Thursday, March 31, 2022

The new MULTIPOLAR world order, by Sackerson

The US/NATO hegemon is coming to an end, if conservative historian David Starkey is correct. Here he discusses the new doctrine according to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, whom he compares in terms of diplomatic stature to Kissinger and Bismarck.

Against the West's ambition to impose its values on the world - democracy, human rights - stand Lavrov's realpolitik principles: non-interference in the internal affairs of nations; each nation to develop in its own way according to its own national, cultural and religious traditions; the world to be not 'unipolar' (US supreme), not bi-polar as in the days of US vs USSR, but multipolar - America, Russia, China and a handful of other major States.

Starkey points out that only 20% of the world's population lives in a full democracy. Many other countries have different ways of doing things, so only 11 of the G20 nations have joined in sanctions against Russia. The US hasn't yet woken up to the real world as it is now.

This notion of a watershed in the world order is echoed in the thoughts of Sergey Glazyev, an academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Putin's former special adviser. He takes a long-historic view, saying that advances in technology, economic changes and the introduction of more flexible, market-based systems of management are ushering in a new, ideologically socialist world economic order in which, as in the example of India, the State seeks to maximize growth rates in order to combat poverty.

In the 2008 financial crisis America and Europe, says Glazyev, wasted their monetary stimulus on financial bubbles and inflated budget deficits, whereas in China the money was 'completely directed to the growth of production and the development of new technologies.' Failing to defeat China in a trade war, the US turned to using Ukraine 'as a weapon of war to destroy Russia, and then to seize control of [Russian] resources in order, I repeat, to strengthen their position and weaken the position of China.' 

Following WWII, says Glazyev, the British Empire 'collapsed like a house of cards, because the other two winners — the USSR and the United States — did not need this empire and considered it an anachronism. Similarly, the world will not need American multinational corporations, the US dollar, US currency and financial technologies and financial pyramids. All this will soon be a thing of the past. Southeast Asia will become an obvious leader in global economic development, and a new world economic order will be formed before our eyes.'

Glazyev may understimate the degree to which China still depends on its trade with the US and the West, but it's clear which way Eurasia and the Far East think the wind is blowing.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Ukraine: the big picture, by Sackerson

PM Johnson said a month ago that President Putin had committed a war crime by bombing innocent civilians. Why would Putin put himself so clearly in the wrong with his aggression towards Ukraine?

He has rightly earned our condemnation but securing a legal judgment against him is a different matter. Following the International Criminal Court’s ruling that the annexation of Crimea counted as an armed conflict with Ukraine, Russia withdrew from the ICC in 2016 ; but then, the US itself rejected the ICC’s jurisdiction in May 2002, ahead of Congress’ October vote giving President Bush the discretion to attack Iraq. Peace is of no account when sovereign nations adopt an à la carte approach to the rules-based international order.

What could Putin’s motives for the invasion have been?

An appeal to Russian nationalism? One of the reasons for Putin’s continuing domestic support is that he cultivates the mythos of protector of his people, and according to Article 69 (3) of his revised Constitution of 2020, that includes ‘compatriots living abroad… exercising their rights, ensuring protection of their interests and preserving all-Russian cultural identity.’ In Article 79, the statement ‘Decisions of international bodies, taken on the basis of provisions of international treaties of the Russian Federation in their interpretation that contradicts the Constitution of the Russian Federation shall not be executed in the Russian Federation’ means, says Russian political analyst Elena Galkina , that ’The Kremlin wants to show that regardless of the decisions of any international authorities and courts, it will consider the [Crimean] peninsula a part of Russia.’

Defence? Putin has been referencing the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis since 2019 , when Washington withdrew from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty . The US nuclear missiles at Izmir, Turkey (removed in 1963) were 1,500 miles from Moscow; Kyiv is a thousand miles closer. President Zelenskyy is now, at last, talking about accepting Ukrainian neutrality and non-nuclear status ; this could potentially save us all from the horrors of nuclear war; yet surely no major nation would be so lunatic as to provoke Russia into using its weapons of last resort?

Resource wars? Ukraine, whose citizens are the poorest in Europe , is rich in agriculture and minerals. That said, Ukraine is a vast country and much harder to hold than to invade, as the Russians are discovering; and Russia is already the world’s biggest exporter of wheat and boasts huge mineral reserves of its own. That is not to say that the West is not tempted, and finance plays its part: Professor Prabhat Patnaik argues that the IMF, once simply an international rescue-bank, is now used to enforce ‘investor-friendly’ economic restructuring on the borrower ; in Ukraine’s case this entailed reforms such as cutting spending on education and health and slashing the gas price subsidy to its consumers. Patnaik claims that the IMF deliberately loaned more than Ukraine could ever repay, so paving the way for taking land and mineral resources in lieu; it will end, he says, by turning Ukraine into Greece and the economy will be smashed as masses emigrate for better pay abroad .

There is, perhaps, an even bigger picture, in which geography is key.

Locally, assuming negotiated peace is possible, Lt Gen Riley has sketched out a possible end position here : Russia to control the Donbas (including the western coast of the Azov Sea), Crimea (plus its water supply from the Dnieper) and a land corridor linking the two. It would be a partition akin, say, to the creation of South Sudan in 2011.

However – and this is not to defend Russia’s actions - foreign minister Lavrov sees his country as embroiled in the implications of the Wolfowitz Doctrine. He refers to ‘the United States’ desire – which has been much more manifested by the Biden administration – to come back to a unipolar world’ and says ‘the West has repeatedly attempted to stall the independent and autonomous development of Russia.’

The development he mentions has a maritime dimension. Until the Soviet Union collapsed, the Black Sea was very largely a Red lake, except for the shores of north-eastern Greece and northern Turkey. Since then, EU/NATO has gradually encroached and if we look at the map and visualise both Ukraine and Georgia within the fold (still under consideration), Blue is certainly crowding what is left of (what was once) Red.

Russia has long been working on strengthening its facilities in the Black Sea. The Sochi Olympics served a dual purpose: in 2014 America’s The Nation magazine scoffed at Putin’s $51 billion dollar ‘white elephants’, missing the greater potential of the new Sochi airport, and of the development of the ports there, at Novorossiisk (in preparation for oil and gas shipping ) and at Port Kavkaz - which faces Port Crimea across the Kerch Strait, the two linked (road and rail) since 2019 by Russia’s Crimean Bridge , Europe’s longest. South Stream, the planned undersea gas pipeline to Bulgaria, jinking through Turkey’s zone to avoid Ukraine, had to be scrapped because of political fallout from the Crimea annexation, but it is clear that the Black Sea is a hugely important trade nexus for Russia.

The Sea of Azov is also a keystone in Russia’s plans for growth and it is likely no coincidence that Ukraine’s hardest-line regiment is named after it. Until 2014 the Sea was jointly controlled by Russia and the Russophile eastern Ukraine. The River Don empties into it, and is connected to the Volga, which flows into the Caspian, by the Volga-Don Canal, which strains to accommodate modern shipping needs. One proposal is/was for a vast  Eurasia Canal linking the Caspian to the Azov and so on to the Black Sea; in 2007 Kazakhstan’s President Nazarbayev enthused that the canal ‘would make Kazakhstan a maritime power and benefit many other Central Asian nations as well’ ; an alternative Russian plan is to widen the Volga-Don Canal. Either way, a hostile Ukrainian force on the western shore of the Azov would again pose a threat to Russian trade and prosperity in the area, and indirectly to long-term plans for a Eurasian trading bloc such as Damir Ryskulov’s 2008 dream of a Trans-Asian Corridor of Development .

It could be argued that Russia has been provoked into a hot-headed, deeply wrongful act, one that any empowered independent tribunal would condemn, by an outdated geopolitical policy originally aimed at containing the spread of Communism.  The mystery is why the US continued to foster China’s ascendancy after the Soviet collapse; Professor John Mearsheimer , who in 2015 blamed America for the Ukraine crisis , sees this as a ‘colossal strategic blunder’ , saying we should settle with Putin and ‘pivot’ towards Asia.

Is it not time to stop the war, care for and compensate its innocent victims and negotiate a fresh approach to international relations that allows for peaceful global economic growth?

Sunday, March 27, 2022

EMAIL FROM AMERICA (3): misinterpreting the Founders and the Bible, by Paddington

Tracking the chaos...

This week brings the confirmation hearing of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. The GOP members in the Senate have vowed to vote against her, even though she is more qualified than most of the more junior members on the Court. At stake is her refusal to embrace 'originalism', a philosophy that we should do EXACTLY as the Founders said, not necessarily what they intended. In support of this onerous and odious idea, the conservatives repeatedly make up quotes by people such as Madison, and simply lie about the rest.

Via Heather Cox Richardson, US historian: A 2019 speech by then–attorney general William Barr at the University of Notre Dame offers an explanation.

In that speech, Barr presented a profound rewriting of the meaning of American democracy. He argued that by 'self-government' the Framers did not mean the ability of people to vote for representatives of their choice. Rather, he said, they meant individual morality: the ability to govern oneself. And, since people are inherently wicked, that self-government requires the authority of a religion: Christianity.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

WEEKENDER: Changes Afoot, by Wiggia

I have not been the only one to quote the phrase ‘never let a good crisis go unused’ or versions of, and I did mention how the Net Zero brigade had reinforced their objectives under the guise of Covid, two years in the formation and now being unleashed into the general narrative.

The video of the unprepared Nigel Farage being unable to counter Dale Vince on his own program was not a unique occasion but it was a relatively high profile one and a missed opportunity to debunk the whole push for Net Zero that Boris despite evident minor concessions is still pushing ahead with.

Even in a week when Ukraine naturally dominates the headlines the Greens are still issuing statements on how we should be looking to live in the not too distant future; some of it is trivial and unnecessary nonsense but it still keeps the whole Net Zero train on the tracks when it should be in a siding.

While taking the wife shopping this week to Waitrose, a bastion of all things Green, I picked up their free Weekender magazine; you may well ask why, but those that know are aware that I read anything, no catalogue that plops onto the mat goes unscanned and reading women's magazines in the dentists waiting room is de rigueur, all the while picking up snippets of useless and sometimes very interesting information on things that would normally pass me by.

In the aforementioned Weekender, after scanning pages of politically correct photos of various ethnic people dominating the images I saw an article on saving water. We have done this one and the fact that water companies have totally failed to increase capture and storage despite an ever-rising population; doubtless it is still all our fault for having the temerity to use the stuff in the first place. So we get a lifestyle change piece on how to save water and if possible not even use it.

But the article is not quite as innocent as it appears. Anna Shepard is the author ‘My Year of Living Sustainably’ and this is No. 11 in the series; I have not seen any of the others but would think this one is par for course. Anna also wrote for the Times under her Eco Worrier tag and has written books on green living plus naturally she is a go-to for the BBC radio and TV. I mention all this because this type of eco approach is everywhere: women's magazines (see, I told you it would come in useful) for some reason are full of articles on sustainability and green living.

Anyway in this piece, No. 11, she talks about her family's way of dealing with water usage. Water for some reason is no longer a basic necessity but a power-using commodity that should be used sparingly (see earlier note on water companies): heating water increases carbon emissions and the evil gas boiler is the culprit here.

Showers by nature are evil incarnate if you shower and actually use the thing more than the seven to eight minutes which we are told is standard, which I don’t actually believe; we should take a minute less and save the world. She supplies all sorts of tips like using a timer and a hardly-get-you-wet shower head, and turn it off if washing hair in shower whilst soaping; her husband, being a good boy, turns the temperature down, which evidently boosts his immune system - lucky him, no Covid in that house.

And finally she excuses her love of a long soak in the tub, for which she would normally lose brownie points for admitting such a heinous act, by sharing or leaving the water for someone else to get into; and finally, a gold star for having days when they don’t wash at all.

I am with Anna on this one, or would have been, though I doubt it would have saved any water - after all, who would want to leave the shower in a situation like that !

The detail from this one article is in line with the endless shelves in supermarkets that have pretend meat on them as the push to cut meat out entirely from diets goes full steam ahead. Meat of course is a prime (!) mover in producing emissions and so should be cut as rapidly as possible along with the inevitable removal of all dairy products as a natural consequence. Lab grown meat is already an item and will be with you soon; soya milk is a substitute for dairy milk - though soya production uses lots of water so cross that one off; strange how avocados are bad, needing lots of water in production, but soya is fine as indirectly it gets rid of meat.

The banning of the use of plastics continues apace, being a by product of oil which today is the devil itself, though no one has addressed how we will replace items like plastic piping and everything else which we take for granted in the modern age; the alternatives, should there be enough natural materials to make some of these items, are all very expensive which will in turn mean that the man on the Clapham omnibus (for that is all that there will be left to travel on) will be further impoverished, not only will he have to use less water, it will probably be rationed and a communal standpipe will be the local gathering point as in Africa, all those toxic plastic delivery pipes having been banned.

Polyester clothing will follow the route of extinction, we will return to use of pure cotton - no, that's out, its links to slavery make it a no-no; so wool will return to the top of the clothing tree, except that sheep have by then been eliminated as meat is also a no-no, banished to the past as when we were hunter-gatherers. Are there enough silk worms in the world to take up the slack?

Anna even manages to get in on another article on the following page, following the well-worn path of 'cars are bad so don’t use them.' This time she manages to find a fellow eco convert in Emma, who is stressed by driving and the bus is relaxing and convenient (not round here, on the reduced services of one an hour), but still Emma has joined the carless society. The reduction in petrol driven vehicles as EVs take over is to be applauded, but wait a minute, Sandra from We Are Possible! says EVs only ‘lower’ emissions and that is not enough: we need to reduce all cars on the road. Emma is a rent fanatic, she believes renting cars plus everything else will save the world, and the lockdowns showed the way with emissions being down by around 50%; Emma would like that figure to remain: people working, travelling etc. is such a dated concept, the magic money tree will take care of any problems arising.
As Emma so succinctly puts when signing off, ‘Do I need to do so much?’ even though it appears she is doing very little now.

No doubt Emma will be delighted when all cars are finally banned and we take to public transport; could this be the future?...

On the same page Matthew McNulty, actor, has a question and answer session. If you could eat anywhere in the world today where would you go? Now a decent modern progressive would say ‘my local Chinese’ as we can walk there and cut emissions, but McNulty makes a statement that will turn Greta apoplectic should she read it, how dare you indeed, by declaring ‘The Arctic. I’d catch fish then cook and eat it in the cold, appreciating hot food in a cold place is the ideal.' I have news for McNulty: appreciating hot food in any climate may soon be a luxury at home, never mind the Arctic.

The Weekender as with all newspapers and journals knows which side its bread is buttered when it comes to advertising: no anti Covid items when the NHS (us) was paying for the non stop advertising and no irony in having articles on sustainability on the page before the travel section starts with exotic holidays in all points of the globe being pushed - it’s funny how they have to accept advertising which goes against their eco agendas as a means to survive, but the little people will have to choose to heat or eat!

So there it is in a nutshell, actually Waitrose's Weekender: we have the current viewpoint on all things eco. All these sage words are apparently uttered by people who not only have no concept of what it is like to not be able to put the heating on but actively encourage it. Another cashmere jumper, an extra duvet, take the dog for a walk several times a day (naturally the dog will be fed with one of the new non meat pet foods) and light small fires in the living room with non-emission-emitting copies of Weekender - as they say, today’s newspaper is tomorrow's fish and chip wrapper, or in this case firelighter; it’s all we have.

I am not convinced that dogs really want a vegan diet, this chap certainly has reservations:

I am not totally without sympathy to the cause, we all have to make an effort however small to save the planet. I have already gone out on a limb and got rid of all my petrol-engined mowers and strimmers and replaced with an eco version I found in the local paper; it may just be a way of saving livestock from their impending demise at the same time:

An addendum:

Dale Vince, mentioned in my piece last week on Nigel Farage, is another who does not want the truth about himself made any more public than necessary. He denied he had made a fortune when asked on Nigel’s program and claimed his company is a not for profit organisation, yet for all that he is a major shareholder and chairman at Forest Green Rovers, who are about to make it into the football league (even small football clubs do not come cheap), and he settled an old divorce case with a payment of half a million pounds in court costs. He is a vegan, naturally, and supports the Green Party (ditto) and donated to the Greens and the Labour party; he also endorsed Caroline Lucas. The gory details are all here:

As can be seen he is a full on eco zealot, something that Nigel could have found out by clicking the same link as I did. As with so many of these people, give them the smallest opportunity and they will force their ideals on you without asking - note he has banned all meat products at the football ground and all his players are vegan.

So I think we can take his rather biased view on wind and solar power with a pinch of salt as he is no different from anyone else jumping on the eco wagon. He is fully entitled to his view but his answers were not quite the full story when he appeared on Talk Radio on Thursday giving more biased reasons for not following any other route other than wind and solar (despite the obvious shortcomings and the costly need for a parallel back up system or the lights go out.)

And once again the presenter was not on the ball with the questions and answers.

They should have let those who commented from the public afterwards interview him, they had most of the facts about this scam.

Friday, March 25, 2022

FRIDAY MUSIC: The Brothers Comatose, by JD

"Whether traveling to gigs on horseback or by tour bus, Americana mavens The Brothers Comatose forge their own path with raucous West Coast renderings of traditional bluegrass, country and rock ‘n’ roll music. The five-piece string band is anything but a traditional acoustic outfit with their fierce musicianship and rowdy, rock concert-like shows.

"The Brothers Comatose is comprised of brothers Ben Morrison (guitar, vocals) and Alex Morrison (banjo, vocals), Steve Height (bass), Philip Brezina (violin), and Greg Fleischut (mandolin, vocals). When they’re not headlining The Fillmore for a sold-out show or appearing at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, the band is out on the road performing across America, Canada, Australia, and hosting their very own music festival, Comatopia, in the Sierra foothills."

Thursday, March 24, 2022

EMAIL FROM AMERICA (2): exploiting 'States' rights', blamestorming on energy price hikes; by Paddington

Tracking the chaos...

GOP Senator Mike Braun of Indiana was questioned by reporters today, and expressed his opinion that rights to abortion, interracial marriage and contraception should be left up to each state, to avoid the homogeneity that Roe v. Wade produced.

Attacking the LGBT population is clearly the next step, but why stop there? How about we go back to slavery, which has been proposed by groups such as the Dominionists, who want the US to be ruled by the Old Testament rules?

In other news:

Responding to the high gas prices, GOP politicians are blaming the Biden administration for cutting US oil production, and the cancellation of the Keystone pipeline extension. These cries are echoed by their supporters, based on the feeding of the fires by Newsmax, Fox and other right-wing sources.

The fact that the Trump administration stated that the pipeline in question would do nothing to change the price of gas, and that the Biden administration has sold lots of drilling permits is, of course, not considered.

Meanwhile, Democratic politicians in Ohio are pushing to suspend the state and federal gas tax for a period to bring down the price and increase their chances of election. There is, of course, no way to guarantee that such a price decrease would make its way to consumers.

Quietly buried is an item reported by the Wall Street Journal that several oil companies have announced to their shareholders that they are restricting production to keep the prices elevated.

Guess Who? by Sackerson

Okay Wayne, we've got five minutes left, fancy a game of Guess Who? World Leaders Edition.

How do I play, Sir?

I give you a clue, you flip down all the ones that don't fit. Ready?


No Sir, there's two left.

I think I got that on the first one, Sir, you don't have to go on. Why does his name end in two Ys?

It should end in Y-O-Y, because we can't understand why he hasn't negotiated a peace settlement yet.

I think I know, Sir. New game?


Old crook (flip)... serves the rich and the military-industrial complex (flip)... going gaga (flipflipflip)...

It's okay, son, I think I've got it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Inflation protection doesn’t, by Sackerson

Inflation steals from the people, and they would still be robbed even if annual inflation-linked increases worked perfectly.

The State Pension from 14 April this year will rise by 3.1%, in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The ‘triple lock’ promise made to pensioners in 2010 said that increases would reflect the highest of three measures: 2.5%, CPI or National Average Earnings (NAEI).

  • The Bank of England has a general inflation target of 2% p.a. as measured by CPI , so clearly price inflation is getting a little out of hand. If we were on track at 2% then pensioners would benefit in real terms from the minimum 2.5% element of the triple lock.
  • Last year, the Government suspended the NAEI part of the guarantee for 2022-23, which would otherwise have triggered a pension increase of some 8% following a higher rise in wage inflation owing to the pandemic. Darby and Joan would have been drinking champagne and doing an arthritic dance in the street.
  • So CPI it is, oldies. Setting aside quibbles about exactly how CPI is calculated, and whether RPI would be a more appropriate yardstick (the switchover of measures came in 2011, affecting social security benefits and public sector pensions), we note that the Government measures CPI in September but does not apply increases to pensions until the following April; a lot can happen between those dates. For example, we now read that the latest CPI figure for the last twelve months is 6.2%, exactly double what we are to get from the Pensions Service.

Yet even in an ideal world, where inflation was absolutely fairly and accurately calculated once a year and pension increases applied immediately, our bank accounts would still spring a leak.

The full rate of new State Pension will increase to £185.15 per week in April. For a couple each qualifying for that, the total income works out at £19,255:60 p.a. or a shade over £1,600 per month; let’s work with that round figure.

Now let’s assume that our couple spends every penny of their pension, but that prices go up another 6% over the year, jumping suddenly by 0.5% per month simple. Darby and Joan cope okay for April, but outgoings exceed income by £8 in May, £16 in June and so on. At that rate, it’s easy to show that they end the tax year £528 behind the line. Either they will borrow to meet the shortfall (and pay interest – credit cards are charging something like 35%) or, more realistically, they will manage with less and/or lower quality in the way of goods and services.

The following April, under this fantasy arrangement, inflation indexing sets them straight again; but that £528 is never recouped; and they face another year of the same process of gradual immiseration; and it goes on forever.

The Bank of England tries to justify this theft:

‘If inflation is too low, or negative, then some people may put off spending because they expect prices to fall. Although lower prices sounds like a good thing, if everybody reduced their spending then companies could fail and people might lose their jobs.’

Yet the BoE’s own calculator shows that during the century after Waterloo (1815), inflation ran at an average of -0.1% (yes, negative) p.a.

However, the same calculator says that the cost of goods and services worth £10 in 1915 soared to £1,093.82 last year; even an apparently low average inflation rate of 4.5% a year still rots one’s wealth.

Debasing the currency by coin-clipping or forgery used to be high treason: the last woman to be burned at the stake for it was Catherine Murphy, at Newgate Prison in 1789. It is high time we tackled this official fraud, the monetary disease of the twentieth century.

US preparing to attack Russian forces?

 ClassicFM's news reported yesterday that President Biden had revealed a plan by Russia to mount a 'false flag' attack on itself.

It could signal a new US Government policy of publicising secret military intelligence, which would be a refreshing change, though at the risk of revealing its sources and resources to the enemy.

But it might also be a public relations technique known as 'getting ahead of the story': taking control of the narrative so that we are primed in advance to discount the enemy's version of events.

What form will this attack take, and who will be mounting it? Maybe we will be allowed to know the truth in thirty years' time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

EMAIL FROM AMERICA (1): GOP States net beneficiaries of Fed finance, fake Covid research; by Paddington

Tracking the chaos...

A column in a West Virginia newspaper today noted the continuing trend over several decades that Red-leaning, conservative states, such as West Virginia, which espouse small government, are in fact beneficiaries of taxes paid by the Blue-leaning states like New York and California. The latter send more money to Washington than they receive in federal services, while the former receive more than they send.

Not coincidentally, those Red states have, on average, lower educational achievement, lower incomes, lower per capita economic activity, and higher measures of social ills such as teen pregnancy and violent crime.

Some appear to realize the dilemma. A close friend who was raised and educated in Ohio, and is now an important person at a large oil company in Texas, still chose to send his son to university back in Ohio.

In other news, legislatures in many states are falling over themselves to pass laws which make Ivermectin readily available to Covid patients, despite large-scale studies showing that the drug does not help, and examinations of the small positive studies showing that all had glaring errors, and some were entirely fraudulent.

In one Brazilian study being touted by proponents of the drug, they bizarrely told people taking the drug to stop taking it if they were infected with Covid, and then counted their hospitalizations and deaths as non-medicated. Another study compared the effect of Remdesivir to Ivermectin and noted that the latter patients did better. The study did not correct for the fact that the former drug is given intravenously to hospitalized patients, and the latter to outpatients.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Nuclear war: ‘we never expected that!’ by Sackerson

Ukraine is part of a wider struggle: the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told RT on 18 March that the United States wishes to return to a ‘unipolar’ world , under which the US would aim to remain the world’s sole superpower, which was Paul Wolfowitz’s 1992 ‘doctrine’ . Former Carter administration adviser Zbigniev Brzezinski’s 1997 ‘Grand Chessboard’ analysis continued the theme of containment, calling for ‘perches’ all around the world to hem in Russia.

This policy seems inconsistent. It has maintained its focus on a State that is no longer officially Communist at the same time that hardline Communist China has been developing her own ‘perches’ in the Pacific, Africa and South America as part, we assume, of a plan to displace the US as Top Nation. John Mearsheimer, who in 2015 judged the West responsible for the crisis in Ukraine , now says that the US partnership with China was a huge blunder and we should settle with Russia in order to ‘pivot’ and deal with the Middle Kingdom instead . Seeing how the US has fed the Chinese dragon for decades and thereby weakened its own economy, it may be too late.

Nevertheless, the signs are that the unipolar (and monocular) ambition has not been abandoned, even though it is and has long been insanely dangerous. Next October will mark sixty years since the Cuban Missile Crisis, which all over a certain age will remember, yet many will not connect this confrontation with the fifteen Russia-targeted US nuclear missiles set up and made operational at Izmir, Turkey in the preceding February; which was a factor in Khrushchev’s decision to assent to Castro’s request to position US-targeted missiles in Cuba. From Izmir to Moscow is about 1,500 miles; from Kyiv, merely 500; no wonder Russia has become so nervous about NATO’s creeping-up game of ‘What’s the time, Mister Wolf?’ Had it not been for the restraining hand of a Russian naval officer in 1962 most of us would have died long ago, or never been born.

When two parties get into a fight, at least one has miscalculated. In a timely and startling article on Substack , Dominic Cummings shows that the West’s assumption that Russia would not dare to escalate from conventional to nuclear war was mistaken:

‘After the 1991 collapse some scholars went to talk to those actually in charge in Russia. They read documents. They discovered that we’d been wrong in crucial ways all along.

‘Actually the Soviets planned early and heavy use of nuclear weapons in many scenarios including outbreak of conventional war in Europe.’

In 1963, on the night President Kennedy was shot, British tank transporters rumbled past our front door (literally) in North Germany, on their way to what we now know would have been nuclear obliteration. Today, Russia and the US have between them over 11,000 nuclear warheads, some 3,000 of which are ready to be deployed.

Cummings claims that our decision makers do not take the danger seriously. After he was grudgingly allowed three hours to elaborate on our military unpreparedness, the Prime Minister told him ‘What a waste of my time.’

Western war planners think they are dealing with rational actors and know all the play variations, but seem not to understand the romance of death. CD says that as Japan faced defeat in 1945 their General Anami was proposing to see his nation destroyed ‘like a beautiful flower.’ Churchill himself stiffened the spines of his Cabinet in 1940 with a moving speech that had them beating the table with their fists: ‘If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.’ The old soldier was utterly serious – I remember reading how his wife handed their daughter a large knife against the day the Germans invaded.

So far, awful as they are, the more reliable statistics for the Ukraine conflict show a policy of limited aggression with the possibility of negotiated peace. We can do without a Fourth Estate fanning the flames of hysteria and a leadership more engaged in winning the next election – probably soon, once the Fixed Term Parliaments Act is abolished - than heeding the dreadful warning.

So proud and lofty is some sort of sin

Which many take delight and pleasure in

Whose conversation God doth much dislike

And yet He shakes His sword before He strike

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Science, and religion as magic, by 'Alexander'

An educated man decides to travel around the world. After going to many places and seeing many things he ends up in a small coastal village where he is invited to eat by the local shaman.

The shaman is a perfect host and after eating they begin to discuss various things about the village and nature.

Inevitably the conversation turns to the ocean.

“Ah, yes.” the shaman begins “The Ocean Goddess is a wonderful being. Through her grace we can sail without fear of wrecking, fish in safety, and sleep without worry of hurricane. For everything from the tides to the currents is within her power. All we have to do to ensure her favor is keep to the proper rituals and make the correct sacrifices.”

This gives the educated man pause.

“Surely” the educated man says slowly, “you must have heard that the moon controls the tide, and that the currents are caused by wind and heat and a dozen other natural things. There is no Goddess that directs these things, only natural processes.”

The face of the shaman tightens into a scowl. He points a single finger at his guest.

You are an evil man,” the shaman hisses. “You would make the ocean into an evil thing. If you got your way the ocean would care nothing for our prayers, our rituals, our sacrifices. Storms would arise without warning, boats would capsize for reasons other than lack of faith.”

“In fact” he continues “it is because of men like you that we still have storms, still lose ships to the tides. If it wasn't for men like you the ocean would never kill anyone. You should be ashamed.”

Not knowing what else to say the educated man leaves the house.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

WEEKENDER: Council Tax - Fair or Not? by Wiggia

The annual rise in council tax will this year only add to the forthcoming misery of the majority of households facing enormous rises in energy prices, NI contributions, fuel for their cars and way above the published figures for staples as anyone who goes for a weekly shop can see, never mind rises that will almost certainly be added later in the year.

Council Tax has been a bone of contention for as long as it has been charged.The problem with it is it is loaded on those who do not qualify for benefits, credits, tax handbacks etc., which today is an enormous slice of the population. It’s a dog's dinner of a charge.

I quoted some time ago that the Suffolk financial secretary. in answer to 'who pays?' (this was just after the poll tax was axed and he had recently retired), stated that only 37% of households in the county paid the full rate. That leaves nearly two-thirds who get rebates or do not pay at all. This figure obviously varies across the country but try as I might to get that information today, it has proved impossible. One can understand why: with the new rates due to come into effect in a couple of weeks that sort of information would not go down well alongside all the other costs being heaped on those that actually work for a living.

As with all these taxes it is those marginally above the benefit line who get hit hardest, and also why a fair percentage decide it is not worth working.

This request to Haringey council gives a fair indication as to how far they will go to not reveal the details. After much to-ing and fro-ing they finally revealed how many households pay full tax and how many single person households pay the reduced tax; no figures for, what was asked about, those who pay nothing or much reduced rates.

It is quite despicable that any council can hide matters concerning monies paid by the public in this way. We pay their wages and their pensions yet they deny requests for information about our money and who pays what.

However, there are plenty of published guides on how to obtain rebates. The current £150 rebate ‘help’ with the cost of living is being given to 20 million - yes, that figure is correct - households in bands A-D.

‘  20 million households to benefit from £3 billion scheme to help with cost of living pressures
Comes as part of a £9 billion package to help spread the cost of rising energy bills
4 out of 5 households will benefit including around 95% of rented properties
Households encouraged to set up council tax direct debits to ensure payment is made automatically from April ‘

So once again the few will be paying for the many. It could be said that the rebate to help less well-off households is a sensible government measure in times like this, but as usual the government has no money; it is simply giving to an ever increasing relatively poor sector money from the ever smaller full paying sector, and since has when council tax been a conduit for fuel rebates? Council tax is supposedly for local services, which are in serious decline; it has nothing to do with energy pricing. It would have been far more equitable to simply freeze council tax rises this year; with a cost of £3 billion pounds for this scheme they are not that far off going the full Monty anyway.

Maybe with the resentment of many who pay council tax with ever diminishing returns, this is a way of putting a ‘good’ show on for the councils as they have had their grants continually cut.

Councils are landed with paying for social care, something judging by many councils' performance including my own, they really should not be doing. As with so much, councils have little knowledge of business matters and the huge amount of waste shows it: many of the cuts forced on them when the government started cutting the grants were easily accommodated, which begged the question why in the first place? Now it is a different story and the government is simply robbing Peter to pay Paul.

This is a comment from elsewhere….

"The corporate councils operating for profit like to take 30+% for their private pensions, then another 30-40% for their wages, expenses and dodgy redundancy deals, leaving approximately 30% for 'services'. Some councils are spending more on the interest on the illegal private debts (LOBO loans) than they are spending on 'services'. But they've all received millions-billions during the last 2 years of restrictions, to pay for furlough payments, extra policing, extra child stealing, extra evictions, large payments to schools for testing and jabbing, money that was created out of thin air by "borrowing" from the privately owned Bank of England, extra money in circulation that is creating rampant inflation and damaging millions of lives and businesses even further.

"But the corporate councils still have the power to write off Council Tax debt whenever it is requested and deemed appropriate."

Remember that of the amount left for services the amount for social care is included, which is significant.

The generosity shown by the nation to immigrants legal and illegal, is not unique to us, but has become a not insignificant drain on resources. You only have to look back in history and see the numbers that came into the country say in the early 1900s and compare with today to realise the enormous difference.
Again local councils open their arms and accommodate large numbers who have to be fed, housed and generally looked after using local resources and money. Like social care. this comes largely out of council tax, heaping more on to those who pay but having no effect on those who don’t, a category that has just been enlarged and continues to grow.

Governments for reasons of their own decline to admit there is a problem with immigration generally. The figures on all things migrant are to a point, as in the case of Haringey council, hidden or diluted to suit, but then it is not their money they are using to solve or rather handle the problem, so they can be casually offhand about it.

Council tax also suffered a freeze under this government, but with the brakes off some are now asking for ridiculous rises for non services. It appears that pensions are top of the list in most councils when it comes to priorities.

The tax is fast approaching the silly levels of the last days of the old rating system, in truth it is the same under a different name. The only way any fairness can be brought to tax based on property is to make it one that all householders pay as the poll tax offered. The collapse of the poll tax was not because it put an undue burden on those that would not have paid previously but on a cack-handed apportioning of the levels, but instead of revising the tax they abandoned it under pressure.

There is something very wrong when a family of any number can be paying for services the same as a single person household and using a lot more of them. The poll tax shared the costs among all who used them but sadly those who never pay caused riots which turned the whole thing around, so now we are fast approaching the out-of-control rates pricing at a time of enormous pressure on household budgets from all angles.

The single person discount is in fact a poll tax of sorts, though 25% off the full tax is hardly a fair payment if next door is in the five or more family members paying the equivalent of one member in the house.

                      Those that never paid protesting about maybe having to pay something!

Abandoning the poll tax was in the long term the worst thing the then current Tory party could have done, as now any suggestion of a change is met with howls of ‘poll tax’ and it rather like the NHS has become untouchable despite its obvious inequalities among those that actually pay.

Nothing was more more ridiculous than Rod Stewart making a fuss, though rightly, about the potholes outside his home making his Ferrari imprisoned in his home. Yes, he highlighted the fact that councils no longer do much that we pay them for, yet coming along two days later to do the job because a celeb made a fuss is just showing how unequal the whole tax is. Why should he get special treatment when his borough is no doubt riddled with similar potholes that will remain unfilled?

The Institute of Fiscal Studies included this among a review of inequality of tax and benefits:

‘But council tax is regressive. Even after accounting for council tax support (which reduces council tax liabilities for low income families), the poorest tenth of the population pay 8% of their income in council tax, while the next 50% pay 4-5% and the richest 40% pay 2-3%.'

That is a very simplistic way at looking at the council tax. In many cases, the council tax band you live in bears no relation to how wealthy you are: many retired people live in higher band properties but receive ever lower incomes when inflation is taken into account, many high wage earners don’t live in high council tax band properties, much depends on housing costs and areas you live in, and vice versa in places like London where house prices are high and the banding matches but the property is quite basic.

There are so many items that make the council tax not fit for purpose. There are many suggestions, such as a Labour party statement not long ago that suggests the lower bands should (though there were no figures to suggest what that change would achieve) all get a permanent lowering of their charges and the higher bands pay even more.

There have been suggestions that all properties should be revalued as they were last valued in 1991. That is a ridiculous claim as all properties have paid more annually ever since, it has no relation to the properties' current value as they all have risen during that time, so in effect the prices are static for the purposes of charging. If you have extensions or modify your home giving it a higher value then you stand the chance of being moved into a higher band anyway.

I don’t see any of the myriad changes put forward making any real difference unless a form of poll tax is revived.

The difference with the poll tax - with the usual exceptions for those who really can’t pay anything, the infirm etc. - is that everyone who is of working status will pay their bit towards services used. 

Martin Lewis compiled this list of those who will get rebates or discounts, many up to 100%. The list seems endless, many are justified in a socially caring country, but all…?

It is no surprise, and I have done an extensive search to try and find figures regarding how many households actually pay the full tax and there is not a single lead I could find other than the saga to get Haringey to reveal virtually nothing it was asked. The 37% they quoted those years ago is almost certainly now on the wrong side of the truth. There appears to be an industry telling and offering people help in claiming rebates or reducing their payments, and all the time those who do pay are paying for more and more of the cake they don’t really get a bite of. I wonder if anyone will have the guts to lay out a route to the revival of a poll tax that is fairly proportioned; I won't hold my breath.
Finally, a wonderful example of not getting what you pay for. We moved last year to a no through road, the narrow road at the entrance to ours is a through road with two inclines, one at each end and both ends are heavily tree lined.

In the autumn upon returning from a shopping trip we came across notices at each end that declared “warning: slippery road ahead; 10mph.” Being new to the area I assumed the warning signs were because of impending road resurfacing, but no, it appears that these signs go up every year now because of the huge amount of leaf drop on the road which when wet and with the incline can make driving dangerous; but do they send a road sweeper, which by the way is around locally in the summer? Oh no, they now just put a sign up, the leaves stay for several months rotting away and helping to destroy the road edgings as leaves do when they rot; round of applause for the council who have just managed to get my council tax bill over the £3k mark.

This is the same council who having spent millions doing up County Hall which resembles Ceaucescu’s  palace and have now admitted it was known there were structural defects going back decades which will require more millions to be spent, most people would be happy to have Fred Dibnah, if he was still around, detonating large charges and demolishing the monstrosity.

Friday, March 18, 2022

FRIDAY MUSIC: Chelters and Irish festivity

It's that time of year again when thousands if Irishmen and women 'invade' England and descend on Cheltenham for a week long festival of horse racing. And they usually win most of the trophies, 23 last year. And by a strange coincidence(?) St Patrick's Day is always celebrated during this week.

So to join in the celebrations here is a random selection of Irish music most of it being spontaneous musical sessions in pubs as well as in airports, on buses or trains and even in the middle of a flight on Ryanair. And why not - "The cares of tomorrow will wait until this day is done!"

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Ukraine: a completely avoidable tragedy, by Sackerson

My brother and I are sons of a war refugee. When the Red Army swept through East Prussia our mother, twentyish daughter of a gentleman farmer, took the two horses he gave her and rode west. He said he hoped they would see each other again; it took ten years. Much later in West Germany, her now-widowed mother told me how they had had to pack up what they could take on a cart and join the fleeing crowds. A farming couple grudgingly let them sleep in their barn, not knowing that they themselves would soon be on the road.

Other members of our family headed for the Baltic states and were caught behind the Iron Curtain; we have no idea of their names and addresses. Axel, the cousin our mother loved, was killed on the Eastern Front. The farm, annually buried in winter so deep in snow that the family were locked in and lived off stored provisions, warmed by the high tiled oven (a coffee cup went missing for months because a tall relative had left it on the top), furnished with art and fine furniture including an amber-topped table: who knows if it still stands, or who lives in it.

Mother got to Hamburg, where displaced people were surviving by stealing from the ships in harbour; her sack of swag turned out to be tobacco, so she bought a pipe – she had used to half-smoke cigars for a fat old uncle to concentrate the tar and nicotine in the other half for him. An American GI tried to strangle her in revenge for the death of his buddy; mother broke his hold, climbed over a wall and came to see his CO the next day so no-one else would be killed. Then she met a British soldier.

Her parents made it to Holstein, where father, pushing sixty, worked with his hands for the first time in his life; we still have a painting by her mother of haystacks. Then Wiesbaden and a flat paid for out of government compensation, where Opa helped refugees reunite; we have an oak plaque from his former neighbours, with the motto ‘Die Treue is das Mark der Ehre’ (fidelity is the mark of honour.) A big man, squashed down from 600 acres with dozens of farmworkers, to four rooms in an apartment block.

Survival; but a permanent shattering of community and shared history.

This is what has been wished on the Ukrainians, and not just by the Russians. A word inserted by PM Johnson (among others) early into the narrative of the invasion is ‘unprovoked’, presumably with an eye to dragging President Putin to a war crimes tribunal. I can hardly wait for that day, so that the other third parties whose meddling has caused this tragedy can be exposed. Provocation does not exonerate violence, but can mitigate the punishment; who would be coming to the court with clean hands?

Not the EU, gobbling one ex-Warsaw Pact country after another like a Labrador with no appetite off-switch, even though nations it has already digested have reason to regret their membership; so letting them into NATO, which has played ‘What’s the time, Mister Wolf?’ for thirty years after the Soviet Union’s collapse, bringing military threat ever closer to Russia’s borders despite promises that it wouldn’t. Not the offshore-billionaire Zelenskyy, almost a prisoner of his ultranationalists, trying to draw the wider West into a conflict that raises the ghost of 1962 and surprised when, like the Syrian Armenians, his supposed friends have left him high and dry. Not the countries that have stood off but poured in money and weapons (what a bonanza for the arms manufacturers who spend so much on lobbying) to ‘help’ Ukraine, so prolonging and intensifying the conflict.

Now, months after Putin’s demand that Ukraine remain out of NATO was rejected out of hand, Zelenskyy has agreed, saying (he is his own spin-doctor) that Russia is becoming more reasonable in negotiations; perhaps the hawkish commentators detecting imminent Russian military collapse are mistaken. Will we get back to Minsky II, but only after a reported three million refugees and the vast, heart-breaking wreckage of the nation’s property and infrastructure?

On the road again, the ordinary people played with by war planners and geopolitical strategists.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

WEEKENDER: Has Nigel Overreached? by Wiggia

                       One of the so so green energy by products.

If you have followed Nigel Farage’s career it has shown a dogged determination in his quest to get us to leave the EU and triumphing. It has come at a cost: the bile and sheer hatred that has been thrown his way has on occasions been off the scale, he was never afforded the protection he needed and had to pay for his own security but not before he was publicly threatened physically.

Despite all that he persevered and revealed through intimate knowledge the failures within the EU. Some of his Brussels speeches were seat squirming for the political elite in charge there, in particular the unelected bureaucrats that ran the show.

Nigel then appeared to lose the plot a little after Brexit was achieved. He seemed not to know to do with UKIP and the party disintegrated with infighting and curious, to put it mildly, leadership choices. He also allowed himself to be used by the Conservatives by not standing in certain seats during the election, a fact that they were extremely ungrateful about afterwards; that was naive at best.

Now he is a wasted force shuttling between TV presenting and flirting with comebacks and new parties, so it has come to pass that he sees an opportunity to hold the climate scam up to the light and the effect that government green policies are having on energy supplies and prices.

All well and good one would say, these policies are with the rising energy prices likely to drive many consumers to the 'heat or eat' camp, not something any government wants to be accused of creating during its tenancy of Westminster.

So we have ‘Nigel's Crusade on net zero’…

Unfortunately his Talking Pints on GB News on Monday night was not a good start. I did not see all of it but the majority that I saw did not put Nigel in the driving seat. If you are going to invite green zealots with fingers in the green pie on to your program for discussion you need to do your research, they have had years to formulate answers to questions on climate change and energy production. Nearly all presenters who interview these people either go along with the thesis or are not readily equipped to put points that contradict the mantra; sadly, Nigel fell into the later group.

If your guests come back with questionable answers then you have to have the relevant facts at your fingertips, Nigel didn’t; saying ‘Well, we will have to disagree on that one’ is not an answer without those facts and he didn’t have them.

See here…

The ideologue he was interviewing would as with all others who are in this field put forward reasons for green energy; fine, but his simplistic answers were never challenged,. To trot out the '40% of our energy now is green' is a bare faced lie, several weeks this winter there has been no wind and very dismal skies, so no solar, and we had many days when when wind was contributing just over 1% to the national grid and solar less, meanwhile we imported energy and our diminishing nuclear plants were almost into the red supplying what was needed.

This graph from Grid Watch shows the enormous fluctuation in energy supplied by wind. To talk of 40% and more on those few good days is pure hype, the troughs when virtually nothing was being produced are evident and of course during the winter to rely on such unstable supply would mean rolling blackOUTs or worse. Solar in the northern hemisphere is not really justifiable as a grid contributor during the winter months, the troughs easily outweigh the peaks.

The rebuff from Dale Vince, carefully groomed to look every inch the eco warrior, about smart grids is a nod to the fact that green energy alone cannot supply energy in a way that could ever be acceptable to the population or industry. Talk of breaks in supply and getting up in the middle of the night to use your energy ‘allowance’ is a step back in to pre industrial revolution times; why should anyone accept that and pay through the nose for it?

Smart meters are of course now revealed as a way to implement rationed energy when the time comes, not as a way of saving mone; water meters led the way on that one.

Dale then waffled on about new technology giving us storage to overcome the lack of wind. Once again Nigel had no facts on this and sat there looking lost, yet there is plenty of material out there refuting the claims of Dale Vince. Maybe one day they will crack the problem but this is mystic Meg territory at the moment and if there is no solution we should not rushing into a state where rolling blackouts become the norm. Somehow Dale seems to think this is all OK - maybe it is, for him: his warm feeling about what he is doing may well be enough to stave off freezing to death in the winter as many old people undoubtedly would. Still, if that resulted in saving the planet no doubt Dale would think it all worthwhile.

The earlier predictions from the likes of the National Grid that we would need a sixty percent increase in base load to satisfy all the new clean electric devices including EVs and heat pumps blows the whole green thinking on the matter out of the water.

Boris believes that increasing windmills fourfold will solve all our problems, but of course having four times the 1% we now get on a windless day means we get 4%; not exactly a game changer, is it?

Dale then made himself wide open to ridicule when he wanted all nuclear to be phased out and no new plants built. This revealed  his thinking on the lines of the old CND campaigns - wind good, nuclear bad - and again no solution to how the unreliability factor in supply is solved.

Naturally not all is good about wind production  in an environmental sense either.

This article also shows how reports on what so called renewables are producing and actually contribute are being manipulated…

Plus Dale would not like any competition for renewables as another form of energy is being systematically trashed after it was discovered to be reliable and cheap to produce, any more than he would admit to being paid, as the contracts allow payment when windmills are feathered down in adverse conditions and cannot produce anything; I think that is called a subsidy.

Wind already has a chequered history in other countries, none so headlining as in California with its rolling blackouts; now that ridiculous placement in the White House Kamala Harris wants to extend the failed California model to the rest of the country…

Dale has obviously not seen what is going on there or doesn’t want to see.

Much was made of the old nuclear plants being buried for thousands of years at great cost and the inherent danger. That money, he said, should be put into research in sustainable energy instead. There was no mention, because it hasn’t happened yet on a scale to be noticed, about disposing of solar panels, something I referred to in an earlier piece. The same problem pertains to the short life carbon fibre off shore windmills and the coming very high cost of the same off shore wind units exposed to sea ravages. The cost of disposal of the short lived windmills, especially off shore has never ben mentioned anywhere other than by those who are not involved in the industry but it is significant.

Dale spoke of the cheapness of wind power and how it receives less subsidy than other forms of energy, not quite the whole picture though…

There have been several studies on the true costs of wind power, none of which support Dale's statements, but then he runs runs a green power company and as they say if you have skin in the game…

And the UK government reinstated subsidies in 2021 for wind and solar; in Australia the turn of phrase on the costs is a little more aggressive.

True this is a biased web site but there figures are official.

This is part of the introduction to a paper on solar energy production below:

“Publications in increasing numbers have started to raise doubts as to whether the commonly promoted, renewable energy sources can replace fossil fuels, providing abundant and affordable energy. Trainer (2014) stated inter alia: “Many reports have claimed to show that it is possible and up to now the academic literature has not questioned the faith. Therefore, it is not surprising that all Green agencies as well as the progressive political movements have endorsed the belief that the replacement of the fossil with the renewable is feasible”. However, experience from more than 20 years of real operation of renewable power plants such as photovoltaic installations and the deficient scientific quality and validity of many studies, specifically aimed at demonstrating the effective sustainability of renewable energy sources, indicate precisely the contrary.”

There is as an aside the belief that the recent steep rises in the price of ICE auto mobiles is not just from the price of materials and supply, but a deliberate move by the industry to try and create a market for overpriced EVs by levelling up to a degree; a fallacy maybe but as with so much these days conspiracy theories appear to be coming home to haunt those who talked about misinformation in spades; no doubt more will be revealed.

Dale would also like to go back to the vexed question of tidal power; this has been dammed (!) as being hugely costly and while being reliable it is only producing power at the high tide times, not as and when we might need it, and it is only ever going to be a niche contributor for geological reasons.

Dale has a belief all the problems could be overcome in time. That is no solution to our current problems and anyway there is no guarantee with any any of them coming good in any meaningful way at this moment in time. The battery storage belief is so far fetched as to be laughable; maybe just maybe, the capacity needed to have any bearing on demands is not even on the horizon never mind a reality.

All of this Nigel should have researched, it is not difficult, yet he thought a headline popular banner would see him become a leader against eco zealots. He failed miserably at the first hurdle, he really should have known better.

And hovering above all this is Climate Change which drives all these changes we need to save the planet. As with Covid the right sort of scientists have declared that man is evil and we have to change our ways come what may. Maybe we do have to revise the way we live within certain parameters, but the question of how much man is making a difference to the weather is despite the science not very convincing against a background of the way the weather has shaped the earth over the millennia.

The science over Covid is bit by bit being shredded, but the enormous cost in all senses and the damage has been been done. A repeat over climate change could be equally catastrophic, and the west seems to be heading that way; we never learn.

And don’t expect much deviation from the agenda by politicians, they rarely if ever these days admit they are wrong on anything, plus why should they worry? They can claim heating bills on expenses, kerching!

And finally if you Nigel Farage are going to pursue this attack on net zero, get your ducks in a row, it is not that difficult.

Must do better.

Friday, March 11, 2022

FRIDAY MUSIC: Tina Turner, by JD

 "Start every day singing, like the birds."
- Tina Turner

Anna Mae Bullock was born in 1939 into a sharecropping family in rural Tennessee. She began singing as a teenager and, after moving to St. Louis, Missouri, immersed herself in the local rhythm-and-blues scene. 

She met Ike Turner at a performance by his band, the Kings of Rhythm, in 1956, and soon became part of the act. She began performing as Tina Turner, and her electric stage presence quickly made her the centrepiece of the show. In 1966 the Phil Spector produced record "River Deep Mountain High" made the band, and particularly Tina, world famous. She divorced Ike in 1978, alleging years of physical abuse and infidelity. 

She then embarked on a very successful solo career which ended in 2009 because of illness; a stroke and a kidney transplant. She now lives in Switzerland but she will never be forgotten thanks to her 'electrifying' stage presence and performances.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Tiddles: a counterblast, by Sackerson

Yuval Noah Harari is a ‘public intellectual, historian’ but since he is also said to be Klaus Schwab’s top adviser I shall refer to him as Tiddles, Blofeld’s cat (anonymous in the Bond films, Tiddles was producer Cubby Broccoli’s pet in real life.)

Embarrassingly, Tiddles completed his D.Phil. at my old college in Oxford in 2002 and I am sorry to say that for an intellectual his thinking on religion and transhumanism appears jejune and he does not seem to realise its implications. On the whole I prefer the anarchic yobs and Welsh drunks of Jesus in the late Sixties and Seventies, whose Junior Common Room once elected a goldfish as President on the grounds that like other leaders it went round in circles opening and closing its mouth (an interpreter was appointed to convey its rulings.) Bawling fools tend not to do much harm; it is the theoretical systematisers and world-reformers that led to the killing of countless millions in the last century.

Consider Tiddles’ facile remarks on religion in his 2017 Guardian article:

‘What is a religion if not a big virtual reality game played by millions of people together? Religions such as Islam and Christianity invent imaginary laws, such as “don’t eat pork”, “repeat the same prayers a set number of times each day”, “don’t have sex with somebody from your own gender” and so forth. These laws exist only in the human imagination.’

The Abrahamic religions postulate a God who both made the world out of nothing and set the rules for our behaviour: the Creator and Law-Giver; but according to Nick Spencer , Tiddles’ position is that ‘There are no gods, no money, no human rights, and no laws beyond the “common imagination of human beings.”’

if we accept that moral laws have no basis, then consider what this implies for a thoroughly consistent rationalist: a world entirely without moral laws that are binding independently of our wishes and opinions. David Hume said in effect that one cannot reason from an ‘is’ to an ‘ought’; you can describe what people think is right and wrong, and even why they may think so, but there is no reason why you should privately adopt their view. In fact, it is convenient if you don’t: I should like everyone else to believe in queuing for the bus, so that I can jump the queue; this helps to explain why psychopaths are over-represented in positions of power. All that matters (if you have any care for yourself, and there is of course no reason why you should) is to work out how to minimise the negative consequences for yourself of society’s disapprobation of your actions.

This nihilism being so, it is difficult to explain why Tiddles is in Schwab’s caressing embrace. Schwab may have a grand vision for future society, but as nothing matters, there is no reason to help him bring it about.

Tiddles has expressed concern that in an AI data-gathering world humans are ‘hackable’, can be manipulated more comprehensively than ever before. Is this not the WEF’s plan, to design an environment full of blandly contented Stepford  people? Isn’t this what the Chinese are up to with their ‘social credit’ system , intended to nudge their citizens relentlessly towards absolute conformity with the CCP’s commandments? What is the point of creating a perfect world, but not for us as we have previously and in differing ways understood ourselves?

The resistance to this nightmare heaven may have to come from the irrational, the superstitious, the emotional, the capricious, violent, stupid, human-hearted humans.

Dig your claws in, Tiddles, and leap off Schwab’s lap.