Friday, November 24, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Karunesh, by JD

 Karunesh (Hindi: करुणेश, "Compassion"; born Bruno Reuter in 1956- is a German-born New Age and ambient musician. His music has strong Indian influences prevalent throughout, with liberal use of Indian instruments, such as the sitar.

Karunesh was born in Cologne, Germany .Although he had been drawn to music as a child and played in bands as a teenager, he chose to study graphic design as a career. However, after obtaining his degree, Karunesh was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. His brush with death prompted him to choose music as a career instead of graphic design. He rethought his life and embarked on a spiritual journey of sorts, traveling in 1979 to India, where he met Osho in his ashram in Pune. He became initiated and took on a new spiritual name, Karunesh, a Sanskrit name meaning "Compassion."

Back in Germany, Karunesh lived in the Rajneesh commune of Hamburg for five years. Here he could develop his musical creativity in a spiritual surrounding. He came in contact with many musicians from all over the world and developed an ability to weave different styles and feelings from different cultures together in a living symbiosis, creating a music that is both spiritual and danceable.

In 1984, Karunesh released his first album, entitled Sounds of the Heart, Sounds of the Heart was followed by Colors Of Light in 1987 and Sky's Beyond in 1989. As of 2012 Karunesh has released 23 albums.

Karunesh has lived on Maui, in the U.S. state of Hawaii, since 1992

Karunesh - For The Joy Of It All

Karunesh - Punjab (Unofficial Video)

Karunesh.Returning to now

Friday, November 17, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: The MonaLisa Twins, by JD

I had heard the name but had no idea what their 'genre' was; punk rock or folk singers or something in between. Then I saw they had done a cover version of the 'new' Beatles record and I thought that was quick, no more than a week or so after the release of the original. Why the rush? I then found out they are dedicated Beatles fans and have recorded many of their records in the past and have even played at The Cavern Club. And their harmonies and guitar playing make them the best Beatles Tribute Band you will ever see and hear!

"The MonaLisa Twins, with real-life twins Mona and Lisa Wagner fronting the band, are one of the very few modern groups who continue the tradition of song-writing that took off in 1963. They bring back what has been started 60 years ago and write modern songs in the 60s Beat music tradition, reviving the genre with a fresh twist without sounding pop-ish or trivial. Their signature features are their tight twin harmonies, unaltered natural voices, relatable lyrics, twangy guitar sounds and inventive arrangements."

Now And Then - MonaLisa Twins (The Beatles Cover)

When I'm Sixty-Four - MonaLisa Twins (The Beatles Cover)

Here Comes The Sun - MonaLisa Twins (The Beatles Cover) // MLT Club Duo Session

Yesterday - MonaLisa Twins (The Beatles Cover)

Nowhere Man - MonaLisa Twins (The Beatles Cover)

She Loves You (The Beatles Cover) - MonaLisa Twins (Live at the Cavern Club)

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

SPAIN: Letting the Catalan out of the Bag, by JD

You may recall that in 1968 John Lennon described governments of the world as being insane, doing insane things for insane reasons. At some point in the Seventies George Harrison said the world is run by mad people.

Now I get the feeling that madness or insanity is official policy everywhere. And Spain has not escaped the insanity, disguised as political opportunism.

Spain's PM, Pedro Sanchez, has introduced an amnesty law for Catalan nationalists in exchange for their support in propping up his minority government. Needless to say there have been widespread protests, thousands have taken to the streets waving Spanish flags. I saw one video in which the crowds were chanting "Periodistas, terroristas!" as their press is as bad as ours if not worse.

Here is a video of Tucker Carlson in Spain on Monday. He said the news is not being reported in the US (or here in the UK) and he wanted to highlight it on his TwitterX platform.

I have previously written about the madness of the Catalan politicians, especially here:

Why do people go into politics? Is it because of arrested development and they remain forever 12 year olds in a school playground?

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

British Values, by Sackerson

We should be suspicious of anything that tries to wrap itself in the Union Flag. Do you remember the episode of Yes, Minister in which the government blackmailed Eurocrats into renaming our ‘Emulsified High-Fat Offal Tube’ as the ‘British Sausage’?

Similarly in 2014 the coalition government sought to define ‘British Values’. These were designed to reunify the country after New Labour’s initiatives of mass immigration and regionalisation, both of which pose threats to our collective identity. However there has been no serious attempt to reverse either.

The values listed were democracy, rule of law, respect and tolerance, and individual liberty, to be enforced by a curriculum rollout in schools. This wishful mishmash works about as well as France’s 1793 ‘Cult of Reason’ promoted in her recently desecrated churches. Abstract principles do not hold a nation together, especially when they are ill-defined and its rulers obviously do not believe in them.

Let’s start with democracy. We are not like ancient Athens, where male citizens decided policy directly. We elect representatives by a system so flawed that in 2011 we had a referendum about the Alternative Vote. The two main political parties colluded in a campaign against it since the status quo suited them better; they got what they wanted.

Underpinning democratic debate is the acceptance by all sides to be bound by the outcome. In 2016 the Brexit vote exploded that convention, all the more cataclysmically because in formally undertaking to implement the result the political parties had escalated the referendum’s status to that of a plebiscite. A furious Establishment, from the Palace of Westminster down to its media heralds and jesters, has combined to subvert it ever since.

In any case, democracy in the sense of universal adult suffrage is less than a century old. The extension in the UK of the vote to all males in 1918 must have been at least partly influenced by the fear of revolution after a war that killed 880,000 servicemen and an estimated 600,000 civilians, and with the example of Russia for our ruling class to consider.

Since the State won’t listen and increasingly won’t even let us talk to each other on social media, it is hardly surprising that people are ignoring it in turn. Greta Thunberg has explained that she is not an expert but an ‘activist’, and there are so many like her in different fields; all you need is a bad idea and lots of passion. This exposes another weakness in democracy: the power of the demagogue (Demosthenes nearly persuaded Athens to its destruction by the Macedonians) and modern propaganda – let the people vote how they will, provided you can influence how they think.

Even clever and well-informed people can be blinded by ideological commitment, so that the awful collateral damage caused by the IDF’s counter-attacks on Hamas is being mistermed ‘genocide’ – ironic since ‘genocide’ was the unequivocally stated plan of Hamas’s 1988 Covenant, not just for Israel but every last Jew; their 2017 version is more media-savvy but their underlying intent is unchanged, as the events of October 7 have shown.

Civilised restraint in Britain is breaking down. When the free exchange of ideas is persecuted even in universities, diversity turns from a claimed strength to a clear challenge, particularly when some ideologues – from world-savers to soul-savers – are absolutist and believe they have a higher authority than the secular State to sanction property destruction and violence against persons. So much for ‘respect and tolerance’.

If British anthropologist Robin Dunbar is right, the natural limit on a community’s size is 150; to keep Britain’s 67million or more together needs constant maintenance by means of myths, history and symbols. It took centuries and much blood to make an alloy of the disparate communities of the United Kingdom. Yet already there are fracture lines in the nation – New Labour’s devolutions have lit the fires of petty nationalism again, and now we have a significant number of inhabitants with alternative, strongly held beliefs and supranational allegiances. How do we prevent disintegration?

Compared with much of the rest of the world, postwar Britain has been like a sunlit clearing in a dark forest inhabited by monsters. Surely Douglas Murray is right in saying that we are in a fight for survival and that if the State persists in neglecting the people’s security, we shall end up with a genuinely nasty administration or the anarchy of self-appointed vigilantism. This is why we require a secular and impartial rule of law that firmly tackles public disorder, intimidation and incitement, the destruction of property and the defilement of spaces and monuments sacred to various communities. Every country should have such a rule and we ourselves are failing to maintain it.

Our greatest ‘British Value’, personal freedom, is not so much a value as a habit. If our history were to be taught in school as illustrating a theme, the leitmotif would be resistance to overweening arbitrary power. Little of Magna Carta remains in force yet it set a precedent: the King’s will was not the whole of the law. It was a lesson forgotten when the Stuart monarchy tried to enforce Anglicanism on Catholics, Scots Presbyterians and Dissenters. It was forgotten again when Cromwell imposed Puritanism on the people – we really don’t need another lot of tyrannical black-clad fanatics, though we seem set to have them – and once more in 2020, when the British equivalent of the Committee of Public Safety confined us to our homes. How easily did our freedom evaporate three years ago!

It is time – it is long past time – for the State to exercise muscular liberalism, that balance of official self-limitation with restraint on popular inciters and oppressors, that inch of freedom between ‘must’ and ‘mustn’t.’

Peace depends in part on not resolving certain issues and on restraining those who are keen to join battle about them. Often it is not convictions that need enforcement, but the lack of them. Fervently held political and religious beliefs would turn Paradise into a wasteland; our answer to zealots must be ‘you may be right, but can we decide that later and get along together for now?’

J S Mill said that freedom of speech was possible only in societies that had attained a certain level of development. If we lose the capacity to consider alternatives and peacefully suspend judgment or ‘agree to disagree’, we must resign ourselves to sliding back to an authoritarian and censorious State; one that will make serious errors because those who could warn it are muzzled; one that may already have done so in the fields of climate change and public health.

Dissenters and protesters, yes; rioters and rabble-rousers, no. Let us see if our beleaguered police and security apparatus can strike the vital balance this Remembrance weekend.

Previously published at The Conservative Woman Defending Freedom

Friday, November 10, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Leonid and Friends, Part 2 - by JD

Leonid and Friends is a Chicago tribute band based in Moscow. They began as a YouTube band, and now occasionally go on tours as well. Leonid Vorobyev (b. 1957 in Moscow, Russia), is the founder and leader of the band. Vorobyev is a multi-instrumentalist, a recording studio sound engineer and choir conductor by training, at the East Siberian Institute of Culture.
Leave Me Now – Leonid & Friends (Black Russian cover)

(I've Been) Searchin' So Long - Leonid & Friends (Chicago cover)

Leonid & Friends "25 or 6 to 4" Live in Norwalk, CT - June 14, 2023

After the Love Has Gone – Leonid & Friends (EW&F cover)

Street Player (Chicago cover) - Leonid & Friends feat. Arturo Sandoval

Monday, November 06, 2023

1914: an alternative history

 What if Britain had not declared war on Germany in 1914? Think of the grief and destruction we might have avoided; the constant and worsening financial problems we have faced ever since. Maybe there would have been no humiliated and ruined Germany, no vengeful Hitler, no Holocaust, no mass migration of surviving Jewry to the Middle East; no collapse of the Ottoman Empire, no Russian revolution and its terrible daughter revolutions in the Far East.

What problems we face now, with our support for conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Gaza/Israel... 

I asked ChatGPT to speculate and here is its answer:


Give an alternative history of the British Empire and Western Europe if Britain had not declared war on Germany in 1914.

An alternative history of the British Empire and Western Europe if Britain had not declared war on Germany in 1914 would have had profound and far-reaching consequences. The outbreak of World War I was a pivotal moment in world history, and any deviation from the actual course of events would have led to a significantly different timeline. Here's a speculative scenario of what might have happened:

  1. Delayed or Avoided World War I: If Britain had chosen not to declare war on Germany in 1914, it's possible that the conflict might not have escalated to a world war. The major powers, including Britain, might have sought diplomatic solutions to the tensions that had been building for years.
  2. Altered Alliances: Without Britain's entry into the war, the alliances between the major powers would have been significantly different. The Triple Entente (France, Russia, and Britain) would likely have remained intact, but it might not have directly opposed the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire). This could have resulted in a more multipolar world order.
  3. Economic Prosperity: The avoidance of a world war would have allowed Western Europe to continue its economic growth and development. The devastation and financial burden of World War I were enormous, and without it, European economies might have experienced a more prolonged period of stability and growth.
  4. Avoidance of the Russian Revolution: The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a direct result of the pressures and hardships of World War I. Without Britain's entry into the conflict, the Russian Empire might have avoided the turmoil that led to the rise of the Bolsheviks and the collapse of the monarchy. This could have prevented the formation of the Soviet Union.
  5. Decolonization: The post-war period saw the decline of European empires, with decolonization movements gaining momentum. In an alternate history without World War I, the process of decolonization might have been delayed or played out differently. The British Empire might have retained its colonies for a more extended period.
  6. Changed Balance of Power: The absence of World War I would have prevented the weakening of major European powers, such as France and Germany. The balance of power in Europe might have been more stable, possibly leading to different outcomes in the interwar period and beyond.
  7. Altered National Identities: The effects of World War I, including the redrawing of national borders and the collapse of empires, had a profound impact on national identities in Europe. In an alternative history, these identities might have evolved differently, leading to different political dynamics and alliances.
  8. Different World War II: The absence of World War I would likely have had a cascading effect on the events leading up to World War II. The geopolitical landscape and alliances would have been different, potentially leading to a distinct Second World War or preventing it altogether.

It's important to note that this alternative history is highly speculative, and numerous factors and contingencies would come into play. The decision-making of various world leaders, diplomatic efforts, and unforeseen events would have shaped the course of history in unpredictable ways. Nonetheless, it's clear that the avoidance of World War I would have had a profound impact on the 20th century and beyond.

Friday, November 03, 2023

FRIDAY MUSIC: Leonid and Friends, by JD

Recommendations sometimes come from unexpected sources. This came from Martin Armstrong believe it or not. On his blog he posted a video of Leonid and friends.They are a Russian 'covers' band playing the music of Earth Wind and Fire and Chicago. They are very very good and sometimes better than the originals but this will be a two part post because the singer deserves a post to herself and the full band will be next week.

The singer is called Ksenia Buzina, no I can't pronounce it! She was born in Siberia and speaks and sings in seven languages as well as having degrees in law and economics. She sounds too good to be true but she really is a great singer as well as being very good looking.So here is part one


Leonid and friends, part 1 featuring singer Ksenia Buzina

Born in the Transbaikal region of Siberia, in the city of Chita, Ksenia Buzina is credited as being the first Russian singer understood by over a billion people on earth. That’s because Ksenia sings and speaks Chinese fluently and has her own Chinese album and music videos.

Ksenia didn’t stop there. Besides Russian and Chinese she can also speak English and can sing in English, Chinese, Italian, Armenian, Kazakh, Bulgarian and French. She joined Leonid & Friends in September 2016 with the debut of the song Wishing You Were Here and has become an integral part of the band’s vocal landscape both in the studio and live performances.

Ksenia Buzina - Hear My Voice (Vocal & Piano)

Ksenia Buzina - Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones cover)

Ksenona - Tian Lu (Небесный путь) 天路

Leonid and Friends,: KSENIA BUZINA. 5/17/2022.

The Speck of Dust - Leonid & Friends