Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image

Quote of the Day.

We are always happy to help the increasing numbers who want to disentangle themselves from the increasingly fruitless practice of tax avoidance.’

An HMRC spokesman.

Back in the land of the living…

I am with Sky for most everything – net, TV, landline… Now the modem/router has been “on the blink”* for sometime and finally joined the digital choir invisible on Saturday. So I’d got a TP-Link replacement. Top-notch piece of kit. Think fine – set it up – and all that – easy as falling off a log. Except I tried everything short consorting with wiser heads and virgin sacrifice**.

It turns out – and at no point did Sky or TP-Link make this clear that Skynet** only works with Sky modem/routers. And I’d spoken to Sky and they’d only told me to get a new gizmo – they didn’t tell me it had to be a Sky one! It was only later when my wife howled at them they said, “Er…” So had to buy one from them. I had originally thought they might replace their hardware buckshee but we seem these days to live in the land of negative customer loyalty. I mean they offer reduced deals for some months to new customers but if you have been with ‘em for years they couldn’t give a toss. I don’t like that. And they are all at it. BT, TalkTalk and all the rest of ‘em.

So, I’m back online. Thank the Gods of TCP/IP!

If anyone in the UK needs to buy a pretty high-spec wifi modem/router which is really nearly new then I am your man.

But being de-netted was dreadful. It was almost like being dead. It was like I kept on thinking things like, “There’s gotta be a solution online”. Then, “Oh bugger!”. It was like having a Speccy without a tape recorder. And it was really pissing me of because of my recent getting of a new laptop (8Gb Lenovo S440 with a Core i5 CPU). I was peeved.

*a techie term meaning roughly, “Circling the drain in the House of the Fucked”.

**Problem is round here there is no way to find three wise men and a virgin so no second-coming for us.

***For that is what I call it.

Rolf, Coulson, Freddie & Rebekah – Part 2

Well, I am sue most of you got it, but just in case anyone didn’t, there was a reason for the rather odd language in part one of this post. It would of course be illegal to ‘out’ victims in such cases and the women in question were not victims of Rolf et al, they were the supposed victims of the witches in Salem. It wasn’t the News of the World, it was the Malleus Maleficarum.

You can read the whole thing here.

The reason I put up Part 1 was to highlight the need for a statute of limitations at law. I would be simply unable to adequately defend myself from allegations made which related to conduct in the mid 1980’s when I started dating (adult) women. Now I don’t expect any to come forward and didn’t engage in any rum behaviours but were I to be asked by a lawyer “tell us about the night of the 16th of March 1986” I simply couldn’t. I could mount no adequate defence.

Nor am I suggesting that anyone found guilty is not, I simply remember the exchange between Roper and More

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

I am so sorry for the victims of abuse, and we need to give kids time to mature into adults, but there has to be a limit of some kind, otherwise qui tacet consentire videtur

After the passage of enough time anyway.

Bill Whittle: Losing the Peace in Iraq

There is one statement in here that I’ll bet will surprise everybody except maybe Mr. Cats, who may have already seen the video. It’s about Nixon, and it surprised me.

For those whose computers are either deaf or mute, the video is accompanied by a transcript at FrontPage Mag.

Rolf, Coulson, Freddie & Rebekah

The various media and molestation trials must be a cause for concern.

After extensive research, I can now bring you the names of some of the victims of the sexual predators the recent prosecutions.

The various celebrity paedophiles were accused and arrested for allegedly afflicting Betty Parris, Abigail Williams, 12-year-old Ann Putnam, Jr., Elizabeth Hubbard, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne. The girls complained of being pinched and pricked . A doctor could find no physical evidence but other young women began to exhibit similar behaviours.

