Category Archives: Law

Celebrity asset stripping

There’s an illegal business practice called Asset Stripping. It’s where an undervalued company is bought up, by fair means or foul, and the assets sold on for a profit leaving nothing but its debts. Whereupon said company is liquidated and fat wodges of cash are salted away beyond the wot of Tax Inspectors. It’s a nasty practice that destroys industries and puts people out of work. Which is why it’s a crime.

One of the tactics asset strippers use is to devalue a company by attacking its brand and devaluing it in the eyes of investors, allowing the asset strippers or their proxies to move in, buy the company up cheaply and literally denude its physical assets. Premises, equipment and holdings all go under the hammer before the shrivelled corpse of a once thriving business or brand is thrown onto the midden of bankruptcy, leaving Directors, Employees, Legitimate creditors, Investors and their families high and dry.

Seems to me there’s continual attempts to emulate this dirt cheap dirty deed in Celebrityland under the guise of sex crimes, where even a celebrity looking into a pram to say “What a cute baby” is viewed, not as a well meant compliment to the parents, but as a statement on the lines of “I’m horny, can baby and I have a party? I have drugs.” According to the feminist meme of “All men are rapists” and no child is safe from them. At least according to the wave of Paedo-hysteria that has been poisoning my home shores for over two decades now. Like with the Salem Witch trials, a pointed finger is enough and if the perpetrator has money – evidence will be found. Or fabricated. Or imagined. No matter how tenuous.

The fact that all the allegations seem to stem from thirty and even forty years ago should ring very loud warning bells to anyone involved as an evidence gatherer. During my streetwalking days we were taught that after each ‘incident’ we were to write down exactly what was said and done as soon as possible. Not half an hour later or end of shift, but right there and then. My wife often comments on how good my memory is because I can recall whole conversations up to a week after the event, but even then I’m cautious. Memory is a tricky thing; and even I’ve been known to get it badly wrong. Because I’ll tell you from hard first hand experience how a charged emotional state will change someone’s perception. People will literally make stuff up, mostly because they weren’t really listening at the time and are covering their arses. They will even happily perjure themselves in a court of law to cover up a minor lapse in attentiveness. Having first convinced themselves that what they thought they saw actually happened. Even if Mr Brain was in ‘idling’ mode at the time.

Even mild mannered me (I am – Honest Guv) has been accused of being ‘abusive’ and even of ‘threatening to hit’ people I’d just issued a parking ticket to on several occasions. None of these accusations were true. Even under direct verbal and physical threat on duty I never swore at, or in front of, a member of the public, nor made any gesture that a sane person would interpret as threatening. Apart from pull out my notebook or hand held computer. As an example, a polite hat tipping gesture was once misinterpreted as ‘flipping the bird‘ to a member of the public. This one minor ‘incident’ like so many other spurious accusations from those times, probably still lie on my personnel file in some dank archive and can be brought back twenty years hence should the will be there. I wouldn’t have a clue after that length of time. Would you?

Having done two stints of Jury service, I’m also more than painfully aware how one prejudiced and assertive voice in the jury room can turn a majority ‘Not Guilty’ decision into ‘Guilty’. Especially when everyone is tired of arguing over minutiae and just want to go home. Juries are strange twelve headed beasts that pull all over the place, sometimes led by the evidence, but more often by strong opinions and emotion. In these infantile days, it is my sad observation that opinions and emotion matter more than facts. Which can be the difference between conviction and freedom.

Scales of injustice clipartIt is also said that everyone lies. We do. Most especially to ourselves. What starts as a little white lie to cover up a trivial misdemeanour takes on layers of untruths to cover up the initial lie. Especially after a protracted period of time. Our imaginations embellish the trivial to make the mundane significant. To make ourselves look and feel more important than we really are. People mishear and misinterpret. Especially children, the emotionally upset, or even someone with a minor electrolyte balance. This is all too human, yet poorly corroborated accusations are being turned into convictions against once-famous old men with a bit in the bank. All so their accusers and their lawyers can feed off the corpse of a career.

So let’s call the current hysteria by its proper name. Celebrity asset stripping.

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That Queens speech thingy

Just finished moving in to our new Victorian domicile. I like this place. Should have moved earlier.

Took a break from unpacking and a wander over to the Barclay Brothers Beano for a meander down the latest list of legislative disasters as given by our Liz. The bill that caught my eye, and for a moment my breath, was the proposed bill which will give HMRC the power to demand money up front if they even suspect you are squirrelling some dosh away for a rainy day. Not only does the UK tax man already have the power to raid bank accounts at will, allowing them to asset strip people without power or influence down to their last five grand, but those rapacious tax gatherers will shortly be able to do it without due process. Only suspicion of wrongdoing, never mind the evidence. All it may take is a simple denunciation from one of those despicably cretinous cunt-stooges like UKUNCUT (May they burn forever in all the hells humanity can imagine), and any assets, personal or company, on which tax may already have been paid will magically disappear from bank accounts up and down the UK. Probably from a lot of expatriates who may well find themselves fighting a legal battle they no longer have the wherewithal to afford, or the air fare back to fight their corner. Having been well and truly sheared without any evidence of wrongdoing or contestable legal proceedings. Precedent, sets, dangerous, a, this (This cliché was purchased from Canadian Tire in flat pack format – some reassembly may be required). In spades. Even if the Chancellor says the affected will get their money back with interest ‘if they win’. Big ‘if’ there, chunky.

