting, was gratifying but it wouldn't want to be all the time, mind.

Now, a little post on smoking, time for a snooze and then some more "accessible" posts later today [providing I don't get hit again].

Have a lovely Sunday, readers.

Friday, January 25, 2008

[research] following the scent to one's doom

Gustave Doré’s illustration of Lord Alfred Tennyson’s “Idylls of the King”, 1868 [courtesy of Wiki]

There are no great revelations here but this post just charts the thinking which takes place once you start researching something. It's an insight into fragmented circumstantial snippets and how they are sometimes enough when checked against previously accumulated data.

I started researching Hans-Gert Pöttering:

From 1984 to 1994 he was chairman of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence. Hans-Gert Pöttering is known as an enthusiastic European federalist and an ally of Angela Merkel. He has stated that his priority will be to rejuvenate the European Constitution. He lives in Bad Iburg near Osnabrück. He has been a member of the European Parliament since 1979, one of only 14 members of the European Parliament who have served continuously since the first elections.

This is what he's about, from the Euro-News soft interview:
"We are not expecting the Treaty to fail, because if we assume it could falter, failure is either guaranteed or very probable. That is why we must do everything in order to make the Treaty a success, and get it ratified - whether it is by referendum, like in Ireland, or by national parliaments, both procedures are equally democratic. The choice of one method or another is down to the traditions in each member state. Each country decides how to ratify the Treaty, be it by referendum or by parliamentary ratification - both are democratic. And we want to do everything possible to ensure the Treaty is ratified so it can come into force from 2009.

And here are his tactics in achieving his goals:

Last week a group of more than 60 MEPS from all over Europe tried to demonstrate against refusals to hold referendums on the treaty. The group, including MEPS from the UK Independence Party and the Tories, had protest banners forcibly removed from the chamber and their calls for points of order ignored. Now Mr Poettering has asked the Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee to give him the power to stifle all protest moves.

If we can put to one side Wonko's understandably emotive language, the gagging action itself has certainly been mentioned in a few places and his closeness to Merkel and her closeness to the Bertlesman Foundation and its closeness to the Bavarian Bruderheist are interesting. This sort of thing comes out of such an association:

“In the EU itself we must move closer to a common European army.” The Federal Chancellor announced, “We should not take peace and democracy for granted. The ideal of European unification is still today a question of war and peace.” [Bild 23.03.2007]

Increased powers of political decision should be conferred on those states which have adopted the euro currency. “The euro group should have a special role in designing the future of the EU”. [zur Zukunft der Europaeischen Union; Guetersloh 21.02.2007]

The Bertelsmann Foundation [which] publicised [the conference], claimed that “the hand-picked circle of participants … covered all the great geographical areas of today’s European Union, EU candidate states and the USA.” The theme was the “strategic reorientation” of the EU.

The nature of the language is indicative of the mindset. Incidentally, this group is active in seeking to "ethically" regulate the internet. You only get into their funding sources indirectly.

For example, the awards to New York students were partly funded by Carl and Lily Pforzheimer and Carl H. Pforzheimer Jr. was an intergenerational investment banker with an oil and gas family background. He's connected with Citybank/Group which in turn brings you back to J.P. Morgan, which brings you to the New York Fed and the F.O.M.C. and the current fun the western world is having. this brings you to Morgan Stanley, which then takes you back to Europe to the Round Table [can anyone remember the shape of the Arthurian Table?], which in turn takes you back to the Bertelsmann foundation.

Now, against this, I have, somewhere down in the vaults, other data of a different kind. Example - for years, the U.S. government denied there was a thing called MK Ultra. Now, under the 30 year rule, it is public knowledge. It involved the covert experimentation and psychological trauma training of human subjects. Much of the expertise came into America under Operation Paperclip and others.

So far, that's safe ground.

Where the ground becomes less safe is placing weight on the tenuous testimony of one such San Diego based "trainer" who said the following in an interview with HJ Springer, Chief Editor in 2000:

When I was in San Diego, human experimentation was still going on. Jonathan and I were investigating the effects of certain drugs on inducing trance states and assisting with programming. We would take the data, and download it into a database ... and then send it to Langley.

Russian, German, French, British, Canadian, and US trainers all worked together ... There is also a lot of trading back and forth of members in these groups. A Russian trainer might come to the US for a while, complete a job, then go back, or vice-versa.

How much evidence has come out? Or the MK-Ultra documents that have been declassified, shown as real, and people still ignore it.

All you can do in this situation is hope other corroborating evidence comes out, which it fortunately has. Now MK Ultra is out in the open, books like Trance Formation of America start to make more sense. And the battery of institutions mentioned in psychologist Dr. Colin Ross's keynote address at the 9th Annual Western Clinical Conference on Trauma and Dissociation, April 18, 1996, on dissociative techniques, suggests that there is little accident in what is going on:

Orange County, California, Columbia University, Cornell, Denver, Emory, Florida, George Washington, Harvard, Houston, Illinois, Indiana Universities, Johns Hopkins, University of Minnesota, New Jersey Reformatory, Bordentown in Tennessee ... Ohio, University of Pennsylvania, Penn State, Princeton, Stanford, a couple of universities in Texas, Wisconsin, the Bureau of Narcotics. Eli Lilly was the big supplier of LSD to the CIA. McGill, NIH, NIMH, National Philosophical Society ...

.. and some of the personalities involved, either knowingly or unwittingly:

James Hamilton, Harold Abramson, Carl Pfeiffer, Louis Jolyon West at UCLA, Ewen Cameron at McGill,Carl Rogers, Martin Orne, Maitland Baldwin [work on monkey brains], George White, Harold Wolff was at Cornell, Raymond Prince, R. Gordon Watson, John Mulholland, G.H. Estabrooks, J. Edgar Hoover, Allen Dulles and hallucinogen research by Daniel Friedman, connected with Loretta Bender, Paul Hawk and Ewen Cameron.

And if you need victims, you can start with Frank Olson and Mary Ray.

Where to go next?

As a researcher, if one is to accept any of the above as having substance, then one really must follow up on the other, less orthodox, parts of the testimony. In the end, one must decide if we're dealing with imaginative loonies or people who know what they're talking about. I mean, if they've been shown to be right on one aspect, when all around have been knee-jerk reacting like one commenter on my site:
Got to laugh. This is how conspiracy theories start.

Key here is to read reader comments, put the "kneejerkers" and "sweeping generalization trotter-outers" to one side and to zero in on those who specifically comment on the grounds that they're involved in this field. Emotion must be excised here and conclusions must not be preempted.

So I neither accept or reject the following from the CentrExNews interview but simply bear it in mind:

The Rothschild family in England, and in France, have ruling seats. A descendant of the Hapsburg dynasty has a generational seat. A descendant of the ruling families of England and France have a generational seat. The Rockefeller family in the US holds a seat.

The Hanoverian / Hapsburg descendants rule in Germany over the Bruderheist. They are considered one of the strongest lines
The British line is just under them, with the royal family, even though parliament rules the country openly. The U.S. is considered lower, and younger, than the European branches.

Germany, France, and the UK form a triumvirate that rules in the European ... The USSR is considered important, and has the strongest military groups. But a lot of the current U.S. leadership will be in Europe when the change occurs, and many have homes there.

The Bruderheist is the ruling council of Germany. It meets in the black forest region, which is considered the center of the earth, and ... they are some of the most vicious people I have ever known in my life, and make the Nazis (who they encouraged) look like fun people. They are still there, manipulating people, running banks, and channeling their dirty money to Brussels, Switzerland, and Cairo, Egypt.

On America: One reason that our economy continues limping along is the artificial support that the Federal Reserve had given it, manipulating interest rates, etc. But one day, this won't work (or this leverage will be withdrawn on purpose) and the next great depression will hit.

They [the old money] run the porn industry, along with other groups such as the Mafia, together with drug smuggling, gun running, and human slavery.

I think you have to approach this now with an open mind and a sense of logic. Why wouldn't the people who funded the nutter Hitler to achieve a pan-European Reich dedicated to eliminating inferior humans from the earth still be around? The motif is exactly the same and involves the same descent into human bestiality which is going on today. Why wouldn't these people still be funding it?