Meanwhile stories of enchantment from The News of the World about sexual encounters swaying the minds of men, and fortune telling were said to stimulate the imaginations of young girls and made Coulson an obvious target of accusation Not even in death were the accused granted peace or respect,

Some were less inclined to believe the biological explanations, preferring instead to explore motivations such as jealousy, spite, and a need for attention to explain behaviour that they contend was simply acting or the pursuit of compensation

Rolf Harris

Rolf Harris was a massive part of my youth. It would appear now that he was a massive part of other kids youth too – and not in a good way. I mean I always thought Saville was a sleazy sod but Rolf! Rolf was Aussie gold.

I use to watch his show “Cartoon Club” as a kid and as 19 year-old he headlined the end of year party at Nottingham University. He was great. He got bigger cheers than Dannii Minogue who was the second on the list. I was right at the front and she certainly was “well fit” in the live. I guess she was maybe (even then) too old for Rolf’s tastes and Kylie would have clobbered him with a knotty prop – always struck even from her days in Neighbours as a feisty one our Kylie.

So I saw Rolf with his wobble board and doing Jake The Peg, painted an Outback scene and did a few songs and told a few jokes. The consummate light entertainer – especially after a few tinnies of Fosters – yes there was a reason the evening had an Australian theme.

I just don’t get it. If you are a successful, wealthy, entertainer you can actually get a consensual sexual relationship with an attractive adult. So why all this nasty, grubby stuff? Is it to quote Wilde, “Dining with Panthers” or is it just egomania or what?

Rolf, you let a generation down. You let me down. Now you are going down.

Times of future Past…

Glastonbury 1979 Cutting 001

I was going to do a screed about Glasto in response to Samizdata’s post, but things have gotten away from me rather this weekend. For one we have been at a Nephew’s wedding in Cardiff last weekend, and the bloody dongle wasn’t working anyway…

Is Glasto better or worse than it used to be? Is it too Middle Class? Is it this… Is it that? Well if you want an honest answer, then it is ineffably better than it was.

I wrote that (hope you can read it, click to enlarge) for Sounds Magazine back in 1979. Back then Glasto was a half arsed hippy dippie festival that you had to provide all the jollies for yourself, there weren’t even bars back then( except for us Back-stagers). There were hot dog and burger vans and folks knocking out Falafal and curries. All kinds of alternative lifestyle stalls and two stages… The Pyramid and the Other Stage. There were theatre, cinema and comedy tents/stages too, but this was all in its infancy then. Now there are over a hundred stages catering from everything from Jazz to folk to Indie to Rave to… well you just cannot imagine what Glastonbury is like unless you have experienced it. In sunshine or in rain, in hail and mud (the British spirit of the blitz really kicks in with the mud!). It is truly Alice through the Looking Glass for three days or so. A world you would love to live in but like Brigadoon, vanishes oh so quickly and you have to get back to mundane reality and the 9-5 come Monday morning.

Now the above piece has an anecdote attached (don’t all your pieces?… Ed) I was a freelance and new kid on the block for Sounds Magazine when they commissioned me to do the first day and a half of the 79 Glasto. So off we set with our tent and provisions and it was just about possible to cover it as a music event with only two main stages. We had a wonderful stoned time and I went home to Bristol and wrote up my copy on the Sunday night.

Well I’m an Executive Officer in the Crown Court by day and a journalist at night at this time in my life, aren’t I? So I roll into the Crown Court around 9.30 ( I have always been allergic to mornings) with my pristine copy in my hand.

Sounds had a deadline of 12 noon on Mondays. So I made myself a cup of coffee and got on the phone to the Printers. Now my Seniors were always very indulgent with me, it must be my natural charm or something, because I used to get away with a hell of a lot. I even used the Chief Clerk’s office now and again because the Sounds secretaries were chosen for the size of their boobs and the shortness of their skirts, not their Shorthand skills, and took a fuckin age to get copy transcribed, and even then they often misheard it.

But anyway I’m through to the Printers with professional copy takers, people who can transcribe as fast or faster than you can talk… So did you stay the whole weekend and see all the bands? says the copy taker. Well of course we did! You don’t go home half way through a festival do you?… Great! says he… It’s like this… The Staffer who was supposed to cover the last day and a half, got so wasted he never even got out of the cark park, let alone saw the bands, so can you re-write your stuff and expand it to cover the whole festival?

Err… ok.

This is how you hone the craft of Journalism ladies and gents… Not by going to Journalism School and learning about pyramid leads, it’s born of fear, adrenaline, and a ferocious deadline looming. I now had about 2 hours to re-write my copy to cover the whole festival and phone it in. I had no notes just memory and inspiration.

So sheepishly I asked my boss if I could take an early lunch…. Lunch! Lunch! you only just got here! It’s only ten o’clock for Christ’s sake!…. I explained, and again they were incredibly indulgent with me. I repaired to the tavern across the other side of Broad Street, got one in and set about my task in a sweat driven frenzy. The above is the result. Not my most pristine prose by any stretch, but I did the job.

The Glastonbury Festival is one thing you all should do before you die, it is like nothing else you will ever experience. provided you can afford it these days of course. I have never paid to get in. Winking smile

Savoir-faire …

But I can’t imagine Jeeves as ever needing this technique.

Quote of the Day

According to the Bible, Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Palestine. A country where people are called Mohammed, Abdul, Mounir, Aziz, Ahmed, Farid, Omar, Youssef, Mouhoud, etc.

Yet he managed to find 12 friends called  Andy, Bart, Jim (two of them), John, Jude, Judas, Matt, Pete, Phil, Simon and Tom….. who all liked getting pissed on wine!

Larry Pickering

Our foreign policy shambles

Foreign policy on Iraq and Syria is a total car crash.  This tends to be what happens when you go hurtling off on half-baked, wildly optimistic adventurism.

If you think back to the heady days of 2003, Tony Blair, he of the whiter than white government was in office.  He told us Saddam was dangerous and was developing nukes and other WMD, Brits were 45 minutes from doom and all.  The vile Ba’athist regime of Saddam said “no, we don’t have any”  But would you trust a murdering sociopathic liar?

I am ashamed to say, I did believe the JIC report (the last time I ever did) but had a problem with the strategy.  As the Western tanks rolled into Baghdad, I thought “surely Saddam HAS to fire the WMD’s” that after all is their strategic role.  We were told he was ‘warned’ not to.  But given that we had already declared war, I wasn’t sure how meaningful that was.

Total chaos and death followed the overthrow of Saddam, not the enlightened democracy we were promised.  A few years, much cash and many deaths later, our troops withdrew from Basra – defeated.*

The Iraqis voted on entirely sectarian lines and the minority Sunnis were booted out of power, something they had enjoyed for nearly 1300 years.  This pissed off the Saudis and Qataris, but overjoyed Iran.  Western intervention utterly destroyed the Iraqi army and the Taliban as a serious military force in Afghanistan making Iran the regional geo-political power:  now it had gifted them a friendly government next door.

Meanwhile in Syria, intelligence agencies from the West and arms dealers from Saudi Arabia concluded that de-stabilising the Assad regime might isolate Iran making them easier to deal with.  So merry hell was let lose, as all manner of unknown anti-Assad groups were armed and funded.  After all, it wasn’t like we’d just had experience of the total fucking carnage that follows when you de-stabilise and attempt to kick out a Ba’athist regime (or indeed Gaddafi in Libya).  The Russians thought this a very bad idea and gave Assad some advanced anti-aircraft and anti-shipping missiles.  This made western intervention tricky.  Dead soldiers are one thing, you don’t see the photos, but crashed planes or sinking ships – bad media.

In August of 2013, 272 MP’s thought the very best course of action was to go to Syria and start killing yet more people, ideally people loyal to Assad.  285 thought it a bad idea and by a majority of just 13, we did not take the field alongside ISIS fighters – sic.  (More on them in a moment).

Having turned Syria into a hellish bloodbath, the always admirable Saudis** started funding a group of Sunni co-religionists called the Independent state of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  They set about butchering people they regarded as apostates.  This makes about as much sense as having a murderous dispute about the names of Santa’s elves, so clearly these are the people to give nearly a billion dollars and weapons to.

