Tag Archives: Historical precedent

Farcebook rides again

Driving downtown yesterday. Mrs S and I were idly chattering about this and that when she dropped the bombshell that Farcebook have been asking users to send their nude pictures to Farcebook so that they can ‘Police’ the images off their platform. Which statement drew a loud bark of laughter from me. Apparently they want to get rid of ‘revenge porn’. “Are these people serious?” I enquired after my initial ‘WTF’.
“Oh yes.” She chuckled back at me.
“Oh my giddy aunt.” I responded. “That’s going to work, isn’t it?” We shared another laugh.
“Glad I don’t use it any more.” She said.
“I’ve tried to delete mine twice and it still comes back. Bloody thing. Worse than Zombies.” I replied.
“Eldest and Youngest use Whatsapp and Instagram anyway. So they’re not affected by this idiocy.” She said. The last Facebook post we saw from either of them was back when we lived in Nanaimo. And that was over four years ago. Even back in 2011 our family regarded Facebook as somewhat passé.

According to reports a pilot of this scheme is being rolled out in Australia. A ‘send us your nude pics just in case an ex has posted them. We’ll delete them -honestly.’ Then Facebook members of staff get to have their brains fried by overdosing on personal porn or perve off on the quiet because they’ve had ‘special training’ to view the stuff that the algorithms are supposed to dredge up. However, a much more studied perspective exposes the flaws in this plan. Which would tempt anyone with more than two functioning brain cells to express a big Oh. My God.

This is yet another Farcebook PR disaster. Which leaves me soo tempted to short their shares. From where I stand they’re a classic financial bubble in the making because real people are actually leaving the platform, which will ultimately leave it as a half forgotten digital wasteland strewn with diehard digital addicts and ‘bots. What’s that Sooty? Won’t happen? Remember Myspace.com? Oh. Right.

As for posting ‘revenge porn’, I mean seriously? There are even dedicated platforms for that sort of thing. You are more likely to find ‘revenge porn’ posted to Tinder (Which has Spotify and Facebook integration) or Tumblr. I’d argue that only the most Interweb-naive people will use Farcebook for posting any form of porn because it hurts both parties. Why? Because once your bedroom antics are public, there’s no going back. Your, and by the same token their inadequacies, are now subject to public ridicule and multiple reposting. Anything short of physical perfection will rebound on both parties. As a matter of interest, a quick pootle around many dedicated porn sites (The things we must do, eh?) will turn up Facebook and Twitter integration buttons. As well as huge archives of amateur porn pics and pictures. Which aren’t on Farcebook, so Farcebook can’t delete them.

Anyway. That discussion concluded, we turned right from Blanshard into View Street, noting that all the fancy painted pedestrian crossings at that intersection had been dug up after less than a year. No doubt more taxpayer dollars will be wasted there and on Victoria’s network of seldom-used bicycle lanes. Not that a lot of bicycle users know how to use them properly. Or that the fancy painting does anything to improve pedestrian safety or driver awareness.

Hey-ho. No skin off my nose. We don’t need to go downtown more than twice a month anyway. Like with Facebook, there’s not much of interest to us down there.

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They’re everywhere…

Apparently November 4th is a day Antifa and friends, those fun filled little leftist scamps, will institute ‘A day of riots’. Oh my goodness, that is so coming back to bite them if they do. Not that it will because it ain’t happening. Why? because there’s just not enough of them for mass civil disobedience on the scale that is rumoured. Apparently they’re going to do this to fight those huge Fascist rallies. Of which the largest to date have numbered less than 600 and the average around 100, if that. Indeed, the only ones doing the rioting in their thousands seem to be those on the far left. And they have to be bussed around to concentrate their numbers. Same for all these ‘Climate justice’ marches. One demonstration I personally witnessed (Nanaimo 2010, Krall Plaza) was half a dozen locals (Mostly ‘street people’) and the rest getting off unmarked white buses just around the corner. Hmm.

But still, they’re everywhere aren’t they? Nazis and Fascists I mean. Everywhere I tell you. Look, there’s one goose stepping down your street right now singing songs of Horst Wessell! Sorry, no, it was just your neighbour walking his dog and listening to some 80’s music on his iPhone. But he’s a fascist because he doesn’t trim his hedge often enough, and didn’t pick up his dear little doggy’s doings yesterday, right? Yeah, and that Bangladeshi guy at the local store is a fascist because he didn’t give you the right change and gave you a funny look last time you deigned to try and shoplift a comic from his store. Or that hot guy / girl who wouldn’t give you the time of day, no matter how cool and edgy you feel in a bandanna mask, black hoodie, scruffy trainers and faux-proletarian accent. Then there was the old guy who gave you an annoyed look on the bus yesterday when you wouldn’t give up your seat to him, even though he was over seventy and needed a walking stick to get around. Or anyone else you don’t like the look of.

