Friday, April 25, 2008

[freemasonry today] and the chinon parchment

Stumbled upon this page, Issue 43, 2007/8, of Freemasonry Today, the Freemasons' own publication.

Interesting that on the same page appears an article on the possibility of the Ancient Knights Templar being "absolved from their crimes".

What's interesting is that a modern Freemason publication should concern itself with a group whose connection with it is denied.

Of course the inclusion of the article is not conclusive, inasmuch as Jimmy Carter appeared in Playboy, Al Jazeera covers sport and Masons include pagans. On the other hand, the article, in using inverted commas, is taking a point of view sympathetic to the Ancient Templars.

This is interesting because the Modern Templars deny they are the old order, which was thought to have been disbanded although they do adhere to the original spirit of it. Further, they say that all Templars are Freemasons but not all Masons are Templars and that they are a modern philanthropic organization.

OK. So the evidence for absolution of the Ancient Templars' crimes is the Chinon Parchment. I'm not going to selectively quote from it - you can read it yourself - but what it essentially refers to is spitting on the cross and homosexual practice as a ritual of entry to the order.

Members confessing that this was indeed so were thereby absolved of guilt by the Pope. Forgive me if I'm wrong but the more I read of their own publications, the more connected they seem to be.

The next step, therefore, is to examine the ritual practices. :)

[anzac day] gallipoli - april 25th, 1915

Theo Spark made reference to this issue here:

We have a duty as a society to do more for those that have risked their lives for us to see that they have a life after their service.

Steve Green, of Daily Referendum, brought our attention to the injured vets who were heckled at that swimming pool:

One woman was so incensed that the troops were using the pool at Leatherhead Leisure Centre in Surrey that she told them they did not deserve to be there. The swimmer, thought to be in her 30s, is understood to have said: "I pay to come here and swim – you lot don't."

This theme was continued in America when Gloria Steinem who, in a country which has made it safe for her to live, decided to belittle John McCain's war service and the reaction was predictable:

McCain was, in fact, a prisoner of war for around five and a half years, during which time he was tortured repeatedly. Referring to his time in captivity, Steinem said with bewilderment, “I mean, hello? This is supposed to be a qualification to be president? I don’t think so.”

Steinem defenders say "read the text of what she actually said". I did. Her focus was not, of course, on the war record - it was just to score points off McCain for Clinton. Yet the way she tried to illustrate McCain's ineptitude for office was to single out a lowly thing in her eyes - a war record. Even Hilary distanced herself from Steinem on this.

Therein lies the malaise - the majority of non-combatants at least appreciate, with a nod, that which the men and women defenders have done but at worst there are the examples we've just seen and it is no longer an isolated phenomenon.

The service people, I believe,
don't demand the sort of hero status you see in this Canadian reception above and yet surely they should be accorded that status in society? Surely they should be given the keys of the city and actively assisted by everyone from the government down?

And yet, because of the deep divisions over the subject of war itself [and count me as anti-war] there is a tendency to make this little logical jump to brand the people who actually go off to fight as part of the issue. The issue is who ordered them there - not them themselves.

In Australia, this was brought into sharp focus in Alan Seymour's 1958 play "The One Day of the Year":

In Australia, his best-known play is The One Day of the Year, which dramatised the growing social divide in Australia and the questioning of old values. In the play, ANZAC Day is critiqued by the central character, Hughie, as a day of drunken debauchery by returned soldiers and as a day when questions of what it means to be loyal to a Nation or Empire must be raised.

These days, the Australian young seem to be far more at one with the efforts of the service personnel and many make the pilgrimage to Gallipoli, where the tradition started. Though the ecological aspects of these pilgrimages are being questioned, the way the young have followed this remembrance is surely positive.

Nothing quite brings Australia together as a nation like this day, crossing all age, gender, religious and political divisions. How many commemoration services actually have the former enemy marching alongside you? As the British Daily Telegraph puts it:

In 2008, Anzac Day in Turkey has no parallel anywhere in the world. It defies all the traditional ingrained hatreds between the invader and the defender, the victor and the defeated. Anzac Day is a symbol of peace, forgiveness and understanding.