You know, as a keen student of history I’ve always wondered how come the Germans, who I’ve always found in person very civilised and cultured people, came to fall under the spell of the worst amoral Jackbooted fascist rob dogs in history. A piece in that jigsaw just fell into place.

The Tightrope Mendacity

Back in 1973, Desmond Bagley published a cold war thriller about a man who found himself part of the looking glass spy war between the West and the then Soviet Union. The book is called The Tightrope Men and it’s a bit dated like all books of that genre, but quite a good read nonetheless. On form, Desmond was more than a match for Tom Clancy and a legion of other writers, but I digress.

One of the key premises of Desmonds book was the idea that both sides during the Cold war leaked secret plans intended to tie up the oppositions best brains and stop them from thinking about more critical and workable ideas. Rather like Smart phones, iPods, Computers, Television, Radio, Sudoku and Crossword puzzles distract we mere mortals from actually bothering to talk to other people, and thus make connections to work out our differences amicably. Now gentle reader (Either of you), If I may lead you down a path that smacks as dangerously of tinfoil hattery as some of David Icke’s wilder assertions, please humour me. I will try not to bore you.

Every day our senses are assailed by some rent-seeking tub thumper or QUANGOcrat firing out press releases that we’re all doomed unless someone ‘does’ something about an alleged problem. Video games causing riots, this or that foodstuff causing Cancer or Heart Disease. Shoe sizes and dress restrictions being coded Racism, Gay rights (Why should they have any more rights than you or I? – That’s discrimination that is), the limits of Unfree speech, people who hide in embassies because they’ve pissed off powerful people as well as their ex girlfriends. Talentless people on pointless television programmes, non existent problems that ‘someone has to fix’ (How about ‘man made global warming’ – if the dutch cap fits, as one prostitute said to another). There is a cacophony of voices out there screaming about this or that, mostly drowning out the less strident voices saying; “Er, that doesn’t work – why are you still banging on about it?” Then the strident ones begin castigating those who do not share their world view. Classic examples are meaningless labels like ‘Denier’, ‘Hater’, ‘Truther’, and many, many more. It’s often hard to see where the smoke ends and the mirrors begin, and vice versa. Yet in order to make sense of this world, the mirrors and the smoke must be understood to distinguish the real from the imaginary.

In order to understand what is real and not, one has to walk a philosophical tightrope without falling off. To have a sense of detachment and balance where others, in their rushes to tribal judgement and reliance on narrow, tick box thinking, fail to apply the principles of critical thought, thus ignoring the real issues. It’s a freedom trap, which even the brightest and best of us fall into. We allow ourselves to fall prey to the glittering horde of daily distractions; Family, Friends, wild eyed activists, various attention seekers and the fools gold of misinformation which the lamestream is heavily laced with.

Friends and family demand attention. At least if you want to keep them. They have to be included in the discussions about the real. Their views cannot be discounted lightly.

However, the first class of opposition to automatically dismiss are the ones coming from people using various parroted shorthand terms, threats and name calling. They have nothing worth listening to. They are the scum on the pond. The second are the single issue ranters, who bang on and on about their pet topic, trying to hijack threads to their own purpose. The third are the verbose, those who insist on boring everyone to tears with two paragraphs of comment-waffle before they even begin to make their point. Worthless trolls to a man (Woman / whatever). I must confess some comment streams have me yawning fit to crack my jaw, especially when certain people can’t simply cut to the chase or keep on topic.

The issue above all issues is the economy. How to get the economies of the west away from their current kamikaze nosedive. One thing is certain, Government spending won’t do it because of one simple economic fact; Governments do not and have never created wealth, they only spend money earned by taxpayers. Inflating the debt away by QE or printing money won’t do it. The Weimar Republic tried it, Zimbabwe is doing it and QE does not work. Even Keynes, the originator of the economic philosophy behind the current mess said that Governments had to put aside funds in the good times to prepare for the bad. Yet what did the Governments in question do? Piss taxpayer dollar up the wall and weaken the nations financial position during the good times before for the inevitable downturn. Now what are they up to? Robbing ordinary people of their hard earned, and trying yet another tax grab on those with assets left overseas.

All the time, the rest of the UK is obsessing about a wealthy Junior Army Officer from a famous family blowing off some steam in Vegas and getting his picture taken in the nude. Oh yes, and football, and dumb TV shows. They believe the lies they are fed about ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice’ because those lies stop you from seeing the mendacity and avarice they shield. Give the socially and financially inactive money earned by others to keep them quiet and stop them rioting. Pay off the potentially violent because if they really kick off, the army and Police couldn’t shoot enough of them to keep the peace. Better they live with their toys and let the grown ups alone. Tell them they’re being ‘nice’ and their need for self worth will make the poor saps believe. Even if they’re keeping otherwise active people in a sessile state.

Some of us have seen the future and are Getting the Fuck Out (GTFO) of the UK. Yet now it seems that what remains of our assets are in the sights of a committee of UK MP’s. They say they want to prevent ‘capital flight’, but whose capital is it? Not theirs. They didn’t make it. Yet these worthless lumpsuckers want to give the sweat off your brow to others? Not only that but home searches by HMRC have increased by 155%. The politico’s must be getting really desperate. They blew the money on their friends and yet they’re scavenging for more? Yet do we hear of this in the newspapers? Google it for yourself.

There is a large body of opinion who might opine; But it don’t matter ‘cos it’s only the rich wot gets hammered yeah? Which is a rather fuckwitted statement one would expect from the mindlessly dependent. Only brain dead drones unworthy of the breath of life think this way because they cannot see that it is only a matter of time before the greedy leviathan might turn its attention to them. Unfortunately they are either intellectually unwilling or unable to walk the tightrope between the mendacity of the lamestream media, and the non-stories fed via these outlets, and the real facts, often hidden in plain sight but ignored. They believe the deluded ‘best in the world’ stories which demand ever increasing tranches of GDP. Because a time may well come when some moron will propose that the state take over all your major life decisions, and that like some medieval serf, all the fruits of your labour will belong to them.

Then everyone but the insiders who run the system will be equal. It will be ‘fair’ because the all encompassing state will dole out ‘social justice’ whether you personally like it or not. No matter how hard you try, you will go nowhere. Doomed to spin your wheels for the rest of your life, never being able to make your own choices. Your life will never really change because you will have no real say. Won’t that be lovely?

Re: my previous post

The point I was making, or trying to make; is that lobbying organisations pose as charities by giving the barest of lip service to the work of a charitable institution. If you got that, you will understand how howlingly funny I find the video below.

Yes, give these fake charities taxpayer money to pay for lawyers and lobbyists to lobby for new laws to outlaw and prevent smoking, drinking alcohol, meat eating, Canadian oil pipelines, cheap energy from shale gas and well, everything…….

You’d only spend it on enjoying yourself, anyway.

Go, NightJack!

The blogging detective ‘outed’ by the Times has just lodged a claim for exemplary damages in the UK’s high court.

This blog wishes him every success.

As, I suspect, do a few more who were ‘outed’ by the Times and suffered career damage.

As they would say in my adopted new homeland; Go! Nightjack!

End of Canadian long gun registry.

Just received:

Changes to the Canadian Firearms Program

On April 5, 2012, Bill C-19, Ending the Long-Gun Registry Act, came into effect. The key changes are as follows:

Removal of the requirement to register non-restricted firearms
Destruction of the existing non-restricted firearms registration records
Allowing the transferor of a non-restricted firearm to obtain confirmation of a transferee’s firearms acquisition licence prior to the transfer being finalized

Until further notice, due to a Court Order issued by the Quebec Superior Court, residents of Quebec are still required to register non-restricted firearms with the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program.

It is important to note that the new law does not change the requirement for all individuals to hold a licence in order to possess a firearm. The licensing, safety training and safe storage requirements for anyone who uses or owns a firearm continue to be in force.

The legislation also does not impact registration requirements for restricted or prohibited firearms.

Update: A subsidiary thought occurs that the new regulations on Ammunition storage are a business opportunity for the makers and fabricators of suitably sized heavy duty lockable boxes.

Jeepers, creepy

The UK’s latest ‘all your privacy belongs to us‘ outrage is, as Richard North so elegantly points out, EU inspired. I don’t buy the Cleggsky promises of ‘safeguards’ nor the Theresa May nonsense about snooping catching the Soham murderer. This is derived from an EU directive, and as such is like being threatened by the Head Girl at school who, in a fit of PMT psychosis, suspects others have been saying ‘bad things’ about her, and is now rushing around trying to find out who they are so she can shout at them.

My own inclination is to let the paranoia increase until said person implodes in tears, declaiming loudly that “No-one loves her” and wander away, chuckling quietly. As for the Apparatchiks and snoopers, let them hear ‘bad things’. In short invent a few. Drive the intrusive bastards and prodnoses nuts. Send the paranoid fruitcakes off on wild goose chases. If they go looking for insults, let them find what they’re looking for. Overload their system.

Tip: To avoid the ‘Four o’clock knock’ so beloved of states who can’t handle a little honest criticism, when challenged, hand over any encryption keys (after first making the ‘authorities’ wait as long as possible) then let the ‘authorities’ find nothing but innocuous messages between friends and family. Then after a suitable pause start all over again with a new set. Not that I would worry about such things, the UK Police Service is being cut to the bone and won’t be able to do anything much. Although the thought does occur that perhaps an excuse is being sought to allow European security resources to operate freely on UK soil. Much good may it do them.

For example; I think the European Union is an unsustainable bureaucratic nonsense, where affected timepleasers and political placemen play out their delusions of power by making endless rules to solve non-problems. In short, they’re corrupt barmcakes, ‘soft’ Nazis, with a less than solid grip on reality. An institutional threat to the rights of the individual. There. In writing down what is simply an opinion formed by years of observation of an institution at work, I’ve just insulted the European Union, which is apparently an ‘offence’ under EU law. Oooo, now I’m so afwaid.

Had the EU remained a mere trading bloc (Which is what it was originally sold as), I might feel more charitable towards it. But seeing as they appear to think people might be so full of ‘sedition’ (Towards a superstate to which we owe no loyalty, nor sworn any oath of fealty to) that all our electronic communications need to be monitored, then my answer can be found in the chorus of a certain Lily Allen number. To which I would add “and the horse you rode in on.”

Good gravy, in sending out directives like these, the EU administration proves itself full of people who are nothing short of creepy.

Update: Having read David Davis’s short piece in the UK’s Sun on this topic, I find myself wondering about the quality of personnel that will supposedly be vetting this new Tsunami of information. How can we be sure that one or two of them will not utilise information about families and their children for less than wholesome purposes? Can we be certain those with access to our families emails and such have no inclinations towards paedophilia and other such perversions who might abuse that position? Such people are artful in wheedling themselves into positions of trust and influence. Might it not be a better idea not to place temptation in their path in the first place?

Update 2: The Mash neatly nails it.

Reading Hayek

It’s nice to see that you aren’t alone in how you see the world working. Reading Hayek’s 1944 exposition on the individual vs the intrusive state, I’m struck by his thoughts on the pros and cons of both approaches. The bit that resonates with me, having spent time as an enforcement officer, is the difference between the rule of law (One rule for all – occasional lapses of ‘Justice’) and attempting to legislate ‘morality’ (Creation of privileged minorities – ‘Justice’ begins to disappear altogether – for everyone).

‘Morality’ to me is rather a subjective term, and perhaps therefore not the best basis for legislation. What might be moral for a far right religious fundamentalist for example, say pray every day, death to the infidel (As self avowed ‘infidel’ I take this rather amiss), women as second class citizens, whatever, looks like perpetuating the same old mess. Similarly; the far left pro libertine (as opposed to libertarian) perspective of enforcing the ‘rights’ of minorities instead of simply agreeing that everyone has the same rights. By ‘rights’ I mean the rights to freedom to own property, go where you please, work at what you please, believe what you please, say what you please, and to live how the heck you please so long as you don’t cause deliberate harm to anyone else and are tolerant of the rights of others. Regardless of age, belief system or cultural heritage. If my neighbours want to dance half naked round their garden wearing nothing but goat skin loincloths I won’t bat an eyelid (I might giggle at them a lot if they did and post the pictures online – but that’s the downside of such behaviour – right?). Just so long as they don’t demand that I do as they do. When it comes to ‘rights’, I most certainly do not mean something like ‘Freedom from poverty’ (Want to be poor? Don’t want to try to do better? Your choice) which means other people are paying for your ‘rights’. Especially Freedom from ‘being offended’, which means no-one else can have an opinion differing from your own (You’re ‘offended’ by the opinions of others? Tough shit you intolerant little tit – now fuck off and die, no one forces you to read). In my books ‘Freedom to’ trumps ‘Freedom from’ every time. Although those who screw around with me without provocation should be aware that I reserve the ‘right’ of creative retaliation.

The other thing I ‘get’ is the futility of rigid planning when it comes to humanity. In war and peace it is said that ‘no plan survives contact with the enemy’, and the old and discredited road of ‘five year plans’ etc is littered with the detritus of failure. So why, when the evidence of experience clearly demonstrates that too much planning leads to failure, are said plans trumpeted as ‘the only way forward’? Phrases like ‘the triumph of hope over experience’ and remarks about the definition of insanity being repetition and the expectation of differing results spring jack-in-the-box style to mind. For example; journeys planned to inflexible schedules which do not include a significant ‘jesus factor’ for flat tyres, traffic conditions, doses of unscheduled minor illness (on anyone’s part), or mechanical breakdown of any sort will be high blood pressure affairs at best.

On a personal note; posting has been erratic because firstly I’m exercising my freedom to be busy on other projects. Secondly, during the recent windstorm, the local trees have been exercising their freedom to fall on the power lines. This has denied me my ‘right’ to a constant electricity supply. However, I exercised my freedom to use alternative means of heating, and didn’t worry too much. Still, the Hydro crews have (Bless ’em) exercised their freedom to rush all hands to the pumps so the electricity was back up and running within four hours. Therefore they will get paid extra overtime and perhaps time off in lieu to exercise their freedom to spend money on nice holidays or pay off the mortgage early, neither of which they should be begrudged. They earned it, and the product of their honest extra sweat should not be stolen via taxation to pay for the chosen extra leisure of others.

As an addendum; I’m amused to see that there’s even an online comic book of Hayek’s seminal work. To be frank, the cartoon version’s a bit simplistic, and dare I say a piece of classic propaganda of its own, but still worth a look.

Where I disagree with the Freeman movement

My blogroll contains a few links to people some might consider raving revolutionaries, specifically the Freemen on the land, as embodied by Captain Ranty. Now I have a deal of respect for the good Captain and cohorts, and what they are trying to do. I appreciate that the oaths sworn by those who consider themselves our rulers are, to say the least, now highly suspect. Sovereignty has been sold. Deals have been struck. The economic futures of whole countries have been mortgaged to the hilt and then refinanced, consolidated and remortgaged again then sold twice over to cover the interest on the remortgage. Like the people who make up those countries didn’t really matter. Effectively what this means is that the old oaths of office sworn in the UK are for all intents and purposes, worthless. The laws, traditions and treaties they were based upon have been conveniently tossed in the rubbish bin for future Historians to squabble over. Constitution? Oh, you mean the UK’s ‘unwritten’ constitution? That old thing? Dahleengs, Magna Carta and 1689 is sooo out of date. Look at this sparkly new EU consti-thingy we signed for you peasants. So who cares if you aren’t allowed to go your own sweet way any more. Yes, it pisses me off as well. Massively.

To the Captain and friends, this discarding of ancient law and precedent renders a good deal of modern statute law worthless. They consider the discarding of law and effective handing over of sovereign authority to a foreign power as nothing less than an act of the highest treason against the people of the UK. They have a very good point. Democratic countries and nation states are (so we are assured) based upon mutually binding promises between rulers and ruled. When those promises are not upheld, then membership of that grouping loses its authority. What this leaves you with, as Mao once pointed out, “Grows from the barrel of a gun.” At that point there is no Democracy, people have no real say in how they are governed, and the whole system begins to break down.

The problem is that whole European (and elsewhere) electorates have been bought with political promises substantial as soap bubbles. “Vote for us and we’ll make everything fair.” kind of thing. “Hey! We can get everything we want by taxing the rich!” Those who make these claims either don’t realise that ‘Fair’ and ‘Rich’ are relative terms, and don’t include the people with the smart money. The ‘Rich’ might well turn out to be the guy who is at present only ‘comfortably well off’, and the ‘Fairness’ he / she is about to find out about is the greater burden of taxation being surreptitiously lowered onto his / her brawny shoulders. Which has already happened, funnily enough. Or rather unfunnily enough. Oh and where are those ‘rich’ people? You know, the ones with the real (not fantasy) money. Like the Cheshire Cat, all that will be seen of their money is a fading fiscal grin, and the more the ‘Tax the rich’ faction clamour for the ‘rich’ to pay for their lifestyles, the higher the burden on the once only modestly well off John Q Public. Not real rich people at all. A vote for ‘Fairness’ will ultimately kill the very system that almost levels the playing field. De Toqueville was right.

All for the sake of power and privilege. That’s what has gone wrong. Too many politicians have gotten too goddamned cosy with taxpayers money.

So, how do we fix it? This system that is so broken? This bargain between individual and state that is the functioning, beating heart of a democracy? Do we rise up, or do we try to pressure the politico’s into taking the pressure off ordinary people and reach some new solution? Where I and the Captain disagree is not about what the problem is, but rather the means of solution.

For me, butting heads with authority using old rules is not an option. Challenging the courts on their home ground is not the solution. Rules can be changed, adapted, and even blatantly ignored by the Judiciary and courts under political supervision. Confrontation simply ups the temperature and the rule makers and enforcers will cheat in order to rid themselves of petty nuisances. Because cheat they will to be rid of people whose only ‘crime’ is to speak their mind or stand up for themselves. The little guy will be sidelined, ignored and sometimes imprisoned. I’ve seen this in microcosm because it’s how UK law works. It’s why a rich man who can afford fancy lawyers can literally get away with murder. Criminals can intimidate witnesses, and political types protest outside their opponents homes and get at their opponents friends and family, because the coppers can’t be everywhere. The little guy working off his own bat (Which is what most Freemen seem to be) can be abused at will because the law is changing so rapidly and applied so arbitrarily. It also helps to remember that what you get in a British court is law, not justice. The law can be bought. This is the way it’s always been. The trick is to make law work in your favour.

“Okay mister brainbox.” one might easily ask. “How would you fight the broken system? How do we get our ancient rights back? How do we get rid of the awful grinding bureaucracy that blights the land if not by fighting back?”

Well, firstly; try not to flag up on the old judicial radar. For my part I’m a law abiding sort by nature, which helps. I also understand how thinly spread the powers of Law and Order are, and try not to make their job more difficult. Because whilst the uniform confronting you may not be your friend, the person within it may be persuaded that you mean no real harm. Politeness pays. Officials are like everyone else, with a few notable exceptions, human. Often a friendly non-confrontational approach will pay off where everything else fails. It is possible to out-nice them, but don’t take the piss. Completely stupid they aren’t, no matter what that nice young radical chappie down the pub told you about “standing up for your rights”.

Understanding what an official is, and the parameters of their job is also useful. Understanding what part of the process you are in is critical. Anything legal must be done just so, or you can walk. The court or issuing authority must do things just right or their case falls apart. Procedures must be followed. JP’s and Judges are bound by very strict rules and guidelines, and whilst they may gloss over certain items for expediency’s sake, if you can clearly demonstrate someone is playing fast and loose with courtroom procedures or the rules of evidence, the case against you will probably collapse. As an aside; while ‘arresting’ JP’s for serving under an unlawful authority may look like a jolly super wheeze, don’t expect to get away with it more than a couple of times. The “Are you serving under your Oath of Office?” approach also has a limited lifespan.

It seems to me that what the Freemen are engaged in is asymmetric warfare, for ancient freedoms. A fight by peaceful means against a new, unaccountable and illegal (In the Freemens eyes) Establishment which appears to be holding all the best cards. Which to a degree they are.

Not that I am advocating any morally or legally reprehensible acts. I’m simply commenting on how the Freemen seem to want to butt heads with the establishment. Which I think will be their undoing. Unless they change their approach.

Upon reflection; the only way for the code Napoleon type laws, which puts the onus of proof on the defendant to be overturned and ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ restored is the complete collapse of the EU power bloc. Secession from the EU may be the only legal way forward. Accomplishing this salient act will require cooperation with other Freemen type organisations in other EU bloc countries. Organisations with which to form expedient alliances, build bridges, and perhaps form the foundation for a more democratically accountable alliance of European countries to replace it. A true grass roots reform, not the current dysfunctional top down, micro-manage everything culture currently in power.

To achieve this, one has to understand the limits of the State in operational terms. The law and the state are not very flexible institutions, and have a long track record of reacting in a heavy handed and inefficient manner. It’s all they really know. For example, several years ago a thrifty Welshman worked out how to use discarded chip shop oil with a touch of methanol in a diesel engined car. The reaction of the state; make it an offence to use said fuel in a vehicle without paying ‘fuel duty’ (but then had to do a climb down because it was unenforceable). This is how the current crop of politicians think. Yellow, red or blue, it makes no odds. They all studied politics in the same schools.

One of the key things to remember is that the organs of the UK’s top down state don’t work very well on evenings or weekends, which is a point worth considering. Read people like Inspector Gadget for example to understand how thinly the much vaunted blue line is spread, where all those highly trained Police Officers spend their time, and under what restrictions they work. Add to this the additional snippet that Council employees and other such state functionaries are actively discouraged from using any form of initiative, and you begin to see the cracks through which Freemen may slink unobserved with a sly grin on their faces. Traveller communities for example, regularly run rings around state employees because they play by their own set of rules. Do Travellers pay tax or road duty? Not that I’m condoning such behaviour of course.

The trick appears to be not to directly confront, don’t play their game, for game it is, on the over intrusive states terms. The odds are stacked in their favour, they play with loaded dice, and make the rules up, so don’t play.

The truth is that the top down, command driven state cannot cope with an opponent, who like McCavity the cat, isn’t there to be caught. This is why the Hunt ban never really worked. Multiple events in widely spread locations (Gosh, did our dogs kill that fox? Oops, sorry. Really.) The tactics of the Flashmob, where tens, sometimes hundreds of like minded individuals turn up at say, Victoria Station to do the zombie dance for three minutes to Michael Jacksons ‘Thriller’ then disappear in a hundred different directions before Security can intervene or the Police arrive. Both peaceful activities, but if the same principles are applied to other activities it may be enough to make other unjust laws unenforceable. In a posted video showing how scrutinised and observed the British are, Ranty asked how the powers that be could ever watch all that surveillance footage, read all those emails and eavesdrop on the texts and phone calls. The answer is they can’t or they’d need so many bored security staff the economy couldn’t stand it. And there he had a partial answer to his own question. The dots are all out there to be connected. Some assembly and creative thinking may be required.

For example; the overweening state needs increasing tax revenues to function, and here is it’s Achilles heel. Barter between Freemen and sympathetically inclined individuals cannot be taxed because it does not have monetary value. Growing for your own consumption cannot be taxed. True, this requires effort, but if you want to be free, then effort is required. As there is no such thing as a free lunch, nothing good happens without a little graft. As solutions go, it’s got to be be better than just sitting there, watching crap TV and moaning about getting shafted.

The aforementioned may not provide the answers the good Captain was asking for originally here; but they’re the only workable ones I can currently offer.

Google not responsible

Now I’ve had my own beefs at Google for various things, but here’s a bit of good news to brighten some people’s day (But not everyones). In the UK, a new court ruling has been made that Google is not a ‘publisher’ and therefore not responsible for posted content. In the words of Mr Justice Eady;

“I would conclude, therefore, that if I am incorrect, or unduly precipitate, in reaching my earlier conclusion that Google Inc should not be regarded as a publisher of the offending words at all, in accordance with common law principles, I would hold in any event that it would be exempted from liability in accordance with [the provisions set out in the Regulations]”,

Go on, pop over to Out-Law and read the whole thing. If Google is exempt, then this judgement should protect WordPress users as well.

Don’t drink and… legislate?

I was amused to hear about a Scottish Labour MP running amok in the Mother of all Parliaments, having looked too long upon the grape, so to speak. It got me wondering about subsidised bars in legislative chambers, and whether such places have a role in today’s modern society. Told as we are that alcohol is very very bad for us, as is tobacco, fatty foods and all sorts of things we plebs are supposed to avoid, upon pain of increased prices. I am not the only one to be thinking thus.

The thought occurs that maybe we ought to apply the same standards to our legislative bodies that their advisers are increasingly demanding of John Q Public? Definitely a smoking ban – no exceptions. If the pub trade in the UK is turning up its fiscal toes because custom is hemorrhaging away, then a complete smoking ban in the Strangers Bar or anywhere within the precincts of Parliament. Let the Parliamentary smokers huddle outdoors at least five metres from doors, air intakes, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, or any form of shelter like everyone else.

Oh, and while we’re at it, I propose that all those responsible for debating legislation and setting policy to affect the lives of everyone else should be breathalysed and drug tested before entering the chamber. Any MP ‘over the limit’ would have to go home immediately until they sober up enough to pass a breath alcohol test. All bars, restaurants and possession of alcohol within legislative buildings and ministerial offices should be completely banned.

Maybe there should even be a ‘Legislators licence’. After all, debating and deciding affairs of state and the fate of the nation is an important matter. Lives and even the livelihood of the nation depend upon cool sober heads making the right decision without chemical interference. Therefore I propose that every MP or representative should have to pass a kind of ‘driving test’ upon matters constitutional and the duties expected of them, which would be subject to an instant eighteen month ban from Parliament should they turn up for work less than completely clean and sober. A second offence would subject them to a three year ban, and a third to a permanent loss of their ‘Legislators licence’. Plus two years in jail and a twenty thousand pound fine. Also, bad laws might be subject to a new offence like ‘legislating without due care and attention’.

I can see it now; MP’s being subject to being pulled over in the entry lobby for looking a bit sozzled by a bunch of suspicious and truculent rozzers with a job lot of breathalysers and two brace of drug sniffer dogs. MP’s being arrested for the new offence of ‘Debating under the Influence’, cuffed and thrown in the cells until their brief can arrive, or they can sober up. After all, shouldn’t those in positions of power be held to higher standards than those they would purport to govern?

Of course it will never happen. Even the bunch of Turkeys in the UK’s Houses of Parliament aren’t stupid enough to vote for that particular type of Christmas.

Although, I’m given to ponder; say if such a diktat came down from the EU Commission, it might go on the books without even a nod as one of those insidious ‘statutory instruments’. Maybe that might persuade more MP’s to be less enthusiastic about being ruled by Brussels.

As an idea, I like it. Sauce for the Goose indeed.

The greatest threat to free speech online – The United Nations?

A great many nation states do not like the dear old Interweb. Well actually that isn’t strictly speaking true. They like the business opportunities of online trading, but what they don’t like is the open and unfettered criticism of various regimes. Russia and China are amongst the lead proponents of the latest wheeze under the auspices of the ITU. Legislation which might curtail said freedom to criticise, often peddled under the ‘paedophile’ and ‘Intellectual Property theft’ agenda is constantly being put before various national Parliaments and debating bodies. Most recently SOPA and PIPA in the USA (Now succeeded by OPEN, a misnomer if ever there was one), ACTA in Europe, Vincent Toews latest brainchild allowing warrantless surveillance in Canada.

Don’t ask me why they bother; these people can’t even get their economies right, and yet they want the right to censor voices not on some vacuous ‘approved’ list? Newsflash. Censorship always fails. Just as prohibition (and the ‘war on drugs’) always led and leads to more organised crime. There is a more enlightened approach to online piracy suggested by Trevor Timm of the Electronic Frontier Foundation over at Al-Jazeera. For a clue, think supermarket ‘loss leader’ to get more trade through the doors of online stores. Well, it’s working for these old fogeys.

Robert M McDowell writing over at the Wall Street Journal covers it more comprehensively in his piece; ‘The U.N. Threat to Internet Freedom ‘. He makes his points well.

