Friday 30 November 2007

It's a shame about Kurt...

... ending up the way he did. Still, here's 'All apologies' from Nirvana's 'Unplugged' session for MTV.

That pill thing

A clip from Luc Besson's 'Leon', with Jean Reno, Natalie Portman and a beautifully derranged Gary Oldman.

Thursday 29 November 2007

Corporate manslaughter

Lloyd Edwards was sentenced to 18 months for burglary. He served seven months, and was released on September 29th, 2006. Two months later on November 29th he broke into Leila Rezk's house, a 51-year-old woman who was home at the time, and beat her to death.

The BBC refers to Edwards as being 'released early', by which they mean two months early, sentences served being automatically half of whatever the prick in a wig said in court.

According to the BBC, a Ministry of Justice (sic) spokesman said:

"Those given a Detention and Training Order of 18 months or more may be eligible for release one or two months early, subject to behaviour whilst in prison and passing a risk assessment."

Edwards admits manslaughter, but is on trial for murder, and stands alone in the dock. But where are all the others, such as the professionals who did his risk assessment, and decided he passed? Why aren't they alongside him?

Tuesday 27 November 2007

The ideal Christmas gift

Recently in Texas a householder shot dead two burglars who had broken into his neighbours' home. It was covered a fair amount in the news, because there was a tape of the man speaking to the police on the telephone, who tried to dissuade him from leaving his house. 'It's not worth it' he was told, but he wasn't prepared to let his neighbours be robbed in front of him, and he took action.

At this point, people immediately start splitting into two factions: those that say 'how disgraceful that two men died over some paltry material possessions', and the others that say 'the burglars brought it on themselves, and even if we may not have reacted in the same way, the guy did no wrong'. The first group will point at the high number of gun deaths in Texas. The second will say 'yeah, but burglaries are down.'

Few English people will ever face the moral dilemma that this Texan faced, because we have some of the toughest gun control laws in the world, illustrated welll by the ludicrous situation of our multiple medal winning shooting team have to leave the country to train, and the Government having to enact special legislation to allow these events to take place at the 2012 London Olympics. Some would have it that it's a good thing – including a lot of burglars no doubt. Nevertheless many people still do hold firearms, quietly, peacefully and without going on killing sprees.

The anti-gun nuts have the idea that if people had a right to own firearms for self-defence, this would invariably lead to some kind of mass homocidal hysteria, with every minor altercation descending into a Sam Peckenpah style bullet-fest. They can't accept the obvious fact that an ordinary person will treat a gun with the utmost responsibility, in the same way that an ordinary person drives a car and manages to do so without ploughing into the nearest bus stop full of people even though they could.

Of course, to help the anti-gunners there are the rare but terrible occasions when legally-owned guns are used to murder people, and the argument goes that to reduce the chance of this we all must be disarmed, ignoring the counter-charge that a crazy killer could be stopped in their murderous tracks by a gun-owning citizen, before the police have even been called. However, this only looks at what is seen, ignoring what is unseen, namely the crimes that would never happen because, for the criminal, the minor threat of arrest and a judicially-sanctioned slap on the wrist would be superceded by a very real chance of being shot dead in the middle of a crime. What a pleasant change it would be to read in the papers, instead of 'Police hunt vicious rapist', 'Woman shoots attempted rapist.'

None of this touches on the real reason for us being disarmed, the threat an armed populace poses to what the UN calls the state's 'legitimate monopoly on power' (sic) - the very thing the Second Amendment to the US Constitution was written to prevent.

To be continued...

The N Word

Richard Pryor, one of the greatest stand-ups ever, made liberal use of the N word in his career... up until a trip to Africa, as he explains here:

(Taken from 'Live at Sunset Strip' in 1982)

Put the blame on Mame

One of my favourite old movies is 'Gilda', with Glen Ford and Rita Hayworth. Back in 1946, you needed a little more imagination and wit to make a movie about love and hate, and the film is dragged along by a dark undercurrent of what is unsaid and unseen, illuminated in flashes of verbal lightning.

(Find the rest on you tube: type 'Gilda entire movie')

Monday 26 November 2007

Fighting fire with fire... what does that make you?

