Tuesday, April 03, 2007

[e-mail] sort of right, in a strange way

Boy, have there been some issues today! Human-wise: excellent day. Technica-wise: not so good. Had to go to the summer template header as all the others have proved unstable. This was my original header and it's nice, so I'll leave it on.

The source of the e-mail trouble has been worked out and it's not solved but at least we know where the problem is. At least it's accessible in a strange way. So, I'm with you in a manner of speaking.

[summary] ten points to put you off your breakfast

[Update: interesting little addition to this post. A few seconds after posting it, I went to the kitchen and reached for the ladle to scoop some soup into a bowl. The ladle has a hole at the end of the handle and embedded in this, by accident, was my carving knife. So, as I whipped the ladle out of the pot, the knife came too, it span in the air and the point went straight for my Crown Jewels. I jumped and it missed. Don't worry, I'm not relating it to the post below, of course. Even I'm not that crazy.]
Let me apologize in advance for this post. Basically, I've tried to catalogue the current direction of society and had to stop at ten points. I couldn't take any more:

1] The debt economy. We are in hock as people weren't in the 50s and 60s. This gives the financiers enormous leverage into every household. We are suckling piglets on a bloated mother pig and it's worsening. It makes the average household economics-sensitive. Half a percentage point change can tip the average person over the edge.

This was never the case earlier. Apart from the mortgage and car, that was basically it and banks were still friendly places one went to chat to the teller.

2] The credit binge, which CityUnslicker mentioned, is a component of this. Inch by inch, while the Fed [see my recent posts] artificially holds interest rates, as they've stated themselves [October 2006], until 2011 and other central banks [this is an assertion in the case of the New York controlled Fed] follow suit, the scene is being prepared.

3] The move to the tightening of security and militarization of society. Biometrics, fingerprinting, the surreptitious ID card. And for what? Fear of terrorists? I ran a poll where the vast majority of respondents said Blair knew before 7/7 and many claim to have evidence of the same in the US. The pollies can't have it both ways. Either it was gross incompetence in the face of an obviously developing scenario or else it was something else.

Then there is the increasing presence of troops on the street or newly armed police virtually as troops, at all points of access and egress, in shopping centres, in all public places. The people are becoming more and more used to it.

4] The introduction of seemingly insane legislation, e.g. in Britain with the 'schools lottery' and a host of others [just click on any website] impossible to even start to cover here. And all with the agenda to progressively control and direct more and more and to reduce choice.

5] The deterioration of health services, e.g. the NHS, the 'dumbing down' of education and the employment of moral relativists at all levels to ensure its ongoing deterioration, together with moves in social security which attract less press.

6] The descent into, not just tolerance of but an embracing of, porn, deviance and the raising of the high prostitute, e.g. Paris Hilton, to a place of pre-eminence and virtual adulation by the young. It happened with Tiberius, then Caligula, then Messalina; it happened in the French revolution when a prostitute was placed on the altar at Notre Dame. It's happening again.

The resigned tolerance of the middle generation for what youth is doing is galling and they're doing far more than we did, e.g. the Chav. The unprecedented smothering and extinction of the Cross and attempts to wean the average person away from a moral code and into the worship of wealth is a central tenet of this in western society, whose moral code wouldn't have tolerated these things 30 years ago.

7] The marginalization of dissent. Guido wrote on this phenomenon. Why so surprised? It has always been the way to go - marginalize, vilify, isolate and then spirit the person away. The laughable Petitions to the PM are just that. No one in his right mind thinks anything will come of it. Except for one thing - you're all now on file.

Posts such as this are a perfect example. They deny the blogger access to the Thinking Bloggers Club and consign him to the outskirts of the kook internetter.

8] The inexorable move to war. Merkel's recent comments underline this. No one had been openly talking of war but she introduced it into the European 'think space', in her bid for a German led European Army. Buchan's 'very dangerous people' [from below], who have never altered, it being inter-generational [see Jeckyll Island for evidence of that], are itching for a conflagration.

And why not? Defeated in the referenda, trying to get the constitution through the back door - it's immensely frustrating. But these are patient people who are acting a trifle less patiently just now and for what reason? Why at this time?

9] The open lying by Blair, Bush and the EU. Caught many times in lies, they're either incompetent, arrogant or both. The arrogance betrays the power behind them, rather than them themselves. The EU's attitude towards its auditing procedures is staggering [see Euroserf's articles on this].

10] The immense governmental wastage and the dearth of effective policy. No need to explain. The dearth of competence in leadership is related to this. Can you name a single competent leader, on either side of the Atlantic, who will not be marginalized or go the way Blair and Bush have gone? Transvestite Rudy?

This blogger asserts that there is absolutely no accident in any of this. Society follows the lead of the leaders, no matter how they might think otherwise, e.g. carbon dating, e.g. the Vietnam War. The people have no power - it's not been wrested from them - they never had it in the first place. democracy is a fear-dulling, calming delusion.

John Buchan, British MP and Governor General of Canada, in his '39 Steps', was introducing the character, Scudder, upon whose revelations the plot developed:

… [Scudder had] spent a year or two in South-Eastern Europe. I gathered that he was a fine linguist, and had got to know pretty well the society in those parts. He spoke familiarly of many names that I remembered to have seen in the newspapers.

… I read him as a sharp, restless fellow, who always wanted to get down to the root of things. He got a little further down than he wanted.

I am giving you what he told me as well as I could make it out. Away behind all the Governments and the armies there was a big subterranean movement going on, engineered by very dangerous people.

He had come on it by accident; it fascinated him; he went further, and then he got caught. I gathered that most of the people in it were the sort of educated anarchists that make revolutions, but that beside them there were financiers who were playing for money. A clever man can make big profits on a falling market, and it suited the book of both classes to set Europe by the ears.

He told me some queer things that explained a lot that had puzzled me—things that happened in the Balkan War, how one state suddenly came out on top, why alliances were made and broken, why certain men disappeared, and where the sinews of war came from ...

Leaving aside the year, 1915 - an interesting year for such fiction to be published - what of the assertions through the mouth of Buchan's character? I'd have dismissed them as mere imaginings, if my wider reading hadn't turned up things which became more and more dire as the material went on.

In 2002, my friend was in America when the June 2003 withdrawal from Iraq was being mooted. Being of a pragmatic, military frame of mind, he didn't believe when I said there was not going to be any withdrawal, especially given the 1990 version of the same. 'Oil?' he suggested. 'Only partly. The agenda's to destabilize the region and set it by the ears.' I provided material to back this up.

When I later suggested that Abu Ghraib was no accident and that the infighting was only going to escalate and swamp the US, in the end he jumped ship and put it down to my fertile imaginings. He now says that it's not that he doesn't accept it but that it's too dire to contemplate, if it is so.

You can see from the blogosphere that everyone with a computer has his own 'take' on events and isn't really interested in anyone else's, except insofaras it supports his own conclusions. Also, there is a tendency to see events in isolation, even though they never ever are - there is always cause and effect, always an agenda behind them or at least behind their root causes.

And it filters down from above and covers us with its ordure.

Have a lovely day.

[Update update: now I've just gone to pour a little sauce into the soup. The sauce bottle slipped and the contents went into the sugar. Then the toast burned and the e-mail provider was down. I'm having a lovely day and it hasn't even started.]

[Update update update: regular readers would know that, though I might put strange interpretations on events, I never make them up. Just now I walked into the only cupboard door in the house with a corner on a line with the forehead. The bleeding's slowing but what the girls will make of the scar today I don't know. Oh, and the water supply has been cut off. Zilch. No water. This happened twenty minutes ago [now 09:34]. Later I am travelling to the centre to work and that should be more than interesting. Oh, the container of water I had has now fallen over and spilt. this is getting interesting. Who needs Final Destination?]

Monday, April 02, 2007

[apology] really so very sorry … no, really

... the next person who apologizes for absolutely anything or who denies the holocaust, that the grass is green or that the ice is melting, the next person who dares to call a spade an inclined, long-handled digging tool or who calls the eu a philanthropic society dedicated to the welfare of its citizens or who spells 'lose' as 'loose' when meaning 'not to be able to find', the next person whose ringtones are greater than 20 decibels or who writes 'everyone must have their way' instead of 'his or her way' or who seriously entertains the idea that angelina jolie or paris hilton are good role models, the next person who rabbits on about carbon trading or who quotes polly pendant or who wants to bed michelle malkin or who refuses to use capitals in his posts … oops …

[russia] foreigners banned from trading [part 2]

I've been talking to some Russians today about this issue and was surprised they weren't very forthcoming about it. When I asked if they actually agreed with the policy, there was some shuffling and then one explained:

This is about the Azherbaijanis and their mafia who keep prices up. It only applies to markets which sell 'producti' - vegetables through to cheap footwear and doesn't apply across the spectrum.

Both felt something needed to be done about it. So it wasn't really one of those sudden decisions, as I originally thought. There's been pressure for some time and the legislation was actually passed at the end of last year.

[mr eugenides] for the love of david

Mr.Eugenides recently wrote:

David Miliband is the sort of guy that we used, in our un-PC schooldays, to describe as a spastic. He was the kid on the chess team that you bullied incessantly (or at least, you did if you were a bully when you were at school; I myself was, er, on the chess team). His is an eminently punchable face; the sort of face you want to grab and hold down in the toilet for flush after gleeful flush, roaring with joy that there are such geeks in the world for you to torment.

Then Mr. E, never one to let go once he has a chunk of the leg, later wrote:

Via Picking Losers, this rather amusing letter to David "Spaz" Miliband is worth reading in full.

I went to comment on this post and the word verification came up as you see below:

Just thought you'd like to know.

[country quiz] another ten to tickle your talent

This country:

11] … had a little problem with Antigua over gambling, has had scandals over teapots, chief crop is wheat, has a problem with Russia over its border, makes no claim in Antarctica and and John Deere lived there.

12] … includes about 75% of the Eastern Alps, in 1867 it went under dual sovereignty, had a little problem in Sarajevo some time later, finally threw off the shackles in 1955, 74% Roman Catholic and doesn't like the the Temelin nuclear power plant.

13] is drained by the Plata system in the south, is named after a red dye, cooperated with the Allies in both world wars, Jo Sarney was president, thrives on political corruption and has the highest number of vertebrates and invertebrates in the world.

14] has three capitals, has a country stuck in the middle of it, the San people were the first to settle there, had the Leander Starr Jameson fiasco, its president denies the link between HIV and AIDS and has a dispute over the Orange River.

15] likes to renew its military appointments in October, strong economy collapsed in 1997, the PM promised to eliminate the drug trade in three months and ended up killing thousands and the people adore their king.

16] … began in 496AD, has the Vosges in the north-east, has a non-capitalist tradition amongst the populace, doesn't like Muslims but does love a woman named Marianne and has territorial disputes with Madagascar and Europa Island

17] lies between two rivers, was for the Axis in the early part of WW2, has 13% arable land, has an eagle in the coat of arms, had much to do with the Sassanids and musicians play the oud and rebab and has five cultural areas.

18] has a coastline ragged with fjords and channels, has various provinces and territories, took over the Sverdrup Islands in 1931, main natural resource is iron ore, named for Stadacona and is currently in Afghanistan.

19] is the scene of largely unreported genocide on a grand scale, 85% is uninhabited, the most destructive earthquake in two decades struck near the capital on May 21, 2003, the Tell area is fertile and the major trading partner is the US.

20] has a white, black and blue flag, is a lowland country with numerous lakes, forests and rivers, European Union and NATO member, Mr. Ilves is the new president, is 14% Evangelical Lutheran and does not speak an Indo-European native language.

[russia] foreigners banned from trading

A ban on foreign nationals selling goods in Russia's popular retail markets has come into force, leaving many markets struggling to remain open. The ban has been presented by Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, as a way of improving employment prospects for Russian citizens.

Critics have warned that the government order could push up prices, hurting the poorest among the population. Sergei Simakov, a district councillor from Ussuriysk, said: "We had hoped good sense would prevail ... This could disrupt the economy and bring many problems".

A spokesman for the federal migration service, Konstantin Poltoranin, promised that enforcement would be carried out in an orderly fashion.

Seems a little like the foreign wines all disappearing off the shelves last year. Russia never does things by halves. Someone up there gets a brilliant idea over a few vodkas and they just enforce it on a Monday morning.

When it becomes clear it hasn't been thought through, the long, slow process of getting around the regulations then comes into play. We'll wait and see.

[continental airlines] removed for coughing

So what about this 16-year-old girl, Rachel Collier, who was removed from a Continental Airlines plane as it was about to leave Newark, New Jersey, for Honolulu. She'd caught a cold during a spring break trip, had fallen asleep on the plane and then had woken up coughing and gasping for breath as it was about to take off.

The flight attendants gave her water and a doctor on the flight said she would be OK to make the 10-hour flight. But the captain returned the aircraft to the gate to drop off Collier and one of her teachers, Maile Kawamura. Continental said in a statement that Collier was coughing "uncontrollably" and that "the captain felt he was acting in the best interest of the passenger and other passengers on the flight."

Doesn't seem to have affected her too badly - she's planning to fly again soon with Continental. Did the captain do right? Girls that age can be so total in their reactions - it would have been well nigh impossible to deal with. Besides, he was no doctor and he was near the terminal. What do you think?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

[dodgy agents] named and shamed

Here's a good one:

Beijing will name and shame dodgy tour operators in the city's major papers in a bid to clean up the industry ahead of the 2008 Olympics, state media reported on Friday. Monthly reports from May would list "the most complained about" tour agencies and their offences, the China Daily said.

Most complaints were directed at travel agencies breaking contracts and providing poorer accommodation and transport than advertised, but also included tricking tourists into buying counterfeit goods, the paper said.

Mindful of an extra 2.5 million people expected to swamp the city during the Olympics, China has also pressed tour guides to act as defacto etiquette police, and to quell uncouth behaviour, such as spitting and littering, in their tour groups.

I'd love to tour round Lewisham, say, quelling uncouth behaviour and advising citizens neither to spit nor litter. I'd be on a mission from Tony so those of unsound thinking could be detained and incarcerated. Important job, tour guide.

[hallelujah] the blog is back

I take back what I said about Blogger on this occasion and apologize to them. It was Internet Explorer which was guilty this time. I've just converted to Firefox and away we go. There'll no doubt be glitches, as I learn it - it's all in Russian - but it looks positive.

I'd like to thank Neocon for this - he put me onto the help page and I did the rest. would you all do me a big favour please and bomb his site forthwith. It's the only way I can say thanks.