All these people are all Nazis and Fascists, who right (or more likely left) minded people should be out punching and kicking, yeah? All they have to be is ‘white’. Or Jewish (They’re all closet Zionists). Or not ethnic enough. Or too ethnic. Or male. Or dare to make a joke, any joke, or even laugh quietly to themselves in the hearing of some joyless extremist bigot. Or be men older than thirty five in which case they need to be attacked because, hey they might be thinking about becoming fascists or don’t agree with the confused medley of beliefs being pushed by a relatively small panties-in-a-bunch group of student activists barely out of their teens and still struggling with the aftershocks of puberty. The same for a number of their professors and administrative staff who seem to live in a very odd set of bubble realities. But that’s Academia for you.

If you listen to the extreme left even middle of the road old me is a rabid National Socialist despite loathing collectivist totalitarianism (Nationalist or Internationalist) with unconcealed venom and being a citizen of the world with diverse family connections spread out across the globe. As well as having relatives with darker than Nordic complexions (2nd Cousins by marriage, nieces, nephews, that sort of thing). Nor am I a supremacist of any kidney, well, apart from being morally superior to those who would attack random strangers for their ’cause’. Just in case they have a different opinion or harbour ‘National Socialist’ sympathies. By predominantly middle class white people who wear uniforms (Black bloc is a uniform) and smash stuff up. Which leads me to ask; who do they think they are, the Spanish Riot Police?

The extreme left are currently behaving like the post World War One Red Front (Rotfrontkämpfer) did back in early 1920’s Weimar Germany. Intimidate. Beat up. Attack the innocent. Then get all bent out of shape when the extremist opposition (Stahlhelms, later the extreme right SA) gets organised and does exactly the same thing. The then Red Front, one might observe, is extinct. Wiped out by the very Fascist system it’s street fighting tactics helped bring into being, based on the principle that for every violent political action there is an unequal and opposed reaction. Think of it as a Newtonian law of political motion.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that ex-members of the Red Front were also behind the totalitarian misery of East Germany during the cold war. Erich Honecker for one. Like his philosophically opposite numbers were ultimately responsible for the massive body count of WW2. As an aside; current sources list total World War Two casualties as a shade under 72,500,000 or the Wikipedia page total of as much as 85,000,000.

As yet another aside I’m tempted to observe that without the initial violence of the Red Front, the National Socialists, Adolph Hitler and his abominable clique might have forever remained a fringe minority group, of only fleeting historical interest to social historians. An anecdotal reference to the violence of the Red Front is found in this line from the notorious Horst Wessel Lied:
“Comrades shot by the red front and reaction”
Referring to the murder of a small number of SA members between 1924-29. Therefore it could be argued that the rise of the National Socialist movement was a direct result of violence on the part of the far left during the time of the Weimar Republic. Although the situation was a little more complex considering the destabilising effects of crippling reparation payments to the allies for WW1 and the subsequent social and economic volatility of post WW1 Germany. But in our era the recent rise of the extreme, or ‘alt’ right can be seen as a direct reaction to the violence and intimidation from far left groups and activists like Antifa.

In the words of Sam Clemens: History may not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme In some ways it looks like the 1920’s all over again, only this time the venue is the USA. The protagonists are the same; socialists all. All believing they are fighting for the ‘workers’. All believing it’s right to punch the hell out of and even kill each other. Which it isn’t.

So what is this poisonous disease of Fascism and how do we identify the real Fascists so that they may be de-powered? A good place to start is in the Merriam-Webster dictionary that carries this simplified definition.
Facism:

A political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the ‘Fascisti’) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

Sounds awfully familiar doesn’t it? But what are the outward signs of a fascist? How do we tell them from other types of socialists?

We’re told that those who use violence against political opposition are fascists, but is this true? Well not really. Violence in a political cause is more prevalent on the left of the political spectrum because of the undemocratic leanings of people who tend to join these factions. And they are factions because the only thing that separates Socialism and Fascism is nationalism. What they have in common is that they both end up robbing ordinary working people blind. Worse than those eeeevil capitalists in fact. A proof; there have never been any poor socialist leaders. Well, they deserve all the rewards for bringing the poverty that socialist methods of government create for the masses, eh? Yeah, right. For relatively modern examples I’d like to cite Fidel Castro, who had an estate of US$800 Million when he popped his clogs. Chavez wasn’t exactly impecunious either, to name but two.

As an aside I’d observe that neither the Nationalist or Internationalist forms of ‘ism’ are democratic. Unless of course you’re a member of the self-appointed ruling hierarchy. All variants are equally vile totalitarian gangster philosophies that lead eventually either to the Concentration Camp or Gulag with all your neighbours trying to grass you up so they can have your apartment or bread ration. But it’s all right isn’t it, because only ‘bad people’ get sent to these places. But; who defines the ‘harm’ or who is ‘bad’? Sooner or later you’ve got to the point where you’re the one quivering in your ickle pink bootees in case next doors kids decide to denounce you to the authorities for not giving them any candy. Like in the old Soviet Union and just about everywhere else where communist, fascist and socialist doctrines have been applied, whether ‘properly’ or not. All these shades of ism rule by feat and fear. If you knew nothing else about them, you’d know that they were pure poison to be avoided at all costs.

