Friday, December 05, 2008

The week of WTF?

What a strange week.

DNA ruling
Let's start with some good news for a change though. In the case of two men from Sheffield (yay!), the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that the Police will have to wipe the DNA details of nearly one million innocent people from their database. No more keeping people's DNA 'just in case', without probable cause....

But wait, what's this? The government response (from Jackboots):

"The Government mounted a robust defence before the Court and I strongly believe DNA and fingerprints play an invaluable role in fighting crime and bringing people to justice.

"The existing law will remain in place while we carefully consider the judgement."

So basically the government will ignore the ruling. NEXT......

Government spunktaps

Well they might as well be. It looks like the government is considering the "nuclear option" of printing more money. Because we didn't see that one coming.... >:-/

For those of us for whom debt is more of an issue than savings (and pensions), then the combination of inflation and low interest rates is actually a good thing, (though if you're a victim of the stagflation (inflation + recession) it isn't going to make a blind bit of difference without a fucking job. And any benefits accruing from having a job and being a debtor in this scenario assume at least a half-hearted attempt by your employers to keep your wages up with inflation.

And for those people I said to a year ago that we were going to go into stagflation and you didn't believe me: Here's another big fucking reason to suppose the government really doesn't have a clue and is criminally negligent and you shouldn't have been listening to them (and their client lackey media). (The other alternative, that they're making consciously planned decisions here is too horrible for most people to contemplate, so I'll leave that one and come back to it in another 5-10 years, with a suitable amount of schadenfreude attached).

Meanwhile, in new legislative changes it looks like the government might actually be planning to hide the spunktaps from us. In other words, we won't have a clue when they're printing more money. This is going to make predicting the direction of the economy nigh on impossible. The bastards.

The Americans were way ahead of us on this one - on 10 November 2005 the Federal Reserve announced that as of 23 March 2006, it would cease publication of M3. 'M3' is the main measure economists use to estimate the total money in circulation. UTTER UTTER BASTARDS. At least in the case of Old Blighty's "government" (stifle that laughter at the back, yes you!), hiding the fucking money supply is a reactive measure. It looks like someone at the Fed was being pro-active and had notions that something might be in the offing.....surely not?

It's not just the "nuclear option". It's also known as the "Mugabe option". Some of us call the part of government ZauLab for a damn good reason. In fact, just recently the actions of the U.S. and U.K. governments regarding their banking industry have been praised by none other than the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Hahahahahahahahaha....oh.


....UK government in "proactive" shocker!

Yes of course, I'm referring to the arrest of Damian Green MP. It still remains very murky exactly what he is supposed to have done (other than "groomed" a source inside the Home Office to leak documents to him). The chap responsible is one Chris Galley. And for some reason I cannot fathom - he is being held in a safe house (by the Home Office!) for protection. Protection from whom????!!!

And what crucial information vital to national security did he leak?

From BBC revision number 3:

* The November 2007 revelation that the home secretary knew the Security Industry Authority had granted licences to 5,000 illegal workers, but decided not to publicise it.
* The February 2008 news that an illegal immigrant had been employed as a cleaner in the House of Commons.
* A whips' list of potential Labour rebels in the vote on plans to increase the pre-charge terror detention limit to 42 days.
* A letter from the home secretary warning that a recession could lead to a rise in crime.

* the news that an illegal immigrant had been employed as a Commons cleaner and
* a letter from the home secretary warning that a recession could lead to a rise in crime.

The resolution of this situation centres around whether or not Green and Galley can legitimately claim that the above were in the 'public interest' to leak. Let's take one that's close to my heart: The 5000 illegal SIA badges. The Home Office since admitted that this could be up to 11,000 illegal immigrants with SIA badges. YIKES! This is nothing short of an insult to all the legitimate people who's lives in security work have been adversely affected, even ruined by the SIA. An organisation which is about as useful as a one legged man in an arse-kicking contest - and about as pointless too.

In this age of paranoia regarding terrorism, where we're supposed to queue up to get our fingerprints, DNA, phone records and internet browsing habits onto an almighty government database in order to "combat terrorism", Her Majesty's government allows up to 11,000 people in through the back door to claim their SIA badges. It's beyond satire and I can't find enough expletives to express how angry it makes me.

The long and the short of it though is that it is pretty fucking clearly in the public interest to know this.

