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Acqua Alta

Elec­tions are of such futile import it is best to ignore the sad res­ults of the feb­rile com­bin­a­tion of the illu­sions of a trav­el­ling show and a horser­ace, yet in this case the white smoke will pro­nounce Pope Don­ald the Golden, a man of such imper­i­ous awful­ness that only a couple of reas­ons should give him the grass crown: he is not Hil­lary; and the estab­lish­ment of dunces, includ­ing the ludicrous mass media who were so firmly in the bag for this scoundrel’s unbear­able oppon­ent, will hope­fully implode in shock and awe.

For the rest of us, it not being a mush­room cloud, as would announce Hil­lary, must needs suf­fice.

 

Chester­ton was pretty much a scoun­drel him­self, start­ing off as a foul repub­lic­an, and with his cloy­ing devo­tion to Rome ( and anti-Germanic French ras­cal­ity ) which today is served by the most nut­tily devout Cath­olic blogs; but he was a great poet, and still great­er romantic. And to his death he moved, as did Shaw, some­what near­er the truth of Roy­al­ism: had all these old chaps of that gen­er­a­tion lived another 100 years, they might have approached the throne of Legit­im­at­ism they had rejec­ted so vehe­mently in press and print their whole lives.

 

 

Out of the mouth of the Mother of God,
More than the doors of doom,
I call the muster of Wessex men
From grassy ham­let or ditch or den,
To break and be broken, God knows when,
But I have seen for whom.

“Out of the mouth of the Mother of God
Like a little word come I;
For I go gath­er­ing Chris­ti­an men
From sunken pav­ing and ford and fen,
To die in a battle, God knows when,
By God, but I know why.

“And this is the word of Mary,
The word of the world’s desire
‘No more of com­fort shall ye get,
Save that the sky grows dark­er yet
And the sea rises higher.’”

 

Gil­bert Keith Chester­ton : The Bal­lad of the White Horse

 

 

Drowned Landscape

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The Emperor’s Invention

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at 7:30 am (High Germany, Literature, Other Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy, The Enemy, War)

A couple of years before the débâcle --- as implicit within --- Louis-Napoléon meditated, which is what he was best at, some wish-fulfilment . An accomplished author, his only known fiction had been, in hereditary fashion, official pronouncements.

 

 

'Plot of a Novel by the Emperor'

 

  "M. Benoît, an honest grocer, residing tn the Rue de la Lune, left, in 1847, for America. After having travelled in the countries extending from Hudson's Bay to the Mississippi, he returned to France in April, 1868, having been nearly nineteen years out of the country. He had been only vaguely informed as to the events which had taken place in France since 1848. Some French refugees had told him that, if he visited France, he would find it crushed under a system of despotism, with poverty abounding everywhere; a France, in fact, very different from that he left flourishing under the reign of Louis Phillippe. Our friend Benoît arrives at Brest in a trans-Atlantic steamer, full of uncertainties, regrets, and apprehensions. 'What are those black-looking vessels, so ugly when compared with the beautiful sailing vessels that I have left behind me ?' he asks of the first sailor he meets. 'Why,' replies the sailor, 'they are iron-clad men-of-war, the Emperor's invention; covered in iron, they are impregnable; and this transformation has destroyed, to a certain extent, the supremacy of the English fleet on the seas.'   'That may be possible; but I am sorry for our old ships, with their poetical masts and sails.' [ On the margin, opposite the latter phrase, are written these words : "Passports suppressed." ] He sees the crowd rushing to the Court-house to record their votes. Astonishment at witnessing the existence of universal suffrage; astonishment at the railways which run throughout the whole of the country, and at the telegraph. Arrived in Paris; embellishments. The Octroi ( city dues ) carried to the fortifications. He wishes to make some purchases, which are cheaper, in consequence of the Treaty of Commerce; some half-price, &c. He fancies that there are a number of writers in prison. Error. No disturbances; no political prisoners; no exiles. No more preventative detentions; acceleration of trial; branding suppressed; civil death suppressed; Society for Assistance to the Aged; asylums at Vincennes; coalitions; Police de Roulage suppressed; military service shortened, pay increased, medal instituted, pension augmented, reserve increasing the regular force; funds for infirm priests; arrest for debt; brokers; a tradesman who sent his assistant to buy and sell goods was arrested; Councils-General."

 

The Secret Documents of the Second Empire. Pub. by the Commission of the Govt. of National Defence. L. 1871 Translated from the French by T. Curry.

 

 

Bivouac devant le Bourget, après le combat du 21 Décembre 1870 - 1872

Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville --- Bivouac devant le Bourget

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Once, I Lived The Life Of A Millionaire

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Belonging to the Old School, one of whose tenets is 'Never trust anyone wearing a suit', I was struck a couple of years back by how saturnine and excessively formalistic most world leaders --- and minor leaders, since it was the occasion when some awful little fellow who was governor of South Carolina went AWOL for a week to visit his mistress --- are nowadays. Messers Yeltsin and Kohl undoubtedly had faults, yet they managed a possibly spurious attitude of bonhomie and benevolence like a couple of drunk Cheeryble brothers: these sinister scoundrels combine devout self-belief with the amiablity of minor inquisitors' assistants. Recent world gatherings indicated they were issued with the same dark suits and blue ties by some cruel demob depot seeking to save costs.

 

One of their key mantras is economic reform, which is code for making the poor poorer; the shifty Mr. Sarkozy doesn't seem to have obsessed about this so much as Anglos do, concentrating more on domestic reforms which are probably silly yet less harmful. Nor, with his increase in presidential spending to 10,000 euros a day on food and 121 cars to ride in unsimultaneously, would he impress as an avid cost-cutter. Still, he could not help claiming recently that He Had Saved France, joing the long list of men who claimed to have Saved France, from Robespierre to Mirabeau to Napoleon to Thiers to Clemenceau to Petain to De Gaulle et al. None of them really did. One of his 'reforms' was steering the Three Strikes law against file-sharing, which is fairly doomed anyway as any fight against technology, not withstanding his palace was found to have indulged itself --- and merciful heaven, they chose to download a Ben Stiller 'comedy'...

However, he perhaps has some sympathy with the downtrodden, certainly his charming and very friendly wife appreciates what it is to be poor as can be seen in her excellent singing here:

 

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Carla Bruni --- Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out

 

 

Marisa Kirisame Sleeping in the Air

Fortuna --- in a style of Mucha

 

Read the rest of this entry »

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Several Days In March

It is now three years since Mr. Obama was sworn in as POTUS; and if he has not been much of a pres­id­ent  —  not that much should be expec­ted from any­one elec­ted by the mor­o­n­ate; after all, it should nev­er be for­got­ten that any pres­id­ent is merely a politi­cian who got lucky  —  any sane look at those who are the very best the Repub­lic­an party can put for­ward in com­pet­i­tion must instill a heavy good­will wish for the Chica­go Thug to con­tin­ue through a second term. Prob­ably he won’t need much luck, since last year thanks to those inter­ested in his pro­gress it was ensured that he spent more than any oth­er, and that this year he plans on break­ing the magic Bil­lion Dol­lar threshold.

 

Still, people may have too soon for­got­ten that his inaug­ur­a­tion was for­tu­it­ously marred by a for­tu­it­ous assas­sin­a­tion attempt by two for­tu­it­ous white racists who were for­tu­it­ously arres­ted in time, thus sav­ing him and the nation for the bene­fits of the Leader’s intel­lect and wise guid­ance over the com­ing years: Wig­gum was elec­ted because he was African-American, highly intel­li­gent, athe­ist­ic, young, and inspir­ing: plus he had rich friends  —  actu­ally, he was none of these things, apart from the rich friends bit. I am not inter­ested enough to select by race: all I can say is that the Rev­er­ends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jack­son, or even Charlie Ran­gel would have struck me as infin­itely prefer­able choices were one to have black­ness as a decider. Integ­rity still means some­thing.