So, back to our definition of Fascism and how to spot one; well, they’re Socialist because they claim to be for ‘the workers’* and want a top-down directed society. But. And this is the big ‘but’, you cannot tell a National Socialist from any other type of collectivist Socialist. True, there are Neo-Nazi’s with shaven heads and gothic tattoos over every square inch of skin, but there are others with a hide as untrammelled as freshly fallen snow. Some clean shaven, others have beards you can hide a flock of sheep behind. Not all of them ‘white’ either. Contrariwise, I have also known people with tattoos all over who are no more followers of National Socialism than the Dalai Llama. Although some would argue he’s one too – which is a very interesting** point of view.

There is, to the best of my knowledge, no haircut is specific to such people, and Polo shirts? I wear them all the time, so do a lot of other people who are most definitely not of a National Socialist bent. Polo players for one. Although Golf shirts and jumpers are definitely worn by fascists. I mean come on – what are those awful loud chequered designs or brightly coloured trousers symbolic of? Blitzkrieg dazzle camouflage? As for that top pocket for their tees. Got to be for their party membership card, right? So Trump is one and that Tiger Woods another, and er, Obama too because he really likes playing golf, yeah? No? Oh. So how does one tell?

I think that shoe drops when the real fascists open their smug little over-privileged mouths and start gobbing off on how they in their role as ‘The Government’ always step into every facet of life. Like rules criminalising everyday modes of speech. Like Eugenics to fix the disabled ‘problem’ and mass confiscation of private property to make everything ‘fair’.   In short, anyone who offers the following as excuses; “For their own good.” or “For the good of the masses.” or “To make it all fair for the people.” Yet never mentioning the salient point that although these nasty pieces of work talk about big business being the bad guy, guess who ends up footing the bill for all this Government intervention?  The little guy. You and me.

Sorry chaps, but having been part of the ‘working class’ and made my living from the sweat of my brow and the skill (Or lack thereof) of my hands for almost a third of my working life, all of these activists, every last single one, are universally despised. Not to their faces of course, but where it really counts, in the whispering galleries of locker and lunch rooms. The soft damnation of “Oh gawd, it’s him / her / it again. What is it now?” Then going along with the calls for strike action because, well, “It’s a day off, innit.” or because they dare not disagree just in case they’re falsely accused of some ***’hate’ crime. Although afterwards the moans about lost wages from strikes (usually from spouses) can be heard for miles. Because too many people are a little slow to make the connection that all forms of collectivism are a massive wealth transfer con trick. Whoever has worked hardest loses the most. Not to mention that Socialism also creates new hierarchies which simply replicate the worst excesses of feudal societies and produce massive body counts. Over 120 million between 1900 and 2000 at the last credible estimate. Which does not include war dead from any of the major wars but simple murder and famine in the name of ‘the masses’ or ‘the party’. Heavens to Murgatroyd people, doesn’t this prove that Socialism in all forms and the identity politics that drive it are crap ideas. Bury them deep and let’s move on. Individuals solve problems, not extreme leftist politics.

*No, they’re for themselves – the ‘workers’ can go hang. Or be shot. Or gassed. Or worked to death.  Not much of a choice really.
**‘Interesting’ as in “Let’s hide all the sharp objects” interesting.
*** ‘He said vs. she said’

Cognitive dissonance

Famous anniversaries post coming up. Some might have noticed, although I’d have missed it completely unless reminded that it’s fifty years since a blood soaked psychopath met his end in front of a South American firing squad.

A mass murderer and torturer executed? Good riddance to bad rubbish one might say, and you’d be right. Yet the very self same blood soaked psycho is lauded in some circles as a hero. Indeed, his likeness is found posted on many a Western Universities student union wall and t-shirt to celebrate left wing revolutionary fervour. Movies have been made of his life before he became a mass murderer. Yet this person is celebrated, even deified, despite the many evils he perpetrated.

So let’s look at his bio; Scion of a wealthy family, Medical School dropout, socialist revolutionary, Gay hater, child murderer, mass executioner. All of these things are absolutely true. Or to put it another way; a homophobic psychotic killer, rapist, racist and wastrel. A child murderer to boot. Not exactly the sort of person one would be inclined to invite to dinner.

Yet his image is deified in all places as the Winnipeg museum of Human Rights. I’ve seen it. Although I can’t be sure if it’s there as an exemplar or a warning. Even though it doesn’t flag up on the museums web site. Like the documentation of the Holocaust (11 million killed in death camps by the National Socialism) the Ukrainian Holodomor (12-20 million starved to death by the forced collectivism of Lenin and Stalin). The killing fields of Cambodia clocked up just shy of 1.4 million by Pol Pots communist regime. Well, that’s the actual number of dead they’ve found to date. Estimates of that era’s Cambodian atrocities head north of 3.4 million. Some simply for the ‘crimes’ of talking to western missionaries or selling produce to feed their families. Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Ba’athist (ostensibly Socialist) regime for mass murder of Kurds and Marsh Arabs in the late 1980’s managed barely 200,000 according to some estimates.

By the by, other 20th and early 21st century genocides by right leaning and religious governments have struggled to reach even Cuban levels. Which by contrast was small potatoes, barely reaching hundreds of thousands in body count. For which the icon of veneration below was partially responsible. We might as well venerate people like ex-Catholic Priest and Nazi collaborator Petar Brzica, an horrific individual who boasted of killing 1360 Serbians, Jews and Roma, as well as Croat and Bosniak dissidents, in a single session. With a knife, no less.

There is a strange cognitive dissonance native to those with extreme left or right wing political views, which says that killing people is the way to effect change for the better for a very strange value of ‘better’. In this way these extremists can be seen to be very stupid, because they don’t seem to understand that you can’t change the mind of a corpse, or kill an idea simply by first dehumanising, then murdering people. Because then they aren’t really people any more are they? And ideas can exist independently of individuals. The same can be said of various religious nutters from the Catholics of the medieval period to the modern resurrection of extreme Islam. In spite of the many religious wars and mass killings that flared throughout Medieval Europe, Judaism, Protestantism and Islam are still with us. There are still witches despite all those witch burnings and Cathars are still known in Southern France despite centuries of repression.

By way of contrast, it might be noted that one of the most, and rightly reviled political figures of the 20th century, also responsible for tens of millions of human extinctions, was a Europhile child and dog-loving vegan anti-smoking athiest(?) with strong environmentalist views. No prizes for guessing who that was.

All that the above have in common is that they wanted to force their chosen way of life on others and were more than happy to kill to do so. Yet leftist killers are applauded, venerated and even worshipped within some modern day seats of learning. Interesting, eh?

Apples and Rosemary

Yesterday Mrs S and I went to see Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’. A very powerful film. One for the video collection. Also today our landlord, a man with an accent more English than my own, gave us half a dozen apples and some sprigs of fresh Rosemary. For which I have duly thanked him. Both the gift and Mr Nolan’s rendition of the story of Dunkirk have touched something at my core; tweaked a nerve of a collective subconscious I’d only been hazily aware of, but has roots wrapped deep around my heart.

As an archer, and an English one at that, I grew up with a particular mythology, a semi conscious stream of stories that plugged deep into my own self image. From the medieval fictions of Arthur and Robin Hood through their semi-legendary counterparts of Adam Bell, William of Cloudesley and Clym of the Clough to the half starved and dysentery-stricken remnants of Henry V’s army at Agincourt who defeated a better equipped and numerically superior force.

Dunkirk is part of that mythology. Of the outnumbered underdog being soundly whipped but refusing to be beaten by a tactically, technologically and numerically superior enemy. Of costly retreats and last stands now only thought legend by those who live today. This is the tradition of my youth and part of that which makes me, and I suspect a good number of my fellow expatriates and Scriblerus contemporaries, tick. That never-say-die bone headed refusal to lay down and surrender to the forces of darkness and conformity. It is with pride that I account myself one of that mongrel breed, of Irish, Welsh and various other northern European parentages that dares to flout the so-called ‘moral authority’ of rule by an unaccountable elite.

No matter that we Northern Europeans have fought with each other like cats in a sack for centuries, one thing has always characterised us. A sense of identity steeped in our legends, forged on the anvil of wars by the repeated hammer blows of injustice. An identity so strong that it might as well be made of Titanium Steel. This is what lies at the core of everyone whose genetic heritage marks them out with pale skin. The biggest, most Machiavellian sons of bitches out there have tried to make us knuckle under since before the Romans invaded and we’re still around. Maybe not the same, but stronger, tougher and despite outward appearances, indomitable to the core. Although I appreciate that there are exceptions. For every half dozen or so unconquerable heroes, there are four times that number of cowards, many of them the same individuals. Each with a need for their own space, their own independence which brooks no interference and detests officialdom. This is also the drive behind what brought the USA into existence and keeps memories of the confederacy alive.

The places and names are not important as such, only to the people that claim to call them home. I dare say the native tribes of Afghanistan feel the same way about their own homeland. It is theirs, and they will fight to the last to hold it close. No matter how many of them are killed. They have their own legends and mythologies, with bloody memories and heroes fresher than our own.

Such are the forces that drove the need for BREXIT and those that voted Trump into the White House. Nothing to do with racism, sexism or anything else but a dogged snarling refusal to give in against the awful blandness and subsumation of corporatist and collectivist dogma’s native to the bureaucrats of the EU and Washington DC. When push comes to shove, those born on the sceptic isle of my birth have been famous for their refusal to lie down and go quietly. Like many French, Germans, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Danes et al with whom we share similar cultural heritage.

Yet this is the attitude that has fought off totalitarianism time after time and obtained and destroyed empires in the process. The English and more generally the British are a people you can say what the hell you like to and not get much of a rise out of, yet just try to take their home from them, no matter how small, and you will have the fight of your life on your hands. You’ll find the same attitude common in many Dutch, French, Germans, Czechs, Austrians and just about any other nation that can stand on their own two hind legs.

This is why the forces of collectivism take issue with our myths and legends. In order to install their own utopias they must first destroy and discredit the pride of nations and the sense of belonging that being part of a nation bestows. Which means that they who would rule these utopias need to say, “Silly little people – what you believe in is not real, they are only stories for children. These things are not relevant and they are wrong. Now do what we tell you and we’ll have no more of this foolishness. Hand over the fruits of your labour so that we might live in the luxury we deserve.”

But Dunkirk is not a myth or legend, it was real. Nolan’s film only focused on small parts of the story, which are inaccurate in detail, but generally representative of what happened. What I do know for certain is that about 198,000 British, 140,000 French and Belgian troops were evacuated from that awful place. Many by the ‘Miracle of the little ships’, small seagoing cabin cruisers, trawlers and barges who ran the gauntlet of blitzkrieg to help their fellow countrymen. It was a tale well told.

The home grown apples we received were bred in English orchards. The heady scent of Rosemary tripping off a whole series of pleasant memories and associations somehow reconnecting with a certain sense of self and belonging. Including those tales I grew up with of Agincourt, Dunkirk and my fathers own stories about D-Day and the liberation of Europe. My mother never really spoke of her evacuation from France after being kicked out of Italy when Mussolini declared war, but from all accounts she was evacuated in the early stages of operation Aerial, the sister operation to Dynamo at Dunkirk. These are things I am certain of. The collectivists cannot take that from me. They might as well try to stop the world turning.

To conclude this ramble I’d say each person within a nation, or as Desmond Morris described it in The Human Zoo a ‘Super Tribe’ has it’s own mythology, threads that bind all members as a group. Decry that set of ideas and you become no longer part of that grouping. Cast out. Alone. Subject to the attractions of dangerous iconoclastic totalitarian cults like Fascism, Marxism or Socialism. Which were ironically the very political forces that brought Dunkirk about.

Anyone else see the irony?

Never work

Well there’s a probability that I will be dead before this piece of idiocy comes to pass and just as well. A proposed UK 2040 ban on sales of all Diesel and Petrol engined vehicles. Oh dear, there are so many things wrong with this proposal that I’m having trouble enumerating them all.

Now Diesel, yes, I can see the utility from that, given the ‘known’ link between Diesel fumes and cancer. Well, at least according to the most recent IARC report. Worse than smoking, by all accounts. But that’s by the by. But petrol and diesel? Hmm.

The problems with the proposed ban on internal combustion engines begins, as the source article says, with the necessary upgrades in generating capacity that going over to a predominantly ‘renewables’ based power grid as mandated by legislation will entail. When the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine there won’t be enough batteries in all creation to power the UK’s energy needs, especially if millions of electric vehicles are all plugged into the grid. Even if every spare hillside is covered in bird killing wind turbines. So investment in Nuclear seems like the obvious solution. Thorium seems the safest option, as the end product can’t be used for bombs. However, that technology need to mature. As for fusion? Well given the current rate of progress, that is at least fifty years away. Especially if the focus remains on the ‘bang in a bottle’ Tokamak based designs. Research has been focusing on that branch of technology since the 1960’s to my recollection, but the goal of sustainable nuclear fusion reactions remain just as far away.

The next issue is grid capacity. I haven’t actually done the sums but even a back of a fag packet guesstimate means that the UK grid will need at the very least triple the current infrastructure. Given twenty plus years, this isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility, however, expect lots of brown outs and power rationing. Then you can triple the number of pylons marching across the landscape. All the scenic views will be interrupted by cables and wind turbines. Don’t even mention hundreds of thousands of substation upgrades, and extra diesel powered backups. No, sorry, no more diesel backups. Everyone’s electrickery bill will be through the roof. Not to mention the price of everything because transport costs will rise as all those Diesel powered trucks which tow containers of food to supermarkets will go out of style.

Here’s my argument; there will be around 75-80 million people in the UK. This estimate is based on the demographic boomer dieback that is in progress. Yes, all those post 1940’s and 50’s born folk will be going away leaving fewer descendants and many more immigrants to pick up the slack. Incidentally, all that finger pointing and blame attribution (“It’s all the boomers fault!”) won’t do a spit of good when the following generations haven’t picked up the slack. So, a less productive population demanding more from Government and services. Including electricity. Which is going to be a bit of a bugger when Winter comes. Considering a lot of solar physicists are predicting global cooling from around 2030. There’s also a possibility that coal and wood stoves will get banned along with the ICE. People are going to have to learn to wrap up warm. Just like I had to do as a boy. And get used to walking a lot more. Used to do a lot of that, too.

As for all of the UK owning electric vehicles? Never work. Even an enhanced grid couldn’t take the strain of thirty plus million vehicles (Number of vehicles currently using UK roads) probably fifty by 2040, slurping an average of 17.6 kWh (Average) each for a 62 mile journey from the grid, every night. More if the daily commute is over 40 miles each way. More if owners (As they are wont to do) leave all their vehicles on charge when not in use. Even more if someone can make battery technology work for trucks. Although some form of diesel electric would work. Diesel running at peak efficiency to power generator and thus drive electric motors, like one of these. Although if you scroll down and read, the uphill and top speeds are hardly on a par with modern Diesel trucks. Very stylish though. But if diesels do get banned, what then?

I’m all for cleaner air, but you can’t eat it and it won’t keep you warm in Winter. Anyone got any better ideas than a ban?