So here's a summary of the story itself:

On 4th August, 1914, England declared war on Germany and Winston Churchill wanted a strong demonstration of the Navy in the Dardanelles, with Constantinople as a final objective.
About 2 in the morning of 25th April, British Admiral Hamilton ordered the 1500 Australians of the covering force to the shore.
What was strange was that the maps issued to the officers bore no resemblance at all to the surroundings.
Instead of a flat beach and gently undulating terrain beyond, they were facing shrub-covered rocky formations and cliffs that nearly ran into the sea.
Before long, it became clear what had happened : the force had not been put ashore as intended, but in a small bay 2 km further north.
No matter where they had exactly landed, the Australian troops of the covering force did not hesitate to carry out their orders.
They immediately threw off their packs and stormed the heights closest to the beach.
Because the boats had landed in complete disorder, the beach itself was soon congested with new troops being landed without knowing in which direction to advance. After a couple of hours, chaos was complete.

They sent a message to Hamilton, who only said, “You have got through the difficult business, now you have only to dig, dig, dig, until you are safe."

According to some sources, this text gave the nickname "diggers", which the Australians would keep for the rest of their history.
Turkish sniping and bombs kept raining down on the Anzacs, who could only hope to throw the bombs back before they exploded.
The sea was literally red with blood.

For days after the landing, dead bodies would be washed ashore. One third of the troops died for 500 metres result.
As spring came to an end, a plague of flies fed on the unburied corpses, then dysentery and the water supply became a major problem.
The hostility towards their enemies gradually dropped and the Turks were considered as victims of the same deplorable situation. More than once 'presents' were thrown across no-man's land or messages exchanged.
Then the wind started blowing from the north, which led to sleet and snow. The temperature dropped far below zero and the troops had no winter equipment, which had arrived on the peninsula but had then been shipped back for some reason.
Soldiers froze to death while on guard duty, and the transport of supplies broke up completely. Fighting had become completely impossible. Turkish soldiers refused to advance against the enemy.
During the second week of December, the first phase of the evacuation was started.
Every night, numbers of small vessels came to Anzac Cove to pick up the sick and wounded first, then the prisoners of war and finally the soldiers.
The Gallipoli campaign had been a fiasco and it was one of many reasons the army became known as "lions led by donkeys".

The question of glorifying war, brought out in "The One Day of the Year", is valid. Yet no one who had been there would glorify war in any way and this helps explain the reticence of many real Anzacs, the oldest vets, to keep hashing over the details of the horror.

Redgum's song Only 19, puts it succinctly in the context of Vietnam. The images in this clip are quite moving:

One commenter on this YouTube said:

I can't bear this song without shedding tears. My brother, only 27 went over to Timor last year for war. He was meant to return in October 07. He didn't return untill April 08. He has done his share. 03 he crashed in a blackhawk. He only received minor injuries while he watched his mates die. Anyone in the army, force or even a reserve, good on you. You deserve every praise. We Love you.

Nice little non-debate going on with an Anonymous over at Theo's. Let's all remember such men and women on this day.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

[thought for the day] thursday evening

He trusted neither of these people as far as he could spit, and he was a poor spitter, lacking both distance and control.

[P.G. Wodehouse]

[life] love it or loathe it, you can't like it

Have to laugh. P.G. Wodehouse wrote, in The Inimitable Jeeves:
I've found, as a general rule in life, that the things that you think are going to be the scaliest nearly always turn out to be not so bad after all; but it wasn't that way with Bingo's tea party. From the moment he invited himself I felt the thing was going to be blue round the edges and it was. And I think the most gruesome part of the whole affair was the fact that, for the first time since I'd known him, I saw Jeeves come very near to being rattled.

That's a pretty good description of a day today which began with an emergency call to come straight to the passport office and which then got steadily worse as it progressed. I've been all over town today trying to sort things out and stay sane. What ho - so unless something drastically alters, I think you're now seeing the last month of this blog.

Every cloud, though ... and today the young ladies decided to be magnificent. Worse things happen at sea, ha ha, I'm off to bed and I'll leave you with a Wooster number to cheer you up:

[meetings] more than one a day over here means fiasco

In this country, arrangements are fluid. You can make a time, arrange a place and the other will turn up at another time in another place or just won't turn up at all.