Yet this incid­ent was to be over­shad­owed by a far more ter­ri­fy­ing plot, one that very nearly suc­ceeded in over­throw­ing the repub­lic, had which it had done, would have sealed Amer­ica into a hor­ri­fy­ing future as a bru­tal fas­cist ter­ror state, ruled by the arbit­rary for­ce of the con­spir­at­ors and theo­crat­ic lun­at­ics and cyn­ic­al cor­por­ate interests.

 
 
Michigan State Police Vehicle
 
 

The upcom­ing tri­al with anonym­ous jury of the Hutaree Mil­ita start­ing today, by remind­ing them of the agon­iz­ing events of March 2010, when a nation’s fate twis­ted in the wind, should awaken the United States to the per­ils with­in. To put it at the simplest inter­pret­a­tion of the Government’s case, these rich men, liv­ing in their trail­er parks and heav­ily armed with power­ful state-of-the-art weaponry and unlim­ited access to the media, planned to first kill a gov­ern­ment law offi­cial  —  as yet unknown to them and unde­cided by them  —  des­troy the mourn­ers at the funer­al of the first; seize the state; abol­ish the United Nations; ‘replace all forms of gov­ern­ment’; and found The Colo­ni­al Chris­ti­an Repub­lic, ruled by the Radok with the assist­ance of the Boraman­der and the Zulif.

This is noth­ing more than naked fas­cism.

To coun­ter this grave threat the state was com­pelled to util­ise the resources of the state police to cap­ture those behind this shad­owy Cat­ilineseque con­spir­acy, and smash it to bits  —  in a dif­fer­ent time and world send­ing a bobby around to knock on the trail­er door of the Pres­id­ent of Peas­moul­dia and give a stern lec­ture would have been suf­fi­cient, but now the threat of fas­cist ter­ror is too great for such sim­ple non-mechanized meth­ods.

 
 
Michigan Police Vehicle
 
 

Since, some of the eight con­spir­at­ors have been out on bail for the last 18 months  —  another pled guilty to weapons charges, and may give evid­ence  —  elec­tron­ic­ally tagged to pre­vent escape to sym­path­et­ic coun­tries; and an unseemly dis­pute has aris­en con­cern­ing the accused’ lodgings for the tri­al; being indi­gent they obvi­ously can­not afford to travel 100 miles each day for 6 to 8 weeks, and the judge says the gov­ern­ment can­not afford to pay for hotel rooms, so she has offered to put them in uncon­fined jail for the dur­a­tion.

Only by stand­ing firm, and hav­ing highly-trained per­form­ing law­yers scru­tin­ze every word of those hun­dreds of pages of pro­sec­utori­al evid­ence, can Amer­ica provide a fair tri­al and send them away to life impris­on­ment: show­ing her utter rejec­tion of state fas­cism.

 
 
Michigan State Police

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He Who Told Every Man That He Was Equal To His King Could Hardly Want An Audience

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at 10:00 am (Charles I, Manners not Morals, Other Writ, Royalism, Stuarts, The Building Blocks of Democracy)

But the truth is that the knowledge of external nature, and the sciences which that knowledge requires or includes, are not the great or the frequent business of the human mind. Whether we provide for action or conversation, whether we wish to be useful or pleasing, the first requisite is the religious and moral knowledge of right and wrong; the next is an acquaintance with the history of mankind, and with those examples which may be said to embody truth and prove by events the reasonableness of opinions. Prudence and Justice are virtues and excellences of all times and of all places; we are perpetually moralists, but we are geometricians only by chance. Our intercourse with intellectual nature is necessary; our speculations upon matter are voluntary and at leisure. Physiological learning is of such rare emergence that one man may know another half his life without being able to estimate his skill in hydrostaticks or astronomy, but his moral and prudential character immediately appears.

Milton when he undertook this answer was weak of body and dim of sight; but his will was forward, and what was wanting of health was supplied by zeal. He was rewarded with a thousand pounds, and his book was much read; for paradox, recommended by spirit and elegance, easily gains attention: and he who told every man that he was equal to his King could hardly want an audience.

His political notions were those of an acrimonious and surly republican, for which it is not known that he gave any better reason than that "a popular government was the most frugal; for the trappings of a monarchy would set up an ordinary commonwealth." It is surely very shallow policy, that supposes money to be the chief good; and even this without considering that the support and expence of a Court is for the most part only a particular kind of traffick, by which money is circulated without any national impoverishment.

It has been observed that they who most loudly clamour for liberty do not most liberally grant it. What we know of Milton's character in domestick relations is, that he was severe and arbitrary. His family consisted of women; and there appears in his books something like a Turkish contempt of females, as subordinate and inferior beings. That his own daughters might not break the ranks, he suffered them to be depressed by a mean and penurious education. He thought woman made only for obedience, and man only for rebellion.

 

Ground Zero

Footnote:>

The wisdom of the nation is very reasonably supposed to reside in the parliament. What can be concluded of the lower classes of the people, when in one of the parliaments, summoned by Cromwell, it was seriously proposed, that all the records in the Tower should be burnt, that all memory of things past should be effaced, and that the whole system of life should commence anew ?

Samuel Johnson : The Lives of the Poets --- Milton

 

 

Sigh No More My Lady
"Sigh No More"

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Full Goth Metal Marx

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(High Germany, Melancholy, Other Writ, Poetry, Self Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy)

I am always stupified by an aspect of militant atheism never remarked upon: these curious little chaps so outraged and so angry at a non-existent God they devote time to refuting Him and belief in Him --- for time is the one thing they cannot afford.

Let us suppose that God does not Exist. OK then, if not thrown by eventual nothingness --- which on the contrary they gleefully embrace --- there's very little to be said; and certainly nothing of eternal value: however one may as well live one's life out as pleasantly as possible according to one's own choices. It is tough to spend half of that time labouring at a job one detests, yet this too is not a problem for them, since they enjoy whatever weird stuff they do --- such as being a professor or economist; but time runs out no matter how one uses it. If mentally unstable they may substitute Humanity as their ersatz-religion of choice, chosen solely because they happen to be human, and insist on working for and lecturing to humanity, ( and if so inclined, working for the eradication of social elements opposed to their own social philosophy of choice for the betterment of all mankind [ except those elements eradicated ] ) despite the fact that all of humanity is destined for nothingness just as much as they when time runs out. And that nothing will be left of them, their acts and thoughts, nor those of any other, when time runs out.

So let us suppose one of these: he is say, 40, that gives him roughly 40 more years of existence until he is extinguished to the point that he will never know he was extinguished or was ever alive. Not to mention that the memory of him will be as vanished as most in 10,000 years. Allowing two-thirds of time for eating, sleeping, working, worrying about money or worrying about social stability etc., that leaves 13 years of possible enjoyment. Instead he uses up this time on earth self-righteously persuading others that they will go into nothingness and unimportance with no salvation, and arguing about a deity in whom he does not believe. All the time the clock clicks to his termination and his remaining time runs out, as in a death cell. This has to be a definition of insanity: to spend the sole amount of time you will ever have, not even in anger at not going on to an afterlife, but railing against a God one thinks non-existent, hating the idea that others believe they go on, and mocking those whose faith is sure.

 
Karl Marx was one such, and despite his seminal work as a social philosopher and economist, all for an aim he believed he could never be conscious to see and which would end in nothingness itself, was largely inspired by early nineteenth century romantic rebellion against the God he didn't believe Existed, and Whom rationally he should not have cared about in the least, as a magnificent essay by Murray N. Rothbard I have referenced elsewhere makes clear.

 
Here are lyrics to Mother Nothingness ( The Triumph Of Ubbo Sathla ) from The Vision Bleak, and some of Marx's poetry from that essay: try and guess first...

 
Worlds I would destroy forever,
Since I can create no world;
Since my call they notice never

I shall build my throne high overhead,
Cold, tremendous shall its summit be.
For its bulwark –-- superstitious dread.
For its marshal –-- blackest agony.

I shall howl gigantic curses on mankind.
Ha ! Eternity ! She is an eternal grief.
Ourselves being clockwork, blindly mechanical,
Made to be foul-calendars of Time and Space,
Having no purpose save to happen, to be ruined,
So that there shall be something to ruin
If there is a Something which devours,
I'll leap within it, though I bring the world to ruins --–
The world which bulks between me and the Abyss
I will smash to pieces with my enduring curses.
I'll throw my arms around its harsh reality:
Embracing me, the world will dumbly pass away,
And then sink down to utter nothingness,
Perished, with no existence – that would be really living !

