Friday, March 07, 2008

[march 8th] international women's day

[To Guzel, Masha and Tanya - I promised to say hello so here it is. S nastupayeshem, dyevchonki. S prazdnikom!]

Please check this post as well, by Nunyaax. She puts it nicely.

Tomorrow, March 8th, is International Women's Day and Wiki says:

In some celebrations, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love to the women around them in a way somewhat similar to Mother's Day and St Valentine's Day mixed together.

Oh what a wonderful thing that, over here, the day still retains its proper meaning, that it is still about men's celebration of the woman instead of International Misandry Day.

While western Feminists have now succeeded in alienating most of the masculine gender to a state of unreasonableness through their overt misandry in the past few decades, here the day is one of softness and kindness. Whilst in the west, it's a U.N. sponsored Fem-fest of "look how we've managed to skewer men", here it's a day of gifts and flowers and lots of lovemaking.

To the girls today, I quoted the exact words of one western lady at this site, expressing surprise that men would have anything to do with it tomorrow and they were shocked. The whole idea of it, in Russian women's minds, is for the men to pay homage and be there in a very real sense.

Despite the patriarchal society and very real abuses, most women, especially the young, do love the menfolk although they get frustrated. It's love/hate, ragther than just spiteful hate.

We had our little celebration this evening, the girls and I and now I'm sad because they've gone - I walked one girl to the station turn-off in the falling snow and it looked lovely on her jacket. She was so amenable, I was so amenable but it clearly couldn't be so it was left at that.

The Pyramid was lovely too and "she " was there.

On the way home in the car, I asked the driver, 'You ready for tomorrow?' He smiled and in that smile was recognition that women rule for these three days. The fireworks started some thirty minutes ago.

Real issues - a modest proposal

I'd really like men to get some sort of organization together - a sort of reverse Kelly Mac, supporting oppressed women, contributing to women in countries where they are the underdog [as distinct from the west where they shrilly rule the roost], booting out all this talk of "rights" and "all men are rapists" and such guff and reinstating love for women, sharing domestic responsibilities without being asked and re-establishing the true relation between the genders - complementary, tuned to each other and wanting only the best things for the other.

This might have some chance. While the current insanity continues with Feminists demanding, in an ever-escalating stream, to rule the very planet, it has absolutely no chance with men.

Imagine it - a Kelly Mac group doing their darndest for men and a Pro-Women men's group doing their darndest for the women. Then, in a cross-over dialogue [and there truly would be dialogue here in a very real sense] the men would be amenable to the girl's suggestions. It would only be to their advantage to listen.

This Pro-Women men's group would then try to present models and paradigms to our own gender and get some sort of repair job done on the Feminist devastation of the past few decades, while Kelly Mac's group could work on her sisters to get some sort of realism into their approach.

I'm the first to admit that at the point I came over here, my attitude was pretty bad but these twelve years I've been on a learning curve and have started to understand what a woman is truly about. This is the sort of thing we need.


Congratulations to all women and girls and may only good things come to you in the next year.

[dissociation] the only way to kill

I tried to dissociate from that last post but couldn't.

Take away the Colombian girl and substitute Vinnie Jones, take away Colombia and substitute the East End of London - in the end it still comes down to dissociation - the ability to psychologically come to terms or shut out what you're doing.

The Colombian "freedom fighter" Marilyn:

Watching her take the pistol from her belt, unbutton her jeans and slip into bed I somehow couldn't quite equate the woman in my arms with the bodies I had seen in the local morgue, their heads shattered by gunshots at close range, murders she confessed to having committed.

One morning, Marylin told me that the previous night she had persuaded a friend to help her decapitate and dismember a woman she had been contracted to kill. This was no informer, but, rather, a friend of hers who paid her to kill her boyfriend's other girlfriend.

"You have to lose the fear. Now I am still killing and nothing happens. I feel normal. Before, I had an obligation to kill, I was sent to kill. But once I left the organisation, I was not obligated. I now only do the job for money."

How could she do this?

I quoted a woman some time back on "porn stars":

We know how women in the sex industry -- not all, but many -- routinely dissociate to cope with what they do. We know that in one study of 130 street prostitutes, 68 percent met the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. I realize that this task is difficult.

This alienation and dissociation is what the C.I.A. experiments were about. It's what killing in war is all about. In a small way, it was about how I played rugby.

My playing weight was 80kg, way too small for minor division flanker and yet that's what I played, it's no lie. Too slow for half-back, not enough straight line speed for a back, not big enough for a forward, they put me open side flanker because I was quick over three metres, which meant everything depended on me getting to that victim before he got away or to the breakdown, otherwise they'd drop me from the side.

And there was another factor - you had to hit the man hard, shoulder to thigh to get him off balance, nothing lacking. You had to then maul him and savage him and break the play down, ready to take off with the ball yourself if you saw a chance and look for your support.

You give only 90%, you get hurt. You give 110%, you have sore shoulders at the end of the game and respect. And one more thing - it puts a little reticence in their minds about you, which in turn gives you a margin of safety.

So I understand why people do it but I also understand how much closer to the bestial we become. With one arm over my second rower, eyes firmly on the victim and him knowing this little toe-rag was gunning for him, it also gave a feeling of power, which is an adrenaline rush.

Rugby's one thing - cold-blooded murder is another but how far apart are they?

Didn't think twice about killing those children - all in a good cause, of course - the cause trumps everything.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

[pondering] angel or female assassin?

For Nunyaa - to feel good on a Friday

Coincidence. Yesterday a few things happened. The first was a visit to this site by an Indonesian, Santi W, who speaks English but blogs in Bahasa.

It's a most unusual blog and beautifully laid out. I urge you to visit her and look around the site. Naturally, I visited and vice versa and she wrote:

I watch the sea in the night. It feels like you're alone and it scares you to death, but then you realized that you're addicted to it.

I imagine that scene in Indonesia and say to her:

Hari ini hari terbaik pernah!

She continued her comment:

I noticed that you wrote a great novel. And that one of the character is the Indonesian lady you met on the flight? Did she tells you interesting things about Indonesia?

Well .. er .. yes .. she did. That was a most interesting flight but the character, Frederika, using her real name and who was studying in London, went in to the book as a female assassin. Here's a little fragment where the man she tried to kill momentarily turns the tables on her in 1997 [before security procedures came in] and forces her onto the Greenwich to London ferry where he tries to disarm her:

‘My business. Now give me your handbag.’

‘Do gentlemen do that?’ She gazed at him and passed the bag across. He rummaged around inside; just the usual women’s stuff. ‘Definitely not a gentleman.’

Then he spotted it, not in her handbag at all but under her loose T shirt, poked into her jeans. ‘Take it out of your jeans, put it into the handbag and don’t insult my intelligence.’

She complied and he noticed the slightest softness to her tummy. Perhaps she wasn’t all that hard after all. Perhaps she liked her pastries a little too much.

‘Now give me the bag.’

She complied again. Too easy, too easy, Hugh thought. She’d given up her gun just like that. Next thing he’d flung the handbag out of the open window, just as the boat was coming into dock at Tower Bridge. ‘Oh wonderful, Hugh, thank you so much. All my cards, all my money and my mother’s photo were in there.’

‘There was no photo and no purse.’

She’d now tired of the game. She sighed. ‘Hugh, you put a ridiculous replica into my waist, pretending it was loaded. I went along for the ride but now I have to tell you, darling, what you must already realize - you’re not long for this world. I really liked you – I really did.’

Sketch made from a photo of the Indonesian girl

Stay with it, people - I am coming to the point. Yesterday I met someone quite special - this is back to "real" life now - and wrote a maudlin post last night around midnight - here it is condensed:

This is pretty personal and I'm going to take a leaf out of Ruthie's book and do a post. It might make things clearer to see it in print.

Met someone today who is as close to right as I'm likely to find and this has thrown your humble correspondent into a tizz. On paper, given that it might be a chance and it seemed so today, then what happens when she finds out things which my regular readers know already?

I mean, look at those tramvai posts.

She loves walking in the forest, which I love and there were many bases covered. I'm sure the thought might have flitted across her mind too this evening but it's possible she's already concluded in the negative, which is more in line with what I'd expect.

There are just so many barriers and now it's 01:00 and I have to get some sleep.

That's what I did and then this morning checked the comments and there was one from the Jailhouse Lawyer:

Don't want to put you on a downer but...

Check this out before you make your next move

Here's a fragment from John's referral:

But what happens if your new girlfriend has a much darker and more sinister secret than having slept around a bit?

Sitting naked on the edge of the bed in a cheap, sweltering hotel room in the heart of a war-torn, drug-producing region of Colombia, I lit a cigarette and listened as the girl I had just made love with told me a secret dark enough to shake anyone from their postcoital bliss.

She then hit me with a confession that would both thrill and confuse me. She explained that in the months that I had been away in Iraq her role within the AUC had changed; she had joined the urban militia and become an assassin. Her job was now to eliminate informers and traitors.

So far, she told me, she had killed at least 10 people in the area. I lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply, Marylin looked at me through the smoke as I exhaled, waiting to see how I would respond to what she had just told me.

How uncanny is that?

Er ... think I might have to change Frederika - judging by Santi W's blog, they're pretty gentle people out that way. While learning Bahasa, in the meantime, I'll just have to rely on this, which might help you too if you get over her way.

So now it's time to get over to Oestrebunny, the exotic Scot:

Too lost in it all to see what's amiss, she'd risk her whole life for that - one - sweet - kiss. But that one sweet kiss is never enough.

You're right and it applies the other way too. So, with Women's Day tomorrow and the 14 Russian girls at 17:00 today, followed by the Pyramid, I'm off to descend into the maelstrom. Snow's everywhere in the air out there.

I'll report this evening if I'm still alive.

[id cards] question of time

Scarcely any need, wouldn't you say, to add anything else?

Shadow home secretary David Davis said: "The government may have removed the highly visible element but they have still left the dangerous core of this project.

"The National Identity Register, which will contain dozens of personal details of every adult in this country in one place, will be a severe threat to our security and a real target for criminals, hackers and terrorists. "This is before you take the government's legendary inability to handle people's data securely into account."

Still, these ID cards beat a chip in the wrist or forehead.

We'd all be part of the EU Android Army then.

[airports] the issues today

Short post on airports. Ian Appleby replies in a post:

But really there's no joy in flying at all, these days. I was 15 the first time I got on a plane, and I can still remember the excitement. For many years I could tell you instantly how many times I had been on a plane.

I had bought into the fantasy of the champagne glasses and cigars of some 1930s golden age hook, line and sinker. I've done two trips already this year, and frankly just now
I think you'd have to pay me to get on a plane again.

Shuffling round in long lines in your stockinged feet with one hand holding your kecks up because your belt will set off the metal detector and the other hand clutching that ridiculous plastic bag with your squeeze of toothpaste in - when there was
clearly no substance to the liquid bomb plot anyway - just to perpetuate some illusion that there is some sort of war on, what a farce.

That man can write. There's one other issue in particular which needs immediate resolution before I fly again - bag-nav throughputting and the café latte:

I was at Terminal 2, being farewelled by my SIG-OTH, sipping at our final CAF-LAT when, over the tannoy, following the obligatory ringtones, a young lady's sing song voice quelled the hubbub of terminal conversation:
"Ladies and gentlemen, from check-in to baggage reclaim, tens of millions of passengers entrust their belongings to ALSTEC's baggage handling systems at Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 & 3 and Gatwick North Terminal in the UK and at many other international airports."
It was time to check in. The smartly uniformed cynosure of all eyes went through her routine, then added:
"Do you trust ALSTEC or BAGLOSS?"

"Er … ALSTEC."

"Fine. Because much of ALSTEC's success can be attributed to innovation both in system design and equipment. The latest evidence of this is ALSTEC's low maintenance linear drive carousel, which is setting the standard in terms of performance."

"It carries the bags in a line, in other words?"

"Sir, the screening of all hold baggage presents problems in terms of maintaining levels of throughput within the baggage handling system. ALSTEC has solved these problems, with proven 100% HBS systems where there is no significant impact on passenger throughput. Have a happy throughput".

"Er … thanks."
Tearfully, my SIG-OTH disappeared down the concourse and I went through. Four hours later, at the other end of the longhaul, the cheerful Customs and Immigration official perkily asked:
"How was your throughput, Mr. Higham?"

"Fine thanks."

"That's due to the proven HBS and BAG-NAV."


"Originally developed for London Heathrow, the world’s busiest international airport, BAG-NAV is arguably the most advanced baggage handling system control and management software suite available today."


"BAG-NAV brings together all parts of the baggage handling process into a single easy to interpret and manage system. Would you care to hear the listed Benefits:

* No delays at check-in
* Bag screening remote from passengers
* No bottleneck in baggage handling system

… you can stop me at any time, sir, by kissing me just … here."
I tickled the tonsils of this Snoggable-Nubile-Official [Govt.], she sighed and the clunk of stamp on passport was all that disturbed the heady atmosphere of terminal bliss.
"Have a happy perambulatory TRIP-BIZ in our country, sir. Next! Hello sir. BAG-NAV brings together all parts of the …"
Throughputting via the green channel, I reflected that I'd completely forgotten to ask her about Babcock continuing its successful strategy of acquiring and developing technically sophisticated businesses in growing infrastructure and asset management markets, plus the acquisition, on a debt free basis, of Alstec Group Limited for a net cash consideration of £44.9 million, funded from existing banking facilities.

I sighed.

Due to the down-modem software support to facilities management with a team of engineers permanently on site to operate and maintain the facility, it had all gone too swiftly and I'd been whisked away from my new IMMIG-DEPT-LOVE, perhaps terminally.

And yet I could also breathe a sigh of relief, to be honest because the 5 Level Whetstone Scanning Device [SCAN-DEV-WHET] had 100% overlooked my second heart and the keys to the TAR-DIS.

[conscience vote] some decency returns to politics

Please don't present this as "bringing religion into politics". On all major human based issues there is a parliamentary precedent for a conscience vote so why not on this? Who is to decide this is not a matter of private conscience?

I'm not a Catholic but I say well done to these three on standing up on a question of principle. If only more of us would stand up and say, about this issue or that, this is wrong.

How long is it since we saw any Labour politician do that?

Oh and Gordon - say "England". Come on - you can do it. Let me help you. "E-n-g-" Good, good, you're doing well. Now "-l-a-n-d". Oh dear, you bottled it again.

[israel] if denmark attacked britain

If Denmark were to launch daily rocket attacks on the U.K., would the U.K. sit back, do nothing and comply with do-gooder charitable organizations' requests to take a humanitarian view of the loveable rocket launchers?

What if the rockets, far from being stuffed with high explosive designed to "simply" kill instead filled the warheads with ball bearings designed to indiscriminately maim the civilian population but when Britain pointed this out, learned world experts pronounced that it "probably was not so" and was the aggressive Britain's attempt to justify its outrageous attacks on little Denmark?

What if the U.K. were to then blockade Denmark and conduct attacks on military targets where there were known mobile military units using weaponry and technology from another European power equal to the U.K. in strength and using human shields to create a humanitarian outcry every time the U.K. struck back?

What if the tiny group who'd seized control in Denmark had vowed that the U.K. was a 'festering sore' which should be wiped off the map and that G-d was directing them to destroy every man, woman and child in those fair isles which were historically theirs by right?

What if the U.K. were then to expostulate that history clearly showed that the land belonged to the Anglo-Saxons but the international community got behind Denmark's version of history instead and ordered the U.K. to desist from these "unprovoked attacks on a sovereign nation", whilst conveniently ignoring the daily rocket attacks?

What if the U.K. launched an offensive which was inconclusive because the Danish military units simply faded back behind the mischievous European power's borders where they denied this was happening?

What if the humanitarian situation in Denmark, as a result of the blockade, meant that people were sleeping rough in their own faeces, dying in the streets of malnutrition and the malcontents who had a stranglehold on Denmark were to hoodwink the people into believing how evil the the U.K. truly was and that all this human misery should be laid at the U.K.'s door?

Meanwhile they continue to rain rockets on Britain and the people in France, over their daily coffee and croissants, shake their heads at the aggressive Brits because the French media, which they all slavishly believe would never tell a lie, has assured them it is so, showing only the results of British "atrocities" on state television?

What if the U.K. was to turn, with open enquiring hands, to the world and ask, "Why does everyone hate us so?"

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

[meme] fifth sentence on page 123

Illustrations above and below by J.H. Wingfield

Beaman has tagged me and though I loathe and detest memes, if it's Beaman, I suppose I must comply. So, the book close at hand is Notes from a Small Island, by Bill Bryson [Black Swan, 1995] and here are those sentences:

5 Once, many years ago, in anticipation of the children we would one day have, a relative of my wife's gave us a box of Ladybird books from the 1950s and 60s.

6 They all had titles like "Out in the Sun" and "Sunny Days at the Seaside" and contained meticulously drafted, richly coloured illustrations of a prosperous, contented, litter-free Britain in which the sun always shone, shopkeepers smiled and children in freshly-pressed clothes derived happiness and pleasure from innocent pastimes - riding a bus to the shops, floating a model boat on park pond, chatting to a kindly policeman.

7 My favourite book was called "Adventure on the Island".

8 There was, in fact, precious little adventure in the book - the highpoint, I recall, was finding a starfish suckered to a rock but I loved it because of the illustrations [by the gifted and much missed J.H. Wingfield] which portrayed an island of rocky coves and long views that was recognizably British but with a Mediterranean climate and a tidy absence of pay-and-display car parks, bingo parlours and the tackier sort of amusement arcades.

I pass the meme onto anyone on my blogrolls and may the Good Lord have mercy on your souls.

[rain] everything's the same

'People ask me what music I listen to. I listen to traffic and birds singing and breathing. And fire engines. I always used to listen to the water pipes at night when the lights were off, and they played tunes.'

'Half the musical ideas I've had have been accidental. The first time I discovered backwards guitar was when we made 'Rain'. This was a song I wrote about people moaning about the weather all the time.' [John Lennon]

[tramvai of dreams] the french motif

Foggy day

Wish I'd had a camera today. About half the snow has gone and it was foggy, not unlike in this photo from Flickr.

Crossing the bridge to town, the river still frozen and snowladen and with the fog patchy in places, it was other-worldly, atmospheric and I was hurtling to my Day of Women.

Officially this Saturday is International Day of Women [March 8th] but I have two days of women each week - Wednesday and Friday and it can get crazy. My Day of Men is always Thursday and it's a nice relief.

I was supposed to deliver my first lecture on Australia early afternoon to the 5th Course and when I got there, there were no girls anywhere. Now this was weird because I was expecting around 90 to 100 of them and it's a bit hard to hide that number away in a corner.

Turns out they had me down for the following "pair" [time period] and so it was a waste of time - couldn't go anywhere as I was being picked up by a French woman in her SUV at 14:00 so the only thing was to go down to the stolovaya for a coffee but as I hate sitting on my own, I took a girl I knew down with me and the woman who runs the place was highly amused - you don't take girls to stolovii - it's a little lower than a cafeteria.

This is the one I mentioned some time back is always passing me on the stairs or happens to be where I am or vice versa - it's become a bit of a joke and really is coincidental.

Trouble is, she's French-English and I'm English-French, which means we had to speak in a combination of French, Russian and Pidgin-English. She was telling me about going to Paris to the Sorbonne and so we discussed Paris.

Then a whole load of French-Englishers came in and that was worse. Eventually they all disappeared and the 5th Course rocked in, ready for my lecture but I had to tell them I wouldn't be there.

'But you are here.'

'Da but I shan't be in five minutes.'

'Why not?'

'Because I'm being collected.'

'But you have a lecture with us.'

'No, I have a lecture with you now, in this pair.'

'But you're in the stolovaya with us instead.'

This was clearly going nowhere so I tried to explain but they still felt I was pulling a swifty on them or didn't want to give them their lecture or whatever. I had to say, 'It's not my fault,' and then blamed the administration and they understood that one well - everyone does that. Well, that was all right then.

So I left and was collected and she looked amazing. Mistake was to take her to the Pyramid because there was a girl there I'd given to understand I was keen on two Fridays ago [tramvai of dreams post] and I understood she'd not be working today. This was tricky and then my French friend said about her that she looked uncannily like my ex-girlfriend and I'm wondering how she knew that.

Then the penny drops. This is where I'd brought the French lady some months back when my ex-girlfriend had come into the cafe and we'd made an appropriate reconciliation in the middle of the floor. This thing was now turning into a French farce.

Back to the uni and just as I'm about to have my last pair, a French festival starts up and kills that idea - the topic I was planning to do was The Art of French Dressing - you've seen it on this blog. We eventually managed and a photo will be forthcoming hopefully this evening, maybe tomorrow.

I'm getting very nervous now about this Saturday. There are about twelve women and a whole load of girls expecting some little prezzie from me and I'm thinking out how to be ill or out of town but even if I do, they'll get me the following week. So nothing for it but to open the wallet but what to buy them? Chocolates?

The driver on the way home muttered, "I hate this time,' meaning March 8th. Some years back the police pulled me over for some infraction on this day and I reminded them that it was The Day of Women - a day of peace, love and reconciliation.

The head honcho, I remember, retorted, 'Woman's Holiday', meaning he was still going to give me the full fine. What a bstd.

So - are all you boys gearing up to buy your women something super-duper? The ladies are waiting in anticipation. Or shall we declare it International Day of Men and retire to the bar?

[airports] best and worst

This blog loves opinionated articles and fellow bloggers with chips on their shoulders - something you can really get your teeth into. Here's one on the world's worst airport:

Ezeiza. It has to be Ezeiza ... There was one - that's right, one - place to eat, where a simple "cafe chico" and a roll cost me about three times as much as the hour-long cab ride from the Argentine capital. Then, of course, there is the constant threat of fog, the flight cancelations that come with it, and the chaos that ensues.

Considering how often they have to deal with this, you'd think it would be a bit more organised.
But no. People scream around in a Spanish-speaking mess, clambering to get seats on other flights. Uni-lingual goons such as myself are in all sorts of trouble when the huge queues start forming at the check-in desk.

And the world's best?

Some airports are palaces, the sort of places you could imagine yourself staying for a few days (and in some cases, you do). Changi is brilliant, but I'm not breaking any ground mentioning that. KL International is also a great place to wander around, and Dubai is all right, too.

My choice? On access, facilities, servicing, something to do whilst waiting and processing on and off the plane, for best I couldn't go past Tom Bradley 8 in the old days - don't know now. Another excellent airport is Domodedovo in Moscow. They've refurbished and coordinated and it's a nice place, check-in is easy and it seems friendly.

For worst - possibly Dubai [nothing open and nothing to do] or Ashgabat, [where I had the police come at me]. The very worst in the world would have to be Sheremetyevo 2. I had $2000 stolen in a scam with a bank there on the lower floor and was refused exit twice, which resulted in me paying a fine for being correct. The taxi drivers are appalling and the mafia everywhere. I fly everywhere from my home airport.

And for you?

[clinton] are americans fickle

I took Ohio and RI and I'm acummin fer yoo now!

Update: via Lord Somber on why Americans shouldn't vote.

I suggested on somebody's site yesterday not to write off the Lizard Queen yet:

Over the last few days, the tone of the Democratic contest seems to have shifted, with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign more buoyant and Senator Barack Obama’s more defensive.

That shift may be traceable in part to the “Saturday Night Live” show on Feb. 23, when, back from the writers’ strike, it mocked the news media for treating Mr. Obama more gently than it treated Mrs. Clinton. Mrs. Clinton amplified that view later in a debate, and her aides stoked it all week, practically browbeating reporters.

She takes Texas and the world is in trouble.

What I'd like to look at is just how fickle the American people are - being swayed in their votes by how Tina Fey acts or speaks or what happens on Saturday Night Live. For goodness sake, aren't the Americans capable of doing some research on the candidates? Why do they seem to go through these mood swings? Can't they stick with their chosen candidate?

And McCain. He's Conservative? Save me!

[political compass] calum carr's version

Following on from yesterday's short political test, here is Calum Carr's longer version and my results - between Friedman and Thatcher:

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

[quick science quiz] five for you

1. Highest mountain in the solar system?

2. Who named Pluto?

3. Direction finding - Pole Star in the North ... and in the South?

4. Might become the largest telescope - what does SKA mean?

5. How many have supposedly walked on the Moon?

No peeking!

Olympus Mons, Venetia Burney, Southern Cross, Square Kilometre Array, 12.

[political scale] where are you


The political group that
agrees with you most is...



LIBERTARIANS support maximum liberty in both personal and

economic matters. They advocate a much smaller government; one

that is limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence.

Libertarians tend to embrace individual responsibility, oppose

government bureaucracy and taxes, promote private charity, tolerate

diverse lifestyles, support the free market, and defend civil liberties.

The RED DOT on the Chart shows where you fit on the political map.

Your PERSONAL issues Score is 100%.
Your ECONOMIC issues Score is 100%.
(Please note: Scores falling on the Centrist border are counted as Centrist.)

[economic forecast 2008] various sources

First a round up of various sources

Urged on by the tip of the Anonymous whip, the Higham takes his first faltering steps into the field of economic analysis. Why not start with the future?

Might as well go in off the deep end ... would you august economists out there give this the once over?

The World Bank forecast of growth

The IMF forecast of output

China growth recession

the odds of a significant growth recession in China – at least one year of sub-6 per cent growth – during the next couple of years are 50:50. With Chinese inflation spiking, notable backpedalling on market reforms and falling export demand, 2008 could be particularly challenging.

Financial sector

On the one hand, we have a banking sector that has a demonstrated capacity to generate huge crises because of the incentives to take on under-appreciated risks. On the other hand, we lack the will and even the capacity to regulate it.

[The] financial sector that generates vast rewards for insiders and repeated crises for hundreds of millions of innocent bystanders ...

Relief measures in the U.S. include:

* The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007
* GSEs to expand their purchases of conforming mortgages effective March 1
* Proposals to aid homeowners directly at lender expense

Price of crude

[S]ky-high price of crude oil and refined product. Pushed upward by world-wide speculative Mid-East war fears and increases in demand (especially from China), increasing energy prices act as an inflationary "tax" on domestic production and consumption throughout the market economy.

Higher costs of production will lower profits; higher prices will reduce some consumption. The only good news here is that any substantial economic slowdown in 2008 will eventually moderate the price of oil and other commodity prices as well.

Oil consumption

Consumption.. World oil consumption is expected to grow by 1.4 million bbl/d in 2008, about 0.2 million bbl/d lower than last month’s assessment, due to increased risks of a global economic slowdown in 2008 (World Oil Consumption).

Commodities overall

We expect commodities to perform well over 2008 – Commodities are anticipated to benefit from turbulence in other financial markets “This asset class tends to do well in periods of rising inflation and political uncertainty – events which tend to depress other asset classes, such as equities and bonds.”

Systemic risk - Morgan Stanley

But even this uncertain and wobbly outlook is subject to downside risks. If the combination of monetary and fiscal stimulus fails to get traction, the adverse feedback loop might intensify, promoting, as Chairman Bernanke noted in testimony this week, bank failures and systemic risk.

Systemic risk - LEAP 2020

In the United States, this new tipping point will translate into a collapse of the real economy, final socio-economic stage of the serial bursting of the housing and financial bubbles (1) and of the pursuance of the US dollar fall. The collapse of US real economy means the virtual freeze of the American economic machinery: private and public bankruptcies in large numbers, companies and public services closing down massively

...any comparison with the previous crises of our modern economy would be fallacious. It is neither a “remake” of the 1929 crisis nor a repetition of the 1970s oil crises or 1987 stock market crisis. It is truly a global systemic crisis, that is to say a crisis affecting the entire planet and questioning the very foundations of the international system upon which the world was organised in the last decades.

Neither Asia nor Europe (or more precisely ‘nor the Eurozone') will suffer the roughest, the most sustainable and the most negative impact of the ongoing crisis; but the United States will, as well as all the countries/economies strongly linked to the US (what our experts have decided to call “the American risk”)

The global systemic crisis is in fact the beginning of an economic « decoupling » between the US and the rest of the world, knowing that the non « decoupled » economies will be dragged down the US negative spiral.

Bloomberg disagrees on decoupling

...stock markets have already lost between 10 and 20 percent since the beginning of the year (10), and, on the other hand, the collapse of the real economy in the US by the end of Summer 2008 will drag down all stock markets. According to LEAP/E2020, international stock markets will probably drop by 50 percent in average compared to 2007 (including in the emerging countries) ...

Mervyn King at the Bank of England says:

Sending a warning to families who expect the value of their home to increase in the coming years, Mr King added: "Looking several years ahead, there’s no reason to expect house prices to be markedly above where they are now. It’s conceivable there might be falls in house prices."

Analyses by the Anonymii

Commodity prices will continue to rise in the short term until the increase in global inflation draws a response from central banks, especially in China.

(1) no reason to think that commodity prices or inflation will stabilise in the short-to-medium term. Energy and commodity prices are being driven by two factors that will ensure they are largely insulated from any slowdown in the United States:

(a) Strong demand from China which is offsetting slower commodity consumption in the United States and (prospectively) in Western Europe.

(b) Strong investment inflows as institutional and private investors re-allocate funds from large and liquid but underperforming equity and bond markets to small, illiquid but out-performing commodity assets, which is having an outsized impact on commodity prices.

(2) prices for crude & other commodities have continued to soar, and that trend looks set to be extended. Until China’s commodity appetite slows, or investors lose their enthusiasm increases fuelling inflation will continue.

(3) perceptibly faster inflation ... none of the major central banks ... ready to push back by raising interest rates to curb growth. In fact, interest rate reductions in the United States and United Kingdom appear designed to stimulate otherwise slumping demand.

(4) Higher commodity-driven inflation will make bonds less attractive ... further allocation into commodity futures, intensifying upward pressure on prices .

Thinking about the inflation end-game: H2 2008

(1) speed limit for global growth is set by the availability of adequate raw materials and transportation capacity ... bottlenecks drive inflation rates worldwide ... no "icking up" slack in the global economy.

(2) Fed, Bank of England and ECB largely powerless to control commodity-driven inflation within their own economies. ... only way to return inflation to target levels would be to engineer deep local recessions in which massive unemployment and sharp falls in the prices of non-traded items and non-energy intensive items offset the continuing upward pressure from internationally traded energy and commodity items.

Central bankers prefer to anchor expectations and hope something will turn up to solve the problem for them.

(3) short-term commodity prices and inflation will continue to accelerate

(4) Until global growth slows, especially in China, either of its own accord or because the central banks start tightening monetary conditions ... inflation will intensify.

(5) [V]arious processes suggest the end-game for global growth, inflation and commodity prices is now starting to emerge:

(a) becomes increasingly difficult for central banks to ignore the problem.

(b) challenge to the competitiveness of China’s exporters and its internal social stability ... price controls in autumn 2007 and early 2008 to hold the inflation rate down

(c) Sooner or later, measures to hike domestic energy prices and slow the pace of growth in the manufacturing and real estate sectors ... in H2 2008.

... possible housing-driven slowdown will spread to Western Europe and translate into slower growth in China

... in the US ... homebuilding has slowed but commercial construction activity has held up well. Consumer spending has slowed but is not yet falling and business investment expenditure has remained strong.

... corporate profits have started to fall ... household debt ... default rates ... consumer spending will fall later in the year.

... good reasons to think that the full impact of the crisis will not be felt until H2 2008. Moreover, the slowdown is likely to spread to the United Kingdom and Western Europe, but only slowly ... more apparent in H2.

Bottom line

... the global economy looks set to enter a period of stagflation throughout H1 2008 and extending into H2

... central banks ... set to accommodate rather than push back ... further devaluation in the USD

... upward pressure on prices.

... increases in commodity costs ... if the slowdown spreads to Western Europe and China, commodity demand and hence prices and inflation will moderate ...

... global economy has hit the limits (and gone beyond) its capacity for non-inflationary growth


... above commodity analysis omits to mention the search for better returns by international investors, exiting very large bond markets and low performing equity markets, into much smaller commodity markets.

... true rate of inflation in the US, UK, etc, is anywhere between 6%, and 10%, notwithstanding the constant lies and manipulation of statistics by the respective governments

Anon 2 says

... major uk banks, hedge funds, and other financial bodies are solvency impaired, UK level major clearing banks telling bare-faced lies about their provision (or non provisions) for toxic paper

... millipede is a liar - criticizing China when he is a communist (check his background, father, check the labour peer who kept his father from conscription, etc)

... so China would invade us - their best export market?

... UK, US nationally bankrupt ... taxed to the point of insurrection, and certainly to the point of GDP growth inflection

... millipede [trying for] control of the worlds finite resources.

... currently fighting a proxy war in Afghanistan

... Saudis funding (sometimes indirectly), hezbullah, hamas, iraqi insurgents, al Qeda, thousands of wahabbi learning centres ... we have been providing advance weaponry to these same princes, and backhanding them ... Blair has squashed one inquiry, who will squash the current?

... In geologic and mining circles, Afghanistan regarded as Nirvana

... in another corner of Afghanistan, the Chinese are building roads, railways, schools, hospitals, houses, and monstrous mines

Money supply

... money supply growth in Russia is up 44%, India up 23%, Australia up 23%, Brazil up 18%, U.S. up 16% (M3), UK up 12%, etc.

... massive industrialization taking place in China and India, representing 40% of the humans on earth. While the breakneck pace may slow this year, the need for increasing amounts of commodities will continue for many years.

... supply the major issue

From The Broadsheet Rag

Not exactly economics but I had to put it in somewhere:

We already have a Eurocorps. And the EU are carrying out operations in Chad and Kosovo. So, if anyone thinks that the EU aren’t trying to create an army — Well… They’re a moron.

This week I found more worrying evidence on this subject. The great Javi Il Duce gave a speech at the European Defence Agency Conference.


Meanwhile, I'm looking at ГОРБУЛИНА Ирина Вячеславовна and the Asian Pacific markets.


U.S. to implode, decoupling then an issue, commodities high till China slows, systemic meltdown, lying incompetent toadies taken to a public place and hung, drawn and quartered.


Weez knackered, folks ... have a good 2008 :)

Monday, March 03, 2008

[english project] draw an anti-english poster

The England Project reports on a history worksheet given to East Anglian children:

“You are a Spanish sailor about to embark in the Spanish Armada,” said the worksheet. “Draw an anti-English poster to show all the reasons why you are invading the country.”

It also asked for a “spider diagram of at least four reasons why Spain was angry enough with England to want to invade”.

Can you imagine the reverse happening in a Spanish school? Has sanity completely deserted our education system?

[tragedy] to protect, control or cope

Control or free will - the old dilemma

When faced with an immediate tragedy closeby, it's understandable that one would feel this:

I, on the other hand, would wish for someone to explain to me why, if there is a loving god, he allows them to happen.

It's also not callous to say of the deaths in war:

... the scale becomes so great in war, plague or natural disaster that our minds cease being able to envisage it ...

One such person to whom this happened was Matt Frank, an Iraq war veteran who served in the US army as a Specialist Scout.

Don't know how close you are to the scout's role but I did a short stint on an exercise and it's not something you'd wish for in RL.

You're the vanguard, the most vulnerable of all and your reflexes need to be razor sharp.

I feel especially bad for what happened to him:

It was me or them, and if I had anything to say about it, it was going to be them. I filled with a rage that I still cannot explain.

I felt my eyes swelling as my heart beat faster and faster, my arms burning from constantly wrenching the gun from target to target, my pores spewing sweat.

I caught him [an armed insurgent] out of the corner of my eye when he was already half way across the street, I quickly swung my gun over, started to fire just before he came into aim, walking the rounds into their intended target; but just as the rounds were about to fall upon him, he made it to the other corner.

As the Iraqi had made it out of my field of fire, my gun strafed into a rickety trailer parked right at the corner.
Now falling out from behind this trailer was the body of a teenage boy.

This incident, amongst all the other incidents in his tour of duty, messed Matt Frank up completely in his mind.

It seems almost wrong, in the face of this, to try to offer an explanation of why a loving god would allow this. I can only offer an analogy.
I walked to school from age 6 and it was a conscious decision on my parents' part to allow it. I was the most insistent, feeling it was shameful for a Big Boy to be nannied along to school.

One day I was walking home after school and a bicyclist shouted at me from behind on the path, knocked me over and the bicycle went over me. I remember thinking at the time that I was glad it wasn't a car on the road.

Had my parents been negligent? Could they have prevented this accident? Were they wrong to allow me this freedom? Have I grown up pretty independent and self-sufficient?

I suppose they could have driven me to school everyday and collected me afterwards, never allowing me a breath of fresh air or the freedom to run, explore and ... well, live. Yes, they could have done that, wrapped me in cotton wool and prevented absolutely anything happening to me.

I would have died and they knew it.

There's another analogy for G-d.

A kid is at the water's edge with his toy sailboat. He holds it so it doesn't tip over and walks it along beside the beach, making whooshing sailing noises, losing interest after ten minutes because that was not what it was designed to do.

So he gets up the courage to release the boat and it tears off with him following. It tips over but comes back up again, takes a wrong turn but corrects itself, then a big wave hits and suddenly the nose heads out to the deep water. Quickly he taps it back on course but is loathe to do so.

The whole point was to see how it sailed, as a mother watches her child take those first steps on his own.

Tipping boats are not dead teenagers but it seems to me we can't have it both ways. To avoid the scenario in the top photo, the only other way is Free Will - freedom to choose for ourselves and technical tweaking to our organism, mainly from our parents, to let us make it through most of the time.

It's not a concept which would be any too popular in the face of such atrocities but it seems to me the overriding issue is not so much to protect and prevent but to enable the capacity to cope.

[sovereign wealth] the little matter of democracy

Consider Sackerson's concerns here:

So in seven years' time, sovereign funds are expected to control 12% of the market. This is significant: you'll recall that and EU countries require declarations of shareholdings at various levels between 2 and 5 per cent

My hazy understanding of democracy is that it includes two crucial elements, namely, the vote, and the right to own personal property. We're losing both.

And as for property, when sovereign wealth funds go from being the tail that wags the dog, to becoming the dog, multinational businesses will be less concerned to satisfy the local shareholder, who may also be an employee. Big MD (or Big CEO) will have his arm around the shoulders of Big Brother.

Sol Palha worries about the acquisition of Western assets by sovereign wealth funds ("Slowly but surely America and Europe are going to be owned by foreigners. The irony is that Congress is trying to keep immigrants out of this country but right in front of their eyes foreigners are slowly gobbling up huge chunks of this country.").

Sackerson's solution?

Foreign governments with trade surpluses (based on artificially low currency exchange rates and stupid overspending by the West) are building up trillions in reserves and eyeing our companies and real estate. If our own leaders aren't willing to rebalance the world economy, the least they can do is get a piece of the action.

Well, his wish has been granted:

France adopts a sovereign wealth fund model. France, like many other European countries, has stated its concerns about the growing investment appetite of sovereign wealth funds from resource-rich emerging countries for European industrial and financial companies.

But Nicolas Sarkozy, French president, seems to be behaving these days as the chairman of a sovereign wealth fund.

The French government on Wednesday acquired a 2.85 per cent stake in STMicroelectronics from Italy’s Finmeccanica to maintain the balance between French and Italian shareholders in the cross-border semiconductor venture.

And the EU can make rules about controlling these funds all they like but as Tim Worstall writes:

The sovereign wealth funds belong to the States which own them. States which, we might note, are not members of the European Union and are thus not either responsible for paying Sr. Barroso's wages nor subject to his whims.

Wherefore democracy?

[the oldest game] paradigm shift urgently required

A girl to fight for - a goddess in her own quiet way

The comments in the last post just have to be answered. If your model for relationships is:

There's absolutely no way I'm going to stop living the way I do until someone REALLY DOES offer me a special something. And I want to see real proof first. That's fair, isn't it?

... then this represents the modern approach [post 60s] and is ultimately doomed. All the disappointments, broken homes, divorce and the breakdown in society we see in Britain and America can be brought back to this. It's the root of hedonistic self-centredness and is the road to hell.

Everything else is just symptomatic of the core problem.

The old paradigm was for both genders to cast their net widely and pounce on the partner they'd finally decided on [The Stone Ponies' Different Drum is about this]. I'm speaking of the majority here, not the ones publicized in film.

There was a culture, based largely on the Christian ethic, which valued women's virginity as the last citadel but in effect this created all sorts of good things, especially for the woman.

This gave her true "empowerment".

What a joke that the more the Feminists have screamed since the late 60s of legislating for men to respect women, the more they gave away their best bargaining chip for that respect. I don't blame the women - I blame Them, who progressively broke down the old societal ethic and replaced it with the hedonistic selfishness you see in the quote at the top. I don't blame the quoter either - he knows no better, having grown up in the new society of undelayed gratification.

Women got this crazy idea into their heads that if they lusted for Money and Power, just as the men did, this would give them Independence and Equality and would force men to Respect them. Ha! Do men respect them more today? The hell they do.

The old paradigm ran like this: Kids were brought up to have respect, love their neighbour and all that. There was a culture of "delayed or deferred gratification", in other words - self control.

So, Steve got it bad for Susie and did all sorts of romantic things to come onto her, as did Bob, Paul and John. She was the centre of a whole lot of boys' attentions and could pick and choose, let this one in this far, let that one in not so far and so on. In other words, there was respect and she ran the show.

Do you prefer to see it all up front or would you rather have to imagine what's underneath her elegant halter top and plan how to get inside it? [Photo courtesy Beaman's Bazaar]

The boys knew they had to play her game and her refusals trained them how to respect women. It didn't occur to them to just rape her - there was a slight fear of her inaccessibility.

Her mother used to advise her that her greatest power was in using her bargaining chip and it was tough to do because she'd fall in love and want to give it all to him straight away.

Now the mother seems not to give any advice to the daughter.

Steve and his mates want to bang so they gather the girls whom they know say yes and they overnight party. Susie has no choice but to go along with it or else be marginalized from the group and with the addition of porn at the flick of a switch she has to go further and further now, earlier and earlier.

The girl who says no these days is marginalized and not wanted - she knows the ground rules are that she must bang and she's grown up with no constraints on giving it all away. It's even becoming group in the living room. Don't ask how I know.

It's a boys' paradise and she's lost all empowerment she's deluded enough to think she might have. What a joke that women are trumpeting about equality and how the woman chained to the kitchen had no power, when the truth is the opposite - she has zero power today, zilch, nikto.

Do I wish to see women chained to the kitchen again? Hell no - I want them to regain their real empowerment as desirable and mysterious people, not the pseudo-empowerment they're bent on today. A Real Woman can have all the power she desires, just by being a real woman. She needs no legislation.

To return to the quote at the top - wanting to see the real proof first.

How on earth can there be any sort of real proof or any relationship when it's all about self-fulfilment and nothing about fulfilling the other person? What long term chance has any relationship got where both are judging the other against a check list of whether the other "satisfies" them?

And you mean, Boyz, you can't find proof unless you've banged a girl? Where have your antennae gone? Where are your receptors? This is the Viagra mentality - that satisfaction in a relationship is tied only to the bang. To hell with Friendship, Romance and Love - the Bang is god.

More fool her for giving it away like that. Poor kid if she's grown up in this culture.

Unless she becomes rich and famous, [and how many girls dream dreams of this elusive power they'll never have], she has only herself to negotiate with and now comes the joke on her. The more she's slept around and given the boys all they wanted, the less they'd consider even looking at her as a long term partner. She'll cheat throughout a marriage.

And the joke that you have to sleep with many men to know which one you want - oh really? You can't tell that by kissing and cuddling then keeping him hanging on? Tiberius Gracchus just ran a post on a girl who kept a king hanging on for seven years.

No one ever said she was beautiful. She just played the game, the love arts, to their maximum. She made herself exotic, desirable.

Where the hell has romance gone? Why are the words 'gentleman' and 'lady' mocked today?

Ditto our Susie, who plays it cool and rations out her charms - she ends up with the biggest prize because it isn't her Paris Hilton star quality they respect but Her herself. She has Self-Respect and demands that anyone who is going to sample her wares is going to have to give.

And not money but they have to give themselves. The poorest peasant girl can be rich beyond rubies. No riches in the world can buy this. The lady in this article said beautifully what I'm trying to.

In other words, she makes herself into a Real Prize. Other girls with less self-respect can play the town tart but she's the Princess on the Pedestal, the one all the boys would have if only they could, if only she would.

That's why hundreds and hundreds of kissed girls in my life have translated into just six women I've eventually had [so far]. It's the Groucho Marx approach - please accept my resignation, I don't want to enter any vagina which will openly accept me.

Or, to put it even more crudely as they did in Puberty Blues, "Hey, I don't want to go slops," to follow the well worn path to her shaved garden, to get stuck in peak hour traffic.

And the number of women measuring their true value by the number of men they've laid - is this low or is this low? A woman speaking of her lovers [plural] - ugggh!. Does she feel that numbers confer some sort of kudos on her or does it seep into her brain that perhaps it turns good men off?

The thrill is in the chase. The bang at the end should be just the confirmation - does the tail wag the dog? Still, it has to be done well - lousy coffee after a top meal is a let down - but the whole package is the pleasure. To mix metaphors - do you eat the icing from the cake first or the cake first and then the icing?

I mean - for crying out loud - today you only have to take her to a cafe, do a bit of dancing and she's in the sack or on the living room floor. Who needs it? And who was into her last night when she wasn't answering the phone?

The way she dresses too. If she shows her open cleavage - big deal. I've seen it all before. But if she hides her breasts then I can only dream what they'd be like to kiss and I plan to find out. If she lets it all hang out with her open top and hipsters - yawn. But if she goes all coy, then bells ring - I want in and I want in now!

Where's the old challenge gone where you had to plan out a military campaign on her to break her down step by step? Where's her resistance these days? Where's the chivalry gone? Why doesn't she expect the doors to be opened for her anymore, the cloak to be laid in the puddle so she can step across it?

My white armour is in the cupboard rusting and my trusty steed is nibbling grass in the backyard. They haven't been needed for years.

The paradigm needs to shift right back again so that a culture exists where men don't know every square centimetre of a girl's anatomy from internet porn but would really like to unravel her mysteries. There has to be some sort of Mystery again which forces men to act out of respect and [temporarily] unrequited lust. The more modestly a girl dresses, the more elegantly, the more I want her so badly.

For goodness sake, girls - don't you want the men to fight over you anymore? Are you so far into your own sexual hunger that you've lost all self-respect?

For your eyes only - if you treat me right. Who's the Prize here - Roger Moore or Carole Bouquet?

And guys - wouldn't you prefer a girl with you who was hard-won and every man and woman around knows you have an absolute prize looking into your eyes who gives it only to you? The Carole Bouquet principle: For Your Eyes Only.

Am I off the planet in valuing these things?