In my usual closing aside; I’m reliably informed that Osama Bin Laden once tried to target the UN building in New York. Although I think Bin Laden and his followers are certifiably and frothingly batshit crazy, currently I’m thinking it might not have been such a bad thing had he succeeded.

One of the reasons I left the UK

One day in mid 2006, I was off duty and busy writing when the doorbell of our tiny little terraced house buzzed. I went to the front door to be greeted by a clipboard wielding woman from ‘child services’ demanding to see “The baby”, telling me I had to let her in because “It was the law”.

That is the absolute honest truth, those were her exact words, and they have been burned into my brain, leaving me in no doubt as to the wisdom of our leaving the UK. The woman had the wrong address and seemed incapable of reading road signs, but despite this tried to bull past me on my own doorstep. My own fucking doorstep. No warrant, no Police, no evidence, no nothing. Not even the right bloody house. Needless to say, she was refused entry, and the error of her ways pointed out. Although upon reflection I’d have sent her to the other side of town had I been a bit more aware in those days. Right into the heart of Chavland.

No wonder, as Ranty quite reasonably points out, they keep sticking the wrong people in jail. My grandchildren will not grow up over there if I have any say in the matter. Not unless the Augean stables of certain Government departments are given a thorough cleaning with a few hundred gallons of this, and one of these.

What’s so frightening about Sovereign Citizens?

No less a body than the FBI is posting dire warnings about people it calls ‘Sovereign Citizens’ and how they are becoming a ‘Terrorist threat’. Now I realise this is more Ranty’s territory than mine, but I’d like to write down what thoughts I have on the matter.

Now the FBI say that this movement poses a ‘threat’, forming an extreme ‘right wing’ grouping. In their press releases they attempt to link the Sovereign Citizen movement directly to the actions of the Oklahoma Bomber Timothy McVeigh, with a sly nod of the head towards the loose but highly influential American anti-tax alliance, the Tea Party.

Of course it’s all propaganda. Assailed upon all sides by the tactics of tax and revenue denial, the powers that be will want all those who don’t like having their pocketbooks raped for last red cent classed as ‘terrorists’. Even if the individuals concerned are nothing of the sort.

Based on the few cases held up as exemplars of these extremists, I’d say someone is over egging their particular propaganda pudding. Besides, there’s nothing remotely Libertarian about being extreme right wing, nor extreme left wing for that matter. Both sides of that particular authoritarian coin are as vile and racist as each other, and equally outdated. Similarly, the semi-official authoritarian version of the ideal of individual sovereignty differs hugely from the version put forward by commentators on the movement themselves. On the face of it there seems little to be afraid of. At least not for the average person in the street.

The Sovereign Citizens appear to see themselves as harking back to the principles enshrined in the original US Constitution and Common Law, while the opposing faction are (mostly) steaming over possible loss of tax revenue. As an observation; the first American revolutionary war was started by people opposed to excessive taxation. A further observation; wouldn’t it be a good idea not to make the current spending crisis worse?

Whilst I’m thinking about it, I have a number of American friends who were less than enchanted at having to fill in a US Tax form for the first time last year. Even when they’d been working north of the 49th Parallel for years and dutifully paying their share to the Canadian exchequer. No matter where they were, even if they had dual citizenship and already paid; Uncle Sam wanted his cut. Now. Or else.

Ever more intrusive and grasping fiscal measures are what lend strength and leverage to (at least originally) libertarian movements like the Sovereign Citizens. Joe / Joanne Q Taxpayer see their tax money given away to the financial cronies of politicians in massive bailouts and quietly grind their teeth. They write to their Representatives and get no redress. They challenge visiting speakers at local town hall meetings, embarrassing speakers with well researched questions, even getting excluded or thrown out for their trouble. Eventually they lose faith in the political process, and begin to view all their elected officials as the enemy, not the public servants they are supposed to be. Some attempt to ‘fight the system’ using tactics mandated by people like Ranty. Some will demonstrate, only to be ridiculed by those in the pockets of the authoritarians. Others will be driven into the arms of political extremists. Some will cave in, hoping for better days, but their resentment will fester.

What the Authoritarian faction don’t seem to understand is that treating people like tax cows, especially when said people are used to paying their own way, is counter productive. Almost as counter productive as labeling a person who had previously taken great pride in being a citizen of ‘the land of the free’ a ‘terrorist’. What a bright idea that never was.

Sounds like one of those self fulfilling prophesies to me. Oh well, can’t say I didn’t tell you so.

Just as an aside; I’ve been reading about the period that led to the Revolutions in Greece, France, Italy and the 13 Colonies of America (as it was then). Fascinating stuff about The End of the Old regime in Europe 1768-1776 by Franco Venturi. A seminal work on the collapse of despotism with much to absorb and consider.

A very indecent European proposal

From a German source via Dan Hannan at the Tellytubbygraph.

Just watch, and tell me if you don’t think it will all end in tears.