In the steaming morass
Of a newborn earth
Lies the formless mass
Which to all gave birth

In a sea of sludge
Of immense extend
Lies the thoughtless mass
Which is source and end

We all must follow
Into her void
To her fetid womb
We all return

Her voiceless howl
Resounds through time
From primal mud
And fenses foul

A limbless thing
Mindless and coarse
This wretches guise
Is end and source

We all must follow
Into her void
To her fetid womb
We all return

Fall through the aeons
Onward to the earth in it's prime
Fall through the aeons
Becoming the spawn
Of the great old slime

…the leaden world holds us fast
And we are chained, shattered, empty, frightened,
Eternally chained to this marble block of Being,
… and we – We are the apes of a cold God.

 
Harpist of Destruction

 
 

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The Vision Bleak --- Mother Nothingness ( The Triumph Of Ubbo Sathla )

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‘Will Fuck For Weed’">Will Fuck For Weed’

Once when young I saw an old album cover which rather stuck in my memory, --- despite then and now being mostly uninterested in prog rock, as I here discover it was --- it's not everyday one sees a budgie waving a gun, let alone wearing a bandolier ( down-under, budgerigars roam in huge flocks, although I doubt they cover the sun with their wings nor the sound drowns out the wind and thunder: over here they are stuck singly or in pairs in small cages and called Petie ). Although it stayed, I never expected to find out where it was from. However, an hour back, from mere chance I typed the first word I thought of into Demonoid search under Music, not expecting any results at all --- it was 'napoleon' --- and it came up with 'Budgie's Bandolier'. With the instinct that only pure genius can achieve in mental comparison and patterning, like a flash I realised that it might quite possibly be connected to that ancient image. Which it was.

 

Mounted budgie wearing bandolier and rifle

 

Budgie was a Welsh band of the 1970s ( Amazon ) and here there are pictures of them then and now. The music's fine enough...

 

*******************************

 

More recently, here I made a post a few years back reffing Robert Browning with a postcard --- complete with camel in those innocent days --- of pre-Great War Venice Beach. The almost imperceptible joke being that Venice Beach is rather different now and whilst still worldly enough to satisfy Browning's magnificent judgemental gloom, has not the qualities to satisfy the exacting standards of the Haute Ton. Still, I daresay one can find cameltoes there if one looks sufficiently hard...

Although none of the comments can quite match mj88's perfect critique of California in a City Data Forums' thread

'I've never been to CA but they both sound like great and lovely areas (NOCAL or SOCAL). I always seem to hear positive things about CA such as the weather, friendly people, and beaches. The one and only drawback I have heard is that it occasionally gets congested on that one freeway in LA - can't remember its name at the moment.'

which carries subtlety to a new level, Yelp has a list of comments on Venice Beach which engagingly shows why it has an especial place in the hearts of it's countrymen:

The best way to describe Venice Beach is as a psychiatric hospital on a beach. Depending on how you feel about that, you can easily be entertained...or lose faith in humanity. Classic examples include guy collecting funds to rebuild Death Star and recruiting to kill off Jedi, guy in alien mask reading book in corner, and kids telling me how marijuana is the cure all drug (i.e. stub your toe...smoke a joint). In a one mile stretch, there were no less than 25 of these kids passing out cards. The numerous stands and booths all get horribly repetitive. Essentially, the boardwalk plays like one of those old time cartoons where the artists just recycled the background over and over. Food options are limited to mainly pizza places with a few burger places sprinkled in...and the occasional fruit cart.

Incense wafted everywhere like a light, perfumed fog it coiled about and hung over the Strand to mask or enhance the transitory and brief wisps of burning sage, scented candles, marijuana and body odor. Furry freaks danced with bespeckled nerds while tattooed rastafarian wanna-bes pulled stunned, pale and overweight tourists into impromptu reels as drums pounded incessantly to the accompaniment of piano, flute and electric guitar. Bleached blond surfers, salt-licked from a morning go-out passed by ancient hippies still peddling peace signs while cops turned their heads like they never saw the kid with the fat joint.

I especially thought the bums with a "Parents killed by ninja monkey. Help me pay for karate lessons" sign and a "I'm not going to lie, I want weed" sign were special.

If you don't like Venice Beach, you don't belong in California...
No, seriously get the hell out! This place is awesome! I love the atmosphere! Everyone's so chill. My only advice is be picky about the crazy people who perform their stunts, some of them aren't worth it, lol and I think they just spend the money on crack

2. I always see that guy who sells tongue whistles. I think the price is 5 different whistles for a dollar. I can't think of anything in this world that I would want less to spend a dollar on.

The creativity of the beggars is also notable. Just today I saw signs stating "Need fuel for my learjet", "Will fuck for weed" and "the happy wino".

I guess you have to love it or hate it. More on yelp love this place, but I have to disagree yet again with the yelpers. This place is nasty. Nasty in a dirty, homeless, shady, don;t bring your kids, way. My baby dropped her hat, (just purchased) and in 2 minutes it was gone. Someone stole a hat for a BABY that said Princess on it!!!! What real and I do mean real losers would do that? Even the homeless cannot possibly wear it.

What you get when you arrive, regardless of your reason for being there, is a dismal, despressing wasteland, and if you're from Nebraska or somewhere else decidedly non-Californian, much of what you'll see here you've already seen on your State Fair's sad midway. Decrepit and depressing tattoo parlor after tattoo parlor, sad and dejected t-shirt shops, and grimly appointed pizza stands make up the bulk of the boardwalk. The same astonishingly depressing people from your State Fair midway are here, too.

 

Sadly, Mr. Mozena has not yet become mayor of LA, and worse will not become write-in governor of CA, although there is no possibility that he could do worse than the laughable Arnold or either unholy front-runner in the present race between rich retards. However, on the credit side, Venice Beach has inspired many, many artists.

 

Madonna of Venice

Sir Peter Blake RA --- Madonna of Venice

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The Most Important Truth You Will Ever Know

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at 2:00 am (Computing, Correctitude, Self Writ, Spengler, The Building Blocks of Democracy)

People can be persuaded to believe anything provided they understand that this is what they are expected to believe

 

That took years to formulate, but the comforting part is that very few of the mass will ever believe it.

 

German Crusader

 

Anyway, it can be tied into a Russian fable quoted later. In the mean time, the instability of server 'Amp' appears to have perhaps stopped, and Serene Falcon is back to it's previous quiet efficiency: however the sloth of page-opening is also part of that normal state, so sooner or later it will be moved to the fastest servers in the west, Teksapiens, whom I found on the faintest of hints from this source.

Still, however unlikely, the Internal Security Division of Serene Falcon had to look for any evidence of hacking; which was not found: to the easily awestruck 'hacking' appears like some rough magic by which the threatening deliver some arcane spell at a site like a videogame wizard easily manipulating all though a mysterious and unnameable exploit which vanishes when suspected. In prosaic real life traces are always left, and for php even the powerful c99madshell needs to have been uploaded via FTP or through allowed uploads for the attacker to work; simply doing a date search for the most recent files will show if any of those was compromised... Should one find evidence in Wordpress, there are the options of looking for backdoors and eliminating them or cleaning the install.

To some others, including alas, state authorities, hacking is childsplay. Literally.

A new survey has revealed that while 78 percent of them agree that it is wrong, a quarter of the kids asked admitted that hacking really is child's play.
The survey of more than 1000 children discovered that the boy hacker stereotype no longer holds true, with 47 percent of those who put their hands up to hacking activity being girls.
The most common scene of the crime would appear to be the relatively safe haven of the bedroom with 27 percent saying this was where they hacked from, while 22 percent were hacking in an Internet Cafe, 21 percent using the ICT suite at school and 19 percent a mate's machine.
...
Cumbria Constabulary’s Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde ACPO lead on E-Crime Prevention and President of the Society for the Policing of Cyberspace (POLCYB) says "what this survey starkly highlights is that hacking into personal online accounts whether email or Facebook can be child’s play if users do not protect their own passwords. It illustrates the importance of keeping your passwords strong, secure and changing them regularly to help protect your accounts from unscrupulous people of all ages. We live in a world where social networking, email and the internet are embedded into our every day lives from a far younger age so early education is essential to ensure young people know the devastating consequences this activity can have...."

Whilst offering some reluctant admiration for whoever came up with 'Policing of Cyberspace', and much less admiration for the feeble attempt to emphasize the tenuous reach for supposed feminist equality in the hackosphere, it is unnerving to realise that police consider breaking into a friend's Facebook account by guessing their password as expert hacking or cracking.

Over in Africa they are a little more sophisticated --- which is not something said very often, considering that in South Africa setting people on fire is a pastime and up in Somalia they drive a truckload of stones into a stadium to punish a 13-yr-old girl for reporting her rape ( a few of the 1000 strong spectators protested ): a touch of modernity was provided by having nurses discover whether she was dead yet, and finding this not so, reburying her for the next volley of stones. A touch of multiculturalism makes the whole world kin --- and if this is what may be expected from there, still more ingenious efforts will be forthcoming from Russia and China as they and we spiral downwards.

Imagine a network of virus-driven computers so infectious that it could bring down the world's top 10 leading economies with just a few strokes. It would require about 100 million computers working together as one, a "botnet" — the cybersecurity world's version of a WMD. But unlike its conventional weapons equivalent, this threat is the subject of no geopolitical row or diplomatic initiative. That's because no one sees it coming — straight out of Africa.
Cybercrime is growing at a faster rate in Africa than on any other continent in the world, according to statistics presented at a conference on the matter in Cote D'Ivoire in 2008. Cybersecurity experts estimate that 80 percent of PCs on the African continent are already infected with viruses and other malicious software. And while that may not have been too worrisome for the international economy a few years ago (just like the continuing war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo does not affect our daily lives), the arrival of broadband service to Africa means that is about to change. The new undersea broadband Internet cables being installed today will make Africa no further away from New York than, say, Boston, in the virtual world.
Broadband Internet access will allow Africa's virus and malware problems to go global. With more users able to access the Internet (and faster), larger amounts of data can be transferred both out and inward. More spam messages in your inbox from Africa's email fraudsters will be only the beginning.

Franz-Stefan Gady NPR

 

At least the admirable Dancho Danchev's Blog - Mind Streams of Information Security Knowledge helps maintain some record of current threats. But apart from the superstrikes of the future being far more intense, there are still more pressing dangers than common criminals or the purely spiteful.

 
From Dark Reading, Mr. Gadi Evron reports:

Today I'd like to introduce you to one of the main thinkers on information warfare, who most of you never heard of. S.P. Rastorguev (Расторгуев C.П.). He is a Russian strategist who unfortunately, as far as I can find, hasn't been translated.
He wrote several books, but the one I will be speaking of is called literally Information Warfare ( Informatsionnaya voina -- Информационная война ). In it, he discusses the human animal and how viruses of the mind can work just as well as viruses in computer systems, exploring many models of exploitation.
While he covers many concepts, the one I was introduced to originally is the story of the fox and the turtle.
Here is a slightly altered, and shortened, version ( full and accurate version below ):

A turtle walks through the forest, enjoying the view. She runs into a fox, who says: "Turtle, turtle, get out of your shell and you can fly."
The turtle stares skeptically at the fox, and keeps on walking.
Eventually, traveling through the forest the turtle comes across a television set. She watches as hundreds of turtles get out of their shells, and fly.
She gets out of her shell, and she flies.

I'm gonna say I found this as clear as crystal, as I suspect really did the writer, who goes on,

When I first heard this story, I was confused. What was the moral of the story ? Deception ? Perhaps strategy ?
A friend of mine explained it as Sergei Rastorguev did at the end of the story: "The turtle didn't know and never will, that information warfare --- it is the purposeful training of an enemy on how to remove its own shell."

...

The following translation of the fox and turtle story was done by Ilya Konstantinov, as a favor to me. As to why the fox is female, you better ask a Russian literary expert, as that's just how it is in Russian fables.

There used to be an ordinary turtle who constantly carried a heavy shell on its back. The shell pressed her to the ground and every step she took was hard effort for her. That's why her life, measured by the number of those uneasy steps, was also hard.

On the other hand, when a hungry fox came running from a nearby forest, the turtle hid her head inside the shell and patiently awaited until the danger was over. The fox kept hopping around, trying to bite at the shell, trying to turn her upside down; all in all, trying all the steps typical of an aggressor, and yet the turtle prevailed.

Once upon a time, the fox got a big wallet, brought in a lawyer and, sitting across the turtle, proposed a buyout offer for the shell. The turtle considered it throughly, but due to her limited imagination, she had to refuse. And yet again, the fox left with nothing.

Time passed, the world changed, new means of telecommunication have entered the forest. One day, coming out of her house, the turtle saw a TV screen hanging off a tree, showing films of flying turtles, shell-less. Breathless with excitement, the woodpecker-announcer spoke of their flight: "Such a lightness ! What a speed ! How beautiful ! Such an elegance !". The turtle watched the show that day, and the next day, and the day after...
And then a thought arose in her little mind, about how stupid she is to carry around that weight - the shell. Wouldn't she be better getting it off? Life would be much easier. Scarier ? Yeah, a bit scarier, but the news anchor-owl announced that the fox has turned to the Krishnas and became vegetarian.

The world is changing. The forest is also completely different; there are less and less trees and distinctive animals, and more and more indistinguishable stray dogs and jackals.
"And really, why shouldn't I fly ? The skies --- they're so big and wonderful!"
"If only I gave up the shell, and --- right away - - life would be easier !" --- thought the turtle
"If only she gave up the shell, and --- right away --- she'd be easier to eat" -- thought the fox, signing on the bill for yet another advertisement of flying turtles
And one beautiful morning, when the skies seemed larger than ever, the turtle has made her first and last step towards freedom of her protection system.

The turtle didn't know and never will, that information warfare -- it is the purposeful training of an enemy on how to remove its own shell.

 
Thanks to the useful idiots of liberalism --- which includes every ideology since the 17th century, the Decline of the West is assured.

 

 

Eve and Apple

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The Raft Of Hell

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(Melancholy, Places, Royalism, Self Writ, Spengler, The Building Blocks of Democracy, The Enemy, The King of Terrors)

Seventeen years ago the federal government launched a siege and final assault against a group of private citizens who had not offended outside the beliefs they held or outside the group. To validate this process a propaganda campaign of falsehoods was instituted and was continued after.
 

This was not a punishment: it was a warning.
 
 

Punishments there were, in plenty, for the survivors.

Now, governments will do these things, whether in Indonesia, China or the USA --- and in the absence of government private parties will do such things, as in the Bastard Feudalistic phase of Late Mediaeval period during the Wars of the Roses or in the Gilded Age of America ( when Robber Barons like the unspeakable little republicans such as Carnegie or Frick randomly slaughtered their workers, Europeans were outraged not wholly at the murderous defence of Capital --- European polities were scarcely housing or in other ways treating their lower classes well, and were not averse though profoundly reluctant to sending the troops in if the police could not contain a strike --- but at the sheer insufferability of private citizens, including corporations as private citizens in the curious Anglo-American tradition, possessing and using armed private police forces to ensure their will ). This is not so much a question of the awfulness of government power, but the inane and disgusting purpose of an individual government.

The sect remembered was a breakaway group of a breakaway ad infinitum group in the true tradition of faiths. Seventh-Day Adventists are fearfully respectable and cook delicious food in their restaurants: those who seceded, as is the common way with splinter-groups, grew loopier the further they strayed. By the time David Koresh was through his sect was the Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists, the apple having rolled fairly far from the tree. Which is not to say the tenets of the Adventists are sane compared to Catholic doctrine --- and for Royalists, the Roman Catholics have always been the weak sisters to Monarchy and Western Civilisation: petty, corrupt and wilfully treacherous. For those loyal to higher powers than despicably elected mere Popes, Canossa is the Great Unforgotten as much as Kronstadt is to any decent communist. However, although their theology may not be persuasive it is at least coherent --- From the Wiki entry, all the Adventist groups share such flawed beliefs such as:

 

# Jesus Christ is to soon personally return to earth to gather together his elect and take them to heaven for 1000 years, after which he will return with them to this earth to dwell with them for eternity in his kingdom.

# The non-immortality of the soul. That is, the dead have no consciousness, nor being.

# There shall be a resurrection of both the just and of the unjust. The resurrection of the just will take place at the second coming of Christ; the resurrection of the unjust will take place 1000 years later, at the close of the millennium.

# There is a sanctuary in heaven in which Christ is ministering on behalf of mankind.

# There is an investigative judgment going on in the heavenly sanctuary that began on October 22, 1844 to determine who will come forth in each of the resurrections, and who will be translated without seeing death at the second coming of Christ. That said judgment began with the records of those who had died, and would eventually pass to the living.

 
Etc., etc.. This stuff shares the usual delusion of religion that God is subject to human desires and whims. One may be sure that the number '1000' is relied upon as being a definite span, not too large as to be incomprehensible, not too small as to be verifiable: but to imagine God is subject to human time-tabling is not merely impious, but as vain as a mayfly suggesting the God envisaged by mayflies will judge the risen mayflies within a month.

And in the Wiki entry for the Siege itself there is piece we recognise as classic Curious Religious Americana --- we are often belaboured with the fact that America has a deeply religious base as compared with decadent Europe, just as has Dar al-Islam. And what use is that if the religion itself is utterly insane ? This has more to do with Spengler's forecast of the Second Religosity amongst the peasantry during the Imperialistic period than a deep love of the Almighty --- which involves exhumation and guns.

 

Following the failure of this prophecy, control of Mt. Carmel fell to Benjamin Roden, and on his death to his wife, Lois. Lois Roden considered their son, George, unfit to assume the position of prophet. Instead, she groomed Vernon Howell, later known as David Koresh, as her chosen successor. In 1984, a meeting led to a division of the group with Howell leading one faction, calling themselves the Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists, and George Roden leading the competing faction. After this split, George Roden ran Howell and his followers off Mt. Carmel. Howell and his group relocated to Palestine, Texas.

After the death of Lois and the probate case, Howell attempted to gain control of the Mt Carmel center by force. George Roden had dug up the casket of Anna Hughes from the Davidian cemetery and had challenged Howell to a resurrection contest to prove who was the rightful heir. Howell instead went to the police and claimed Roden was guilty of corpse abuse. By October 31, 1987 the county prosecutors had refused to file charges without proof and so on November 3, 1987 Howell and seven armed companions attempted to access the Mt. Carmel chapel with the goal of photographing the body in the casket. George Roden was advised of the interlopers and grabbed an Uzi in response. The sheriff's department responded about 20 minutes into the gunfight. Sheriff Harwell got Howell on the phone and told him to stop shooting and surrender. Howell and his companions, dubbed the "Rodenville Eight" by the media, were tried on April 12, 1988; seven were acquitted and the jury was hung on Howell's verdict. The county prosecutors did not press the case further.

While waiting for the trial, George Roden was put in jail under contempt of court charges on March 21, 1988 because of his use of foul language in some court pleadings threatening the Texas court with AIDS and herpes if it ruled in favor of Howell. The very next day, Perry Jones and a number of Howell's other followers moved from their headquarters in Palestine, Texas to Mt. Carmel Center.

 

The bellowed threats of God's biological warfare smiting the court seem counterproductive to getting that court to look favorably upon one's cause...

 

The Most Intelligent Way Possible

 
However the prior antics of squabbling religious fanatics was unassociated with the later event, which was orchestrated under the leadership of Miss Janet Reno. Here, I shall defer to a recent report [ Dec 2009 ] from IFS Writers: God Bless You Janet Reno --- Child Killer.

 

For 51 days, the ATF and the FBI held these people hostage, and then lied to Congress. I just want to let everyone know that I too, remember these Americans, these little children and old people that Janet Reno had gunned down, mutilated and burnt in the name of justice. I remember that one male report, who would come to the microphone and TV camera, and report that - there was no food for the children, or the next time, the kids were being molested, or the very next time, the kids were being held as hostages, etc. I wonder how his career is during these days. America will never forget Janet Reno and her friends that kill children, mothers and old people. I know she will live a long fruitful life. After all one day she will meet each and everyone of those victims again. And at that time, there are no laws, police and anything thing else that will save her from the raft of hell.

Janet Reno, the former attorney general in the Clinton administration, received a lifetime achievement award Friday, April 18, 2009, from the American Judicature Society, a non-partisan justice advocacy network.

Speaking slowly because of the effects of Parkinson Disease, Reno praised violence prevention programs and the current direction of the Justice Department. “Now I can look at America and think this is a nation that is responding in the most intelligent way possible to deal with violence, especially domestic violence,” Reno said.

 

Poor old incompetent fool, it might be more charitable to assume she, as we assume of Reagan during his presidency, so crippled pre factum that the mental damage was already there rather than it being a punishment..
 

Oh, Say, Can You See....
 

On February 28, 1993, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) launched the largest assault in its history against a small religious community in America. Approximately eighty armed agents invaded the compound, purportedly to execute a single search and arrest warrant. The raid went badly; six Branch Davidians and four agents were killed.

Attorney General Janet Reno asked for and received military support. The U.S. Army showed up with tanks.

After a fifty-one-day standoff, the United States Justice Department approved Reno’s plan to use CS gas and break down the walls with tanks to “save the children” of those barricaded inside.

On the 51st day tanks carrying the CS gas broke through the concrete walls and entered the compound. A fire broke out, and all seventy-four men, women and children inside perished. One third of them from gunshot wounds, the rest crushed by debris or burned to death.

After the compound had burned down the ATF flag was hoisted aloft to signify ‘victory’. At Janet Reno’s award ceremony today it was only mentioned that 74 “cult members” were killed.

 

Still Meant Over 10 Years In Quod For Resisting Arrest
 

In The Davidian trial judge sentenced five Davidians to the maximum sentence of 30 years each; one to 20 years; one to 15; one to 5 years and one to 3 years. On June 4, 2000 the Supreme Court cut 25 years from 4 Davidians' sentences and 5 years from one. On September 9, 2000 Judge Walter Smith followed the Court's instructions and cut those sentences, as well as the 25 year sentence of Livingstone Fagan who had not appealed.

All were released as of July 2007.

 

 

However... Quite ordinary American prisons appear training grounds for Guantánamo: from the Wiki article...

One, Derek Lovelock, was held in McLennan County Jail for seven months, often in solitary confinement. Livingston Fagan, another British citizen, who was among those convicted and imprisoned, recounts multiple beatings at the hands of prison guards, particularly at Leavenworth. He claims to have been doused with cold water from a high-pressure hose, which soaked both him and the contents and bedding of his cell, after which an industrial fan was placed outside the cell, blasting him with cold air. He was repeatedly moved between at least nine different facilities. He was strip-searched every time he took exercise, so refused exercise.

 

It's very difficult to imagine what pleasure a prison guard gets from beating up inmates...

 

And with all sieges where the external forces have world enough and time, All You Ever Have To Do Is Wait.
 

 

Texas Devastation

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“Oh, Good” Quoth The Dodo, “New Friends.”">Oh, Good” Quoth The Dodo, “New Friends.”

In the year 1598 AD, Portuguese sailors landing on the shores of the island of Mauritius discovered a previously unknown species of bird, the Dodo. Having been isolated by its island location from contact with humanity, the dodo greeted the new visitors with a child-like innocence. The sailors mistook the gentle spirit of the dodo, and its lack of fear of the new predators, as stupidity.

