Tag Archives: USA

Routine shizzle

Not much happening chez Maison Sticker apart from hanging around for Mrs S’s appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon. She needs to talk to one to get a proper referral for rehab. Because she broke her arm out of country, she needs to follow procedure to get into the BC system. Which means a BC Orthopod has to give her busted wing the once over before she can get any physio. No matter our health insurance is paid up to date, and we’ve got cover coming out of her ears, the niceties must be observed. It’s a pain, but it’s slack season as far as work is concerned, so it’s not like we’re having to juggle two dozen other items at the same time. Just a case of hurry up and wait. So long as we can make our conference next week, we can easily shift arrangements. There’s also a little road trip dahn sarf to see how the folks across the border are faring and take a pootle along the Oregon and Washington scenic coastlines.

As for the Greek business, our investments aren’t going to be hit as we’ve no real exposure in the affected markets. The whole schemozzle, at least from this side of the pond and the FT’s pages, looks like it’s devolved into some kind of bizarre economic winking contest. No-one is actually dumb enough to take the last support from under their respective houses of cards, but it does look like the financial penny is dropping regarding the Euro. The ‘one-size-fits-all’ top down financial philosophy is showing a pair of Achilles heels which anyone with any real financial acumen could see a mile off. Real life economies are subject to the financial whims of populaces, politicians, banks and corporations, which tend, at least in Europe, to be a bit more locally focussed. The financial systems of the USA evolved from a roughly common culture with the same basic language. Europe can’t be like the USA, no matter how much the federalists would like it to be, because Europe doesn’t have the basis of that roughly common culture. It’s too, well, Balkan if you catch my drift. Not literally, but kind of. While the Common Market wasn’t a bad idea as far as promoting free trade was concerned, trying to shoehorn all the splendid diversities of mainland Europe into a centrally governed Federal republic was always a step too far. Various empire builders have had a go by assimilation and even military invasion, but in the end the locals always end up having their say.

And the centralisers wanted to bring Turkey and the Ukraine into their hegemony? Oh dearie me. Soo not a good idea.

What else? Various mini sagas over property etcetera grumble on. As far as that’s concerned I’m just biding my time. New neighbours downstairs. Some sociable, others not so much. Landlady is looking after a yappy little Yorkshire Terrier with a habit of shitting on doorsteps. Which can make walking through the back yard a very eyes down affair. Its owners will return next week, so by the time we come back from our conference and road trip, the little bastard will be gone. You can’t even make friends with the territorial little sod, it just runs away and yaps at you, as it it were his territory alone. Then when you turn away, tries to sneak after your ankles.

In my more evil moments, most of them between waking up and going to bed, I’m minded to remember a small rural adventure from my younger days regarding stupid dogs that have no off switch; a mate was shagging his girlfriend. Both of them a little shy of their sixteenth birthday, but this was in the 70’s and everyone involved but me is no longer around. No injury, no foul – right Officer? In the way of hormonally charged youth everywhere, he begged me as his best friend to keep his intrusive twelve year old brother out of the way. In my youthful lack of judgement I agreed, providing we could go rough shooting the following day with his Dads then-legal pump action shotgun. The lovers arranged their horizontal jogging, I baby sat younger brother downstairs and out of the lovers tryst. His and her lust was satisfied and all was well. Up until we were exiting the house. As we did, next doors Jack Russell broached the fence and began having a go at my friends ankles as we made our way out of said girlfriends back garden gate (That is not a euphemism BTW). I still have to work hard not to collapse in fits of giggles as I recall the rapidly dopplering ‘Yap-yap-yap-yap-yeellpppp!’ as my friend perfectly drop kicked the noisy little tyke back over the garden fence to where it belonged.

The temptation to do likewise to Landladies friends’ Yorkie is sometimes quite hard to resist.

Don’t you just love democracy in action……

Especially when it’s not the voice of the majority, just the hypersensitive few. Trigger warningTrigger warning: Twatter, Arsebook and other like campaigners are going to be called names in this post. Offended? You will be. So stop reading now. The blog owners take no responsibility for any offence taken. Furthermore, ‘taking offence’ may lead to a complaint to the Police being laid against the offence takers. Remember, just ‘taking’ is theft and therefore wrong, no matter who does it. Very bad. Consider your wrists slapped and my admonishing finger wagged. Don’t do it again.

The hypersensitive have been running around the Interweb in the aftermath of the South Carolina church shooting in their usual aimless fashion, demanding that all objects bearing the American Civil war confederate battle flag of the 1st Army of Virginia are banned. As usual, the big online retailers, mistaking vociferousness for actual support, are now implementing their own ban on all merchandise carrying said image. Why? Because a mentally ill fruitloop murdered a bunch of nice respectable churchgoing folk in church had such a flag in his possession, having shortly before his heinous act espoused ‘white supremacist’ views. Which he had adopted for no readily apparent reason. Probably because he was mentally unstable? No-one close to him spotted this?

As an aside; being mentally out of whack doesn’t say much for any notion of ‘supremacy’ does it? To be supreme, firstly you have to be better. Which is subjective to say the least. People who are ill cannot be supreme, as illness, by its very definition means that someone is below par. Then there must also be someone to have supremacy over, and killing those considered ‘beneath’ any masters is a bit of an own goal, regardless of symbols. Even if they’re far more humane and less unhinged than you, like the murdered churchgoers. When the subgroup you consider yourself to be ‘master’ of is gone, who’s next? The slightly overweight chap wearing glasses who reads ‘too many’ books? People with ginger hair? (I think a certain Prince of the Realm might have something to say about that). Anyone cleverer than the supremacists? Which isn’t that difficult, from what I’ve seen, people who adopt such views aren’t exactly the sharpest tools in the box. I believe the Khmer Rouge tried this idea a while back. Newsflash. It doesn’t work. Sooner or later you run out of ‘others’ to persecute.

What else doesn’t work? Bans. Banning things always has a rebound effect. For example; banning certain music just makes people want to listen to it, just to see what all the fuss is about. Worked for Rock & Roll in the 50’s didn’t it? The bigger the fuss, the larger the rebound. As proof of this principle, sales of the ‘Stars and Bars’ have increased and those who see themselves as part of a loose ‘rebel alliance’ will no doubt already have said emblem prominently on display. As well as watching re-runs of ‘The Dukes of Hazzard‘ and putting Confederate Stars and bars’ back on their models of the ‘General Lee’, from which Warner Brothers are removing them. Banning a symbol which is only loosely connected with the commission of a crime never ends well. I’ll make a bet that sales of the ‘confederate’ flag will slide off eBay, Amazon etc onto Craigslist and Kijiji, to quietly resurface on Amazon and the like when the Twatterati have turned their goldfish level attention spans to something else in three days time. Dukes of Hazzard original memorabilia will shoot up in price because the ban will have automatically created a rarity premium.

Furthermore, those offended by such images are cautioned not to look at the graphic of Confederate battle flags below.
Some battle flags of the Confederate States of America Offended? Really? You can’t say you weren’t warned.

My discerning reader will have noted that at least three Confederate flags bear a striking resemblance to other non-US national symbols. The ‘Navy Jack’ for example looks a lot like the current EU flag. In a poor light, the flag of Polk’s Corps could be mistaken for the Icelandic or Norwegian flags. If I told you the emblem for Hardee’s Corps could easily be mistaken for the flag of the tiny Pacific nation of Palau, I would not be far wrong.

Nevertheless, the people campaigning for such a ban can only be described as brain dead wankers because, as usual, these ladies front bottoms are, as usual, mistaking symbol for deed. Then applying a boneheaded, top-down, one-size-fits-all philosophy. Their crippled intellects have no space for nuance in their reasoning, thus demonstrating an uncanny ability to utilise their rectums simultaneously for both vocal apparatus and cranial storage. Which in an obtuse fashion is quite a feat. A highly stupid demonstration of ventriloquism and contortion, but nonetheless impressive to watch from a safe and hygienic distance. They forget Bans are great for forming a tighter nexus around a rallying point for the people they despise, Polarising otherwise uninvolved communities and turning the unlikeliest people into political allies. The ban the campaigners want would criminalise all sorts of harmless folk, from Civil War re-enactors to collectors of memorabilia and antiques. Pushing them straight into the arms of the real racists. Bang, ow me toes! It really is very sad.

Enough now. I don’t really have a dog in this fight, but it’s just such fun watching idiots dig holes to bury them selves in. If these intellectually challenged campaigners really wanted to ‘end racism’, the easiest way would be, as Morgan Freeman once so elegantly put it, to “Stop talking about it” accept other peoples differences and get on with life.

Update: An interesting article on similar ‘Confederate Outrages’ in the National Post.

Bought and sold, modern environmentalism?

Seeing as I’m interested in belief systems and how they warp what should be purely intellectual debates, I thought I’d have a nose round some fairly reputable sources and try to sort some wheat from the mountain of chaff. Now I do have a dog in this fight, as during my youth I was a card carrying member of the Green party. I’m firmly on the side of the environment, anti pollution and pro recycling when it’s done properly, not simply sorted and shipped off to landfill. What I’m definitely not on the side of is the Environmental movement as a bought, sold paid for advocacy group used to manipulate markets by foreign investors. I’d heard or chequebook Journalism, but chequebook Environmental protest?

Well, yes. It’s been an open secret for years that various protest groups from both left and right have bolstered their numbers by offering ‘incentives’, mostly for small scale events that they want to look bigger, ‘bussing in’ supporters to areas where there wasn’t really any ‘support’ at all apart from the less with-it residents of various care homes. Not so much ‘rent a mob’ but ‘protest a gran’.

If I can offer a true story of my very own from the times I used to (cough) hang out with (cough, cough, no this isn’t a confession Sarge) what in polite circles was called ‘the rougher type of boy’ there were three separate occasions when a bunch of us greasy looking yobbo’s were gently carousing (No casualties, just a little friendly ‘horseplay’ and discussions regarding the intricacies of various friends social lives) in various drinking establishments to be approached in a faux-matey manner by some grinning soft handed type, telling us earnestly all about some ‘bad people’ who we should go and ‘protest against’. Sometimes we listened, mostly not, before returning to more important matters like motorcycles and where to go in Summer.

A couple of my social circle actually went on two of these ‘protests’ for a free pint and a chance to grope some hippy chicks. These are the large unkempt leather and denim clad gentlemen featuring in numerous police photographs of said events, grinning hugely, with a can of beer in one hand and the other fondling one of the least ugly women. Was that my old mate DA exposing himself? Surely not constable. He must have been experiencing a minor crotch malfunction with his zip. DA was known to have issues in this department, especially with not being able to keep said zip done up in female company. Were incentives offered? Of course, and it was common knowledge that there was cash to be had. Although those I knew who tried to take up the offer were always bitterly disappointed in the amount that was often never paid.

If you want to look up who has been paying for what over here in BC and Canada generally, you could do worse than start with a visit to Vivien Krause’s worthy little web site, which while not encyclopaedic, does have extensive public domain evidence of back door payments to various soi-disant ‘Green’ activist groups. Not to mention the very public big oil sponsorship of Environmental causes from companies like BP, Exxon, Chevron. So much for ‘Big Oil’ being on the side of the ‘deniers’.

BTW; if a ‘science denier’ is someone who does not believe in the scientific method, because without method there is no science, only dogma, then those who bandy the D word around the most are ironically those most guilty of ‘denying science’. Because their faith is belief in fixed constructs, and ‘science’ only deals in facts subject to constant change and update, no-one can be a ‘science believer’, therefore there can be no such thing as a ‘science denier’. Succinctly put; ‘science’ is never settled. Only professional liars and the perpetually befuddled and deluded will say otherwise.

I mean, never mind the Koch brothers, of whom I’d only heard because of their contributions to PBS programming. There are far richer fish to fry. For example Billionaire financier and currency speculator George Soros is a known sponsor of the Tides Foundation, which has backed Vancouver Mayor George Robertson to the tune of over half a million bucks, amongst other things; including the current US Administration’s Internet grab via the ‘Open Society Foundation’ (Oh, the irony). Russian and Chinese funds filter via various shell companies into various advocacy groups back pockets in a massive protectionist financial shell game. Nine bob notes aren’t in it. Never mind the wild Salmon, it’s honesty which is the real endangered species. Frankly it’s the biggest open secret in Canadian politics.

Chilled

Mrs S and I have finally moved in properly to new Victorian gaff here in BC and just delivered our first weekend guest safe home. To celebrate we took a bus downtown and did a little bar surfing. While we were on our way, the oddest feeling crept over me. A sense of complete calm, serenity, even a sense of being touched by God. A veritable nexus of null anxiety, to the point where my paranoia kicked in and whispered salaciously to my hindbrain “It’s been a wonderful day so far-so what’s going to go pear shaped? Who is going to screw it up?” You know what? Nothing did.

In Iraq, 800 crazies, including three holders of UK passports so we are told, are murdering all they choose while an army flees in front of them. The Ukraine crisis lumbers on. The USA seems weak and vacillating. UK Civil liberties are eroded with every half baked directive from the EU Commission and everywhere the media are complicit in the decline.

Yet none of that matters, because at present we’re having a lovely time. Walking here and there, enjoying the locality. Don’t take this personally, but I won’t say ‘wish you were here’. There’s only just enough happiness for me, Mrs S and the dog.

I wonder if they know

All these advocates of ‘Green’ energy. That their prophet in chief of climate doom Al Gore has been quietly dumping his stocks in that sector. Since 2012 no less. Odd that. All these people who infect every comment thread on Green Energy or Fracking articles with their ignorance of power generation and distribution; not aware that one of their causes chief cheerleaders has tiptoed his money to other, more lucrative investments.

‘Green’ energy is in real terms a joke. Wind Turbines that rarely deliver more than twenty percent of rated output. More likely single figures. Unit lifespan less than advertised. Cabling and distribution requirements more complex and therefore wasteful than say a modest 480MW four hall gas turbine power station with a far more massive landscape footprint and environmental effects. Even so they are far more effective than Solar, which isn’t much use in a temperate climate. As for the half baked mutterings about building solar power stations in the Sahara or Spain and stringing thousands of miles of high tension cable around the place, anyone proposing or supporting such an idea knows less than bugger all about power distribution. Tidal energy, well, if you could get around the issues with silting, flotsam damage or persuading people to have one on their doorstep instead of a lot of mud flats only used by wintering birds crapping all over the place. Maybe. Multiple small scale hydro-electric plants might work as part of a power generation and flood management strategy. If there weren’t so many half witted NIMBY activists campaigning for the removal of useful dams so that the Lesser Spotted Newt or similar could have a foetid swamp to wallow in. Along with mosquitoes and other assorted species.

So ‘Big Al’ has let his money do the talking. A long way away from ‘Green Energy’ schemes which were never really workable propositions. I’ll bet he’s already sold off all his exposure in ‘carbon credits’ too. He’s seen the writing on the wall, and no matter what you might think of him as a politician and the causes he advocates, that boy is not dumb when it comes down to dollars and cents.

A conspiracy theory everyone can believe in

Awoke this morning to brilliant sunshine and mini avalanches sliding off the roof, thumping loudly onto the deck like bankers committing suicide. I think one of these slides may have taken four metres of guttering with it, so will report to the landlord. No biggie.

Now this is interesting. Over at ZeroHedge I read this, then went here to get the full skinny.

While these revelations are all very sinister and discomfitting, and as I’ve noted before, if the security services are out looking for trouble they’ll find it everywhere. Ultimately this gives you the uncomfortable feeling that we are all potential ‘targets’. Reminds me of working a particularly tough street where you knew the insults and abuse were going to start flying at some stage. Only to find the abuse throwers turn out to be the very people tasked with keeping the peace. Although they will claim not to be. Which raises the question; how is anyone to tell friend from foe any more? Because at the moment there is a distinct feeling going around that those supposedly tasked with public protection are actually the bad guys. Especially when one hears tales from our cousins in the south about getting put on by the tax man for being critical of the current administration.

What a chilling thought.

I’m also given to think now that this querulous moggy is well and truly out of the bag, every sad little troll who doesn’t like what someone says will start making sly asides, trying to give the impression that they’re working for the security services. Who have guns. The trolls aren’t and haven’t. There’s simply too much information out there, and security budgets are not unlimited. The tactics outlined will only be implemented by government agencies against hard targets with inimical intent. Or someone who annoys a politician. Or… oh dear. Imagination brake failure! O. M. G! Don’t panic. Don’t panic!

Seriously though. In the end it all boils down to trust. If you can’t trust the people tasked with public protection to mind their own gosh-darned business in their own country, who can you have faith in? No wonder other countries are laying cables, building their own Internets and people are developing ‘Blackphones‘.

This does not change my mind about the rest of the conspiracy theories, faked moon landings, flat Earth, 911 false flag, Area 51, aliens, man made global warming. They’re still all bunk.

To close;

In a word, Genius

Well now. Here’s a classic example of the law of unintended consequences coming out for a quick dance of joyful mischief.

Girl Guides in the USA who raise funds to go to camp or for their troupes by selling the traditional range of Girl Guide cookies have been setting up their stalls outside the new Cannabis shops currently springing up in States where cannabis has been legalised. A perfect example of the market in action if ever I saw one, but who saw it coming?

Really it makes perfect sense. The ‘Munchies’ are a well known phenomena of cannabis use, and to cater for that appetite on the part of those Girl Guides carries with it the mark of sheer genius. Marking them out as smart kids who will go far. The girls in question saw a need and catered to it, incidentally making piles of cash for a cherished cause.

Unfortunately this does have a dark side. The next thing you know is that there will be Girl Guide gang wars. Hot competition between cookie sellers over favoured locations. Perhaps Bake sale gang bangers might try to horn in on their action resulting in female fisticuffs breaking out over the frosting and heaven knows what else.

More seriously there’s going to be hot (Groan, sorry) competition over the super profitable pitches for hot dog stands or fast food restaurants close to these new Cannabis shops. Talk about a licence to print money. Maybe even tie-ins. I mean there’s an opening for a whole new set of menu selections at every fast food joint in the country. Do you want fries with that?

Oh my giddy aunt. That has just cheered up a very snowy evening.

Petitions, petitions

Ex UK tabloid Editor Piers Morgan has apparently annoyed quite a few of our cousins south of the 49th parallel (So what’s new?) with a rant about the 2nd Amendment to the US constitution. There is an active petition lobbying the White House for his deportation. There is a counter petition lobbying for him not to be deported. I’ve heard this mis-reported on CBC Radio that the second petition was raised by his ‘supporters’. Not so. I’m reliably told it was UK residents saying “We don’t want him back”.

There is a problem. If the White House does deport the odious little tabloid hack and he wants to stay in Canada; I personally do not want to have the nasty smegger polluting the airwaves up here in the not so frozen north. He has a vile, and some suspect, criminal past. Violating people’s privacy, damaging their reputations without good cause, causing the deaths of UK troops by publishing sensationalist and untrue allegations about UK armed forces in Iraq, and even suspected insider share dealing. If I was Immigration Canada I’d have him on the next flight out if ever he dared show himself at the border.

Although an amusing thought occurs. He could always take a gig up in Churchill, Manitoba, where he could go see how a gun ban works on one of the local Polar Bears. Or the Grizzlies on North Vancouver Island, even Northern BC would do. The bears would probably appreciate a free hack snack. How would that be for an edition of “I’m a celebrity – get me out of here!“? Hey, I’d watch.

Evil smirk.

Here we go again.

Another day, another tragedy. Another media circus. Another opportunity for the collectivist ‘ban everything’ brigade to wallow in false emotion and wave their nasty anti freedom agenda in everyone’s face.

27 people, many of them children, died not simply because an Aspergers sufferer got hold of his Mothers guns, shot her, then went to shoot up the school where she worked. Nor were Thomas Hamilton (Dunblane), Anders Breivik (Norway), and Robert Ryan (Hungerford) so simple as the ‘nutter with guns’ assertion. Nor countless others which do not receive anywhere near the same media attention. Guns are used to kill, therefore guns are bad, ban guns, goes the argument. The same case could be made against Sabatier kitchen knives, ceremonial swords, ice axes, steel capped safety boots, glass bottles, logging axes or rocks. Or even a qualification in martial arts or possession of exceptional physical strength. Amongst many others.

Yet none of the calls for regulation will address the underlying issue. Why certain people go AWOL and lash out blindly. If you choose to read this book by David M Buss, you will be told that the human mind is designed for homicide.` We are killers. All of us. It’s a feature of the standard human psyche. Yet most would faint at the very notion because our killer within is only unleashed under certain, very specific, circumstances. Most will never, ever, find themselves in those circumstances, or more to the point, never let themselves be pushed that far. They’re too well balanced and socialised.

So what is the single thing that all these multiple, and seemingly random killings have in common? Guns? Well, as a tool, certainly, but that is only superficially true. The real motivation can be summed up in one word; frenzy. A mania, or unbalanced state of mind. Extreme, uncontrolled anger unleashed. To use the vernacular; ‘Going postal’. Yet even that is not anywhere near the whole answer. Where does the frustration come from that generates these tragedies? For me, this comment over at ZeroHedge is as close to the true answer as I’ve seen anywhere else;

As long as they keep focusing on the tool rather than behavior, culture and personal responsibility there will be no progress.

Think about it.

The vast majority will never resort to physical violence simply because someone looks at us the ‘wrong’ way. Generally speaking, people either fear the consequences or such an action would never occur to them in the first place. Offering physical harm to others is not something the average human does as a first resort. We are taught not to. Well, most of us. We are taught to talk rather than fight or shoot. To voice our frustrations before we hit boiling and the lid blows off. To have acceptable social outlets.

All the bans, regulation and repressive rules will not solve anything because the real issues are more deeply rooted. Banning legal firearms will leave the only guns in the hands of Government agencies or criminals. Some would argue there’s little difference between these two factions, apart from the membership criteria.

For those interested in Weather

A rational view is online at the doughty Mr Watts web site with explanations of current extreme and not so extreme weather phenomena. Anthony has organised this exposition of meteorological expertise in an online live TV event to counter the rather less scientific assertions of a certain failed presidential candidate.

Youtube clips will be available in the next few days.