Update: It seems that there are few good solutions to the particulates issue, although there are some interesting but economically non-viable Electric power devices being mooted.  The electric vehicles Achilles heel remains, after over a century of development and taxpayer dollar being thrown at it, range and refuel times.  Not to mention the generation capacity and infrastructure resilience of the supporting electricity grid.  No, I think the EV is doomed to remain little better economically speaking, than Lohner-Porsche’s 1900 model, The Baker 1901, Anderson’s models from 1907 and Edison’s 1912 attempt.  Source here.   Yes, the Hybrid concept goes back to the early 1900’s.

As for banning ICE powered vehicles; there is an idea that will be quietly dropped when EV’s fail, as they did around a century ago, to provide a viable alternative.

Corbyn is a moron

Winnipeg today. Just passing through and trying not to break our suspension. Only a relatively short hop, which means that I have the opportunity to catch up on what is going on in the old country. At least in terms of politics. I’ve been amused at the antics of the current Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and having watched his performances on TV and elsewhere have come to the following considered conclusion; he’s a fucking moron.

Whilst his ability to hang on as Labour leader inspires, if not wonder, then at least a kind of awe, Jeremy Corbyn does not come across as all that bright. Certainly from a Historical and Economic standpoint. Nor do those who think he’s some kind of towering intellect. Particularly as he seems determined to crash and burn the entire UK Labour party. Especially as he’s probably going to try and ‘purge’ Labour of the ideologically impure by insisting on mandatory reselection. A process which will allow embedded party activists to get rid of troublesome backbenchers who can’t be trusted to vote the party line and instead, the bastards, defy the sainted St Jeremy by voting against it. Those class traitors who have even talked of walking away and forming a new political party. Christ on a unicycle and juggling! It’s like listening to one of those room temperature IQ’s that make up the Socialist Worker’s Party.

Unilateral disarmament? When did Britain last try that? Me, sir, me sir, I know! I know! The 1930’s. Allowing the military build ups that led to World War Two. Peace in our time? Like hell.

All of the hard left policies he’s proposing are left wing failures dug up from a political time capsule from the 1940’s 60’s and 70’s. Nationalisation for one. What happened there? British Rail was a joke and a very bad one. British Coal and British Steel died long and painful deaths, sinking without trace (Apart from the name, British Steel, which has been reborn as a private concern) Oh and British Telecom, previously part of the GPO? We used to joke that their technicians retired the moment they qualified. 90 Day waiting lists to get a new phone put in were the industry standard in the 60’s and 70’s. That’s right, ninety days. Almost three months. British Leyland, later Rover? National Freight Corporation? Every single nationalised industry; fail, dead, fail, fail, dead. Mortis portalis tintaculum every single one. At least until sold off, restructured and recapitalised to emerge blinking and stammering into viable commercial life. Agriculture wasn’t nationalised because even Socialists can remember what happened to the Ukraine in the 1930’s.

Ah, then there’s ‘Soak the rich’ (Actually ‘tax the rich until the pips squeak’-aimed at those who speculated in property) a Labour policy that lasted less than a week after being announced in 1976. In the USA it was tried back in 1935, reinforced in 1937 due to tax evasion, but quietly dropped when all the smart money simply vanished from the US economy and went off to play where it was more welcome. Some of which almost certainly financed the rise of Fascist regimes during that time as a counterbalance to Bolshevism.

What lefties like Corbyn don’t seem to be capable of understanding is this simple truth; money is not a thing, it’s a process, the means of exchange, the very gasoline for the many everyday economic engines that keep people fed and paid. Simply confiscating it and spending it on non-functional unproductive parts of society is like cutting the fuel line of said metaphorical engines or draining their tanks. As the Venezuelans are finding, eventually the economy stops running, splutters, dies and you get riots in the streets. Money must flow to power the working economy. That is its function. I’m no towering intellect and even I understand this simple principle.

As Corbyn doesn’t understand any of the above, there is only one possible conclusion; he must be a moron. Quod Erat Demonstrandum. I rest my case, M’lud. Take away the fool, gentlemen. Or go with him to the garbage can of political history.

Icebergs and Vikings

Well there’s a turn up. I’ve seen my first iceberg. Only a grounded tide-rolled growler less than thirty metres across about a hundred metres offshore, but more than enough cold stuff to chill a million Martinis. Oh all right, officially it was a ‘Bergy bit‘ but it was cold and made of ice, so in my book it counts as an iceberg. So there. There’s actually a web site that tracks them, here. Cute or what?

Today we’ve sighted enough ice to keep Vancouver nicely chilled and am still blown away by the sedate blue green majesty of these berg cast offs. On the way back to our hotel we saw a Catalina PBY on display. Right in the middle of a tiny Newfoundland town. And the two Moose on the roadside. One of which stayed still long enough to let Mrs S catch it’s image before doing a lolloping high step into the brush and swamp at the roadside. Pictures will follow as soon as we’re home to my photo-editing software.

Well this is the area first settled by Northern Europeans in the 10th Century AD. At least the first evidence thereof. Other suspected sites have been found further North on Baffin Island and South at Rosee Point, Newfoundland. Indeed, Norse sagas specifically describe three lands; Helluland (Baffin Island) Vinland (Newfoundland) and Markland (Labrador). And if you read this article, a 10th century Norse coin was found at a North American Indian settlement as far back as 1957. Nineteen fifty seven? Sixty years ago and no one’s made a big deal out of it? Bloody hell. That’s like being told the Holy Grail actually exists and gets used as a toothmug by a Mrs E.Thrigg of Acacia Avenue, Watford, UK who picked it up at a bring and buy sale.

Mind you, I can see why the Vikings picked up and left after only a decade. This part of the world is a desolate place, despite Corner Brook & the northern tip of Newfoundland being rated as one of the most beautiful drives in Canada, at least according to the Canadian Book of Lists. Yeah, right. The bumper crop of potholes might put a crimp in that experience. We passed salt burned, stunted trees with blackened trunks, salt marshes and acres of rocks with little or nothing growing. I also hear tell the Norsemen kept on getting into spats with the local tribes over trade, so in the end the Vikings simply called it a day and buggered off back to Iceland and Greenland. Why? Because even in June it’s cold as a witches tit up here in the Northern finger of Newfoundland, with piles of snow still hanging around from Winter, even after solstice.

While I was asking some of the locals about why it was so unseasonably cold and damp, some elderly woman opined, quite seriously, that it must be caused by ‘global warming’. Sorry, but I almost laughed out loud. Some people are so brainwashed and ignorant that they’re inadvertently quite funny. Especially when the there’s more ice in the bay than usual. So tomorrow we’re doing like the Vikings did. Getting the hell out to warmer climes and stuff the scenery.

Bear fifteen

Another Black Bear sighted legging it across the road a scant two hundred metres ahead of our speeding metal box in of all places, Newfie-land. Or rather Newfoundland. A spectacular place in the early morning light. At present drying out like an old time British rail sandwich, but not quite curling at the edges.

Crap overnight ride in on the ferry with no air conditioning. Even in our cabin we almost found it too hot to sleep. The weather has turned summer in a single day, as it is wont to do in this part of the world. The air heavy, like warm wet silk on your skin. So much so that after the morning fog lifts it’s almost suffocating. Scenery a bit like the nicer parts of the north west of Scotland. With even less habitation and warmer weather, at least in Summer.

Watching the UK news in the comics can make you shake your head in despair. Buildings with cheap ‘green’ insulation going up in flames, all to save two squid a square whatever. So much for eco-friendly, eh? Not the Tories fault, more the housing association and local functionaries from what I can make out. Shonky upgrades made the building vulnerable, so with Grenfell the worst has happened. Rather like with Ronan Point in the 60’s.

This is the thing about the state taking responsibility for more and more. Eventually you get total wankstains like Corbyn blaming the party in power for anything and calling for a ‘coup’ just days after his party failed to gain an electoral majority. Oh the faux-outrage, oh the virtue signalling, oh the posturing. Makes you want to vomit.

On the BREXIT front, the Brussels mafia have scented blood in the water and are going to offer less acceptable terms from their kamikaze negotiating team. Seriously, if May hangs on in there and is forced into a ‘Hard’ or no deal pull out, the EU will be hurt ten times as much as the UK. But that won’t matter to the Eurocrats. Their global ambitions have been snubbed and pride wounded by the rebellious Brits, so they want to punish those perfidious albionites. Someone should remind them about the meaning of a pyrrhic victories. Frankly the story is this; in the case of a ‘hard’ BREXIT the UK can simply set up shop as a free market and offshore banking haven right on Europe’s doorstep and the money will flood in. If Madame Tracey has the guts to do it. Short term pain, long term, big gain.

As for that bloke from Wales giving back what has been dealt out by radical Islamists, like the radical Islamists he went for the entirely wrong target. Colour me un-surprised. The radical Islamists take it out on UK civilians and everyone acts all surprised when there’s a backlash? Don’t they understand the nature of the native British? Britain, like most European nations, is a seething pot of low level resentment. Give them enough of a sting and they’ll turn on you. Of course running down people in the street was a stupid act, but so were the terrorist attacks that gave him the idea. Quid pro quo, Clarice. Quid pro quo, said he in his best Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter impersonation.

The remedy of course is in the hands of ordinary Muslims. They must be more active and vocal in outing the radicals. Same as any other minority group must be. Disown the radicals publicly, turn in the crazies to plod and in turn assimilate. Which means no more calls for ‘Sharia’ law etc, if they want to live under that regime there are plenty of hard line Muslim states to move to, or they will burn in the resulting inferno. And that fire will burn worse than Grenfell Tower.

The rewards for assimilation are great; the penalty for irritating a host population greater. Hey, but I’m just a blogger. An over fifty with a keyboard and a set of hard formed opinions. No one’s going to bother to listen to someone like me who bothers to read history and has seen a lot of this stuff before.

Stuff it. This morning we’re off northbound to the turnaround point on this epic road trip. Into the land of Northern Lights, trees, sea and yet more Bears. Of which, in the words of Otto Hairybreeks, Skald to Leif Ericcsson when they first set up in this neck of the woods; “But boss, there’s bugger all here but Cod and Skraelings, and too much seafood brings me out in a rash.” Ericcsson’s reply is not recorded.

