Tag Archives: UK

Told you so

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

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

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

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

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

Errm…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A thought about the Savile saga

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gang aft agley

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

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

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

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

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

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

May, May not

Well, the snow is falling and there’s about four or five inches on the ground at the time of writing, with more prophesied before there’s a minor thaw on Saturday with a little more on Sunday night. Have taken the precaution of provisioning up just in case we get a power outage, although if it was going to happen we’d be shivering in the dark around about now. It may, it may not. Or as we say on Vancouver Island; if you don’t like the weather, go inside for an hour or so.

Overseas, I’m heartened by the news that Brexit negotiations are finally scheduled to start 31st March 2017. Not so amused by the passing of the new regulatory powers act which allows the security services to snoop unfettered and then lie under oath in English courts. Which can’t be good. Rather like one of those ‘Good news’ and the ‘bad news’ gags for the dear old UK. Which effectively means that you might as well have summary arrest and detention without any trial at all.

Sounds like no matter which way you turn, the powers that be want to increase state overreach both within and without the EU. Which is rather what Governments do; they’re just big make-work projects for the otherwise unemployable. On the one hand they’re invading and bombing other countries, on the other they’re restricting civil liberties because their vote buying actions have created a massive refugee crisis and attendant issues with terrorism. As an observation, I’m moved to consider that if western countries didn’t chuck resources at every Tomas, Ishmael and Ahmed that landed on their respective shores, the migrants would be more inclined to stay where they were and try and fix their own problems. It would also be a lot cheaper to help rebuild crisis torn countries from a foreign aid perspective.

Elsewhere I’m sad to hear about another one of my boyhood heroes dying, but John Glenn was 95, so he’d had a bloody good run at things. A full life, and still getting into Earth orbit in his eighties. So, no regrets, just a little sadness that we may not see his like again. Although this didn’t mean that some biased Newsweek ‘Journalist’ didn’t try to say that Glenn’s name was booed at a Trump rally. Which is kind of disgusting. What some people will try to make political capital of. It’s very sad.

Oh well, time to get moving, those Christmas cards won’t post themselves. Time to get suited and booted.

What is ‘fake’ news?

Taking a short break from packing to watch the snow and ice outside, its quite bright today after a day or so of snow, hail and sub zero temperatures so the view is quite picturesque with more of the white stuff to come possibly tonight and tomorrow. Today’s interest was piqued by the current row about so-called ‘fake’ news and I was moved to wonder what makes some news ‘fake’ and who can be trusted to tell stuff like it is without so much spin it makes you dizzy reading the news, online or off.

On careful reflection I’d say that there is a Pacific Ocean of fake out there, especially from the big news outlets, who have repeatedly diluted their product by for example, uncritically publishing activist press releases as factual. Something comes in via Reuters and many news outlets publish it almost verbatim with very little fact checking when even a simple Internet search would demolish the contents blandly formatted assertions. Indeed, a new verb has been invented – to Fisk, which is a line by line refutation, with citations, of any given news article. How Reuters select their content and where they source it is down to them, but it does devalue their usefulness as primary source material. Yes, Dorothy, there is fake news and it’s endemic to the mainstream media.

Let’s take as our example the stories surrounding the recent US Presidential election. While on the road across the USA earlier this year Mrs S and I visited 24 States in six weeks. In our ten thousand mile adventure we listened to the news, spoke to people and used our eyes and ears. We noted the visible support for each candidate in a wide variety of neighbourhoods. The most visible support in terms of lawn signs and window posters were for Bernie Saunders. Second place went to Donald Trump. Yet we saw none for Hilary Clinton. In ten thousand miles of travel, not one lawn sign or window poster. With only one recorded Clinton bumper sticker out of thousands for the other candidates. Yet who got most of the positive coverage? I have sat and watched the raw footage and livestreams of Trump and Clinton speeches (The sacrifices I make, eh?) then watched slack jawed as newsreaders on the BBC, France24 and CNN cover a related story then try to tell me that black is white and down is sideways. To which I would respond vehemently;

Now President-elect Donald J Trump has been repeatedly demonised by mainstream newsreaders and pundits for being ‘racist’, ‘mysoginist’ and just about every ‘ist’ and ‘ism’ including committing multiple instances of ‘hate speech’. Yet if you bother to watch his speeches; yes his campaign speech style has been bombastic and repetitious, but all he’s said has been a railing against the corruption in Washington DC (Drain the swamp), illegal immigration as opposed to legal immigration (Build the wall) and telling other countries to pay for their own defence. He also went out and got his hands dirty, even assisting with the loading and unloading of supplies during the 2016 Louisiana floods. Clinton’s speeches, though neatly spun and well written lacked power and carried the reek of continued Neocon interventionism that has turned most of the Middle East into a near perpetual war zone, and been the source of a refugee crisis which threatens to undermine the native culture of Europe. Her absence from crisis hit places (even for a cheap photo-op) in the US and her invisibility during the later weeks of her campaigns also spoke volumes. There has also been the big question mark over her health coupled with various scandals (Email, Haiti, Foreign Campaign Contributions) that dogged her campaign. Which most of the media and associated punditry seemed to ignore and even in some cases actively deny despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary from sources like Wikileaks, who have carried on despite a well funded smear campaign against Julian Assange. (Link to Podesta and DNC Emails here. No it’s not illegal to look at them)

I’d also like to point out that the mainstream news media (Including Fox) have indulged in what is known as ‘churnalism‘ for years. Which makes me think TV news media is little more than a game of Chinese Whispers. A process which can be defined by the acronym LILO (Lies in-Lies out). Because unless there’s some real investigation and fact checking going on at each level, what’s the bloody point? It seems from this bloggers perspective that all the main media outlets do is give you their dramatised opinion of events, not what actually happened. Unfortunately, because of modern media marketing practice, spin, half truths and outright lies have become the norm in modern editorial policy. Only challenged by some of those sites now branded ‘fake’. Does anyone else see the irony?

When I was growing up in the UK, it used to be that the more sober broadsheets could be trusted to a degree because they spent money on correspondents and freelancers out in the field. Also, anyone with an ounce of news-savvy in pre-Internet days used to read both the Telegraph and the Guardian in the UK, because the respective editorial policies were in direct opposition, and the half truths and spin could be winnowed out in a kind of contrast and compare exercise. Personally I still read the UK’s Financial Times because the real stories are all about where the money goes. The Pink sheets are still fairly trustworthy because if they get it wrong, the City of London doesn’t like it. As they say in less refined financial service circles; “Money talks, bullshit walks.” Even so, I’ve learned to treat their Op-eds with caution, and where something sounds a little off, gone fact checking all on my own. I’ve also developed a healthy caution regarding media cited ‘Experts’.

In the UK there used to be a body called the press complaints commission up until 2014 which dealt with complaints where a media outlet was thought to have harrassed, misrepresented, faked content or grossly distorted a given story. It has been superceded by another watchdog-like body, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, where reporting that harms people can be complained about here. The Media Council in Canada here. Australia here. And New Zealand here. For Europe generally, try here. The USA does not have such a body. All complaints have to be pursued separately by complainants via the court system.

Honestly? I don’t think there is any one definitive and completely trustworthy source of news. Looking for honest reportage nowadays is like prospecting for gold. Similarly, facts are rare and only found in small nuggets or grains, and you almost always have to go looking for it yourself. Or for a more scientific metaphor, you have to sift through a lot of Pitchblende to find a little Radium.

There are calls for some overarching authority to control the worst excesses of ‘fake’ news, not only in the mainstream, but also in the emergent media. Yet what paragons of even handedness are to be elevated to this positions of ultimate media arbitration? Do such people even exist? Who would appoint them and why? I would posit that the best solution lies with the feet on the street and that is to stop feeding the media beast. Unsubscribe, walk away, learn to research, and look after those closest to you. To get a little biblical (Psalm 146 Verse 5); Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. Or to put it another way;

And here’s Ezra Levant reporting on a classic example of the CBC and associated media fakery of a 3000 strong protest of unemployed Alberta Oil patch workers, small family farm owners and First Nations against the proposed Carbon Tax;

The media people referred to the protesters as ‘pigs’ and ‘deplorables’ just because of 20 second bit of crowd-mockery. At least those peaceful protesters now know whose side the CBC and like minded media is on, and it isn’t the side of the ordinary Canadian.

Somethings burning…

…And I think it’s my candle at both ends. Failing that or I’ve got psychic jet lag, or should that be that I’m out of phase with my astral plane? At present I’m up at all hours of the night, from 3:30ish onward, which is 11:30am UK time. No idea why, but I seem to have developed a prescient early warning system that tells me when there’s something challenging going on across the pond.

The early hours went like this; wake up feeling totally wired and with all my brain cells buzzing. Go into office, which is out of earshot of our bedroom. Switch on ‘pooter. Check email. Sure enough there’s an ‘urgent’, highest priority panic now item squatting in my inbox like a squashed frog. Bugger. What have they got their panties in a bunch over this bloody time? Reply to email. That takes half an hour. Fidget. Play a game of Spider Solitaire. Forty five more minutes and Bong! Another response to my carefully worded missive. Reply with clarification. Well, there’s forty five minutes of my life I’m not getting back. Oh Jesus H Christ on a frigging Bike! Can’t people read? Am I teaching a sodding TESOL class? Notify lawyers. They respond in real time. At least they’re awake and on the ball. Remind others that if they had taken my advice two whole years ago we wouldn’t be having these issues. Still, can’t be helped. Make tea. Watch a little YouTube. Another hour and a half rolls by with the email chain growing ever longer until finally it’s 9am Pacific, 5pm across the pond and everyone stops wasting my bloody time and decides to shut up shop for the day. Hopefully that will close the door on this particular conversation. Oh well, it saves having to drag the whole sorry business over into tomorrow. I’ve gotten an answer, not quite the one I wanted, but close enough, and despite the insomnia, sometimes that’s all you need.

Sod it. Is it only 9am? Set up percolator, make and consume a pint of hot black coffee. Feel like I’ve been hit by a truck and I’ve got two critical meetings this afternoon. They say tax shouldn’t be taxing, but getting your finances just right so as not to overpay can be a headache. Protect the capital, manage the expenditure. Plan for the worst, hope for the best. Find several day old news item on economic suicide note as announced by the Trudeau boy. Carbon taxes. Wealth redistribution. Yeah, redistributed out of my pocket into some politicians boondoggle. Good luck with that because it’s not going to happen. I have recruited a decent team of advisers over this side of the world. British expats all and they’re pretty lean, mean and keen.

References off to potential new landlord. Decision meeting on Wednesday. Bloody hell is it only 10am? Try to sleep for an hour. No good, I’m too wired. Shower, shave, dress smartly, check notes. I lose an hour somewhere along the line and Mrs S is telling me it’s time to get moving. Come 2pm local time we’ve signed on the dotted and all our local money has been secured before the next tranche arrives and we get to discuss how to maximise our investment yields. In conversation I remark to my finance guy; “I’ve learned two major lessons over the past two years. Trust nobody, and make sure your insurance is good.”
“I’ll have to remember that one.” He replies. Mrs S smiles. She remembers Paris. As do I. Must do it again some time when all the shouting has died down. This time without the untimely injuries.

Now it’s 6pm and I know I’ll pay for missing half a nights sleep this time tomorrow. I’ve got a scan in the afternoon, and my ‘bloods’ will be all over the place. Which may not be such a bad thing if it makes me look more unwell than I actually feel. Might bump me up the long, long waiting list.

This is weird. Why don’t I feel tired?

A climate of hope?

Back in 2008, when Obama was selected as US Presidential Candidate in the 2008 Democratic primaries, he made a speech containing remarks about the planet healing and halting sea level rise now he was the candidate anointed by whatever. Which was patent bollocks and can be justifiably ranked as one of the top hundred political lies of the 21st Century. And that’s up against some pretty stiff competition, like the Bush and Blair excuses for the 2nd Iraq war, and just about everything said by Hilary Clinton.

Now US President-elect Trump is laying out his environmental agenda, news is filtering out of COP22 that some delegates are worried about their man made climate change gravy train grinding to a well-deserved halt. If as Trump has said, that the USA will withdraw from all the UN climate agreements because they were imposed by several notorious Congress-bypassing Executive Orders, defunding their 3 Billion USD contribution pledge.

Which may have a knock on effect north of the 49th Parallel and elsewhere. Trudeau has pledged CAD$2,650,000,000, which at current exchange rates comes out at USD$1,954,565,614.50. On top of our CAD$5,800,000,000 (USD$4,277,917,194.00) spend for 2015. Which is a big slice of a shrinking economy. The UK? Let me try to put all that on a level playing field from the published figures of contributions to the main climate funds.
USA: USD$3 Bn GBP2.4 Bn CAD$4 Bn
UK: UDS$4.8 Bn GBP3.9 Bn CAD$6.56Bn
Canada: USD$1.96 GBP 1.57 CAD$ 2,65Bn

Worldwide contributions to the International Climate Fund currently stand at USD$30 Bn out of a pledge of USD$40 Bn (Source Here) with ‘approved’ funds equalling USD$17.5 Bn. That’s a heck of a big cake for the troughers to feast off, travel First and Business Class, stay in five star hotels, get paid massive speaking fees, publish endless garbage ‘science’ articles based on statistical models and upwards adjusted data. No wonder they’re worried. It does not take an Everest scale intellect to see that if only one of these three contributors gives the UN climate change scamsters the finger, say if as seems likely the USA decides to pull out, the Climate troughers will have to take a sizeable pay cut, and horror of horrors, travel Economy on their own dollar and maybe stay in a lower cost accommodation. No more motorcades, and delegates poncing around their conferences in top of the line SUV’s like armoured Range Rover Sentinels (Like the Ranger spotted 52 Seconds into the video below).


All to ‘prevent’ a probably inevitable (And natural) uptick in average global temperatures. Or downslide, because new facts and figures are coming in which point to a cooling global climate driven by a ‘double heartbeat‘ of the sun.

The CO2 based models may say one thing, but if the climate steadfastly refuses to be driven by CO2s, why are we in the west spending money on something we manifestly can’t control? Especially on data derived from models that Airfix could do better?

The climate will change. That much is certain. However, throwing tax money at endless international conferences won’t change a thing. The best thing Trump can do is cut all the subsidies and aid packages. Which won’t please the Carbon Traders or the builders of wind turbine blight. But then those people will have to find honest ways of making a living. Like investing in clean nuclear power (Fusion would be nice, but Thorium would do), ‘clean’ coal (Fluidised bed technology and stack scrubbers) and better hydro-electric schemes.

This is going to be fun. Have just decided to buy my popcorn wholesale.

Racism

I read this comment by Tom Paine on his blog, echoed on White Sun of the Desert about how the political left likes to demonise all those (Even mildly so) to the political right of them by throwing out violent scatological accusations of ‘ism’ or ‘phobia’. Now I’ve overheard some of these soi-disant ‘anti-racists’ talk in private, and had quite a few “WTF!” moments when hearing them speak ‘off the record’ after a couple of beers about stuff that doesn’t fit their stated narrative. For example, there’s no one more antisemitic than a left winger. Even some of the more rabid extreme right wingers I’ve known over the years would be shocked if they heard some of the leftist anti-Jew rhetoric. Now from Project Veritas (see below) comes this video evidence of some quite extreme anti-black language. This originates from the side of the political spectrum you understand that tries to tar the rest of Western society with the epithet ‘Racist’ at the mildest disagreement.

This should not be considered atypical, but typical behaviour. The ‘do as I say, not as I do’ philosophy of politics. Straight from the mouths of the unprincipled, who will say and do anything to get into power, because power and influence are how they make their money. By trading favours for funding via a tangled web of shell corporations, NGO’s and ‘charitable’ foundations.

Of course all those Republican Pastors and Preachers interviewed in the video (according to the extreme leftists, most of whom are whiter than I am) are just a bunch of ‘Uncle Toms’ who just aren’t really ‘black’ enough. Regardless of genetic heritage. I wholeheartedly support the Pastors outrage. If someone I thought was on ‘my’ side was talking about me behind my back in this fashion, I’d be pretty pissed off as well, and justifiably so. No-one likes to realise that the person you thought was a friend was knifing you in the back all along.

Yet will there be any prosecutions for ‘Hate speech’? Don’t be silly, the laws banning such lewd mouthings aren’t for those progressive types who consider themselves ‘our betters’ (Derisive snort). Such legislation will only ever be used to cudgel those guilty of less major infractions of ‘wrongspeak’ who don’t hold the correct ‘progressive’ political views. Twas ever thus. Now there, to me at least, lies the real racism.

Let’s hear three sarcastic cheers for the political left! Hip-hip hypocrisy!

A quick note about the ‘People’s Challenge’ campaign that raised money to challenge Brexit in the recent successful High Court action. It looks Kosher, with 4918 contributors raising a little over GBP170,000. Which works out at a smidge over GBP35.50 per contributor. However, this is an interesting development in that crowdfunding may be used to raise money to challenge any UK Government decision via the High Court. Intriguing. Sauce for the goose indeed.

I have mixed feelings. Constitutionally and economically, I would like to see the UK out of the EU’s stranglehold a.s.a.p. Unless by some absolute miracle the EU turns into a free trade zone without the bureaucracy. However, this judgement has just sent the value of the pound upwards, which is good if you are like me, looking to get a good currency transfer rate to Euros or Canadian Dollars. That said, if Brexit fails, my money will be heading out of Sterling at an appreciable fraction of the speed of light. I suspect I will not be the only one.

Locally, people who recognise my accent keep asking me about Brexit, and is it all about ‘racism’? My stock reply is that it’s more an escape from a strangulating bureaucracy and that the word bomb of ‘racism’ is being tossed about just to stop people discussing the real issues. Like sovereignty, control of borders, excessive contributions, control of economy and making independent trade agreements that would directly benefit the UK. Stuff that would benefit the average working stiff, not just what is good for the political elites.

Adjusts tinfoil hat…

This morning’s amusement comes courtesy of The Register. Those naughty spies at GCHQ have been up to mischief, the little scamps. Misuse of data collection. Illegal monitoring. Yeah, yeah, the stuff of paranoia, right? Well this is a bit of an “I tole ’em, buggrit. millennium hand and shrimp.” post. According to this report on a court judgement handed down in Judgement No. IPT/15/110/CH, between 1998 and 2015, the UK ‘Intelligence’ services have been rummaging through everybody’s dirty online laundry. Starting with the Blair government and continued ever since.

Which is something those of us who are familiar with the inner workings of the jolly old Interweb were always painfully aware of. That there is no such thing as complete online anonymity, and tracking any activity is easy peasy for those with access to the right tools. So all those folk who’ve been posting general naughtiness and insults from behind the supposed safety of their keyboards, guess what? Someone, somewhere can find out who you are and where you are in less than a heartbeat. Guess what else? That data will still be on record. In a small dark hard drive of a forgotten server in a data centre far, far, away is all your online data. Not just the metadata, but actual content. Financial transactions, secret messages to paramours past and present, browsing history, travel history, passport activity, where you went and who with and if you were married at the time.

Like some brooding spirit in a horror movie, all this data will never go away. Even if a name flagged up only as a by-blow of an investigation of someone bumped into once, or worked at the same office, once. In order to tick names off their list, a search will have been made. Backups of those searches will have been performed. Why? Because it’s how Police and intelligence work is done. Doggedly trawling through massive tranches of data, looking for links, occasionally getting a giggle out of something stupid someone has said or done, or ordered from that convenient online catalogue of erotic aids (Do they actually do their size?). Checking up to see if their partner is not playing away from home or draining the joint account. All that stuff and much, much more.

Because when all is said and done, we’re all bog standard Mk I humans with all the flaws contained therein. We can resist anything but temptation. Just a quick peek. Just this once. Just to be sure. No harm, no foul, right? Why? Well, the Internet is a public space. So if you drop your undergarments online, don’t be startled if someone notices that metaphorical boil on your bum. But then some of us have been saying this all along.

Wikileaks, Snowden? How much more proof does anyone need? The powers that be don’t like or trust the average voter. And it’s always worse under left leaning governments.

As my parting shot today, I thought I’d link to the first of a series of videos by a certain Project Veritas, which is busy exposing the Clinton dirty tricks machine and how they work. I’m sure there’s a UK equivalent that directs the rent-a-mob, but it’s interesting to see how the US Democrat (Hah!) party does things.

When I was a boy I always liked to go lifting rocks to watch the all nasty little critters go scurrying for cover as daylight hit. No doubt this will have the same effect if it goes viral. Wonder how long Mr O’Keefe’s channel will last before YouTube tries to take it down or ‘demonetize’ it?