Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image

Literature

The Miller’s Tail…

So Maria Miller, Sec State for Culture has fallen on her sword (for I am slain iDave!) due to her diddling expenses.

What the flying fuck do we have such a position for, apart from some croney of iDave diddling expenses, obviously?

Have you been to the National Gallery (it’s free by the way – and my favourite art gallery in the World*). Did Turner need a Department of Culture to paint his piccies? Did Francis Bacon? I recently saw some of his in Amsterdam recently**. Did Tolkien need one to write Britain’s favourite books? Did Elgar? Did the Beatles? The Stones? Does Adele? Do you or me? God help us Shakespeare managed to make it without the state!

Culture is simply what we do. In a sense it is what we are. We just do it. From posting video of a cat doing something amusing on Youtube to the Elgar violin concerto we just do it. In this case “we” is Kyung-wha Chung. She is my fave fiddler ever -do listen to the rest – it’s great***. And I have a weakness for the violin concerto. And that is her with the LSO conducted by Solti. Neither are Brits but Elgar was. And in a real sense that kind of sums up “culture” for me in the sense that here we have a piece of music played by a Korean/American with the orchestra conducted by a Hungarian/mainly American with an honorary British knighthood. What I mean is Elgar has “stretch”. All true culture has. Elgar is quintessentially English and not from a rich background (at one point he was employed to conduct an orchestra in the local lunatic asylum) but that his music can reach from Seoul to Budapest to Chicago and touch people enough to play it that well says something.

I have been to a folk festival (for my sins). It was curious. Apart from getting Brahms und Liszt (it was a stag do) it struck me how parochial (and in extreme cases nationalistic – not in a good way****). True culture is in a sense beyond borders. God help me I am English but I can’t stand the Tory club Little-Englander with his G&T any more than I can stick the “shop local, think global” lot with faux tribal tattoos. I was going to get one if I’d completed my PhD – my equation. Alas for me and an inker this did not come to pass. Folk is shite anyway. But what I was really trying to say is… I once came across in Georgia (USA – not entering the Putindoom) a fellow who expressed surprise at my mere existence. He declared a desire (and he was well adult) not only to never leave the USA (for there be dragons elsewhere ) but to never leave the state of Georgia. I’d just done a 2,500 mile road trip round the SE USA. I guess I just like globalization and that Huge Furnished Shitting-Stall can get his locally-sourced onions off behind his organic arras.

Anyway, that is getting seriously off the point (if there ever was one*****). This I like. (Aside – there is a shop in central Amsterdam that sells Brit stuff called “Arkwrights”).

Yes there was. Culture. It is universal and natural. It should be allowed to just happen but it is intrinsically global (and that scares people). Now don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against “local colour” but our culture is increasingly self generating and global. That does not mean it is less diverse. Gods no! You can get decent sushi in Manchester******. If that means the Eccles cake is heading the way of the sauropods then so be it. Mind, in Porthmadog you can get excellent fish and chips (but fuck all else). And they all speak Welsh! But that is not my point. You expect good fish of whatever sort in a fishing port. And good chips anywhere (apart from Amsterdam).

Culture happens. It can be global. It can be local. It can be both. Concentrating on the local is absurd in the age of jet planes and youtube in my eyes. The more it goes global the better I think. I have God knows how many channels off my Sky dish. I can watch a Nigerian soap opera if I want – I don’t because they are piss-poor but… Why do we need a culture secretary at all? Why when we have Easyjet? Why when we have the internet? Why when within walking distance I have have Chinese, Italian,Spanish and Indian take-aways/restaurants? Why have a culture secretary?

*I’ve been to quite a few of the greats.
**See, I’m not uncultured. I could have gone to the ‘Dam and spent my time bombed out of my box sucking dope from bongs shaped like penises. I went to the maritime museum, the Jewish history museum and… Mind the food over there ain’t great. I did eat kangaroo mind (a first for me) but it was bloody awful. Having said that it might be just due to the Dutch tendency to serve Flintsonian portions and bugger the quality. And chips with everything.
***But not as great.
****Not that that was anything like that.
*****There wasn’t really.
******My brother would disagree because he’s lived for several years in Japan.

Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius

This is an answer to Sam about words, meaning and control.

George Orwell got it right. Partly right but this (though the pdf has sps) is bang on the money. This is arguably the single most important work of fiction of the C20th. It’s quite long but please do read. And I make no apology for possibly re-posting.

Where Orwell went wrong was the “boot on the face”. Totalitarianism (read as unreality) does not need violence. It can be done “softly”. Borges clocked that one. That matters. That matters a lot. Why? Well… It is harder to resist.

What strikes me as the genius of the work is all too various but I’ll say a few things. Without nouns (and Tlön lacks even the concept of nouns) science is not possible. Without science civilization (as we know it) is not possible. The second thing is that Borges wrote this in 1940 and in a sense it has come to pass. The real, physical world, is less important than the virtual one to many. Yes and I sort of include myself here. The possibility of a Tlön happening is very, well, possible in an age of computer games and stuff like that.

Pope Francis is dead wrong when he talks about how materialistic we are. That is not the problem. Our lack of connection with the material is the real problem. Pope Francis ought to know this because Catholicism is a materialistic religion in the sense that it believes stuff exists. Father Brown knew this and he didn’t even materially exist except in the mind of G K Chesterton and on my bookshelves. Of course these days “materialist” is a dirty word because it is taken to mean “greedy”. Believing that matter exists is not the same thing as wanting more shoes than Victoria Beckham. I only have two feet anyway. So I am a materialist. I didn’t do a physics degree to learn at the final lecture none of this actually exists. So matter matters. And therefore nouns matter. Without them we don’t have stuff or even a way of describing stuff.

What we do have is eternal procession of things happening. We have Tlön which is a lie. OK, I’ll grant you Quantum Mechanics is a bit vague on stuff but that’s QMech for you and you didn’t expect the base-code of the Universe to be easy did you? I do know what I just said there. What I’m trying to say is things happen and they happen to things.

Right, I shall now (for my next trick) try to put the cat into a box.

I bet Erwin Schrödinger never did that. Taking dear little Timmy (who puked on the stairs this morning) to the vet is a grim ordeal which involves losing more skin than Cher having a facelift.

Timmy, you are not going into a box, yet.

Govt. propose removal of AGW from under 14s curriculum, Guardianistas outraged

Oh dear, so sad, too bad. I am motivated to play a tune on Nick’s micro-violin.

Debate about climate change has been cut out of the national curriculum for children under 14, prompting claims of political interference in the syllabus by the government that has failed “our duty to future generations”.

Climate change? Let’s inject some honesty here, Juliette. When you say climate change you actually mean Anthropogenic Global Warming. You know, that humungous politico-scientific scam that has finally been falsified to the point that even warmist scientists pro-AGW climatologists activists are admitting their evidence climate models were not merely wrong but very wrong. All the accruing, real life evidence to the AGW contrary has a lot of warmists on the run; at least the ones who are astute enough to see which way the empirical wind is blowing. To be frank, I see this draft, should it be adopted, as a welcome reversal of the political interference that forced AGW into the curriculum and propagandised our kids, scaring them stupid with visions of a greenie auto-da-fe. And this was initiated by the very same government that spectacularly failed in its duty to ensure that future generations weren’t burdened with the biggest debt in UK history.

The latest draft guidelines for children in key stages 1 to 3 have no mention of climate change under geography teaching and a single reference to how carbon dioxide produced by humans impacts on the climate in the chemistry section. There is also no reference to sustainable development, only to the “efficacy of recycling”, again as a chemistry subject.

What’s this? An outbreak of common sense regarding sustainable development? Can’t have that…

The move has caused alarm among climate campaigners and scientists who say teaching about climate change in schools has helped mobilise young people to be the most vociferous advocates of action by governments, business and society to tackle the issue.

Yes, all those brainwashed pre-fabricated neo-inquisitors little activists lost to the cause. What a tragedy.

“What you seem to have is a major political interference with the geography syllabus,” said the government’s former science adviser Prof Sir David King. He said climate change should be taught alongside the history of – successful – past attempts to curb chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), which is blamed for the depletion of the ozone layer, and air pollution caused by coal fires and cars.

And King, who took the Labour coin as its chief scientific advisor, wasn’t politically motivated by his paymaster’s agenda at all.

“If all of these aren’t issues for geography classes, then where should they be taught?” asked King. “It would be absurd if the issues around environmental pollution weren’t core to the curriculum.I think we would be abdicating our duty to future generations if we didn’t teach these things in the curriculum.”

Assuming that carbon dioxide is a pollutant – which it isn’t.

The draft contrasts with the existing curriculum: under the heading of geography, there are several mentions of the interdependence of humans and their environment and the impact of that on change, including “environmental change”. The current syllabus explicitly discusses sustainable development and “its impact on environmental interaction and climate change”.

The current syllabus is explicitly biased when it comes to the warmist interpretation of “climate change”. No sensible person would argue against a balanced curriculum. So what does that make you and your pals, Juliette?

“It’s just hollowed out argument,” said John Ashton, the government’s climate change envoy until last summer, and a founder of the independent not-for-profit group E3G. “Climate change should have as much prominence as anything in teaching geography in schools.”

If you listen hard enough you can hear the sound of this rent-seeker’s P45 being printed out. How I love the sound of greenie wailing and gnashing of teeth. It’s so cathartic.

The shift of any mention of climate change from geography to chemistry “makes me more concerned, not less”, said Ashton. “What’s important is not so much the chemistry as the impact on the lives of human beings, and the right place for that is geography.”

Because who cares what atmospheric chemists and physicists have to say. Science has no place in climatology. Yes, I can see that now…

The proposed changes, which are still under consultation by the Department for Education (DfE), were broadly welcomed by other groups, including the Geographical Association which represents more than 6,000 geography teachers, and the Royal Geographical Society.

So the geographers are happy about the proposed changes. That kind of puts a spanner into the greenies gears, surely.

“In the past, in some instances, young people were going to start on climate change without really knowing about climate,” said Rita Gardner, the RGS director, who does, however, want climate change taught at GCSE and A-level. “What we have got [in the new draft] is a much better grounding in geography, and it has the building blocks for a much better understanding of climate change and sustainability.”

That’s all good and dandy. I don’t have a problem with climate change being on the curriculum but let’s make sure it’s based on science and not on faith, okay? And let’s hear both sides of the sustainability ideology. And how it measures up to the fact that if CO2 is such a dangerous pollutant why are we about to burn millions of tons of US trees in a ludicrous attempt to decarbonise ourselves back into the pre-industrial era?

A DfE spokesman said the idea that climate change was being excised from the national curriculum was nonsense: “All children will learn about climate change. It is specifically mentioned in the science curriculum and both climate and weather feature throughout the geography curriculum.”

Three cheers for the science curriculum. So long as it isn’t dumbed down with AGW bias as it currently is.

