Told you so

Back last year, when the Brexit vote was first mooted all the prophets of doom were running around screaming about the economic damage leaving the EU would do the dear old UK, I cautiously espoused an opposing view here and here and here.

eutanic-rock-and-a-hard-placeNow Mark Carney, Chairman of the Bank of England has seen the light. Seven months late, but that’s why I put not my trust in Princes and watch the truth of real numbers. The City of London, like any other financial market, floats on a sea rich and royally reeking of bullshit, but, and it’s a massive curvaceous booty to boot, the numbers say that the EU is overstretched financially, and with the exit of the UK beginning in March 2017 will likely lurch into a deeper crisis than the one it is in already.

In the UK however, all the future indicators are positive. Countries are queuing up to do deals with one of the major trading hubs of the western world. For too long the UK was trapped as a satellite, bound into a fairly restrictive single market without all the global links it needed to really catch fire, financially speaking. Now those markets look set to burst wide open, and for a few years there should be an expansion as old and new relationships are exploited. More jobs, an expanding economy, and maybe even a loosening of the bondage ties of EU mandated directives. Of course there will be winners and losers, but for the guy who is quick off the mark, the rewards will be out there.

These are exciting times. At least for an investor with their eyes wide open. With a pro-UK man in the White House for a change, a deal maker at that, and with a possible new and more positive relationship with Russia in the offing I’m feeling quite sanguine. For too long the world has been fighting itself like a dog in a sack, now the sack can be opened, and the dog can go chase all the juicy bones out there. Sure, it won’t be all plain sailing, but this is the beginning of a new era, and with luck the morbidly obese bureaucracy of the EU will be a distant fading memory in a couple of decades time.

Wonder what they’ll do with all those grandiose insults to architecture the Eurocrats were so fond of?

Errm…

Was perusing some data in the early hours, after a pain wracked Mrs S turned me out of my pit. Not her fault, she got hurt badly, and I have to put up with the side effects. It’s only three months until she’s skipping like a spring lamb once more. (Only!)

However, our new bookcases are now up, secured, and being filled with fiction, faction and fact. From Douglas Adams to Emile Zola and many points in between, stopping at (Amongst others) Aristotle, Juvenal, Plautus and Plato, all change at Freakonomics for Terry Pratchett to P J O’Rourke with a minor halt at Bertrand Russell and a shunt into Germaine Greer and Mary Woolstonecraft. I think there’s a Grays Anatomy in there somewhere keeping our two dozen or so dictionaries, grammar textbooks and thesauri company. Not to mention the various trade textbooks (Usual suspects; A+, Windows 7, Linux, HTML, XML etc.) Make of that what you will. Did I say we like reading? My cookbooks live separately in the kitchen.

Notwithstanding I was looking at the available UK Cancer statistics, as you do when you’ve nothing to do at four in the morning and you’re trying to bore yourself to sleep, and came across this interesting chart from the UK’s statistics web site (See screengrab below).
cancer-statistics It’s for cancers of all causes except the one excluded.

Now we’ve been bombarded with government ‘health’ advice about cancer since I was a boy. Surely some of it should have sunk in? Or is the steady increase in Cancer not entirely due to our lifestyle choices? Or are the majority down to genetics and ‘pure bad luck‘. Some say not. Some of them have an agenda. There’s more dross written on diet and health than on any other self help topic. Mostly by people who have only a sketchy understanding of how the human body actually works. Frankly me dears, most of it can best be described as ‘Guff‘. Yet there’s a whole industry based on it. Go figure.

Now I’m intrigued by this steady increase in Cancer diagnoses. As well as the continual, slow but steady increase in diagnoses of other fatal ailments. With ‘healthier’ lifestyles becoming the norm and smoking being but a pale wraith of its previous self, you could be forgiven that perhaps there is another life-claiming villain ready to leap out of the closet and shout “Boo! Har-har, it was me all along!” at everyone. And there is.

When it comes to carcinogens, the love that dare not speak its name or Elephant in the room if you like is Diesel emissions. Diesel fumes are a carcinogen (A ‘Group One’ Carcinogen no less). So says the World Health Organisation, based on reports from the IARC. That stuff coughing out of that bus, train or lorries exhaust? Can you smell Diesel? Yes? Run. Get away from the source as fast as you can but don’t breathe whatever you do. Especially if you live in a major urban conurbation. The particulates are often invisible, and they’re everywhere, along with cited evils like tobacco smoke (both first and secondhand), mustard gas, sunlight, Chinese salted fish, vinyl chloride, soot and wood dust. What sort of wood dust isn’t included in the literature. So maybe going back to nature won’t help either. However, compared to Diesel fumes they’re lightweights.

It’s funny. A few years ago, we were all being encouraged to buy Diesel cars so they could use ‘Bio-Diesel’ or whatever marketing ploy the politicians fell for. Now we find that riding a bus in rush hour traffic may be as deadly as a forty a day habit. Who knew? I’m not even a smoker and this dark little irony has kept a smug smirk on my fizzog all day long.

Oh well, I never really wanted to live forever. Oh dear, the bookcases are full and I’ve still got more books to sort. Another visit to IKEA is called for.

IKEA Bookcase Building

To-day we have IKEA bookcase building. Yesterday,
We emptied more boxes. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after cleaning. But to-day,
To-day we have IKEA Bookcase building.
Snow glistens like coral in neighbouring gardens,
And to-day we have IKEA bookcase building.

This is the lower shelf fixing. And this
Is the upper shelf fixing, whose use you will see,
When you find the damn screws. And this is the middle screw fixing,
Which in your case can’t be found in the box.
Bare branches rattle in gardens with silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the upper left retaining widget, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb.
For heaven’s sake don’t use your finger.
Else you’ll trap it between the next side.
Icicles are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the mid shelf.
The purpose of this is to fix the mid shelf, as you see.
We can slide it easily sidewards and downward: we call this adjusting the gap.
And easily sidewards and downward.
Ice fern patterns melt slowly from windows:
They call it adjusting the gap.

They call it adjusting the gap: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the mid shelf,
The widget, retainer, and the middle screw fixing,
Which can’t be found in the box; and the bare buds
Silent in all of the gardens and the icicles drip, ticking like regular clocks
For to-day we have IKEA bookcase building.

Apologies to the shade of Henry Reed for butchering his poem ‘The naming of parts

It took a little less than an hour.

HR 5181

hr5181-posterRemember that number, because despite the stated intent, this is another attempt by mainstream politicians to control news. Otherwise known as the “Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act” this bill passed a vote in the US Senate by 92-7 on December 9th, and now has the current US incumbents hurried scrawl on it.

Now on the first pages this bill states that it is designed to counter ‘disinformation and propaganda’ from the ‘Russians’. Sorry, but I don’t buy it. Especially after the patent falsehood much touted about in the news that the Wikileaks file releases were Russian in origin. The incriminating DNC and Podesta releases were not Russian in origin. Their origin was, as Wikileaks have repeatedly stated, from unnamed insiders.

Banning foreign propaganda is all very well if you’re fighting a war, and a war is what the Obama administration wants and needs (At least until 20th January 2017). It’s part of a desperate last gasp ploy to keep the current Neocon controlled incumbent in power under the US Emergency powers legislation. Anything to keep the West’s permanent war with Eastasia going.

Anyone who doesn’t believe this isn’t seeing the whole picture. NATO has troops in the Ukraine, with a whole new batch of US troops just landed. They’re supposed to be there to ‘protect’ the Ukraine from Russian incursion. Which hasn’t happened. Parts of the Ukraine, mostly those who identify as ethnic Russian, have seceded democratically, however the new Government didn’t like Donetsk and the Crimea deciding they didn’t want to be ‘Ukrainian’, so they are throwing bombs and bullets around at the pro-Russian local militias, who with nowhere else to turn, did deals with, surprise, surprise, the Russians. Who have had very little to do because their military is still a pale shadow of its Soviet heyday. To the point where the best capital ship they could field to the Black sea was a barely upgraded rustbucket of an aircraft carrier. Hells bells the Russians still fly old Soviet era Turbofan driven ‘Bear’ Bombers, the entire fleet of which could be knocked out the sky by a single Typhoon Eurofighter or a brace of F-22’s. All of the aforementioned is public domain if you can be bothered to go and hunt down the primary sources. Until of course the sources are shut down for being ‘Counterfactual’. Like Janes guide to all things military. Good luck with that.

The thing I find truly sinister about HR5181 is that it is designed to be applied against anyone, both within the United States and elsewhere. Not just the Russians, or the Chinese, but let’s say Alex Jones the rather histrionic host of ‘Info-Wars’, who, it has been publicly stated by Hilary Clinton, is one of the voices the present US administration would like to shut the hell up. This bill gives the ‘Intelligence’ and other agencies that power. Same for all those other irritating little voices on the jolly old Interweb who don’t believe much of the arrant nonsense peddled by the mainstream press. The voices who bother to fact check. The voices who don’t have huge overheads to service. This bill could be used to silence anyone who doesn’t buy the “It was those pesky Russians! Goldarnit!” warmongering narrative. The Russians might not be totally innocent, but they sure enough aren’t the lead player. That title belongs to US Intelligence agencies. Particularly the CIA. They’ve been meddling all over the world for over sixty plus years. Regime changes, assassination attempts, proxy wars. So did Soviet Russia, but when their empire collapsed in 1989, their actions more or less ground to a halt. The CIA’s never did.

Food for thought

Not been a stunning success of a festive season, Mrs S has been in hospital with a serious injury and I narrowly avoided getting my right foot broken. Only my braw-boned heredity stood in the way of a more serious injury and my current crop of bruises are truly spectacular. Before that there was the snappishness of Youngest and sneering jibes from Sister in Law over Christmas dinner. Even Mrs S was ‘off’ with me. I’m thinking it may be time to make an excuse in future and give the whole ‘Family Christmas’ thing a miss. This part of the year should be full of good cheer, and mine has been so singularly lacking in that department that another plan is called for. One that involves blue skies, warmth to chase the chill from my bones, wine and stuff I actually like doing. Turkey does not figure large in my plans. Neither as food nor destination.

Frankly I’m glad to see the back of 2016. What with illness, injury and others mishandling of my UK affairs I haven’t made the money I’d have liked, which means I have to spend time I’d rather not have done fixing the mistakes of others. It also means that our planned 2017 European Motorcycle trip is off. I’m rather gutted about this, but no, I haven’t actually lost anything, it’s just that my assets are tied up in bureaucratic limbo and unavailable until maybe September. However, I’ve had an idea which should actually recoup, maybe even boost the value of my investment, and have just submitted it to my co-investors. With luck they’ll see sense this time round. Not that I’m holding out much hope. Collectively they’ve all the foresightedness of an amnesiac blind Anteater under heavy sedation. Bill, why the hell did you get involved with such a bunch of dead-heads? Pass. Next question.

However, despite personal setbacks I’m sanguine about 2017. Only two weeks until the first real dominoes begin tumbling, but when they do it’s going to be fun. And they’re going to keep on tumbling for the top down, arrogant fucks that want to tell everyone else how to live their lives in microcosm. Especially when 31st March and Brexit is triggered. Which I’m sure will ‘trigger’ a whole bunch of people who richly deserve it. The meltdowns when the Trump and Brexit votes didn’t go their way will be nothing when reality bites.

So I draw deep satisfaction that although our planned 2017 road trip has gone the way of all flesh, I haven’t really lost anything. My deals will go through eventually, and I may make even more money because of the delays. In 2016 I made promises which I can’t keep right this minute, but I give my absolute word to make it up to those affected within the next twelvemonth. And you can take that to the bank and cash it.

Happy New Year.

Merry Christmas

Going offline for the next week or so to visit outlaws, see Youngest back to the septic Isle, then pack up and move house. We’ve been promised snow, which will make the travel a little interesting, but that’s what All Wheel Drive vehicles are for.

This year it’s someone else’s turn to cook, so I will be taking time out to read, eat, sleep and imbibe the odd glass of two of a decent red wine. Feet up, book open, see you in the New Year. First time comments may remain in moderation until then as I don’t know when I’ll next have Interweb access. But fret not gentle reader, I may pop in from time to time, but don’t worry if your sage sayings aren’t approved immediately.
festive-tree
TTFN. And have an entertaining festering season.

Regards

Bill

Update: This post was timed to have gone up at 6pm PST Christmas Eve, but for some reason known only to WordPress, didn’t. So I’ve had to post manually. Nonetheless, a very merry and belated Christmas to all and it’s back to packing. Again.

A thought about the Savile saga

I was listening to Sargon of Akkad’s video the other day about the saga of debunked conspiracy theory ‘Pizzagate’, where wealthy people associated with Bill and Hilary Clinton are claimed to have satanically sexually abused hundreds, perhaps even thousands of children.

Now child abuse rings exist: that much is certain. Those who do get caught are usually those whose political connections fail when their activities are exposed or the evidence is so overwhelming that their activities cannot help but be prosecuted, or solitary ‘outliers’ like Marc Dutroux. The small fry. However, I’m also fairly certain that there are those who commit these atrocities, for there is no other word that fits, who have enough political clout do get away with it. Top figures in show business and politics are often accused, but only the retired or out of favour who have no more political influence seem to be punished for relatively minor offences.

Like with the UK prosecutions of Dave Lee Travis, Rolf Harris and Stuart Hall, the offences some were accused of were relatively minor, or in the case of the late Jimmy Savile, whose only verifiable accusation was of one star struck fifteen year old girl who offered him oral sex, only to be turned away when he found out she was underage. Which, forgive me if I’m sounding too forgiving here, doesn’t quite fit the profile of the ‘serial abuser’ we have been presented with in the mainstream. Despite the ‘thousands’ of accusations from Ambulance chasing law practices.

Now having been a long time reader of the one time Anna Raccoon site (All my best to you and Mr G. Suzanne, if you’re still breathing) I’ve read her first hand accounts of events at the Duncroft Girls Home which was at the centre of key accusations against Savile, and I tend to believe Anna’s version because she went back and checked her sources one by one. Anna talked to old contacts from those days when she was resident at Duncroft and pointed out many key disparities in the related accusations against. Anna cited times, dates, places and key details. She researched. She used primary sources. Which raised the following thought; if Anna is correct, and after careful consideration I think she is, then the whole Savile saga, associated accusations and prosecutions of retired show business figures from the notorious ‘operation Yewtree’, has been on the one level a cynical asset stripping exercise against their savings and charitable trusts, on the other a smokescreen. It’s interesting to note that the Metropolitan Police web page for Operation Yewtree now comes up with an ‘Error’ message.

Like with the old Russian folk tale of Troika riding passengers being thrown to the wolves one by one, I strongly suspect these retired showbiz types have been thrown to the ravening wolfpack of paedo-hysteria, allowing the really guilty to carry on their repugnant activities relatively unmolested. Mainly because certain abusers are wealthy or have political influence. And I can cite one confirmed real life example in the case of Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, whose notorious private Caribbean island (St James) is known to be a haven for under age sexual exploitation. He is only at liberty because he was able to buy off his accusers and make a plea deal with the Federal authorities (See previous link), serving jail time for only one offence. A purely anecdotal item of evidence being his private jet being referred to by locals as ‘the Lolita express’ for bringing in ‘fresh meat’. The Clintons, amongst a whole raft of other rich and powerful people, are known to have been regular visitors. Were they involved? No-one’s saying, and any evidence is purely circumstantial.

Similarly, Hollywood child actors have spoken out about their real life sexual abuse by Production people and hangers on, or ‘mentors’ (Los Angeles Times 2012 report here). If the article is to be fully believed, the casting couch is not only for screwing nineteen year old starlets desperate to get into the movie business, but also used as an opportunity to sexually violate child actors of all genders. Apparently this sort of thing has been going on for years.

Yet a huge media storm was whipped up against Savile and other contemporary celebrities, some of whom were totally innocent, some not quite so. Some of whom were judged by today’s standards for what was common at the time. For my examples I cite a little folklore; In the 50’s 60’s and 70’s giving an attractive woman a pat on the bottom was considered cheeky or presumptuous, but not abusive. Unwanted attention usually received a well-deserved roundhouse slap. These were the social norms at that time. That being said, I’ve formed the opinion that showbiz careers and charitable work, reputation and legacies were and are being ‘thrown to the wolves’ to divert public attention away from real scandals. Likewise the suspiciously highly publicised 2013 raid on one time pop icon Cliff Richard. Interesting that Member of Parliament Keith Vaz, then Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, was later disgraced by a allegations concerning male prostitutes and drug abuse, was involved. Did I mention anything about smokescreens? Hmm. No wonder there are parliamentary party officers known as ‘Whips’.

Which is one of the reasons why I think the whole Savile affair had that stench of political and media prestidigitation about it. We the audience might catch a whiff of smoke, see subliminal flashes from concealed mirrors out of the corner of our eyes. However, like with a large scale stage illusion, the truth eludes us because our attention is deliberately directed elsewhere. On the other hand perhaps it’s possibly what the larger public really wants. A show. At a subconscious level perhaps the real unpleasantness of child molestation, the mundane, ugly little truth that most sexual abuse is too often committed by members of the child’s own family and close social circle is too hard to contemplate, so the candidate for the two minutes hate is served up instead of the real culprits, simply because they do not fit the currently accepted ‘normal’. Both Jimmy Savile and Cliff Richard are lifelong bachelors, and therefore an easy target. Because staying single all their lives can’t be normal, innit?

Now I would like to offer something of a personal anecdote here; I’m married to a truly great woman. Well I think so and anyone badmouthing Mrs S in my presence can go to hell, my rapidly approaching knuckles that may also instantly accompany my disapproval may be thought of as a free of charge customer disincentive. Now I came relatively late to the joys of marriage, partly because I grew up fairly socially isolated and in my late teens and early twenties drifted into gang culture and went off the rails a bit. During that time I’d latched onto the idea that we were all going to be blown to hell anyway, so why bother with long term relationships? Hey, it was the time of the Cold War and Mutual Assured Destruction. Apathy was acceptable, okay? I also got rebuffed a few times in my teens and that also put me off relationships for a long while. If my wife hadn’t been so determined to bag me (Still don’t understand why), I would probably have remained, like Jimmy Savile and Cliff Richard, a lifelong bachelor. An object of suspicion and vile, small minded gossip despite being a rather averagely dull old frustrated heterosexual. Ibunt per gratiam Dei (There by the grace of God go I).

Another anecdote pops up from the deep storage of boy / young adulthood memory. Where I grew up there were a number of middle aged and elderly men and women who never married. All of them nominally heterosexual, just unable to form and maintain long term relationships for whatever reason. Nothing unusual. Quite average for a rural English village and environs. If memory serves correctly, I recall one fifty year old guy still bearing a torch for a childhood sweetheart who died in a car crash when he was twenty. Another sixtyish man who never got over his girlfriend going off with another guy. Another fiftysomething who was an estate worker who lived for and with his dogs and little else. Two brothers who lived out in the boonies with their parents and single older sister who never socialised. Several other fellow bar flies who liked their booze a little too much. A couple of ex-soldiers (One a full Colonel, the other a Sergeant) who never tied the knot but had long term girlfriends (The Colonel was actively shagging his ‘Housekeeper’ until six months before he died). A number of elderly women whose boyfriends had gone to war and never returned. Even one old lady who claimed to have been part of the SOE back in the 1940’s and lost her boyfriend during operations. Sad? Yes. Tragic even, but there are so many lives like this in the real world, and my own experience is that the majority of long-term unmarried people aren’t perverts, no matter what the perennially small minded might (and often do) think. I’d also like to point out that being in a long term formal relationship does not preclude all else. If it did there would be no divorces, no adultery. As for couples not being prone to perversion and murder; Fred and Rosemary West, anyone? Ian Brady and Myra Hindley? Bonnie and Clyde? The Starkweather homicides? Bernardo and Homulka? Fernandez and Beck? The Carsons? Coleman and Brown? Never mind all the accomplices who never killed or abused but were what might be called ‘enablers’. There’s a few others too. Just saying. There is no hard and fast rule that can be applied.

As an afterthought, the official UK statistics for child sex abuse can be found for up until 2010 on pages 43, 66 and 67 of this UK Home Office report. However, this report has been castigated for missing the many hidden victims of child sex abuse. The UK Children’s Commissioner has a number of reports indicating that the number of abused is much higher.

My one closing thought about the Savile saga is that there might indeed have been ‘no smoke without fire’ but were we ever sure where all the smoke was coming from?

Gifts that keep on giving

Pre festive amusement dropped into my inbox this morning about one of those products radical Vegans favour. Specifically an unfortunate effect of a product called ‘SoyLent‘, which those fans of Harry Harrisons 1966 novel ‘Make room, make room‘ will understand. The movie of the book made in 1973, brought the quote “Soylent green is made of people!” from the lips of Charlton Heston. (See YouTube clip below)

Apparently the artificial foodstuff concerned has an occasional side effect usually attributed to food poisoning. Specifically, if I may permitted the circumlocution and in the crudest of parlance, it sometimes causes ‘pebbledashing’, and if you don’t know what that unfortunate condition is, ask a grown up. No, it’s nothing to do with an architectural finish. I don’t want to paint pictures here. Although some avante-garde artists occasionally do. And make sculptures. I blame ‘care in the community‘.

Whilst veganism is a lifestyle choice, I’d argue that perhaps those radical adherents would be best minding their own business and stop trying to foist the unwanted on the unwilling portion of the populace. Like with promoting ‘foods’ predominantly made of Algae or Insect protein. Those are for dire emergency and short duration only, not as a staple part of the diet. As for ‘Food, intelligently designed’ like on the strapline of Soylent’s website, sorry, that description is misleading; it should read ‘Food substitute designed by the ideologically deranged’. Food isn’t something that should be ‘engineered’, that’s just pretentious bollocks for the gullible. Food is something that should be cooked with care and consumed with pleasure. This is one of the core values of having a life, all else is mere joyless existence.

Hi-ho, off to tag along while the girls go shopping… Think I’ll take a book.

Gang aft agley

The major problem with big institutions is that when they fail, they go tits up big time. Usually over something fairly petty. So it is with the current wave of strikes fucking up the UK. Southern Rail are a case in point. There is currently a dispute between Conductors, Drivers and Management over demarcation, specifically who closes the doors on Southern rail trains. Go figure. The Guards / Conductors claim it’s a safety issue. As do the Drivers. As for demarcation, I thought the UK had left that kind of silly crap behind in the 70’s and early 80’s.

Then there’s threatened strike action by postal workers, Airline cabin crew, Pilots, baggage handlers and even Weetabix production staff (Does anyone still eat that shite?). Right at the busiest time of the year. Although Weetabix is no biggie, the rest will interfere with a lot of people’s travel plans.

Now I’ve never been on strike. Not once. I’ve walked a few times when I felt a job wasn’t worth the candle, but never actually struck. I’ve been on rest days when strikes have been called, but never actually gone on a picket line or been a part of any industrial action. I’ve been on the receiving end of a strike many times, which is a given if you’ve ever lived in the UK, but never actually reciprocated. Funny that. I’ve even crossed a few picket lines in my time. No fuss, no bother, just looked straight ahead and kept on walking. I think some twat tried to spit on me once. Saw it coming and lengthened my stride at the last second. They missed. Another couple of times I just rode my motorcycle straight on through. Strikers may call you ‘scab’ or ‘blackleg’, but I’m no-one’s ‘brother’ and think striking never solved anything. If I don’t like a job I’ll move on. In my eyes, strikes are the last (and often the first) resort of the incompetent negotiator. Why? Because they’re a lose-lose scenario. Political strikes doubly so. The workers never get what the Union says they want, nor do the managers, and the company they work for loses business because people go and buy their goods elsewhere so jobs are lost anyway. A strike is always a Pyrrhic victory. Quod erat demonstrandum. Rinse, repeat. Ad nauseum. Fuckwits.

Well, let me tell you it was a bloody mission last night. Youngest had planned to catch the train out of London to catch her rebooked flight. The strike by the Southern Rail Conductors / Guards pretty much screwed up her timetable and we’re still not sure if she made her flight, despite rousting her out of bed at 6am (10pm our time) and telling her to get moving. We even hired a taxi for her with Eldest organising a London based private hire car for yer younger sister all the way from the fabled land of Oz. We stumped up around a hundred quid for the extra journey via e-transfer from our UK accounts, on top of the cost of the airline ticket she lost after the problem with her Canadian ETA visa. No refund from the airlines for that, the bastards. Which means that so far it’s cost us about a grand (GBP not dollars) extra to sort that out. Then there’s the extra ferry costs, there’s another two hundred dollars (around a hundred and twenty GBP) we won’t see again. We may even end up waiting forlornly at Vancouver Airport for someone who isn’t going to be with us for Christmas.

All over who gets to open and close train doors. Jesus H fucking Christ on a bike. Never mind about automated cars, a far more practical use of the technology would be to fully automate the UK local rail network.

Update: Happy ending. Youngest is currently sleeping off her jet lag in the second bedroom bless her cotton socks. She got to the airport a little late, and there were a few humps and bumps along the way, but to misquote Shakespeare; “Turned out nice again, in’t it?” She wants some slippers for Christmas. We can do that.

Delays and general shizzle

I’m an early riser, and tend to do most of my business between 6 and 11am Pacific Standard Time. Simply because I’m currently dealing with issues over in the UK and have to talk to people in real time rather than wait 24 hours for them to bother answering an email. So this morning I got a shock when I got an urgent message from Youngest saying that she wasn’t going to be allowed to board her flight to Canada in a couple of days.

The problem is her expired Canadian Permanent Residency. Apparently she still shows up as a Permanent Resident of Canada when applying for one of the new shiny e-visa’s or Electronic Travel Authorisations. Which I find rather strange. If your permanent residency is expired, then the whole ETA thing should be much easier, no? If you’ve ever been a Permanent Resident Canada Immigration already has your details on file, so any identity concerns can be easily dealt with. It’s a simple yes / no algorithm. Is Permanent residency still valid? If yes, no ETA required. If no, fee please and fill in the online form. Any security ‘red flags’? No? Cool. Again, fee and fill in the form please. Got immediate family in Canada? Hey, good to see you back. Fill in the ETA form like everyone else. Append ETA visa to passport records which are already online via Canada Immigrations secure internal services, job done. But no, that would be too smegging simple. She has to formally ‘renounce’ her permanent residency which can’t be processed at least until Monday morning, possibly Tuesday, then she has to apply for another ETA, and without one the airlines won’t let her board her flight to Canada.

Okay, this makes me think there’s some mooks promoted way above their pay grade deciding on these regulations because these new ETA rules are so bloody counter-intuitive. I know there’s security concerns over immigration, but does this help? No. In fact these new rules actively discriminate against people. Yes that’s right, discrimination. Which is supposed to be illegal or some shizzle like that here in Canada. I’ve lost track. Just mentioning discrimination might be breaking the law nowadays. I now neither know nor care. I’m a citizen and will fight for my rights as such.

Fortunately Youngest isn’t going to be stuck in airports for the next few days, but is quite upset about having to stay home when she should be winging her way to us for Christmas and New Year. Fortunately she has a lot of friends in London and a nice cosy flat to wait around in. Better that than hanging around the industrial bleakness of most big airports. Especially Heathrow. The family has rallied round with money for ticket changes, so we’re all good there. She has wine, pizza and friends. It could be a hell of a lot worse.

Hey, it’s an unnecessary delay, but I console myself that everyone is safe. We’ll see Youngest on Wednesday or Thursday at the latest. There’s nothing unfixable.

One other thing; CBC have gotten hold of my email address and are spamming me with fake news about Barack Obama telling everyone how the Russians stole the US presidential election. For which there is no real evidence. Check out Stephan Molyneux’s video of his findings at 3:00. Stuff it. I’ll try and unsubscribe from these unwanted CBC messages, and if there’s a little box plaintively asking why, I will simply tell them not to spam as I didn’t subscribe to their fucking service in the first place. How the hell they got my email is beyond me, because I never visit their web site or any of its affiliates. Don’t even get me started on ‘Fakebook‘ trying to tell everyone what is real news or not. When it comes to fake news, they are one of the worst offenders. May their share price plumb new depths. It’s just a paper stock based on nothing anyway. I wouldn’t put money into Social Media even if you had me at gunpoint. Because I think Facebook and the rest are crap investment prospects which don’t actually produce anything and sell your information to the highest bidder. My twice-killed-but-won’t-lie-down-account doesn’t get posted to, hasn’t been since 2011, so as far as advertising it concerned, it’s a dead loss. No-one reads it. It’s a zombie that won’t die until Fakebook does. Both stepdaughters and most of their real friends have stopped using Facebook too, and they were supposed to be part of the ‘Generation’.

Likewise I won’t trust Snopes any more, nor Politifact or any of the other so-called ‘impartial’ sites. Their brands are now polluted beyond usefulness by a demonstrated pro-globalist stance. Likewise Wikipedia isn’t to be trusted on anything mildly contentious. Hell, like with all the other big ‘news’ networks, if any of them tried to tell me the sky was blue I’d go to the front door and check for myself. The truth may be out there, but everyone has their own version of it.

Right, back to work then yet more bloody packing.

Update:  Joy unbridled.  Paperwork processed, ETA visa obtained.  Flight to be rebooked.  Anticipating having to zip over to Vancouver on Monday to pick Youngest up from airport.  Yay!

Oh yes, and a big THANK YOU to the front line troops at the Canadian High Commission for processing Youngest’s ETA request on a Saturday.  I’ll say this for the counter staff of Canadian Immigration, so long as they think you’re legal decent honest and truthful, they can move minor mountains quite quickly.    Even if the rules they have to implement are sometimes goofy.

Expatriate expostulations from Canada; a.k.a. A Sarcastic man abroad trying to stay in the middle of the road without getting run over.

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