Tag Archives: Morality

What did they expect?

Busy gardening at the moment, the really cold weather has shifted to the Midwest and Spring has poked a cautious head around the corner here in Victoria BC. My remaining six large Lemon Tree plants have been taken outside to soak up some sunshine and we’re putting out some colourful blooms to provide us with a little visual cheer when the working week is too full of WTF! moments. Which happens a lot. Especially when our line managers come at us with a “We’ve got a little job. Can you help us out?” which happened last week.

Anyway, it’s been a nice day today. The heating has been switched off and our windows are all open to blow all the Winter miasma out of the house. Outdoor temperatures have just crept over the sixty eight Fahrenheit marker so it’s quite warm out on our deck. The fresh air is invigorating.

Looking at the news in the FT I saw the news about the New Zealand shooting and was filled with a profound sense of Deja Vu. It won’t be the last. Plenty of people are pissed off with the way Islamic migration and terrorism is often glossed over, then when a sick individual from the native population shoots up a place of worship, a certain section of the media use it as a stick to beat all ‘white’ people with. According to a bunch of academics and similar pantywaisters all us north Europeans very bad and ‘white supremacy’ (Whatever that is, I never got a membership) must end.

Well I’m not guilty of the shootings, nor are any of my neighbours or the population of New Zealand, or Australia, the USA or the UK. Donald Trump and Chelsea Clinton are not to blame. It’s the whole identitarian race-baiting industry once known as journalism. That’s where the finger should be pointed. A distinct class within their ranks has repeatedly berated the Anglosphere for asking pointed questions about mass immigration. Those are the witches we need to burn. The sowers of discord. Tim Pool has it.

To be charitable, these media types may have only been selling puritanical rage-bait to boost their terrible circulation figures, but when similar rage-bait is used by politicians to create a protected class of individual who get a free pass, well, the outcome is hardly surprising. You can only spit on people so many times before someone goes completely postal. This is true across all ethnicities, all religions and all cultures. So what did these rage-baiter media whores and their sponsors expect? Seriously people. Their IQ tests must have come back negative. As for farsightedness and statesmanship, one can only guess at where that went to. If it ever existed at all.

The whole business has taken on the air of farce. The NZ authorities have blamed and banned a commenting platform called ‘Dissenter’, when the whole thing was livestreamed via Facebook for heavens sake! Is Facebook now banned in NZ? No? Why not? Something stinks here. It may simply be incompetence on the part of the NZ powers that be, but I suspect pressure has been brought to bear and Facebook because they rolled over and played loveable puppy for the powers that be, whilst Dissenter did not.

We’ve heard of other, similar plots thwarted over the last five or so years, but successful ones, like Anders Breivik and the Christchurch shooter are thankfully rare and are a reaction rather than the root cause. In this case the root cause is the reckless mass-importing of an alien and diametrically opposed culture into a well-established society. The funny thing is, if we’d wanted to really help these people as has been mooted, it would have been far more simple and low cost to get aid to them ‘in country’ where they felt comfortable. Not to import the poor sods wholesale into places which they don’t understand and even have contempt for the cultural norms.

Despite what some people say, we humans are not all the same. Men are not women, trans people are neither and you can take the local Yokel out of his hovel, but you’ll never take the hovel out of the local Yokel. At least not for at least three generations. That’s how long it takes to integrate into a non-native population. That’s discounting the throwbacks every generation throws up. Why, because they ‘identify’ as whatever. Only takes one generation of weak or heavy handed parenting.

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Lucky for me….

…I never signed up for one of those fancy tax shelter loan remuneration schemes when I was a contractor. Turns out that HMRC in the UK has begun a draconian enforcement of a law passed in 2017 which allows them to charge for taxes they say are owed as far back as twenty years ago. Even if the arrangements were considered legal up until 2017. The UK tax grubbers want their pound of flesh and they want it now. According to the FT HMRC even sent out letters telling fifty thousand people that they should go into debt to pay the back taxes (a.k.a. ‘The loan charge’) being demanded.

Although I’m not affected, this news has made me very angry. Chasing debts for a legal exemption up to twenty years old? During a time when these schemes were not legally proscribed? Who keeps tax records for twenty years outside of the corporate sphere? Judas Fucking Priest! The backdated legislation behind this is heartless, dishonest and unnecessarily draconian. Not to mention that those affected are Doctors, Nurses, IT Contractors and even Social Workers. Back dated and estimated tax bills of up to a hundred thousand pounds have been sent out to the affected. Bills they have to pay or go to jail for tax evasion. Even if they weren’t evading tax at the time, merely using a legal loophole. If found guilty of tax evasion, or bankruptcy, all these people will be, in the case of Doctors, Nurses and Social Workers, disbarred from their professions and forced to take jobs far below their competence to make even a modest living.

One suicide has been recorded so far. There will be more as people are asset stripped, their houses sold to pay the bills and pension funds drained. Thus creating yet more poor people who need to subsist off the public purse.

Let me explain my anger; back in the day when I was an independent contractor I paid my taxes (Income and corporation thank you). Employers and employees NI contributions too. Until IR35 came into force and I reluctantly rolled up what had been a very enjoyable way of life before going back to being a wage slave. Which I hated. Because there’s nothing quite like running your own life to your own timetable. You may end up working fifty to sixty plus hour weeks, but at least you know who you are working for. All your profits go to you. And I’ll tell you this, I loved being my own boss, even if it meant working four extra hours at the end of each week to see my finances and tax affairs were in apple pie order.

When you work for yourself there’s a sense of freedom you can’t get anywhere else, even when you’re working twice as hard as you would if you were an ordinary employee. The lack of office politics was also refreshing. There’s a pride in being an independent too. You might have had to work a crap contract occasionally, but at the end of the day it was a lot easier to quit and find new work than if you just had a job as a full time wage slave. Losing that feeling was the worst. HR had no hold over my life outside of what I did for a company. For example, they couldn’t fire me for having a wrong opinion or looking the wrong way at someone outside of work. Or even being falsely accused of doing so. Or the hundred other excuses HR can screw with your life outside of work. In short, I loved, and still do love being my own boss. Even when times are hard there’s nothing quite like it. And there are always hard times to endure. Self employed or not.

The only real problem I had with being my own boss was the petty jealousy of the employed. The whiny crab-bucket bitches who saw what you got paid but never understood that you often paid more tax than they did. You organised your own taxes, paid accountants and book-keepers, paid extra health and professional liability insurance, the rent on office space and all the hundreds of details the self employed individual or company director deals (Or employs people to deal) with as a matter of routine.

Despite this, some wage slaves are unhappy at not being free and hate the merest thought of anyone else being happy or even moderately prosperous. I see these small minded curtain-twitchers, who decry any form of legal tax avoidance as ‘tax dodging’ or ‘not paying your fair share’, as those who would cheer at an execution without realising that their feet are also on the steps of the scaffold. None of us knows when it is our time to be strung up by the tax man, we can only take precautions, knowing that our date with the tax inspector is only a twist of fate away. There will be no sympathy, because in the tax authorities eyes, none are virtuous. Now HMRC can go back over your affairs for the last twenty years? Clucking bell. This is a truly dangerous precedent.

The main issue is that UK tax law is now so complicated, with so many exemptions and even contradictions that it is hard, even for accountants and other financial professionals, to know what is ‘legal’ and what is not.

New Labour (Blair & Brown) started this tax snatching trend and Blue Labour (Cameron & May) continued it, slicing the economic pie ever smaller instead of encouraging the production of more for everyone. All I can offer is my heartfelt sympathy to their victims. There by the grace of God go we all.

Planning for Lahn-dahn

The crocuses and snowdrops have surfaced from under the snow and we’re currently travel planning for an Autumn sojourn in dear old Lahn dahn as some of the locals call it. No, that’s not a place in Vietnam or Thailand but the estuarine pronunciation of London, capital and Metrollops of the dear old dis-united kingdom. We’ve sorted out where we’ll be staying in Earls Court and looking at places to eat and drink while we’re sauntering around the various museums and cultural icons. Top of my list are the National Science and Natural History Museums. Mrs S will be bimbling around the V & A and suchlike while I have a thorough geek-fest in Kensington. We plan to take in a couple of shows while we’re there too.

It will be interesting to visit a post-BREXIT Britain. I’m almost tempted to send all my UK contacts a ‘How does it feel to be free?’ greeting when the UK finally wrests itself loose from the choking tendrils of the EU. Hopefully in the next month. Thinking about it I haven’t been into Harrods or Selfridges Food Hall in a Donkey’s age. Which I’m quite looking forward to. It’s not so much the range of produce as the cornucopia of smells of a properly kept Fish and Game counter that tease the old olefactories. To a country raised boy like me it’s almost like going home. Even if where I once called home is over a hundred miles away. Now it’s several thousand and over ten years, but we are where we are and there’s an end of matters.

There’s also another small matter of yet another fence to mend. This time it’s the other party which will have to come to me, or at least down to the Smoke. I’m not spending good money hiring cars and booking hotels visiting someone who may not appreciate any olive branch I hold out. However, I’m jumping the gun a little. Best to hold my tongue and extend the hand of reconciliation. Even if none of the parties involved can be bothered to cross the pond to visit me. I know they can afford it.

However, I do so enjoy the old country in controlled small doses. It also pains me to see what it is becoming. Likewise Canada, increasingly divided and all in the name of ‘diversity’. Misguided ‘Hate speech’ laws creating privileged minorities. Police investigating non-crimes, all the while prioritising ‘thought crime’ like rogue tweets and off colour facebook posts over real crime, like burglary, criminal damage and assaults. Prediction; this will come back to bite the rule setters and enforcers. Very hard indeed. They depend on the public trust to operate successfully, and the current value of that trust is so far below zero it resembles the state of the Great lakes, which when I checked this morning had over seventy four percent ice cover. I’ll also say this; Laws which dictate thought rather than deed pave the descent into a really dangerous form of totalitarianism.

To wax poetic; boils like prejudice and hatred only heal after they have been properly examined, lanced, drained and debrided, if you’ll forgive the medical simile. To extend the metaphor, such poison is always best treated with free and honest debate. Shutting people up only lets matters fester until the only certain cure is high amputation. Which is a tactic tried by many totalitarian regimes, always failing at the cost of many innocent lives and eventually the ruling regime. It also destroys trust in the Police who are supposedly protectors, not persecutors of the general public. It is not their job to check someone’s thinking. Or is that just me being horribly naive?

Notwithstanding, say you think that Justin Trudeau is metaphorically a Weasel, Socialism is a murderous doctrine or that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with western democracy. Regardless of whether anyone finds those statements ‘offensive’ they should be considered and examined to see if they are true. Which they are. Even the most cursory reading of the facts will highlight the realities. If the law of the land is changed to suppress such opinions, what happens when these views become mainstream once more? Will the laws put in place to protect those opposed to such views be, like any captured weapon, be turned against their erstwhile abusers?

This is the danger of criminalising opinion. Opinion is mere fashion. It changes, and the mob it is meant to drive changes with it. The mob can turn in a heartbeat. When it does, you don’t want to be in it’s way.

Idle thought for my single US visitor; I think Bernie Sanders bears a strong resemblance to a deceased British far left politician from the 1970’s and 80’s, Michael Foot. See what you think. Well, it amused me.

At least the Lemon Trees are doing well

January has come and gone and my Lemon tree plants are sprouting new leaves on the windowsill of my office. What else? I’ve also just spent my yearly holiday allowance on a trip to Londinium this Autumn. Mrs S and I want to see all the non-events that will characterise the UK leaving the EU.

Otherwise life at Chez Sticker is plagued by glitches. A whole shedload of the wretched things. Nothing insuperable, just minor bits of grit in life’s ointment. Banks that won’t do what they’re told. Stuff which should happen in forty eight hours takes a week to ten days to set up. Which is a bit tricky when you’re under the gun and on a tight deadline. I’m having to postpone investments because of them. Which is a pain. I was hoping to get a tranche of cash moved to invest before the stock market rose too high. The Canadian tax man (Nice chaps – when you have good accountants) you see has given me a more generous allowance for investments for last year and this and I want to take advantage of the loophole before March 1st when the opportunity disappears. Then there’s the extra payments to HMRC to ensure my UK pension is nicely topped up.

One minor irritation is having to postpone closing an offshore account because of a policy rule change. A complication because the money sent to HMRC from that account has to clear before I can do the necessary. This is mildly annoying. Of course any differential will only be pennies, but nurtured carefully how those pennies mount up.

Turns out I have a knack for shifting money around. Who knew? All those years working my arse off for a living when I should have followed my true calling in international finance. Although my calculus is sometimes questionable, I can usually convert between currencies in my head pretty well and I’m making a more than modest amount each year off my stocks and shares. Better than all the pension funds and other investment vehicles I’ve put money into over the years. Nothing spectacular, just solid, steady tax-sheltered growth over the medium to long term. All nice and legal. Even if it is hard work from time to time. I could retire tomorrow but I’m not going to. Deferring payment means a better hedge against inflation and besides, I’d only get bored.

On the BREXIT front The Financial Times is still very Remoaner and becoming rather irritating to the point where I may well be cancelling my subscription. I want news, information, not opinion dressed up as so-called ‘facts’ to support a pro-EU aganda. My increasing infuriation is driven by the imperative that in investment, good and timely information is everything. Without that information the news media has no real facility.

So what’s going on out in Interwebland? Lots of interesting stuff. As my last remaining reader is probably aware, there’s been a lot of screaming and yelling over ‘Fake news’ over the last three years. Then, more recently there’s been a lot of tearing of hair and sackcloth and ashes over ‘journalists’ being fired from various left of centre media outlets. Now these two phenomena might seem unconnected, but what might have slipped under the radar is the cessation of funding to counter ‘foreign propaganda’ begun during the Obama administration under the Portman-Murphy sponsored ‘Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act’. Like with Trudeau’s extra funding for CBC and other like minded media outlets introduced in 2018. All the money under the respective legislation has been strongly suspected of going to media outlets that toe a specific party line. Or in the case of the USA, did go.

Listen to a more well-informed commentator’s view below explaining the ‘Learn to code‘ meme doing the rounds, where alphabet soup commentators have been paid very well while spreading misinformation to support their ’cause’. All the time insinuating that right of centre and centrist Youtubers and bloggers are little better than pro-Russian propaganda ‘bots. Let me explain; for years, said journo’s have slyly mocked ordinary working people who lost their jobs. Now the boot is on the other foot.

Mass media redundancies? Couldn’t happen to nicer people.

Only a couple more months to Spring. I have the feeling April 1st is going to be really interesting this year. At least for all the prophets of doom.

Update:  Speaking of doom, is it finally ‘game over’ for the Maduro regime in Venezuela?  If so, what will replace it?  All rather academic as the answers to those questions are for the Venezuelan people and no-one else.

A really great idea

I’ve been looking at a few notes in my off duty time (not easy working 55+ hour weeks and doing the cooking) and I’ve come up with this really great idea for a movie. Haven’t got a title, but given today’s social climate it’s an absolute winner. Totally PC and chock full of social commentary. Just what the modern educated movie-goers will flock to see. Here’s the plot…

  1. Boy and Girl meet at college and kind of fall in love. Very platonic. Very caring.
  2. Unfortunately an evil Gender studies Professor, thwarted in love herself and terribly warped (Or himself, totally flexible at this point of the process) sees the looks of frustrated longing across the lecture theatre and decides this shall not be.
  3. Professor declares war on “Heterodoxy” which means our two would-be lovers get swept up onto different sides in a college protest. So they fall out “I could never love you because you’re a sexist pig” She declares.
  4. On a drunken night out he (The Boy) falls in with the geek crowd, while she (The Girl) feels rejected and is welcomed with open arms (and legs) into the Alphabet soup ‘community’.
  5. Boy gives up on girls, falls in love with his Computer and eventually gets married to it, having himself surgically altered to the USB 3.0 standard with an HDMI Port.
  6. After a few dissatisfied years Girl loses girls and remembers boy.
    Unfortunately both are so warped by their liberal arts experience they can no longer form relationships with the opposite human sex.
  7. They meet again. Girl finds that Boy is now a genderless machine hybrid no longer able to form human relationships.
  8. Heartbroken she buys a kitten. Then gets adopted by another.
  9. Two years later the latest Microsoft release renders Boy incompatible, unable to interface with the latest and sexiest machines. A cat turns up on his doorstep and ‘adopts’ him. It gets run over. Heartbroken he buys another cat. Then another and one after that.
  10. Several years later Boy and Girl meet at a college campus reunion. She mimes an orgasm to demonstrate her feminist superiority and tells him how wonderful her life is. He lies about his interoperability with Linux. They part.
  11. Then they go back to their respective cats and die alone after long and pointlessly shallow lives.

So. That’s the basics. I think it’s a winner. A modern take on When Harry met Sally for the ultra-PC post white supremacy age.

What do you think?

Update:  Maybe I should put in a scene where she catches him trying to interface with her iPad?

Non Player Characters

There’s a very funny little take on a certain group of people doing the rounds of the jolly old Interweb that 85% of people are effectively what Gamers have taken to calling ‘Non-player characters’. Specifically people who react rather than think, use their limbic brains rather than their pre frontal cortex and often seem to be so self involved in their own little bubbles that any observations of neural activity can be thought of as purely accidental. They never seem to have the self reference to ask “Why am I doing this..?” or perhaps “What good am I doing…?” Followed by an existential “What defines ‘good’ and is attacking other people the right way to attain it..?” The more insightful might think that perhaps these NPC’s are painting themselves into a very small corner by not thinking.

Maybe the aforementioned is a function of their peer group structure? The self awareness of an NPC-level mob being the cube root of of the dumbest member? Yet these ‘activists’ are people who claim to know what is best for everyone and are willing to beat people up who happen to disagree? What they forget is that even if they win once, there will always be someone bigger, tougher, more skilled and more determined right around the corner. Possibly with a warrant. Or a grudge. No-one is immune. Direct action meet reaction. Hope you’ve got good legal and health insurance.

As an apposite aside, long ago (3rd February 2005 Yikes!), on a blog far, far away I wrote;

“Several years ago I worked out that roughly 75% of the human race are either plain stupid or just not paying attention. Mrs Sticker agrees, and helped modify the criteria so that the rule covers 85% of humans. After much spirited debate I was forced to agree. A proper mathematical analysis would bear this figure out. Think about it. In order for a proportion of the human race to be of average intelligence and above, statistically there has to be a corresponding fraction below those levels. Furthermore intelligence manifests itself in a number of ways. For example a Professor of Mathematics may be highly intelligent in a specific way but be a complete klutz in the kitchen. He / she might be great at advanced calculus but like many humans, reduced to the standard of the average moron when in charge of a car.

I’ve even joked that the zombie apocalypse has been with us for some time and left wing NPC’s area prime example, only there are right wing NPC’s too. This means we have two main tribes of zombies out there. Oh no, that can’t be right, the zombies are everywhere because each tribe only watches their own narrow section of the media and here’s the kicker, that’s what is eating their brains. Or should that be past tense? Has eaten their brains?

Make up your own mind. Just look around, observe, draw conclusions. Do not simply accept what you are told without question. Too many are willing to lie to back up their standpoint. NPC’s, Zombies, call them what you like. They all unthinkingly regurgitate what they’re told. Why? Because in the little bit of humanity they still do possess, they realise they really do have nothing to say. Because it’s the line of least resistance.

Once upon a time…

I’ve been looking around of late, in my few off-duty moments, wondering if the online culture war of faux-outrage has any cause and I regret to say I think it’s always been going on. Why I think that is a convoluted path, but the answer can be summarised with a Trudeau-like “Because, Humans”.

This answer derives from the 1941 movie (Okay, I love old black and white Frank Capra movies, so sue me) “Meet John Doe” starring Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper which is a satire on the state of journalism and politics during the early to mid twentieth century urban USA. What it, and many other similar productions tell us is (Including one Marx Brothers comedy) how mainstream media outlets, like all human institutions, are partisan and how that partisanship plays out with an audience and the powers that be. Particularly when said dead tree press is struggling to survive under severe financial pressure. I particularly liked the portrayal of a prototype SJW as a fat, rich and idle white woman bloviating over the phone to the Mayor’s office, giving him hell for not “Doing something” about an issue invented to save a journalists paycheck, then that invented ‘problem’ going on to create a national cause célèbre.

The parallels with today’s online society are obvious. A vociferous minority with otherwise empty lives, the #MeToo movement as a case in point, get told a lie to further the agenda or line the pockets of some rent seeker, then without looking at whether the information they are given is sound or not, go off on a rant about it. In the process not caring about the harm they do to any innocent party. Rather like the Salem Witch trials or Nazi and Soviet era denunciations. Due process goes out of the window, there is no examination of any evidence. In their eyes the accusation is the evidence. Emotion is all, mere facts or lack thereof are irrelevant. The Twitter or Facebook lynch mob wants blood and no evidence of innocence can be countenanced. Bugger human rights, sod innocent until proven guilty, the unthinking mob just want to see those necks stretch. They love the drama, the endorphin hit of feeling they’ve done the right thing, regardless of any inconvenient facts or even the lack thereof. Or the innocence of the people whose lives they try to destroy by going after their employers or family.

The irony of privileged white people crowing about the “end of white supremacy” is not lost on this blog. If these people had any real self awareness or insight they’d understand that if the societal freedoms and responsibilities they call “White supremacy” do disappear, so will their own privileged indolent lifestyles.

The rest of us end up with our freedom of expression muzzled by poorly thought through “hate speech” laws. And eventually so does theirs, because the law is a two edged sword, which cuts both ways.

Update:  A gentleman named Mark Kern has suggested calling SJW’s and their media allies “Information Terrorists”.  May I suggest an alternative term, “The Enemy”.

What May come?

What was British PM Theresa May up to in South Africa, apart from proving she dances like a tailors dummy with arthritis? If any arthritic tailors dummies are offended by that last sentence – tough. You’re not covered by any hate crime laws (yet), so I can say what I damn well like about you. Which does not answer the question that has been meandering around in my head over the long weekend.

That question is; what is the British Prime Minister doing, cosying up to the ANC on the run up to the proposed mass land grab? Is this some belated retribution against latter-day white Afrikaners for the Boer Wars? Or is there a new ‘scramble for Africa‘ going on like in the late 1800’s?

On that topic, I know the Chinese are lending money left right and centre to a lot of African countries and have been doing for some considerable time to buy their way in. Contrariwise, as our cousins south of the 49th parallel would say, Britain’s influence has been in steep decline since the mid 1900’s so why the sudden interest? Is May going to offer asylum to those farmers threatened with penury when land they have been the stewards of since the late 1700’s is whipped from under their feet without recompense, leaving them at the mercy of the Banks, who will still want their payments and the murderous intent of the Communist EFF? Bet you she won’t.

Unlike the Russians or Australians, who have land they would like to see put to productive use and are offering refuge to the soon-to-be dispossessed. Or the Zimbabweans, who having seen the errors of their ways are actively welcoming back those nasty old white farmers Mugabe summarily asset stripped. Because the new regime realised that the so-called ‘bad guys’ had the work ethic, management and agricultural skills to make commercial farms pay. Unlike the people the land was given to by the Mugabe regime, who basically didn’t have a clue and weren’t interested in anything but the money. Which ran out very quickly indeed.

South Africa will suffer just like Zimbabwe did for this racist policy. Their economy is already in bad shape, with the Rand on an ever-downward path. Now they’re getting ready for the ethnic cleansing that will make them unable to feed their country. This is not ‘Land reform’. This is not ‘fairness’. This is economic suicide.

Why May should want to hitch Britain’s coat tails to such a regime is, on the surface, quite baffling. Unless you know some of the expat community who have spent time in other parts of Africa.
There’s a government enforced policy in certain African states which dictates that the CEO of a company has to be a local. Can’t be ‘white’ or Asian locals either. So what outside funded multinationals do is recruit an ethnic local, load him with all the trappings, but give the important functional work, and thus the real power to hand picked and motivated people who are either trained and steeped in the productive ethos, or Expat Europeans or Asians brought in to keep things moving. Otherwise little happens.

As a rather cynical Expat, an old ‘Africa hand’ said to me when I expressed surprise at this state of affairs many years ago. “TIA.” or “This is Africa.”

