Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday

Bloggers fighting over a Wittgenstein post
source

As you must know, the madness of Black Friday is upon us so bloggers are suffering from a frantic demand for stories. Many of our usual suppliers of words, phrases and quotes had run out of stock by nine o'clock.

In desperation we tried "Dodgy" Dave Cameron - Cheapest Words In Town but it was no dice. Only a few dribbles from his back catalogue were available.

As for "Fast" Eddy Miliband he seems to be all at sea. Nothing original on offer and his prices have to be seen to be believed.

By midday we resorted to asking Lord Prescott for a quote or two, but all he came back with was "I don't talk to you bluggers."

Ah well - normal service will be resumed as soon as the madness dies down. Meanwhile why not pop out for a spot of shopping?

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All original material is copyright of its author. Fair use permitted. Contact via comment. Unless indicated otherwise, all internet links accessed at time of writing. Nothing here should be taken as personal advice, financial or otherwise. No liability is accepted for third-party content, whether incorporated in or linked to this blog; or for unintentional error and inaccuracy. The blog author may have, or intend to change, a personal position in any stock or other kind of investment mentioned.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Crouching Koala, Hidden Dragon

By Daley & Riley

Australia has signed a wonderful trade agreement with China. It will "open up billions of dollars in new markets for Australian exporters."

Except that increasingly, the assets producing these exports will be owned by the country they're going to. Oz is going the same way as the UK: quisling politicians and businessmen are selling off not just the family silver but, bit by bit, the estate itself.



Veteran comedians Clarke and Dawe are not fooled. That doesn't help

farmlandgrab.org tells us how mighty concerns are buying up the world's agricultural resources, while internet wits comment daily, wryly and helplessly, like birds in a cage on the back of a cart. If you're lucky, you can makes a living out of protest, that's all.

Businessmen, they drink my wine
plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line
know what any of it is worth


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All original material is copyright of its author. Fair use permitted. Contact via comment. Unless indicated otherwise, all internet links accessed at time of writing. Nothing here should be taken as personal advice, financial or otherwise. No liability is accepted for third-party content, whether incorporated in or linked to this blog; or for unintentional error and inaccuracy. The blog author may have, or intend to change, a personal position in any stock or other kind of investment mentioned.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

MasterBoozer

Masterchef: a programme about cooking, timed to go out after you've eaten, for a nation that eats too much already.
But why do this just for food?

How about MasterBoozer, a late-night post-takeaway programme for the inebriated?

"I'm really disappointed, Roy. You've got a good barley wine, but you need to take it to a new level at this stage of the competition. You could whang a quadruple scotch in... or add some warm beer and gin fer a classic Dog's Nose... like the one 've gorrere..." CRASH!

"Leave'm, 'll be alrigh. Ye', Malibu'n'Absolut's a good 'ltern... ative...mm? Wha'?"...

Crowdfunding for this project via Indigogo and Kickstarter... eventually... jus' pour myself a refill...


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Monday, November 24, 2014

Has the C dropped off?

As the catastrophic climate narrative slumps inelegantly beneath a prolonged lack of warming, where does it leave us? Bearing in mind that it is not easy to come up with a higher authority than the climate – not even Vivienne Westwood on a good day.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the C has come tumbling off CAGW, or Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming as it used to be known before options were quietly widened via the weasel word change.

So apart from a dwindling band of doomsday hopefuls we are presumably left with AGW. Even that seems to be quietly mutating to ACC – Anthropogenic Climate Change. Ho hum, I suppose even a furtive and long overdue change of emphasis is probably welcome.

Where this takes us I’m not sure but I’m pretty sure we aren’t due for a bout of institutional honesty and the sweet strains of mea culpa issuing from the BBC, Guardian, IPCC, Defra, Greepeace, Al Gore, Ed Davey, Ed Miliband, Lord Deben and a host of middle class poseurs of the green persuasion.

It is more likely that the new narrative will be stitched to the old as seamlessly as a dodgy temperature graph. The new narrative will imply that ACC is what was meant all along and AGW will turn up eventually and meanwhile every single weather outlier will be the weirdest weather since the last weird weather and anyone who says otherwise is some kind of flat-earth far-right nutcase denier in the pay of Big Oil...

...or whatever.

The irony is that most climate sceptics probably have no great problem with ACC because we could be affecting the climate in a number of ways from land usage to atmospheric nitrogen or sulphur pollution to airborne particulates. Most sceptics also think CO2 may have a minor effect, but nothing remotely like the calamity proclaimed for so long by the swivel-eyed activists.

The debate may even lurch towards something delightfully rational, where uncertainty is given its rightful place in the science...

...no I’m not holding my breath for that one.

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All original material is copyright of its author. Fair use permitted. Contact via comment. Unless indicated otherwise, all internet links accessed at time of writing. Nothing here should be taken as personal advice, financial or otherwise. No liability is accepted for third-party content, whether incorporated in or linked to this blog; or for unintentional error and inaccuracy. The blog author may have, or intend to change, a personal position in any stock or other kind of investment mentioned.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

VIPaedophilia and the trutholith

Fossilised dino-dung (pic source)

Why read autobiographies or newspapers? In most cases, we get the truth when it no longer stinks and has no viable DNA to connect it to current life. Jurassic Park explodes only if somebody turns off the electric fence - as when  the enigmatic Matthew Parris outed Peter Mandelson on Newsnight (27.10.1998).

Even then, the response is spin, cover-up and emergency relationship repair:

Mandelson spinning for himself: “I had been outed by the News of the World some ten years before in 1987 and had long since got over it and got through it."

"The BBC memo said: “Under no circumstances whatsoever should allegations about the private life of Peter Mandelson be repeated or referred to on any broadcast.”...

Paxman's letter: "I'm sorry that Matthew Parris mentioned your name on `Newsnight' last night. In the heat of the moment, he rather caught me out, and I tried to brush over things as soon as possible afterwards."...

The gay intelligence network will have known this - and much more about many more - far longer; it's when it hits the mainstream that it's news. Mandelson may have tried to present it as old hat, but on Newsnight it was certainly news, as evidenced by the urgent reactions.

The law and public attitudes have changed with respect to homosexuality; but not to child abuse. So in an effort to protect VIPs we have, claims John Ward, been treated to a deluge of distraction, including celeb show trials, and, if pushed, reluctant admissions regarding VIP deadies.

Yet there is enough DNA in the story to permit contagion - who still alive did what, knew what and when? Like Watergate, the cover-up could be what destroys the Establishment. An explosive in a sealed container is far more lethal.

The Mail on Sunday - with its over 4 million readers - is now lifting the lid, with yesterday's piece by Guy Adams, which includes allegations of a crime that will not stale: murder.

Some material is based on the investigative website Exaro. No wonder there are moves to "regulate" the Net. (And so much for Private Eye's sustained attempt to tar the internet community - its rivals - with the brush of their illiterate and ill-informed fringe - "From The Messageboards", started in 2008. PE itself was the amateur blog of the Sixties, cut and Gloyed together in Willie Rushton's bedroom.)

That "regulation" in the old days came officially as the D-Notice - now broadened from specific prohibitions to standing "guidance" in five areas, the last of which is: "DA-Notice 05: United Kingdom Security & Intelligence Special Services." Aka, to the cynic, not only anything potentially dangerous but also anything embarrassing.

And now even the cover-up is covered-up, as The Guardian reports (htp: Michael Krieger):

"Two newspaper executives have told the Observer that their publications were issued with D-notices – warnings not to publish intelligence that might damage national security – when they sought to report on allegations of a powerful group of men engaging in child sex abuse in 1984. [...]

"Now it has emerged that these claims are impossible to verify or discount because the D-notice archives for that period “are not complete”.

"Officials running the D-notice system, which works closely with MI5 and MI6 and the Ministry of Defence, said that files “going back beyond 20 years are not complete because files are reviewed and correspondence of a routine nature with no historical significance destroyed”.

"No historical significance.".. nice.

Understanding English: "a shred of evidence"

Actually, historical context is important. Watergate came at a time when, among other things, the Vietnam War had changed attitudes to power and authority. And the fallout from the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 (which has its roots in recklessly loose monetary policy dating back at least as far as the early 1970s and particularly in the "Conservative" 1980s and 1990s) - a fallout which hasn't yet had anything close to its full devastating effect, and one I constantly wonder how to avoid - means that we are in a mood once again to take on the Establishment.

We still wait for the findings of the Chilcot enquiry, while Tony Blair trots about the Middle East in the guise of peacemaker; but he is young and healthy enough to live to see the truth extracted live from the hermetic amber of official records.

And while there is some legal hemming and hawing about the prosecution for old cases of child abuse - see the Parliamentary briefing paper "Limitation period in sexual abuse case
Standard Note:  SN/HA/4209" - liability for murder has no end date.


Will there be an explosion? And what will the the aftermath for the rest of us, if the Establishment is in disarray?


 
A Mills Bomb (pic source)

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

The mendacity of institutions

It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentional lying that there is so much falsehood in the world.
Samuel Johnson quoted in Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson

Memories of my younger days suggest that institutions had more integrity than is the case today. The Post Office, the BBC, the AA, the police, the local council and even the government may have been stuffy and somewhat inefficient, but were not generally regarded as mendacious.

Today institutions have changed for the worse – they tell lies. Usually lies of omission, Johnson's carelessness perhaps, but still lies. I could be looking back through rose-tinted spectacles of course, but I’m not too sentimental, I don’t actually want to go back to driving an Austin A40. In any case, there is a reasonable explanation for the mendacity of modern institutions and that’s public relations.

A few decades ago, institutions may have had their press office to deal with newspaper reporters and even a rare visit by a chap from the BBC, but they were much less inclined to put out a message so dripping with positive spin that it may as well be a barefaced lie.

Modern institutions have their off-days, but are far more inclined to defend the indefensible, if necessary for years. They are far more inclined to put out press releases which don’t even tell half the story, manufacture stories from nothing and generally exaggerate, misinform and mislead.

That would be bad enough, but all this positive spin promotes institutional mendacity. That in turn promotes mendacity among employees. It attracts those who are more inclined towards shading the truth, influences career progression, seeps into the culture, infecting everyone without the integrity to resist.

Institutions were always an important part of our culture. The BBC, the police with their whistles, bicycles and truncheons, the local council and the local bank. Again it’s worth wiping those rose-tinted spectacles in case they are misted up with nostalgia for a more honest past, but I don’t think it is all nostalgia.

The mendacity of institutions is genuine and most of it seems to be down to PR. How are we supposed to build a culture on lying?

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All original material is copyright of its author. Fair use permitted. Contact via comment. Unless indicated otherwise, all internet links accessed at time of writing. Nothing here should be taken as personal advice, financial or otherwise. No liability is accepted for third-party content, whether incorporated in or linked to this blog; or for unintentional error and inaccuracy. The blog author may have, or intend to change, a personal position in any stock or other kind of investment mentioned.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dreaming of Boris

source

Fortunately I never dream of Boris Johnson, but the other day I had a kind of surreal daydream while musing on the various nutters determined to rule our lives. Maybe their nuttiness is infectious.

In my daydream, Boris was on a local bus so I sat next to him. I had to - there was nowhere else to sit. Some seats were occupied by glossy young people with iPads. All the remaining seats were cordoned off with some kind of red tape, so I “chose” the one by Boris.

‘Blimey, don’t take any notice of that – just treat it as a cheeky little nudge,’ Boris chuckled, pointing a pink finger at the tape. ‘It’s all Cameron’s idea, this nudging caper,’ he added. ‘I took it into my noddle to push it too its logical conclusion but it’s only a harmless jape to put you chaps at your ease.’

‘You chaps?’ I asked but Boris was off on another tack.

‘I’ve been busy today - buying some tremendously attractive and very reasonably priced oven-to-table ware,’ he went on as we drove by Denby pottery, ignoring a crowded bus stop. ‘Back at base they insist I should get out more if I’m to move on... not that I am moving on or have any ambitions in other directions beyond mayor of London which is of course my proudest.... proudest thingy.’

He gazed out of the bus window, suddenly listless. ‘So here I am not moving on... on a bus,’ he added after a few moments of silent contemplation. He mussed up his hair which had fallen into place as it so inconveniently does.

‘But why come here?’ I asked. ‘Why a bus - and why oven to table ware - specifically? What’s the policy angle on stoneware pottery?’

‘Oh I don’t know, I don’t use it myself. It was something to do during my tour of the North, part of the connecting with people idea I thought of in bed... in my bed I hasten to add.’ He laughed and wobbled.

‘This isn’t the North,’ I pointed out.

‘Isn’t – umm – isn’t your whippet allowed on the bus?’ Boris bent down to peer under our seat.

‘My whippet?’

‘You must know what a whippet is,’ Boris replied, his voice somewhat strained from bending down. ‘Skinny little dogs – run like blazes. Usually fed on tripe I believe.’

‘We don’t all have whippets and this is the Midlands, not the North,’ I informed him. I had to address his broad back because he was still peering under our seat.

‘Well this is North enough for me,’ he said, returning to a vertical posture, pink-faced after his prolonged underseat examination. ‘I’m not venturing beyond the tree line in a bus.’ He laughed again.

We said nothing for a while as the bus trundled on its way, passing bus stop after bus stop. Boris seemed worried, but I didn’t have enough sympathy to offer him. Anyway, one of the iPad crew was rolling up the tape so I assumed this phase of Boris’ connecting with people idea was fizzling out.

‘This is my stop,’ I said as we trundled through the outskirts of Derby.

‘Before you go...’ Boris grabbed my arm. ‘Why don’t people realise I’m just a regular guy with some terrific ideas who would always to his damndest for them... in the event of... well under changed circumstances... whatever they may be.’

‘Think about mendacious hairstyles and move on from there,’ I replied.

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All original material is copyright of its author. Fair use permitted. Contact via comment. Unless indicated otherwise, all internet links accessed at time of writing. Nothing here should be taken as personal advice, financial or otherwise. No liability is accepted for third-party content, whether incorporated in or linked to this blog; or for unintentional error and inaccuracy. The blog author may have, or intend to change, a personal position in any stock or other kind of investment mentioned.