Sunday, November 30, 2008

[thought for the day] sunday evening

It was one of those chilly and empty afternoons in early winter, when the daylight is silver rather than gold and pewter rather than silver. [GK Chesterton]

If the winter solstice is midwinter, then one might be forgiven for thinking of December 1st as the genuine start. The bite of the air, the beauty of the lengthening shadows, the stark silhouettes of leafless trees, the pale glow of a setting sun, mid-afternoon - all these allow one to turn one's thoughts inwards.

I think of my mother and father out there in the bleak and bitter night, when once was a warm fire and good cheer indoors. I think of it now, all gone, as are good friends, close friends, loves in my life, now scattered across the world.

It's a time of quiet and calm solitude, a time to put one's hands in one pockets, muffle up and set ones' face against the icy wind. It's a time of cold feet and hands and somehow it suits the mood.

It's a time of memories, of better days, when it wasn't necessary to think of whether you could afford the following week's food, when you'd be called in for mulled wine and pies, when the soothing lightness of a fall of snow would fill the streets and the yellow sodium lamps would shine dimly through, when there weren't so many cares as people have today.

Winter focuses the mind wonderfully on the long distance journey ahead, down the fading years. It throws regrets into sharp relief but it has its pluses too. Hot food, filling food, e-mailed messages from friends who don't wish you ill, hot cocoa, the warmth of the duvey and the calm - always the calm.

It's December 1st tomorrow.

[odd one out] spot the odd pollie

As usual, who is the odd one out and why? Answer is here.

[blogfocus] a sunday scan

Police in Valley Stream, New York, are reviewing videotapes to attempt to identify exuberant Black Friday shoppers who trampled to death a Wal-Mart worker who made the tragic mistake of getting between them and some very remarkable bargains.

2. Eurodogtraining wonders what to do when you buy a rare breed of dog, only to discover that it had stripes painted on?

3. L'Ombre, on the topic of Proposal 8, has much to say, including:

There are a boatload of reasons why marriage has been linked to procreation, such as lack of contraceptives and the significant amount of time it takes for humans to mature, and not all of these reasons have magically disappeared in the last few decades.

4. It's not often that Richard Havers savages someone so vehemently but he is here:

He gives the impression of somehow taking the whole thing as a bit of a joke. Then again he has it made. The man is a shyster, a fiddler and worst of all he's arrogant in the extreme.

Whom could Richard be referring to?

5. Martin Kelly, on Mumbai, says:

"It seems to be Edward Gibbon's day today."

Have a lovely remainder of your Sunday.

[pandora's box] the raymond green phenomenon

There's a mate I have who doesn't blog but he does have a computer and follows my blog from time to time. Usually, when we talk about some issue, which is pretty well all the time, he comes out with an idea which I nick and develop in a post. The royalties will be coming you're way, sir, once the idea sells.

This one is no different. Speaking about the device in Terminator 3, which Arnie removes and throws onto the road, what if every household could have one?

I imagined it a bit like the platinum box above and able to fit into any pocket. It would be configured according to its power, using a new unit, say a megazyne and you could purchase a 100 mz unit for powering up a city grid, a 50, a 20 and a 10, for all household power and then a 1 mz unit for personal use, where once batteries would have been used.

Naturally, Raymond Green, the owner, kept it completely shtum whilst he was developing a working model and he was himself a model, as an employer. Everyone who worked on the project had shares and a percentage cut in any profits in perpetuity. This staggeringly philanthropic boss could afford such largesse.

Year Zero

At first, he sells to the cogniscenti and ultra-rich businessmen who naturally try to analyse and duplicate the idea but the trouble is, it is a sealed box, almost self-sustainable and with a shelf life in the region of 50 years. If it is ever opened, it explodes and any parts now corrode to dust, on exposure to air. Thus he protects his idea. Attractively priced at around $U.S.10 000 per megazyne, the Pandoras sell like hotcakes, by word of mouth until, equally naturally, those who wish to suppress the idea make their move.

He's protected himself, in that the devices only work if he sends a code every so often, at irregular and predetermined intervals but he has no idea when and which code. He never developed those codes, which came from 1001 sources worldwide, all of whom are now dead and the device only works when all the untraceable auto-emits are algorithmically combined. There is a money back plus 10% guarantee should any device fail.

One year later

He's been supplying the device to governments, councils and so on for a nominal amount, without restriction, playing no favourites and refusing no enemies.

After three years

Now rich beyond his wildest dreams, he suddenly releases the product to the average citizen, from his offshore base, for 10 U.S. cents per megazyne, with two trillion 1 mz and 10 mz devices ready for shipping, which now power complete home environments, so that the average householder grows all his own produce and has Pandora powered guns for personal home protection [also developed by Pandora Industries], Pandora home perimeter defences, moisture harnessing and conversion devices, solar power enhanced medical ex-plants which strap on to the wrist and so on and so on.

After four years

Attracting the brightest and best scientists and dramatically upping the ante with his own personal security, wave after wave of life-enhancing inventions now pour out and the one year old Pandora philosophy of helping the householder and small businessman, to the exclusion of the monolithic and monopolistic has now produced GK Chesterton's ideal of the three acres and a cow. People are once again town and country based, government and taxation have now fallen into disuse, along with armies, wars and other nasties and what cannot be home grown is bartered for.

Raymond Green holds no public office, he has no desire to run the world or control it, except in removing the necessity for controls and he happily spends the rest of his days on his island, tilling the soil and coming up with new ideas in the evenings.