 

Dodo
Sculpture by Gustav Gonne

 
About 1638, as I walked London streets, I saw the picture of a strange fowle hung out upon a clothe and myselfe with one or two more then in company went in to see it. It was kept in a chamber, and was a great fowle somewhat bigger than the largest Turky Cock, and so legged and footed, but stouter and thicker and of a more erect shape, coloured before like the breast of a young cock fesan, and on the back of dunn or dearc colour. The keeper called it a Dodo, and in the ende of a chymney in the chamber there lay a heape of large pebble stones, whereof hee gave it many in our sight, some as big as nutmegs and the keeper told us that she eats them ( conducing to digestion ), and though I remember not how far the keeper was questioned therein, yet I am confident that afterwards shee cast them all again.

Sir Hamon L'Estrange

[ A normal royalist who wrote a life of the Great King, and father of Roger, an extreme royalist journalist who battled against usurping filth in youth and age; and even gave the Dr. Goebbels of the Commonwealth, the depraved Johnny Milton a metaphorical drubbing. Goebbels without the charm, of course; for he was as inferior to the good doctor as his unspeakable master was to his tedious disciple Adolf. ]

 

Dodo 1602

 
It is near dusk in The Hague and the light is that of Frans Hals, of Rembrandt. The Dutch royal family and their guests eat and talk quietly in the great dining hall. Guards with halberds and pikes stand in the corners of the room. The family is arranged around the table; the King, Queen, some princesses, a prince, a couple of other children, and invited noble or two. Servants come out with plates and cups but they do not intrude.
On a raised platform at one end of the room an orchestra plays dinner music—a harpsichord, viola, cello, three violins, and woodwinds. One of the royal dwarfs sits on the edge of the platform, his foot slowly rubbing the back of one of the dogs sleeping near him.
As the music of Pachelbel's Canon in D swells and rolls through the hall, one of the dodos walks in clumsily, stops, tilts its head, its eyes bright as a pool of tar. It sways a little, lifts its foot tentatively, one then another, rocks back and forth in time to the cello.
The violins swirl. The dodo begins to dance, its great ungainly body now graceful. It is joined by the other two dodos who come into the hall, all three in sort of a circle.
The harpsichord begins its counterpoint. The fourth dodo, the white one from Réunion, comes from its place under the table and joins the circle with the others.
It is most graceful of all, making complete turns where the others only sway and dip on the edge of the circle they have formed.
The music rises in volume; the first violinist sees the dodos and nods to the King. But he and the others at the table have already seen. They are silent, transfixed—even the servants stand still, bowls, pots and, kettles in their hands forgotten.
Around the dodos dance with bobs and weaves of their ugly heads. The white dodo dips, takes half a step, pirouettes on one foot, circles again.
Without a word the King of Holland takes the hand of the Queen, and they come around the table, children before the spectacle. They join in the dance, waltzing ( anachronism ) among the dodos while the family, the guests, the soldiers watch and nod in time with the music.

Howard Waldrop's most famous story: The Ugly Chickens; which can be found here. In a most irritating layout.

 

waterhouse Dodo

 
"Let us mention the Dodo whose body is big and round. His corpulence gives it a slow and lazy walk. There are some nearing 50 pounds in weight. Its sight is of more interest than its taste and he looks melancholic as if he was sorry that Nature had given him such small wings for so big a body. Some have their head capped with a dark down, some had the top of their head bald and whitish as if it had been washed.They have a long and curved bill with the nostrils openings half way to the tip. It is greenish yellow. Their eyes are round and shiny and they have a fluffy plumage. Their tail looks like the sparsely beard of a Chi­nese made up of three or four short feathers. Their feet are thick and black and their toes powerful. They have a fiery stomach allowing them to digest stones like ostriches do"

Teylandt's Mauritius --- mentioned on a page: Le musée du Dodo

 
Reunion Dodos

Pieter Withoos -- Reunion Dodo with friends

 
A Dodo Blog; the Dodohaus; some 1850 notes here; a newspaper article here, and a creationist view there. Which last ends rather correctly:

Now that the bird has been extensively studied, we realize that the facts do not support the evolutionary myth, but do support the moral bankruptcy of humankind.

Yes.

 

Savery --- Dodo
Roelandt Savery - Dodo

 
The sentimental view of animals, that they are created for our purpose, and the mechanistic view that we are all animals and thus anything we do to them is merely one species outsmarting another come together in self-loving smug congratulation to justify any atrocity. As is only commonplace. It's fairly difficult for most people to realise that, as with humans, animals are by no means equal, yet are each an individual: and as individual souls they get from God an individual respect which we need to emulate to act correctly. As difficult as it is for the birds of the air and beasts of the land to remember the most important thing when they see a human: Run like Hell.

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The Skewed Perspective

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at 10:00 pm (Correctitude, Self Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy)

Of course, the Greek works that survive are those that the Christian Byzantines choose to preserve for us. Hence they give a very skewed view of what Greek thought was actually like. For instance, we have seen that the medical works of Galen make up a full fifth of the entire surviving classical Greek corpus. Add Plato, Aristotle, Ptolemy and the mathematical works and we find that Christians were by far the most keen on copying scientific and medical writings. The papyri from Egypt and epigraphical evidence show that this was not the concern of most Greeks. In other words, we think Greeks were a rational lot because Christians were interested in their rational thought. Hence, the preponderance of Greek science in the surviving corpus tells us that the Christians who preserved it were very interested in science --- not that the classical Greeks were. Oddly, Stoicism, the Greek philosophy that comes closed to Christianity is severely under represented as is Epicurianism and Cynicism. And yet these three schools rejected much of reason and science, concentrating instead on ethical issues. We are left with the strong impression that it was Christians who appreciated Greek science a whole lot more than the Greeks did.

James Hannam Loss and Preservation of Ancient Literature','The Skewed Perspective'

Nice. Though a caveat might be that the Greeks gave us so much more than scientific rationalism that the debt civilisation owes them is beyond measure: cool helmets; the theatre of the angst; and, of course, Democracy buttressed by slaves... * The Greek loving Oscar Wilde confesses in his socialist musings that slavery is inescapable in an ideal democracy --- someone has to actually do the unpleasant bits --- although the obvious conclusion that democracy is fraudulent as a concept from this and a dozen other reasons was naturally eluded. Democracy is the ultimate feel-good ideal; and it's devotees know that however many millions are slaughtered, tortured, enslaved, robbed, lied to, and disappointed, that mankind may enter the miragic City upon a Hill, they are absolved by the moral purity of the mission.

It would be salutory if they would simply look at a single group selected at random in order to examine whether they truly want these exact people to have any say in their own lives. Not necessarily the demonized, such as communists, nazis or scientologists, but a community of ordinary people come together to celebrate anything one likes. At random, I proffer the unspeakable Gor. Google = 94 million results.

Professors of philosophy rarely are going to be productive of anything helpful; yet American ones seem rather less so, and their results positively harmful on occasion --- well, certainly on this occasion... Gorean studies are prominent on the Web, the enthusiasts being mostly women [ It is ironic, therefore, that the largest single group among the creators of webpages, and in the Gor chatrooms are female. ]; the rest being wimps. It can best be summed up by a famous parody, Houseplants of Gor ( The cactus plant next to the spider plant shuddered. It attempted to cover its small form with its small arms and small needles. "I am plant," it said wonderingly. ), and what one really, really, needs to establish is whom exactly, apart from themselves maybe, would select these people as having a valid input into any choice that effects others. And, this is merely one subset of humanity: there is no logical reason why any other selected group would fare any better. To take one party mentioned above: much of the internet gets over-excited about scientologists; accusing them of numberless offences: personally, I think their religion and practices sub-optimal, but nothing to concern my life, yet regarding their entirely legitimate beliefs, which they have every right to hold, I find it offensive that believers in L. Ron's idiocy should have a vote to determine government. However, no more offensive than that anyone should have a vote; including myself.

 
Medea

Virginia Frances Sterrett -- Medea and the Snakes

 
Here's a blog with a lot of jolly nice dragons. I never cared for the duplicitous Jason, nor St. George either.

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Is Thy Servant A Dog That He Should Do This Thing ?

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(Animals, Correctitude, Manners not Morals, Self Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy)

The Rightosphere, painstaking as ever to find more stuff to feel delicious frissons of outrage about, and more reasons to be unnecessarily mean to muslims, has got excited over The Case of The Muslim Who Barked In The Night. Basically, a poor feeble-minded member of that faith, member of Dundee City Council and member of the Tayside Police Board, complained that this advert, featuring Rebel, was offensive to some of his sad community.

