Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image

Quote of the Day – Venezuela Edition

Nothing changes, from the dawn of time it has always been starvation, death and deprivation. Except in the few places and times where an outbreak of Enlightenment ideas and free-market principles has broken out and managed to survive, for a time, the sure oppression that inevitably follows, usually egged on by a baying mob.

Llamas: Comment at Samizdata

See also:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as "bad luck.

Robert Anson Heinlein

Cartoon of the Week.

Adams cartoon, May 23

Have I posted on this before?

20 years ago (doesn’t time fly?) I once carried an almost terminally drunk Japanese man up a couple of flights of stairs in Stepney. Have I told that one? If not it is a corker!

Or am I just in my anecdotage?

It’s all over folks!

Recently we had a gardening day here. Lots of weeding and such. I didn’t participate because it was very high pollen and everyone would have thought my entire family had flown EgyptAir.

Anyway, someone found the severed leg of a miniature goat. It is good it was found because it might have put the mindfulness group off the their meditations and onto their meds. The finder at first thought (due to it’s colour – black with bits of white) it might have been the cat until it was pointed out to him that cats don’t have hooves – he accepted his mistake in good grace.

Imagine a cat with cloven hooves! That is exactly what I want for my mission of evil. So, Mr Bond… and all that jazz. I guess I could get a Mao suit in Manchester. I certainly know parts of the city where I could get a scar…

I evinced the feory it was a fox what done it and there is a farm next to us…

…but you can’t help but wonder Kanye? (West – for those not hip enough to be a femur)

There is something in the woods out there. Something evil. A few years back I found a small soft toy crucified with barbed wire on a fence and then, a bit later, an abandoned toilet seat. I burnt the later though it might have come from The Lost Aracrapper of Doom (who indeed knows?). The omens are building. It is truly The End of Days!

Good heavens!” I cried. “Who would associate crime with these dear old homesteads?” “They always fill me with a certain horror. It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London* do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.”

- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The second coming is upon us and it is happening in semi-rural, semi-suburban North-East Cheshire. The Daily Mail will tell in due course what effect this has on house prices but recall you heard this here first. I’m just waiting for the beast with seven heads and ten horns or possibly just Wayne Rooney.

*now gentrified and it’ll cost you a hundred grand for a dog house.

The Curious Incident…

A few weeks ago I was awakened by an ungodly mewling at an ungodly hour. So I stick my dressing gown on and fetch the torch for I knew it is Timmy (the cat) and he very clearly was very far from gruntled. So I search the house. No sign. So, I put my trainers on and head outside. We have a large garden and I’m hunting for a black cat in the dark with not much more than an old dressing gown (under my clothing I was wearing little or nothing, ladies), a pretty poor torch and a pair of trainers that cost 8 quid in Decathlon in Stockport. I thought fuck it! Did Ernest Shackleton quit on South Georgia? No he fucking didn’t! I was also still somewhat Brahms from last night’s debauch but kitty needed to be rescued and I was the only game in town for that and cats can make an appalling amount of noise for little creatures. And fuck it, Timmy has been my mate for years.

Two thoughts occurred to me. The first was, “If the rozzers are abroad and I am collared at 3 am wearing nowt but a dressing gown, Primark underwear and cheap trainers and carrying a torch wandering like an unquiet spirit of the damned in a domestic area I’m gonna end up in Strangeways. “Right sir, you were looking for a black cat at night – Get in the back of the van!. Second after that was lines from Eliot’s “Journey of the Magi”…

A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

That is life. Sometimes you have to go out in a dressing gown through the glom of nit whilst still half-pissed and wearing cheap trainers to look for a black cat in the dark.

I eventually found Timmy. He was in the connected Meeting House. I searched it as a place of last resort because I – to this day – have no idea how the fuck he got in (or why? To read the Bibles?*).

He curled up on my lap and I gave him a pouch of salmon and trout. I played with him for a bit. He might be a daft bugger but he is a comrade. And that is what matters.

Then I went back to bed.

*Quite a few years back me and a confederate fitted a projection screen in the Meeting House. This meant moi going into the attic for the bolts and such (he was a lot older so I did that). It is a very old building so I thought I might find something on this excursion – I mean in the Indy Jones fashion. I did. I found a magazine rack and an NHS commode chair (stained). But we must remain curious because you never know do you?

The New Hampshire Primary – have most Americans stopped being serious people?