ISIS then took on the Iraqi army.  You will recall we stayed in Iraq for years training this elite fighting force.  This was the justification du jour when it became obvious there were no WMD’s.  Predictably enough, the Iraqi army lasted about as long as the Afghan national army will when the Taliban want to take over again.

So now we had a problem, our nearly allies in Syria were being jolly naughty chaps in Iraq, so should we bomb them or deploy?  Immediate engagement in Iraq is about as welcome as a cup of cold sick, so it is left to the Iraqis to re-supply planes from … Russia.  Yep, in just a few days, Russian planes will be blowing ISIS to hell apparently.  Of course you can’t just buy a modern jet fighter, jump in and fly it, so I guess the pilots must also be Russian?  Perhaps NickM could advise?

If this works, the Iraqi government will say a big thanks to Vladimir Putin.

The Iranians meanwhile have had a huge sense of schadenfreude.  Western governments, notably the USA, after calling them the empire of evil etc. for twenty years, now go cap in hand for help with ISIS.

Meanwhile Obama now wants to spend $500 Million to train and equip ‘moderate’ Islamic murderers in Syria (but not ISIS, oh no!) because it’s not like we have recent experience of that type of adventure being utterly infiltrated by fundamentalists and rendered pointless.  Even if you could identify moderates (whatever that means) how can you propose this shit with a straight face?  But hey, it will mean more debt slavery for our kids and still more killing.

Never fear, the very worst is yet to come.

Assume Maliki’s government in Iraq is real struggling and the Iranians get him to ask for formal military assistance.  The Iranians can then send their powerful army to occupy the southern oilfields and basically set-up Arabistan in the South.  This gives total control of Iranian and Iraqi oil to Tehran and if they can get an invite to go in, it wouldn’t even be something the UN could scream about very much.

And what the hell would we do then?  Appeal to our friends the Saudis, go back in and kill yet more people, spend more money we don’t have?

Yep, all things considered after all the murder and money, all the shattered lives and fatherless children, all the chaos, this is what our elite leaders have delivered.

Remind me again why we need these murderous cunts?

Eli Wallach – Rest in Peace.

It was with various sadnesses I learned of the death of Eli Wallach. Obviously to hear of someone you liked in movies pegging-out is sad but he was 98 which is a bloody good innings so…

Anyway, let’s just see him in a truly brilliant scene of cinema. And recall Lee Van Cleef, Sergio Leone and recall that Clint and Ennio are still with us. This is the final scene (pretty much) of one of my fave movies of all time… I make no spoiler alerts because you will have seen it – or should have done. And I make no apology for that either because it is magnificent. And this is the finest Mexican stand-off ever so enjoy for it is glorious…

Rest in Peace Eli Wallach.

The Great Deception

Richard North and Christopher Booker’s masterly history of the European Project has been made available as a free PDF by North.

This is huge news. If you haven’t read it, you (probably) don’t know the first thing about what the EU is, where it came from, and why it can’t – or won’t – ever be “reformed”. I always urge everyone to read it if they can get a hold of a copy. Now everyone can.

[EDIT: Updated link. North noticed he'd actually posted the original, pre-Constitutional Convention, edition. The second edition, with two extra chapters covering 2003-2005, is now available. My hardback copy is of the first, so I'm interested to see what they say myself.]

Let’s look at the stats

I seem to have run into some flak recently, so I thought I would test some of the ideas against the historical record. The Rand corporation published “How Terrorist Groups End-Lessons for Countering al Qa’ida” by Seth G. Jones, Martin C. Libicki.
They examined 648 terrorist groups that existed between 1968 and 2006. They found that they ended for two major reasons:
1. members decided to adopt non-violent tactics and join the political process (43 percent of the time), or
2. local police and intelligence agencies arrested or killed key members of the group (40 percent).
Military force has rarely been the primary reason how terrorist groups have ended (10 percent), and few groups have ever achieved victory (7 percent).
In testimony to congress they noted “When a terrorist group becomes involved in an insurgency, it does not end easily. Nearly 50 percent of the time, groups ended by negotiating a settlement with the government; 25 percent of the time, they achieved victory; and 19 percent of the time, military forces defeated them.
So history suggests that the military option has less than a 1 in 5 chance of success, whereas getting them to join the political process or arresting/killing key members of the group as I suggest elsewhere, has a better than 4 in 5 chance of success.
It maybe worth repeating, I don’t support Hamas murder anymore than Israeli murder. I just see beyond the “Jews good, Muslims bad” meme. The extremists (and their apologists) on both sides are just murderers or accessories.

Culture = Food.

This is a post I have been thinking of for a while. Endivio’s comments on another post recently brought it back to mind.

Two countries I have visited fairly recently are Poland and Turkey. The first is a secular majority Catholic state, the second a secular* majority Muslim state.

So in what way do they differ? Obviously they have different histories and cultures driven by centuries but what really struck me is food. Now, at least in Western Turkey (I don’t know about the sticks) getting a bit of booze is easy and the same can of course be said for Poland. But meat is different. Meat in Poland is almost synonymous with pig. You don’t get much pig in Turkey. Indeed I saw one restaurant that served pig in Istanbul (it was a Spanish gaff). Just one. Once when picked up from Krakow Airport we had to dodge a deer on the road. I asked if they ate ‘em. “Er… not really” came the reply. When you consider in dear old Blighty venison is considered a king of meats this seemed odd. The place was apparently wick with dear but did you see it on a menu? Is there any particularly compelling reason meat in Turkey almost invariably means lamb? It is culture and tradition and cooking what your mam made. Women walk the streets of Istanbul in mini-skirts** sitting outside cafes and bars and drinking Efes Beer***. So hijab is out the window for many (by no means all) Turkish women as does going out for a pint but pig is off the menu.

Whereas in Poland if there ain’t pig involved it ain’t dinner. I have to say Polish beer is better than Turkish but Czech beer is most excellent. It is an odd thing. The persistence in culture of food. It seems to last longer than anything I can think of.

And it exists within countries. I am I think peculiar in living in the same house from birth to going to university – basically from 0-19. At Nottingham University I met southerners. They would talk about Christmas dinner with bread sauce. Never heard of it but everyone from south of the Watford Gap swore by it. I’m still not entirely clear what it is. Food is culture and a Turk might relax with a beer with her hair out but offer her a ham sandwich and you’ll get a funny look. Offer a Pole some venison and ditto. Offer me bread sauce and much the same. Food is something we tend to stick with perhaps more than any other religious or cultural aspect of life. As a Brit who lives with a staggering diversity of food (thank you Empire!) I find this odd. Perhaps foreign folk find our curry habit odd. Well, apart from South Asians obviously.

If I might push the boat out food defines us more than almost anything. My wife and I have a lot of cook books and a lot of those (most) name a country or area on the front and spine. You don’t get that with novels.

OK, I’m off to write as shopping list**** for we are having Mexican tonight.

*Though Mr Erdogan seems to doing his level best to fuck this up.

**Should I even mention what they wear in the “Russian Quarter” – if you have seen movies from the ’80s you’ll know. And it is all priced in Turkish lira and rouble.

***Remarkably similar to US mass-made lager. Yes I know there is good American beer but mainly you get stuff like Coors and I used to drink that but now I am older Budweiser. Terrible joke, sorry.

****Am I th only one who thinks of that as a Chopin Liszt? That’s an even worse joke.

Learning To Think Like A Progressive

Steve Goddard tells us how.

Learning To Think Like A Progressive

Posted on June 23, 2014 by stevengoddard

Progressives do everything they can to drive young men insane, by repressing all normal male behavior and telling teens that they are destroying the planet by driving their car.

Then when teenage boys go completely insane and kill their peers with knives, cars, explosives and guns, progressives jump to the obvious conclusion that the madness could have been prevented by punishing duck hunters.

%d bloggers like this: