Broad Oak: your emotional support animal

Saturday, February 28, 2015

"Interesting. Gosh." Catherine Ashton and the alleged "false flag" attack on Ukraine.



I said something about this almost a year ago and - "gosh" - the video of the above telcon I embedded has has the associated Youtube account terminated - "interesting".

Well. the issue has come up again on Washington's blog - at the same time that a similar theory is circulating about this week's murder of Boris Nemtsov.

And who is this talking?

"If the United States has its way they’ll be having a war in Europe between the Europeans and the Russians... countries that are buying gold are preparing for war. That has always been one of the signs of coming war... I think that this preparation of buying gold indicates clearly that there is going to be a big disagreement, eventually, between the Russians and the Chinese, and that disagreement might signify a war. And nobody wants to have the enemy’s currency as your currency and your reserves when you’re in a war. You want something that is independent of your enemy, right? And that can only be gold. So this purchase of gold by Russia and China, and other countries, indicates that there is growing doubts about the universality of the dollar. And the universal appreciation of the dollar as currency is now in doubt. That’s why their countries are buying gold, because they see that the dollar is too unstable and it’s not a firm enough basis in case of a crisis. Their countries want to have something on which they can rely on their own resources and that means they must have their reserves of gold."

Why, it's billionaire Hugo Salinas Price.

"Byee!" Dontcha just love her? We're in safe hands, I'm sure.


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Peace, potatoes and cocoa

source

This is another chapter from my aunt's memoirs where she describes how family and neighbours celebrated peace in the back streets of Derby in 1919 when she was eleven years old.

June 1919

Although hostilities ceased in November 1918, peace celebrations weren’t held until the following June.

Our street being a cul-de-sac, the family next door living in the very last house, we were able to build our bonfire actually on the road. The neighbours living opposite were all delighted and we rummaged around for anything burnable to help the conflagration. Everyone rallied round as they had done during the war. One old lady every time the maroon sounded, had run up and down the street knocking on every front door, calling through the black letter box,

‘Are you up? Isn’t it awful?’

With that kind of spirit we did pretty well and when the enormous bonfire had been built, children and adults sat and stood round until my dad put a match to one side and another fellow lit the other side. Soon there were Catherine wheels spinning on walls and rockets soaring into the air. The boys loved (and I hated) crackers and jumping jacks which darted and exploded.

On the other side of the big brick wall at the end of the street was the railway line. Now and again a train went chuffing by but we were so used to them we hardly noticed. I’ve wondered since if any passengers saw our bonfire, or at least the sparks flying into the air as the men pushed the glowing embers together.

When the bonfire sagged into a heap of red-hot ash, potatoes were dropped in and mothers went into their houses, reappearing with jugs of cocoa for their families. Jugs of beer had been fetched for the men from the outdoor beer licence.

There was much talk and merriment. My dad picked the cooked potatoes out of the embers with a pair of long fire tongs. No potato tastes as good as one roasted in a bonfire. We children were all dropping to sleep as the fire sank and were taken off to bed, leaving the men still talking.

What a night to remember. Little did we think that in twenty years time the peace we were celebrating would once more be shattered by the dogs of war. But that’s another story.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

The War that Ended Peace

source

I recently finished Margaret MacMillan's World War I history book The War that Ended Peace as recommended by David over at duffandnonsense. It covers the people and events leading up to the war rather than the war itself. 

I bought the Kindle version so the maps aren't as useful as they would be in a traditional book, but unless your geography is even worse than mine it should not cause too many problems.

I'm not a great history buff but the book is an excellent read. Very well written, it takes the reader through the myriad causes of the Great War. No doubt people from my generation all have some familiarity with the main events, but MacMillan's book brings them together in an extremely readable way.

I'll finish with this quote from the blurb which neatly sums it up, although if you read the book you may have some reservations about the word intelligent.

The story of how intelligent, well-meaning leaders guided their nations into catastrophe. Immersed in intrigue, enlivened by fascinating stories, and made compelling by the author's own insights, this is one of the finest books I have read on the causes of World War I (Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State)

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Monday, February 23, 2015

A blogger protests against the world's corruption and injustice



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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Le Blob Vert

source

I see Lord Prescott is off to the the Paris climate jolly in December. From the BBC we hear -

John Prescott is returning to front-line politics as an unpaid adviser to Ed Miliband with responsibility for climate change.

The former deputy PM will focus on trying to help a future Labour government seek agreement at climate change talks due to take place in Paris in December, Labour sources say.

Mr Miliband said in a tweet that Lord Prescott "knows how to knock heads together".


Surely an odd choice - sending a known buffoon on a mission to save the planet. Maybe he barged his way to the front of a long queue using his well-developed political elbows to snatch the plum before anyone else spotted it.

Or maybe not. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Did Viet Cong soldiers get PTSD?

It seems some did, but not so often as among American soldiers:


I had wondered whether the disparity might be down to differences in culture, but it seems it has more to do with factors affecting morale. The authors of this study contrast US servicemen's experience of war with that of the Vietnamese:

"The situation of the Vietnamese veterans was totally different. The Vietnamese had justified reasons for engagement in the war, could discern the adversary,were able to feel relatively safe, and had the strong support of their country, and the local population. The Vietnamese veterans fought for their lives, for their families, relatives and country. They were founders of the guerilla war therefore they knew actively what they were doing, how it should have been done, or where and when they did it. They knew who were their comrades or adversaries. They did not have the passive or uncertain feelings characteristic of many American soldiers. The hit-and-run tactics, the fluidity, and the mobility of the Vietnamese soldiers generally made the American soldiers confused in locating them, and this, in turn, helped them minimize their casualties. Additionally, the Vietnamese soldiers got strong support from the Vietnamese population. As a result, they had greater feelings of safety than did the American soldiers."

Another hypothesised factor was how American Vietnam vets were treated when they returned home:

"The lack of social support for American veterans probably contributed to the development of PTSD symptoms. The Vietnam-America war was a politically unpopular one, and many American veterans were ostracized on their return home. This was in contrast to the experiences of veterans coming home from previous wars such as World War II who were given a hero’s welcome. [...] Society had subjected American soldiers to catastrophic combat victimization, and, when they returned, society avoided the victims, then blamed them for what they had done in Vietnam."

More here:

http://www.ffrd.org/AO/CGFED/12PTSD.pdf


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Bethnal Green teen terror brides: Cameron acts

As usual, Mr Cameron has a two-pronged solution:

a) He has had an emotion at it ("deeply concerning").

b) It is everybody's responsibility to deal with it ("We all have a role to play in stopping people from having their minds poisoned by this appalling death cult").

Job done!




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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

David Malone, TTIP, TISA and Russian dolls



http://www.theguardian.com/membership/2015/feb/18/guardian-live-what-is-ttip-and-how-does-it-affect-us

Practical example: Raytheon.


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Why the TTIP will end the NHS...

... and much more, including democracy itself:






Q&A, including an idea how to handle the banks with a "depositors' union":




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The enigma of Pilsbury Castle

Illustration of Pilsbury Castle as it may have been.
Taken from the nearby signboard

We were out walking the hills above the Dove valley near Hartington yesterday. Pilsbury Castle lies in the valley, mid way between Hartington and the tiny village of Crowdecote

The castle is an odd place. Stuck in a remote spot at the bottom of the valley, nothing is left but the earthworks because it never had any stonework.

There are some obvious conjectures of course, but nobody seems to know for sure why the castle was built, why it was never rebuilt in stone or why it was built in such an out of the way place overlooked by hills. After all, it is in a valley and it doesn’t take a military genius to see the potential problems.

Wikipedia says:-

Pilsbury Castle occupied an area of high ground approximately 175 by 150 yards (160 by 137 m) overlooking the River Dove, near the village of Pilsbury.

It is high ground, but only relative to the valley floor, not the hills looming over it. See my photo below. The Dove is not navigable either and the valley floor tends to be boggy so how much traffic it controlled is unknown. Possibly none at all.

Pilsbury Castle
In the distance is the conical shape of Chrome Hill

Pilsbury Castle well illustrates how fragmented history can be, how easy it is to add supposition to known facts in pursuit of a coherent story. One might surmise that the Dove was navigable in those days. Or maybe the whole project was a mistake. In some respects it clearly was a mistake because it was never rebuilt in stone even though there was obviously plenty of limestone to hand.

Here’s what the signboard says. Oh by the way - the valley is a beautiful sight from nearby hills under a blue sky.

In front of you is the earthworks of Pilsbury Castle.

It is a motte and bailey castle and never had any stone buildings or walls. The motte or mound was the defensive core of the castle, probably with a wooden watch-tower on top. The two baileys or enclosures (see plan) contained timber buildings such as kitchens, stables, store-rooms and accommodation for the garrison. The baileys are protected by ditches and banks which would have had a wooden palisade on top of them.

There is evidence of a hollow-way (a sunken track) which would have been the access route from the south to an entrance in the southern bailey. Entry to the castle would have been across a bridge and through a gatehouse.

The castle was built partly on a reef limestone knoll which is incorporated into its defences and extends onto a shale promontory overlooking the River Dove. It also overlooks a long rectangular hollow on the low ground north of the castle. This was probably a fishpond for supplying occupants of the castle.

We do not know precisely when the castle was built. It was certainly built after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and may have been after the unsuccessful rebellion in the north against William the Conqueror in 1068-9 as a reminder of the power of the king. Certainly the castle would have controlled the Dove valley, the local population and all traffic along the valley route. The castle may only have continued in use for a few decades into the 12th century.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Once a generation (revisited)

Updating last year's speculation:

1914
1939
1964-ish (young v. old)
1989 - the crumbling of communism
2014 - what James Kunstler describes as "apocalyptic Jihadism", notably ISIL

None of it is to do with reason, some of it is against a background of societal stress as described in Norman Cohn's "Pursuit of the Millennium"... but how much is down to gonads, and the time it take for a new generation who don't know how hot fire burns, to come to the fore?


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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Postdialectic socialism

source

I was playing with the Postmodernism Generator earlier. These things have been around for a while, but if you haven't seen it before, it's much like Chomskybot, a nonsense generator which is amusingly close to genuine academic output. Here's an example.

Postdialectic socialism in the works of Tarantino

“Sexual identity is a legal fiction,” says Sontag. In a sense, Derrida uses the term ‘cultural narrative’ to denote the role of the artist as poet.


Baudrillard suggests the use of capitalism to challenge sexism. But the subject is contextualised into a subcapitalist feminism that includes truth as a reality.

Abian implies that we have to choose between capitalism and neoconceptualist libertarianism. Therefore, Sartre uses the term ‘capitalist theory’ to denote the genre, and subsequent paradigm, of precultural narrativity.


The message is obvious and quite unsettling. For example, if we build artificial intelligence which spouts such verbiage, then some poor souls will see it as proof of genuinely superior intelligence instead of a software goof.

Human language has the capacity to slide from common sense to abstruse argument to nonsense with not a single dividing line to tell us which is which. Many thrive on it.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Don't forget to vote on May 7th!




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Why I read the Daily Mail

WHY I READ THE DAILY MAIL

... or more precisely, why I don't read The Guardian:

"I have worked for publications owned by Conrad Black, the Guardian’s arch-Satan Rupert Murdoch, and the Barclay brothers. I have also worked for Polly’s pristine conduit — and I can tell you that when it comes to political interference in copy, the only place I’ve had even the remotest problem, in 15 years, was the Guardian. Not a huge problem, I admit — they stopped me using the word ‘monkey’ to describe someone who was behaving like a monkey, jabbering, being mischievous. They said it was racist. I said well, OK, but the man I’m talking about is white. They said yes, but people might think he’s black. The following week I described someone as being a wolv-erine — they cut that out too. They said a wolverine was a kind of ape and was therefore racist. I said no, a wolverine is a sort of large, ferocious weasel. And they said yes, but someone might think that it’s a kind of ape, and therefore racist."

See Rod Liddle's full piece in this week's Spectator here: 
http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnists/rod-liddle/9438392/the-delicious-cant-of-the-guardian-is-such-a-treat-on-a-saturday-morning/

... or more precisely, why I don't read The Guardian:

"I have worked for publications owned by Conrad Black, the Guardian’s arch-Satan Rupert Murdoch, and the Barclay brothers. I have also worked for Polly’s pristine conduit — and I can tell you that when it comes to political interference in copy, the only place I’ve had even the remotest problem, in 15 years, was the Guardian. Not a huge problem, I admit — they stopped me using the word ‘monkey’ to describe someone who was behaving like a monkey, jabbering, being mischievous. They said it was racist. I said well, OK, but the man I’m talking about is white. They said yes, but people might think he’s black. The following week I described someone as being a wolv-erine — they cut that out too. They said a wolverine was a kind of ape and was therefore racist. I said no, a wolverine is a sort of large, ferocious weasel. And they said yes, but someone might think that it’s a kind of ape, and therefore racist."

See Rod Liddle's full piece in this week's Spectator here.


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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Climate change: the repentant skeptic

In 2011...



In 2012 and afterwards...


More at http://berkeleyearth.org/


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Monday, February 09, 2015

"Watts Up With That?": sniping the snipers...

"The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change" claims NASA's climate data manipulation invalidates the global warming assertion; but perhaps "he who pays the piper calls the tune" on both sides.

I have submitted the following comment on their latest post - will they print it? If so, will they answer it? I've taken the precaution of PrintScreening the submission, in case a wormhole opens up under my query:



UPDATE:

I have had a reply, though not from the site as such, merely from one of its readers:

What “Institute”? Oh, the specific job Heartland paid Watts to prepare one report on the accuracy of the US thermometers?
 
Gee. Again the claim that Heartland “bought” skeptics. If $25,000.00 paid for a skeptics viewpoint – and it did not, that “story” you were fed from “a friend” is an exaggerated piece of propaganda now several years old! – let me ask you: “How many so-called “scientists” will 92 billion dollars buy?”
 
Big Government spent 92 billion dollars ( 3,680,000.00 to 1.00 budget ratio, since you apparently cannot multiply) buying the ideas and promotions and the research and the journals and the budgets and the computer programs and the staffs and even more for the universities and labs and bureaucrats needed by Big Science … just specifically FOR their Big Government “scientists” – who are not all biased, are they? – reach decision designed and intended to create carbon credits for Big Finance and Big Business and for 1,300,000,000,000.00 in new tax dollars each year.
 
How much Big Government can you buy for 1.3 trillion dollars and control of the world’s energy resources? How much are you paid by Big Government for your ideas and your time?
  • I am paid by neither side. And I can multiply – not that that remotely comes into it. Where on earth do you get your debating style from? The ad hominem approach may be effective for an orator, but it’s garbage as far as logical and factual debate is concerned.
     
  • The relevance of funding here – and it’s not just the $25k from the Koch brothers, who are a study in themselves one understands – is that you need to “come to the court with clean hands”. If, as the anti-AGW party claims, the science has been skewed by financial support tantamount to bribery, then the critics need to show that their own approach is untainted by such accusations.
  • Here on the Internet, it’s great that potentially we get to learn more about more things, but like cable TV we seem to be broken up into coteries of group-thinkers.
  • Any recommendations as to where to turn for an expert in this field who is genuinely independent?

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Saturday, February 07, 2015

Testing Artificial Teeth

Testing Artificial Teeth - William Heath Robinson
source

My wife and I visited Derby museum the other day. The Derby china collection was first on the list because we know one of the chaps who reclassified it last year. A fine collection but little in the way of interest somehow.

No great attempt has been made to fit the exhibits into a social and commercial setting, particularly with respect to the industrial revolution and the middle class passion for the status conferred by fine china.

The Derby china is very pretty, but I think the gilding is all superficial ; and the finer pieces are so dear, that perhaps silver vessels of the same capacity may be sometimes bought at the same price
Samuel Johnson - letter to Mrs Thrale 1777

After the china it was on to the Joseph Wright exhibition which L finds a little spooky, partly because of the size of the paintings - many are virtually life size. She says the effect is like being surrounded by long dead people from another and now somewhat mysterious age. After a while I begin to know what she means.

The Heath Robinson exhibition was entertaining though. A fine reminder of his delightfully inventive humour. Worth a visit if you are in the area. Another more sombre reminder lurks behind the exhibition though, because we’ll never see Heath-Robinson and his world again.

After Heath Robinson it was on to the ancient bits and pieces from Derby’s long history, from Roman and medieval pots to flint arrow heads. While browsing the exhibits we were both struck with the same idea: wouldn’t it have been wonderful to have made a career finding and studying these ancient relics? If only we’d followed another direction.

Or maybe not. As habitual cynics we know the grass among the artifacts may not be as green as it seems to the casual museum visitor. To pinch a phrase from Saki, we are too familiar with the long reach of elaborate futilities. Heath Robinson without the humour.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Unemployed to sign on twice as often

Source


From the Independent

All unemployed people might have to “sign on” at the Jobcentre twice as often if they want to continue receiving benefits, under cost-cutting plans being considered by the Government.

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Sunday, February 01, 2015

Why Neanderthals Died Out

Why Neanderthals died out:

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