It may seem odd to write about something that happened months ago (the New Hampshire Primary of 2016), but it has been running in my mind – or in my sorry 18th century excuse for a mind, full of concepts such as Free Will and universal moral right and wrong, so absurd to the followers of Hobbes and co.

We know New Hampshire, the “Live Free or Die” State – or we think we do.

From Colonel John Stark and his Rangers (“Liver Free or Die”) of the Revolutionary War period (see the New Hampshire Constitution of 1784), to the New Hampshire fifth regiment fighting against slavery in the Civil War (and for those who deny that war was about slavery – how many non Slave States tried to secede?), to plays and films set in New England, such as “Our Town”, “Its A Wonderful Life” and (openly New Hampshire) “White Christmas”.

People who do not talk much about religion or show emotion about it – yet believe. And live their belief (the Calvin Coolidge type – the opposite of the Billy Sunday type). And people who never boast – but are somehow always there when they are most needed, when things are at their darkest.

A broader American type – not just confined to New England.

Think of the actors of a certain sort – the “bad actors” because they were playing themselves. Men such as James Stewart, William Holden, Gary Cooper, Audie Murphy and on and on. People who doubt the existence of Paladins could do worse than study the life of Audie Murphy. And note there is never a boast in a film – the message is NOT “I am wonderful” it is “this is what a person, an ordinary person, should do when facing the forces of evil”.

The struggle against the forces of evil, to protect the weak even if it means one’s own death – not the power seeking struggles of a “Hegemon” and all the morality-free-zone language of the vile.

Men who seem utterly ordinary (even boring) and yet when the Horrors of Hell are driving you into blind terror – they are suddenly there. willing to take your place. To stand between the Horrors of Hell and you.

They pay for that of course – they scream in the night, but they will never scream if someone is in earshot (for they will not upset you). They will wear the face of normality (in front of the innocent and helpless) – in spite of all they have experienced.

The Texans Marcus Luttrell (“Sole Survivor”) and Chris Kyle (“American Sniper”) are modern examples.

As a D Day Veteran once explained of such people – objecting to being called a “hero” he said……

“I am not a hero – but there were heros. When we came to a house the man who was with me could see I was afraid – and he said quietly “it is O.K. – I will go” he is still there, he died so I could live and I have tried to live my life doing what little I could to make his sacrifice worthwhile”.

Even that wild hard drinking Irish American Marion Morrison (“John Wayne”) understood – under his swagger (after all even the distinctive walk was really from American Football injuries in the 1920s). Under the swagger his characters always understood moral right and moral wrong – and the characters knew that a price had to be paid to defend freedom against the powers of evil. Hence the fate of the characters in such films as “The Sands of Iwo Jima” and “The Alamo”.

“But Wayne did not go” – I have already mentioned people who did go, and he was showing a real type (as he once said to such a man “you are the person I was pretending to be in all those films”) .

The Republic – to defend the rightful property of the weak as well as the strong. And the freedom to be “drunk or sober” as drunk as John Wayne or as sober as James Stewart “just as you choose”.

The lazy left who scream “racism” know nothing of such men, for example who John Wayne’s wife was.

Private property – not being filled with envy for those who are better off. but not tugging one’s forelock to them either (not measuring a person by how much stuff they have – but by whether they will do what it is right when the time comes). Hard work and (even among people who had an outward show of bluster) a deep core of moral seriousness.

Moral seriousness – the quiet decision to do what is right, even if it means one’s own death. The point where even the “drunken Irishman” is suddenly stone-cold-sober. And ready to stand in defence of others – against all the Legions of Hell.

“But what has all this to do with the New Hampshire Primary”.

Look at the results…..

On the Democrat side a socialist won.

Remember when I was mocked for pointing out (quite truthfully) that Mr Obama has a socialist (indeed a Marxist) background.

Mr Obama did not go round saying this (and the mainstream media did not report it) so Paul Marks must be having a silly fantasy about Mr Obama having a Red background.

Hard to say that about “Bernie” Sanders – a man who goes around quite openly saying he is a socialist. And whose “Democratic Socialism” is best defined by where he choose to go on Honeymoon – the Soviet Union.

Even the most stupid or lazy voter should know what they are voting for when they vote for “Bernie” – they are voting for the sort of policies that have reduced Brazil and Venezuela to their current condition. We know that because Mr Sanders openly supported these polices, he was full of praise for these democratically elected governments with their unlimited promises of Free Stuff for the voters.

“Yes, but Paul, the Democrats are the Bad Guys – they have rejected the traditional American principles of Limited Government and Individual (Personal) Moral Responsibility since at least the time of Woodrow Wilson if not from the time of 1896 Convention when President Grover Cleveland was rejected by them”.

“The Republicans may often be weak and horribly misguided, such as with Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon and the Bush family – but deep down in their hearts they are still Republicans, they still have some vestige of belief in voluntary (rather than government) aid, in the Rule of Law, the quiet man doing what is right – as with Cato the Younger and Cicero”.

Hard to apply any of that to DONALD TRUMP.

And he also won in New Hampshire – although he got vastly less votes than Senator Sanders got on the Democrat side.

Donald Trump – a man of endless boasts. Mostly about how rich he is – without mentioning that his wealth is inherited from his family of pimps and conmen. And that he has added to his inherited wealth by trickery and deceit.

Mr Trump has never asked God for forgiveness for any sin – not because he does not believe in God. but because he does not believe he has ever done anything wrong. We now that because Mr Trump has openly stated that he has never asked for forgiveness.

A shameless boaster, and a liar who calls other men liars. Whose policies amount to stirring up racial hatred (whist carefully leaving the violence to his followers – never getting his own hands dirty, conduct in accord with his draft dodging in the 1960s) and promising Free Stuff (health care for all – and so on) with 1930s Trade War on top.

I recently listened to Mr Trump deliver a speech to the National Rifle Association.

After a long period of boasting and self praise, Mr Trump got on to policy.

He made various pro 2nd Amendment statement that contradict his past pro “Gun Control” positions (but then he contradicts himself constantly – sometimes within seconds), but he also added something else.

Protectionism again – American companies who try and escape the endless taxes and regulations that make production in America so expensive now, are to have a special tax imposed upon their imports from Mexico (or where ever).

1930s style Trade War (rather than trying to roll back the American government – its spending, taxes and regulations) – and taxes imposed by Presidential Edict (with the consent of Congress). Fascism.

The voters in New Hampshire (and elsewhere) knew exactly what Mr Trump was like – he has been a Reality Television person for many years (just as he has financed Big Government politicians and OPPOSED people working for smaller government, for many years).

So there it is.

A population (not just Democrats – but Republicans also) backing all that is vile.

Endless boasting hiding vile personal conduct. The “National Enquirer” made flesh – and supported by much of the American “right” (the “Drudge Report”, much of “Fox News” and so on).

Wild promises of Free Stuff for all.

Gaudy display – rather than moral substance.

And, in the case of Mr Trump, blaming all problems on people of other races for committing the terrible crime of selling goods to customers.

This is the Republic? The heir to Cato the Younger and Cicero? And remember a Constitutional Monarchy (the aim of Edmund Burke and so on) is also a “Republic” in this sense. The sense of the Rule of Law and respect for private property rights (of both great and small) – limited government.

This is the Shining City on a Hill?

This is the vision that people all over the world (such as Raphael Cruz in his torture cell in Cuba – or even little me in some rather unpleasant places in past years) prized so passionately?

This is it?

Drunken fools voting for “Bernie” Sanders and Donald Trump in New Hampshire – and so many other places?

With Hillary Clinton (Big Government, corrupt, Hillary Clinton) standing as the only real alternative?

This may not just be the end of the Republic – it may be the end of the West as a whole.

For if America falls the West can not stand – make no mistake about that.

It ends not in a tragic last stand – such as the Alamo.

It ends in squalid farce.

Still…….

Evil can win – and then lose.

A film is coming out soon – “The Free State of Jones”.

About Newton Knight (in modern language a religious “Fundamentalist”) who fought against slavery in Mississippi during the Civil War and against the KKK after it.

On the face of it Colonel Newton Knight and Republican Governor Ames (General Ames from Maine, Congressional Medal of Honour holder – who lived on in New England till 1933) LOST.

A reign of terror won in Mississippi – the White Hoods and the Burning Crosses under men pretending to be Christians but who really served “The Dragon”. And who committed crimes too vile to discuss fully on a public site.

As late as the 1940s the descendants of Colonel Newton Knight were still being persecuted in Mississippi – for the “crime” of inter racial marriage. Especially ironic as Jones County Mississippi was founded by someone who was descended from the Indian Princess Pocahontas – the county seat Ellis is named after the descendant of a mixed marriage.

And yet……

Slavery did NOT return – people were free to leave Mississippi.

And, eventually even the dream of Colonel Knight and Governor Ames won out – although they died believing they had lost.

Good is not for nothing – even if you seem to lose, even if you DO lose.

A good deed is never “for nothing” – even if it is a brief shining moment in the darkness.

And that is not a religious statement – as even if there is nothing after death the brief moment of honour (even if no will ever know of it) still matters.

It matters more than anything else.

We may be in a sewer and will die in it – but we can still see the stars. And we will die looking at them (and at the Shining City on a Hill in our own minds) even as we choke on our blood, covered in our own urine and excrement.

As for the future – there is still hope (at least for the young).

Keep your eye on the Lone Star in the years to come.

Venezuela.

Nick Cohen has this to say in The Guardian of all places.

I have nothing more to add really except Oliver Stone doesn’t live in a country that is out of toilet paper.

Corruption.

bIts most recent Corruption Perceptions Index, for 2015, found the 10 most corrupt countries were:

1. North Korea and Somalia (tied)
2. Afghanistan
3. Sudan
4. Angola and South Sudan (tied)
5. Iraq and Libya (tied)
6. Haiti, Guinea-Bissau and Venezuela (tied)
7. Eritrea, Syria, Turkmenistan and Yemen (tied)
8. Uzbekistan
9. Burundi, Cambodia and Zimbabwe (tied)
10. Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar (tied)

I am astonished Nigeria didn’t make the top ten. I love the “tied” thing it really makes it like RMS Titanic’s cruise to the bottom. Now note the term “perceptions”. A huge point of business is trusting the other party. If they are on eBay and had have 99.7% plus ratio from like 5000 sales then fair play. So perception of playing a straight arrow is important. It is good business sense. The best way to do this is to actually play the straight arrow. You might have noticed all countries in the top ten are ineffable shit-holes.

ANYWAY I AM CONTACTING YOU AS AN HONOURABLE PERSON OF GOOD REPUTATION AND I WISH TO DEPOSIT A MILLION DOLLARS. PLEASE SEND YOUR FULL BANK ACCOUNT DETAILS…

The lament of the home-sick Jihadi.

A British jihadist has told how he misses Greggs as well as his friends and family after fleeing for war-torn Syria.

The Islamic State fighter, who gives his name as Abu Abdullah Britani and speaks with a London accent, made the comments in a video interview posted on YouTube by an online news organisation.

My heart bleeds… Last time I had something from Greggs I felt an act of terrorism was occurring in my oesophagus. That’s why I now go to Subway or Pret where they sell food rather than the contents of kitty-pouches bowked into a pasty.

He goes on…

Britani also uses the interview, conducted in a trench in Syria, to say he felt compelled to travel to the country to avenge the “rape of sisters and the killing of children” – although he admits it is bloodthirsty.

So ISIS doesn’t rape, pillage and kill everything that walks or crawls? He’s either an idiot or deluded or believes it’s OK to do that for Allah (these are not mutually exclusive). I tend to go with idiot mainly. Going off to jihad seems increasingly to me like a sort of rebellion like punks in the ’70s with the major caveat that dying your hair pink and getting a nasal septum ring is not the same thing in terms of externalities. I am fairly sure Johnnie Rotten never raided a Yazidi school, massacred the teachers and then raped the girls. Both tracks are “acts of rebellion”. One annoys your Gran and the other is plain evil.

But there is something else going on with this guy which is deeply conservative (note the small “c”). When I go abroad I want to eat different food and experience a different culture. But I have seen enough Brits abroad who consider places like Costa Brava or Malta as Blackpool with better weather. Drinking bitter in the “Red Lion” and tucking into fish and chips whilst reading The Mail. They are arseholes in my book but mostly harmless like the punks.

This fellow isn’t and if he ever returns to the UK he ought to dragged on a sled down Newcastle’s Grey Street on a Saturday night and have all the lads and lasses pelt him to death with Gregg’s Steak Bakes.

That’ll learn him. And it is all they are good for anyway.

Black Studies…

Birmingham City University has opened the first Black Studies department in the UK. If you read the whole thing and manage not to bowk on your keyboard then you will realize that that it is intrinsically racist. It is (dare I use the term?) Apartheid. It is the opposite of any form of racial integration. I bet if you just walk around the centre of Birmingham (I am basing this on Manchester but they are of similar size etc.) you will notice a lot of mixed race folks. Especially kiddies. So what is the point here? If that isn’t racial integration then what is? A cynic like me might think that keeping the pot boiling keeps the monthly pay coming in for the sort of people who staff a “black studies” department. I wonder what would happen if I applied?

All six academics are black but one of their major arguments is the number of white profs in established subjects. You can’t have it both ways.

In any case it reminds me of my time at Nottingham University. They did “American Studies” which was a bit like a languages degree without having to learn any languages other than to know the American for “colour” is “color”. The course was generally considered risible. They had a course which essentially consisted of watching “The Godfather”. They even had Americans doing it.

RFP

I want to do a quick and dirty (worked for Bill) website. Basically maybe three pages but I also want it to be interactive in the sense of a (secured*) calendar. I don’t want to spend time and money on this. Any ideas? I’m thinking there must be a free app out there or something. Obviously it will go with an email address.

*So jokers can’t put-up “Wed 9th, NE Cheshire Shetland Pony Fetishists Festival”. And trust me that sort of thing would happen without passwords.

BoJo’s Erdogan limerick in full

BoJo and the goat fucker

 There was a young fellow from Ankara,

Who was a terrific wankerer.

“Till he sowed his wild oats,

With the help of a goat,

But he didn’t even stop to thankera.

Not the greatest of poetic verse, but coming from someone who may one day be PM of an infamous Turkish great-grandfather (Ali Kemal), carries a little more weight than better written doggerel on this specific subject.

I actually prefer Douglas Murray’s efforts on the subject.

Recep Erdogan is the Turk’ll

Never tire of rim-jobs from his circle

Yet his chief-est delight

(Now Khilafa’s in sight)

Are the felchings he gets from Frau Merkel

As for myself, I was never a one for the burlesque, but if the guys from the Turkish embassy are “kicking butt and taking names” then my only contribution is that Mr. Erdogan can go fuck himself with a cactus and if he doesn’t have one to hand I am happy to supply it.

Shoddy Absurdia considers issuing I.O.U.’s

I'm sure we're never going to see 100 dollar oil barrel again

Saudi Arabia is considering using IOUs to pay outstanding bills with contractors and conserve cash, according to people briefed on the discussions.

As payment from the state, contractors would receive bond-like instruments which they could hold until maturity or sell on to banks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Companies have received some payments in cash and the rest could come in the “I-owe-you” notes, the people said, adding that no decisions have been made on the measures.

Saudi Arabia has slowed payments to contractors and suppliers, tapped foreign reserves and borrowed from local and international banks in response to the decline in crude oil, which accounts for the bulk of its revenue. The country will probably post a budget deficit of about 13.5 percent of economic output this year, according to International Monetary Fund estimates, pushing the government to borrow an estimated 120 billion riyals ($32 billion).

Bloomberg - Saudi Arabia Considers Paying Contractors With IOUs

In the overall scheme of things this probably doesn’t amount to much, but it just goes to show how even a little disturbance in the oil price can cause economic turmoil when all you have is oil.

I don’t expect Venezuelan-type queuing for bog roll in Riyadh any time soon, but it just goes to show that when we eventually transition to a post-oil global economy these bastards will be back to buggering goats in their desert tents, which is exactly where they belong.

If only there was some way of making it happen sooner…

Biodynamic eggs…

First off I have an A in A-level biology and an MSc in astrophysics. I have have no qualifications in being a gullible twat.

Secondly, I am a very good cook.

When I buy eggs I always go for proper free range (note the term can cover a multiple of things) and I do this on the basis of genuine animal welfare and not the position of the planets.

BTW I did sixth-form work experience in a lab at Newcastle University and it was into GM-ing cassava toremove the toxins because whilst cassava is a staple for much of Africa (and elsewhere – it grows anywhere) it contains toxins that have to be removed by a lengthy process. Now if genetically modified cassava can be free of the toxins then the work of the rural housewife is dramatically decreased. Which means…

… Let’s see shall we?

And quite frankly I’d rather see poor Tanzanians benefit in a tangible fashion rather than Hipsters from Hoxton. The first group are feeding their families, the second their egos.

So what is a “biodynamic egg”? It is an egg laid according to astrology. Here day fights with night. And they charge more for them – 10p more for six than “organic” eggs.

I weep tears of blood. Norman Borlaug must be spinning in his grave.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a place for vaguely spiritual ideas (and the established religions) but what really gets my goat is the “vaguely spiritual” and their attempt to cross the divide. Science ought to be about this world and religion about the next. Science (including pseudo-science) has no place in morality and religion none in science.

Nominative Determinism.

The first Zumwalt Class DDG – a weird looking thing…

…is due to be officially commissioned by the USN very shortly.

The odd thing is the Captain (I am not making this up) is called James Kirk. There are no added points for guessing the name of the science officer or the guy in the engine room.

%d bloggers like this: