Thursday, February 21, 2019

US Political Parties: Clowns to the Left, Jokers to the Right - by Paddington

I live in the US, where we have two barely-functioning political parties, the Grand Old Party (the Republicans) and the Democrats. We are unlikely to ever have a major third one, as the American culture strongly favours an A/B decision-making process, rather than recognizing that there is such a thing as a grey area.

Returning veterans of WWII, in both the US and UK, had had a taste of equality with the monied classes, and they wanted it to continue. The GI bill enabled many to get a good education and rise to the comfortable middle class.

That reality was reflected in the platform of the Eisenhower Republicans. It was pro-union, pro-Social Security, pro-conservation and largely anti-war. I would have been at home with that party.

However, in order to secure the Presidency, Nixon executed the 'Southern Strategy', which involved absorbing the racist Southern Democrats over Civil Rights issues. That was followed by Reagan absorbing the Social Conservatives over the issue of abortion and the teaching of evolution.

What has happened is that the party has become a very disparate set of interests, from anti-abortion, to isolationism/anti-immigration, to anti-feminism, anti-science, anti-education and so much more. The tactics are of fear and hatred. There is no part of the party which appears to follow the 'common good' parts of the Constitution to build anything, with the standard idea seeming to be that making the rich even richer will make everyone better off.

On the other hand, the Democrats look to be completely dissipated, trying to satisfy every marginal constituency, while also appeasing the very wealthy. If there is something positive to be said for them, it is that Democratic presidencies have resulted in smaller annual deficits than Republican ones. Where the GOP is anti-science on the subjects of evolution, an old Earth, climate change and several other topics, the Democrats appear not to believe in biological differences in genders, or innate intelligence, or the reality of alternative energy without nuclear power, or vaccines (although there are nuts on both side who are against the latter).

Corrected endpiece: In short, neither party represents me, and the others parties are just out there, from the Natural Law party, to the Communists. There was even the case where a cult tried to poison a whole town in Oregon to gain political power.*

And that is why I call myself an orthogonal-American.

Representation of a 4-D cube (a tesseract) - at right angles to all 3 dimensions


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Let's play "Dual Nationality"

It seem from the Shamima Begum case that the modern British Government is good at picking on a teenager to please a howling mob.

But in order to be consistent, perhaps Home Secretary Sajid Javid should rule that any undesirable British citizen who has at least one Irish grandparent should be stripped of British nationality, since such persons are entitled to claim Irish citizenship as an alternative.

And how about wealth-extracting billionaires who are "domiciled" abroad in some tax haven such as, ooh, say Monaco, but actually live in London?

On the other hand, we could also deem any foreigner we don't like, to be British, even if he isn't, in order to get at them - think of Lord Haw-Haw.

This could be fun.


We could end up with nothing but Celtic tribesmen. Or possibly, continuing the Celtic connection,  convert ourselves into a colony of Eire, which would get round that silly Irish Backstop business.

There is a more serious discussion of the legalities here - including how the law was changed in 2014 to suit the Executive:

THAT worked well! (Sanctions on Russia)

OK, we backed Russia into a corner. Now the country is in a position to cover all its debts:

Just wait till the world's central banks confiscate and revalue gold to make themselves whole!

I guess we can consider two ways forward:

1. Pray that the West imposes sanctions on the UK (the EU is keen to help, I think), or

2. Start a war with Russia*, to prove that There Is No Alternative to globalist crony capitalism

*(in the Ukraine, which is not Russian sovereign territory, so we don't trigger the general nuclear exchange.)

Rise Of The Robo-Trolls

Back in 1974, a fellow student took time off his dog-killing experiments to code a program for writing porn. It made amusing sentences using a randomised selection of phrases, e.g. "Painfully they peeled a grape for twenty minutes."

Now, there's an AI program that can take an opening line and develop a fairly convincingly human-sounding post from there. Just imagine what that might do if let loose on Facebook, Twitter etc.

I should think disinformation agencies are watching with keen interest. It could multiply the output of the 77th Brigade, for example:

Authentication is going to become a big issue.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Gender Benders, by Wiggiaatlarge

Caster Semenya, a female athlete with high testosterone levels

The latest in the convoluted efforts of sporting bodies to try and make some sensible rulings on what is or not a woman in sport is already under attack.

Caster Semenya, the poster person of men in women's bodies competitors in athletics, has once again hit the headlines in the sporting press. S/he has in fairness suffered at the hands of sporting bodies with their endless vacillations on the problem since Semenya  appeared on a track outside of SA  for the first time and the resultant eyebrows were raised, for as appearances go if it talks like it and walks like it, then in every likelihood it is.

We will return to Semenya later, but first a little background to what has been the backdrop to this latest attempt to subvert the rules in sport, i.e. cheating through the use of drugs. Drugs in sport is not a new phenomenon: I have some knowledge of this having been a track racing cyclist back in the fifties early sixties.

Doping actually started almost with the first cycle races in the late 1800s. The then very popular six day races on indoor tracks attracted very big crowds and the races unlike today were over six days non-stop, a sort of wheeled version of the marathon dances in the 20s and 30s.

It didn’t take long for competitors to start taking almost anything that would keep them awake or keep them going. Alcohol was a favorite then, brandy mixed in the coffee and it went from there. It is difficult to pin down when hard drugs first started to be used in cycling but by the time the Second World War started it was acknowledged that all the top road riders were using drugs. Of course despite few actually standing up and declaring that fact, it was not illegal then, there were no tests and in fact it was not till later that drugs were to become a no-no. In the early days it was considered as much a reason to see improved athletic performance and drugs were part of that and accepted.

More sophisticated drug use started soon after the war and by the Sixties doctors in the shadows were prescribing drugs for top riders. These of course were all professional road riders where the advantages of drugs in endurance races were were by now fairly well understood.

In track racing, apart from the six day races the endurance element was not uppermost. Track racing requires explosive effort over mainly short distances, so different drugs were needed, steroids being the most obvious one, and this is where we go back to the start of the more widespread use of drugs in women's events, mainly coming from Eastern bloc countries who saw the advantages and could use sporting success for political gain.

There was a difference in those days which also had an effect in how doping became more widespread. You had two distinct classes of riders (three actually here but the third we can dispense with for this analogy): amateurs and professionals. The professional class was beginning to die on its feet as far as track riding was concerned; dwindling events and lack of top class amateurs turning pro were the root cause.

So you had amateurs remaining amateurs because turning pro was a dead end as a profession, for professionals unlike today had to win to live, through prize and appearance money.

Amateurs therefore became the de facto top riders. Most of the top riders were in effect paid by the state as on paper they could not be paid and therefore be thrown out of the amateur ranks, so as in the Eastern bloc countries where most had  military title but in actuality just trained for whatever sport they were involved with, in the West many had jobs either working for example Raleigh Cycles here or in the Ministry of sport in France and similar wheezes throughout the world.

For women it was not so easy except in those Eastern bloc countries or the USA where colleges provided sponsorship in their chosen sport whilst studying, all ways to subvert the ethos of actually being an amateur.

At this time women from the same Eastern blocs started to dominate many sports. The first time we saw as cyclists a visiting Russian women's team of track cyclists it was obvious that all was not well: not all but many were built like the proverbial brick sh*t house, looked like men and facial hair was evident on one or two, all the result of a doping regime that used steroids to alter the women's physical make up to nearer that of a man. As time went on and there were still no doping tests, other forms of doping usage started to leak out from the East. Naturally men as well as women were getting the same treatment but it was with the women where the obvious advantages were being translated into performance enhancement.

Dr Rachel McKinnon, born a male, won gold in the women’s 35-44 age bracket in in Los Angeles (Oct 2018).

When dope testing first started to be used, there was a concerted attempt to subvert the process. Various wheezes to get round the urine test included clean samples being brought into the testing booths to fill the sample tubes, resulting in the first cases being rumbled when male urine was found in women's samples.

Yet bit by bit the tests became more sophisticated and more and more athletes were found out.
This rather long winded article in the BMJ gives a taste of how complicated all the international bodies have made the whole problem:

There is a sub-plot in that article which puts physiological harm as a reason to be nice to trans athletes !

A 50-year old post-op transwoman called Gabrielle Ludwig was able to join a girls’ college basketball team

Naturally it then became a race between the testing authorities and the drug providers to find drugs that could not be detected, such as EPO  for distance events. The ante was upped in the 90s when Lance Armstrong became the first really big star to (at first) get away with systematic drug usage and then to fall spectacularly from grace. It was becoming increasingly hard to cheat the system.

I am not going to go any further down that track as the fight against drugs in sport is ongoing, but it brings full circle the rather different approach, that is the use of drugs for women which for the most has consisted of replicating male hormones with the resultant added body strength.

If it had not been for the increased sophistication of the doping tests the cases of the likes of Semenya would not have come to light. In the past there have been women athletes with questionable physical traits who either got away with a drug regime that made them way stronger, or they were physically women in a man's body producing male testosterone and being largely male in body except for genitalia.