Supporters of the government’s move pointed out that geography teachers could still teach specific issues such as “how human and physical processes interact to have an impact on and form distinctive landscapes”.

Putting the geography back into geography and (hopefully)removing the pro-AGW activism. What’s not to like?

Other potential lead-ins to climate change include specified teaching about ecosystems, the accumulation of toxic materials in natural life, and the difficulty for some species in adapting to changes in their environment.

Yes, but let’s not limit that accumulation of toxic materials to non-toxic CO2, eh? And please let me witness the struggle of greenies as they twist in the wind (sic) to prevent changes to their cosy little authoritarian environment.

A source at the Liberal Democrat-led Department for Energy and Climate Change said they were relaxed about the changes: “There’s nothing from the DfE that says climate change is off the agenda or will never be taught. Sensible teachers will look at that as the broadest of signposting.”

So how come the LibDem-led DECC refuses to look at the broadest of signpostings that AGW is one huge crock of the proverbial?

However, the UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC) said climate change was too important to be left to the whim of individual teachers.

Christ on a pogo stick! If the Guardian scrape the bottom of the activist barrel much harder they’ll run out of barrel.

“It appears climate change is being systematically removed from the curriculum, which is not acceptable when this is the biggest challenge our generation is going to face, the biggest challenge future generations are going to focus on,” said Camilla Born, an international expert at UKYCC.

Sadly hyperbole isn’t being systematically removed from the greenie rhetoric which is clearly too big a challenge for those suffering from a failure of logic and the ability to read the draft correctly.

Critics also point out that the danger of waiting until GCSE courses to teach about climate change in any depth is that only a minority of pupils study geography at that level.

But strangely those same critics fail to point out that despite brainwashing children to the greenie cause, the majority dump the main subject pushing the AGW BS hypothesis at the first available opportunity. Looks suspiciously like the kids are far smarter than the greenies want to believe.

Sarah Lester, a policy researcher specialising in climate change education at the Grantham Institute of Climate Change at Imperial College, London, said also rejected the argument that pupils first needed to learn the “building blocks” before they were taught about climate change. Such issues were already taught in the three sciences, even religious education and citizenship – and “all come together in geography”, said Lester. “I don’t think that’s what’s being done: I think it [climate change] is just being stripped out of the curriculum.”

Ah, the fragrant aroma of warmist rent-seeker panic. Shame it can’t be bottled.

Back in Britain.

I have been back in Britain a few days (it feels like years), my impressions are….

“Evening Standard” on the late night-early morning train from the airport.

Weird article attacking “golf club Nazis” (for such clearly Nazi things as likeing Monty Python – no the article made no sense to me either). I have now remembered that this article was supposed to prove that “Citizenship” classes-tests should teach immigrants how to claim government benefits.  No I do not know why that is supposed to be a good (not a bad) thing  – or what it has got to do with Monty Python.

Odd letters to the editor saying they supported the government’s policy of reducing state spending (what reduction in state spending?) but wanted more spending on X, Y, Z – such as railways to places which already have railways going to them.

A big article on the “living wage” idea, which showed no idea of what a labour market is – and how trying to increase wages (with no increase in productivity) can only increase unemployment. But quoted various “leading conservatives” as being in support of the “living wage” concept, as a way of fighting the multinational corporations (why would a conservative want to do that?).

And an article by Mr Cameron on “keeping the spirit of the games alive” – but I could not bring myself to read it.

Back in Kettering told that Holocaust memorial day was used as an excuse for death-to-Israel speeches (killing six million Jews in the 1940s was wrong – but killing another six million Jews now would be good, because Jews are Nazis or something…. a bit like the golf club people?).

Visit London – go round bookshops. Leftist books are the ones pushed forward (on bits of board) or turned to face the customers. Pro free market books very rare in the London bookshops anyway. Do the shareholders in Waterstones, W.H. Smiths, and Foyles know that the staff (including the managers?) want them robbed and murdered?

And why do people employed in comfortable bookshops hate “capitalists” and “capitalism” anyway (it is something to do with the shareholders likeing Monty Python? or are they Jews? or perhaps they play golf?). Anyway the people in London appear to be very prosperious – try to force down “credit bubble city” thoughts….

Lots of students – perhaps this “education” thing explains a lot…..

Try to see the film “Zero Dark Thirty” in Kettering – but it is only on late at night in the cinema. So they can say that there is not much call for it? Something I have noticed before with non P.C. films – they are either not shown at all in the local cinema, or they are shown only once a day and an irritating time.

Notice that leftist newspapers (such as the “I”) still have special stands at the local supermarket or (like the ultra Keynesian “Financial Times”) are raised on boards to make them more visible than other newspapers. Why?

Leftist magazines also still pushed and non leftist ones not. Even “Time” magazine (which is not even a British magazine and has no British news in it) put in favoured position – for no reason.

British television and radio news (and television and radio comedy) scream, gag, slump to floor…….

Oh yes – I almost forgot…..

Hour long speech (loud enough to be a speech anyway) on the train to London from a young person who worked in the Cabinet Office (amongst other places) about how he went to see Barack Obama sworn in again – and had the words “Barack Obama” written into his flesh. Supposedly Comrade Barack is a great leader for “our people” (the gentleman had an English accent) and lots of words about Barack Obama’s skin colour (which was the same as that of the person giving the speech).

Does this chap understand that he is a racist? Or does he have some some sort of Frankfurt School way out of basic logic?

Anyway his friends seemed most impressed by his words. And he did make a couple of references to things other than Mr Obama’s skin colour. For example the importance of “networking” to gain money from the state (I suppose the word “networking” is a word that modern people use for “corrupt influence”) and how much money (1.2 million) a friend of his had raised for the Obama campaign.