Throw into the mix a friend who has to attend to an ailing parent and a client who needs to find a time with you today and you're in a free floating mess involving multiple taxis and uncertainty.

When you don't have a mobile phone to sort it all out, so that it all has to prearranged before you leave home and tack onto that two commitments later in the afternoon which you can't escape plus one uncertain and guilt-ridden tryst - well, that's possibly your own normal lifestyle over there but it ain't mine.

Nice rule of thumb over here that each meeting you add to the mix exponentially increases the chances of it all falling apart.

Update: phone call from the office two minutes ago that on top of that they'd like me to present myself in there at a time which cuts across two of those meetings.

Fun day ahead.

[facebook] and the military

You've probably seen this:

Israel has sentenced a soldier to 19 days in jail for uploading a photograph taken on his military base to the social networking website, Facebook. The Israeli military declined to comment on the nature of the image, but said the soldier was serving with an elite intelligence unit.

A glance at the top right corner of this blog shows the Libertarian Party badge and I think it's ridiculous to try to impose a military modus operandi on a civilian population though it is the wont of the pollies, imagining themselves to be great military leaders, to do so - so much easier for them.

In the Anglo-West there has always been a separation of the two arms of society except in times of war and it's healthy they stay separated. So in that context the jail sentence is wrong. But that soldier was not on civvy street - he was a soldier on R&R and so the jail sentence was right.

The military operates under a code which is absolutely necessary for survival, especially in the life or death situation in Israel. Libertarians might not like that but it's necessary nonetheless.

There is a concept of collective responsibility in the military which guides its operations. The time to voice concerns is at the planning stage and a good leadership will allow ideas pertaining to the operation at hand to filter up from the ranks but the game plan is, by definition and by training, in the hands of the leadership group.

Once the course is decided though, dissidence must stop or else it will harm operational efficiency and that will lead inevitably to deaths. The enemy, in desiring to survive, is going to be pretty intense in exploring every chink in the armour and Facebook most certainly is a chink in the armour.

This soldier in the news report comes across as particularly wilful and it seems to me that 19 days is quite lenient - after all, he was giving succour to the enemy and with foreknowledge that he was doing so. Every military command knows that to allow this sloppiness in the ranks is going to harm morale in the long run and put the lives of thousands unnecessarily at risk.

Anyone who's ever been in uniform knows that there are no beg pardons in there and that the harder the unit, the more trained and experienced, the greater the chances of staying alive.

Now Facebook. Was there ever an organization less suitable for a soldier to be social networking on? You might like to glance at these posts here, here, here and here on the issue of that insidious organization and at this post on what's currently happening to Facebook.

So yes, the Israeli military seem quite justified in doing as they've done and his mates would not be too enamoured of him either.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

[thought for the day] april 23rd

It's only logical that the thought to round out the day would be that of Alice Duer Miller. Wiki explains:

In 1940, she wrote the verse novel The White Cliffs. The story is of an American girl who coming to London as a tourist, meets and marries a young upper-class Englishman in the period just before the First World War.

The War begins and he goes to the front. He is killed just before the end of the War, leaving her with a young son. Her son is the heir to the family estate. Despite the pull of her own country and the impoverished condition of the estate, she decides to stay and live the traditional life of a member of the English upper class.

The story concludes as The Second World War commences and she worries that her son, like his father, will be killed fighting for the country he loves.

The poem was spectacularly successful on both sides of the Atlantic, selling eventually approaching a million copies - an unheard of number for a book of verse. The poem ends with the lines:
... I am American bred
I have seen much to hate here - much to forgive,
But in a world in which England is finished and dead,
I do not wish to live.

[april 23 quiz] five to test you out

1. Which of David Ricardo, Ernest Rutherford, Charles Darwin, were not born in England?

2. What is the lowest land point in England?

3. The population of England in 2005 was estimated as: 52,387,500; 50,762,900; 59,214,200?

4. The largest natural harbour in England is at Portsmouth, Liverpool, Poole?

5. The third largest conurbation in England is currently: West Midlands Urban Area, West Yorkshire Urban Area or Greater Manchester Urban Area

The answers are below in white [need highlighting]

Ernest Rutherford, The Fens, 50,762,900, Poole, Greater Manchester

[england's day] st george - april 23rd

"In the early years of the last century socialists in England used to sing a hymn about their liberation from exploitation and under-representation: its title and opening line serves as the perfect envoi today. "England, arise! The long, long night is over!"

Labour might never govern in England again, which would serve it right, given the contempt it has shown for the English. It might well precipitate the end of the Union itself.

That was a process started in 1997 by Labour; and it has a logical conclusion of separation which would, once an English parliament were created, be clearly in sight.

The Conservative Party has its head in the sand on this issue, as on so much else: which is odd, given the sheer misery such a process would cause for Labour.

The Tories' prevalent and infantile cast of mind associates English nationalism with racism and other forms of evil.

Since the creation of an English nation would create an English citizenship equal to all who legally reside in that country, whatever their origins, such fears are groundless.

At the moment, the word "English" when applied to people is a badge of ethnicity; after independence it would become a badge of nationhood."

Some history

George was probably first made well known in England by Arculpus and Adamnan in the early eighth century.

The Acts of St George, which recounted his visits to Caerleon and
Glastonbury while on service in England, were translated into Anglo-Saxon.

Among churches dedicated to St George was one at Doncaster in 1061.

George was adopted as the patron saint of soldiers after he was said to have appeared to the Crusader army at the Battle of Antioch in 1098.

Many similar stories were transmitted to the West by Crusaders who had heard them from Byzantine troops, and were circulated further by the troubadours.

When Richard 1 was campaigning in Palestine in 1191-92 he put the army under the protection of St George.

The European Union is the new enemy

England has fought off aggressors for centuries - the Bonny Bunch of Roses was always a plum target, to Napoleon and Hitler and now to the EU Monster which appears certain to succeed. Let there be no doubts in anyone's mind that they are the new enemy.

As Robert Winnett, at the Telegraph says:

England has been wiped off a map of Europe drawn up by Brussels bureaucrats as part of a scheme that the Tories claim threatens to undermine the country's national identity.

Check the map for yourself:

This will not stand.

You can do your bit here to defy the EU from consuming England.

Today is the day the EU is defied and eventually the monster will be mortally skewered, as he always has been in the past.

England will once more rise to nationhood, the ancient counties resuming their rightful subordinate places in the whole.

England rattles no sabres and offers no hostility to other home nations as long as they take care of their affairs and leave England to take care of its own.

St Andrew's, St Patrick's, St David's and St Piran's days are also important in the calendar and are respected, just as ours is. [I personally am a friend of Cornish independence.]

Thank you again, Ginro

This below is, of course, Beowulf rather than St George

Nu sceall billes ecg,
hond ond heard sweord ymb hord wigan.'
Beowulf maðelode, beotwordum spræc
niehstan siðe: `Ic geneðde fela
guða on geogoðe; gyt ic wylle,
frod folces weard fæhðe secan,
mærðu fremman, gif mec se mansceaða
of eorðsele ut geseceð.'

A sweeter note

To leave you with, the Nature of being English, according to Tiberius Gracchus:

The story really isn't the point here though - its the individuality, its the eccentricity (in England's that's a virtue) - there is a line in the Lord of the Rings when Gandalf tells Frodo that what's worth fighting for is all the absurd Bolgers and Boffins and Bagginses- that's the same sense you get from Wallace and Gromit.

These two characters are crackers, they are mad, their lives revolve around inventions, cheese (particularly Wensleydale) and tea- but in some sense they are the essense of the whole of Western civilisation. Civilisation isn't just Michelangelo and Machiavelli, its Wallace and his efforts to get to the moon, its loving Wensleydale and its a dog knitting in a chair and rats with shades over their eyes, its merry eccentricity which is a value all to itself.

The absurdity of life is in many ways its essence - when we talk about freedom often we lose sight of the fact that freedom isn't just a political issue - its a personal issue as well.

To all English at home and abroad - greetings to you and may it be a happy day to remember. To our other friends - back soon.

[housekeeping] national holiday

To non-English readers:

As it's a national holiday today, blogging will resume only in the evening. Have a good day too in your various respective ways, people.