Personally, I think Theresa May has been laying the political groundwork for another type of hostile takeover after the South African land reforms fall over, as they will, because land only has value to those who know what to do with it. Especially when those who take up the seized properties find out how much hard bloody work commercial farming actually is, British based multinationals will be politically placed to move in and buy up the productive land. A local will be selected as the front man and like elsewhere, Expat Europeans, Lebanese and Asians brought in to actually run the show. Possibly even the people whose farm was seized in the first place. Why? Because they have the experience to cope with all the poorly managed infrastructure, shortage of good roads and general levels of corruption endemic to the continent.

An internet Bill of Rights – A proposal

Seen over at Minds.com

MINDS.COM PROPOSED DIGITAL BILL OF RIGHTS

Alternative social network Minds has debuted a digital bill of rights amid accusations of bias and political manipulation at Google, Facebook, and other Big Tech companies.
“Minds is officially adopting the Manila Principles On Intermediary Liability, a digital bill of rights, outlined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other leading digital rights organizations,” the social network announced, Thursday. “The principles have been endorsed by nearly 300 leading press freedom and technology policy organizations and individuals. They act as a guideline for protecting freedom of expression and create an open environment for innovation.”

The bill of rights are as follows:

  1. Intermediaries should be shielded from liability for third-party content.

  2. Content must NOT be required to be removed without an order by a judicial authority.

  3. Requests for restrictions of content must be clear, be unambiguous, and follow due process.

  4. Laws and content restriction orders and practices must comply with the tests of necessity and proportionality.

  5. Laws and content restriction policies and practices must respect due process.

  6. Transparency and accountability must be built into laws and content restriction policies and practices.

Discuss. I’m off to do some gardening. There’s some judicious potting out to do. Lemon tree seedlings again.

The lessons of History

A couple of decades ago, I was studying 9th and 10th Century Anglo-Saxon History when I came across a curious snippet. Under the reign of Athelstan (924-939), first King of all the Angles and the first to rule over a unified England with similar borders to today, there was a law, which does not appear in this brief selection, stating that no child should be left alone with a priest. That the parent of the child, or a Reeve, particularly if the child were a boy if memory serves, was always to be present. In short there were strict laws concerning priestly conduct. Why? Because even 10th Century monarchs knew about human nature and the effects of enforced celibacy. There were even strict penalties for Priests or Monks who ‘carried off Nuns’.

Now it seems the Catholic church is reaping the whirlwind for not just decades but potentially centuries of institutionalised child abuse and internal cover-ups. Good luck with those claims for ‘compensation’ though. The Catholic Church is land rich and owns vast archives but as far as I’m aware doesn’t have that much ready cash floating about. So any claims paid will result in a fire-sale of some very nice ecclesiastical real estate. The Pope can beg for God’s forgiveness all he wants, but it’s not God who wants the compensation.

The whole circus reminds me of one of my Dad’s favourite jokes (Although it was probably his father’s favourite as well), which goes thus;

A Catholic priest is hauled up in the Magistrates court for sodomising an under age choirboy. He’s about to put in a guilty plea when the Magistrate takes one look at the plaintiffs and the arresting officer, bangs his gavel (Ouch) and says. “Case dismissed.”
The arresting Police officer looks aghast; he’s literally caught the errant priest with his cassock around his waist, humping hell out of an eleven year old boy in the Sacristy. “Your honour!” He protests.
“I said; case dismissed.” Repeats the Magistrate, firmly.
“But, but why?” Asks the Policeman.
“Haven’t you heard that Choirboy sing?” Asks the Magistrate.

Well, it used to make me laugh. It’s like the whole casting couch phenomena that has all the #MeToo movement up in arms. In the working class circles from which I originate these things were well known from when I was a boy five decades ago. Priests buggered choirboys. Actors, hardly paragons of morality, often traded sex for a part in a movie or a show via casting couch culture. Single sex schools were known hotbeds of various under the age of consent vices. Various forms of sexual perversion is rife in prisons. Why? Because any port in a storm. That’s why.

Politicians often have mistresses (Even John Prescott). It was and is a careless parent who trusts these people too much because those who aspire to positions of power do so because that carries an implied licence to have sex with anything of woman born. Those with large sexual appetites will always be and have always been this way. We know these things to be true because we hear the rumours and read about the court cases.

The only thing that still baffles me is why everyone is so goddamn surprised. This is not to say that authority figures should not be trusted, but, only to a point. They are not Gods, simply slightly more ambitious and less restrained versions of our more mundane selves. And we all know how bad we are.

Why we need ‘free’ speech

I was watching this Jordan Peterson presentation this morning (See video below) and was struck with a small epiphany.

Having listened to him I’d say it’s not so much ‘free’ speech we need as honest speech. The right to honestly challenge all ideas, good and bad. Firstly to challenge the bad and by doing so (and I would say more importantly) improve the good.

Canada’s, indeed the whole Anglosphere’s, new ‘hate speech’ and blasphemy laws are antithetical to honest discourse, which is why these laws must go. And no, you can’t punch someone simply because you disagree with them either, because that is common assault and should bear the penalty of the law. Nor should anyone suffer penalty, be ‘de-platformed’ or have their livelihood threatened for simply speaking their mind. Even, and especially so, if their ideas are wrong or harmful. Like the obvious misandry of 3rd wave feminism. Or even the “Shut up or we’ll kill you” tactics of the Wahabi sect of Islam, or radical Communists and Socialists of whatever kidney. Or the crazy armed isolationism of extreme right wingers. Or National Socialism. History is full of some truly epoch making bad ideas like these.

Honest speech also allows any individual to examine and dismiss sources of ‘fake news’ for the charlatans they are. To tell anyone they aren’t allowed to and force your will upon them brutally strips people of their individuality, which I always thought was the best and greatest thing about humanity.

Update:  Here’s a perspective from the working man’s side of things which tends to fit with my own thinking (Okay, it’s a US source but none the less on the money).  And he’s right.  Free, or better still honest speech, is dangerous.

But honest speaking is often very, very necessary. Which is why it should not suffer Government constraint, no matter how ‘hurtful’ it is.

Smoke gets….

Smoke gets everywhere over here. Wildfire smoke that is. We can taste it in the air and today visibility has dropped to below a hundred metres. I was able to just about see the Weather radar tower, but now can’t even see the hill it sits upon. Missed the Perseid meteor shower the other weekend because the sky was too full. Then we had a little rain which cooled things down from an oppressive thirty plus Celsius to a more comfortable mid twenties. Now it’s getting warmer again.

If it’s not from California, the smoke is coming from the many mainland fires and further east. It’s got so bad that some of the smaller airports are closing until the air clears. Not that we’re going anywhere, but there’s a lot of outdoor camping holidays being affected and Canadians do like to go camping.

Work is picking up with being called to a video board meeting to explain how the financial systems our team has developed to handle money, only to see it outright vetoed. Why? Because dwarleengs it might hurt someone’s ‘feelingz’. Which I didn’t get. What we’ve done is streamline the process, iron the bugs out and make life easier for everyone on our side of the business as well as improving the financial reporting. A win-win for most as everyone gets a say and usually exactly what they ask for. The boards objections to our new and improved way of working sounded like they were trying to reinvent the wheel. Oh well, they don’t have to adopt our working practices, but they will once reality bites or their side of the business will implode. The money men will see to that. I can see lots of tearful conversations ahead.

That’s the thing working over here on the Wet coast of BC, this is SJW central. Down here in Victoria it’s all flowers, pink unicorns, fairies and pixie dust because actually working is so passe. And if you object you often face the full flamethrower of irrational fury. Seriously, there’s a lot of crazy over here. It’s why the City of Victoria couldn’t agree on a sewage treatment plant and busies itself removing statures and putting in bike lanes. Until local people stood up for office and forced the issue through in 2016-7.

That’s right. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, like a lot of other major Canadian cities still discharges untreated sewage into waterways like the Juan De Fuca Straits, a body of water two thirds the width of the English Channel. Why? Local politics, thats why. Too caught up in a smog of soft words to focus on really important things, so they fiddle around with bike lanes and rainbow pedestrian crossings while the sea around the provincial capital, as well as that of our southern neighbour, Seattle, remains contaminated by raw sewage. Fortunately a new treatment plant has finally been agreed and is being built but will not be fully effective until 2030.

Think this is just applicable to the West Coast? Even Canada’s major city, Toronto has a serious sewage problem.

Oh yes, just an observation; all this NSAATANA (no smoking at any time anywhere near anybody) doesn’t happen in mainland Europe. In Copenhagen, Amsterdam and the South of France there are outdoor and indoor smoking areas with people puffing away contentedly. The whole ‘No Vaping’ thing is likewise ignored everywhere except the Anglosphere (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA etc). Funny that.

The Axis of Evil

Well I declare; Facebook is sniffing around US banks to obtain users transaction data. By proxy, considering that Facebook maintains databases which compile profiles on even non-users like myself, this is dangerous territory. I have already written to the banks of whom I am an account and shareholder for assurances that they will not provide any customer transaction data to Facebook or any other Social Media company whatsoever. Whether these ‘Social Media’ companies are ‘actively’ seeking it or not. Personally I find the denials flimsy and untrustworthy.

The risk here is that Facebook, Twitter, Google et al are actively seeking to extend their tentacles into every aspect of modern life. Given these platforms propensity for shadow banning, account deletion and general censoriousness, there is good reason to suspect that once such access is gained they will use it to further their own corporate agendas, not just sell advertising. Given that these platforms have demonstrated a clear propensity for de-platforming people they disagree with, those who do not conform may find their financial affairs restricted.

Working as I do with money, which has no politics, I find the hinted intrusion of Social Media companies into the financial arena a direct threat to my affairs, even if that threat is so far existential. As far as I am concerned, Facebook (LinkedIn), Alphabet Corporation (Google, YouTube), Twitter etc. just became the bad guys, forming an ‘Axis of evil’. “Don’t be evil.” just lost the “Don’t.” These corporate monsters now represent a more insidious form of soft Fascism than anyone would have previously thought possible, but here we are. All the trust we have given them, they have routinely abused.

Over the next few days I will also be deleting my Facebook-owned professional LinkedIn account, after first informing all my real life friends and professional contacts that I am doing so via email. LinkedIn never brought me any worthwhile work offers anyway.

Some holiday reading

Back home and unpacking now. Our little deck garden has survived our absence and the Lemon tree seedlings are doing very well indeed. The biggest issue we face having returned to BC is where to get half way authentic French bread in our locale. We’ve tried some of our local outlets, but their output is too dense and not crusty enough. Good French bread is a simple thing but so hard to get right without the correct T55 or T65 grade flour. Which is very difficult to get over here in BC, Canadian import restrictions being what they are.

While we have been traversing the byways and higher ways around Western Europe, I’ve been using a couple of books to pass the time in various airport lounges and flights. The first is a Penguin edition of Orwell’s ‘Why I write’, the second, Christopher Hitchens’ commentary ‘Why Orwell Matters’. Finished ‘Why I write’ on the flight to Marseille and ‘Hitchens on Orwell’ on the flight back to BC.

Conclusion; like another of my favourite writers, Rudyard Kipling, Orwell was a man of his time shaped by conscience and experience. To me Orwell was right as an opposer of totalitarianism, which is a doctrine which always assumes that others should dictate how you live your life, wrong regarding Democratic Socialism, which puts power in the hands of some supposedly benign, unbiased authority. Which as the Communist and every other form of Socialist regime have found and are finding, is a path that leads only to mass graves. Because the tighter the definition of what is mandated by these supposedly beneficent individuals, the less becomes allowed and the more ‘outliers’ there are across the general population who won’t fit.

Think of it this way, we’ve all got enough going on without having some eternal parent figure supervising and regulating our every waking thought. Running people’s lives through fiat and diktat is a bad idea because Government or religious rules set up to tightly govern irrational, greedy, selfish humans are set up and often enforced by, guess who? Irrational, greedy and selfish humans. Possibly more so than in private institutions. If you’ve ever worked in the public sector anywhere, you will know this to be true. The majority of people who work in them are not fit to rule themselves, let alone others, which is an excellent reason to minimise Government power wherever possible. The same goes for cartels and monopolies, like Alphabet inc (Google, YouTube et al) Facebook or Twitter.

Perhaps Orwell, had he lived long enough, would have wholeheartedly agreed. He’d probably have been horrified by the wholesale banning of InfoWars too because someone like him would have been first on their list for no-platforming. Especially when Facebook are sniffing around the US banks after people’s transaction data.

What would happen to someone like George if Facebook etc got that access and enforced their will on his personal life? “Sorry Mr Orwell, but we don’t like your opinions so we’re going to stop you getting a credit card or having a bank account.”

Which makes me look at my LinkedIn and Instagram accounts and think about deleting those as well. That and a word to the banks I’m a shareholder of, telling them that should they enter negotiations with the axis of evil (Alphabet Inc, Facebook and Twitter), I will be voicing serious concerns about security and voting against any board Director who wants to go in that direction.

Update: I see that Instagram have deleted the ‘realtommyrobinson’ page.  Well, he can join another social media platform and take all his followers with him.  Instagram’s loss.

A thought about Dunning-Kruger

It’s an easy toss-off isn’t it? Accuse someone of Dunning-Kruger syndrome to claim some form of nebulous ‘superiority’ and thus disarm their arguments. It’s become a “Fuck off moron, you’re too stupid to understand.” Generally by people who think they’ve learned all there is to know and that they’re the world authority on everything.

Now as my one remaining reader will attest, I make no claims to be a towering intellect save that of possessing some low animal cunning and the ability to spot a steaming heap of bullshit at two hundred paces. No, I’m not ‘well educated’, have no university degree although I’ve taken a number of online (2010-17) University courses for which I have received better than average marks (usually around 70-80%, although I’ve scored over 90% on more than one occasion) These are not ‘free’ courses by the way. Proper professional qualifications with real certificates. So I’m not totally Mr Thickie. And if I don’t know, I’ll do some research and ask pertinent questions. Then say my say. Yes I may be ‘unskilled’, but do know where the limits of my knowledge lie. Because I like to learn and a man should always push his own mental envelope.

The problem with accusing those you disagree with of suffering from Dunning Kruger in a scattergun fashion is that it will always come back to bite you, especially when the target of said accusation can quote their stated case chapter and verse. Also because even multiple PhD’s can have it dead wrong. As has been proven time after time. Ask me for some examples and I’ll happily provide links to studies supporting my arguments. Because that’s how knowledge expands, by an individual looking at a situation and going “That’s not right.” And you don’t have to be a graduate to question the status quo. Being correct is all that matters.