Now, Dr Richard North thinks we're all getting our knickers in a twist over this one. He thinks that politicians shouldn't be above the law and that we're missing the point. (If you want to see this put in a very snide, ZanuLab fashion, check out the MP for Mogadishu East, Kerry McCarthy's thoughts).

Au contraire Dr. North. The point is that, indeed, MPs shouldn't be above the law, however it is manifestly clear that some of them are and some of them are not. For example, apparently it is ok for the Serious Fraud Office to have it's investigation scotched. You know - that investigation into corruption between Saudi Arabia and British Aerospace, involving not a few UK public officials. It got so close to home it was stopped in a manner resembling a presidential decree. And it is, sadly, only one example amongst many others.

The arrest of Green looks very much like a political arrest. It isn't a matter of right or wrong, of legality or illegality. No. It is about which political interests are at stake. And when a senior member of the opposition party is arrested on this basis, when so many more serious violations have been perpetrated by the party in power, and they have come away unscathed, then my friends, that is very fucking serious indeed.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Airstrip One, Uzbekistan and Schillings - "the rich man's libel"

Craig Murray, our man from Uzbekistan, is in the news again, although it's a scant amount of coverage. Murray was the UK diplomat for the FCO in Uzbekistan, harassed and forced out of his job for highlighting the fact that the Uzbeks were gaining "intelligence" for the "war on terror" through using torture and doing such delightful things as boiling the families of their political opponents alive. Murray considered this rank hypocrisy on behalf of Her Majesty's Government - especially given the official line on supporting democracy, opposing terrorism and corrupt regimes and "officially" not accepting evidence from terrorism.

Murray was right.

The government tried hard to destroy him, and almost succeeded. But he persevered and effectively won his case against the FCO in 2004. Since then he has been an outspoken critic of UK policy and has gradually been revealing more about his experiences in UK "diplomacy" and espionage.

One of the characteristics that makes Murray such an appealing, and credible, dissenter is his ability to reveal his own faults and foibles. You'll find this in his personal accounts of experiences with the FCO and in Uzbekistan. It's a shrewd move too. Whistleblowers get precious little attention as it is from our biased and corporatist media, so the most innocuous ad hominem can be used to write them off. None of us are super-angels, regardless of how earnestly we may desire to be. This is crucial to consider in any "official" or media responses to people like Murray, especially if they are ex-"insiders", for they are certainly feared most by the establishment.

One of Murray's weaknesses, as he himself puts it in his memoirs, is that he has always had an eye for the ladies. I have to confess to having exactly the same fault - and Murray noticed this in me himself in August this year. While in Edinburgh I had the opportunity to see his ex-bellydancer wife, Nadira, tell her story of life in Uzbekistan at the Gilded Balloon. I was sat right at the front, in a vest top, lounging back against the chair with my legs spread out in front of me. A quick look around revealed a very middle-class, middle-aged looking audience. There was also a lot of uncomfortable guffawing, coughing and shifting in response to Nadira's story - it included plenty that was of an explicitly sexual, and sometimes violent, nature. This audience clearly wasn't used to having such things presented to them so graphically and personally.

And there was me, sat there looking pretty if I do say so myself. I already found Nadira attractive. And I was very moved by her story. She interspersed some of it however with some belly dancing. I felt my mouth go dry and my loins stir. I also felt someone's gaze on me. Not Nadira's. She was too expert at dealing with a crowd, although when her eyes did rest on me several times for a few seconds I felt my pulse quicken. No it wasn't her. It was out of my immediate line of sight. I looked up and to my right to see Craig Murray on the balcony watching me watching his wife. If there was anyone in that audience capable of charming his wife from him it was me. He knew it. I knew it.

A moment of recognition passed.

We held eachother's gaze for a few seconds and I looked away. I wanted to put him at ease; and it had to be in true primate fashion - I had to communicate that I was not after his dinner or his woman. I rubbed my head and looked pained, then looked back up at him, mustering the most friendly smile I could. He returned it. We both relaxed and both got on with both watching Nadira perform.

This was very important. And I hope at least some of you reading this will be able to understand why. A man who's weakness is women is a man I can understand and relate to very well. And it's a very particular kind of weakness too. After this experience, and following hearing Nadira's story from her own lips, I found I understood Murray very well.

