Tag Archives: Politics

Unlucky for some

The EU’s notorious Article 13 vote made it through the first stages of the legislative process recently. Which is another bloody good reason to hate that corpulent bureaucracy. The overweening state. That detestable cancerous growth of unearned, undemocratic privilege.

Yet I see hope. Not merely in the voter backlash but ensconced in history. In 1501, Pope Alexander VI, one of the notorious Borgia family (The father of Cesare, Giovanni, Gioffre and Lucrezia), issued a Papal Bull against unlicensed printing presses (Not listed on Wikipedia but is referenced in the Foreword of the 1993 “Dictionary of the Printing and Allied Industries” by F.J.M. & E.F.P.H. Wijnekus). However, like so many Papal Bulls, it failed. It failed because the papal position was weak. Rather like the modern EU, weakened by Brexit, threatened by secession by the Italians and overt non-compliance from Poland, Hungary and other of the ex-Warsaw pact Eastern European states.

Indeed, the comparison of the Borgia popes to modern day EU commissioners holds true. The EU commission is overtly corrupt, greedy and more than willing to use their power to serve the agenda of the rich and powerful.

As with the persecution of printers during the late renaissance and later reformation, this fight has a long way to go. Ultimately this conflict also has a foregone conclusion. The EU will lose. But not until after repeated battles. Which means all of us who care will have to prime our dictionaries and .303 eloquence and keep on fighting in the war for cyber-freedom. Because the power-junkies of the EU will never be satisfied if we don’t.

Let us hope that Article 13 will prove terminally unlucky for them.

Advertisements

Evil travel planning

Travel planning today for our July trip over the big eastern water to jolly old Londinium and points east and south. Double checking bookings, passports etcetera and making sure that we have the finances in place for the Copenhagen leg of the trip, which is all Danish Kroner. Then back to Euro’s for Amsterdam and France. Sterling is the least of our worries.

One of the things that has flagged up in our discussions is the increased crime rate in London. So we asked Youngest for a few handy hints, as she is our resident legal eagle in the great metrollops. First piece of advice she came up with is not to stand on a street corner with a map or cell phone in your hands discussing where to go. This marks you out as a ‘tourist’ and is an open invitation to the opportunist bicycle or moped shod thieves to swoop in and nick your stuff. So she suggested we do our map reading and route planning in a handy coffee shop or bar. Much more civilised. Safer too. So that is what we will do.

Aside from our impending trip all potters along steadily Chez Maison Sticker. My potted out Lemon tree seedlings are merrily pushing tiny leaflets up into the light. Out on our little deck garden most of the seeds Mrs S and I have planted have germinated and are in leaf. The rose has put out it’s first blood red blossoms, and the rain it raineth this morning. Which is good. In a small way.

Something else which might turn out well is the denuclearisation deal being done with the North Koreans. See the video below, whose clear persuasive message is quite compelling and is obviously designed to hit Kim Jong thingummy right in the ego. Hey you, young man. Want to be a really great leader? Get the prosperity like your neighbours? Sign here and put those dangerous toys away. We’ve got something better. There’s basketball too! Yes, I know it’s a Farcebook video, but someone who really understands people put it together, so I’m happy to share.

Wonder if the same kind of sales oriented approach would work with the Middle East? Selling the idea of prosperity rather than some wishy-washy idea of compelled ‘niceness’ and the odd handout. Well I like it. Palestine being open for business rather than just being a war zone? A shifted focus. A different zeitgeist. It could well happen. Of course my inner realist says that it won’t all be a bed of roses (Watch for those thorns buddy!), but it’s a way better idea than the current bed of nails.

Uscitalia

News is surfacing that the Italians have finally got themselves a Government after EU-appointed President Mattarella caved and allowed the appointment of a Prime Minister. Which means they now have an actively anti-EU administration. What with the Spanish threat to exit, the Brexit negotiations might just become unnecessary because there will be nothing left but the ashes of a fragile Franco-German alliance.

Just a thought.

Soros is right

Bloody hell Bill! Have you gone over to the dark side?

Actually no, but this money quote comes from arch villain and Hedge fund manager George Soros. Seen in this morning’s Financial Times (Behind subscriber paywall) “The EU is in an existential crisis. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong,” He has been quoted as saying. “it needs to reinvent itself.” Well bless my soul! This is something a lot of Brexiteers have been saying for a long time. Indeed the push to ‘ever closer union’ has been the prime mover behind the UK’s push to exit the EU. As a pan-European trading bloc the idea of a United Europe has merit, but as a political entity, no. Europe’s regional cultures are too diverse for that.

He points out that the Euro is a ‘problem’. Well, no shit Sherlock. He also points out the need for the top down governance of the EU to ‘engage’ with the grass roots. This too is a case of stating the bleedin’ obvious. Hashtag hefinallygetsit. Because the EU as currently structured is an unaccountable top down model that tries to force a series of one size fits all policies on places that are very different, even incompatible. Like say London and Yorkshire. Or Paris and the rest of France. Or Berlin and say, Bavaria. Or Ottawa and the rest of Canada. If you’ve visited both country and city in various countries and spent serious time there you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about.

Side note: what form of ‘engagement’ he’s talking about, at least from the article, isn’t clear. Maybe it’s a case of “Shut up peasants, we’ll tell you what to think.” Which ain’t democracy. Indeed it’s the very antithesis of the concept of citizen representation. The main problem is that these NGO’s tend to leech onto a minor issue and blow it up out of all proportion. Like with the EU, these institutions also need a serious downgrade.

What Soros omits to say is that a number of the NGO’s he funds are one source of the problems the EU is beset by. His Open Society Foundation, for example, acts as an enabler of the ‘migrant crisis’. Indeed it’s gotten to the point where Hungary and a number of ex-Warsaw pact Eastern European states / newer EU members are openly hostile to his various NGO’s manipulations. They think, and I’m inclined to agree with them, that he is part of the greater problem.

Of course Soros is not the only market manipulator who funds the offending NGO’s and pressure groups, he’s just the most publicly visible.

The theory of cock up; part 2

Watching events from this side of the pond, I’ve been inclined to do a little thinking about the path that has taken a certain right wing activist (unjustly) to jail for more time than if he’d committed a far more serious crime. To be fair, he’s skated close to the edge in the past, but by reacting the way they have, the powers that be have exacerbated a situation they created in the first place.

Cock-up and public sector cowardice created the UK’s current dilemma’s over the last two decades. Cock-up in thinking that legislation can enforce ‘fairness’ because one man’s (and woman’s, whatever) fairness can be another’s injustice, cowardice in not enforcing the law equally from the start. If the law had been properly and fairly enforced we would not be at the point of what is in effect a global gagging order being issued by a UK court and the subsequent public backlash.

My first reaction to the Judges decisions, both to jail the activist and to massively increase his sentence for what was a very minor infraction of bail conditions was a loud groan of “No, no, no! You’ll just make things worse!” Maybe said Judge was acting on his own instincts, maybe he’d received ‘guidance’ from the Home Office. Don’t know for sure, but it seems likely. What level that ‘guidance’ might have come from is moot. Certainly the politicians will be shouting at their functionaries things like; “Whatever possessed you to do such a thing! Now you’ve created a martyr!” To which the functionary (more likely functionaries) will point to guidelines established under a previous administration and trot out the old “But Ve vere only following orders.” Defence. Said guidelines were probably of the “For God’s sake don’t stir things up!” Variety. The idea being that by appeasing a certain religious community (Hem-hem, to use a Molesworthism) inter community violence, or the threat of it, due to a large influx of people (invited by the Blair, Brown, Cameron administrations and the EU) who have no intention of assimilating into British mainstream culture, would somehow magically go away. Sorry chaps, appeasement never works as a tool of public policy. I think the 1930’s proved that.

The above I know is pure conjecture on my part, but it does seem logically consistent with my own experience within UK local and national government institutions and how these things work. Anyway, Tommy should look on the bright side; his arrest made the front page of Drudge. See last nights screenshot below.

Now I also hear rumours that the UK has the Police literally arresting native British people on their own doorsteps for ‘hate speech’? Otherwise known as pointedly asking why a certain religious group gets preferential treatment? That is so going to end badly.

As a whimsical aside; are the days of thunderstorms England is likely to suffer until Wednesday God’s comment on the matter? Maybe the almighty is really a free speech activist too?

Winter is coming…

Forgive the quick ‘Game of Thrones’ riff but I foresee a change in politics here on the left coast of BC. The price of gas (petrol) is currently up at European levels and there’s even a threat of shortages if the inter-NDP turf war between BC and Alberta continues throughout Summer. All over a pipeline expansion. Not that the Ottawa Trudeaupians will be doing anything. The e-ideological blinkers are on and the people who will end up hurting the most are your basic average Canadian. The poorest most of all.

Let me expand. Higher gas and ‘carbon’ taxes mean the price of everything goes up. Why? Well because in Canada most stuff moves by truck and if the cost of transport goes up, what do you think the distributors and retailers are going to do? Watch their profit margins disappear? See their businesses sucked dry of capital for improvement and staff wages? Guess who is going to feel the burn first. Go on. Prize to that clever clogs at the back! The people who are always first to catch it in the neck. The poorest workers, that’s who. All the shortly to be laid off support staff. Shop workers, all the minimum wage folk who will lose their jobs and are now paying more to get to work even if they’re lucky not to be pink-slipped (Laid off). These are the people who will have to make the choice between Chicken and canned beans. Pensioners and anyone else on a fixed income. All the people the NDP, Greens and Liberals claim to support. Irony, much?

These are the ruling NDP, Green and Liberal parties who haven’t been able to sort out a sewage treatment plant for Victoria for the last few decades. which means Victoria for example discharges raw sewage into the Juan de Fuca. The ones who would rather build bicycle lanes and paint rainbow crosswalks than sort out the local rail line. Those who suspend tax audits on their tax-dodging political friends and supporters. Proposing changes to tax regulations on ‘charities’ so that tax exempted organisations taking foreign money can politically campaign against Canadian interests. Which is supposed to be against the law because it’s a corrupt, third world practice that only benefits extremely rich sponsors like foreign oil companies, hedge funds and other speculators with a vested interest in keeping Canada down.

We’ll be away in Europe when incoming shit may well start to hit the fan in July, our money far out of the grasp of tax greedy politicians. Which is one of today’s tasks. Wills have been drawn up and signed, trusts established, executors appointed and money put aside to pay for same. We here at Maison Sticker are not millionaires, but we do plan. Dry ingredients will be in the larder and the freezer full. Even in the unlikely event there’s temporarily no fuel to go to the stores my most critical rule will apply. No one goes hungry on my watch.

For those currently too busy keeping their heads only just above water the result of all these changes will be palpable, raising living costs for those who can least afford to take the hit. For them, the sun may currently be shining but it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that Winter is most certainly coming. For us, Mrs S and I have discussed this matter and are looking at moving our base of operations into another jurisdiction. Somewhere our buck has a far heftier bang while having good transport links to another safe haven.

Update:  For those interested, this is a rough guide to the Kinder Morgan pipeline situation; the BC NIMBY’s (Not In My Back Yard) and BANANA’s (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anywhere) claim that an increase in oil flow will lead to catastrophic spills and increased tanker traffic bringing invasive marine species, more global warming (Hah!) and there will be signs and portents of the end of days.  So the NDP and Greens are opposed to increasing pipeline capacity from Alberta. Which means we can’t sell to the Chinese or Asian markets as effectively.

A lot of foreign funded NGO’s are also opposed (For their own reasons) and are lobbying the provincial and federal governments, even though under current tax law they should lose their tax status and government hand outs for doing so.  The Liberal Trudeaupians are also opposed, but scared witless of the opposition in the oil producing provinces (Alberta,Saskatchewan & Manitoba) going back to the Conservatives.  So they officially make all the right noises, but unofficially are letting BC and Alberta Duke it out with petty little wine and beer restrictions.  Result; stalemate with a threat of Alberta switching off the oil tap entirely, but at the same time giving the NDP time to buy oil supplies from the USA.  Which is insane for an oil-rich country like Canada which actually supplies the US.

The upshot is that Alberta has lost and is losing investment and jobs, as has BC.  All because of the NDP/Green coalitions doctrinaire opposition to fossil fuels and the mistaken belief that an atmospheric trace gas controls the climate.   Even when the real (and more up to date) science quite reasonably points out that the claimed ‘signature’ of the trace gases effect is lost in the ‘noise’ of a semi-chaotic climate system.  If CO2 really were the culprit for an increase in global temperature, they might reasonably ask, then why is it snowing in Newfoundland?  In late May.

Odd stuff

I’m quite chuffed with the way our little deck garden in developing. At present just over three quarters of the seed we planted a few weeks ago has muscled it’s way out blinking into the sunlight. Even one of my attempts of germinating Lemon seed is showing the first signs of green after only a week. My Avocado seed is still just sitting in my office, but that’s only eight days into the long wait for anything to happen. It may rot, it may germinate, who knows?

Yet my old third form biology teacher would be quite pleased I’m sure. I went to a rural high school and agriculture and horticulture ranked high on the curriculum. As for sex, well, we knew what bits went where by age twelve, especially as most of us boys knew our way around a farmyard and saw what animals got up to. As for the girls, well, they were well ahead of us. Half the third (Grade 8) form girls hanging around with a crowd of us fifth form boys (Grade 10) to indulge in some light sexual horseplay in which much elastic got twanged. Nothing backward in our little corner of the shires.

Nor was there any of this “He abused me!” victim stuff. At least not to date. Perhaps we were made of sterner stuff than later generations. Despite being part of the late ‘baby boom’ generation, I don’t recall any of us having anything handed to us on a plate. You finished school, you got a job. You went to work. Period. Christ on a bike! I hate the term ‘Baby Boomer’ (Or worse, the cringeworthy ‘Zoomer’). It’s a cheap little whiners term used to denigrate and diminish people, just because they were born in a particular set of years. I bet there’s a serious tranche of people who hate being tarred with the ‘Generation X, Y Z’ tags. Jesu! These cheap little labels for the hard of thinking are worse than fucking Astrology and way less accurate!

Notwithstanding, it’s been a statutory holiday today, so I’ve officially not been working (All right, I worked a bit because I was bored, okay?). The only item worthy of note was a low flying military aircraft (A CF-188) buzzed our end of Victoria this morning heading what looked like straight at the US border. I’m pretty sure it was an RCAF plane, didn’t get the number, but it was the right shade of blue. Didn’t see it turn after crossing over the Juan De Fuca, just watched it pootle on over towards the USA until it disappeared behind the leaves of next doors Cherry tree. Maybe the pilot was looking for cheaper aviation fuel south of the border where they don’t lump so much in the way of ‘carbon taxation’ on. Who knows?

What with the inter province spat over the Kinder Morgan Pipeline upgrade and BC’s ‘carbon tax’ the Summer price of gasoline is way up above 2013 levels, hitting more and more Canadians in their wage packets. Not so much us. We’re not planning any more transcontinental road trips and don’t need to commute, so our trusty little Subaru isn’t going to get as much use as it has over the last three years. Although Gasoline prices south of the border are just under a Canadian Dollar a litre at the time of writing, which is pretty good. If we lived in somewhere like White Rock, Langley or Abbotsford it would be worth popping over the border just to fill up. No doubt some of the locals do exactly that. Don’t blame them either. This farcical idea that Canadians driving less will somehow ‘save the planet’ is long past it’s sell-by date. Anyone who still believes that needs to read a bit more and not swallow everything they get told via the idiot box.

On the oil front, I see the Venezuelans have re-elected Maduro. Well, the ones who voted anyway. He’ll be the only fat man left in Venezuela at this rate. Until someone does the Venezuelans a favour and gets rid of his administration by other means. From my point of view it’s just another failure of socialist style politics. Doesn’t help hungry Venezuelans much, or their rapidly increasing diaspora, poor bastards. What actually makes me laugh (although not very much as I’m not completely heartless) is UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn pointing to what could be a wealthy country in an economic nosedive as a ‘success’ of socialist economics. Shows how much he knows. About as much as a failed divinity student turned politician knows about climate science. At least you know Al Gore doesn’t really believe his own bullshit (He wouldn’t own so much beachfront property if he did). Corbyn does.

Delightful

Our seedlings are doing well. There’s a minor leak-glitch in the automatic watering system I installed yesterday, but nothing that can’t be fixed by a little PTFE (Plumbers) tape. A five minute fix. Otherwise our drip system works perfectly and will do the necessary job of keeping our plants suitably refreshed and thriving without wasting water while we’re away in July. Mrs S is delighted and so am I. A little green on the deck creates a pleasant space for work breaks where we can rest our weary screen-dried eyes on the local scenery. It’s also become a place where, when the weather is suitable, we can dine on tea and cucumber sandwiches. Which feels very civilised. There’s just something about sandwiches with the crusts cut off and one bite H’ordeuvres for supper that act as a balm to the soul. Must be a cultural thing. To paraphrase a famous quote from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam;

A glass of wine, a plate of sandwiches and thou, talking softly to me in Victoria.

Another thing that I found utterly delightful this morning was Alberta UCP leader Jason Kenney’s statement that Justin Trudeau is “an empty trust-fund millionaire who has the political depth of a finger bowl.” Who “Can’t read a briefing note longer than a cocktail napkin, OK.” Although I’d be inclined to observe that even the shallowest finger bowls generally have more gravitas than the empty-headed talking points regurgitated by Trudeau.

Which rather throws Trudeau’s comparison of people who do not agree with current CO2 driven climate dogma to advocates of Female Genital Mutilation into sharp relief. Which is a cheap way to demonise people who don’t agree with what a lot of researchers now consider very shonky ‘science’. Hells bells, even the latest IPCC report has downgraded the predicted impact of any human effect on the climate. By repeating the failed dogmas Trudeau is like the talking toy recently marketed to promote his popularity. Yes, our darling mop top is pretty, but he’s also pretty vacant without his team of advisors and handy teleprompter. Even with them he’s not exactly the sharpest tool in the box by a long chalk. As the last couple of years have amply shown, he just just isn’t up to the job of being Canadian Prime Minister. Even a half way competent one would have called in the witless Provincial Premiers Horgan (BC) and Notley (Alberta) and firmly told them to stop playing les bougres risibles with Canadian jobs. He’s got to go. The Federal elections in 2019 can’t come soon enough.

Not so delightful has been the news that Amsterdam is going to try and cut down tourism by restricting holiday rentals and putting up hotel taxes. Fortunately this won’t interfere with our travel plans this year as the changes don’t come into effect until January 2019. Talk about being a victim of your own success, eh?

A Marxist Joke

I’m very busy at present with a new job, some medical tests my doctor seems to think are essential, despite feeling quite well and full of beans. So not much time to blog. This post has been put together over a week or so concerning a matter than has made me crank the old lips up in an ironic half smile.

Here’s a question. When did the workers begin to seize the means of production? I ask my last remaining reader because it occurs to me that it wasn’t a Marxist at all who made it happen. Not Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Chavez, Maduro or Castro but ironically someone from the other end of the political spectrum.

I was over at Longrider’s blog last week I think, perusing the comments on one post and I suddenly had an epiphany. It’s a fairly simple exercise in applied logic with a large side serving of irony and I think anyone who doesn’t get the joke needs a quick jump start on the old frontal lobes with an ECT machine. I frequently see it said from left wing sources that ‘property is theft’ and that the workers should seize the means of production, but here’s a thing, what if the workers, of whom I count myself a part having spent much of my life as a working man, have already been taking a firm hold on the ‘means of production’ for several decades. At least in the UK. Certainly over here across North America where the practice is widespread.

No, I’m not talking about nationalisation, that’s just the bureaucratic state taking anything it can lay it’s greasy little mitts on. When it comes to actual ownership, the state and the individual are not the same thing, although the ‘State’ may be made up of a certain tranche of individuals it does not constitute an accountable entity. Indeed the ‘state’ is about as unaccountable as it gets with all the arse-covering that traditionally goes on in bureaucratic circles. I’ve seen state ownership first hand and it’s a process of managed decay, stillborn innovation, fear and inward bound loathing.

Now what I’m describing here is the quantum increase in small investors who are investing, crowdfunding, patreoning and supporting a wide variety of ventures all around the world. Literally enabling the means of production in a way that I think even old Karl would have gone “Yeah, Das Kapital, maybe needs a re-write.” Because the factory based society he designed his collectivist philosophy for died during the 1960’s and 70’s.

For my proof I’d first ask this question; where are the massive factories of yesteryear where thousands toiled? Where is the uniformity? In the much depleted corporate world? There are a few big employers, but nothing like the number of big industrial combines that once dotted the landscape. They’ve all been offshored, downsized, diversified and MBA’d. Where are the single workers collectives to ‘seize control’ of all the wealth generation?

The answer is very simple, via old fashioned much-disparaged capitalism. The kind of thing which allows people to put small pots of money in with larger pots to create investment. Pension funds, individual stocks and shares, government insecurities, gilts and all the rest. Through voting shares the individual investor is allowed a say in how a company is run and who runs it. In short, by purchasing shares they now have a small part ownership of the ‘means of production’. In the UK, this universal share ownership was most enthusiastically pushed by no less a person than, wait for it….

Margaret Thatcher.

Karl Marx wouldn’t have seen the joke, but I do.

Everybody loves…

…BC wines. Except for Alberta. Which is about to have its local booze supply cut off. Which will be great for wine importers, unless the NDP leader has a(nother) brain fart and decides that for ‘fairness’ sake, no one in Alberta can buy any wine from anywhere. Until then, importers of wines from everywhere else on the planet should benefit from increased sales. There are good BC Grown Canadian wines, but nothing really spectacular and they’re all pretty limited in distribution.

The news is that we’re having a little inter-provincial trade ‘war’ in Canada over a pipeline which the idiotic BC Provincial Government don’t want built. Denying employment to the very people they say they work for. Between two provincial governments from the same party. Which should tell you something about the Canadian NDP.

Of course Ottawa should have stepped in and cracked heads for this blatantly stupid inter party spat, but they’re the opposition Liberals, who are ‘led’ by the excruciatingly cringe-worthy international joke Justin Trudeau. So they will do absolutely bugger all because, well, ‘it’s 2018’ Duh. Unless of course the alphabet soup, religion of being blown to pieces or Uber-Feminist demographic somehow get involved. As far as the Liberals are concerned, no-one else matters. So they’ll watch the NDP Governments in Alberta and British Columbia go for each other’s throats and hope to profit politically by their misfortune. That and they might have given Federal permission for the pipeline, but they don’t really want it built to appease the rabid environmentalist organisations. Who get funding from the same vested interests as Trudeau did when he got a two million buck boost prior to his election run. Not that they need it. The brainwashing has been very effective out here on the wet coast.

Which is interesting, as is the leak that arch meddler and speculator George Soros is funding an anti-BREXIT campaign to the tune of GBP400,000. Which is pretty small beer for him. That’s chump change from a Billionaires perspective. Is this a very public display of reverse psychology or an “I want the Democracy I pay for” gesture? Or is it a double barrelled move? I have yet to make my mind up.

That’s interesting….

Reported in Liberty about mass surveillance in the UK. Headline reads.. “Court of Appeal rules Government surveillance regime IS unlawful” According to Martha Spurrier, Liberty’s Director:

“Yet again a UK court has ruled the Government’s extreme mass surveillance regime unlawful. This judgment tells ministers in crystal clear terms that they are breaching the public’s human rights. The latest incarnation of the Snoopers’ Charter, the Investigatory Powers Act, must be changed.

“No politician is above the law. When will the Government stop bartering with judges and start drawing up a surveillance law that upholds our democratic freedoms?”

Well, that will put a few noses out of joint. Kudos to UK MP Tom Watson for following through.

Meantime, many UK porn sites have been pushed by new laws into creating a registration scheme for users. Although this only affects UK (ab)users from April onwards. But not those with a VPN. Or accessing the web via an offshore proxy. Stuff many tech-savvy teenage boys can do without even bending a neuron.

Earwigo again

“It was the worst of times, the best of times. the age of tech, was the age of feelz, the epoch of meme and trolling. It was the era of Pepe, the rise of Kek, the season of Autism, a spring of hope, the winter of lies.”

Which Dickens misquote (From the opening lines of a ‘Tale of Two Cities’) rather sums up how I feel about the online world at the moment. Either that or it’s the last vestiges of jet lag. It’s all academic anyway. All my ‘social media’ accounts are either deleted, dead, or weed strewn and abandoned.

Now we’re back in BC, in the not so frozen north the Trudeau government looks ever more like becoming a kind of soft fascist regime with it’s focus on Justin’s cult of popularity and the Liberals determination to control everything, including thought and speech. Which certainly ticks at least three boxes on the ‘Are you a fascist regime’ checklist. After hearing Justin’s performance at Davos, I’m thinking it might even be time to think about bailing out while the getting is good. I’ve also overheard people in the streets bitching about price increases and my eyes tell me they’re not far wrong. As for Trudeau, his sockpuppet popularity is slipping and no-one outside of Canada really takes him that seriously.

The trouble is with Canadian politics that there’s no statesman with enough balls to stand up to all the wishy washy PC crap which is driving a lot of really bad legislation. There’s no one who seems to want to stand up to all the vested protectionist interests and touchy feely bollocks prevalent in Canadian Society.

Anyway, non existent Tsunamis notwithstanding, I’m back flying a desk again and Mrs S has delegated a few tasks to me while my line of work is slack, of logging on and off this Worksafe BC malarkey for her. Despite me being less than thirty feet away, she is classed as a ‘lone worker’ and must be ‘protected’ by phoning in every four hours to an automated service that takes a monthly fee. According to the operational terms, if she misses a call, she’s supposed to get a callback by a human operator to see if she’s okay. Which doesn’t happen by the way, it’s a completely automated system which just calls back repeatedly, as we found out yesterday when I missed a check in. Some ‘protection’ eh? Mandated by a BC Government agency that won’t check out less safe work environments like up island logging operations. At least this is what Mrs S’s contacts tell her. Yet because she works from home, she must be ‘monitored’. Yeah, right. Because she’s ‘at risk’ of getting a paper cut or stubbing her toe at home within ten metres of a husband (Me) who has had proper medical training and real life experience of assisting in real emergencies and almost half a dozen means of calling for some form of assistance. Voice, cell phone, home phone, skype, email, as well as yours truly popping by every hour or two to make tea or coffee. So an automated callback system which doesn’t really do anything apart from ring off if there’s no response is, as I am wont to say, “the next best thing to useless.” But we have to have it by law. Or else we get fined. Is that ‘fair’? You tell me.

Another annoyance since I returned from the fabled land of Oz, is Google and my cell phone company being a pain. I’m not receiving calls or text messages despite my phone bill being paid up to date. Then Google wants to do stuff ‘to improve my security’ and every time it does, and every time I get on a plane, it fucks with my email. Which I resent. I have good security. I run VPNs, a full range of anti-virus, anti-spyware and change my email password intermittently. Yet still I have to put up with all their ‘security’ crap when I won’t let them know if I’m taking a figurative shit or not or which bathroom I’m using in which country. So Gmail has to go. All my accounts. Sorry guys, it’s been fun but it’s time for me to move on with all the other grown ups.

Given the aggravation with my cell phone, I’m also shopping for a new one as it looks like Canada will be shutting down the GSM network in 2018, leaving my old Nokia 6310 useless for anywhere within North America, but I’m also looking for a multi-Sim phone which isn’t Google dominated. Or at least lets me use non-Google services and apps. If my last remaining reader has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

On the road again

Well we’ve waved TTFN to Melbourne for now and are now on the fourth leg of our Australian Jaunt, dodging ‘roos and Drop-Bears with the added threat of bush fires today. We hope to dodge any large scale fires by hugging the coast as much as possible. Which has paid off so far as we’re heading toward sundown.

Rather ticked off at the car hire company for being a bunch of chiseling cheese parers. Decided to have a go back by painstakingly highlighting every last single fault which they had not spotted in their pre-rental checklist, photographing every single ding or rock chip, as I’m sure the bastards will try to charge my credit card for every last tiny scratch. They didn’t even wash the bloody thing properly. However, I’ve already spoken to my credit card company, and they agree there’s dodgy dealings afoot.

A stern but polite letter will also be going out to the hire company’s head office like the previously mentioned franchise practices I’m not happy with. I did ask them to countersign my updated damage report, but the staff refused. That too will be in my very detailed report to their head office. People who try to cheat me nowadays tend to lose. My ducks are all patiently sitting in a row, each carefully recorded piece of evidence awaiting every attempted incidence of overcharging. You might say I’m being a bit paranoid, but my attitude simply reflects previous experience with car hire companies. Trust does not figure largely in the relationship.

Regardless of the aforementioned, we are now well on our way and have been doing even more “Oohing” at the big sky scenery and deliciously turquoise seascapes. Yes it’s hot, with me taking plenty of roadside time-outs to snooze through temperatures topping 42 Celsius according to the cars thermometer. Well, we’re not in a rush and have made lots of time for this trip, so an impromptu snooze is just the ticket. Tomorrow the temperature is predicted to drop to something more comfortable in the mid 20’s as we round the corner into New South Wales and decide upon whether we’re going to bother with Canberra.

Wildlife sightings have been reduced to spotting roadkill, with two ‘Roos and a couple of Wombats today. Wombats are about the size of a Vietnamese pot bellied pig covered in dark brown fur. There was one bloody smear that could have been an incautious Koala, but it was hard to tell. All we’ve seen of live Australian fauna is cattle and sheep. Oh, and the many Parakeets and Lorikeet variants with the odd Fruitbat around dusk. Beware the Fruitbats, they’re like Socialists, they shit on everything.

Reading has been restricted to my rather dog eared copy of the Gulag Achipelago, Alexandr Solzhenitzyn’s chronicle of his arrest and imprisonment in the Soviet Prison system. It should be compulsory reading for anyone studying ‘political science’ at University. Full text pdf here if you want your eyes opened about totalitarian collectivist government. I first read it in 1975, along with his fictional follow-on “The First Circle” having cut my teeth on the disturbing A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich at school. Hardly holiday reading, unless of course you’re me, but interesting first hand perspectives from someone who survived the Soviet system of thought crime and punishment. Anyone thinking of creating thought crime offences should take careful note.

More cheerfully I can report on my first experience with the notorious Australian “Meat pie” which is as close as the Aussies have to a national dish. The flavour, for my last remaining British reader, is akin to one of the old “Fleur de Lys” latterly “Pukka” steak and kidney pies with a smidgeon of Bovril, encased in pastry that would probably sink a German WWII pocket battleship. Quite tasty, although a little heavy for a hot day.

Anyway, that’s it for now as supper time beckons and I’ve been saving my appetite. TTFN.

Silence is golden

Just been reading a few articles in the FT and am getting a little pissed off with the EU remoaners who pollute every single comment thread with their small minded toxicity. As if sniping at others in comment threads will change hearts and minds. Which it won’t. Anyone with even a modicum of discernment can see that, can’t they? Or don’t they want to?

Honestly there should be a point at which a form of Godwins law in a comment thread should apply on this given topic. The remoaners are getting worse than the thousands of anti-Semites that pollute all sort of online discourse with their unhinged rantings.

For example, on a simple announcement that the UK is ditching those rather banal Maroon Euro style passports for the older, more classic pre-1988 look we have all the prophets of Euro-doom crawling out of the woodwork, saying why would the UK leave the bosom of the wonderfully fair utopia of mainland Europe? Ha-ha-ha you poor benighted fools. Sorry chaps, didn’t you get the memo, the UK is really leaving. Give it up.

Sometimes, when it comes to BREXIT it’s like listening to an abusive partner heap vitriol on a person who has had quite enough and is finally packing their bags. “Leave me, will yer!” Screams the soon to be divorced abuser. “Yew’ll be sorry, yew bar steward!” Before making further plans to drop cute ickle bunnies into a pasta pan of boiling water, just for petty revenge. Not realising that they have worse problems in the offing. Like having to find some other poor sucker to finance their lifestyle and failing to understand the old axiom that whilst speech may be silver, silence has far greater worth.

For example the groaning that the UK is economically doomed, all the banks will leave and everyone and their budgie will starve in freezing gutters. People will no longer be able to work overseas, damn you small minded little Englanders. Oh but hold on a minute, there’s nothing actually stopping people leaving the UK and going to live and work in Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand or elsewhere that they can’t already. All they need to do is get a visa then jump through the right hoops with a valid passport. Can you get a job? Speak the language? Got the immigration points? Yes? In you come then say most countries. Unless of course you get caught out by a rule change and get left in bureaucratic limbo like my brother in law, who is still sweating over his Australian residency. Which is weird as he has a very rare skill set, is highly regarded in his industry and has bagged a very good job. For which there is a permanent skill shortage. But that’s Australian immigration for you. Left hand, right hand, never learn to juggle.