Interesting times

My, my. We do live in interesting times. Niall Ferguson argues in his “Five ingredients for a populist backlash” talk about why we are where we are using history, from 1873 onwards;

While he doesn’t give any definitive answers, he does give a broad brushstroke picture of what will result. Which for small time investors and currency speculators like me are useful straws in the wind. I like Niall, he’s not afraid to admit when he gets it wrong, especially over BREXIT. Unlike so many others in academia.

What I’m hearing about is political and economic forces similar to those which resulted in ‘la Belle Epoque’. There will be a few hiccups along the way, but as the EU collapses because that organisation is correctly observed to be little better than a hollow bureaucratic shell to fund lavish lifestyles for European ‘elites’. I foresee a new, more localist optimism driving economic growth, and the fading of many bugaboos like the anti-human notions of man made climate change and similarly pointless divisiveness of identity politics. A new liberalism of less government, greater individualism and wealth awaits over the next decade or two for those who are willing to embrace this nascent trend. Those that do not face obscurity and the scratching pens of scholars trying to work out how ‘progressive’ politics got it so badly wrong. The ‘elites’ amongst them. Word is leaking out that they’re beginning to lose big, and like Soros and his ilk, are doubling down on political interventionism while billions leak out of their back pockets.

There’s a lot going on out in the big wide financial world with talk of Marine Le Pen’s bid for the French Presidency and possible ‘FREXIT’ vote. Not to mention the possible Italian ‘Uscitalia’ (Thanks Peter) I’ll also be keeping a close eye on the proposed Catalonia referendum vote scheduled for late 2017. As well as the Chinese doing a possible deal with the US over Alaskan oil. Which will spell yet more pain for the politically hobbled Alberta oil sands. Which are some of the reasons why I’ll be going short on the Euro and Canadian Dollar but long on the US Dollar and Sterling.

YouTube and other matters

There are a great many interesting channels on YouTube. As a resource for information it currently has few peers. Every day people put up informative and enlightening content which is both entertaining and amusing. Some of the content providers have what’s called ‘Patreon‘ accounts that you can contribute to in order to fund their work.

Forgotten Weapons dot comOne of my particular favourites is “Forgotten Weapons” run by the iconic figure of Ian McCollum, or ‘The Gun Jesus’ as he is also known. Now Ian regularly travels to visit private collections, public museums, auction houses and examines their antique firearms in detail. Recently getting into a spat with YouTube over displaying the Nazi flag on the front page of one of his videos, which has resulted in him migrating his better and more up to date content to a specialist video streaming service at Full30.com. Compared to YouTube, the quality is a quantum leap improvement.

Now before anyone clutches their pearls in horror and faints (Noooo! The Nasty flag! Oh my ears and whiskers!), I might point out that Ian’s channel has always been about historical accuracy, and he likes to establish both the provenance and historical associations of every firearm he examines. As part of this process he displays the historically correct flag of the nation each firearm came from on the front page of each video. So for an American Civil war piece he will have the then flag of the Union or Confederacy or even the State of the firearms origin. For a firearm produced in Germany during the late 19th Century to 1918 he will display the flag of Imperial Germany, for Italy, the correct Italian flag for the period, the Red Flag of the Stalinist USSR, and of course the 1933-45 flag of Nazi Germany. Which fits in with his ethos of establishing the correct provenance for each weapon, including in many cases how to field strip most of them. Apart from the real antiques like a 16th Century revolving flintlock pistol.

If you are into antique firearms and the subtle mechanical evolution of a device for spitting out a piece of metal at high velocity, then Ian’s your man. He’s very good indeed and as a researcher takes great pains over his work.

Now YouTube are ‘demonetising’ channels like his that do not have ‘acceptable’ or ‘advertiser friendly’ PC content. Which is a shame. Not that there’s any benefit to being ‘monetised’ unless your channel attracts millions of viewers. However, some people make money at it and good luck to them say I.

It’s ironic really, that the people who campaign for the kind of censorship on display fail to understand that nothing in it’s proper context is that bad. Yes, the Nazi’s were an evil bunch and had to be put down hard, but that was years ago. We should have matured enough as a society to be able to examine their symbols openly and understand the connotations and contradictions of Nazism and how said symbols are now of mere historical interest. And learn the lessons that history can deliver rather than get all hot and bothered like Vampires faced with daylight and a crucifix.

Now what this ultimately means is that if YouTube drives some of their best content away is that the platform itself may wither on the poisoned vine of political correctness, and, this being the Internet, be replaced with other, less censorious video streaming services. Which no doubt the YouTube people will lobby to try and shut down or get blocked. Good luck with that. The cat is out of the bag, the Hydra of public opinion has many heads, and legislators will always lag light years behind the cutting edge because that’s heading away from their petty grasp at warp 9 and accelerating.

Will YouTube go the way some of the old mainstream has already gone? Losing the public trust and thus it’s target market? I think that process has already begun, and YouTube will only have themselves to blame. However; their gaff, their rules. Even if these rules will lose YouTube a great deal of business.

Public opinion is a fickle thing.

Update: The always interesting Sargon of Akkad on the curse of YouTube scepticism and its consequences with “The Curse of the YouTube Socratics”

Oh, BTW ‘Trigger warning’ he’s smoking. Chortle.