Not only understood him, but related to him also as a kindred spirit. A man who can be moved by money or bullshit is not a man I trust. A man moved by women however is someone I can trust very quickly and deeply; it is as I said though a very particular kind of influence I'm referring to here; and it works on me like it works on Murray:

It's not about sex or sexual desire per se, though that is surely a component (nature's and evolution's course compels us to f**k). It's about the connection and about being rooted to the earth. Nadira's and Craig Murray's experiences in Uzbekistan, and their treatment by the establishment of Old Blighty would leave anyone weeping and with emotional scars for life. It's about the fact that in amongst all of that emotion, amongst the terror, amongst the violence, amongst the ideals that you know will compromise you and the government that will sell you out in a second, amongst all of that you find home in the eyes of another.

Solace. Peace. Earthy reunion. Connection. Trust. Home.

I now regret not having had the opportunity to meet him properly in person when he gave a one off talk at Edinburgh's book festival. In amongst all of the politics, this is something I'd like to verbalise with him. I'm quite sure the communication we had through body language was enough, and we both understood at a pre-conscious level. He might not even remember. Still. It's important because this kind of thing is used to try breaking us - those misshapers of man don't understand though. See this character assassination hit piece on Murray in the (Murdoch owned) Times - "antiquated views of women and an old-fashioned sense of honour". Damn that old fashioned sense of honour! It's such testament to the Newspeak of our time that the Times can say such things without irony. Because not getting behind torture is antiquated, apparently.

Dubya invades and occupies two countries, condemning hundreds of thousands of people to death and misery, yet remains in office, sitting pretty.

Clinton is almost taken out by a blow job.

A substantial part of the trumped up charges made by the FCO against Murray concerned carousing and womanising. Prudish pedantry is an afflication also of both "left" and "right". We're all familiar with the "moral conservatives" of the "right" I'm sure. What of the "left" though? Oh they make a fine show of being open minded and liberated, yes. F**k who you want, in (almost) whatever way you wish - as long as it's just consenting adults it's all good. Or is it? God forbid you join a radical left wing group and have an eye for the ladies......oh gods, anything but that.

The women in my life keep me sane. They bring me back to earth. In amongst the constant torrent of BS and pain and insecurity heaped upon us by the convention of genetic defectives, also known as the government and the corporatist elites. I sometimes despair that I don't meet more women obsessed with politics and philosophy in the way I am. I sometimes become easily aggravated when all I seem to hear women wittering about when they pass me by in the street, at the nightclubs, in the gym, seems so fickle and pointless. Yet this is to miss the point - it's not so much what they say to one another that is important; it's the fact that they are talking at all. It's constant bonding. And as Carol Gilligan notes so well in A Different Voice, it's something most of us men lack, most of the time. Remember those adverts with Stephen Hawking, for British Thief (BT)? It's all going to be ok if we just keep talking.....(about how we feel).

This is why someone like Tania Derveaux is able to come from Leftfield and outflank the enemy. The new wave of activism she, and her friends, represent is such a beautiful breath of fresh air. They're assaulting the fort on so many subtle levels I have to take my hat off to them and hope they keep on keeping on. Never mind strangling the last king with the guts of the last priest. It's when the last corrupt legislator is killed by apoplexy at the sight of the last hypocritical puritan's hairybobbing man-arse that we might have a fucking chance of growing up as a species. We might even end schizophrenia.

So, back to Murray. He's back in the news because his old pals, Schillings, those purveyors of the rich man's libel case, are at his throat again. This time it's about experiences he wishes to relate in his forthcoming book, The Catholic Orangemen of Togo and Other Conflicts I Have Known. One of the subjects of the book is the activities of a British mercenary, one Tim Spicer (yep, the one of Mark Thatcher (Maggie's son) fame). According to the Evening Standard, Spicer "would be caused "profound distress and anxiety" by excerpts about him in the book".


The Guardian article above refers to Spicer as "Britain's most notorious mercenary". And it puts me in mind of something Bill Hicks said once - "Ain't y'all nothing but a bunch of hired f**kin' killers!?". It's bad enough what our own soldiers are asked to do by government. What do you think the mercenary companies might be able to get away with? Compared to the British soldiers, they are grossly overpaid and fundamentally unaccountable. "But wait", you might say, "you have right-libertarian leanings, doesn't this mean you're in support of mercenary armies?". Indeed, my political ideology commits me to this route, with one very important proviso: Right-libertarian philosophy is pretty f**king clear about where and how and when the initiation of force is acceptable. I can guarantee that almost all of the activities that Spicer and co take part in fundamentally violate these maxims. If you want a more thorough and academic treatment of this subject, try Rothbard's War, Peace and the State.

Note also, how the Standard refers to Murray's claims as "off-message remarks". It makes the most serious allegations against government sound like a minor gaffe at a tea party ("oh ever so sorry old chap, I just broke wind"). Glad I never pursued the possibility of entering the FCO myself. I would have had plenty of choice "off-message remarks" to make, preceded by the word "f**k" and followed by a few punches into the fat faces of those corrupt bureaucrats / warlords / terrorists / handmaidens. Never mind "don't shoot the messenger", it would have been " careful you're not beaten silly by the messenger".

Unfortunately, English Libel law, and Schillings, is very good at shutting down legitimate accusations. Murray says it best himself:

"...under this country's crazy libel laws you cannot even retell things you did yourself unless you have other objective evidence that you did it. And you may not express opinions that are not mainstream, or which may upset the government or the rich and powerful."

The long and short of which is that Murray is being forced to edit out sections of his book.

"The problem is fear of the cost of defending a threatened legal action by Tim Spicer, who has made many millions from taxpayers for running mercenary operations in Iraq and can afford the rich man's suppression of free speech through libel law."

Murray was previously threatened by Schillings last year by Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov. This resulted in the server hosting Murray's website being taken down. It just so happened that, now London Mayor, Boris Johnson's website was also on the same
server, resulting in an almost comical backlash from the SchoolBoy ("It's bloody ridiculous!") politician as he was unwittingly drawn into the fray.

So what can we do?

With regard to the current round of censorship, Murray is defiant. He has published the edited sections on his website and has asked specifically that "other bloggers will mirror or re-publish to help get the truth out there." So there you have it. Here's one situation where you can help. I've copied the relevant passages to my hard drive and am repeating them here, here, here and here. Shove it you censoring fucks.

Here are the nuggets that Murray picked out from the edits:

- I must refer to Sandline as a "Private Military Company" and portray their activities in Africa as supporting legitimate government against rebels
- I must portray Western action in Iraq as "peace-keeping"
- I must say Shell were involved in corruption in Nigeria "inadvertently"

I have uploaded word copies of the passages that you can download here and here (or - while his site is still up you can find them on Murray's site here (Murray's essential summation of the "libel" content that he has just posted today) and here (complete list of edits)).

Please help. Pass on Murray's passages. Save them to your hard drive. Write them on the wall. Repeat them on your websites, in your emails, on the phone.

They can't shut all of us up.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Financial Facepalming

It would be reasonable for many people to think that the explanations and issues behind the current economic clusterfuck were as opaque and convoluted as the financial instruments that managed to hide the bad debt for so long.

The whole event, however, especially for political commentators, has been more like a mirror. And also - as usual - what is most important goes unreported.

Let's look at the mirror analogy first though. Leftists who have stated clearly that they have absolutely no idea how the current financial system works still see fit to lecture us with explanations from Marx. You know - explanations, theories and the like provided 125 years ago - and that's being generous, assuming that in his sixties, Marx hadn't already developed that "where the fuck am I?" look that we see on the face of that ubermensch of U.S. politics, McCain (backed up of course by uberwench 'I know about foreign policy because Russia is next to Alaska' Palin).

Is it an accident that right-libertarians are massively overrepresented with professional economists and that left-libertarians continually fail to understand them (and, it seems, are intent on misrepresenting right-libertarian positions into perpetuity?). It's not as if the right-libertarian camp has not, consistently, pointed out that popular references to the "free market" refer to something that is actually fundamentally unfree. Characterised as it is by corporatism, corruption, monopolies and protectionism, this monster is objected to no less strenuously by right-libertarians than it is by left. So why the continuing, and often purposeful, misrepresentation?

Cries are ringing out proclaiming the "end of capitalism" and the "end of the free market". Given that the former term (capitalism) is often used as a euphemism for "everything I don't like" and adjusts its meaning according to it's users' whims that's a fuck load of things to be ending suddenly. Be very careful in any discussion of "capitalism" that you both share the same definition first. It's a popular and dishonest debating tactic used by dogmatic leftist propagandists to hold an assumed meaning without telling you what it is. It doesn't help that a lot of them can't make a meaningful distinction between "corporatism" and "capitalism".

One of the reasons I ended up taking such a strong interest in right-libertarian thinkers was that many of them seem to have a very sophisticated and nuanced understanding of economics and it's relationship to everything else in life. The modern right-libertarians deal with the nitty-gritty questions of detail that absolutely plague left-libertarian philosophies, yet for which the latter have no answers. Not only that, but the right-libertarians appear to have a sympathetic understanding of left-libertarian positions, (see for example, this interview Murray Rothbard), yet the converse isn't true. I'm wondering if from now on I should simply refer to 'the prophet Marx, peace be upon his name'.

A major part of this problem issues from the fundamental schizophrenia in the leftist camp that isn't present in the right: (left) Anarchists and State socialists mix, and often take the same sides, quite happily without any sense of irony or contradiction. I guess I shouldn't be surprised then that in the wake of this week's events I've head anarchists demanding "more regulation" (i.e. more state interference).

It's something else again that highlights the complete inadequacy of 'left-right' line - giving as it does, a false choice between one statist ideology and another. Only the left-Anarchists don't seem to get it yet. It's why I specifically use the terms 'right libertarian' and 'left-libertarian' to distinguish two groups of people who - supposedly - have very similar goals - broadly mini-archist (minimal state) through to anarchist sentiments. It's not a problem on the 'right side'. Market Anarchists / Anarcho-Capitalists mix well with mini-archists. Yet the converse does not occur on the 'left' side. They mix, and apparently sympathise instead with statists. It's bizaare. The left-libertarians should be allied with their right-libertarian cousins. Instead though the former would rather pretend that the latter doesn't exist and stick their fingers in their ears.

I think they're afraid and feel threatened by the cogency of the right-libertarian groups and philosophies. It's worth bring up a reminder too that the last two successful invasions of parliament weren't carried out by any hard bitten left-anarchist group. No, it was Fathers for Justice and The Countryside Alliance. They're not necessarily of right-libertarian stock either, yet it's embarrassing for the schizophrenic leftists. Someone else took their ball(s).

So, back on topic. Well - More regulation. Yes more! Here's some regulation right here. Err.....

"It is popular to take low lending standards as proof that the free market has failed, that the system that is supposed to reward productive behavior and punish unproductive behavior has failed to do so. Yet this claim ignores that for years irrational lending standards have been forced on lenders by the federal Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and rewarded (at taxpayers' expense) by multiple government bodies.

The CRA forces banks to make loans in poor communities, loans that banks may otherwise reject as financially unsound. Under the CRA, banks must convince a set of bureaucracies that they are not engaging in discrimination, a charge that the act encourages any CRA-recognized community group to bring forward. Otherwise, any merger or expansion the banks attempt will likely be denied. But what counts as discrimination?"

(emphasis mine)

Oh dear. It's a Godzilla sized law of unintended consequences. Again. This was where the sub-prime crisis started. The State will know best as long as prophets of Marx are in charge. Oh yes.

Also bear in mind what Guido Fawkes said recently:

"The investment banking model since the 1990s was flawed not by lack of regulation, it was flawed because of poor governance. Traders and management were incentivised to take risk for reward with minimal personal downside. Bank shareholders have lost money hand over fist whilst their hired employees have been paid hundreds of millions. The complex derivative structures that underpinned sub-prime lending were opaque to the point of incomprehensibility."

The popular meme amongst the "radicals" appear to be to tar everyone involved in the industry with the same brush. The ignorance is mind boggling (check "opinion former" Urban 75 if you don't believe me).

Anyway, back to our dearest ex-chancellor. According to Gorgon, we should be blaming:
1) The U.S. (never mind that our economies are fundamentally intertwined, especially since Gorgon (or fuck knows who made the actual decision - it's not as if the media has been asking) decided to go long on U.S. Securities....
2) Short sellers.
3) The price of oil.
4) "Off balance sheet liabilities"

On 1), well I think we all know that an American economy and foreign policy without a corresponding Anglo intertwinement would be like balls without a bag.

On those securities by the way..... Securities - Treasury Bills (or 'T-Bills') are seen as a 'safe investment'. It's no surprise then that many investors are pulling money out of what were seen previously as relatively safe bets such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs and buying T-Bills instead. What is a surprise is that the UK government, having invested in hundreds of billions of dollars worth of T-Bills over the last year appeared to have foreknowledge of this more than a year ago. See my blog, 'Britain does shoeshining' here. This wasn't an accidental decision (oops, just found $200 billion down the sofa to invest). We've been bullshitted AGAIN.

Ian Hislop on Question time this week - pointed out that Gorgon has not "taken us out of Boom and Bust" (but he said he would damnit!), he's just got rid of 'Boom'. All the while he was sat next to that sketchy cow Harridan Harperson.

Gorgon says: "The US government now owns much of the US mortgage market and a large part of the world's biggest insurer." Lenin is face-palming as we speak. I'm face-palming. Everyone is face-palming.

It was Gorgon who presided over the house price and credit fuelled "boom". It was also Gorgon who presided over PFI (Private Finance Initiative - we borrow at exhorbitant cost from the future to build things now that we still won't own at the end of it. "We" being the taxpayer schumcks - you and me). And he probably knows full well that he might be saved from the consequences of PFI by becoming unelectable when, in just a couple of years, the real costs of PFI will start appearing:

p.s. PFI is one of those "Off balance sheet liabilities"

More cooking the books. More bullshit.

Quelle Surprise?

That oft-overlooked point that a free market of goods and services also requires a free market of information. Short selling is an important part of this, it provides information on the state of the company. Speculation and shorting of stock can excacerbate the situation, but it isn't creating it. Its been another thing the followers of the Prophet have been jumping on without really understanding. By the way, here's the 29 stocks on the London Stock Exchange you can no longer go short on
- they're financial institutions of one sort or another. There's a big problem, however, as Guido points out:

"The banning of short sellers is a side show, it is merely populist politicking. It will make conservative hedging very difficult, it raises the cost of capital to corporates and it will not change the underlying fundamentals. It will also create liquidity problems and a whole host of technical difficulties."

But it's ok because the short-sellers are EVIL CAPITALISTS. Followers of the prophet don't understand it so it's de facto evil.

Follow the gummint bullshit and swallow it hook, line and sinker why don't you. Meanwhile, while you weren't looking (again) - The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury is about to become the most powerful person in the world. (Not that the fourth estate was looking either).

The phrase "too big to fail" with regard to these horrific corporatist entities should be replaced with an old one - "unsinkable". Every similarity in the analogy I'm alluding to there is deserved. It should also be applied to government (you know, my fellow anarchists that BIG GOVERNMENT that you claim to hate), and that rotting carcass of shite that is claimed to be representative of radical thought in the U.K.


Oh and someone should kick Harridan Harperson's face off, because everytime that gobshite speaks, this happens I have to facepalm and my head is starting to get sore.

So folks, who's gonna get us out of this mess? Zanu Labour, Blue Labour, or The Illiberal Undemocrats. You know where I'm pinning my colours, but then what the fuck do I know?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Britain does shoeshining

Never mind that our muppet chancellor said that we're about to hit the worst economic shoals for sixty years.

Never mind that we hit Peak Oil in the North Sea in 1999 and worldwide in November 2005. Never mind that Peak Gas followed straight behind it. Never mind that no one in the cabinet appears capable of even mouthing the terms (but backbenchers do give it a mention). After, what is unspeakable is unthinkable. Never mind that the government was warned in a parliamentary briefing in 1999 in no uncertain terms. Never mind that energy still fails to equate in the government's economic calculations and predictions - something known as the Solow Residual, where "energy" turns out to be a very convincing missing link. Never mind that the U.K. doesn't have a Sovereign Fund. Never mind the fact that you never even heard of a Sovereign fund.

Never mind that the UK and EU is hopelessly dependent on gas supplies from Russia, whilst making aggressive noises regarding the situation in Georgia (and never mind that the U.S. and Israel had boots on the ground in Georgia, training their armed forces before they rolled into South Ossetia).

Never mind any of this. (And hat tip to Patrick Vessey of the UK Libertarian Party for this one.)

Mind what Darling missed out. What the media missed out. Again. Mind your opinion of the U.S. Economy. Mind your opinion of the strength of the dollar (representing as it does, USA Plc). Think the U.S. economy is running on hot air? Possibly about to fully tank in the near future? Think that UK Plc is taking a hit too? Then don't read on.

Since June last year, the U.K. has increased it's holding of U.S. Treasury securities, from $50 billion to $280 billion. Here is the raw data. This means in the space of one year, the UK has gone from the world's 8th to the world's 3rd largest holder of US debt.

Nations buy securities (debt) from other nations as good investments. Or at least that is what they should do. That's what governments who look out for the interests of their citizens might do. UK Plc has just gone and purchased a f**kload of debt from the same place that brought us subprime mortgages and the crash of Northern Crock. Bailed out by "us". The socialisation of corporate debt.

Now we're seeing something truly remarkable. At the beginning of our own, balls against the wall, economic crunch, we're now seeing what could be the socialisation of another nation's debt and it's death-spiral economy. There's nothing short of a miracle that could make these securities good investments. And where will the buck stop for paying this one? You and me. Again.

Now we know what that strange group of islands off the North-West coast of continental Europe is for. You know, that one that isn't buffered by being part of the Eurozone (p.s. speaking to some European friends recently, they don't want sterling to join the Euro, why? Too much debt.... uhh....). Now we know what it's for. It's going to be a doorstop for the crashing US economy.

Skids up kids.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Londoner stopped by bullsh*t

Watch here to see a U.K. citizen stopped and searched recently under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Hopefully, this ballsy video capture of the police in action will actually bring home the meaning of "anti-terrorism" to more people.

A less choppy version of the video can be found here if you're having trouble with the above version. It is worth looking at the first link however for the comments.

Note that he has no choice about whether he can consent to being searched and have his property rifled through (including one of the officers apparently taking note of the details on one of his credit cards). He must either comply or be arrested (and subsequently face all of the additional consequences such as having his fingerprints and DNA taken and put on the national database).

Remember, if you are stopped under Section 44, Liberty currently have a search monitoring form that you should fill in. If enough of us do this Liberty will have some kind of statistical evidence for highlighting the bullsh*t that it is.

It is also worth noting the Police's own propaganda on this issue.

While I'm at it - here is a comprehensive debunking of the "nothing to hide" 'argument'.

If your initial response to all of this is to say that the police are just 'doing their job', you might want to refamiliarise yourself with the Nuremburg defence.

Here is a link to the author's blog, where he considers his reaction to the police.

And hat tip to John Sabotta over at Samizdata for this quote:

"So passed, to all appearance, from the minds of men the strange dream and fantasy called freedom."


Sunday, June 22, 2008

The "Human Nature" paradox

There are many influences on one’s choice of political philosophy. The crucial aspect however is almost always the concept of “human nature” one holds – whether apprehended in full conscious awareness or not. Many philosophers have in the past questioned the validity of even asserting a ‘human nature’ at all. Indeed, beyond recognising the human organism’s basic survival needs (and sans Maslov's hierarchy of needs), pinning down a definitive “nature” from which a program of behaviour can be definitively deduced is exceptionally difficult. Counter examples abound to break whatever pattern is set down in stone.

Yet it has been demonstrated repeatedly that the machinery of evolution weighs heavily on human freedom. From R.A.Wilson and Timothy Leary’s ‘Eight Circuit Model’ to Sartre’s description of the ‘Human Condition’ to Geoffrey Miller’s ‘Mating Mind’ it is clear that most of our decisions, conscious and pre-conscious, are dominated by physically hardwired reactions and predilections.

Despite the enormous impact of our physicality and inherited behaviours, humans have developed the capacity to choose otherwise – at least when (self)conscious awareness intervenes. And the aforementioned accounts all include this key aspect. When one moves from consideration of the typical human experience to political philosophy however, something curious often happens:

Because we are evolutionarily geared towards survival, and hence self-interest, many political philosophers have assumed that this, in some kind of bizaare application of “morality”, means that humans are inherently “bad” (or in some cases “evil” – whatever that means). The reasoning is that because we have the capacity to choose otherwise, and very often don’t (because 95%+ of the internal influences on us originate in the body), we must be flawed creatures.

Hence begins the justification for all manner of tyranny over the human being. From the authoritarian church decreeing how one should react to perfectly natural urges and inclinations to the state regulating one’s economic behaviour (and much much more once ‘function creep’ sets in). In both cases the supposition is that us bad, awful human beings, require some supra-human entity (whether church, state or baseless absolutist value) to direct us. The first part of the paradox here of course is that such supervening entities are themselves made up of human beings.

The second part of the paradox is that whether humans are fundamentally “good” or “bad” (whatever that means to you personally), the argument for a supervening entity (state or otherwise) has to fail. If humans are fundamentally “good” (as supposed by anarchists and many Libertarians) then why do we need these entities at all (except where we all gain from the benefits of mutually consenting collective activity)? If humans are fundamentally “bad” (as supposed by statists and authoritarians of all hues) then the very last thing one should be proposing is giving some humans arbitrary power over others.

Either way it’s lose-lose for the authoritarians and statists.