Besides, the EU has more problems that Britain’s impending exit. The Eastern states of Poland, Austria and Hungary are taking huge wodges of Chinese investment, threatening the formation of the federal states of Europe because the Chinese are eager to extend their economic influence across Asia into Europe’s back door. Effectively reopening and extending the ancient network of ‘Silk road‘ trade routes that were firmly chopped off by colonialism during the 18th and 19th centuries. Not that the original silk roads were ever more than long and dangerous trade routes crossed by caravans. Which are okay to carry your holiday stuff in, block the highways, but aren’t really worth a bugger off road and who really wants to carry stuff around in a chemical toilet on wheels? Or live in one for your precious yearly Summer holiday? No wonder it used to take months to get trade goods from point A to B in the ancient world. That and having your aged camels left to eat sand after being overtaken by some flash git called Alexander in his brand new Macedonian built four horsepower chariot.

Anyway, all that’s moot. At the time of writing all the girls all have gone shopping and brother in law went off to read a book. I’ve been dangling me tootsies in the pool and have cracked open yet another bottle of beer to cool down. Which for the moment will do. Tomorrow Mrs S and I wend our merry way down to Melbourne. Indeed, as this is a timed post, we may already be there.

A fall in Autumn

We’ve got snow on the deck! What the hell, this is sunny Victoria, we’re not meant to get snow until January! We’re still in Autumn for heavens sake! Looks a bit strange with the leaves still on the trees. See above picture of deck at 7:30am today. Damn. I may have to call Nanook of the North. And he charges like a bad tempered Rhino on LSD.

No seriously, nothing to see here move along, it’s just weather and part of the normal cycle of things here in the sunny south west tip of Canada. Every so often we get the odd fall of snow. Which is why we have Winter sports locations like Mt Washington in the mid island. Here’s the current state of the Tube run via webcam. Which is getting a huge inflated inner tube, dragging it to the top of a snowy slope and sliding in it all the way to the bottom and then some. Which is fun for non-skiers like me and works out way cheaper than getting all the kit and only using it once a year. According to reports Mt Washington had no snow last night, but I can tell them where it ended up if they’d care to collect. I had an inkling that we were due for a long cold Winter after the long and hot Summer we’ve just had. Simply because one usually follows the other. And no computer models needed consulting. They only get it wrong anyway.

No skin off my nose because our little SUV is kitted out and ready with all wheel drive and all weather tyres, and we’re on a main bus route which gets the snowplough first and regular clearings throughout the day and night. The downside of which means I may have to get out and go dig an exit through the icy berm they always leave in front of our drive. Or I could stay home today and stand in the front room with a nice hot cup of coffee admiring the view. (Pops into front room for a look – returns) No, no berm and the roads are clear. Well that’s saved me a job, and Nanook’s callout charges.

Our propane stove is now lit and pumping out all that healthy CO2 and a good tranche of heat. Which will prove a saving on our electrickery bills. Which can get astronomical because idiot politicians think that wind and solar power can replace even a few fossil fuel power stations. Or that an atmospheric trace gas affects climate in the long term manner they claim. Or that we don’t know that the CO2=climate is bad science being used to support one of the biggest wealth transfer schemes of all time. Fossil fuel stations we don’t use much because most of Canada’s electric power is Hydro based. Compared with other nations our use of fossil fuel and nuclear is tiny. To replace even one large power plant with wind power you’d have to cut down huge tranches of forest, at least in BC because what we do have is trees. Lots of them. Hundreds of thousands of square miles of trees. Just over 20% or the worlds boreal forests in fact. Cut down those to put up inefficient sources of electricity? I console myself thus; at least the trees can be replanted and grow back when this idiotic flirtation with retrograde technology is over.

So what’s going on in the big wide world? It the FT I see Gas (petrol) prices will rise because the Saudi’s are closing the spigot. Which may help the current misery of the Venezuelans, or maybe not. Maduro has big debts to pay before the extra oil money can trickle down into the rest of Venezuelan economy. Me, I think he’s cocked up big time and the country will be bankrupted before he’s finished. Despite their oil reserves. Up here Trudeau is losing popularity because he keeps on hitting working Canadians in their bank accounts and blocking pipelines while wittering on about how unfair it is about girls not being allowed to play in the big wide world. Which isn’t true by the way. Women can do just as well in commerce as men if they’re willing to pay the same price. George Soros is dying (I’ve seen recent pictures – no one looks like that and lives for long), which I think he knows, so has pushed USD$18 billion into his network of politically meddling non-profits. Just so he can go screwing up economies from beyond the grave. That Trump chap is motivating idiots to go and ‘scream at the sky’ on the 4th November because he won an election. One of them screams at me, I’ll simply laugh in their face and walk away. However, he doesn’t seem to let all the hit pieces and political sabotage get to him, he’s just doing what he said he would. And you have to admire someone like that, even if you don’t totally agree with them.

Update: Tesla shares drop over 5% with the potential end of US subsidies for EV’s.  Oh well, that’s that.  More EV’s for museum exhibits.