Thursday, 28 July 2016

Castro, ISIS and Weaponising Fake Refugees

Can you keep count of how many young Arab men are killing Europeans? I can’t. And more and more they aren’t suicide bombers, but berserkers. Driving a truck along a crowded Promenade des Anglais is not a political act, but the act of a mentally unstable person off his head on drugs. The same with axe-killers. These people are crazy, as in, psychiatrically crazy. Where have we seen this before?

In the 1980’s and 1990’s Cuba generated hundreds and then thousands of “refugees”, all of whom gained sympathy from well-meaning liberals who would never have to live next to one of them. It didn’t take the US long to realise that Castro had been clearing out his jails, dumping HIV carriers and packing off homosexuals and other people he didn’t want.  In addition, Cuba was short on food, so letting a few thousand people go not only cured some political and social-order problems, it exported Castro’s food shortage problem as well.

Oh. Wait. Where else has had terrible harvests for the last few years? That would be Syria. And probably any other Arab country be-devilled by civil war and insurrection. Got a problem feeding the people in your Caliphate? Take a lesson from Castro.

I’m betting that ISIS, the Taliban and others emptied out the jails in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and anywhere else they took over. And not just the jails but the mental hospitals as well. After all, what’s more dangerous than a bomb you know when it’s going to go off? A bomb you don’t know when it’s going to go off. They sent large numbers of hungry, and therefore angry, young men off as well. So they exported their food problem, and their social-order problem.

Everyone at the time remarked on how strange it was that the “refugees” from the Arab / Muslim countries seemed to be vigorous young men who were strangely well-informed about where to go and what to do on arrival. Those vigorous young “refugees” groping Europe’s daughters are uneducated farm-boys, so where did they get the money to pay for the people-smuggling bit of the journey? Um. Maybe they didn’t. Maybe the smugglers got paid by the boatload by ISIS, and everyone was told to say they had to pay the people-smugglers, because the dumb Europeans would believe that and give them lots of money.

The equally dumb German politicians thought they were getting the fleeing Syrian middle-class on the cheap. No so much. They were getting the low-skilled, the insane, the criminal and probably the AIDS carriers as well. If that’s not an invasion, I don’t know what is.

Look for a wave of "political refugees" from Turkey as Erdogan empties his jails, addicts and asylums into the open arms of Germany. He will dump them off the shores of Greece for sure, and the Greeks will fire them at the Germans.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Here’s What the Brexit Negotiations Are Really About

In case you’re not clear. EC <> Europe <> EEC <> EU <> Euro <> European Parliament. The EC is a sort of activist Civil Service that thinks it runs the EU. The EU is 28 countries who send MPs to the European Parliament. That’s the thing that can be “ever closer union-ed”. The EEC is the free trade zone and the EU is part of that. So is Norway, which is not in the EU. Trade negotiations between the rest of the world and the EEC are done by the EC.

Brexit is not a divorce. It’s a business deal that must be settled by politicians. Until Brexit hit the fan, the EC thought that it would lead the negotiations if any country did invoke Article 50. Greece tried threats and the EC stomped on it. Greece was in the Euro and could not implement a Grexit unless it first re-invented the drachma. Britain is not Greece and never lost the Pound Sterling, and Brexit is simply too large and serious for bureaucrats.

Because they are not negotiating with Britain. They are negotiating with the 28 countries of the EU about what leaving the EU looks like.

Whatever Britain gets will be what any other country will get on exit from the EU. This puts the other 27 in an interesting position: in negotiating with Britain they are negotiating the conditions they will get if they want to leave. Would you put locks on that door? The negotiations are not between Britain and the other 27, but between the 28 and the European Commission. Guess which way this is going to go?

Monday, 18 July 2016

It’s Not the One Percent, It’s The Stupid, Stupid

In the 1950’s to 1970’s British Trades Unions were astonishingly effective at organising strikes, marches and cross-industry support. Way too effective for a bunch of Brits. Everyone knew that the organisers had been to one or other of the Eastern European countries or even Mother Russia, where they were trained in industrial disruption. It only stopped when, under Gorbachov, the Russians gave up on worldwide sponsorship of industrial sabotage.

This makes me wonder who is behind Black Lives Matter, the various feminist organisations, the complete collapse of common-sense in American universities and all those other groups that seem to be able to organise large marches and press coverage more or less at the drop of a hat. Who organised the pro-Remain march for Saturday 2nd of July when the vote was only known on around 06:00 on Thursday 29th? 30,000 people were there - transport alone would be substantial - in forty-eight calendar hours. Um. This is odd, because march organisers have to give the Police six days' notice. And somebody printed all those pamphlets and posters for the “Syrain refugees" telling them to get to Sweden and not get caught in Denmark.

Who’s organising this? And no, it’s not a grass-roots Facebook / Twitter co-ordinated thing. That works when you have a tight, cohesive society with shared values and experiences. Tunisia, say, or Syria, Libya, Yemen, Algeria, Morocco and other Muslim countries. We’re talking about the Anglosphere. That has nothing like the culture needed. It vanished when they closed all those mining and steel towns and valleys.

The current tin-foil hat theory is that a lot of this stuff is funded by Governments who hate right-wing / Republican voters and are importing foreigners who will vote left-wing / Democrat and give the Government an excuse to tax the ingrates to the hilt to pay for all the social security the immigrants and people with useless degrees need to claim. It’s a war on Decent White People and the immigrants are the canon fodder. And I grant it must feel like that sometimes to many native-born folk.

Angela Merkel importing over a million unskilled, unsocialised and angry young men in less than a year was a decision of such monumental stupidity that the only possible explanations involve drugs, temporary insanity or a side-effect of the menopause that needs to be researched with urgency in case it happens again. Either that or she never stopped being an East German communist dedicated to the overthrow of the West.

I voted Remain, but I embraced the Brexit within a day once it became clear that and why it was the new reality. That’s what private-sector people do: we follow our customers, legal rulings, and adapt to whatever idiot legislation comes from Government from time to time. We are realists, even if a lot of money goes on senior management’s pet projects. Politics is usually not about realism, so much so that when it was, it got a special cynical-sounding name: realpolitick . The opposite of science, said someone much cleverer than me, is not art, but politics. In science, if Nature refutes your theory, your theory is wrong (somewhere). In politics, if the People reject your policies, the People are wrong. In Politics, ideology comes first, there are no facts, only data spun as needed.

Angel Merkel let in all those girl-gropers, not because she wanted to “elect a new people”, but because she was guided by ideas that made sense in a different world. The UN UDHR is the foundation document of a civilised world, but it was written in 1948, when millions of people simply could not get to Europe, and anyway, the difference between the standard of living of French and Tunisian peasant farmers might arguably have been to the favour of the Tunisian. Writing a UDHR today, practicalities would trump ideals. The right to asylum would be restricted to political refugees, not economic migrants, farmers fleeing drought, or people dodging war lords. Merkel was blinded by an ideological principle to the facts, and the poor girl wanted to believe the best of all people. Really. It was that dumb.

So let’s talk about the activists. The activist movements are made up of people who don’t have STEM degrees, a 132+lb deadlift, or anything else that demonstrates self-discipline. As a result they are always going to be under-paid and haunted by a daily sense of irrelevance. They were lied to by their teachers, professors, parents and politicians. Nobody told them they had to study maths and science, stay away from drugs and junk food, play actual sports, and that being a better person isn’t a lot of fun. Nobody told them that life is not supposed to be fun, or even enjoyable. Nobody told them that self-discipline is way better than happiness, and self-improvement is way better than self-esteem. Nobody showed them how to live with insecurity, doubt, self-loathing, shyness, sexual frustration, and all that other neurotic stuff. In fact, very few people can do that, unless they have an entire culture dedicated to supporting it. White men have had that culture for centuries. When people grow up in a culture that praises living in the moment, feelings and happiness, they are pretty much screwed when they try to compete with the elite self-deniers, self-improvers and trained test-takers. Those activists want revenge. They don’t want to be taught how to live right, lift weights, cut code and identify and cook nutritious food. They want to mess up the people who lied to them.

The people who fund these misfits have money, so almost by definition are older. They think these activists are suffering the same institutional problems that the activists’ parents and grandparents suffered. Which would be awful if it was true. And the activists try to identify their problem (of being duped and ill-prepared for life) with those of their parents and grandparents (who were generally not duped and quite prepared for life in the very imperfect world they were born into). In that conflation lies the money, and a way to avoid accepting the horrible truth that they have been taken, had, took, bamboozled, mislead, waylaid, led astray, run amok and treated like dupes, and weren’t smart enough to spot it. Their teachers in turn weren’t doing it deliberately but were fighting the last war: they were fighting for pride and self-esteem when the real fight was for self-improvement, discipline and living without any fun. My generation did that standing on our heads - and it turned a lot of us into a bunch of neurotics, drunks, addicts, co-dependents and self-focussed people who weren’t sure about the value of the values we had been brought up with. See why the teachers did what they did? So those activist organisations are being funded by misguided people as well.

By definition, anyone who can fund a high-level legal action, cover the media with astroturf, or fund a movement, is rich or a corporation. But they aren’t always funding it to protect their rich-iosity and profits. Often it will be vanity, an incorrect understanding of the exact political and social realities, or just plain cussedness.

This leaves the virtue-signallers, the well-meaning, the bien-pensants, and politically naive who side with these movements because it irritates their parents or older siblings, or because leaving flowers with “Love” and a heart at the site of a suicide bombing is their idea of getting involved, whereas in fact it is a narcissistic indulgence. The other word for them is “useful idiots”. And even Black Lives Matter are telling them to get lost.

That’s what I think is happening now. It’s a bunch of people who were lied to by their parents and teachers, who have no chance in a tech- and service-based economy, who have a huge grudge and are being funded by people with money or institutional influence who think they are still fighting the last socio-political war (which was a Good War), and being seriously duped by the people they are funding, and by their own mistaken analysis of the current situation. (I'm looking at you, Mr Soros.)

It’s not a plot, it’s just the stupid. Stupid, however, can drive a truck on a seafront just as much as a plot can.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Spa Fields, Islington

Hidden behind Exmouth Market is Spa Fields. Been to Exmouth Market lots of times, only on the last trip, for supper at Moro before seeing Hofesh Schecter's Barbarians at Sadler's Wells, did I venture into the park.

That block of flats is visible from my office. I'd see it looming in the middle distance and wonder where on earth it was. Eventually I looked in the right direction when leaving Exmouth Market to go up the hill and saw this sodding great lump of a building.

I've also realised why Sis takes better pictures. All I want to do is take photographs of sunshine-y ambience. Like this park. I don't really care what's in the foreground. Sis is much more interested in the, you know, foreground.

Monday, 11 July 2016

That Black Female Iron Man Rumour

It seems that Marvel Comics is going to make Iron Man a black female in the next series, and she’s modelled on and will be played by Rianna in the movie. Because of course movie. This is getting people’s knickers in a twist. Here’s why you should expect nothing less.

Disclaimer: I do read comics. Transmetropolitan. Fables. Ex Machina. Fuse. Smoke and Ashes. Sex Criminals. Channel Zero. The Filth. Global Frequency. And in earlier days adult days: Love and Rockets. Watchmen. Elektra. In childhood, we’re talking The Eagle, the Beano, MAD magazine. Plus everyone watched Batman on TV. Most of the stuff I read now is published by Vertigo (which is a DC Comics imprint). Good comics are out there. The only superhero movies I have in my DVDs are... Constantine. Yup. That’s it.

I was never one for the superhero comics. I preferred those WW2 / Korean War comics that Roy Liechtenstein riffed on later in the iconic WHAAM!

I wouldn’t read a Marvel or DC comic for all the shelf space they take up in the basement of Forbidden Planet on Shaftesbury Avenue. I’m waaaay hipper than that. I get my comics at GOSH in Soho.

Marvel and DC have been on a Diversity jag. Iron Man being one of many. Various other characters formerly white, male and heterosexual are being made black, gay, female or combinations thereof. Marvel is owned by Disney and DC is owned by Time Warner. Nobody knows how those guys think. Or even if. Disney makes its money from trips to Disneyland / World and its cable TV networks . Comics aren’t even on the graphic. Movies, of which Marvel Studios is just one amongst Pixar, Lucasfilm and Touchstone and Walt Disney, make half as much as the theme parks. Disney want you watching its cable and going to its theme parks. And not to put a Gauntanamo blow-up doll there...

Time-Warner makes $28bn revenue. I don’t think the majority of that comes from comic book sales. Or even movies. It comes from cable subscriptions.

I did have my own theory about why Disney and Time-Warner would be prepared to throw their comic franchises to the SJW’s for some PR to protect their cable TV franchises. But then I decided it was nonsense. But it was one theory. There are others. First, that Disney and Time-Warner employ morons or do stuff because somebody senior enough thought it was a good idea. Second, that they researched this properly and it came out well, so they know what they’re doing. Third, that the research was slanted for it to come out well. Fourth, that they are part of a plot to demonise white masculinity. Fifth, that they know something about the market that the comic fans don’t.

Now I would never underestimate the capacity for big companies to act utterly dumb. Like Columbia Pictures with Ghostbusters. It is after all a division of Sony, and what the hey does Sony know about Western Culture? Kick-ass females are a thing in Japanese culture. Time-Warner bought AOL. I am however trying hard to think of a bad move Disney made in movies.

Let’s give these guys the benefit of the doubt. Let’s suppose they think they know something about the market that comic fans and I don’t. Suppose their research asked women a question like this: If a big adventure or science fiction film had a female leading character, I would be more inclined to see it. That’s how research companies phrase these things. How would a girl not say YES to that, unless she said: Uh like there’s just no like way you would get me to like ever see a movie like that. So now they have research saying that if they put a female lead in, they will get far more female viewers than they will lose white males. I’m betting that’s what has happened. Whether that research holds out at the box office? Well, if this article in Forbes is accurate it seems the girls do see films that have “strong female leads” - and lots of CGI and maybe male eye-candy helps as well (the Divergent series isn’t exactly short on pretty boys). It also looks like girls read comics: there are blogs and everything.

What the guys liked about comics and superheroes was that it was somewhere they could go that the girls weren’t. Somewhere they could go that was untainted by female silly, whimsy, crazy and bitchy. Somewhere that understood them. And now the girls are moving in and spoiling it all.

In which case, it’s time to leave. That’s what men do when too many women move in: we leave. Man flight. Find something else. Spend money on it. The market will grow. But don’t let it get too successful or the big corporations will move in and then the girls will arrive again.

So no, superhero comic lovers, you are not on the front lines of cultural warfare. You’re on the receiving end of properly conducted business. They know you will eventually leave them, but you know what? They are going to replace every one of you with a girl. Sounds like a good deal to me. Your whinging is what they want: Look, the creepy people don’t like it, so it’s safe for you girls to go to the cinema when it’s showing. Heck, soon girls will be seen in comic shops, and then it will be Game Over.

Capitalism turns everything to its advantage.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Soho and Green Park

There haven't been enough photographs recently. This is because I haven't been taking any, because frankly, Sis takes much better photographs than I do, so you should look at those instead. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago there was some actual decent weather in London on Wednesday evening and I had the camera with me and took a few shots.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Transcendent Albums

Some albums have one great track and a bunch of ordinary ones. Some are a string of great songs. Some have hit singles and songs that could have been hit singles. Some bring back memories. And some are simply transcendent.

A transcendent album doesn’t need to have a hit single. It needs songs that you can’t imagine being done any other way, or played in any other order. Songs that enter into the hearts and minds of everyone who hears them, and which together on the album have a consistent mood. Off The Wall is a great album, but Thriller is transcendent. Revolver is a great album, but Sargent Pepper’s is transcendent. John Martyn made Solid Air and Bless The Weather. The Rolling Stones made many great albums, but Goats’ Head Soup has that extra something special. Pink Floyd made The Dark Side of the Moon. Rod Stewart did it with Every Picture Tells a Story. I’ll add Eric B and Rakim’s Paid In Full to the list as well as Springsteen's Born To Run and Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and Blood on the Tracks. Joni Mitchell did it with Blue, Underworld did it with Second Toughest In The Infants, and Digweed and Sasha did it with the very first Renaissance triple-CD. Miles did it with Kind of Blue and In A Silent Way and John Coltrane did it with A Love Supreme and Live at the Village Vanguard. I invite you to consider Goldie’s Timeless as well, since it is. Pete Atkin and Clive James did it with Beware of the Beautiful Stranger. And then there’s the question of John Digweed’s continuing outpouring of flawless work.

This was brought on by hearing Van Morrison’s War Children on Chill Radio. And I realised that he really is the king of transcendence.

Astral Weeks


St Dominic’s Preview

Hard Nose The Highway

A run that has never been surpassed. Plus the staggering live album It’s Too Late To Stop Now, where some of the performances are better than the album versions.

And then I considered Steely Dan, who did three in a row...

Can’t Buy A Thrill

Countdown to Ectasy

Pretzel Logic

Still, Van’s The Man.