 

Rebel Puppy

 

Now, the Tayside Police had a number of options here, all of which could be combined with just telling him that his advice had been noted and would treated with the importance it deserved:

1/ Contact any christian european/american member of Tehran's City Council, and ask him/her to protest about the depraved muslim drive to destroy pet dogs in Iran, especially in that city.

2/ Set up an urgent Education Policy to explain to the muslim community the especial place dogs have in British and european culture, especially black dogs ( whom Mohammed considered devils --- he doesn't seem to have been entirely sane all the time; still, he liked cats ) who haunt various parts of England, the continent, and even some parts of America, bringing rather more happiness and delight than any elected member of local government ever has, even if they bring instant doom and destruction. Being torn by the hounds of Arawn, The Lord of Winter, is slightly less painful than being torn apart by the self-righteous maenads of political correctness if only because the hounds are less stupid and would not accompany the savagery with boring one with the moral reasoning for the action at the same time.

3/ Engage in a wild hunt of local muslims with vicious packs of rabidly foaming dogs of all shapes and sizes.

4/ Preferably: tell him to go chase his tail around and around until he collapses in a heap.

Naturally, police being wimps, they apologised. Still, who cares ? Such minor things can be ignored until the future culture-clash goes into armed mode...

Slightly more annoying, one can notice that the 0845 prefix to the number means that it is charged at a higher rate which goes back to the called organisation. It now costs money to call the cops ? Not only are they useless, but they charge you for it...

 

Blasphemer - Black Doggie

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What Lives In Vegas, Dies Out of Vegas

One thing the world admires in Americans is that, despite the mistrust and fearfulness innate on a personal level, they retain a basic confidence in the group and retain an idealism in all matters of faith. As a realist I could scarcely maintain that most ideals are barely removed from derangement, but they make people happy --- and it is definitely preferable to be surrounded by optimists rather than equally delusional pessimists.

One aspect, faith in science and faith in government --- during the twentieth century these were so interwined as to become indistinguishable --- was exemplified by those so avid for entertainment and [ very ] momentary pleasure that they flocked from around the continent to ever-welcoming Las Vegas to stare at the mushroom clouds that blossomed in the 1950s. While this might seem to more critical minds the nadir of stupidity, I honestly have to confess that considering the loathliness of most activities that the city so famously offers it does seem an alternative --- if only for a blink of an eye.

The late Mr. Carlin, who performed last there just 12 days back, happened to describe it as "... the most dispiriting, soul-deadening city on earth." and a few years back expounded to the patrons watching his act there, "People who go to Las Vegas, you've got to question their fucking intellect to start with. Traveling hundreds and thousands of miles to essentially give your money to a large corporation is kind of fucking moronic. That's what I'm always getting here is these kind of fucking people with very limited intellects." which seems fair enough --- and almost sedulous in avoiding empty flattery. Yet, although personally oblivious to the pleasure of gambling for money, the faded rat-pack type entertainment seems yet more repellent. Essentially this demonstrates one problem with absolute freedom and happiness: with all you will ever need, how does one use that freedom to maintain happiness ? We may futurely discover that in any of the heavens promised by various faith: on earth it appears to involve sitting in exquisitely awful hotels, listening to Cool singers, and regularly giving even larger sums than most religions demand in blind faith that it will be returned a thousandfold.

This is quite an interesting site, Essays On Deep Las Vegas Culture; and although my liking for Elvis is nearly as tepid as my liking for the city, I find the song ok for it's remarkable vigour and structure --- written naturally by someone who had not been there, and lived in poverty; unlike the criminals who built the place --- and the fountain is tremendously pretty.

 

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Elvis Presley -- Viva Las Vegas -- Bellagio Water Show

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People Power

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at 12:00 am (Other Writ, Self Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy)

Organised sport has always disgusted me: making all allowances for it's devotees' belief that it serves as a mimicry of warfare, spiritual and actual, without the latter's ontological import; and the fact that for the players --- who are undoubtedly, if only very minorly, skilled --- it improves health [ up to a certain point after which it diminishes it instead ] the idea of caring whether one bunch of eejits beat another bunch of eejits merely exemplifies the sadness of existence, no matter how preferable it is to not existing longer.

It is noticible that the rulers most scorned are the pacifically minded > few have been so thoroughly excoriated as James the First & Saxt, no matter how sensible his policy --- continued by his great son --- of avoiding direct participation in the Thirty Years War. Similarly, the Emperor Honorius is disliked for concentrating upon feeding his pigeons, maybe a rather expreme expression of Voltaire's advice to cultivate your garden... yet ending gladiatorial combat is definitely preferable to continuing to give people what they want... Animal games continued for a century or two though. Sport as religion is as tolerant of unbelievers, as full of fake moral ( social ) reasoning, and as empty as most real religions; yet if the participants enjoy it, let them, so long as they don't proselytize --- it's those who merely watch, live vicariously by giving it meaning it cannot possess, and pay for such imbecility who are still lesser beings. Is there any aspect of life in which democracy is not a wholly vile concept ?

 
John Waterhouse --- Honorius

John Waterhouse --- The Favourites of the Emperor Honorius

 
The musician was dead and the animals were fighting for the parts of his body strewn over the hillside. The crowd was weak from laughter and the girls on the barge were laughing too. The Master of the Games gave another signal.

This time nothing seemed to happen. Then one of the girls on the barge suddenly gave a shriek of terror. She was seated on the gunwale and the water in the arena was washing against her bare feet. The barge was sinking. The other girls took fright. Jumping up, they began screaming for help. A slave inside the barge had been watching through a knothole for the Master of the Games' signal. When it came, he gave orders to pull out the plugs and sink the vessel. The paddlers inside the barge had escaped through a hatch and were now feverishly swimming for the podium wall, praying that they could reach it before the crocodiles and hippos got them.

Hippos are by no means the big good-natured pig-like creatures that they seem. These animals were all bulls and in a very bad temper. A slave happened to touch one of the creatures. Instantly the hippo swung around, making the water swirl around him, and plunged his great tusks into the man's body. As the red dye spread, the crocs began to thrash around, sometimes seizing a hippo by the leg and sometimes each other. The crowd rose to its feet as one man at this new spectacle. The barge full of screaming girls was now awash and some of the more determined girls had plunged into the water and were trying to swim to the mountain island or reach the podium.

Few of them made it for the Master of the Games had carefully selected girls who were non-swimmers. Those who reached the mountain were promptly attacked by the wild animals, now crazed by the scent of blood and the taste of the dead Greek. A few reached the podium wall and clung to it, screaming for mercy. The water around the barge was churned white as the crocs attacked the girls that still clung to the wreck. Two of the mighty reptiles seized one girl and began twisting in opposite directions. One wrung off a leg, the other an arm. One gigantic animal that must have weighed well over a ton reared out of the water and grabbed a girl standing on the gunwale. He submerged with her, carrying the shrieking girl as easily as an elephant carrying a carrot. Others of the enormous saurians were trying to knock the girls into the water with their tails. The barge, being made of wood, did not sink completely but there was no protection on it for the women.

Several of the hippos were approaching the barge, excited by the noise and the smell of blood. Although not carnivorous, the big brutes were as aggressive as bulls. Only their eyes and noses showed above the water as they floated studying the hysterical excitement on the remains of the barge. The crowd was furious. People yelled, "Go on there, you big slobs ! Do something ! Get the fire !" for bulls that would not perform were occasionally goaded into action by throwing burning javelins into them.

Then one of the hippos charged the barge. Lifting his head and shoulders out of the water and opening his huge mouth to its fullest capacity, he plunged his two tusks over the gunwale and began to worry the vessel like a terrier shaking a rat. The submerged wreck heaved and shook as two tons of enraged hippo struggled with it. The last of the screaming girls was flung into the water and the white bellies of the crocs flashed as they twisted in the water, trying to wring off pieces of their prey.

