Good words to live by.
A couple of weeks ago, an old mate I hadn’t spoken to for a couple of decades tracked my real life self down. He’s dying of a lung condition, poor bastard. Since then we’ve been corresponding via e-mail. Me trying to cheer him up with a few less than socially responsible anecdotes. Him bringing me up to date with the fates of a few shared acquaintances back in the old country (Remember so-and-so? A wall fell on him back in ’99). Playing the old nostalgia game as you do with old drinking buddies. What with one thing and another, it’s making me feel, not nostalgic because I don’t have fond memories of some people, but thoughtful. Mindful of who I am and how easily I could have shuffled off this mortal coil any number of times in my half century of life. Right! Who was that who shouted “Shame!”? Spawny eyed wassuck. Go stand in the corner. I hope you brought enough sarcasm for everyone.
Also mindful of my ancestors, who, it turns out were not exactly villains, but let’s just say consistently non-conformist. My parents. My Grandparents. Great Grandad was a right tearaway so I’m told. Always in trouble which almost, but never quite, ended with him hauled up before the beak. Including an incident over a spring gun set to scare water cress poachers. A few great Uncles who were less than pillars of society. A couple who never made it back intact from WW1. One who went down on the Lusitania (and we’re not talking about sex here). I think he was one of the Deck or Engineering crew, family history is a bit fuzzy after almost a century. Granddad kept his bedroom as a bit of a shrine at the old family farm. I recall seeing it when I was knee high back in the early sixties. A sepia portrait of a young man who never came home and an ageing poster of the liner itself. A made up brass framed bed and net curtains over a small window are the only other impressions I recall.
Other family legends include a Great Aunt who ‘took to her bed’ at the age of seventy something, only getting up for that last ride down to the graveyard thirteen years later. From her family memoirs came the wonderful little tale of the late Victorian era couple who never married despite raising eight children. She took in laundry and he worked as a road mender. Constantly managing to thwart the efforts of the local Minister, who apparently thought that having such a well known couple ‘living in sin’ on his patch was a personal affront. My Great Aunt’s version of the tale ends with the couple finally agreeing to walk up the aisle (in their 70’s with great grandchildren no less), then on the day the little old road mender goes missing. The local Minister, irate at this breach of promise goes searching for him, finally finding the little Parish Road Mender at his usual resting place, lying as though asleep at the side of the road with his road mending kit and sandwich box nearby. Dead as his flask of cold tea with a smile on his face as though he’d cheated the forces of conformity.
Then my own parents and the hows and whys I got brought into the world. Which makes me aware that all of my immediate forbears have been self employed and small business owners, yet Dad wanted me in an industrial ‘job for life’. Which never really worked out as such employment doesn’t really exist any more. Nor am I really employee material, I’m a maverick from a long line of mavericks. A self motivating self starter who can self manage and just hates control freaks looking over his shoulders all the time. Nor do I play well with others, mostly because I’d rather not play their games at all.
Wonder where I get it from? (Not)
In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, it turns out that France has gone all Duke Nukem and is stepping up its airstrikes on one part of the 7th century death cult cancer. But then they were planning to up the stakes anyway and the students union level politics of the attackers have simply given the Frenchies even better justification for blowing even more Jihadists to the promised land. Nuke ’em jusqu’à ce qu’ils brillent et leur tirer dessus dans le noir (until they glow and shoot them in the dark – as if you didn’t know). Cheese eating surrender Monkeys? Mmm. Yeah. Personal experience? I like them. Outside of Paris I’ve found most French folks so laid back they only have to turn their heads to kiss their own pert little buttocks. Yet piss off any Frenchman, and they will go all Jeanne D’Arc on you.
Even though, like a lot of people, I’d never even heard of Charlie Hebdo until the Jihadists propelled it centre stage. Quite frankly, having had a look at said magazines content I wouldn’t have crossed the street to piss down their throats if their lungs were on fire. Now however, outside of the lamestream media, those ‘blasphemous’ cartoons the fanatics wanted to suppress for ‘offending’ their prophet (How exactly do you offend a dead guy, BTW?), have spread like a forest fire on steroids. Said magazines readership is way up and the gunpersons Islamist buddies are about to catch some extra garlic flavoured hellfire and napalm. Oh yeah, and yet even more people are queuing up to ‘insult’ their prophet. Marches of support for the dead lefty’s (Whether the same amount would have turned out had Charlie Hebdo been right wing is moot). Growing protests across Europe against the attackers religion. That worked out well, didn’t it?
The problem is, these Jiahdists, like all fanatics, are beyond reason. Their rabid intolerance of any but their own narrow little world view has always put them beyond the pale. Ever since the Mughals (Muslims themselves, devised this amusing little public entertainment). Despite the more enlightened of their own religion saying (heavily paraphrased) “Look guys, wind your necks in or we’ll all be casualties.” And even, “If you don’t like it here, fuck off.” The rabid death cultists cannot stop killing because they’re way past the point of thinking rationally about what they are doing. Over the sanity event horizon and accelerating. Hate and intolerance drives their souls, blackens their merciless hearts, gives them their very raison d’etre. The only way to deal with them, distasteful as it sounds, is to put the mad dogs down. Hard. While the politicians cower, the rest of us are saying, if you have to kill for your religion, maybe your version of God worship needs a little work. If not, sometimes napalm is the only rational response we have left.
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.
Look, we know big Government is broke. The all conquering Godzilla flat busted and continually bleeding from a million leaking capillaries, fed on by an army of bloodsuckers which infest its scabrous hide. The more it’s fed, the more it bleeds. So perhaps it needs to go on a serious diet?
While my thinking errs of the side of the low tax, small Government faction, I understand that there is a need for some form of regulatory framework. Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone outside of a few specialist lawyers really understand the current tangled mess but what I do understand is that if your boat is sinking, the last thing you do is load it down further.
Yes, chums. The EU have pushed for, and got, a ‘Robin Hood’ or more accurately a ‘Tobin’ tax on all Eurozone financial transactions. Again. Why do they need the money? They’ve got all the sparkly buildings, inflated salaries and expense accounts avarice could dream of, yet like a junkie their spending habit is never done. Not until they go cold turkey, OD in some dank little bedsit somewhere, or prematurely slide out of this life as their vital support systems (A.K.A. the taxpaying public) fail one by one until nothing is left. Which is currently where things are. Some serious liposuction on the bodywork is called for, followed by a very large tummy tuck, not more sugar frosting on their doughnuts. Yet in 2016 this tax will be enacted in France, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Austria, Belgium, Slovenia and Slovakia. Which will have a knock on effect in the City of London. Or more likely the City Financial Markets will do what they always have, pass the cost onto the Poor Bloody Investor.
For some people, this will simply prove another vehicle for the many EU Carousel frauds, like those continually afflicting the farcical ‘Carbon trading’ markets. Five billion lost at the last count, and that’s with a flatlined marketplace.
As for ‘Robin Hood’, well a very large raspberry to that. If he were still around, our eponymous outlaw would be rightly affronted by such a reference, perhaps dropping a couple of bodkin points or hunting broadheads into the greedy breasts of our worthless modern day political leeches. Like the medieval churchmen of old, an encounter with the real deal would leave them with their purses stripped, and forced to go whining to the Sheriff wearing peasants rags. There’s an intriguing notion; EU Commissioners being forced to walk barefoot from Strasbourg to Brussels after having their assets stripped, or maybe even impaled with cloth-yard arrows? Which, knowing the sexual predilections of some, might not be quite the kind of impaling that they were hoping for.
There are signs around town that state ‘Nanaimo is a Nuclear Weapons free zone‘ I kid you not. As if Nuclear weapons could read. Maybe if it all goes pear shaped over the Ukraine, our one hope is that maybe the Russian targeting officers can’t pronounce the towns name and cross it off their list.
“Hey Boris. what about Nana-whatever? This place here?”
“Ivan, if you can pronounce it we’ll nuke it.”
“Nanna-e. Nyet! Naimimimo. No. Nonnimio. Bugger it Boris, lets just bomb Campbell River instead.”
Seriously, there’s EU hawks getting their knickers in a twist about the Ukrainian situation. Talk of European troop deployments in a place that I always remember as part of Russia. The Crimea has decided it wants to be part of Russia, and the EU are crying “Foul! Ref!” Over the referendum. Although it’s odd that there were so few shooting incidents. In the same time frame, there were actually more reported gun related deaths in Vancouvers gangland. You’d think there would be quite a few if the situation were as bad as some of the Western media would have us believe.