Why would the old money concern itself with local matters only when they can ensure their hegemony through the instruments of state? It would stand to reason. And what do these people look like in the flesh? Are they likely to be wickedly chuckling, disfigured monsters in cloaks or would they be the Armani suited, clinically clean, plush powered wheelers and dealers of Europe, Britain and the U.S.A.? Which is more likely to be the truth?

Churchill was able to see it in 1920:

"From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, to those of Trotsky, Bela Kun, Rosa Luxembourg, and Emma Goldman, this world wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence and impossible equality, has been steadily growing.

It played a definitely recognizable role in the tragedy of the French Revolution. It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the nineteenth century, and now at last this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads, and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire."

Now just by living over here and observing the legacy, as well as listening to many Russians of all walks of life on the topic, nothing they say undercuts Churchill's words. And that's the thing in all the above, before we even start getting into the seriously sick, insane stuff these people are allegedly into.

I see no specific fisking, no debunking other than character assassination and off the cuff remarks like "got to laugh". I'm waiting patiently to read a serious piece which addresses how the old money cannot be held accountable for any of it.

And if the old money can't be exonerated, then one has to look at the current Millibrandish rush to war [Iran is the current starter but that might change over time]. And people must wake up and start researching these things properly instead of constantly returning to the same sources of a certain bent and ignoring other sources which run contrary to their mindset.

Now if we do finally end up with the old money, then why stop there? Any researcher worth his salt is going to look even beyond that and start asking certain questions. Such as why the fruits of covert groups must necessarily be negative. Why must Poettering's actions ultimately lead to war and the blighting of a regulated and numbered humanity? Why can't they, for example, lead to peace, human happiness and philanthropy?

All right, the old money is rich beyond imagining. So they plough those trillions into poverty relief, right? Into fresh water and food for the masses and into peace and mutual understanding, not into child prostitution, gun running and drugs. Or if they observe these things happening, they exert financial pressure to stop them and the Christian ideals reign supreme. No?

Well if not, why not? Have you ever thought why things tend one way [look at the concerns of the political blogosphere, for example here] and not the other? I think it's fairly obvious - they themselves are in thrall.

And it's an interesting phenomenon but the further down this path your investigation goes, the more seriously weird these people come across as, from the ceremonies of 1000 points of Light to Bohemian Grove's cremation of dull care - whatever slant they want to put on it, these are the supposed leaders of the world and that sort of language and burning crosses suddenly springing up around lakes is seriously weird too.

Look at Bush Snr's inauguration speech for a start. I didn't invent it - he did. I didn't start talking about splitting people's minds and taking them back to incontinence - that is on the record. I didn't start talking about the Skull and Bones drinking from Geronimo's skull - they did. I didn't introduce Mothers of Darkness - they did.

I didn't start talking about child prostitution rings with one of the exchange points Omaha Airport - they did. I didn't invent Abu Ghraib. And look at the nature of the games on the web which entrance the kids - now is that stuff normal? The sort of thing a normal, healthy kid should be into? I didn't start talking about Alexandria Temple in Philadelphia or wherever it is and Eastern Star or tearing people's hearts out if they ever speak of things [and then they laugh it off, saying it's just an ancient ritual]. And this is not the street tramps into this stuff - it's the dicers and slicers themselves.

Was it me who introduced Hiram Abif and Jubelo and brothers? And why the constant referenve to Egypt and Assyria? Why that business with the U.S. dollar note, for example? Why are full moons important? Why the 13th pillar of the Pont de l'Alma and do you know what that bridge represents? Why not Pillar 8 of a different bridge? And so on and so on. Why did Woodrow Wilson write of a power so interlocked that you'd better not speak of it above a whisper?

Why do wars really occur and how can they be known of in advance? Read Buchan.

Don't shoot the messenger - he's just following the trail.

Can't anyone see the footprint here?

I mean, sit back and look at the whole policy direction in Europe and the U.S. and the way these people conduct themselves, especially the arrogance, the untouchability. Look at Poettering. Look at any britpolit post in the last few days and ask who's the weirdo - Higham or them?

I'm starting to feel a little like Dr. Who now, at the mercy of Sutekh, who thunders that the doc is nothing but an ant. Well yes, he is an ant in himself but he didn't go into this thing alone, did he?