Oh, of course, also how people joined the “public sector” to “help people”. The young gentleman was expensively dressed – so clearly the “public sector” (the taxpayers) have helped him, and his “networking friends”.

The wit and wisdom of Raymond Chandler…

I like Raymond Chandler. I like him a lot. I can be obtained to expound on this for $25 a day plus expenses which are mostly whiskey and gasoline.

Chandler was a pulp writer but dear Gods his prose put most of his more “literary” contemporaries in the shade.

Did DH Lawrence ever write a line like this…

From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.

Or…

It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.

No! Lawrence was concerned about fretting about his “John Thomas” – I seriously defy anyone of normal sense to read “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” and not collapse in histrionics. Not because it’s funny – it isn’t.

More Chandler…

Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl’s clothes off.

The minute you try to talk business with him he takes the attitude that he is a gentleman and a scholar, and the moment you try to approach him on the level of his moral integrity he starts to talk business.

Good critical writing is measured by the perception and evaluation of the subject; bad critical writing by the necessity of maintaining the professional standing of the critic.

Chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find outside an advertising agency.

I do a great deal of research – particularly in the apartments of tall blondes.

I knew one thing: as soon as anyone said you didn’t need a gun, you’d better take one along that worked.

I guess God made Boston on a wet Sunday.

She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.

Philip Marlowe is of course a wonderful creation. A profoundly decent man in an indecent world. The kinda bloke you’d like to know but not “blokish” if you see what I mean – he is an ace chess-player, reads poetry and bemoans the vileness of LA. He’s good looking but not in a pretty boy way, hard as nails, ferociously independent and fiercely bright. Oh, and he’ll always stand you a drink. And Hell’s teeth, he got his break with probably the greatest prose stylist in English of the last century. And Chandler’s essay that explains him, “The Simple Art or Murder” is to kill for.

Though don’t do that in California or a guy in a coat and a hat will stick a 1911 semi-auto chambered to .38 super in your ribs.

Hands off the Bard, you EU Statist Bastards!

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

Why did I quote all that? Well the EU is being encouraged to make Shakespeare…our English Shakespeare, their Euro Laureate!

The cocky little swine have already had it away with Ode To Joy for an Anthem, even when the words and music were written before Germany was even a Nation, let alone a member of the EU. Want an Anthem? write a bloody new one you lazy rent seeking gits! Something by Kraftwerk will probably do.

They’ve been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize (Which the world is still chuckling in disbelief about) and now they want Willy the Shake too!

No way Jose, Barroso and Rumpy Pumpy; You can have Shakespeare as a European Icon when you prise the Sonnets from my cold dead hand!

Who do you think he was celebrating smacking up side the head in Henry V?

The truth about NAZIs

They’re actually “Nazis”.

The pure evil of Herr Hitler (scratch that “Herr” – it is a title of respect and honour that Hitler did nothing to command). I think it was Churchill who called him a “guttersnipe”. And he was right. Hitler was not some great Satanic figure. He was scum with terrible hair. And a ‘ta ch to (literally) die for.

Anyway, back to the point… I recently read on a Kindle a book on etymology and it covered “NAZI” or “Nazi”.

It had this to say. The NAZIs never called themselves “Nazis”. This was an invention of their opponents in the ’30s and a clever one.

Excursion: I never actively took part in the French or German exchanges at my school but I do recall hanging with a load of Germans and finding them by and large to be capital fellows (and some fit birds too – although the German for “nipple” literally translates as “Breast-wart”). The French were unspeakable and all wore jeans with Asterix transfers. The Germans were from Hamburg and termed a rather dim-witted idler of my English acquaintance “The Bavarian” for his dullness. In much the same way the English take ze piss out of the Irish as the Yanks do about Polacks etc. This is important background.

Nazi had been throughout most of Germany a term of abuse against those perceived as “thicker than the LA Times Sunday Edition” before Adolf even soiled a nappy. “Nazi” is apparently a shortened-form of “Ignatious” which was a common Bavarian name. Why? Despite the reformation Bavaria remained stollenly Catholic and Ignatious Loyola (founder of the Jesuits) had a fan-base.

So, when an upstart PFC from Austria starts gobbing off the obvious (to a German speaker) shortening of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party term “Nazi” is coined because it is already a term of abuse and it fits because their power-base was in Bavaria. And it looks like a suitable acronym.

It was clever. So clever it utterly failed to work and fifty million deaths later…

So that is where “NAZI” comes from. It isn’t an acronym and indeed if you used the term in Germany 1933-1945 you’d be for the high-jump.

On the eve of a New Year this is quite an unpleasant post. I apologise but offer this from the incomparable site “Cats that look like Hitler”.

You guys are horrible! You should be ashamed of yourselves! This siteis completely vile. What do you think gives you the right to make funof one of the world’s greatest strategist in the history of time (asidefrom the right to free speech, don’t give me that jargin, though, asmuch as I contradicted myself). I hope you all fall into a chamberthat’s possibly filled with gas!!
- Barney

(all sic – for Barney is clearly a moron). And “strategist”. He lost. Big time. I mean, yeah, declare war on The United States, the British Empire and the Soviet Union pretty much simultaneously if you want to end-up shooting yourself. I have spent many hours playing Sid Meier’s “Civ” and Hitler’s antics were not strategy. They were mere arse-wittery of the first order.

So now for the cute pussy…

Adolf

Adolf

Happy New Year folks!

Christmas Surprise

I got me a Chrissy pressie.

I put up a post a short time back, telling you all of my love for Thomas Grays Ode on the Death of a Favorite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes.

Well, that posting led me back to this one, from some years earlier, and in turn I read this comment from Permanentexpat, who, incidentally, I haven’t seen around these parts for some time.

Anyway, To His Coy Mistress. I hadn’t read that for simply ages darling, so I did a quick Google, and came up with the Wikipedia page. It looked worth spending some time on, with a whole load of good stuff about the poem, but I was a bit busy at the time so I stuck the link into my Must Read Later list and got on with my life.

So, later finally arrived yesterday and I had a read.

Now, bear with me, this is going somewhere. Causality can be a long chain and a wonderful thing.

(more…)

Naughty but Nice.

I’ve read “Midnight’s Children”. It is pretty cool. Now I read it in bed over many days. It was pretty ragged at the start but it was falling apart by the end. It’s a great book. It is also by any standards something I would call unfilmable.

So they filmed it. They did.

Get it via Amazon. It’s worth reading. Don’t see the movie.

Friday night Jabberwocky

So, the Muppets?

The University of Utah Singers?

Or Count Dracula himself?

The terrible year of 1986.

A post on an often overlooked year – 1986. A year in which events occured that had (and are having) terrible consequences.

A British person when hearing of the date “1986″  will think (if they think of anything) of the “Single European Act” – formally it came into effect in 1987, but the agreement was made in 1986. Mrs Thatcher was told that the agreement with the European Economic Community (as some still called it at the time) would lead to free trade, an open market, and was, therefore a good thing for a free market person to agree to.

Of course Mrs Thatcher’s information came from officials – note to all politcians, the moment you start to rely on official information (and interpretations) you are lost. For you are no longer really in power – the officials are.

This is not hidesight – I remember as a university undergraduate knowing what the Single European Act was really about, and my friends all knew as well. We all knew that it meant that the EEC (EC – now EU) would be able to impose any regulation it liked in vast areas of life (the British veto having gone  – in these areas) and under vague words like “health” the Euros would be able to crush liberty in this land. The later works of such people Christopher Booker and Richard North just confirmed what we expected to happen. Lord Denning (and many others) had predicted the crushing of Common Law principles by Euro edicts (of course happily extended by British officials – overjoyed to have all restraints on their power destroyed by the Single European Act) at the time.

It was not an open market – it was a “single market” (a very different thing). In an open market customers decide what they want to buy – in a single market officials decide what customers should buy.

However, other terrible things happened in the year 1986.

The other great evil to hit Britain in 1986 was the “Big Bang” in the City of the London – the financial centre.

“But that was deregulation Paul” – it was deregulation, if by “deregulation” you mean government intervention ripping up the rules of private clubs and subtituting its own rules – a government definition of a “free market” defined not by what people had actually evolved over time (by voluntary interaction), but by following the “perfect competition” model from neoclassical economics text books.

There is some evidence that even the people who originally thought up the perfect competition conception only thought of it as theorectical tool (not as a picture of how the world was – or should be), and certainly the Austrian School of economics disputes the concept from start to finish – but the government went ahead anyway. It knew what a market “should” be – and if the people who actually built the markets thought differently, they must be wrong.

Remember although the London stock exchange was created in 1801, there was no law preventing anyone setting up a rival stock market (not before 1986 anyway). And also no law preventing people buying and selling shares “off exchange”. So the City of London (with all its guild like “restrictive practices”) was actually a voluntary institution. In fact a series of private clubs – covering the selling stocks and shares, insurance, commodities (and so on).

What had “deregulation” actually brought? The end of the great partnerships that created the City (the investment banks) – the partners sold up and ran away (not exactly a vote of confidence in the new order – from people some of whom had been in the City for generations). And the self employed stock brokers (who bought shares for the public) and stock jobbers (who sold shares for companies) were replaced by enterprises that did both (no conflict of interest there) and whose employees tended to have no lasting relationship with clients (they see them as cash cows – no more). And, of course, thousands of pages of government regulations (Financial Services Acts – and agencies to enforce them) with endless box ticking.

Somehow this not really seem like “deregulation” to me – in fact I think it will be the death of the City of London. But only time will tell.

Turning to the United States….

An American will say “1986 is that the year the Republicans lost control of the United States Senate?” – yes it was, but I am not concerned with party politics here. I am concerned with policy.

In 1986 an amnesty Act was passed by the Congress (including the Republican Senate) and signed into law by President Reagan. It was not descibed as an amnesty Act of course – the people who voted for it (and Reagan when he signed it) thought they were “controlling immigration” from this point onwards – and (to start from a clean slate) people who had been in the country a long time (and were nice and good – and had puppy dogs with big eyes) would no longer fear being dragged from their homes by evil jack booted thugs from the government. After all this was how officials (and the media – following academia) explained everything to the politicians, just as they had during the 1965 immigration law debate – which first messed up American immigration law.

“But what is wrong with this Paul – free migration, sounds very libertarian”. So it might be – had the Supreme Court (5-4 some years before 1986) not ruled that government (local, State and Federal) had to give “free” (i.e. paid for by taxpayers) education and other benefits to illegal immigrants – otherwise it was “discriminating” against them.

And the few nice illegals (the ones with the puppy dogs with big eyes – the people who love America dearly and do not wave the Mexican flag and pray for the destruction of the United States, not even slightly) who got amnesty? There turned out to be three million of them and (of course) many more millions of illegals followed them into the United States, believeing that they would eventually also get amnesty. As Comrade Barack is doing by Executive Order right now, after all the illegals vote for him even though they are not citizens, thanks to the “Motor Voter” (a driving license is enough to vote) Act he supported as a Senator.

“We should try to win their support Paul” – a person (regardless of ethnic background) who loves the United States can enter legally right now (join the military – serve your term, and you have citizenship). Yes the American immigration system is a mess (and has been since at least 1965 – the Teddy Kennedy Act), but 1986 made it worse – and made it farcical.  Someone who believes the United States unjustly took land from Mexico in 1848 (ignoring the fact that the Mexican government, a military dictatorship,  also wanted war – and had its own expansionist plans) are not likely to vote for people who do not hate the United States. Odd that they are so eager to vote for Barack Obama – of course not odd at all. But have “free migration” as long as there are no government benefits (“free” education for the children and so on) – except, oh dear, there is that Supreme Court judgement  (see above) of some 30 years ago.

Lastly there is the another major Act of Congress from 1986 – one that may help to destroy civilisation, and not just in the United States.

Again neither the people in Congress or President Reagan understood what they were supporting (the officials, media, and academia – advised them again). They thought they were supporting an Act that prevented evil hospitals throwing women on to the street in the middle of giving birth (seriously – that is how the Act was presented to them, after all it is so wonderful for the reputation of a hospital to throw a women who is the middle of giving birth on to the street, they were doing it all the time……).

What did the Act really do?

It made “emergency” treatment (without proof of payment) compulsory at all private hospitals with an ER (formally a hospital was not covered by the Act if it in no way had anything to do with government schemes – in the age of Medicare try and avoid any involvement with government schemes…..).

Wonderful – free treatment for the poor (indeed for anyone – one might try and chase them up afterwards, but about half of them never pay so what is the point….). Accept someone has to pay to pay for all this “free” treatment – so the bill (as with all government mandates) got passed on to the people who were paying their bills. The people who had carried on with private insurance in spite of the previous government interventions – such as Medicare and Medicaid (which has the same effect on health cover costs as government backing for student loans had on college tuition fees – they sent costs into the upper atmosphere) and the endless regulations (insurance mandates and so on) that have so increased costs. No surprise – insurance bills (that now carry all the “free” treatment) have exploded since 1986.

American government (State and Federal) interventions have been pushing up the cost of healthcare since doctor licensing spread from State to State like a plague (that this is about “protecting the sick” was exposed as a lie by Milton Friedman – more than half a century ago, it really has the same purpose as lawyer licensing, to increase producer incomes by keeping people out of the market) and the FDA (this agency was made even worse in 1962 – turning the development of new medical drugs incredibly expensive and delaying their introduction for years, thus costing tens of thousands of human lives). However, it was the Act of 1986 that really sent American health cover into a death spiral – that pushed the costs of insurance (for the old mutual aid “fraternal” system had long been undermined) beyond the reach of ordinary people.

Most people still oppose “Obamacare” (which will complete the destruction of independent health care in the United States – replaceing it with crony capitalist “private providers” who will depend upon the government – till the government decides to get rid of the crony capitalists, as it already has with the providers of government backed student loans), but the majority of people that are opposed was not a big enough majority to stop it (let alone repeal it). After all  everyone agrees that “something must be done” and the “something” is always even more collectivism – “free” health care for all “children” up to the age of 26 (SCHIP on steroids – but paid for by the insurance companies, i.e. by their customers) no “denial” (i.e. honest priceing) of medical cover for “pre exiting conditions” and on and on – the honest insurance companies (oh yes there are some) will be bankrupted over time, and only the cronies (those in bed with the government – hoping to become “private providers” for government funded health cover) will remain. Already more and more employers are dropping health insurance for their employees – as they have worked out that the fines will be cheaper than paying the inflated (inflated by Obamacare regulations) costs of medical insurance.

Does anyone really believe that Mitt “Romneycare” Romney is going to be willing or able to repeal all this?

So American health care will fall – and more than this will fall. For this entitlement program is added to all the existing entitlements – the ones that are already bankrupting the United States.

So the United States will go into de facto bankruptcy. And it will not fall alone – most other major Western nations stand on the knife edge of economic collapse already. The fall of the United States will drag us over the cliff with it.

So, overall, 1986 was not a good year. It may even lead to the “Progressive” dream (of Richard Ely, mentor of  “Teddy” Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, more than a century ago) of the desruction of “selfish capitalism”. For the history of the last century (including 1986) has not been an accident – and nor has it been some hole-in-the-wall “conspiracy”.  On the contrary it has been out in the open  – for those who bothered to look.

The Progressives were open in their aims – and even in their means. They openly said in their books (the century old books that, for example, Glenn Beck tried to bring to public attention) that they would use schools, universities and the newspapers to fundementally transform society – by manipulating opinion (both public and political elite opinion). Truth does not matter to the Progressives (it has never mattered to them) only their cause matters – and they will use any lie and distortion to further their cause – the cause of the destruction of existing society, of “selfish capitalism”. The Fabians in Britain had much the same aims – and used much the same methods. Including the desire to dominate education – not just at university level, but at school level (via text books and “teacher training” – step forward Comrade Bill Ayers and “social justice” education).

