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censorship

Enforcing the unenforceable

Enforcing the unenforceable - the 10 commandments

You would think that politicians large and small would have enough incentive not to make utter fools of themselves before national audiences on TV or the front pages of national and even local rags, but evidence suggests not – hyperbole before idiocy it seems.

I’ve never been involved in the legislative process, only in the attempted implementation and enforcement of pollution legislation for Her Majesty’s inspectorate of Pollution (HMIP) as an IT consultant back in the early 90′s, but one of the most important aspects of any proposal must surely be not to propose legislation which is unenforceable. Surely?

The passage of unenforceable laws (such as the various alcohol/drug/gambling prohibitions in the US) or laws which can be easily circumvented/ignored (censorship/licensing of pornography for example) end up bringing the law as a whole into disrepute.

When police officers are catching bank robbers and muggers they have the support of the law-abiding majority, but when they end up as petty enforcers of public morality or expression then such widespread public support is lost.

Take David Cameron and his idiotic “ISIS use encryption, therefore lets ban all encryption” viewpoint. Even the most cursory understanding of how the internet works would make you realise that such a proposal if implemented would mean the end of internet eCommerce in the UK, to highlight just a single instance.

The only purpose of such unworkable schemes seems to be to lay the groundwork for ever more draconian (and expensive) monitoring regimes which either never work or are so intrusive that people go elsewhere.

One insider at a major US technology firm told the Guardian that “politicians are fond of asking why it is that tech companies don’t base themselves in the UK”.

“I think if you’re saying that encryption is the problem, at a time when consumers and businesses see encryption as a very necessary part of trust online, that’s a very indicative point of view.”

Maybe I am being naïve, but the only beneficiaries of this sort of thing are civil service bureaucrats and the massive IT and outsourcing companies which win the contracts to implement all this crap.

 

“Draw Mohammed”: Summary

In this fight to retain our freedom, which is the root of the Garland flap, Shari’ah Law and Islamicisation of the West are the adversary. But the principles for which we fight are just as much if not more at risk in the project to Fundamentally Transform the Whole World into some Marxist-Leninist-Progressivist nightmare, and the means by which we fight Islamicisation are to be applied also in this other, all-encompassing fight.

As for the present instance: If we held such events as “Draw Mohammed” every month (but responsibly, as the Garland event was held); if we met every attempt at intimidation by being unimpressed, for instance if our own papers had published the Danish cartoons; such actions would show our enemies that we mean what we say, we will stick by it, we will stand by our principles and defend them in word and deed. If the enemy then wants to impose his will on us by force, by terrorism and war, he will have at least some evidence that we will not run from the fight, fearfully and virtuously clucking our disapproval of it.

With luck he might conjecture that while we would prefer not to meet force with force, we certainly will do so if it is necessary in order for us to live our lives as free men and women and not as serfs or slaves who are at the disposal of other human beings and who are allowed to exist only at their pleasure; and that if we are forced to war in self-defense, we have more than enough strength of will to prevail.

In the ’30′s, Britain and France telegraphed their reluctance to face the facts and to defend themselves against force with force. The guy with the moustache picked up the message and calculated that he could get away with it…and almost did.

How many times must we repeat the same mistake!

“Draw Mohammed,” Part 6: Closing Arguments

The following points have been made by the Prosecution against Pamela Geller (hereinafter, “P.G.”). Each point is followed by rebuttal from the Defense.

1. P.G. held the event specifically to provoke Muslims.

She did not. The underlying point of the event was to EXERCISE freedom of speech in a way that would show that Americans are serious about protecting it. I point out that this is true regardless of whether that freedom is under attack by Islam, the PC crowd, or anybody else … and there are lots of “anybody else’s,” as I hope the various video clips have shown.

But in particular, we in the West are being undermined by capitulating to various strictures of Shari’ah, in this case that one must not even draw the Prophet, let alone criticize, let alone mock him. P.G.’s direct and immediate point in the event was to show that we are determined NOT to “submit” to that stricture.

There is a second point to the event that is equally important, and that is to bring the situation of “creeping Shari’ah,” in this case Shari’ah against Freedom of Speech, into broad public awareness, so that “we” will become not just a few hundred thousand or a few million resisters, but the bulk of the American people: hundreds of millions of resisters.

2. The event predictably invited and incited violence against AFDI, the attendees, and the American public generally. P.G. should, must, have known this, and therefore should not have put others at risk by holding it.

P.G. was well aware that there might be a violent response. That is why she provided additional security forces to the tune of some $37,000 – $ 50,000, according to different published claims.

But in fact no Muslims were forced to respond violently. They chose to do so of their own free will. Miss Geller responds, “This is the same argument as the one claiming that the rape victim is responsible for her being raped because she wore a short skirt.”

(This argument has actually been made often enough against those who claim to have been raped, but the fact is that is both illegal and morally wrong to rape anybody for any reason, even if the victim did intentionally wear a short skirt in a dangerous neighbourhood. We rightly hold the rapist accountable just the same.)

3a. P.G. has the right, specifically the legal, First-Amendment right, to hold the event and say what she wants, but she should not have done it [this may be express or only implied, by the question "…but should she have?"].

This amounts to devaluing all previous statements of defense. It’s like “damning by faint praise.”

(Look for a posting about this line of thought at some point, because there is a good impulse behind it as well as the cowardly refusal to give a fully-committed defense in public.)

3b. Besides, this type of speech, this type of event, “even if it’s allowed, it shouldn’t be done, because it has no value, this type of discussion at this type of event.” Megyn Kelly asks Eugene Volokh to comment on this claim, at 7:09 in their video in Part 5.

Prof. Volokh replies [boldface mine]:

“Well, surely this kind of discussion does have value, it has value in debate about Islam and about the role of Islam and about the action of some Muslims, fortunately only a small portion of Muslims to these kinds of things.

But beyond that, it has value as a re-affirmation of our free-speech rights, it has value as an act of defiance, it has value as people saying “look, we are not going to be shut up. When you tell us that we cannot draw pictures of Mohammed, when you tell us that we cannot say these things or else you’ll kill us, that just means we’re gonna [sic] do it again and again to show that you can not threaten Americans into submission. …. The whole point of this was to say, “You cannot tell Americans, you cannot tell a free people what [they] can and cannot say.” And that’s a very important message to say, especially in times like these.”

I have heard people saying … it’s too provocative. Well, look, there are times when First Amendment rights have to be defended. And they have to be defended by saying [we're] going to say these things even though we realize there’s a risk of violence, even though we realize there’s a risk of attack. The only way we can protect our free-speech rights is by re-asserting our free-speech rights.

By “re-asserting,” Prof. Volokh means showing the existence of the right by using it.

I note that it is up to the Courts through their rulings, and up to us as American (and Western) individuals through our words and actions, to confirm publically the existence of the right and our insistence on not being intimidated into being silenced, on this or any other issue.

4. The event shows that P.G. is “racist,” an Islamophobe, and hates all Muslims.

Horsefeathers. It shows that Miss Geller is aware of the threat from jihadists of both the violent sort and the lawfare/public-condemnation-public-opinion sort, and is fully committed to resisting both.

5. Cartoons at the event clearly are obscene and mock the Prophet.

I haven’t seen any of the cartoons from the contest except Bosch Fawstin’s winning one, which is certainly not obscene in any way. It does call attention to the fact that Mohammed lacks the power to enforce obedience to his command, and I suppose that might be a form of “mockery” in that shows him as “full of sound and fury,” but powerless.

“Draw Mohammed,” Part 4: Flak

Some of the milder MSM videos in which Pamela Geller takes heavy fire from the “I believe in free speech, but…” crowd.

There are probably more here than anybody has the stomach for, and these are not the really nasty ones! But although the bottom line is the same in all, each differs somewhat in points made or in facts presented or both, so I think I will give you three from Fox, one from CNN, and one from ABC. To close, Senator Rand Paul weighs in, and finally leftist lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

“Judge Jeanine” Pirro, Fox:

In opening her show on May 9, “Judge Jeanine” defended free speech strongly, even including Miss Geller’s right to hold her Free Speech event. But she ended her remarks by saying ‘that she thought Geller’s event, which was attacked by two gunmen last weekend, was probably a “dumb move,” which is pretty much all the critics of it are saying,’ as the video’s uploader observed.

Martha MacCallum, Fox:

O’Reilly, Donald Trump (!), Laura Ingraham, Fox:

Greta van Susteren, Fox: Never mind, you get the idea.

Alisyn Camerata, CNN:

Jake Tapper, ABC:

. . .

Senator Rand Paul.

With Glenn Beck, The Glenn Beck Program:

With Megyn Kelly, Fox. Most of this is about the Iraq War and the Patriot act. Segment on “Draw Mohammed” begins about 6:46.

Raymond Arroyo, Alan Dershowitz, “Free Speech Limits,” EWTN:

“Draw Mohammed,” Part 4a: Flak — Prologue

Coming up: Just a few of the millions of clips out there tsk-tsking Miss Geller’s Free Speech Event and “Draw Mohammed” contest in Garland, Texas, the first weekend in May.

To set the stage:

Peace Offering

Banco.Peace Offering.Cartoon.("Now will you be nice to us?") showing Geller,P.'s head offered to Radical Islam by an appeaser

Pam Geller is being attacked by the “I’m for free speech , but…” crowd, and the mainstream media as though she’s worse than ISIS, again, blaming the victim to fit their narrative. Cartoon by A.F.Branco ©2015.

“Note: You may re-post this cartoon provided you link back to this source. More A.F. Branco cartoons at Patriot Update here.

“Draw Mohammed,” Part 3: The Speeches

Here are the speeches* presented at the Garland, Texas Free Speech Convention on May 3, 2015. (It was as people were leaving the building that evening that two Muslim terrorists attacked them, fortunately hurting no one but themselves.) In order below: Pamela Geller, Geert Wilders, Bosch Fawstin following an introduction by Robert Spencer, Robert Spencer, and closing remarks from Miss Geller. Many good points, and of course the overarching/cornerstone point.

Pamela Geller, Opening Speech:

Geert Wilders speech:

Bosch Fawstin acceptance speech, Robert Spencer speech at 8:10, Pamela Geller closing speech at 16:10.

*If there were any other speeches, I have neither seen nor heard any reference to them. Nor do I know what other activities there were during the Conference.

“Draw Mohammed,” Part 2: The Occasion

“I think there needs to be a change to the law where people do not disrespect especially high people,” Texas Imam Mobasher Ahmed said.



So there you have it — I am not saying it, a Texas imam is. This is the the objective and what I fight against. The media has already submitted to sharia restrictions on free speech and viciously enforced the ban against violators (like myself).



I am not a Muslim. I will not adhere to sharia (Islamic law) and its restrictions on free speech (and freedom).



The reporter for this story sounds surprised that we have supporters and that they own up to it. It’s like Bill O’Reilly on his show tonight. O’Reilly refused to release results from his AFDI Muhammad cartoon poll. He said it was “slammed” in OUR favor, so there for “untrustworthy”.

Thus Pamela Geller, slightly edited for typos, in her Description under a 3-minute news clip.

Pamela Geller is considered a heroine by some and the Devil Incarnate by others. Her cause*: To defend America and the West generally against the encroachment of political Islam as it is today: To fight against Shari’ah as part of the American (and the UK’s, and by extension the West’s) legal system. Her chosen battle field in this fight is the defense of freedom of speech in general.

Of course a part of any defense against political Islam is the fight against Islamic violence. The defense of freedom of speech requires among other things that such violence must not be allowed to cow Americans or anyone else into submission to the Ummah or any part of it. Miss Geller’s thought is that one must face force and resist it, or be complicit in one’s own condition of dhimmitude or slavery.

So, Mohammed thunders: “You can’t draw me!” And Mr. Fawstin replies, “That is why I draw you.” Mohammed is wrong: One certainly can draw him, if one will only exercise his right to draw Mohammed by making the drawing.

We say to Mohammed: You have no power over me.

This series of postings presents material pertaining to the Free Speech Conference organized by Pamela Geller and her American Freedom Defense Initiative (dreadful name — better, “American Initiative for the Defense of Freedom). It was held in Garland, Tex., this past May 2-3.

The event included a “Draw Mohammed” competition, which was won by Bosch Fawstin, whose cartoon is shown in Part 1. Mr. Fawstin grew up as a Muslim in a Muslim family, but he found the misogyny and other factors of his Muslim childhood impossible to accept, and in the end became a former Muslim, an apostate. (I think he’s now an atheist, but probably you cats know more about that than I do.)

As well as the competition, there were at least four speeches given at the event, by Miss Geller, Geert Wilders, Mr. Fawstin, and Robert Spencer, along with a short closing by Miss Geller. I believe that is the order in which they were given, but I can’t prove it. Nor do I know what other seminars or workshops or whatever were a part of the meeting.

However, the meeting ended sometime in the evening (I gather, from news video) of Sunday, May 3. As the crowd of more than 300 people were leaving the venue, two Muslim terrorists opened fire on them. As it happened the Garland police were there and killed the two.

Because of an unnamed officer’s quick thinking, quick draw-and-fire, and accurate aim, none of the attendees was hurt.

*Miss Geller also has fought to defend the physical victims of Islam, such as the many young girls subjected to or under threat of Shari’ah murder, and also the hundreds of thousands of Christians and Jews being slaughtered around the world for the crime of not being Muslim. But that is a topic for another time.

[Edit: Two typos fixed, and one sentence reworded for clarity.]

“Draw Mohammed,” Part 1

I ask assembled Felines to consider the inflammatory and incendiary* incitement to violence shown in this award-winning cartoon by Bosch Fawstin:

Fawstin,B.Winning Cartoon in "Draw Mohammed" contest, ADFI, Garland, Texas, 5:2-3:2015.Lifson, American Thinker, 5:4:15.194522_5_

Now have a look at this piece of high art**, which won a competition sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), by Andres Serrano:

Piss Christ, by Andres Serrano.Won contest sponsored NEA.[BOX].194521_5_

Lastly, enjoy this one, which I received in an e-mail with no source.

Do You Have Any Idea How Offensive That Is?.Cartoon, Steve eml, 5:23:15, 11;16 a.m.Source Unknown

There is somewhere also a most delightful and accurate (in its implication) cartoon of David Horowitz***, depicting Mr. Horowitz much as the hook-nosed scumbag in the previous drawing, only with, as I recall, a garbage-can’s lid on his head for a hat. Or maybe in his hand for a shield? Can’t remember for sure, and can’t find it again. But one thing is sure: When I said it’s “most delightful and accurate,” I lied. Pure sarcasm. Frankly it P’d me O. As does the mockery of Christ above.

But not enough to go kill people about it, except maybe metaphorically. I suspect that most Christians and Jews and even atheists share the attitude. Of course, the more benighted Muslims at least find that the proper treatment for drawing Mohammed at all is death.

More on this and on the jihadi attack for which the first cartoon served as an excuse (but it wasn’t really the cartoon) in upcoming postings, until I run out of steam.

*Redundancy for emphasis.

**’”Piss Christ,” a photograph of a crucifix in a jar of urine,’ to quote Thomas Lifson, who wonders if it is “enough to justify mass murder.”

***This is the red-diaper baby and former New-Leftist, the author of so many anti-Communist/-Marxist/-socialist/-Leftist works, including the marvelous Radical Son, who is also a champion of free speech and academic freedom (the real kind, not the Progressive version), and the founder of Front Page Magazine.

—–
I don’t know what’s going on with WP. First, the comments were allowed before they weren’t allowed, and now they are allowed again, unless it turns out that they’re not.

Second, originally YrsTrly was the editrix responsible for this yelp of anger, but WP then decided it’s by somebody called “admin” (no caps). Who knows who will finally be elected the reporter. *sneer*

Mathilda Jansson is not the only Swedish Model

smug-fridge

A sex worker is using European human rights legislation to try to overturn a new law in Northern Ireland that makes it illegal to pay for prostitutes.

Dublin-born law graduate Laura Lee is launching an unprecedented legal challenge that could go all the way to Strasbourg, against a human trafficking bill which includes banning the payment for sex among consenting adults.

The region is the only part of the UK where people can be convicted of paying for sex. The law, which was championed by Democratic Unionist peer and Stormont assembly member Lord Morrow, comes into effect on 1 June.

Lee told the Guardian she will launch her case at the high court in Belfast in the same month as the law comes into effect.

Sex worker to launch legal challenge against NI prostitution ban + (hat tip to Perry at Samizdata)

The problems of the “Swedish Model” is not the diary of the love-life of a Premiership football player, but rather an attempt by the radical Feminists to protect the women (or perhaps womyn) in the worlds oldest profession, while persecuting the men (radical Feminism =/= misandry? Yeah Right!)

(more…)

It ain’t just Islam…

This is arguably one of the more bizarre stories I have read. Ever.

A small Jewish ultra-Orthodox newspaper in Israel has found itself in the spotlight after digitally removing Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel from a photo of this week’s Paris march.

World leaders had linked arms to march in Paris against terrorism after Islamic extremists killed 17 people. At the march, Merkel stood in the front row between the French president, François Hollande, and Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.

But readers of the Hamevaser newspaper’s Monday edition didn’t know, as she had been digitally removed, leaving Abbas standing next to Hollande. Israeli media joked it was meant to bring Abbas closer to Israeli premier Binyamin Netanyahu, who was standing nearby.

And why? Why? because of XX-phobia. Seriously. They also took-out the EU foreign affairs supremo and the Mayor of Paris.

Within the insular ultra-Orthodox community, pictures of women are rarely shown, due to modesty concerns. In Jerusalem, ultra-Orthodox vandals frequently deface buses and billboards with advertising deemed to be immodest.

Now if Chancellor Merkel had been strutting her stuff in a sling-shot bikini and heels and nowt else then OK but this is the original photo…

Now I’m no fashionista but that is a modestly dressed woman. And she is also the German Chancellor so she ought to be there. God knows what Abbas was doing there but France and Germany are best buddies these days (thanks for small mercis – I mean we don’t want to go through all of that yet again).

Binyamin Lipkin, editor of Hamevaser, said the newspaper is a family publication that must be suitable for all audiences, including young children.

“The eight-year-old can’t see what I don’t want him to see,” he told Israel’s Channel 10 television station. “True, a picture of Angela Merkel should not ruin the child, but if I draw a line, I have to put it there from the bottom all the way to the top.”

He also said he did not want to tarnish the memories of the people killed in the attacks.

“Including a picture of a woman into something so sacred, as far as we are concerned, it can desecrate the memory of the martyrs and not the other way around,” he said.

I am lost. There is no way anyone could take that image as sexually provocative (I assume that was this loon’s point). I mean it ain’t Miley Cyrus. And in terms of the “family paper” schtick don’t families tend to have female members? Call me old-fashioned but I female relatives. I don’t think that unusual. And what the flying hellskis is the desecration stuff about? These people weren’t martyrs. They were just unlucky by and large. Could have been me, could have been you. This site has republished the Motoons of Doom. And in what way Chancellor Merkel takes away from the loss is beyond me. Also one of the dead was a female French cop. If anyone was a martyr she was dying in the line and all.

But this is only sort of about sexism. I mean it is but there is more. The massacre was about freedom of the press and an Israeli paper chooses to Photoshop inconvenient truths like the sex of the German Chancellor out. OK, fine print what you want but don’t doctor photos and then go on about martyrs for press freedom.

Or is it just plain sexism and they object to a female heading a major nation? Is it that simple? Get over it. We did with Maggie when I was a little kid.

What century are these folk in? I mean really? Moshe Dayan fought for this?

PS. And as someone from a culturally Christian background the idea that an image of a woman is a desecration is just weird.

We’re not jamming wifi for money – honest guv…

gaylord-entertainment-marriott

Marriott International and the American Hotel and Lodging Association are asking the F.C.C. to give hotels the green light to remotely disable the Wi-Fi devices that some travelers use to connect their laptops and tablet computers to the Internet through cellular services from companies like Verizon. This would force guests to buy the wireless Internet service provided by hotels.

In its petition, the hotel industry asks the commission to create an exception to rules that prohibit anyone from “willful or malicious interference” with wireless communications that are “licensed or authorized” by the government. The industry asserts that because Wi-Fi signals use unlicensed frequencies, they do not deserve the same protection as licensed services like cellphone networks. That is an absurd argument, since the government has authorized unlicensed Wi-Fi devices and networks. Other countries, like Britain, prohibit “deliberate interference” of wireless communications.

Brazen Attempts by Hotels to Block Wi-Fi

Yes, sure – I quite understand. The hotels are losing their profit margins because “tired and emotional” guests staying at their top hotel chains for conferences and business meetings are bypassing “Debby does Dallas episode 26″ – reasonably priced at $9.99 per shot (so to speak), in favour of finding unrestricted flavours of pornography over the wi-fi link.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are any number of ways that Marriot and others could have avoided this problem, such as installation of a “net nanny” software to block guests from accessing porn within their hotels, but while that would have been easily justified under the usual cry of “will somebody please think of the children”, it probably wouldn’t pass muster with those very adult executives, thus this rather draconian approach of attempting to block all WI-FI signals and then flogging ‘protected’ access at extortionate rates.

As someone who has lived in European and American hotels for months-on-end, this whole matter of charging for wifi has pissed me off time and again, to the point where during my 2008-2012 stay in a major hotel chain in Germany I basically said unless they provided a bundled wifi rate I would take my business elsewhere – despite it being “utterly impossible”, the sight of a guaranteed €3,000 per month about to walk out of the door soon changed their minds.

The top management of Tesco supermarkets are cowards who have given in to demands for censorship.

The often attacked British press is, in reality, one of the glories of this country. In the United States the normal pattern is for there to be a single dominate newspaper in a town or city and for it to reflect the “liberal” left ideology of the education system (the “Schools of Journalism” and so on) – with, by and large, the only choices being to read the leftist line, presented as “objective, scientific, journalism” or read no newspaper. There is the New York Post, which gives an alternative view of New York and other matters, and the financial and business newspaper the Wall Street Journal (both owned by Rupert Murdoch – which is why the totalitarian left hate him, as he is basically all that stands in their way of gaining a leftist monopoly in the press), but there is little other dissent. Just as on television basically the only dissent from the leftist line is “Fox News” (also owned by Mr Murdoch) with all other television stations reflecting the leftist line.

In the United Kingdom things are very different. There are many newspapers on the left – such as the “I” and the “Independent” and the “Guardian” and the “Daily Mirror” and the “Financial Times” (anyone who thinks a financial and business newspaper can not be on the left has never met the “FT”), but there are also many newspapers on the “right” (in the conservative or old style liberal sense – not the socialist Fascist sense) – such as the “Daily Telegraph”, the “Express”, the “Daily Mail” and the “Sun”. However, annoying the press may be at times this diversity in the press is one of the glories of this country and people who hate it are like people who hate the Queen or Winston Churchill – they really hate Britain.

The left, at least the totalitarian left, seek constantly to destroy the free press in the United Kingdom. For example with the financial backing of, son of Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, Max Mosley (who won a libel case against being accused of being involved in a Nazi themed prostitute event – although he was involved in a Nazi themed prostitute event, work-that-one-out), the left ran a campaign against the newspapers. The left also used a claim in the Guardian newspaper that employees of the Sun newspaper had deleted messages on a murdered girl’s mobile telephone (a claim that turned out to be FALSE – they did “hack” the telephone, in the hope of getting information that would help them crack the case, but they did NOT delete any messages) to get Prime Minister Cameron’s government to impose some censorship on the press. “Hacking” mobile telephones was already illegal (and was done at least as much by Daily Mirror people as by Sun people – but the left does not care about that), and the new censorship rules will not make “hacking” any more illegal – but the left’s objective is censorship, the case of the murdered little girl was just a means-to-an-end to the totalitarian left. And Mr Cameron went along with some of what they wanted (partly because he was embarrassed at employing a person who had once been involved in telephone “hacking” himself) – and he should be ashamed of that.

It should be pointed out that the “Sun” and the, now closed down,”News of the World” are-were Rupert Murdoch newspapers. The leftist campaign against them was nothing to do with them “hacking” telephones more than the leftist “Daily Mirror” people did (they did not “hack” more than Daily Mirror people did) – it was a way of attacking Mr Murdoch, whom (as I have already pointed out) the left see as the main barrier in their way of creating a leftist monopoly in the media of the United States – yes the campaign in Britain was really, in part, about the United States.

However, evil never sleeps and the left have moved on. Far left activist groups have now pushed the management of Waitrose and Tesco supermarkets to physically cover up newspapers.

What exactly has the Tesco chain of supermarkets agreed to do? They have agreed to cover up all but the titles of newspapers that are on sale. The totalitarian leftist activist groups have claimed this will “protect” children (it is always “the children”) from seeing bare breasts. However, women with no tops on are a tradition of page THREE of the Sun newspaper – not the front page, there are no bare breasts on the front page (although there are bare breasts on show in art galleries – no doubt the totalitarian left will now try and get paintings and statues banned, at least if “the children” are their real concern……..).

The cat is let out of the bag by the boasts from the totalitarian left of getting “offensive” headlines covered up – not “just” photographs, HEADLINES.

This makes it clear what this campaign is really about – it is about suppressing, literally “covering up”, any OPINION the left does not like. It is the same sort of thing as the Frankfurt School of Marxism “Political Correctness” or “Critical Theory” that now dominates the education system – turning students into brainwashed zombies who will not tolerate any non “Progressive” opinions.

The evil groups behind the censorship of the press campaign are tiny – organisations such as “Child’s Eyes” and “Stop Page Three” have few members, they could not win any elections. But they do not have to enforce their totalitarian desires by winning elections – not when they are dealing with spineless cowards.

Tesco supermarkets, like so many corporations, is a bureaucracy without any real powerful individual share owners any more. The hired managers are responsible to other hired managers (at Pension Funds and so on – institutional share owners) and they basically want a “quiet life” – they have no passion for what they do, and they have no courage, no principles for which they will risk their jobs. Besides they are mostly ex university students – with all the leftist indoctrination (brainwashing) that a modern school and university “education” implies.

These hired managers at Tesco face ruthless leftist fanatics – who are prepared to do anything, anything at all, to enforce their desire for censorship, so the easy thing to do is to SUBMIT. And, besides, with their “educated” background a lot of the managers half agree with the leftist fanatics – with the totalitarian bullyboy (and bullygirl) censors.

It is difficult not to despair.

The United Kingdom in 1964 – a big government country that was O.K. ish (well perhaps).

Anti big government people often make the assumption that life gets worse as government gets bigger. It is true that if government grows, in size and scope, things will not be as good as they could have been – but life can still, for a while anyway, get better for most people.

Take my home town of Kettering, Northamptonshire. Government started to grow here in 1875 (in other towns it was after 1870 – but we did not vote for an Education Board here), with the rise in national taxation and the increase in functions pushed on local government by the Disraeli Act of 1875. Yet life still got better here till at least 1960 – and government was big indeed by then.

I am not just talking about real wages – but general life also. For example Wicksteed Park (the first amusement park in the country) did not exist in the 19th century – but it was a national institution by 1960, although it has sadly declined in recent years. Also ordinary people were better dressed in 1960 than they were in the 19th century (when some children did not even have boots or shoes – even in a town famous for making them) – although, again, one could hardly call people in 2014 well dressed, or well behaved.

And the buildings were fine (or at least O.K.) – the destruction of so much of the “town that Gotch built” did not really begin till 1960. And the town was not too big with endless housing estates eating the fields and the bluebell woods. It was still the Northamptonshire of the writer H.E. Bates and others.

In 1964 there was full employment and historically high wages, no welfare class (of any size) unlike today. But people were also mostly well behaved, polite, well dressed and so on.

“That is trivial stuff Paul” – perhaps. although I do not think so, but there is rather a lot more.

I have already mentioned the lack of a welfare class in 1964 – there were people who could not take care of themselves, but there were not millions of healthy working age people who had never worked and never would. Is this not important?

Also non state institutions were vastly less unhealthy in 1964 than they are now. “Oh Paul is going to obsess about the Churches again” – actually I was thinking of the family.

In 1964 most people still lived in stable families – now we do not. Is this not an important change – and not for the better.

In 1964 the fertility rate was positive, we could replace ourselves as a nation – now it is negative, we can not. We have vast immigration instead of our own children.

In 1964 most shares were still owned by individuals (there was no Capital Gains Tax) and the City of London was matter of self employed stock brokers and stock “jobbers” (wholesalers). The brokers worked for individual clients who still owned most shares (the “Aunt Agathas”) and stock jobbers worked selling shares for the companies.

Now most shares are owned by institutions (hired manages in control of other hired managers – with real owners a thing of the past) and private investors are taken to the cleaners by faceless organisations in a post “Big Bang” GOVERNMENT DOMINATED City of London.

Even Ulster (Northern Ireland) was quiet before 1964 – the main news stories there were about lost cows and the latest attractions at Port Rush. Not how the IRA (Sinn Fein) was running the government and destroying education.

Indeed education was much better in England and Wales also – Grammar Schools were common, intelligent children could get a good education (at the expense of taxpayers). Qualifications meant something – not like now. And the universities were only just starting to over expand.

And the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was an independent nation in 1964 – not a slave of the European Union, we were are own masters.

Also the British armed forces were still a real force in 1964 – the Wilson-Healey gutting of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force (reducing Britain to a token power dependent on others) had not yet happened. Britain was not a joke – we still mattered. Yes in spite of Suez, and in spite of the pathetic “Super Mac” we still mattered. And there was no conscription – getting rid of conscription was about the only good thing that “Super Mac” ever did.

And there was still freedom of speech and freedom of association – the 1965 (and all the later Acts) had not yet been passed.

“We get it Paul – in 1964 everything was wonderful – everything now is awful”.

No I am NOT saying that.

The advance of technology in the last 50 years has been a good thing (yes I find the internet time consuming – but the advance of technology has been a good thing) – and that has enabled higher living standards, for most people.

And government in 1964, although much smaller than now (the Welfare State has exploded since 1964), was still vastly too big – unsustainable big in the long term, all the seeds of our present and future societal crises were already long planted before 1964. Government dominated health care and education and old age provision (at least for the poor) and none of these things is good – although the old traditions of the pre government dominated schools and hospitals (the grammar schools and hospitals were still private in the 1930s) still dominated the government services of 1964, teachers, nurses and doctors still acted like dedicated professionals (not dominated by endless government rules and union practices).

However, it was a good country in 1964 – it was a better place to live than Britain had been in (say) 1874, when government was vastly smaller.

I am not saying that if government had been kept to the level, size and scope, it had been in 1870 or 1874 that Britain in 1964 would not have been an even better place – of course it would have.

But Britain in 1964 was an O.K. ish place in 1964 – in ways we are not now, and this should not be forgotten.

The Egg Dance

I’ve recently got back from Amsterdam. Now I suppose it is moderately unusual to collapse into giggles in the Rijksmuseum’s section on Dutch 12th-17th Century art but I managed it. This is a detail from the picture that made me laugh…

That is a detail from The Egg Dance by Pieter Aertsen.

What made me laugh though was the caption next to it…

At right, in this brothel, a young man does an egg dance to the music of a bagpiper. While dancing, he had to roll an egg within a chalk circle – without it breaking – and to cover it with a wooden bowl. This ‘pointless’ amusement, along with the dissolute behaviour of the other figures, served as a moral warning against debauchery.

Emphasis mine. I just loved the phrase “This ‘pointless’ amusement”. Sums up life really. Less, seriously though, this was painted in 1552 and I guess you had to make your own amusement back then. The Rijksmuseum does also boast a large collection of impedimenta for drinking games. An inventive (if drunken) lot those renaissance Dutch.

In fact it stuck in my mind so much that upon my return I googled (I think the term is so ubiquitous as to have lost the capital like “hoover” has) the picture. I found this.

Now one of the first things I wondered was why the Rijksmuseum was so sure it was a brothel. To me (and my wife) it just looked like a fairly chaotic party in a home…

At the back of the room an old man is playing the bagpipes. Because of its shape, the instrument often symbolised the male genitalia. In the window is a jug containing a leek, a vegetable of the onion family. A sixteenth-century viewer would immediately have realised that the scene was a room in a brothel. Onions were supposed to be a stimulant. All around lie onion flowers, leek leaves and mussels, which were supposed to have the same quality. It was also thought to be true of eggs, the theme of the painting.

OK, the bagpipes I kinda got already. That’s a bit of a classic (cf Hieronymous Bosch)…

… Or indeed this. It is amazing how, across culture, time and geography, symbolism can be both steady yet sometimes obscure like the leek. Though that might explain the perennial appeal of Sir Tom Jones (or why, as I type, the Welsh are giving the Scots a hammering at the Rugby). This evening I shall be in the peculiar situation of cheering on France). Anyway back to my point.

From the same source (I almost hit “sauce” – hmm…)…

Pieter Aertsen has given this piquant scene a moral message that appears to reflect his own moral reservations. A joker is depicted on one of the wooden boards on the table, left, and on the other a goat jumping. These are cards in a Tarot set. In the sixteenth century everyone would have understood that these symbolised drunkenness and lust. The reel above the fireplace on the right is a sign of folly: in fact ‘reeling’ is still used today to describe a person swaying or staggering from the effects of alcohol.

The Egg Dance is one of the earliest paintings of a peasant scene. The elongated form suggests it was designed to be hung above a fireplace. This kind of genre painting was popular among the burghers of the cities. The moralistic message was often an excuse to paint a piquant scene. Aertsen was also commissioned to paint large religious works for churches. However, many of these were destroyed during the Iconoclast fury.

Emphasis mine. There is something almost reassuring about the continuity of this moral hypocrisy. We see it in modern times with the Islamosphere and the idea that a normally dressed woman is a hussy. And elsewhere.

“…the American girl is well acquainted with her body’s seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs” and she shows all this and does not hide it.”

- Sayyid Qutb (founder of the Muslim Brotherhood who are currently sexually assaulting “inappropriately hijabed” women and girls in Egypt” describing a Methodist tea-dance in Colorado in 1950.

Qutb apparently died a virgin having failed to find a woman “pure” enough for him. It would be farcical but for the Hell that has followed in his wake.

Or what about the most sanctimonious of businesses – the Co-op and it’s “Crystal Methodist”? The Co-op sells “ethical water” (whatever that might be) and it’s ordained Methodist preacher bank boss was using crystal meth, crack cocaine, ketamine and rent boys. Oh, and the bank had a “black hole” of over GBP1.5bn.

My favouritist newspaper in all the World is of course the Daily Mail which routinely in it’s “News” section includes scare stories about the sexualization of girls and women being driven into eating disorders by being “forced” by the media into looking like models and starlets right next to the “Femail” column (how cute) which is supposed to be about women’s issues (yeah, right). It includes stuff like this all the time.

So, to tie this all together… I’m not sure how but in some sense (and there are different variations but the basic tune is always the same) “elites”* of all descriptions will always find some sort of justification to indulge in the sins they would deny the plebs or… Well, something along those lines. Qutb is an outlier but there is still the same infernal moral arrogance of “I can see this for I am pure but you can’t”. It is the same as the burghers of Amsterdam all those years ago titillating themselves whilst feeling (or pretending to feel) morally superior to the lower orders.

Apparently there are things in the dungeon of the British Library that are so vile they can only be accessed in the presence of a couple of trustees of the British Library and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I bet Prince Philip has had a gleg…

*A term in political discourse I hate because when I was a lad “elite” meant the SAS and such. And not just gits.

The Overhead.

The Internet c.1800s...

That was the semaphore system built by Claude Chappe in France around the time of the French Revolution. If the idea of big semaphore machines connecting a nation (indeed internationally) reminds you of the “Clacks” on Discworld then you are in the right ball-park – almost. There is a key difference which we shall come to though and it is a biggy.

Anyway, this is the size of the network…

... and its reach.

Now here is the big difference. What is the modern, electronic, internet as we know it used for? It is a chaos of chatter and (in)sanity, logic and weirdness, bank transactions, Christmas greetings, pornography, blogging, tweeting, facebook, gaming, terrorist plots and how to build a bomb or how to cook a risotto. It can be anything from an interview with One Direction or a seminar on quantum entanglement. It is humanity in toto.

The French clacks wasn’t (that is the “biggy” I mentioned) and neither could it technically be nor was intended to be. The inventor had this rather disingenuous thing to say,

“Chappe once claimed that a signal could go from Toulon to Paris – 120 stations across 475 miles – in just ten or twelve minutes. But he could not make that claim for a full message, even a relatively short one. Three signals per minute was the most that could be expected of even the fastest telegraph operator.”

In modern terms that is 1/20 bit per second (roughly – the Chappe code had a signal space of 98 symbols (2 beam positions and 7 positions each for the “arms” = 2x7x7=98) which is near enough the size of the standard 7 bit ASCII code – 128 symbols – to compare with allowing a bit of wiggle on human factors). Difference is the first common(ish) home modems worked at like 2000 bps or 40,000 times that speed. Sending a signal as simple as, “Advance at noon, reinforcements will meet on your left flank by 1pm.” would be nightmarish. And that is assuming absolute accuracy in transcription at all stations along the way. It need not be said that 2000bps is dismal. A slow ADSL line is over a thousand times faster and if BT Reach-Around has deemed fit to bother with laying fibre even ADSL on Cu is laughable. Sky (my broadband, TV and landline provider keep on trying to get BT to get us into the C21st – to no avail so far). There are always BT vans prowling and doing nowt. I’m not surprised. I used to work for BT and trying to get them to do anything to the porpoise is like assaulting Broadmoor with soft fruit. They might technically be private but they still behave like a state monopoly. Utterly complacent Bertram Blunts plus ultra.

Anyhoo, back to those old French folk. Not only was the system technically very limited (in that it was fast but with abysmal bandwidth) and therefore unsuitable for general communication but it was never intended for such use. Chappe again,

“…took it for granted that the telegraph network of which he dreamed would be a department of the state, government owned and operated. He saw it not as an instrument of knowledge or of riches, but as an instrument of power. ‘The day will come,” he wrote, ‘when the Government will be able to achieve the grandest idea we can possibly have of power, by using the telegraph system in order to spread directly, every day, every hour, and simultaneously, its influence over the whole republic.”

Chilling but not a million miles away from how our Lords and Masters see the internet. Fortunately they don’t really understand TCP/IP and all that jazz and I don’t think they understand the importance of a technology they simply don’t understand (they don’t understand much tech stuff). But they try, hence such things as the unbelievably poorly thought out violent and extreme pornography bill or assorted attempts around the globe to make pornography an “opt-in” service (for the sake of the children, naturally). And will it stop at porn? Does it ever stop? No, of course not!

Now obviously, there is a difference here – almost an inversion. The old French mechanical “clacks” was a way to govern and the modern internet is a way to keep tabs on the governed. This morning for the first time ever I used my bank card contactless (I’ve forgotten my PIN!!!). Some bugger at the NSA or GCHQ now knows what toilet paper I buy, the brand of ciggies I smoke and that I drink semi-skimmed milk. And yeah, I know they could harvest that from the chip anyway but… as a true believing physicist I find action at a distance, “spooky” ;-) That’s a quote from Einstein by the way though Newton himself was not 100% happy with gravity working like that. General Relativity is at least a locally realistic theory. It may be (usually) more mathematically complicated but Relativity makes far fewer metaphysical assumptions than did Newton. Newton has a fair few mad old dears stashed in the attic clad in their wedding dresses. But I digress…

The simple truth is that by hook or by crook any advance in comms will be seen by our Lords and Masters as a potential means of control. Whether it is owning the entire shooting match or just spying on it is a mere matter of tech to the L&M. Tech they will, thankfully, cock-up profoundly but they do try, bless ‘em.

All quotes from “The Information” by James Glieck.

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