The 'anti-fascist' mob are out in force tonight in Oxford, trying to prevent Nick Griffen and David Irving from addressing the Oxford Union, blockading the gates, so people can't enter, invading the debating chamber, shouting abuse, intimidating people, because they disagree with the opinions of the two men in question, they decide for everyone else that these voices won't be heard. And of course, it never occurs to this baying mob that their actions may be a little bit... well... fascist.

Either you believe in freedom of speech or you don't. It's a simple enough concept, and it applies equally to those you agree with and those you don't. On these grounds, those opposed to the Oxford Union's decision have a right to voice that opposition, but if they succeed through violence, real or threatened, to prevent something billed as a discussion of freedom of speech, all they'll do is hand the moral victory to their designated enemies.

Voltaire's attitude, attributed in the quote "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it", is a perfect summation of the principle that should govern social discourse.

Friday 23 November 2007

Dispelling confusion

Hopefully, this will answer Flashgordonz' question: Foo Fighters -"I'll stick around".

Monday 19 November 2007

When you gotta go, you gotta go...

... and you might as well take as many of the bastards with you as you can. The final shoot-out from Sam Peckinpah's 1969 film 'The Wild Bunch.'

The real criminals

Back in the 1930s the Feds made their bones by chasing down famous outlaws such as John Dillinger, here posing at Crown Point jail, Indiana, prior to escaping with a supposedly fake gun. Unfortunately for him, during the break-out he stole the prison governor's car and drove it over state lines, which was a federal crime and allowed J Edgar Hoover's boys to come after him, and eventually shoot him down.

The wheel of history turns full circle, as we now learn the Feds are following in Dillinger's footsteps and robbing banks themselves, in this case the Liberty Dollar, a private currency bank which mints coins in precious metals and issues reserve notes backed by gold and silver. This is a wholly legal practice, and no different from a shop selling gift vouchers. But the criminals at the Federal Reserve don't like competition to their fiat money, it seems, and for whatever reason the FBI has raided and seized the Liberty Dollar's gold, silver and pretty much everything that wasn't nailed to the floor.

The decision to commit this flagrant crime seems to have been motivated by the Liberty Dollar's issuance of coins with Ron Paul's image on it. Ron Paul is well-known for his desire to close down the unconstitutional Federal Reserve (see Dr Paul versus Fed Chairman Bernanke here).

The US authorities' disregard for the rule of law, as evidenced in this raid, poses a threat out of all proportion to that posed by amateur outlaws like Dillinger. Let's hope there is still some common sense in the legal system and the Feds will be held to account.

Sunday 18 November 2007

As seen in Iraq pt. 2

A Guardian article today tells of the contamination of a town in upstate New York from a factory that made depleted uranium weapons, used extensively in both Gulf Wars and Afghanistan etc. Years after the factory closed, ex-workers, local residents and the environment are testing positive for DU - unsurprisingly, considering its half-life of 4.5 billion years. The Guardian tells us "experts say their suffering shows the use of such weapons may be a war crime."

There's no maybe.

As seen in Iraq

What better indication could there be of the peril faced by the Constitutional Republic than the news that Blackwater mercenaries will soon be deployed across America? Using the murderous skills they have honed in Iraq, Blackwater may soon be kicking down doors and terminating Americans with the same extreme prejudice they have expressed elsewhere, in the "war on drugs".

With the safeguards of the Posse Comitatus Act now lying in tatters, and the recent sighting of these hired guns amidst the carnage of post-Katrina New Orleans, let us hope that enough Americans wake up before it's too late.

The power behind the power

The EU Referendum blog is usually the place to check on the latest manifestations of the beast of Brussels, but in a recent post entitled "Meet the real boss" the writer seemed to rush past something of great significance, in order to score a point against the Eurodrones.

As the piece explains, new EU regulations regarding coaches and trucks originate not with Barroso's mandarins, but from higher up the chain of command, The United Nations Economic Commission.

EU Ref uses this issue to attack as fallacious the argument that a Britain independent of the EU would have comply with EU regulations just the same as now but, à la Norway, with no seat at the negotiating table. Au contraire, it argues, because Britain has a seat at the UN table above it.

The problem with both situations is that our sovereignty is being destroyed. If you oppose this being done by the EU, I see no reason to celebrate it being done by the UN.

Corrina, Corrina

The great Bob Dylan, watching England from a train window.

Maggie's finest hour

Coming from a Labourite family, it was some years following her departure from office before I was prepared to countenance Thatcher's good points. To my mind, the best she got was "The Bruges Speech", which, together with her famous "no, no, no!" in Parliament (see edited version below), led directly to the pro-EU plot that brought her down, as Geoffrey Howe's resignation speech indicates.

Cringing EU-sycophant blogger Nosemonkey described the original speech thus: "The moment when Maggie Thatcher allowed her (entirely understandable) irritation with the then EEC to bubble over into hyperbole and hysteria back in 1988." Amongst his commenter chums, no one is likely to challenge this characterisation, although I doubt he could point to a single line in the speech to justify a charge of hyperbole or hysteria.

Rather than that, she set out her vision of Britain's place in a Europe which included cities like Prague and Budapest, still separated by the Iron Curtain. She explained what she thought the future direction of 'the project' should be, and why she favoured a Europe of independent nation states working together, rather than the bureaucratic behemoth of Brussels, which sadly has grown ever-larger since then.

With this speech and her stance in Parliament, her fate was sealed in the eyes of Delors and his British conspirators. Reviewing her performance in Parliament in the light of what has since come to pass, it is not difficult to understand why she had to go.

Papers, please

In another step towards the Total Control Grid, our illegitimate masters are imposing internal passports upon us. As with the usual modus operandi, they plan to start in a small way, with travel between the Mainland and Northern Ireland, before extending it to all forms of transport. Parliament will not be consulted, as the plan will be implemented with a 'statutory instrument.'

According to Tony Bunyan, of civil liberties organisation Statewatch: "The Government is using the fear of terrorism to build up an apparatus of far-ranging social control that allows them to build up a complete picture of our lives."

Exactly. These people are fascist scum. They have no conception of the principle of individual liberty or of limiting the power of the state. They will not stop by themselves. We must stop them.

Thursday 15 November 2007

Minister protects 'red lines'

The Government likes to talk about it's 'red lines' - imaginary areas that it guards valiantly from the encroaching EU superstate, whilst tranferring all the real decision-making ability to EU institutions. One of those red lines is the military, so it's interesting to see the vile David Miliband giving a speech about the need for the EU to be a military block.

According to the Guardian: He will argue the EU faces a choice. It can "focus on internal not external challenges; institutions rather than ideals. Face losing our hard power by not being prepared to intervene".

These interventions would guard against: A risk that instead of European rules shaping the world, "we return to power politics and an age of disorder".

Furthermore: He will say that while nation states are too small to influence worldwide issues, and global governance is too weak, the EU is big enough to meet the new threats.

It's clear from these statements that the future EU is not intended to be a mere economic power but a military one, which is what the pro-independence movement has been telling y'all for a long time, and our political class continue to deny even as they confirm it in such speeches as Miliband's today.

Sunday 11 November 2007

A man with a mission... slap down Rudy Giuliani, in this case for attempting to steal money from the widows of 9/11, and parcel it out to his pals and cronies.

Remembrance Day... and Christmas Island

For me, Remembrance Day is a time for private reflection, to think of those in my family who were called to defend this country, and pay my respects to them. This is not a day, in my calendar, for great patriotic sentiment, especially because of the origins in the 1918 armistice, the end of a war which destroyed the best part of a generation of this country's men, and for what? It is a day to mourn, not celebrate.

Meanwhile the politicians step slowly in dark suits, bow their heads, stand with moist eyes and talk of the bravery of others, while grieving soldiers' widows live in conditions that would shame a prison, and men who gave their health, if not their lives, scarred physically and mentally, sleep in the streets or in dirty hostels, neglected.

Only today, the papers tell of our Ministry of Defense taking every effort to prolong the case of the Christmas Island atomic bomb test veterans, knowing full well how many have died, able to calculate how many more will die before they finally admit what has been clear since the days of Marie Curie, that radiation causes cancer and other health problems besides. Yet, with disregard for the ex-servicemen who their predecessors exposed to deadly radiation, they field their lawyers to obfuscate, without a shred of decency, and is it not ever the way?

So, let us remember the common soldier, sailor and airman, and their quiet heroism, but also curse the masters of war, for whom we are all just pawns on a chessboard and the politicians mere knights and bishops.

Saturday 10 November 2007

Normal Mailer - RIP

A salute on the passing of a writer of some great books, such as 'The fight', a document on the 'Rumble in the jungle' between Ali and Foremen, 'The naked and the dead', a novel set during the War in the Pacific based on his experience, 'Tough guys don't dance', a Chandler-esque detective story, 'Miami and the siege of Chicago' an account of the 1968 Party Conventions, and many more.

Thursday 8 November 2007

Any friend of Bill's is a friend of mine

I'm looking forward to a chance to see American Drug War, a documentary by Kevin Booth of Sacred Cow Productions, a close personal friend of the great Bill Hicks.

From the website's synopsis:

Three and a half years in the making, the film follows gang members, former DEA agents, CIA officers, narcotics officers, judges, politicians, prisoners and celebrities. Most notably the film befriends Freeway Ricky Ross; the man many accuse for starting the Crack epidemic, who after being arrested discovered that his cocaine source had been working for the CIA.

American Drug War shows how money, power and greed have corrupted not just drug pushers and dope fiends, but an entire government. More importantly, it shows what can be done about it. This is not some 'pro-drug' stoner film, but a collection of expert testimonials from the ground troops on the front lines of the drug war, the ones who are fighting it and the ones who are living it.

Wednesday 7 November 2007

What's the conspiracy?

With great fanfare (well, I saw a post on it at Devil's Kitchen, if that counts) a new blog has been launched under the name 'the Liberal Conspiracy' which aims to bring together leftwingers and liberals into some kind of group-hug/mutual appreciation society. I hope it crashes and burns in acrimony.

Of course, this could be represented as the twisted schadenfreude of a lowly, isolated boonie, ploughing a solitary furrow, whose blog readership would struggle to hit double figures if I counted in binary. So, I better offer some justification.

Firstly, their comments policy states:

"Please don’t be under the misapprehension that this blog has a laissez-faire comments policy where commenters can get away with whatever they want to say on account of their ‘freedom of speech’. That is most definitely not the case."

No, people, you can't be nasty, because Liberal Conspiracy wants "to foster a culture of constructive comments", which means, essentially they only want to debate with people who identify with their fabian ideology.

Fuck that. Even knowing that it'll sometimes go too far, it's better to argue freely than to pansy around trying to be 'constructive'. If somebody's erecting a monstrosity, tearing it down and stomping it into the dust is constructive! The swift result of such a policy is to curtail free expression, and without that, what's the point of blogging? So, I expect everyone will end up scurrying off to their own blogs and having the real discussions there.

Also, although the idea of getting a load of people together is appealing, there are disadvantages. Firstly, there are limits to how big a blog can be, before it ceases to be a place of discussion. Corporate sites such as the BBC have commenting facilities, but because of the large number of comments, there's not much interaction between the commenters, in my experience, and who can be bothered, or even has the time, to read through hundreds of comments? The best blogs, I think, have a relatively small number of regulars, with their own idiosyncrasies and in-jokes, without becoming too cliquey so as to deter new entrants.

The main problem for the Lib Con site, is that there really isn't much common ground between leftwing people and true liberals, especially under a Labour Government noted for its illiberality. They may agree on particular issues, such as opposing the Iraq invasion - so do I - but you're either one or the other, leftwing or liberal, and leftwingers will always reach for the statist solution to any problem, being control-freaks at heart. They know that freedom can be abused, and it terrifies them. They also fail to understand a distinction between society and the state, and by and large, they'll always fall into line with Labour when push comes to shove.

The fault-line between the two camps that Lib Con wishes to unite is already in evidence over the recent smoking ban, and the intellectual atmosphere is summed up for me by this comment:

"I find it slightly disheartening to find this subject being discussed on this site so soon after its inception. This is a subject where opinion will never divide along left/liberal, right/conservative lines. As such, any site whose objective is to help set a left wing agenda should avoid it like the plague. The smoking ban will always divide rather than unite left/liberal opinion, and cause us to waste time endlessly going round in circles when there are more important issues to discuss. I do have strong views on the subject, but really don’t think this is the place."

A number of things jump out from this statement, such as; that the site's objective is to help set 'a left wing agenda', not a 'left/liberal' agenda; issues which are likely to prompt argument, rather than cozy consensus should not be raised; that the site is not the place for strong views. So, it seems the 'conspiracy' is to be one of silence.

At heart, rather than an intellectual position, my libertarian outlook derives from an irrational, visceral dislike of being told what to do, and likewise I don't want to impose my views on everyone else, so although there'll always be negative things, there'll never be much positive I can agree upon with self-declared leftwingers.


Congestion charge: traffic slower now

Transport for London has admitted the truth: traffic is slower now than before Livingstone's congestion charge was introduced, going from an average speed of 9.9mph to today's 9.3mph. What a surprise! Bad news for Livingstone with regard to his on-going dispute with various embassies who have refused to pay it. They said it was a tax, and were exempt. He said it was a service charge, the service being freely-flowing traffic. Bad news, also, for the suffering public, being forced to pay burdensome taxes, with nothing in return.

Tuesday 6 November 2007

As the long winter nights draw in...

what better way to pass the time than with a good chiller? They don't get much better than Kubrick's 'The Shining'. Here's a scary scene I like:

My favourite part involves an encounter in a bathroom between the masterful Jack Nicholson and a certain gentleman. For the audience and Jack alike, the penny drops about the same moment who he's talking to... but I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone.

A bit of a slow one...

Paolo Conte's 'Alle prese con una verde milonga'. I can't say why I like this song... but if she ever crosses my path again, there'll be trouble.

Monday 5 November 2007

Outbreak of Powell's Disease: contagion contained

'The Life of Brian' contains a scene where a man is being stoned to death for blasphemy, after commenting that the fish he was eating was 'good enough for Jehovah'. The modern equivalent for Tory politicians is mentioning Enoch Powell's name without burying it in a heap of condemnation.

And so it comes as no surprise that the Tory candidate who dared mention that man has chosen his right to free speech above his political ambitions and resigned. Indeed the deadly phrase 'Enoch was right' is treated in much the same way as an outbreak of foot and mouth.

At the time of the last laboratory escape I decided to expose myself to the infamous 'rivers of blood' speech, to see what all the fuss was about. The speech was prompted by the Race Relations Act that the Wilson government was pushing through, which Powell saw as undermining the principle of equality before the law, but he focuses on the issue of immigration, or rather the volume of immigration, which he saw would dramatically change the country.

Now of course, those that detest the man are forever telling us that immigration has indeed transformed the nation. The difference between their view and Enoch's is in whether it is a good or a necessary thing. They tell us we should love this transformation - forty years on. Back then they denied it was even happening.

And so, yet again we are subjected to our mainstream politicians pretending to discuss immigration, putting in place all the sub-clauses - the denial of racism, the great benefits to the economy etc, like a drinking game, where if they miss one they'll have to down two fingers of brandy, before even uttering a word on the issue itself, usually ending with the self-justicatory declamation that if they don't talk about it, then others will, and we all know who they are, don't we?

Personally, I think Enoch Powell expressed the feelings (note: feelings) of a great many people. Sitting on a train or bus in your own city surrounded by foreign people speaking foreign languages is an alienating experience. I also think that ten years ago the people of this country of all backgrounds were finally finding some common ground, and that the mass immigration since then has reopened old wounds. As someone once said, about something else, 'you can't make soup if you keep pouring in cold water', and this multicultural broth we are being spoon-fed is very thin indeed.

Friday 2 November 2007

State Birth Ceremony: artist's impression

Labour's out-riders at the Institute of Public Policy Research have produced a report calling for various abominations, such as 'birth ceremonies', where the state and parents agree to 'work in partnership' to bring up children.

I find it hard to imagine anything more chilling. For years, the state has been trying to get hold of children earlier and earlier. With this in place, where will they go next? Do they want to oversee the conception as well, to make sure no 'health and safety' rules are infringed?

If this doesn't start ringing alarm bells in your head, check your pulse - you may be clinically dead.

Thursday 1 November 2007

Why don't you mind your own fucking business?

I usually try to stay away from the Daily Mail, but as I've had a couple, what the hell. Leeds Council are doing a survey on rubbish, which includes questions on religion and sexuality. Who the fuck do they think they are? What business is it of theirs who anyone prays to or what anyone does in the privacy of their own bedroom? And what's it got to do with rubbish anyway? I guess that's socialism for you - no limit on government and no such thing as privacy. It just makes me wish we could put all these pen-pushing stasi-wannabees in a quarry and flood it.