The books are more subtle today – such books as “Looking Backward”, “Philip Dru: Administrator” and “New Deal” (oh yes there was such a book) were a lot more blatent in their love of tyranny and hatred of freedom (sorry hated of selfish capitalism) than “Freakonomics”,  “Nudge” and “Thinking – Fast and Slow”, but they have the same message. The message is as follows …. most people are vermin (“Homer Simpson” types) they are bound to be maniputed by someone (most likely by greedy capitalists) so why should not the noble we (the enlightened elite) manipulate them – for their own good. “Thinking Fast and Slow” is the most fundemental of the lot – it openly denies that people (apart from, nudge and wink, the noble author and his noble readers) are human beings, they do not really think (they do not really have free will) so someone must control them – for their own good……. Yes it is “So You Think That You Think” the fictional collectivist book (aimed at making people accept that they are vermin – fit only to be controlled by an enlightened elite) that Ayn Rand makes up in her novel “Atlas Shrugged” back in the 1950s (the collectivists never really change – and their “science” is actually as old as Plato).

“But Paul – how do you know the authors of Freakonmics and Nudge share the idealogy of the author of Thinking – Fast and Slow?” Errr  – the praise they give the latter work (on its front and back cover – and when interviewed) is a little hint. I did tell you that this was not a hole-in-the-wall conspiracy – it is quite open, if you look. What more do you want – for the evil elite to have glowing red eyes and tenticles? Sorry, but they look like ordinary folk – and have gentle voices full of charming wit (whereas their enemies, people like me, sound like old storm crows).

The Progressives may not share the doctrines of the Marxists (although modern Frankfurt School “cultural” Marxists do not seem to make a big thing of the actual doctrines of Karl Marx either) – but they share their aim (the destruction of selfish capitalism). Ditto the alliance with the Black Flag people (the so called “anarchists” who happily cooperate with the Red Flag Marxists in such things as the international “Occupy” movement and the unions the collectivists control, for you see the Black Flag “anarchists” do not really oppose collectivism, they just want to rename the state “the people” and then get on with the looting and killing) – the Progressives may (privately) sneer and their uncouth allies – but leading Progressives (such as Mr George Soros and the other rich people who fund such things as the “Tides Foundation”) still fund them. And Progressive teachers and college Profs understand that both the Red Flag Marxists and the Black Flag “anarchists” are allies – allies against “selfish capitalism”, the old world they must destroy in order to build their perfect world.

Of course I am a reactionary – I do not believe that the interventions (the ever higher government spending and ever greater regulations) make the world a better place. And many of the Progressives do not believe that either – they believe (along with the Marxists who follow the “Cloward and Piven” doctrine and others) that the ever greater statism will destroy the present world – and, thus, (in their minds) leave things open for the building of the perfect world.

The “Fabian Window” (perhaps the most blatent example of evil turned into a work of art – and the Fabians were natural allies of the Progressives) makes this clear – wolves in sheep’s clothing, trickery and lies (openly praised), the world held over a fire and beaten with hammers (in order to create a better world – regardless of the human cost). George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells openly talked of the tens of millions of human beings they wished to kill (not because they hated them “I do not hate anyone” said Shaw), but simply because they were in the way – in the way of creating the perfect world (the Heaven on Earth). And these evil people remain “liberal” heros to this day – ever seen a television show or a Hollywood film where they are shown as “bad guys”?. And, of course, they went on to support the Soviet Union – with Mr and Mrs Webb pretending that tens of millions of people were not being murdered (remember lying is O.K. if it is for the Progressive cause). Mrs Webb had some doubts, over the mass killings in Poland when the Soviets invaded in 1939 – you know when they were the allies of Adolf Hitler, but Mr Webb simply told her that “in a century no one will even remember this”. All was justified to build the “New Civilisation”.

And the American Progressives were the same. With Hollywood personalities busy doing such things as justifying the Soviet invasion of Finland – “I have been there and it seemed a little Fascist Republic to me” said Lillian Hellman (wife of  Dashiell Hammett [1929 "Red Harvest" evil capitalist America "Poisonville"] – together they made the prototype “celeb” Progressive power couple, both in Hollywood and in literary circles). One could always tell when Hellman was lying – her lips moved, not only was Finland not Fascist but Hellman had not been there.

One could go on and on – and people may already be bored (although in 1986  – and 2012 the Progressive celebs are just as powerful in cultural circles). And there is the standard defence (made by “anti McCarthyites”, even though Joe was actually interested in Communist agents of influence in the government not in the culture,  since the 1940s) “they are not Marxists”.  And they may not be – they may not have read a page of “Das Kapital” . The “Progressives” just share the objectives of the Marxists – the extermination of the existing society of  “selfish capitalism” (and anyone who defends it – rich or poor “henchman of the capitalists”), and the building of the wonderful new perfect world.

However, I am such a reactionary that I not only believe that that their interventionism (their ever higher government spending and ever more regulations) makes the world worse (not better) than it otherwise would be -  I also believe that their wonderful new perfect world (the one they dream of creating on the ashes of the existing world) would be Hell on Earth.

The Worst Pome (sic) Ever.

A Woman Cleaning Lentils.

A lentil, a lentil, a lentil, a stone.
A lentil, a lentil, a lentil, a stone.
A green one, a black one, a green one, a black. A stone.
Suddenly a word. A lentil.
A lentil, a word, a word next to another word. A sentence.
A word, a word, a word, a nonsense speech.
Then an old song.
Then an old dream.
A life, another life, a hard life. A lentil. A life.
An easy life. A hard life. Why easy? Why hard?
Lives next to each other. A life. A word. A lentil.
A green one, a black one, a green one, a black one, pain.
A green song, a green lentil, a black one, a stone.
A lentil, a stone, a stone, a lentil.

This is by a Turkish-Armenian “poet” called Zahrad. It hardly has an heroic theme. I mean “A woman cleaning lentils” is not the Trojan War and it is not a song of valour or lost love or glory or any of the other usual subjects that have excited poets since furthest antiquity. It takes a nonentity of a theme and then goes downhill with it. It is utter drivel. It is worse than Australian stuff Mr Cats has posted here and that was dire enough.

It might have lost something in translation but I doubt it. I bet it is fucking dreadful in Armenian as well.

The Jerem(iad) Hunting of the Snark

According to The Guardian the greatest mystery of modern times has been solved by a cosmetic gynaecologist* from Florida. Yes, he has found the G-Spot of legend! The spot that launched a thousand Cosmos.

An aside: is it just me or are those magazines for ladies getting more bizarre in their sex “advice”. Cosmo or something claimed on it’s front cover recently to have discovered a load more sexual positions. Short of claiming to have re-jiggled human anatomy God alone knows how any of this is possible. I mean this is from the (in)famous Perfumed Garden written by a Grand Vizier for an Islamic Potentate way back…

SEVENTH MANNER-El kelouci (the somersault). The woman must wear a pair of pantaloons, which she lets drop upon her heels; then she stoops, placing her head between her feet, so that her neck is in the opening of her pantaloons. At that moment, the man, seizing her legs, turns her upon her back, making her perform a summersault; then with his legs curved under him he brings his member right against her vulva and, slipping it between her legs, inserts it.

It is alleged that there are women who, while lying on their back, can place their feet behind their head without the help of pantaloons or hands.

I think the second paragraph there is a bleg by the Vizier for funding for more field-work in India because it is mentioned this and other chiropractic delights are due to India where according to the author, “It is well for you to know that the inhabitants of those parts have multiplied the different ways to enjoy women, and they have advanced farther than we in the knowledge and investigation of coitus.”

Of course it was well known! It still is. It is one of the two central truths of sex that never go away. The first is the one hinted at here that girls from foreign climes are always dirtier. Whether it is performing the somersault without pantaloons or vaginally firing ping-pong balls in a Bangkok nightclub to the general hilarity of an Aussie stag party the grass is always greener on the other side of the verge. I shall quote Byron:

“What men call gallantry, and gods adultery, is much more common where the climate’s sultry.”.

The other thing that was ever thus (apart from vaginal intercourse which of course was ever thus or I wouldn’t be writing and you wouldn’t be reading this drivel) is the bizarre belief that every generation has that the stuffed-shirts of the older folks were never got off to get it on. Everyone remembers the “unamused” Queen Victoria rather than the one before Albert died and the very saucy letters they wrote to each other. I shall quote Larkin here:

“Sexual intercourse began in 1963 (which was rather late for me) – Between the end of the Chatterley ban and the Beatles first LP.”

Of course – and I have flicked through it once – DH Lawrence’s magnificent octopus is unreadable bilge and just isn’t sexy at all. Maybe it was for Lawrence but then he was a git.

Anyway, back to the G spot of myth and legend. Well to paraphrase an eminent Victorian there are lies, damnable lies, statistics and statistics about sex. Indeed “sexology” (he’s got an “‘ology” that makes him a scientist) is perhaps the shabbiest of alleged sciences. It is all made-up. De Sade, Sigmund Fraud, Alfred Kinsey, Alex Comfort – the whole lot of them said more about themselves than about anything else. I suspect it is down to the use of surveys which are generally misleading (or leading). I’m tempted to write a sex-book myself. Find someone you fancy (and who fancies you) and just you know make it up as you go along. Right! Done that! And you know what. That’s also the fun way to learn. On the job so to speak. Not reading bloody Kinsey! I mean even educated fleas can manage it.

Anyway…

Ostrzenski, a cosmetic gynaecologist and director of the Institute of Gynecology in St Petersburg, Florida, examined the anterior vaginal wall in the body of a deceased 83-year-old woman and, as the New Scientist reported, found “a clearly defined sac in a layer between the vagina and the urethra close to the perineal membrane”. The sac, furthermore, was “around 16 millimetres from the upper part of the urethral opening” positioned at a 35 degree angle, and “less than a centimetre long”. Inside, Ostrzenski discovered a “‘worm-like’ structure with three distinct regions that broadly ‘resemble erectile tissue – normally found in areas such as the clitoral body’”.

That is class science that is! I mean New Scientist is a vile rag (I always preferred Scientific American until that too dumbed down to the level of an eight year old). Do I need to point out the methodological flaws here? I don’t think so. Anyway Ms Barton of the Guardian witters on to no apparent purpose** for several hundred words further…

I suspect personally that the G spot is a semi-myth. There is something that feels a bit different roughly where it’s meant to be but I’ve never found it opened the gates of female sexual paradise. Maybe it does for some but they are all of course in other countries where the climate is sultry and undoubtedly having wild swinging from chandeliers sex with (or maybe even without!) pantaloons.

*Think of it as extreme vajazzaling. Actually this is possibly untrue and I suspect The Graun is incorrect in it’s use of “cosmetic”.
**Much like most searches for the G spot. Or to use the technical term a “frigmarole”.

Trivia Sunday

Pierre Boulle wrote both Bridge over the River Kwai and Planet of the Apes, although the book was titled Monkey Planet back when I first read it.

Not a lot of people know that.

I guess after the film came out changing the book title made commercial sense.

M. Boulle knew no English and both books were written in French.

Not a lot of people know that either.

Saturday Civilisation–A Portent of a Progressive World

   The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats, 1919

%d bloggers like this: