NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

alec.rose

4th July, 1968 : British yachtsman Alec Rose, aged 59, returned home to his home town of Portsmouth and a massive celebration today after sailing around the world in his tiny ketch Lively Lady. His 28,500-mile adventure had taken him 354 days. After being cheered by 250,000 on the quayside, Mr Rose, a greengrocer, said he had come close to death between New Zealand and Cape Horn.

Posted in History | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Carta not so Magna

Paul Jacko

Anniversaries mean that just about everybody climbs on a rock and pontificates. Those of nasty minds would suggest that many of these crawl from under a rock for the purpose. At the moment it is de riguer to preach about the eight-hundredth anniversary of the Magna Carta Libertatum. Discovering what it is and what it is not could be arduous task, and when even such anti-human rights activista as Gillian Trigg is referring to it favourably you know that some deeper thought is needed.

king-john-magna-cartaWhen, long time ago, while studying law I tried to read the document as recommended, I found it rather incomprehensible. It ceased to be so puzzling after I read some serious English history. Still, eight hundred years ago people were thinking differently, which is not to say wrongly.

The entire document is worth reading and you could then come to your own conclusions untainted by other people’s opinions. Relax, there is no danger that the journalists and the academia could (rationally) challenge your conclusions as they are increasingly incapable of an independent thought. They are the herd, and what some misguided semi-conservative writers call “cultural marxism” is nothing but “anti-cultural Marxism”, taking over the public (non-internet) discourse.

If you have the inclination but do not have the time, I would recommend John O’Sullivan’s For Liberty, an Anxious 800th Birthday in Quadrant-on-line. An excerpt:

First, Magna Carta is the founding moment of constitutional monarchy, which is itself arguably the most successful form of government today. This is clear in the most explicit way. It asserts that the king is not above the law. He is obliged to keep his executive actions in line with that law and to respect the rights of the people — including, for instance, widows. Here is some evidence of constitutional monarchy’s spread, stability, and success.

It is the form of government  in the UK, Australia, and fourteen other Commonwealth realms. It exists also in Belgium, Bhutan, Denmark, Jordan, Lesotho, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Tonga, Japan, Liechtenstein (which is a constitutional principality), Luxembourg (a constitutional grand duchy), Malaysia (an elective monarchy) and Monaco (a constitutional principality). There are others, and not all of these regimes are models of governance, but they are usually more progressive than their non-monarchical neighbours.

According to the World Bank, constitutional monarchies have an average GDP per capita of $29,106.71 and an average life expectancy of 75.6 years. Republics have an average GDP per capita of $12,518.76 and an average life expectancy of 68.3. Of the top ten countries in the 2011 Human Development Index, seven are constitutional monarchies. I could go on, but that probably suffices.

Second — and this follows automatically from the first point — Magna Carta is the constitutional moment when the rule of law enters the modern world. If the king is subject to the law, so is everyone else in the society. Society is therefore ruled by law, and not by men. And people at all levels can begin to make plans for their lives and work on which they can reasonably depend.

Third, Magna Carta is the start of a society based on liberties. Much of the language in the document restores specific liberties— fishing rights, for example — that the king had taken in earlier periods. That is even more true of the companion Forest Charter, which restricts and shares the king’s monopoly of game, hunting and forest economic activities in general. Both documents are saturated in the language of “liberties”, the nearest thing to rights in the modern sense, in general.

Fourth, largely because of these liberties, Magna Carta is the start of a relatively liberal society of dispersed initiative, authority and personal liberty. Recent medieval historians have seen this period as more enterprising and technically innovative than in the past. Magna Carta may reflect those trends; it probably also fostered them. It helped to liberate energies as well as people.

Fifth, Magna Carta is the start of the English democracy which has since spread around the globe, in some cases to peoples and regions with only an exiguous link to Westminster. That is a more controversial claim, and I would not stress it as strongly as the earlier four points. Insofar as democracy grows out of consultative forms of government, however, Magna Carta began the process that Simon de Montfort, the English Revolution, the Glorious Revolution, the 1689 Bill of Rights, the American Declaration of Independence, Edward Grey’s Reform Act, and other statesmen and developments elsewhere carried to full fruition.”

So far so good, but we live in 21st century, where any charter of rights is trampled to oblivion either directly by the powerful elites or indirectly by the Left human rights activistas. One of the far too many examples, this one from contemporary Amerika:

Mark Steyn, the Canadian writer whose flinty libertarian conservatism is very far from Anthony Barnett’s dissident peasant leftism while both are close to each other in a joint hostility to unaccountable power, recently quoted a 2013 report that an armed US Forest Ranger, without apparent legal authority, had instructed some tourists not to photograph a herd of bison since there was a government shutdown of the national parks. Steyn then cited the provisions of Henry III’s Forest Charter which in 1217 opened the royal forests to the freemen of England, granted extensive grazing and hunting rights, and eliminated the death penalty for taking the king’s venison. These provisions remained in being until the 1970s. Steyn wrote:

The [National Parks Service] has not yet fried anyone for taking King Barack’s deer, but they are putting you under house arrest for taking a photograph of it. It is somewhat sobering to reflect that an English peasant enjoyed more freedom on the sovereign’s lands in the thirteenth century than a freeborn American does on “the people’s land” in the 21st century.”

Sometimes one almost pines for those old un-free times, for that Carta is not so Magna now.

 

Posted in Christianity, Culture, History, Law | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Their SBS

…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger

Long time ago SBS used to be called by the true blue Aussies ‘Soccer, Bloody Soccer’. For the overseas readers: The Special Broadcasting Service is the Australian taxpayer funded gigantic media conglomerate for those migrants who can’t be bothered to learn English and prefer the other people to pay for the import of their culture or, increasingly, a “culture”. For the last fifteen or so years it has been taken over by the “anti-cultural Marxists”. I can not understand why so many of the so called conservative writers refer to the phenomenon as the “cultural Marxism”. Unless you consider the practice of Hitler’s, Stalin’s and Brezhnev’s concentration camps guards a “culture”, it just does not fit any normal, pre-modernist definition of culture.

Admittedly at the birthing stages SBS imported and showed, exceedingly late at night, subtitled European and South American films, some of very high quality. Then the SBS masters, adjusting to the overwhelmingly illiterate and thus Left audience, slid by and large to primitive pornography, where the subtitles were only an annoying distraction. However the station still, on rare occasions, shows non-PC programmes, unlike its Big Sister, ABC, the initials of which apparently, at least according to its comrade-in-charge Mark Scott do not stand for the Arrogant Bullying Communists, but for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

al.jazeerI hardly ever watch it, but on those infrequent occasions I noticed that the SBS news and current affairs programmes rely more and more on the Al Jazeera videos. If you happen to watch, and I am not recommending that, God forbid, you will notice the Al Jazzera logo on about 90% of images. I suspect that that does not come free of charge in the global media swamp. Therefore the SBS i.e. Aussie taxpayer gives money to a Muslim propaganda organisation, which, as many are sorry to say, is often more balanced than our full-Marx ABC, though that is not that difficult to achieve.

Your tax money at work: “Al Jazeera literally “The Peninsula”, abbreviating “The Arabian Peninsula”), also known as Al-Jazeera and JSC (Jazeera Satellite Channel), is a Doha-based state-funded broadcaster owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network, which is partly funded by the House of Thani, the ruling family of Qatar. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel, Al Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty TV channels in multiple languages. Al Jazeera is among the largest news organizations with 80 bureaus around the world.

Peaceful, your-head-attached, Ramadan to you, the SBS and ABC knaves and may the Allah be merciful on you and your venal and cowardly hypocrisy, for the people, when they one day wake up, may not be.

quill.1

Posted in Australia, Culture, Islam, Labour Party | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Borrow, borrow, till you drop

Ludwig von Gress

More than $35bn was wiped off the Australian stock market …. the looming rendezvous with destiny in the Hellenes… Greek banks remain closed today and all this week. One Athenian:

How can something like this happen without prior warning?” asked Angeliki Psarianou, a 67-year-old retired public servant, who stood in the drizzle after arriving too late at one empty ATM in the Greek capital.”

I guess that’s what Australians will be saying in not too distant future. Do not ask for whom the drachma tinkles – it tinkles for thee.

will.not.payMr George Friedman of Stratfor provides bellow very erudite explanation of the “situation”, occasionally verging on black humor. I strongly recommend you read it in conjunction with Mark Steyn’s Big Fat Greeks, and Weddings.

Beyond the Greek Impasse

The terminal point is the juncture where neither the Greeks nor the Germans can make any more concessions. In Greece itself, the terminal point is long past. Unemployment is at 26 percent, and more than 50 percent of youths under 25 are unemployed. Slashed wages, particularly in the state sector, affecting professions including physicians and engineers, have led to massive underemployment. Meanwhile, most new economic activity is occurring in the untaxable illegal markets. The Greeks owe money to EU institutions and the International Monetary Fund, all of which acquired bad Greek debts from banks that initially lent funds to Greece in order to stabilize its banking sector. No one ever really thought the Greeks could pay back these loans.

The European creditors — specifically, the Germans, who have really been the ones controlling European negotiations with the Greeks — reached their own terminal point more recently. The Germans are powerful but fragile. They export about a quarter of their gross domestic product to the European free trade zone, and anything that threatens this trade threatens Germany’s economy and social stability. Their goal has been to keep intact not only the euro, but also the free trade zone and Brussels’ power over the European economy.

Germany has so far avoided an extreme crisis point by coming to an endless series of agreements with Greece that the Greeks couldn’t keep and that no one expected them to keep, but which allowed Berlin to claim that the Greeks were capitulating to German demands for austerity. This alleged capitulation helped Germany keep other indebted European countries in line, as financially vulnerable nations witnessed the apparent folly of contemplating default, demanding debt restructuring and confronting rather than accommodating the European Union.

Greece and the Cypriot Situation

For the Germans, Greece represented a dam. What was behind the dam was unknown, and the Germans couldn’t tolerate the risk of it breaking. A Greek default would come with capital controls such as those seen in Cyprus, probably trade barriers designed to protect the Greek economy, and a radical reorientation of Greece in a new strategic direction. If that didn’t lead to economic and social catastrophe, then other European countries might also choose to exercise the Greek option. Germany’s first choice to avoid the default was to create the illusion of Greek compliance. Its second option was to demonstrate the painful consequences of Greece’s refusal to keep playing the first game.

This was the point of the Cyprus affair. Cyprus had reached the point that it simply could not live up to the terms of its debt repayment agreements. The pro-EU government agreed under pressure to seize money in bank accounts holding more than 100,000 euros (around $112,000) and use that money to make good on at least some of the payments due. But assigning a minimum account balance hardly served to lessen the blow or insulate ordinary Cypriots. A retiree, after all, may easily have more than 100,000 euros in savings. And hotels or energy service companies (which are critical to the Cypriot economy) certainly have that much in their accounts. The Germans may have claimed the Cypriot banking system contained primarily Russian money, but — although it undoubtedly contained plenty of Russian funds — most of the money in the system actually represented wealth saved and used by Cypriots in the course of their lives and business. The result of raiding those accounts was chaos. Cypriot companies couldn’t pay wages or rent, and the economy basically froze until the regulations were eventually eased — though they have never been fully repealed.

The Germans were walking a fine line in advocating this solution. Rather than play the pretend game they had played in Greece, they chose to show a European audience the consequences of genuine default. But those consequences rested on a dubious political foundation. Obviously the Cypriot public was devastated and appalled by their political leaders’ decision to comply with Germany’s demands. But even more significant, the message received by the rest of Europe was that the consequences of resistance would be catastrophic only if a country’s political leadership capitulated to EU demands. Seizing a large portion of Cypriot private assets to pay public debts set an example, but not the example the Germans wanted. It showed that compliance with debt repayments could be disastrous in the short run, but only if the indebted country’s politicians let it happen. And with that came another, unambiguous lesson: The punishment for non-compliance, however painful, was also survivable — and far preferable to the alternatives.

The Rise of Syriza

Enter the Coalition of the Radical Left party, known as Syriza, one of the numerous Euroskeptic parties that have emerged in recent years. Many forces combined to drive pro-EU factions out of power, but certainly one of them was the memory of the behavior of pro-EU politicians in Cyprus. The Greek public was well aware Athens would not be able to repay outstanding debt on anything even vaguely resembling the terms set by the pro-EU politicians. Cognizant of the Cypriot example, they voted their own EU-friendly leaders out, making room for a Euroskeptic administration.

Syriza ran on a platform basically committing to ease austerity in Greece, maintain critical social programs, and radically restructure the country’s debt obligations, insisting that creditors share more of the debt burden. EU-friendly parties and individuals — and the Germans in particular — tended to dismiss Syriza. They were used to dealing with pro-EU parties in debtor countries that would adopt a resistant posture for their public audience while still accepting the basic premise put forth by Germany and the European Union — that in the end, the responsibility to repay debts was the borrower’s. Regardless of their public platform, these parties therefore accepted austerity and the associated social costs.

Syriza, however, did not. A moral argument was underway, and the Germans were tone deaf to it. The German position on debt was that the borrower was morally responsible for it. Syriza countered that, in effect, the lender and the borrower actually shared moral responsibility. The borrower may be obligated to avoid incurring debts that he could not repay, but the lender, they argued, was also obligated to practice due diligence in not lending money to those who were unable to repay. Therefore, though the Greeks had been irresponsible for carelessly borrowing money, the European banks that originally funded Greece’s borrowing spree had also been irresponsible in allowing their greed to overwhelm their due diligence. And if, as the Germans have quietly claimed, Greek borrowers misled them, the Germans still deserved what happened to them, because they did not practice more rigorous oversight — they saw only euro signs, just as the bankers did when they signed off on loans to Greece rather than restraining themselves.

The story of Greece is a tale of irresponsible borrowing and irresponsible lending. Bankruptcy law in European and American culture is a system of dualities, where expectations for prudent behavior are placed on both the debtor and creditor. The debtor is expected to pay everything he can under the law, and when that is ability is expended, the creditor is effectively held morally responsible for his decision to lend. In other words, when the debtor goes bankrupt, the creditor loses his bet on the debtor, and the loan is extinguished.

But there are no bankruptcy laws for nation-states, because there is no sovereign power to administer them. Thus, there is no disinterested third party to adjudicate national bankruptcy. There are no sovereign laws dictating the point where a nation is unable to repay its debt, no overarching power that can grant them the freedom to restructure debts according to law. Nor are there any circumstances where the creditor is simply deemed out of luck.

Without these factors, something like the Greek situation emerges. The creditors ruthlessly pursue the debtor, demanding repayment as a first priority. Any restructuring of the debt is at the agreement of creditor and debtor. In the case of Cyprus, the government was prepared to protect the creditors’ interests. But in Greece’s case, Syriza is not prepared to do so. Nor is it prepared, if we believe what the party says, to simply continue crafting interim lies with the country’s creditors. Greece needs to move on from this situation, and another meaningless postponement only postpones the day of reckoning — and postpones recovery.

The Logic and Repercussions of a Grexit

A Greek withdrawal from the eurozone would make sense. It would create havoc in Greece for a while, but it would allow the Greeks to negotiate with Europe on equal terms. They would pay Europe back in drachmas priced at what the Greek Central Bank determines, and they could unilaterally determine the payments. The financial markets would be closed to them, but the Greeks would have the power to enact currency controls as well as trade regulations, turning their attention from selling to Europe, for example, to buying from and selling to Russia or the Middle East. This is not a promising future, but neither is the one Greece is heading toward now.

Many have made a claim that a Greek exit could lead the euro to collapse. This claim seems baffling at first. After all, Greece is a small country, and there is no reason why its actions would have such far-reaching effects on the shared currency. But then we remember Germany’s primordial fear: that Greece could set a precedent for the rest of Europe. This would be impossible if the rest of Europe was doing well, but it is not. Spain, for example, has unemployment figures almost as terrible as Greece’s. Some have pointed out that Spain is now one of the fastest-growing countries in Europe, which would be impressive if growth rates in the rest of Europe weren’t paralyzed. Similarly, Spain’s unemployment rate has fallen — to a mere 23 percent. Those who are still enthused about the European Union take such trivial improvements as proof of a radical shift. I see them as background noise in an ongoing train wreck.

The pain of a Greek default and a withdrawal from the eurozone would be severe. But if others see Greece as a forerunner of events, rather than an exception, they may calculate that the pain of unilateral debt restructuring makes sense and gives Greeks a currency that they can at last manage themselves. The fear is that Greece may depart from the euro, not because of any institutional collapse, but because of a keen awareness that sovereign currencies can benefit nations in pain — which many of Europe’s countries are.

I do appreciate that the European Union was meant to be more than an arena for debtors and creditors. It was to be a moral arena in which the historical agony of European warfare was abolished. But while the idea that European peace depends on prosperity may be true, that prosperity has been lost. Economies rise and fall, and Europe’s have done neither in tandem. Some are big winners, like Germany, and many are losers, to a greater or lesser degree. If the creation of a peaceful European civilization rests on prosperity, as the founding EU document claims, Europe is in trouble.

The problem is simple. The core institutions of the European Union have functioned not as adjudicators but as collection agents, and the Greeks have learned how ruthless those agents can be when aided by collaborative governments like Cyprus. The rest of the Europeans have also realized as much, which is why Euroskeptic parties are on the rise across the union. Germany, the country most threatened by growing anti-EU sentiment, wants to make clear that debtors face a high price for defiance. And if resistance is confined to Greece, the Germans will have succeeded. But if, as I think it will, resistance spreads to other countries, the revolt of the debtor states against the union will cause major problems for Germany, threatening the economic powerhouse’s relationship with the rest of Europe.

/From Stratfor Geopolitical Weekly, republished with permission/ 

Posted in Australia, Corruption, Finance and Economics, Socialism, The EU | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

30th June, 1971 : The US Supreme Court decided today that the New York Times and Washington Post are free to publish the secret “Pentagon Papers” on the Vietnam war. The Justice Department prosecuted the two newspapers for publishing extracts of the “Papers”, claiming national security had been jeopardised. A majority of the nine justices reminded the Government of the First Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees the freedom of the press and forbids restraint before the publication.

[ They bravely reminded Richard Nixon, but only one judge dared to remind Abraham Lincoln of the First Amendment. I suspect that today none would dare to remind Hussain Obama.

History: The First Amendment was adopted in December 1791. The US Civil War is generally considered to had started in March 1861 and in the following month Lincoln commenced wholesale arresting of suspects without warrant. “Most of his early illegal arrests were in reaction to the pro-Confederacy sentiments in Baltimore, Maryland, where, on April 18, 1861, crowds of civilians tried to prevent newly raised regiments of Union Army from passing through the city. The soldiers fired on the civilians, and the civilians attacked back with clubs. At least ten were killed on each side.

Lincoln reacted to the Baltimore Massacre by issuing an order that anyone who looked like a troublemaker could be arrested on a line between Baltimore and Philadelphia…

US. Supreme Court chief Justice Roger B. Taney demanded to know by what authority Lincoln could suspend habeas corpus … Lincoln issued an arrest warrant for the eighty-four-year-old chief Justice.

Over the course of the war, Lincoln arrested more than 14,000 civilians without charging them with specific crimes… In addition, Lincoln violated the First Amendment by arresting newspaper editors who irritated him with their editorials or news coverage.” ]

Posted in America, Civil War, History, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Waterloo, immigration and other things

…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger

The readers may have noticed the recent, more than usual disruption in our generally predictable chaotic postings. Yes, again, it was not our fault, except perhaps for selecting a less than competent internet service provider.

Battle of WaterlooYou thus missed an opportunity to read some witty comments on the two-hundredth anniversary of the demise of the first modern attempt to create the European Union (18th June 1815 at Waterloo). The second try bit the dust one hundred and thirty years later on 8th May 1945 in Berlin. Will the next collapse happen in Athens? Or Budapest? Not very likely – it would be too soon. European politicians are not that smart and the people, as ever, have no say, the sporadic electoral success of the so called ‘populist’ parties notwithstanding.

Only a half million waiting on the northern shores of Africa and some Europeans panic. For some reason they do not accept the assurances by their own elected representatives that those people are ready, willing and able to work and given the opportunity will cheerfully pay taxes to support the ageing-not-able and the not-willing-to-work population.

But, “ in 2010, 36 percent of immigrant-headed households receive benefits from at least one welfare program, compared to just 23 percent of households headed by U.S. natives. Among households with children, immigrant welfare households outnumbered non-immigrants by a similarly wide margin: 57 percent to 40 percent.”

And that is in America, the welfare system of which is apparently so inhuman that it is a subject of constant ridicule by all the progies.

confederate.flagThe inanities continue. Murders in Charleston of black people by a white drug addict led to predictable responses, including the Barack’s de riguer black racist* rant, anti-firearms demagoguery and also to the less predictable and even by the contemporary American standards totally irrational calls for banning a Confederate flag (shown left). There are no calls I am aware of for banning a “hammer and sickle”, a symbol under which more than 140 million people were killed, and which is still proudly brandished at about every progies inspired public disturbance and by many European political parties (Spain, France and Greece spring to mind).

The people, by and large, accept the victorious North narrative of the American Civil War, having no special interest in it. Some, who read, know that the primary school version is mostly a propaganda which would make even Stalin blush, and that the slavery had preciously little to do with it. Since over 600,000 Americans were killed in that conflict the victors had all the reasons to play it as a moral issue, and to suppress the real economic and ideological motives behind it.

Only 316,632 Southerners owned slaves – a mere 6 percent of the total white population. … In every major Civil War battle Confederate soldiers who did not own slaves fought against (mostly border state) Union Army soldiers, such as Ulysses S. Grant, who did own slaves…

Even supposedly intelligent people believe the anti-slavery-war hoax. The progies, despising the truth, whether historical or contemporary, propagate the myth of increasingly rampant racism and the intellectually challenged population believe it. So the raising white racism in USA led to a black (OK, a half-black) president being elected twice? Spare me.

quill.1

*/ If anything, the black, anti-white racism is on the raise. So far this year over 80 people were killed in Chicago, albeit mostly blacks by blacks. The racial conflict fomenting Obama should sing the Amazing Grace there. See also Racial Murder Statistics.

Posted in America, Civil War, Culture, History, Socialism | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rád věděl bych, proč právě nyní vzkvétá

…from the quills of the dead white poets

František Gellner (1881 -1914)

Rád věděl bych, proč právě nyní vzkvétá

v mé duši smutek s chladným podzimem.

Nevím přec, proč bych litovat měl léta

jež nezažehlo ohně v srdci mém.

Večerní mlha lehla na dláždění.

A připadá mi všecko jako sen,mirush

ty hlasy, jejichž zvuk mi známý není,

ty cizí tváře v záři luceren.

A cítím, kterak zvolna v duši moji

nového cosi teskně vstoupilo

jako vzpomínka, jež přesnosti se bojí,

vzpomínka na něco, co nebylo:

Na něžná slova, kterých neslyšel jsem,

na teplo krbu, jež mne nehřálo,

na všechno, o čem snad kdys přemýšlel jsem,

co se však nikdy skutkem nestalo.

Na souzvuk srdcí, jenž mě nedojímal,

na věrných rukou vřelé soužití,

na duše klid, který mne neobjímal

a po kterém jsem přestal toužiti.

Na krásu jara, kterou nepoznal jsem,

na jeho snů a touhy sladký hlas,

na mladé dívky, které nelíbal jsem

v záchvatech něhy dlouhý, měkký vlas.

Posted in Czech, Poetry | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Grope at will !

…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger

Amongst the readers’ comments on In safe hands, for various reasons unpublished, there were two alluding to the likelihood that the image we used therein could work very well as a recruiting poster for the airports security personnel. Upon reflection I have to agree that this is indeed likely, as the remuneration for such mundane job requiring minimal intelligence and training can not be too attractive and thus perquisites are needed. Tempting images abound:

search.TSA

Posted in America, Bureaucracy, Corruption | Tagged , | Leave a comment

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

22nd June, 1988 : The Burmese Government imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the capital, Rangoon, after student protesters burnt down a police station, set fire to policemen’s homes and wrecked cinemas. Five policemen were killed and 26 injured. One demonstrator was also killed in what is described as the worst violence in the past quarter century. The students are demonstrating against Burma’s increasing economic problems, which have caused food shortages. Their anger is particularly directed against the 26-year-long rule of General Ne Win, whose socialist Government is accused of corruption and incompetence.

[ The Wall Street Journal – 23 June 2015: “Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently sent his country’s special forces into Burma to attack two militant camps, in retaliation for a series of deadly ambushes on Indian soil. Given reports that the militants’ activities have been secretly supported by Beijing, we may be witnessing not just an Indian antiterrorism campaign but the start of a proxy war between India and China.” ]

Posted in Communism, History, Military, Socialism | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Brown Bess

…from the quills of the dead white poets

Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)

browm.bessThe Army Musket–1700-1815

In the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
  Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise--
An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
  With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes-- 
At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

Though her sight was not long and her weight was not small,
  Yet her actions were winning, her language was clear; 
And everyone bowed as she opened the ball
  On the arm of some high-gaitered, grim grenadier.
Half Europe admitted the striking success
Of the dances and routs that were given by Brown Bess.

When ruffles were turned into stiff leather stocks,
   And people wore pigtails instead of perukes,
Brown Bess never altered her iron-grey locks.
  She knew she was valued for more than her looks.
"Oh, powder and patches was always my dress,
And I think am killing enough," said Brown Bess.

So she followed her red-coats, whatever they did,
  From the heights of Quebec to the plains of Assaye,
From Gibraltar to Acre, Cape Town and Madrid, 
  And nothing about her was changed on the way;
(But most of the Empire which now we possess 
Was won through those years by old-fashioned Brown Bess.)

In stubborn retreat or in stately advance,
  From the Portugal coast to the cork-woods of Spain,
She had puzzled some excellent Marshals of France
  Till none of them wanted to meet her again:
But later, near Brussels, Napoleon--no less--
 Arranged for a Waterloo ball with Brown Bess.

She had danced till the dawn of that terrible day--
   She danced till the dusk of more terrible night,
And before her linked squares his battalions gave way,
   And her long fierce quadrilles put his lancers to flight:
And when his gilt carriage drove off in the press,   
 "I have danced my last dance for the world!" said Brown Bess.

If you go to Museums--there's one in Whitehall--
  Where old weapons are shown with their names writ beneath,
You will find her, upstanding, her back to the wall,
  As stiff as a ramrod, the flint in her teeth.
And if ever we English had reason to bless
Any arm save our mothers', that arm is Brown Bess!
Posted in History, Military, Poetry | Tagged , | 1 Comment

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

18>th June, 1970 : The Headmaster of the Newington Methodist College in Sydney, Rev D A Trathen, was sacked by the school council tonight for publicly urging 20-years olds not to register for National Service. The President of the Methodist Conference and chairman of the College Council, the Rev Alan Walker, said the Church had questioned the National Service Act and Mr Trathen’s sacking was an appalling act of injustice.

[ Trust Methodists to be consistently wrong, and, I dare to say, anti-Christian: In a new climate change policy, the Methodist Church has set criteria for excluding tar sands and thermal coal companies…Poor people in Asia and Africa be damned.

And:Gay clergy and same-sex marriage may be allowed at United Methodist Churches thanks to a proposal drafted by the Connectional Table, a respected international body of clergy members and lay people in the church…Have they ever read the Bible? Hypocrites !]

Posted in Christianity, History | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

In safe hands

…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger

home.securityThe appaling idiocy of the so called airport security is apparent even to a non-frequent flier. The Western governments, embracing the post-modern Left dogma that seeming to do something will suffice for the overwhelmingly low IQ population, massaged by the even lower IQ media, pretend that they are protecting the voters, taxpayers and citizens against terrorism by creating more rules, regulations and public servants.

Naturally, public servants everywhere grasped the opportunity to expand their empires and invented the mind-boggling restrictions on on-board-items which probably had the terrorists rolling with mirth in the aisles of their first class cabins. As everybody knows, the more money paying passengers are treated differently and deferentially. I doubt that any first class passenger was ever asked to take off his or her shoes, and, if so, only by a mistake.

No box-cutters (Stanley knives in the Aussie vernacular) were found in the 9/11 wreckages, thought perhaps some nail clippers were, and the ever creative journalists fabricated the fanciful sharp objects narrative by now accepted by the naïve public – anything sharp is dangerous and must be banned. The logic, or the remnants of it, flies out of the windows of ivory towers and media skyscrapers. The dull bureaucrats, dull, for if they had any imagination they would not be in the public/civil service, like the easy way out – harassing an octogenarian because of her nail clippers is far, far easier than tackling a nervous, fighting age man, olive skin showing the recent beard removal and muttering Allahu Akbar. After all, if he does not blow you up to smithereens, he could sue you to smithereens with the help of taxpayers funded “human rights” lawyers.

Luckily, so far, the terrorists’ IQ seem to be matching that of the so called security agents. (Here I have to point out that I feel sorry, mostly, for the end of the line personnel, who are forced to do as told by their incompetent superiors). Alternatively, and increasingly likely, the Muslim terrorists realised that with Obama in the White House the world caliphate is practically assured and mass atrocities against the Western population could be, at this stage of the Islam struggle, counter-productive.

In the meantime, the Western taxpayers finance the sheltered workshops. This is about US Transportation Security Administration:TSA.shampoo

The series of tests were conducted by Homeland Security Red Teams who pose as passengers, setting out to beat the system. According to officials briefed on the results of a recent Homeland Security Inspector General’s report, TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests, with Red Team members repeatedly able to get potential weapons through checkpoints.”

It is hard to imagine any activity outside the public service bureaucracy with so abysmal failure rate.

I doubt that the Australian authorities would dare even to try such a test. After all, the results could be leaked, and with the pseudo-conservative government temporarily in charge, certainly would be.

Beside this TSA bomb smuggling detection 96% failure rate there is TSA’s airport employees checking rate (just 73 are on the terrorist watch list):

The TSA did not identify these individuals through its vetting operations because it is not authorized to receive all terrorism-related categories under current interagency watch-listing policy,” the June 4 Inspector General report stated.

According to the report, the TSA had been unable to find 73 individuals “linked to terrorism” because the information the TSA received from the Department of Homeland Security Watchlist Service and used for vetting did not contain the terrorism “codes” associated with the 73 individuals. In other words, TSA did not have the entire terror watchlist.”

I doubt that many terrorists volunteer to be put on the watch list, and, as peaceful (there are no other according to the media) Muslims comprise 1% of USA population, they would be hard to watch.

Other people’s observations:

TSA.searchHere’s a list of just a few of the major problems: 

-Former TSA agent admits agency workers laugh at naked body scans of flyers

-Documents detail horrifying alleged sexual assaults by TSA agents at airports across the country

-Thousands of TSA uniforms and airport security badges are missing

-TSA failed to prevent potential terror attacks, detect explosives and other weapons during 96 percent of undercover tests

-TSA failed to screen dozens of airport workers with ties to terrorism

Next time at the airport trust that you are in as safe hands as your rulers deem appropriate …

Speaking from the White House Tuesday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Americans can be confident airports around the country are secure and that President Obama still has confidence in the TSA. 

“The President does believe the American people should feel confident in traveling airports all across the country because there are security measures in place to protect the traveling public,” Earnest said. “The President does continue to have confidence that the officers of the TSA do very important work that continues to protect the American people and continue to protect the American aviation system.”

and failing that faith, there is another – inshallah.

quill.1

Posted in America, Australia, Corruption, Islam, Journalism | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Good old times

czech_flag_small

Hlavnnezapomenout

 

Posted in Czech, History, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

margaret-thatcher-falklands-jan-198315th June, 1982 : British forces are now in command of the Falkland Islands and the Argentine invaders are flying the white flag over Port Stanley. A jubilant Mrs Thatcher told the cheering House of Commons that the victory had been won by an operation which was “boldly planned, bravely executed and brilliantly accomplished”. The end to the fighting came when British troops broke the last ring of defences round Port Stanley at Tumbledown Mountain, Wireless Ridge and Mount Longdon. After hard fighting against well dug-in defenders, the British soldiers saw large numbers of the enemy streaming back to Stanley, and soon the white flags began to blossom like flowers.

Posted in History, Military | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Vřes

…from the quills of the dead white poets

Fráňa Šrámek (1877 -1952)

Když kvete vřes, tu víme,

že v číši už jen zbývá

poslední jiskra. Dopíjíme

a přes rameno se nám dívá

stín.blue.forrest

Pak zmodrá les a večer sivý

do stydnoucích luk mlhy valí:

tu, ironicky starostlivý,

nám ramena svým pláštěm halí

stín.

Posted in Czech, Poetry | Tagged , | Leave a comment

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

12th June, 1980 : Over ten million people in East Africa are threatened by what Britain’s Disasters Emergency Committee calls the “world’s worst famine”. The Committee is trying to raise £5 million to provide immediate relief. In Brussels, Common Market officials have decided to send £300,000 worth of food and drugs to Uganda.

somalia-refugee.campTwo years of drought, combined with at least half a dozen local wars, have led to widespread crop failures and a massive refugee problem. The famine area extends from northern Kenya, through Uganda, to Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti. Some two million people are reckoned to be refugees.

In Somalia, said to have the biggest refugee problem in the world today, an estimated 500 people are dying each day in refugee camps. In Karamoja area of northern Uganda, between, 400 and 500 people, mostly children, are dying each day. A million refugees have struggled to Sudan from Ethiopia, Zaire, Chad and Uganda.

[ 50,000 so far this year arrived in Italy, and, reportedly, another 500,000 are waiting on the northern African shores ]

Posted in Civil War, History, Islam, Socialism | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Middling in Middle East

Ludwig von Gress

From Stratfor Geopolitical Weekly, republished with permission:A Net assessment of the Middle East by George Friedman:

The term “Middle East” has become enormously elastic. The name originated with the British Foreign Office in the 19th century. The British divided the region into the Near East, the area closest to the United Kingdom and most of North Africa; the Far East, which was east of British India; and the Middle East, which was between British India and the Near East. It was a useful model for organizing the British Foreign Office and important for the region as well, since the British — and to a lesser extent the French — defined not only the names of the region but also the states that emerged in the Near and Far East.

Today, the term Middle East, to the extent that it means anything, refers to the Muslim-dominated countries west of Afghanistan and along the North African shore. With the exception of Turkey and Iran, the region is predominantly Arab and predominantly Muslim. Within this region, the British created political entities that were modeled on European nation-states. The British shaped the Arabian Peninsula, which had been inhabited by tribes forming complex coalitions, into Saudi Arabia, a state based on one of these tribes, the Sauds. The British also created Iraq and crafted Egypt into a united monarchy. Quite independent of the British, Turkey and Iran shaped themselves into secular nation-states.

This defined the two fault lines of the Middle East. The first was between European secularism and Islam. The Cold War, when the Soviets involved themselves deeply in the region, accelerated the formation of this fault line. One part of the region was secular, socialist and built around the military. Another part, particularly focused on the Arabian Peninsula, was Islamist, traditionalist and royalist. The latter was pro-Western in general, and the former — particularly the Arab parts — was pro-Soviet. It was more complex than this, of course, but this distinction gives us a reasonable framework.

The second fault line was between the states that had been created and the underlying reality of the region. The states in Europe generally conformed to the definition of nations in the 20th century. The states created by the Europeans in the Middle East did not. There was something at a lower level and at a higher level. At the lower level were the tribes, clans and ethnic groups that not only made up the invented states but also were divided by the borders. The higher level was broad religious loyalties to Islam and to the major movements of Islam, Shiism and Suniism that laid a transnational claim on loyalty. Add to this the pan-Arab movement initiated by former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who argued that the Arab states should be united into a single Arab nation.

Any understanding of the Middle East must therefore begin with the creation of a new political geography after World War I that was superimposed on very different social and political realities and was an attempt to limit the authority of broader regional and ethnic groups. The solution that many states followed was to embrace secularism or traditionalism and use them as tools to manage both the subnational groupings and the claims of the broader religiosity. One unifying point was Israel, which all opposed. But even here it was more illusion than reality. The secular socialist states, such as Egypt and Syria, actively opposed Israel. The traditional royalist states, which were threatened by the secular socialists, saw an ally in Israel.

Aftershocks From the Soviet Collapse

Following the fall of the Soviet Union and the resulting collapse of support for the secular socialist states, the power of the traditional royalties surged. This was not simply a question of money, although these states did have money. It was also a question of values. The socialist secularist movement lost its backing and its credibility. Movements such as Fatah, based on socialist secularism — and Soviet support — lost power relative to emerging groups that embraced the only ideology left: Islam. There were tremendous cross currents in this process, but one of the things to remember was that many of the socialist secular states that had begun with great promise continued to survive, albeit without the power of a promise of a new world. Rulers like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Syria’s Bashar al Assad and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein remained in place. Where the movement had once held promise even if its leaders were corrupt, after the Soviet Union fell, the movement was simply corrupt.

The collapse of the Soviet Union energized Islam, both because the mujahideen defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan and because the alternative to Islam was left in tatters. Moreover, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait took place in parallel with the last days of the Soviet Union. Both countries are remnants of British diplomacy. The United States, having inherited the British role in the region, intervened to protect another British invention — Saudi Arabia — and to liberate Kuwait from Iraq. From the Western standpoint, this was necessary to stabilize the region. If a regional hegemon emerged and went unchallenged, the consequences could pyramid. Desert Storm appeared to be a simple and logical operation combining the anti-Soviet coalition with Arab countries.

The experience of defeating the Soviets in Afghanistan and the secular regimes’ loss of legitimacy opened the door to two processes. In one, the subnational groupings in the region came to see the existing regimes as powerful but illegitimate. In the other, the events in Afghanistan brought the idea of a pan-Islamic resurrection back to the fore. And in the Sunni world, which won the war in Afghanistan, the dynamism of Shiite Iran — which had usurped the position of politico-military spokesman for radical Islam — made the impetus for action clear.

There were three problems. First, the radicals needed to cast pan-Islamism in a historical context. The context was the transnational caliphate, a single political entity that would abolish existing states and align political reality with Islam. The radicals reached back to the Christian Crusades for historical context, and the United States — seen as the major Christian power after its crusade in Kuwait — became the target. Second, the pan-Islamists needed to demonstrate that the United States was both vulnerable and the enemy of Islam. Third, they had to use the subnational groups in various countries to build coalitions to overthrow what were seen as corrupt Muslim regimes, in both the secular and the traditionalist worlds.

The result was al Qaeda and its campaign to force the United States to launch a crusade in the Islamic world. Al Qaeda wanted to do this by carrying out actions that demonstrated American vulnerability and compelled U.S. action. If the United States did not act, it would enhance the image of American weakness; if it did act, it would demonstrate it was a crusader hostile to Islam. U.S. action would, in turn, spark uprisings against corrupt and hypocritical Muslim states, sweep aside European-imposed borders and set the stage for uprisings. The key was to demonstrate the weakness of the regimes and their complicity with the Americans.

This led to 9/11. In the short run, it appeared that the operation had failed. The United States reacted massively to the attacks, but no uprising occurred in the region, no regimes were toppled, and many Muslim regimes collaborated with the Americans. During this time, the Americans were able to wage an aggressive war against al Qaeda and its Taliban allies. In this first phase, the United States succeeded. But in the second phase, the United States, in its desire to reshape Iraq and Afghanistan — and other countries — internally, became caught up in the subnational conflicts. The Americans got involved in creating tactical solutions rather than confronting the strategic problem, which was that waging the war was causing national institutions in the region to collapse.

In destroying al Qaeda, the Americans created a bigger problem in three parts: First, they unleashed the subnational groups. Second, where they fought they created a vacuum that they couldn’t fill. Finally, in weakening the governments and empowering the subnational groups, they made a compelling argument for the caliphate as the only institution that could govern the Muslim world effectively and the only basis for resisting the United States and its allies. In other words, where al Qaeda failed to trigger a rising against corrupt governments, the United States managed to destroy or compromise a range of the same governments, opening the door to transnational Islam.

The Arab Spring was mistaken for a liberal democratic rising like 1989 in Eastern Europe. More than anything else, it was a rising by a pan-Islamic movement that largely failed to topple regimes and embroiled one, Syria, in a prolonged civil war. That conflict has a subnational component — various factions divided against each other that give the al Qaeda-derived Islamic State room to maneuver. It also provided a second impetus to the ideal of a caliphate. Not only were the pan-Islamists struggling against the American crusader, but they were fighting Shiite heretics — in service of the Sunni caliphate — as well. The Islamic State put into place the outcome that al Qaeda wanted in 2001, nearly 15 years later and, in addition to Syria and Iraq, with movements capable of sustained combat in other Islamic countries.

A New U.S. Strategy and Its Repercussions

Around this time, the United States was forced to change strategy. The Americans were capable of disrupting al Qaeda and destroying the Iraqi army. But the U.S. ability to occupy and pacify Iraq or Afghanistan was limited. The very factionalism that made it possible to achieve the first two goals made pacification impossible. Working with one group alienated another in an ongoing balancing act that left U.S. forces vulnerable to some faction motivated to wage war because of U.S. support for another. In Syria, where the secular government was confronting a range of secular and religious but not extremist forces, along with an emerging Islamic State, the Americans were unable to meld the factionalized non-Islamic State forces into a strategically effective force. Moreover, the United States could not make its peace with the al Assad government because of its repressive policies, and it was unable to confront the Islamic State with the forces available. Continue reading

Posted in History, Islam | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)

9th June, 1984 : Leaders of the seven industrial nations – Britain, the United States, France, West Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada – tonight endorsed plans for closer international cooperation against State-sponsored terrorism. They acted on the initiative of Mrs Thatcher. She called for “relentless action’ in the wake of the Libyan Embassy siege in London which followed the killing of a policewoman. There will now be a crackdown on terrorists masquerading as diplomats.

The seven-nation statement stopped short of endorsing military action against States such as Libya. There is also scepticism about economic sanctions.

[ In case you were born yesterday or watch the ABC – the plan failed. ]

Posted in History, Islam | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Fascist song

 

…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger

Not long time ago the progies complained that the red-necks, racists, fascists, in other words non P.C. Australians, provoked, at one of their all too rare public outings, I believe a Reclaim Australia Rally, the peaceful Muslims by singing I am Australian.

Frankly, I do not particularly like the song; the lyric is too mushy for my taste and the melody even worse. It is the song the “feel-good” crowd normally would like, and used to, but now, in the Southern Absurdistan Australia has became, it is something akin to Horst-Wessel-Lied.

The progies either do not realise or do not wish to admit that any singing at all provokes Muslims. They will find soon that Internationale is not exempt.

Posted in Australia, Civil War, Corruption, Islam | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Romance

…from the quills of the dead white poets

Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849)

  
      Romance, who loves to nod and sing,
      With drowsy head and folded wing,
      Among the green leaves as they shake
      Far down within some shadowy lake,
      To me a painted paroquet
      Hath been- a most familiar bird-
      Taught me my alphabet to say-
      To lisp my very earliest word
      While in the wild wood I did lie,
      A child- with a most knowing eye.
Golden Sunrise
      Of late, eternal Condor years
      So shake the very Heaven on high
      With tumult as they thunder by,
      I have no time for idle cares
      Through gazing on the unquiet sky.
      And when an hour with calmer wings
      Its down upon my spirit flings-
      That little time with lyre and rhyme
      To while away- forbidden things!
      My heart would feel to be a crime
      Unless it trembled with the strings.
Posted in Poetry | Tagged , | Leave a comment