Warning: This post is most certainly going to be added to, as and when ideas come in, practical objections aired and considered and new thinking on it arises. It is an ongoing work.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

[the metal tub test] who would survive

There is a storm in the South Pacific and a cruise ship goes down. You rush to the kitchen to grab food to stuff in your pockets and you suddenly see two metal tubs, each capable of supporting the weight of either a man or a woman and baby. You take them and rush up on deck. To your horror, only two people are left there, so you throw one of the tubs to them.

Time is running out but you see a crying baby. You also see a dead officer and he has a gun. Thinking quickly, you put his gun in your belt then, scooping up the baby, you clamber into the tub, it slides into the water and you quickly find yourself and the baby a short distance from the ship.

You see the two people left on the deck fighting over who will take the tub and you know you can use the gun to ensure the more worthy of them gets to escape in that metal tub.

Who do you save if the two people were:

1. Gordon Brown and a little child;

2. Jonathan Ross and a BBC producer;

3. A banker and a lawyer;

4. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton;

5. Polly Toynbee and a garbage collector;

6. A war veteran and Paris Hilton;

7. Posh Beckham and a lap dancer.

[strange saturday] gorillas in the mist

It’s one thing to blog on Britain from Russia and another from Sicily but today I think I came up to speed on the real Britain again – some of it was nostalgically great and some was fairly ordinary.

About eleven we went to the forest and wandered about, avoiding hurtling dogs and getting half lost off the beaten track. There was a thickish fog off the sea and it made the forest look spooky and Tolkien-like.

My friend had his kid with him and she lost her doll somewhere along the way so we had to backtrack and after I put in a little prayer, guess what? Yep – there it was, to the side of the track, lying face down in the mud.

So, everyone happy, we went and had a bite to eat, then I asked if he gets Sky 2. No. Not to worry. At 2:25, it was across the road at the forest pub and an interesting conversation took place.

Barboy [18 or so]: Wot you having, mate?

Me [glancing at the big screen and noticing a minor football game on]: That depends – you running the England game today?

Barboy: When’s it on?

Me: Five minutes. I’ll have a Carlings if you’re running the game.

Barboy: Well, it’s rugby like, i’n it?

Me: No, it’s England. You know. You remember the country?

Barboy: Yeah right. OK, I’ll put it on but if anyone objects, like ...”

Me: Right.

So it began, the anthems, the haka and so on. England really took it up to them but were let down by sheer indiscipline. I don’t remember an English team with less discipline and they gave away penalty after penalty but at least, for a while, Dan Carter’s [NZ] kicking boot was letting him down too.

Looked a bit moist down on the pitch and hard going. England were showing a ton of grit and were harrying the All Blacks into errors all over the place and then, just before half time, they let loose with a massive assault but … you guessed it … indisciplined errors again.

In the second half, the All Blacks racked up the pressure a notch and scored but their second try was just extraordinary. To their credit, England stuck in there and had one or two chances but you know – they never looked dangerous once. Grit is excellent but brooding danger is what it’s all about and these gentlemen lacked it.

What was happening though was that they were being sent off to the sin bin too many times. Even at the end of the grim affair, NZ was still attacking. I went for an absorbing game, a stirring affair and by and large – we got it. Anyway, I left the pub in the dark and some girl started chatting about it being chilly and I’d best do up my jacket. It was chilly, too.

Hands in pockets and muffled up, I headed back to the hosue, reflecting on the Stepford Drinkers and wondering if everyone was so robotic these days. Er ... people? Did anyone see any national pride anywhere? Funny - must have lost it under a rock.

On the road proper, it was dead still, the yellow street lamps emitted their diffused light through the gloom and I realized I was back in Britain. Strange day, nice in a way, apart from the result, of course.

[rugby] why the all blacks are to be admired

Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 29 November Kick-off: 1430 GMT Coverage: Sky Sports; live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, live text commentary online

This is one reason why I admire New Zealand, whilst supporting England:

New Zealand face an England side under siege since suffering a record loss on home soil to world champions South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.

The magnitude of the 42-6 defeat has prompted a wave of despair in the English press but the All Blacks, publicly at least, have not bought into the doom and gloom enveloping Martin Johnson's new era.

After dispatching Scotland, Ireland and Wales without conceding a try - nor a point in the second half of each Test - All Blacks management and staff are wary of underestimating last year's World Cup runners-up.

Solely from the perspective of my roots, I have no reason to say anything good about the New Zealand team. Whether it be my English father and Irish mother, whether it be my long time in Australia, NZ does not come into that at all, except as the eternal adversary.

However, there is a spirit in the rugby world which is not always present in the wider world - respect. Respect for a foe who is both noble and organized. NZ were once accused of being brash, uncultured, arrogant in victory and moaning in defeat ... or words to that effect. Wayne Shelford and the team were up in arms about that and held a press conference. He said that the one thing which had stung them was the accusation of arrogance.

"New Zealanders are far too self-effacing for that."

The All Blacks are very wary of a wounded lion, whilst quietly confident of their own ability. Too many teams have taken England for granted, only to end up with egg on their face. It is to ignore history to take your eyes off the ball when England are in there. Yes, they can put up woeful performances and leave the field with downcast eyes. Yes, they go through periods of infighting.

Then comes a challenge, like knocking Australia off its perch and the result is one of the greatest world cup finals ever. A Russian friend of mine had it right - whenever someone spoke disparagingly of England [and you can be sure I did not, as my refusal to do so now with Russia testifies] he would point out the empire they were able to create and even the wariness of Hitler in WW2.

The All Blacks are a great team with an impeccable pedigree. This particular team are not as technically excellent and they came here with question marks over them but the spirit of the All Blacks has so far shone through.

In the rugby world, we can admire that.

We can admire a team who gives no quarter, who takes the rules to the very edge and who shows indominatable spirit. It doesn't mean we won't go out there to knock them off, to grind them into the mud. We do. They do. It's just that, afterwards, you know you have been in a real battle with a dangerous but noble foe.

I've been there myself, in a lesser arena, playing a maori team on a wet, cold day, on a pitch under two inches of water, winded and face down in the mud after being hammered in an unaccustomed role as fly half. After the game, over a drink, the maori who had hit me [and who was billeted with me] said: "You played well. Hard to catch."

"Er ... thanks," I replied, still nursing my sensitive stomach.

That's my experience of the New Zealanders. They'll watch out for the Dunkirk spirit, the Battle of Britain grit. Should be a good game.

Friday, November 28, 2008

[the whistleblowers a special kind of mind

Andrei Sakharov, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Damien Green, Jeffrey Wigand, Frederic Whitehurst, Paul van Buitenen, EU Serf, Peter Wright, Craig Murray, Marta Andreasen, Terry Battersby, Oskar Schindler, David Kelly and Daniel Ellsberg all had certain things in common:

1. They blew the whistle on clear misbehaviour and scandalous conduct of organizations;

2. They put up with vilification, stalking, character assassination, threats, ostracism; they lost a lot of goodwill which had been built up over a long period of time. Each was faced by monolithic stupidity, the automatic attempt to cover-up and maintain lies - exactly the opposite approach to the efficacious one and the heavier the pressure, the more they dug in;

They were told many times to let it go, that no one was interested, [which was true, e.g. with Watergate], they were told that the destruction to themselves would outweigh any benefits, they saw that it was a near impossible task ... and still they kept going because they knew there had been grave injustice done. That takes a special type of mind;

4. None stood to gain personally from it. There was no money in it, they were never going to be accepted again, there was zero percentage, personally ... and yet they continued, on autopilot, to the bitter end. They put their careers on the line over a prolonged period of time;

5. In the end they were vindicated. Sooner or later [usually later], truth will out.

A whistleblower, despite what detractors try to sheet home, is not an egoist - there is nothing in it for him personally, except eventual vindication. He is not after revenge but justice and it does dirt on these men and women to suggest that it is ego which motivates them. It is the bloodhound mentality, the sleuth's, the Sherlock Holmes's, the bit between the teeth which drives them on.

You could no more tell Poirot to just leave it and "move on" , that "no-one's interested", than you could Eliot Ness. You could no more tell a political blogger not to fisk as you could a cat not to chase a piece of string. To fisk, to expose, this is the stuff of life to a political blogger. When he comes across a wrong and it is clearly in the interest of the community for it to be righted, he thinks hard for some time and then, if there is clearly no choice, in all conscience, he tries to set it right.

To paraphrase Damian Green: "It's my duty; it's what I must do."

Here is an earlier article on the issue with a slightly different slant.

[odd one out] and why

Who is the odd one out and why? Answer here.

[private eye] in this edition

I don't know when Private Eye actually hits the news stands but I usually pick up my copy every second Friday. In this edition, the bit I liked best was Just Fancy That!

Drivers who challenge speeding fines should have to pay their legal costs, even if they win. So says Justice Minister Lord Bach, likening people who hire lawyers in lower courts to 'parents who pay for private education'. [Lord Bach is an alumnus of Westminster School.]

Glancing over the Hislop story, these were amusing:

In 1986, when Ingrams declared that Hislop would succeed him, there was apoplexy. Nigel Dempster, who wrote gossip items, said: "I don't think people like midgets, especially pushy midgets." Did Hislop finally earn his critics' respect? "No," he says simply. "I sacked most of them." Piers Morgan famously [once] denounced him as a "moon-faced little midget".

The other side of him:

When there are no cameras around, Ian Hislop wears black-rimmed glasses rather than contact lenses. And in between series of Have I Got News For You he sometimes grows a full-set beard – Naval in style and grey in colour. There is a difference, then, between his public and private identity.

To get the measure of Ian Hislop, you need look no further than the magazine he edits: part funny, part serious, highly judgmental and quite moralistic. For his own part he describes himself as "easily bored".

[cannabis] gushi shaman might be charged

China news:

The cache of cannabis is about 2,700 years old and was clearly “cultivated for psychoactive purposes,” rather than as fibre for clothing or as food, says a research paper in the Journal of Experimental Botany.

The 789 grams of dried cannabis was buried alongside a light-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian man, likely a shaman of the Gushi culture, near Turpan in northwestern China.

The PM's office is considering how, as Hong Kong was part of the British Empire, albeit on lease, that this principle extends to all of mainland China and therefore the shaman comes under the jurisdiction of the FCO, coordinating with the Home Office and Ministry of Justice.

The age of the alleged criminal is reportedly of no consequence - he will be pursued with the full weight of the law.

[airbus] another one down

Yet another Airbus down. Previous articles here:


[christmas banned] here we go yet again

Sorry to get so MSM this morning but just caught this one. A group of girl guides has been banned from singing carols ... wait for it ... for health and safety reasons!

The girls, who range from children aged five to teenagers, have sung for pensioners and disabled people at a late night Christmas shopping event at the Marlowes centre in Hemel Hempstead, Herts for more than 20 years.

But the centre's managers have not invited the group of more than 100 members of the Rainbows, Brownies and Guides back this year because they fear they will obstruct fire escape routes.

Fearful of obstructing the fire escapes or fearful that the Christian message of hope and good cheer would be brought to an uneasy and financially suffering population? Fearful that people might want to actually enjoy themselves and that pensioners especially hold to the old traditions and heritage of this land? Plus youth.

And does the centre have no area for such things as concerts? It did for 19 years. And are there no such things as those bank type pillars and cloth barricades to keep people away from fire exits?

Could that not have been done?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

[thought for the day] thursday evening

He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses much more, He who loses faith, loses all.

[Eleanor Roosevelt]

I'd add this - let's not misplace our faith in unworthy things. They might look good now but sooner or later they'll betray us. Faith won't necessarily save us in the way we think but it certainly helps us on the way down.

To be without faith is to stumble round in the dark, trying this solution, then that, looking bewildered at how these things betrayed us. Faith in good is really the only way to stay sane and rational.

UPDATE FRIDAY: Oops. The pic above was so atmospheric I had to choose that one from four in front of me at the time. I knew it was originally from a fellow blogger but couldn't remember from whom exactly. It was from Cherie. A thousand apologies for committing the cardinal non-attribution sin, Cherry Pie, of not hat tipping. Wrist is duly slapped.

[2008 weblog awards] state of play

Apparently nominations closed on November 21st and there were 47 nominated, from what I can gather, from whom 10 will be selected as finalists.

Therefore, the chances of my blog being selected are small, with some pretty top blogs in there - UK Daily Pundit, DK, Flip Chart Fairy Tales, Melanie, Samizdata, and so on. They say that voting starts on December 8th and that the final lists will be announced some days before.

There's not a lot a blogger can say in that situation without hypocrisy but if I do manage to make it to the list of finalists and you can see your way clear etc. etc., well ...

What are my chances? I shouldn't say they were high. Once, an old headmaster told me that about 80% spoke highly of me but 20% wanted my guts for garters. I should think, in the light of the unpleasant truths I've recently been telling from this blog, that the latter percentage might be considerably higher at this moment. Plus there are some damned good blogs in there.

Anyway, we'll see what happens.

[thoughtful thursday] between a rock ...


[housekeeping] email problem

Sorry to those friends who have been trying to mail me. Don't know what's happening but the james higham one is just not operating. It is taking ages to load in Firefox and then won't take a message. I write it in and then it disappears from the panel. I was told by one person he'd tried to send to me a few times and it was registering sent but I have no record at this end.

With the regular mail, the nourishing obscurity, I know two mails got through this morning but I'm told someone tried this afternoon and it was being rejected.

I'll try to get it sorted as quickly as possible or maybe it is a glitch which will disappear.

[thanksgiving] and the space shuttle

The Thanksgiving feast shuttle astronauts will eat in space is displayed Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008 at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Clockwise from upper left: green beans and mushrooms, candied yams, cranapple dessert, cornbread stuffing and smoked turkey. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Thanksgiving for the astronauts is a little different. The food needs water injections first, before heating and then the crew floats, presumably strapped to the seats, with fire extinguishers at the ready and other emergency equipment.

I'm interested in what the sole Russian there thinks of it all. His big holiday is New Year.

[thanksgiving] who'll be thanking whom for what

Thanksgiving Day is today.

Traditionally, it is a time where family has flown in from all parts, they sit down to a grand meal and give thanks for being part of America.

Behind the scenes, this year in particular, is the retail price war. Last evening, BBC news ran an item on the "sales ambush", the tendency this year for firms like M&S and others to put on sudden sales with huge discounts, sometimes, 60-70%, on selected items.

In America, the retail chains are in such heavy competition for the dwindling dollar that they can't afford to let Thanksgiving Day slip by and so are opening late on this very day, hoping to catch the bargain shopper who is looking to Christmas shopping at bargain basement prices:

At stake is the ability for many retailers, from department stores like Macy's to specialty chains such as AnnTaylor Stores, to keep their loyal customers and eke out a profit as rivals cut prices up to 40 and 50 percent. With times this grim, some are willing to sacrifice more profit rather than risk losing clients for good.

"It's the retailers in the middle who are trying to avoid losing customers," said Anderson. "Macy's is worried about customers who have never spent a lot of money at Wal-Mart trying out Wal-Mart and liking it."

Driving this is the fear that:

Some consumers said they are putting a different emphasis on celebrating the holidays, focusing on time spent with family and friends rather than purchasing the latest hot toy or gadget. They may even choose to craft presents by hand or swap goods gathering dust in the attic to save money.

From the consumers' point of view, it is a bit galling to go in and buy a toy now for, say $50, when the regular price is $70, only to find that on Black Friday, the price is $35. This is the gist of the "sudden sales "resentment in Britain, as customers purchase items at a certain price, only to discover that next week the price has dropped substantially.

It's not that people are greedy but that they face Christmas without the cash or with the threat of redundancy and they must find a solution. Thus there is a scenario of people rushing about, hearing about a vast discount at some place, a discount which could be gone tomorrow and yet they feel no option but to down tools and get over there. This is third world stuff.

These are unsettled times.

Jon Swift has an excellent piece on Thanksgiving today.

[private finance initiative] mechanism for concealing debt

The Spectator, not so long ago, ran this, about the days when Nu-Labour was just coming to power. There was apparently a dinner and Gordo explained himself this way:

As the conversation turned to the inevitable Labour victory, Mr Robinson said how much he was looking forward to turning the government spending tap on again, putting an end to what he saw as the years of Tory parsimony. Mr Davis was bewildered. ‘You can’t do that,’ he replied. ‘You’ve promised to keep within our spending plans.’

The future Paymaster-General smiled broadly. ‘We’re going to do it as capital,’ he said. ‘And then put it on as PFI.’ Davis was understandably baffled. The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) was a controversial, but little-used mechanism established by Norman Lamont to privatise specific construction projects. But it meant something much more to New Labour.

Officially, the scheme could be a beacon for the Third Way: a means of injecting the ethos of the private sector into the sluggish public sector, and an opportunity to get projects completed quickly and efficiently. Unofficially — and this is what Mr Brown grasped from the off, and what Mr Robinson was hinting at — PFI was an incredibly convenient way of concealing the true extent of public debt.

Therein lay the ethics, the agenda and the manner of operation of Nu-Labour. Now, as for what it was meant to do, here is an excerpt from an article on how the PFI related to the NHS:

We began this series by arguing that the private finance initiative, far from being a new source of funding for NHS infrastructure, is a financing mechanism that greatly increases the cost to the taxpayer of NHS capital development.

The second paper showed that the justification for the higher costs of the private finance initiative—the transfer of risk to the private sector—was not borne out by the evidence.

The third paper showed the impact of these higher costs at local level on the revenue budgets of NHS trusts and health authorities, is to distort planning decisions and to reduce planned staffing and service levels.

So, even within its stated purpose, it seems not to have been as efficacious as was first supposed.

H/T Jailhouse Lawyer for yet another fisking of Nu-Labour. Well spotted.

Major news story leading to Major disaster for the economy

Major news story leading to Major disaster for the economy

Do You Know What it is Yet?

First clue.

Second clue.

UPDATE: 12.16am All I know is that a fellow blogger is well on the way to cracking this story...

UPDATE: 02:12 Bombs Away!

Watchout for Cherrypie's post from another angle later today...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

[baader meinhof] ideology - nah - it's the joy of violence

I wasn't going to post again tonight but Tiberius Gracchus has come up with an excellent post on the theme I touched on earlier about the sympathy for the perpetrator and today's post on the political quadrant. Tiberius makes this point:

A film like the Baader Meinhof complex tells the story of the terrorists- in that sense it invites you to sympathise with them and it disregards the pain of their victims because that is not what it shows mostly on screen. The danger is glamourising terrorists and turning them into heroes- furthering the myth of their own creation, that they are in some sense the only principled ones standing against a society of compromise.

Tiberius does not think that this film is wholly guilty for that but he goes on to say, about the group itself:

They were convinced totalitarians - in a way the communism seems to me to have been less important to some of them (Mahler, Baader) than the violence it allowed them to commit- many of them could easily have gone the other way to the extreme right and quite a few (Mahler, Ensslinn) had flirted with it. Dispositionally as well as ideologically there may not be as much to choose between the extremes as we sometimes think.

[thanksgiving day] best wishes to the americans

Not a great time to be a turkey, I should have thought. It's Thanksgiving tomorrow in the U.S. and I'm getting in early to wish everyone the very best of days and don't die of consumption.

Things to be thankful for - you still have an unaltered constitution, there's still a great sense of nation below the elite level, you still kick butt in sport and you are still, for the moment, the possessor of a political system that has basically worked well.

You're also a friendly people. To you also, the world hegemony of the English language is largely due.

So, best of luck with your day tomorrow.

[woolies go bust] welcome to the winter of our discontent

You've probably just seen it on BBC 1 or elsewhere about Woolworths going bust today but it really has been on the cards for some time for these possible reasons:

According to Independent Retail analyst Teresa Wickham the group is being squeezed "three ways" in its key toy, confectionary and entertainment markets, leading to lower margins.

It's like the pubs going out of business - everyone regrets it but no one wants to buy there any more. Still, this is a major shock for Britain, all the same. And 30 000 jobs at risk.

[the unloved] all it takes is eight years

Pop over to Aaron's site, Tygerland, and look at the youtube of George Bush going up on stage. Everyone else is shaking hands but no one shakes his. This cannot be, as there are protocols, no matter what one country feels about another. It's quite surprising, this.

Actually, Aaron's updated the story but it still seems a strange way to do it.

[bloody word verification] again

Whilst I applaud the wise people who have dispensed with the cursed, visitor-hostile monstrosity of word verification, nevertheless, with less people now doing it, there are leaner pickings for this recent collection:

GOOMAC, as in, "Hand me the Goomac to put on - baby's spraying again."

SURBENT, as in polite request from a lady of the night, "Excuse me, is Sur bent?"

PRETIOS, as in "beautiful Australian".

PREGIVES, as in "Darling pregives budget details."

OURGALLY, as in "Our gally just graduated from her fine arts course."

ROVETREE, as in the one Karl p--s up against.

[distractions] more problematic for the aged

This was quite interesting at the BBC today, concerning the brain tests on old and young subjects:

The older subjects did worse at the tests, and their brains responded more to the background buzzing and banging from the scanner itself. Other researchers have suggested that mental decline may be due to a decreasing ability to "tune out" irrelevant information from their senses.

This blogger would see himself as halfway between those two positions and the emergence of distractibility, whilst not yet an issue, could well become so fifteen to twenty years down the track. Other things which seem to go along with aging are a greater desire for peace and quiet, a slower response time but more positively, a greater capacity, possibly through experience, to make more reasoned decisions.

[political spectrum] quadrant is the best model

Cherry Pie commented on the socialism post:

The problem with our current government is they have moved away from their left wing stance and are actually now right wing authoritarians which is why the rich are getting richer etc.

I don't wish to put words in her mouth but Cherry is one of the "utopian socialists", one of the "old labour trade unionists" I was referring to, who wants a better deal for workers and families and as such, she is not far away from my stance, except in the implementation.

The linear left/wing divide is increasingly irrelevant in this day [and I suggest but don't insist - in all days] and many people have set up circular models, which are better - an American variant of that is above.

Perhaps a quadrant is more accurate than a circle. In this quadrant below, statism is seen as control oriented and includes religions where one has a self-imposed rule not to act out one's hedonism. Something like satanism purports to be libertarian but actually it is complete control by the dark side. So this is centred horizontally.

It would have been nice to put in the "politics of envy" which says "woe is me, I have very little, he has a lot, I want the state to take it from him and give it to me", that's close to our current situation in Britain.

From the quadrant, you can see that Cherry's statement that Nu-Labour has become "right wing" translates into Gordo's mob becoming more extreme statist rather than moderate statist.

As for the Libertarians [many of my blog friends], I would suggest that they were, some years back, possibly to the right of the classic liberal in this quadrant but with events of 2007/8, have moved up vertically to a more extreme position.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

[thought for the day] tuesday evening


Just where does the time go?


[terrible beauty] destroyer of worlds

You've probably had nuclear submarines on your mind all day and the least I can do is bring you some.

Not sure if I fancy the idea of staying for weeks inside one with a lot of sweaty men and besides, I understand they smell a bit, the submarines, I mean.

[socialism] and the myths we're fed

Treaty of Rome

Leon Trotsky [of icepick fame] was reported to have said:

"throughout the whole history of the British Labour movement there has been pressure by the bourgeoisie upon the proletariat through the agency of radicals, intellectuals, drawing-room and church socialists and Owenites who reject the class struggle and advocate the principle of social solidarity, preach collaboration with the bourgeoisie, bridle, enfeeble and politically debase the proletariat.”

Leon, get knotted. You can talk, having been smuggled into Russia with the collusion of Morgan associates.

Now the Higham confession. When I were a wee lad, I went by the old adage that:

Anyone who wasn't a socialist in his youth had no heart. Anyone who is still a socialist in his old age has never grown up.

... and I was a paid up member of the Fabians. At university, I was on the secretariat of the Anarchist Revolutionary Students in Education [ARSE] and we sent all our demands to the Vice-Chancellor on loo roll. Then followed a stint as secretary of the Apathy Club, members being on pain of excommunication if they ever attended our irregularly scheduled and then postponed meetings.


It took me two years to wake up and become a signed up member of the Young Conservatives, which ushered in an era of really fabulous knees-ups, private swimming luncheons and bonhomie. Flushed with the success of my new bourgeois, imperialist-running-dog, exploitative capitalism, a group of us set up and registered Truly Ruly Enterprises Ltd, a company limited by guarantee and hosting wonderfully liquid board meetings, where it was wise to conclude the main business about fifteen minutes into the exercise.

The trouble is, there are two kinds of socialists - the vicious, nasty, enslave-the-world head honchos [Mandelson, Sutherland and their lackeys] and then a second type.

This second type you find among our blogfriends at this site, at your site, generously sprinkled about and the thing which characterizes them is their niceness and genuine love of humanity. Every time one of us writes a scathing post on socialism, they are genuinely hurt by it and wish we could see that it is the only fair way in the world, that so many people are in dire straits and the state needs to, nay, must help out the less fortunate and that there must be a safety net for the incapable, the disabled and so on and so on.

This love of humanity manifests itself in multi-culturalism, i.e. the right of all people, white, black and orange to have a say and a vote, the right of all people to free speech, the right to state assistance with their family and the right to a slice of the national pie. That's about as far as the usual socialist political consciousness goes.

What is not in their consciousness is that their sweet utopianism is susceptible to the carrot used by the hardliners who really do not have the love of humanity at heart one little bit and who know, cynically and full well, what certain policies lead to and what they enable.

Here are some quotes from hardliners:

Abolition of all ordered governments, private property, inheritance, patriotism, the family, religion and the creation of a world government [1776, Weishaupt]

Far from this being the rantings of one isolated kook, George Washington commented, in 1798:

"It is not my intention to doubt that ... the principles of Jacobinism had not spread in the United States. On the contrary, no one is more satisfied of this fact than I am."

Jefferson added [in 1816?], concerning the control of the means of wealth:

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."


British Illuminist [the name did not then have quite the worldwide connotations of the current day] Frances "Fanny" Wright, in 1829, gave a series of lectures in the United States, where she announced that various subversives and revolutionaries were to be united in a movement that would be called "Communism." She explained that the movement was to be made more acceptable to the public by professing to support "equal opportunity" and "equal rights."

Marx continued the deception but what most don't know is that he was a member of the League of the Just, which supported the Weishaupt principles above.

John Ruskin, in 1870, was named Professor of Fine Arts at Oxford University and taught his students that the government should take control of all means of production and distribution, and that he was prepared to place control of the government in the hands of a single man:

"My continual aim has been to show the eternal superiority of some men to others, sometimes even of one man to all others."

This is the constant error small "s' socialists make and have always made - they really believe that, in a redistributed utopia, they will be empowered.

Er ... quite the opposite, in fact.

Cecil Rhodes, on Feb. 5, 1891, combined his group from Oxford with a similar group from Cambridge headed by William Stead. Rhodes and Stead were members of the inner "Circle of Initiates", there also being an outer circle known as the "Association of Helpers." Their agenda was the same.


Lord Alfred Milner, from 1909 to 1913, organized the "Association of Helpers" into various Round Table Groups in the British dependencies and the United States.

Around the same time, Congressman Charles Lindbergh Snr charged:

"This act [establishing the Fed] establishes the most gigantic trust on earth. When the President signs this act the invisible government by the monetary power, proven to exist by the Money Trust investigation, will be legalized … The worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking and currency Bill."

This placed real power in the hands of twelve banks and those present on Jeckyll Island three years earlier , to set it up, were a Who's Who of the same Weishaupt/Wright/Rhodes/Ruskin political outlook.

This is the mammoth lie believed by the "nice" socialists of my acquaintance - that it is the Capitalists [and this includes, in their minds everyone from the giant internationals to the chains of stores across the nation] who brought on the crash and the new depression of our current era.

The deception is that while it is impossible to defend the outright and indefensible greed of speculators and futures players, they are still pawns in a game induced by the international socialists, people such as House and Warburg who understood the power contained within human ambition. The aim has never altered and always comes back to the first quote above.


To continue:

In 1921, Colonel House reorganized the American branch of the Institute of International Affairs into the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Since that time, the only President to have not been directly affiliated with the CFR was John F. Kennedy. Kennedy Special Adviser John Kenneth Galbraith said:

"Those of us who had worked for the Kennedy election were tolerated in the government for that reason and had a say, but foreign policy was still with the Council on Foreign Relations people."

Incidentally, regarding Obama, a Paulist supporter recently stated this:

Barack Obama may not an official member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Nevertheless, he and his presidential campaign are incontrovertibly affiliated with and supported by numerous (corporate) CFR members. His wife, Michelle Obama, is a member of a branch of the CFR in Chicago. The Obama campaign has taken major contributions from corporate CFR members such as:

JP Morgan Chase & Co - $282,387
Goldman Sachs - $474,428
Lehman Brothers - $274,147
UBS (ag) - $298,180
Citigroup - $247,436
Google - $192,808
Time Warner - $190,091

Back to the timeline

Concerning the Great Depression and the country's acceptance of FDR's New Deal, Congressman Louis McFadden asserted, around 1931, before his unfortunate demise:

"It was no accident. It was a carefully contrived occurrence. The international bankers sought to bring about a condition of despair here so they might emerge as the rulers of us all."

The "Plan for Peace" by American Birth Control League founder Margaret Sanger was published in 1932. She called for coercive sterilization, mandatory segregation, and rehabilitative concentration camps for all "dysgenic stocks," including Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Catholics. The American Birth Control League eventually became Planned Parenthood.

Not many are aware of that.

The appropriately named Faust

HG Wells proposed, in 1939:

... a "collectivist one-world state" or "new world order" comprised of "socialist democracies." He advocated "universal conscription for service" and declared that "nationalist individualism is the world's disease."

He continued: "The manifest necessity for some collective world control to eliminate warfare and the less generally admitted necessity for a collective control of the economic and biological life of mankind, are aspects of one and the same process."

He proposed that this be accomplished through "universal law" and "propaganda".

Moving on, the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee introduced, on Feb. 9, 1950, the Senate Concurrent Resolution #66 which began:

"Whereas, in order to achieve universal peace and justice, the present Charter of the United Nations should be changed to provide a true world government constitution."

The resolution was introduced by Senator Glen Taylor (D-Idaho), who later stated:

"We would have to sacrifice considerable sovereignty to the world organization to enable them to levy taxes in their own right to support themselves."

This guiding principle was neither more nor less than the current NAAC proposal for the NAU, due to begin on March 23rd, 2009. It comes to the same erosion of national sovereignty.

They never stop, these people:

The World Federalist Movement stemmed from The World Association of Parliamentarians for World Government [set up in 1951] which drew up a map designed to illustrate how foreign troops would occupy and police the six regions into which the United States and Canada would be divided as part of their world government plan.


Rowan Gaither, President of the Ford Foundation, told a Congressional commission investigating tax-exempt foundations, in 1953:

"We at the executive level here were active in either the OSS [forerunner of the CIA], the State Department, or the European Economic Administration. During those times, and without exception, we operated under directives issued by the White House. We are continuing to be guided by just such directives, the substance of which were to the effect that we should make every effort to so alter life in the United States as to make possible a comfortable merger with the Soviet Union."

That's on the Congressional record. It's not made up - check for yourselves. Norman Thomas, who six times was the candidate of the Socialist Party for President of the United States, observed, in 1959:

"The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism, but under the name Liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program until America will one day be a Socialist nation without knowing how it happened."

And so it goes on:

"The Future of Federalism" by Nelson Rockefeller, in 1962, claimed that current events compellingly demanded a "new world order." He said there was:

"A fever of nationalism...but the nation-state is becoming less and less competent to perform its international political tasks...These are some of the reasons pressing us to lead vigorously toward the true building of a new world order...Sooner perhaps than we may realize...there will evolve the bases for a federal structure of the free world."

A document entitled "Marriage and the Family" was published by the British Humanist Association, in 1969, stating that:

"some opponents of humanism have accused us of wishing to overthrow the traditional Christian family. They are right. That is exactly what we intend to do."


President Carter's National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, wrote a book in 1970 entitled "Between Two Ages." He stated:

Marxism is simultaneously a victory of the external, active man over the inner, passive man and a victory of reason over belief...Marxism, disseminated on the popular level in the form of communism, represents a major advance in man's ability to conceptualize his relationship to the world."

In his keynote address to the Association for Childhood Education International in 1972, Chester M. Pierce, Professor of Education and Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard University, proclaimed:

"Every child in America entering school at the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances toward our founding fathers, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being. It's up to you, teachers, to make all of these sick children well by creating the international child of the future."

Observe the result today. You think that was a one off by a fruitcake? What about this? Catherine Barrett, former president of the National Education Association, wrote, on Feb. 10, 1973, that:

"dramatic changes in the way we will raise our children in the year 2000 are indicated, particularly in terms of schooling. We will need to recognize that the so-called 'basic skills,' which currently represent nearly the total effort in elementary schools, will be taught in one-quarter of the present school day. When this happens - and it's near - the teacher can rise to his true calling. More than a dispenser of information, the teacher will be a conveyor of values, a philosopher. We will be agents of change."

On May 18, 1972, Roy M. Ash, Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, declared that:

"...within two decades the institutional framework for a world economic community will be in place...and aspects of individual sovereignty will be given over to a supernational authority."


The Club of Rome issued a report, in 1973, entitled "Regionalized and Adaptive Model of the Global World System." This report divided the entire world into ten kingdoms. Now this is a supposedly high-capitalist money lender. What would they be doing drawing up world boundaries? Their brief is purely fiscal, surely?

Did all this end in the modern era? Not a bit of it.

In 1981, Congressman Larry McDonald called for comprehensive congressional investigation of the CFR and Trilateral Commission. In 1983, he was killed, along with 268 other passengers on Korean Air Lines (KAL) flight 007, shot down over Sakhalin Island in the Sea of Japan.

More recently, CBS reported:

Under the classified "Continuity of Operations Plan," which was first reported by The Post in its Friday editions, high-ranking officials representing their departments have begun rotating in and out of the assignment at one of two fortified locations along the East Coast.

The Post said the first rotations were made in late October or early November, a fact confirmed by a senior government official late Thursday. Officials who are activated for the duty live and work underground 24 hours a day, away from their families, according to the Post.

The shadow government has sent home most of the first wave of deployed personnel, replacing them most commonly at 90-day intervals.

When quizzed on this, George Bush replied:

"I have an obligation as the president and my administration has an obligation to the American people to put measures in place that should somebody be successful in attacking Washington there is an ongoing government," Mr. Bush said. "That is one reason why the vice president was going to undisclosed locations. This is serious business. And we take it seriously."

Very serious business indeed - ensuring the survival of the leadership while the population is left to fend for itself. This can go on and on, quote after quote.

Mother of Darkness

In summary

There are two kinds of socialists - the dangerous type, quoted at length above and comprising ostensibly GOP and Democrat, Conservative and Labour supporting pollies, along with CP, Demos, Mandelson, Sutherland and their ilk, who are pursuing a policy of the impoverishment and enslavement of the people under the lure of spoils and their own "personal safety" in the coming disintegration ...

... and then there is a different type.

These are the "lesser people", like you and me, some having swallowed the Marxist guff from the "great thinkers" who permeate every aspect of life from schools to the law, to medicine, to the media, film and literature, from the greens to the "isms" of the current day and who see a better world of fairness and justice ..

They're not far away, in their basic sense of humanity, from the small "c" conservatives who believe in free enterprise, the right to make of oneself what one can, the values of family and faith, of freedom of speech and a sense of real justice.

The small "s" socialists, good people at heart, just cannot see, in those hearts, that the ideal they aspire to is an impossibility, for the same reason as in 1917 Russia and everywhere else revolutions have taken place - namely that there is an organized, all-pervasive network of people across the globe, with a financial and business leadership in charge, who hijack any socialist agenda for their one world purposes and use coercion and clandestine planning to achieve it.

No one I know who comes under the misnomer right wing would not support care and assistance for the needy or wouldn't help out a friend in need get back on track; no small "t" tory I know is not compassionate. No one I know begrudges a certain amount of tax to help out with these things.

The U.N. meditation room - the relativist religion of the new order

The small people are people, after all and in this respect, we're not so far apart.

Where the enormous difference is, is that those who vaguely label themselves socialist have swallowed the notion that coercion and legislation by government can produce a fairer society, that you can force someone else to give up what he has worked for and give it to people who have no intention of working.

They've crossed the line, these small "s" socialists, the moment they feel that coercion and the big stick, that the enforced redistribution of this mythical and static "wealth", the so-called National Pie, is fair in itself.

You see, there is no National Pie.

The national pie is no more than the sum total of workers producing things and selling them and everyone works best when it is for his own family and there is a personal goal in it.

You can't legislate away people's incentives and force people to accept that state of affairs because lurking behind the principle of enforced redistribution is also the principle of enforced restriction on freedoms, on the right to free speech on the freedom to associate and also lurking behind it is the gathering of the means of sustenance into a central place to be meted out as, when and how the secretariat sees fit.

Not only that but the ability of people to produce for themselves is actually then outlawed and dissent is taken care of through the latent criminalization of the citizen by means of the explosion in new laws.

Yes, the small "s" socialist decries the greedy bankers and speculators; yes the small "s" socialist cries that there is no social justice. Yes, yes and yes - you are correct in this. We totally agree. But going the path of Big Brother and the coercion route is the road to hell, the road to the elite concept of the world as outlined in the quotes above.

Please wake up and realize that the war is between the internationalists who are using the naivety of idealistic people and people with genuine grievances, e.g. the women's movement, using them, hijacking and twisting their agendas

... and the ordinary people, homo sapiens, will be the sufferers. That means you and me.


UPDATE: Fortuitously, Ian Parker Joseph also posted on this matter and brought my attention to Postman Patel's post, pointing out that where I wrote this:

The World Federalist Movement stemmed from The World Association of Parliamentarians for World Government [set up in 1951] which drew up a map designed to illustrate how foreign troops would occupy and police the six regions into which the United States and Canada would be divided as part of their world government plan.

Postman Patel wrote, in his post:

He predicted that the U.S. will break up into six parts - the Pacific coast, with its growing Chinese population; the South, with its Hispanics; Texas, where independence movements are on the rise; the Atlantic coast, with its distinct and separate mentality; five of the poorer central states with their large Native American populations; and the northern states, where the influence from Canada is strong.

Ian rightly points out that that is a very large coincidence to swallow.

This report has also been covered at All Voices. H/T Kevin.