39-year-old weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was the first transgender athlete to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games in April 2018

The problem world wide the Semenya case has brought about is that countries like SA that have known but not been prepared to reveal what they knew about Semenya are loath to turn against one of their own, having bathed in the initial glory of gold medals won by her.

The case is it seems permanently ongoing as authorities having absolved her are now changing their minds, as a Pandora's box has been opened.

What will happen in that case is anyone's guess, but what it has done is opened a way in this progressive all-will-be-equal world, a route for transgender people to compete. As is natural it is all one way: men who would be women competing in women's sport. Allowing a man to call himself a woman has already led to problems in the real world, but in the world of sport it has only just started. Now instead of individual countries doping women, we have various movements championing the trans people's right to compete and to hell with any logic.

The various sporting administrative national and international bodies need to get their collective acts together fast before this whole trans business wrecks women's sport for good, unless they believe the public will turn up to watch what will be in reality a freak show. Examples have already been seen and in those cases the public disapproval has been ignored on the altar of PC, but if it continues women's sport will be finished.

There is another problem: sport has reverted to the old Eastern bloc set up under a different name. There are no longer any amateurs, which gives countries license to pay what would have been amateurs a decent living as long as they produce medals. This sport going open has really only been a smokescreen for many sports that could not possibly provide a professional living in the real world through lack of interest in that sport and therefore lack of sponsorship, but lottery money doled out to medal-winning sports makes that all possible.

It also means as certain countries have shown, Russia and China being at the forefront, that the old Soviet bloc doping regimes are alive and well. If some of the rumours are to be believed gene replacement will be the end of all sport as it is undetectable at this moment in time, and once again for women they will reap the most benefits.

The end, that is, unless drugs in sport are accepted as an option to greater performance, as they were in the past. There was a time when doping of race horses carried criminal charges if found out but doping of humans was given the OK by the public; perhaps we will go back there, who knows these days.

There is an answer to the problem: simply create a class for these trans people to compete in on their own; but I suspect if that was announced there would be howls of indignation that they were being pigeon-holed as as an unwanted minority or some such and that would never do as then it would indeed be a freak show. Plus if that happened I doubt if there would be nearly as many coming forward claiming they are women; it’s not unlike the man who recently said he was 65 and should be allowed to claim his State pension despite the fact he was actually 47. Today if you believe it and state it your dream can come true; well, maybe for some. 

Monday, February 18, 2019

I Was A Teenage Jihadi Bride

The camera is one of the best liars. A carefully-selected shot can turn a gormless youngster into what looks like an insufferably smug terrorist's moll.

Facebook is fizzing with hatred, indignation and daft solutions. Even the Home Secretary, Mr Sajid Javid, tells the Times “My message is clear – if you have supported terrorist organisations abroad I will not hesitate to prevent your return,” a position contradicted by the head of MI6, who says it is not legally possible.

What happened?

A 15-year-old girl is living in Tower Hamlets, London. Her family are from Bangladesh, a Muslim country, and Bangladeshis are by far the largest ethnic minority group in the borough. Bangladeshis also suffer from high rates of unemployment. The borough is full of new arrivals and transients. The pupils at the school she attends is "predominantly Muslim."

If she is a well-brought-up girl by the standards of her community, she won't go out much or have much to do with non-family males. In a different world this might protect her from bad influences, but not now the world can rush through your landline and iPhone.

So her family, her friends, her classmates, her local place of worship, the local community... all sharing one clear understanding of the Universe and her place in it.

The school? An irrelevant academic treadmill. It has been rated as "outstanding" by Ofsted in a report whose wording seems more unguardedly enthusiastic than one might expect from bureaucrats. The exam results are stunning; some years later, there are allegations of exam irregularities, a ruthlessly exam-oriented curriculum and management bullying of teaching staff. One doesn't feel it's going to stress Enlightenment values, particularly a culture of suspended judgment with respect to religion.

And then she has a couple of schoolfriends of about the same age...

What is a closely-controlled, hormonal teenage girl's dearest wish?

And how to fulfil it? The Internet will guide you. Within ten days, you will be found a young hero to marry!

Just imagine. Instantly, you'll be the equal of your mother, and more.

And how can she possibly regret anything? What in her life and environment will have prepared her to do that?


BBC News, 23 Feb 2015 - school denies radicalisation happened on-site:

Daily Mail, 15 Feb 2019 - about Shamima's husband:

Birmingham Mail, 15 Feb 2019 - possible loss of citizenship for Shamima?

Evening Standard, 16 Feb 2019:

Daily Mirror, 16 Feb 2019 - on Shamima's husband:

Birmingham Mail, 17 Feb 2019 - transcript of interview with Shamima on Sky News:

Demographics of Bethnal Green North (Tower Hamlets):

Borough profile of migrant population in Tower Hamlets:

Borough profile of Tower Hamlets - unemployment and ethnic groupings:

Wikipedia entry on Shamima's school  - "school's population is predominantly Muslim":

2012 Ofsted report on Shamima's school:

BBC News, 10 Feb 2017 - suspension of headteacher re alleged exam irregularities:

BBC News, 10 March 2017 - follow-up on leadership, exams:

Friday, February 15, 2019

FRIDAY MUSIC: Glenn Gould, by JD

Canadian pianist Glenn Gould (1932 – 1982) is probably best known for his unique interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations which he recorded in 1955 and then again in 1981.

No need for me to add anything here because Leonard Bernstein introduces Gould in the first video below and then, in the penultimate video, Gould himself explains aspects of his style of playing, among other insights.

"Glenn Gould’s music is now playing beyond the stars! Amazing to know that NASA’s Voyager spacecraft included “The Well-Tempered Clavier” on their Golden Record."

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Getting our minds back, by JD

Last week saw several news items in all of the papers and on TV and the items seemed to be related in some way:

  • Mental illness among young people.
  • An apparent increase in suicide and self harm among young people.
  • The need to police social media to exclude 'harmful' images and messages.
  • Teaching mindfulness in schools.

This looked like a co-ordinated campaign to draw attention to what are, in the first two items, very serious and worrying trends. The second two items are being promoted as a 'solution' to counter the first two, so what does it all mean?

I shall try to deal with them one at a time and perhaps draw some conclusions afterwards.

1. Mental Illness? A very vague catch-all phrase without any precise meaning. Are they referring to 'depression' or something really serious like schizophrenia. Forgive me for being cynical but depression is not an illness; it could be anything from being fed up with life to feeling sorry for yourself. More often than not it is about 'hurt feelings' or more accurately a bruised ego. 

"...the rise of depression is mainly due to changing lifestyles. Too much eating, not enough activity, no exposure to nature, no contact with the five elements, no emotional security – these are the main reasons why depression has become so widespread in the world today."

2. Suicide? Well it is not just among young people, it is increasing among older people too. It is not necessarily among those who are at a low ebb in their lives, it can happen to those whose outward demeanour appears cheerful and the reasons for it may be obscure or deeply hidden within a person's psyche.

This is a tale from the late Iain Carstairs whose excellent blog has disappeared since his death from cancer three years ago. It is recovered here via the Wayback archive but for some reason the pictures are missing. It is very well worth reading:

3. Policing (censoring?) social media. Perhaps it is not so much the content but the relentless and repetitive frequency of it. Maybe it is not the fault of social media alone. TV is no longer about entertainment. A quick scan through the schedules reveals a very dark cloud over most of it; very little of it can be said to raise ones spirits, to entertain. There is rather too much murder and violence for my liking. Murder mysteries are said to be popular, but all the time? I don't know about cinema because it is more than thirty years since I last visited.

The aforementioned Iain Carstairs wrote a very good and well researched piece about the effect neurologically on our brains in the way the media presents things to us. It was his comment on his own blog in response to a comment from an atheist and this is part of it -

"These media presentations are not designed this way purely for information. The orientation time for the brain is 2 or 3 seconds for any new scene; the job of the editor is to switch scenes so rapidly that the brain becomes hooked before it is able to settle, and in its confusion and desire to know what happens next, unable to change channels. It is like trying to stand in a revolving tunnel. The brain is burning out its circuits trying to keep up, and why? Because someone wants us to listen to a terrible piece of music or watch a documentary that has almost no real information in it. In one of Mel C’s efforts, they switched scenes no less than 120 times in the first minute. I’ve seen some where they actually switch scenes three times in a second! It makes me want to puke from nausea. Can you imagine what the brain is going through, to generate that kind of discomfort? It is as if the brain is some kind of a toy to be poked and prodded and squashed into whatever shape we want."

It was in fact a very long comment and is reproduced in full in the notes below. Very detailed and comprehensive critique of our modern world. You must read it to help understand how things have changed over the past thirty or forty years.

4. Teaching 'mindfulness' in schools. I saw some footage on a news programme of a teacher with his class sitting in front of him but the voice over did not reveal very much about what exactly was being taught. I doubt that the teacher knew, to be honest.

A quick look through the various offerings in search engines revealed rather a lot of half baked nonsense. I think what is being promoted is the Zen proverb of "Sitting quietly, doing nothing. Spring comes and the grass grows by itself" I read that many years ago in a book called 'The Way of Zen' by Alan Watts. It is a variation on Quaker  meetings where they would sit in quiet contemplation, quite unlike the worship of other Christian denominations.

But we are talking of young people here and asking them to sit quietly conflicts with their natural exuberance. It could do more harm than good. If Dan Siegel's ideas are those being promoted in schools then I am right. -

This is not mindfulness, it is brainwashing. Much better to teach children 'mindlessness' by which I mean engage them in non-verbal activity i.e. creativity or sport. And the non verbal nature of their activity is crucial. Instead of wasting time in 'mindfulness' children should be encouraged to exercise their imaginations in creative activity, either collectively or individually. They should understand the spacial awareness which is essential for most sporting activities. It has long been known that physical activity will release endorphins within the body which then lead to a feeling of well being. Laughter also does the same thing. The use of imagination allied to the intense concentration required in creativity does the same, not just a sense of 'achievement' but a sense of wonder at what you have drawn out from within yourself.

These things are what we all did before the age of five, before we ever went anywhere near the education system. I have a book called 'Art and Fear' which tells of the trials and tribulations of  giving birth to works of art and the joy of seeing what was once imagined become reality. In the book is a tale of how the very young daughter of one of the authors asked him what he did when he went to work. "I teach people to draw" he said. His daughter thought about that for a moment and then said "You mean they forget!" 

Remember - "School is where you go to learn how to be stupid!
A few thoughts in conclusion. We have all heard the aphorism 'mens sana en corpore sano' This is usually attributed to the Roman poet Juvenal as being a satire on the Greeks' obsession with a 'healthy mind in a healthy body' but in fact it comes from the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus who pre-dates even Socrates. The idea is not wrong because the Greek ideas of philosophical discourse help to promote a healthy mind and the Greek origin of the Olympic games help to create a healthy body.
The modern mind since the 'Enlightenment' and the industrial revolution believes in the god of progress, ever onwards and upwards to a better future. But ancient wisdom tells us that progress is a false god which is destroying humanity because it is devoted to the material world and ignores the divine essence in mankind.

All of the great philosophers in history have offered variations on the theme of 'know thyself' which is an eternal truth and essential for well being.

"If most of us remain ignorant of ourselves, it is because self-knowledge is painful and we prefer the pleasures of illusion."
~ Aldous Huxley

"Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave."
-- George Gurdjieff

Iain's response to a comment by an atheist (a very sensible and polite atheist):

Stress, even very minor stress, has been shown (this month’s SciAm) to have a catastrophic effect on the neurons. The abandonment of altruism, which generates protective neurotransmitters, in favour of greed and self-indulgence, which has been shown to decrease mirror neuron activity, is only one part of the problem. The other is that the brain is being flung about like a child’s toy: work related stress, endless competition,rivalries, fears of wars, shocks from the media on the hour, and even mainstream media presentations such as the National Geographic documentaries are so full of stimulating twists, turns and visual shocks that it is no wonder the brain is being utterly destroyed long before the end of life.

These media presentations are not designed this way purely for information. The orientation time for the brain is 2 or 3 seconds for any new scene; the job of the editor is to switch scenes so rapidly that the brain becomes hooked before it is able to settle, and in its confusion and desire to know what happens next, unable to change channels. It is like trying to stand in a revolving tunnel. The brain is burning out its circuits trying to keep up, and why? Because someone wants us to listen to a terrible piece of music or watch a documentary that has almost no real information in it. In one of Mel C’s efforts, they switched scenes no less than 120 times in the first minute. I’ve seen some where they actually switch scenes three times in a second! It makes me want to puke from nausea. Can you imagine what the brain is going through, to generate that kind of discomfort? It is as if the brain is some kind of a toy to be poked and prodded and squashed into whatever shape we want.

Added to this you have the senile attempt to multi-task: the brain swaps rules out and back in about 3 seconds, for any specific task, like, say talking to your wife rather than talking to your client, or working on a spreadsheet. To swap back and forth requires 3 seconds to swap contextual rules. But people don’t have time for that. So the brain, ever trying to oblige, is forced to use the short-term memory to hold rules patterns – which it is not designed to do – and which speedily burns out the short term memory, permanently. Memory loss is a feature of executive progress. The brain is being torn to shreds, in order to keep up with the pressure placed on it, and is becoming stunted and deformed, as a child would be if you secured a heavy weight around its neck from the age of three.

In fact one doctor in the UK has warned of a “tsunami of dementia” coming our way. Why? Why should the brain of an intellectually superior race be degenerating so rapidly that the WHO say mental disorders are now the number one health problem in the world? The answer is that the whole lifestyle is now not in accordance with Nature. Man has become a rebel to his own nature, and has abandoned any idea of self-sacrifice, altruism, generosity, gratitude and self-development. He is interested only in bigger houses, faster cars, taller buildings, more income, longer holidays, more clothes, expensive technology, and so on.