I grew up during the Cold War, when Nuclear midnight was often only ‘minutes’ away. It was the reason so many of my generation went ‘off the rails’. If you’re going to fry in a nuclear fireball anyway, why not have a continual party to see the dear green Earth off with a nicer type of bang? When it all came to an end in 1989 I was left feeling rather pleased, but with a string of epic hangovers reaching back to my 18th birthday. It’s worth noting that anyone under the age of 18 does not get hangovers, strange but true. However, this is besides the point.
The western media has been busy spray painting old Vlad Putin as the cold tyrant of a gangster republic. Which he’s certainly got the eyes for. Oo, and didn’t those eeevil Roosians jail some crap girl punk band for desecrating a church? Gosh, dwahleegs, the Russki’s are so naughty. Russian ‘defence’ spend is up 18%, so yes, they’re expecting trouble. They have forces on the Eastern Ukrainian border, just in case anyone tries to get funny. There’s talk of mercenaries inside the Ukraine, but no one seems to be quite sure whose.
It is worth noting, back in the Cold War, Russia had the Warsaw Pact countries acting as a series of buffer states between it and the rest of Europe. Which is quite understandable. Russia does not trust Europe for two good historical reasons; Hitler and Napoleon. The memory of the German invasion of ‘Operation Barbarossa‘ and Napoleon in a burning Moscow are both still raw wounds in the Russian psyche. Not to mention that messy business back in the 1850s. Read Johnathan Dimblebys Russia. We have a copy. Quite the eye opener.
Yet most of the war talk is coming from within the EU. I am seriously concerned that if some of the Euro Hawks get their way, NATO will get dragged in, and with it Canada, which I’d really rather not see happen. I mean call me an old fussyboots, but seeing a shooting war blot out half of the world is not the kind of legacy I want my kids having to deal with. Over the next few years I want to travel this little planet some more, and I would be quite delighted if it wasn’t a radioactive wasteland.
As an addendum; as poignant now as when it was first released in 1985.
Update: Good news. Putin has told Europe to pay the Gas bill, and everything will be fine. The Eurocrats appear to have backed down. Until they can work out another devious ploy to keep the political ponzi scheme that is the EU expanding.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again; back in 2008 when we hunkered down for our first Winter in West Coast Canada, we were told by friends and family who had lived here since the 70’s “Don’t worry, it never snows in the Mid-Island.” Today I can confirm it’s snowing. Again. Cold, wet and heavy. It has snowed every year we’ve been here despite the assurances and blandishments of friends and neighbours. Despite all the assurances of those telling us that “Our children won’t know what snow is.”
The great lakes currently have about ninety percent ice cover, the most for over two decades at the time of writing, and almost as much as the 1973 record of 94.7 percent on 1979. The Midwest and USA are on the receiving end of Winter storm after winter snowstorm. Then we have witless fools chuntering on about how they think those of us with eyes in the front of our heads, and working brains between our ears are some form of criminal species they call ‘Deniers’. Deniers of what might I ask? Deniers of a changing climate? No, we can see that for ourselves. As for warming, if anything it’s getting colder. Simple observation will tell you that. In the words of Dylan; “You don’t need to be a Weatherman to see which way the wind blows.” I can tell you where it’s going to as well. Which is a bit of a disappointment as I was rather looking forward to some extra warmth.
The only people in denial are the politicians and activists who blithely swan around travelling Business class (Hey, what about their CO2 emissions, huh?) and never actually step outside for long enough to see that all their prognostications of doom are as valid as those made by some uneducated backwoods Bible thumper. And these bastards are robbing John Q Public and telling everyone it’s for their own good, and other like bollocks.
There is an upside to all this snow and ice, and I think it’s worthy of a mention. There’s a tiny colony of wolves on an island (Isle Royale – Google it) in Lake Michigan who since the 1940’s have rarely been able to get to the mainland. As a result they have suffered terribly from the misfortunes of inbreeding. Now there have been reports that some of them are on the move over the ice and looking for fresh realms to inhabit. Although one is reported to have perished recently on the mainland, others may have made the same journey and survived. The Spring thaw will tell.
We’re looking at our UK based savings following the revelations about Eurozone banks being due to take a Cyprus style ‘Savings Haircut’ on depositor accounts which don’t seem to be idle gossip. HSBC have clamped down on big bank transfers for fear of a ‘run’ on their accounts. Royal Bank of Scotland is 8 billion in the hole. That’s sterling, not dollars by the way. Several Russian banks are in the Ca-ca and preventing depositor withdrawals. Fortunately we use none of these, but there’s a suspicion that despite bail outs, most of the banking sector is in deep, deep trouble. Guess who’s going to end up paying? You’ll need a mirror to find out.. Take your time.
The current UK ‘recovery’ is running on the back of yet another housing led bubble-boom. Which brings me to ask; does nobody learn from History, even recent History, any more? There was the housing boom and bust of the early 1990’s, 2007, and now this time. It truly fits the definition of insanity, making the same old mistakes in the same old ways and expecting different results. Pass the straitjacket matron.
All this bank piracy makes me want to buy a boat and stock up on dry goods before taking an extended trip around the world. Although we’d avoid the Philippines, Suez and East and West Africa all the way south to the Seychelles. Apparently the Pirates down there are using ‘Mother Ships’ to run small groups of raiding craft. None of ’em look like Johnny Depp either. Or the recent revelations that the Mexican Government is seizing tourist vessels over seventy buck permits.
From piracy on your hard earned savings to piracy on the high seas and even in tourist marinas, it doesn’t leave you with many options, does it?
I’ve been watching the developments south of the 49th, and all the moral panics going around with studied interest. It’s all about America’s ‘love affair with guns’ say some pundits. The violent video games. Violent movies. A sick culture some say. All sorts of reasons are advanced. Mostly the same ones as the last time. I have my own ideas, echoed by the words of Aung San Suu Kyi, some of which can be found here. Specifically in an interview found in Robert Liebermans documentary, “They call it Myanmar“.
There’s a lot wrong down south, and yet there’s not as much as you might think. On the other hand, many south of the border appear to be ‘tooling up’ with gun sales increased across the board. People are ‘prepping’, stockpiling food, water and weapons for some unspecified cataclysm, be it associated with the forthcoming ‘fiscal cliff’ or any of the other putative disasters. The paranoia seems almost endemic. Catching. Self-perpetuating. Reading various forums and web sites, I get the overwhelming sense that people, not just in the USA, but also in Europe, have lost faith with those in authority. They do not trust their governments and its institutions to look after (or rather not interfere so much) the very peoples they are supposed to serve. Nor, it seems, do various factions within those institutions have much faith in each other. See “Plebgate” and associated fallout for one example.
There’s the word – trust. As levels of perceived intrusive security and surveillance rise, so does the paranoia and distrust of the public. Because of the actions of minorities, authorities clamp down on the majority, in the process arousing mistrust. Therefore people feel obliged to protect themselves and buy another gun, another case of ammo, secure the house, stockpile more stuff, dig another hole, find refuge. They see the increase in government agency authority and in an almost Newtonian reaction, try to compensate for the powerlessness this makes them feel. In turn Government expands to address the fears, but the more government power increases, the more regulation, the less it is trusted. The bigger it gets, the more monolithic and frightening it becomes. The more resources it consumes without producing more in return. Like a dying star it becomes too massive and begins to slowly implode into an economic black hole.
North of the border, at least here on the Wet coast of BC, we are encouraged to ‘prep’ for the ‘big one’ with emergency supplies for about 72 hours. Every year there is a public earthquake drill called the ‘Shake-out’. We sometimes take part, sometimes not, but all of my friends and neighbours have a stock of supplies, just in case. At home I can rely on enough food and water for one week, and have reasonable and workable fallback options (Hunting bow, fishing gear, hand tools) should the worst ever happen. Not only that, but I would work with my neighbours to assist them in any way I could. We all know that public resources will be limited in time of emergency, and so we prepare accordingly. There is still a strong sense of community and self reliance here in the Mid Island. Particularly in the more rural areas. What’s more we are trusted, indeed expected, to be so. This appears not to be the case elsewhere.
The truth is that organisations fail when they do not trust the very people they are supposed to serve, or fail to motivate their members enough to be trusted. A classic management failure occurs when those in positions of authority do not listen to anyone outside of their own close circles. They fail when focus groups, lobbying self-interest groups and think tanks direct policy. They fail in their allotted task when they become dishonest, distant and unaccountable. When spin becomes the message. When promises are easily discarded.
Without trust and co-operation there can be no real and lasting social interaction. Without open and free speech there can be no real confidence or trust. Without that honesty, confidence or trust, nations and societies cannot stand. At least not without massive surveillance and repression. And the price for that comes high. Too high.
Unfortunately, by treating other peoples property as public and lying to cover up their own mistakes, politicians and their pet activists lose that trust. No wonder voting is down and gun sales and ‘prepping’ are on the up.
Cartoon characters dramatis personae on this blog post. Yes, it’s not totally historically accurate, but that’s just nit-picking. Whenever I lurk past a blog touching on the perennial troubles in the Eastern Med, I’m forever amazed at the virulence of the far left and right on this topic. Not that there’s any real difference between either viewpoint, totalitarians to a knuckledragger that they are.
By way of comparison; in some pubs I frequented in my youth, mainly in certain University towns, simply uttering the word ‘Israel’ loudly in particular bars was, and probably still is, enough to start a fight. It rather reminds me of the mindless tribalism that goes on around football teams. An old friend of mine claimed he occasionally did this sort of thing for fun, but then he really liked fighting and beating the shit out of people. He was good at it; no names, no pack drill, and I know for a fact he once hospitalised a black belt because his opponent thought that a pub car park brawl worked the same way as a dojo. Newsflash; for anyone tempted to try it, it doesn’t. The same rules do not apply because there aren’t any. Visit any inner city Emergency department late on a Saturday night or early hours of Sunday morning for proof.
Yet I never understood why the existence of Israel as a nation is so offensive to those without obvious skin in the game. Why they were often willing to pitch into a scrap with a far more aggressive and experienced bar fighter over a country they really knew bugger all about, and never been to. I freely admit to knowing little about the region apart from that they’ve always been fighting.
Nina Paley’s video above rather puts this endless aggression into perspective. People have been so busy fighting over that particular chunk of real estate (And over the religions from that area) for so long, I think they’ve forgotten how to stop. You’d think after over four millennia of ping pong like mayhem people would learn. You know, maybe all the various parties could decide that the near constant killing is just pointless and decide simply trying to co-exist for a change. Do business. Do what the Zionists started, which is actually buy title to the land and sell stuff. Own it that way. On the other hand, I think that just shows pointless naivete and optimism on my part. Like Kashmir and any one of a dozen other semi-permanent war zones around the globe, fighting and killing is too ingrained as part of the way of life. The killing would continue regardless of any rationalising self justification or holy book, or lack thereof.
As the video predicts; if matters continue in the current vein, no doubt it will all end in tears, and any ‘victory’ will be cataclysmically Pyrrhic. For all concerned. Yet perhaps there is hope.
All the aforementioned gives me an idea; maybe if the various peoples involved turned their semi-permanent war into some kind of regular sporting fixture. Level the playing field. Pile a load of weapons and ammo in the middle of a football stadium or other large sporting venue, then let the interested parties have at it in private four times a year. Maybe even wall off a section of city too polluted or unpleasant for habitation, and Robert would be your Fathers brother, so to speak. Stick webcams all around and sell the rights, world wide. Think of the advertising revenue. Maybe even run a league. Let Simopn Cowell do a show on it; hey, perhaps call it ‘The Mayhem factor’. Each faction could put up a team, Hamas, IDF, Hezbollah, Orthodox and Armenian denominations, whoever, and the team with the most members still standing after three days wins. Perhaps some form of trophy could be arranged? A years free access for their followers to worship in the dome of the rock or something of that ilk. Televise said fixture and licence William Hill to run a book on the result. At least civilian casualties could be minimised, and since some of the current Palestinian factions seem to have an odd notion of what constitutes ‘fun’ anyway. Unless of course it involves religion and killing. Remember the theme park incident? Family fun is ‘un-Islamic’? WTF?
Apply to any war zone. Agree factions. Seal off limited area, give unlimited ammo, and let the games commence. It might just save the world.