This question of the brain literally being destroyed in a few decades must be the biggest cause for alarm today. Its degeneration is so obvious that revolting massacres, obscene crimes, horrible anti-social behaviour, and rampant sociopathy are on the rise everywhere. There is no escape from it anywhere on the planet. And in all of this, man is still building bigger bombs, and the whole world is preparing for war, gearing up for it. Tell me, where is the peace of mind which should accompany intellectual superiority?

Man has simply abandoned the inner world. he is no longer interested in it. far more exciting is the new technolgoy, the latest phones, cars, computers and so on. And the result is that the brain is now falling victim to decline. Dementia even occurs now to people in their 30’s! This was absolutely unheard of two decades ago. So it cannot be age related. The destruction is even carried over from one generation to the next: do you know at the current rates of autistic births, within 22 years, 100% of children born will have some form of autistic spectum disorder? But still man is looking to new drugs or technology to fix it. The inner world lies vacant and unexplored. I even had one reader who insisted he could only find proof of God in a new book. You cannot reason with that kind of mind because it is totally fixated on the external world.

You are right in that logic itself does not dictate spirituality, any more than it should dictate love and romance, or art for that matter. In some cases, people find themselves unable to justify even living, and so they kill themselves. There is no arguing with them. We see that there is a fault in their thinking, but using logic, they cannot be persuaded. In fact, logically thinking, a person would never fall in love or decide to have children because the risks and responsibilities are so great, that considering each person has limited resources and should be averse to serious risk, love is the most foolish thing they would enter into.

Although there are many who feel that way, and I have known quite a few, most people naturally give in to those feelings and make a life which is based around it. Sometimes they do this despite themselves! But none of it is based on logic. We would even think it strange if it were. So much for logic! If you tell them their marriage is not logical, they’d look at you strangely, because for them it is very natural and gives them immense rewards. The same could be said for art. People devote their lives to it, suffering immense personal setbacks, and their love for creating sustains them. Where is the logic in that?

When we examine the biology behind meditation (also called prayer) and altruism, self-sacrifice, honesty, devotion to a higher cause, we see there are neurotransmitters at work. So it is not mere idle wish fulfillment driving people towards these ideas; we can even say man’s normal brain seems to be designed for it. Certainly that is the evidence from the laboratory. Yes, there are those who shun it, just as there are those who ridicule the idea of having children, or entering into relationships. This state is normal for them as well – perhaps it is a nature’s response to an overcrowded world. But either way, people act in persistent ways not because of logic or because of illogic, but because they are designed that way, usually right from the very start.

As far as the sense of other intelligences comprising the universe, some people have a sense of this dimension, and some people do not. To a brain already angled in that direction, the sense that there is an intelligence active all around in the Universe is unmistakable, because the brain itself has developed this capacity. It is a valid sense, just as the senses of sight and of sound and like those senses, cannot be replaced by logic and cannot be explained by logic to those without them. yet the impact they make on the mind is unmistakable and thoroughly convincing. But they cannot be explained by logic: by your argument, they should then be useless! But Nature is not in the habit of giving man redundant senses or redundant capabilities. The spiritual sense exists for a reason, and religion has simply reflected its pervasive impact over the course of history.

But for those approaching the world solely through logic, they shut themselves out permanently from this dimension, just as a person sitting permanently in a chair never exercises their legs, and search though they might through books, the internet, and endless discussions and debates and arguments and lectures, for evidence as to the benefit of having legs, they never will develop them or discover anything about them other than by the use of their own legs. They could watch athletes all day long, but it would never change their own state, just as they could imagine the pleasure of eating all day and still starve to death.

It is this stumbling block which causes the whole anti-religious mindset to one who is, from the start, intellectually averse to it. Using logic to defend one’s own spirituality is probably the most unconvincing argument of all, just as it would be to justify marriage. It is not based on logic, because it is a built in impulse. Anyway, that being said now many times over and over, I’m glad you enjoyed this blog!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Supercrash: "The Euro is organized madness" - a German economist explains "Target 2"

Europe's sword of Damocles: a trillion-Euro central bank debt that doesn't pay interest and is owed by... nobody. European capital preparing to fly to Germany because of fears of a major unfixable financial crisis. Germany possibly exiting the EU...

Slides from the above:

About Dr Oliver Hartwich:

Martin Armstrong chimes in:

"The crisis brewing here is monumental and it will tear the European Union apart at the seams. There is this crisis that because the Euro was NEVER designed properly to begin with, Brussels is trying to enforce its demands upon every member state to maintain austerity regardless of the consequences domestically in each member state.  When Southern European states joined the Euro, they had to convert all past debts from their local currency to the Euro. What happened was not only their national debts DOUBLED in real terms, but ALL PRIVATE debts also DOUBLED. Suddenly, banks that had lent Italian lira were now demanding to be paid in Euro which doubled in real value. Nonperforming loans skyrocketed and every politician blamed the bankers for their own misguided creation of the Euro."

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Memorials, by Wiggiaatlarge

I wrote a piece about this subject some years back, but an article in the local paper revived the memory of that piece at a time when I had imagined the ‘fashion’ had died a death !

I don’t like stereotyping people but sometimes they do it themselves. I can honestly say I don’t know anyone who would build a roadside memorial and have never really understood who they are for.
The drivers going by will no doubt be 99% oblivious to whoever the memorial was intended for and if it is only for the family or close friends would anyone trek to a green verge on a regular basis when even visiting a cemetery is a rare event? - well, certainly in this country which makes it even more puzzling.

The piece I wrote long ago was prompted by a stretch of road running from Cambridge to and past Haverhill in Suffolk, that had a bad record for accidents and deaths, being one of those single carriageway roads that should have been updated many moons before. It also sported a wide grass verge for some miles and this became a natural draw for the monument builders.

Among the more inventive ‘art works’ were a small mountain of soft toys; this one was allegedly for a deceased 25 year old biker ! A masterpiece of kitsch which had a small cupola with an angel inside on a mound surrounded by more angels, a lantern and a shepherd with dog ! A cement scroll, no idea what was written on it and topped of with several hand held windmills - a favourite of these shrines - several nondescript tacky ones incorporating foils as the backdrop, one with a foot high name stuck on it, and the most ghoulish one, a two-foot-high coloured photo of the unfortunate who was killed on this spot. Facing the oncoming traffic it was regularly replenished with fresh flowers; that one survived for years !

All came to an end after numerous complaints saying they were a distraction making the road even more dangerous and after protests from the bereaved they were all removed, something that at the time I remember being done at various sites across the country as the craze got out of hand owing to the efforts of the memorial builders to outdo one another.

We have a bridge over the motorway, I am being generous with that term in this case, near us: a road that is much in demand for the late night bikers who thrash their Japanese super bikes at unmentionable speeds up and down this road at weekends unhindered by the total absence of any Police traffic patrols as is normal these days.

Two have managed to kill themselves in the last twelve months or so and large displays of flowers and the odd obligatory teddy bear with cards of condolence went up on the bridge. Neither was ever removed for fear I suppose of being labelled ‘unfeeling’ as is the way these days, so they were left to rot. One is still there after months, looking like a cross between a bad day at the florist's and a recycling yard.

This all comes back to the piece in the local paper. The first reading of the article gave the impression the memorial was in a graveyard and you had to read on some way to realise it was another roadside “attraction” and in this case that was probably a factor in why it had been vandalised. However "vandalised" was used by the journalist in a form of poetic license as further reading after the sister of the deceased (seen in photo with pink hair and described as a tattooist !!) described the vandalism as "cut wires". It appears the memorial surrounded by tree lights was powered 24 hrs a day by a solar panel, all on the edge of the grass verge facing oncoming traffic. Such a distraction would not have lasted five minutes years ago as it contravenes so many road laws, but today anything goes and the attention-seekers under the guise of grieving parties win out so the lights are repaired, the bereaved tattooist gets in the papers with her pink hair and all is well again in the world of those who must be noticed.

If I sound callous so be it, as in real life I have never known anyone who gives that much time to grieving so long after the event. Some societies, Italy and Spain are good examples, do pay more respect to the dead long after they have departed; how much of that is genuine grief or a culture of habit I could not say, but in this country until a few years back it never existed. Now it has become a cottage industry in self-promotion; some poor sod gets his fifteen minutes of fame through dying and all those associated climb aboard for a piece of it.

Sackerson adds:

Readers may recall that Spike Milligan wanted "I told you I was ill" on his headstone at St Thomas' churchyard, Winchelsea, but the Chichester diocese refused to allow this epitaph.

Instead they allowed a Gaelic inscription: "Duirt me leat go raibh me breoite", meaning...

Friday, February 08, 2019

FRIDAY MUSIC: Dusty Springfield, by JD

Mary O'Brien otherwise known as Dusty Springfield "has been acknowledged around the world as the best female soul singer that Britain ever produced. With her oddly erotic, throaty voice, she racked up a string of hits from the 1960s onwards. Born in London to Irish parents, Dusty grew up in and around London. Her early work included an all-girl trio, "The Lana Sisters" and, then, with her brother Tom Springfield (Dion O'Brien), The Springfields."

'Blue eyed soul' is a phrase which could have been invented for Dusty Springfield. It applies to British singers who, in the early sixties, were inspired by and tried to emulate the Soul music and Rhythm and Blues music coming from the USA as featured previously in these pages -

Dusty deserves special mention mainly because of her album Dusty in Memphis, easily the best record she made.

Her first recordings were with The Lana Sisters which were very much in the style of early American pop music of the fifties. A lot of them are on YouTube and feature excellent harmonies, worth a listen but the videos which follow begin with her in The Springfields which is where I first heard her. Some of the videos here have less than good sound quality but there is no mistaking that fabulous voice!

Thursday, February 07, 2019

The Western Cult Of Death - I Change My Mind

Such happiness! Andrew Cuomo signs the Reproductive Health Act 
After the recent passing into New York law of The Reproductive Health Act, I read the book "Second Opinion" by a Birmingham, UK doctor going under the pen-name of "Theodore Dalrymple."

The doctor's experiences working in hospital and the nearby prison ought to convince most readers that not only should capital punishment be reintroduced, it should be revived on a massive scale. He himself is opposed, but merely because there would have to be a gallows on every street corner to accommodate deserving cases: the drink- and drug-addled violent, thieving layabouts who impregnate their women and then throw them down the stairs or kick them in the stomach to get rid of the unwanted results of sex; or abandon mother and child shortly after the birth, leaving them to Society's care.

Away with tentative moral argumentation about immediate-post-partum termination; let's really go for it, Deuteronomy-style: infants, teens, young adults...

In the Decalogue, below the duties to God, but above all the duties to one's fellows - even the proscription of murder, comes the Commandment to honour your father and mother; and like the other nine, it is lethally enforced:

18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:

19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;

20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.

21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

[I'm not sure whether we could involve adults who are in loco parentis, but there could be interesting implications for discipline in schools.]

Note, by the way, that the son need not be a mere child. A worthless, disobedient wastrel can be terminated at any age.

But why wait for a plaintiff to bring a case to court? As in other fields, let us replace complaint-driven processes with bureaucratic regulation and oversight.

Fabian Socialist, George Bernard Shaw proposed a periodic, systematic reassessment of each citizen's right to life (htp: Edward Spalton/AKH):

Where would we be without our thinkers?

Instead of bleating about the sacredness of human life, let's admit that whereas (it used to be said) life is cheap in the East, here in the West we are well on the way to declaring it completely valueless. Or, at least, a commodity to be priced against its utility to other people, and rejected if overpriced.

It's particularly wonderful that religion need not come into the debate any longer. Reason alone, based on financial calculations rather than Enlightenment principles that themselves have no objective foundation, justifies the slaughter of, not the sinner or the criminal, but the expensive and inconvenient. An extra bonus is that we could then dispense with hypocritical excuses ("health" etc) - we can proceed openly and without self-deception, honed blades of rationality.

We will get there.

Won't we?

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Gun Law

Second Amendment to the United States Constitution (authenticated by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson) - December 15, 1791:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

... inspired in part by the Virginia Declaration of Rights, Section 13 (written by George Mason and adopted by the Virginia Constitutional Convention on June 12, 1776):

"That a well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power."


Jefferson was not opposed to the use of arms in the defence of citizen liberty but this would not be necessary or justifiable if the laws could be democratically amended:

“Happy for us, that when we find our constitutions defective and insufficient to secure the happiness of our people, we can assemble with all the coolness of philosophers and set it to rights, while every other nation on earth must have recourse to arms to amend or to restore their constitutions.”

Mason's wording and Jefferson's remarks in his private letter above show that the issue was the right and regulation of a civilian militia, not whether an individual (as opposed to "the people") should be allowed to carry weapons.

In an age when people shot game for survival and carried swords and pistols for self-protection, surely that need would have been considered so obvious as not to need stating.

On the other hand the citizenry would not carry muskets around with them in the course of their daily business. Also, the poorest would presumably not be able to afford firearms and thieves, murderers, highwaymen and footpads would be swiftly tried and hanged.

Modern firearms are much cheaper, and often more powerful and much more rapid-fire. Were he alive today, would Jefferson now consider the Second Amendment defective?

Friday, February 01, 2019

FRIDAY MUSIC: Gurdjieff and de Hartmann, by JD

The music of Thomas de Hartmann and George Gurdjieff will bring some much needed tranquility
"While the world is full of troubles 
  And is anxious in its sleep."