The mob was now uncontrollable. Women stood up in the stands drumming with their fists on the backs of people in the seats before them and screaming hysterically: "Kill ! Kill ! Kill !" Even before the games started, smart young men could spot women who would give way to this madness and make a point of sitting next to them. While in the grip of hysteria, the women were unconscious of everything else and the boys could play with them while they screamed and writhed at the bloody spectacle below them. Old men, long impotent, sat drooling gleefully. Even ordinarily normal men watched with mouths hanging half open, eyes staring eagerly to take in every detail, and then fought their way out through the crowd to take advantage of the prostitutes assembled in the arches under the building. Children shouted and danced on their seats, as much to relieve their nervous tension as with joy at the sight below them. Only in the lower ring of seats were there connoisseurs who watched with dispassionate interest, commenting to each other on the strength and ferocity of the animals and criticizing the girls' figures as they were dragged to their death.

Daniel P. Mannix : Those About To Die

 
Gerome -- Christian Martyrs

Jean-Léon Gerome -- The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer

 
Siemiradzki --- Dirce

Henryk Siemiradzki -- A Christian Dirce

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Darkness Hold Me Like A Friend

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(Manners not Morals, Melancholy, Music, Self Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy)

It is an axiom that every American born has a chance of becoming president, yet few avail themselves of that option. Such a fairytale there to sooth the slumbering never to be acknowledged fact that 99.9% of them are subjugated by a --- semi --- elected ruling class and have no chance whatsoever of effecting change within the system --- which is no doubt all for the best --- takes no account of the fact that the odds are of course far lesser than any state lottery, which are usually stupendously unlikely. There are over 300 million Americans at present, barring any major event taking place overnight; there will be around 400 - 440 million in 2050 --- although this is probably an underestimate if the present rate of legal immigration of 1 million a year was raised to to 3 or 5 million, as this 2006 legislation indicated, and illegal immigration rose dramatically for some reason [ such as some countries becoming less endurable through nature or war ]. There is the natural probability that these masses will reduce the numbers through attrition: over-crowding will increase the national propensity of Americans to kill each other at random. Anyhow, whilst strictly disinclined to search for the answer, even if it is known, I'll assume that the total number of citizens who lived during the 20th century was, say, 400 million [ 76 million in 1900 to 281 million in 2000 --- during which time millions died and were replaced ]. During that century, 1901 to 2001, there were 18 presidents.

Even odder than that fact, from a european view, is the fact that out of all those millions, most admittedly disbarred by reasons of eligibility, disinclination, sex, mental impairment etc., even the early preliminary hat-throwing stages of a presidential race only appear to encompass around twenty to fifty persons seriously considered; and after the winnowing out by press and parties, the fix is in place and the permissible candidates are ready to run. Which means only around four Americans are ever papabile out of 300 million people. It might be slightly preferable if the final ballot was to be of a choice of twenty persons with some kind of transferable vote system to knock them down till there's just one man standing. This wouldn't make the system legitimate of course, but then no system which includes people voting can confer legitimacy on any result.

 

Freedom Girls

 
 
As a graceful tribute to that dead-eyed political process here are some songs for each participant. Unattributed generic Corries-type band for the first, but I couldn't find the inimitable original from Francie & Josie; Alice Blue Gown no doubt since the song was inspired by the daughter of another great family of presidential nepotists --- although scarcely so semi-insanely so as poor old Hil with her almost unique sense of unaccountable entitlement; Red Yo-Yo as pace McCain, Iran will resemble how we kept the Gorbals over here [ a ben trovato tale goes of after perhaps the Somme or Ypres an over-excitable senior staff officer burst into tears when taken to view the mud, deeper mud than anyone can really imagine, and exclaimed "My God, did we send men to die in that ?!" --- Yes we did sir, and nor all your tears shall wash out a word of it... Still, another point is that even in piping days of peace we really didn't provide very well for our poor... 'Did we keep people in places like these ?' Matt McGinn was a commie, and looking at Glasgow then, one can understand why. Naturally, having faith in the working-class is as vulgar and debased as faith in an aristocracy, or faith in wealthy businessmen, yet people had to believe in something I guess. ]

 

Barack
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Unknown -- O' Ye Cannie Shove Yer Grannie Aff The Bus

 

Hillary
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Jessie Broughton -- Alice Blue Gown

 

John
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Matt McGinn -- Red Yo-Yo

 

Americans...
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Alison Krauss & Robert Plant -- Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us

 
 

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Iron In The Soul Goes A Trifle Rusty

"There followed a series of uncovered plots, some true, others fantastic, some Cheka provocations. Dzerzhinsky was constantly sharpening the weapon of Soviet dictatorship. To Dzerzhinsky was brought the mass of undigested rumours from all parts of Petrograd. With the aid of picked squads of Chekists, Dzerzhinsky undertook to purge the city. Little time was wasted sifting evidence and classifying people rounded up in these night raids. Woe to him who did not disarm all suspicion at once. The prisoners were generally hustled to the old police station not far from the Winter Palace. Here, with or without perfunctory interrogation, they were stood up against the courtyard wall and shot. The staccato sounds of death were muffled by the roar of truck motors kept going for the purpose."

"Dzerzhinsky furnished the instrument for tearing a new society out of the womb of the old -- the instrument of organised, systematic, mass terror. For Dzerzhinsky the class struggle meant exterminating 'the enemies of the working class.' The 'enemies of the working class' were all who opposed the Bolshevik dictatorship."

"At meetings of the Sovnarcom, Lenin often exchanged notes with his colleagues. On one occasion, he sent a note to Dzerzhinsky. 'How many vicious counter-revolutionaries are there in our prisons ?' Dzerzhinsky's reply was: 'About fifteen hundred.' Lenin read it, snorted something to himself, made a cross beside the figure, and returned the note to Dzerzhinsky."

"Dzerzhinsky rose and left the room without a word. No-one paid any attention either to Lenin's note or to Dzerzhinsky's departure. The meeting continued. But the next day there was excited whispering. Dzerzhinsky had ordered the execution of all the fifteen hundred 'vicious counter-revolutionaries' the previous night. He had taken Lenin's cross as a collective death sentence."

"There would have been little comment had Lenin's gesture been meant as an order for wholesale liquidation. But, as Fotieva, Lenin's secretary, explained: 'There was a misunderstanding. Vladimir Ilyich never wanted the executions. Dzerzhinsky did not understand him. Vladimir Ilyich usually puts a cross on memoranda to indicate that he has read them and noted their contents.'"

From computer jottings. Original link 404ed.

 
Mitchell -- Hypatia

Charles William Mitchell -- Hypatia

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Not To Tell A Lie : Western Tourists In Burma See Local Customs

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at 10:30 pm (Animals, Other Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy, The King of Terrors, War)

The account given by Pinto of the final surrender of Martaban to the Burmese, and of the events which followed, is graphic and interesting, and in many particulars bears the impress of accuracy and truth, though to the Europeans of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, who had a very vague and inadequate idea of the greatness and splendour of the cities and countries of Eastern Asia, it appeared absurdly exaggerated. Here, as elsewhere, it must be remembered that Pinto had no means of accurately estimating numbers, and that he frequently was obliged to take his details from the reports of men who no doubt employed Eastern hyperbole with great freedom.

It appears that the unfortunate King of Martaban had reckoned greatly upon the assistance of the Portuguese, and had held out in the full hope that they would give him efficient succour. When he found them, to his intense chagrin, ranged on the side of his enemies, he gave up his cause for lost, and entered into negotiations with his assailant, offering to surrender his capital on condition that he should be allowed to retire in safety with his family. The faithless Burmese tyrant, after pledging his word that this condition should be granted, shamefully broke the promise he had given, and the un­happy prince was led forth in triumph with his wives and children, and exposed to great humiliation and ignominy. Pinto gives a very circum­stantial account of the procession of guards and captives who marched forth from Martaban, giving the names of many of the princes, the chief priest, &c. He then says --- "Immediately after these there came in a litter Nhay Canatoo, daughter of the King of Pegu, whose kingdom the Burmese monarch had taken away, and wife of the Chambainhaa. She had with her four little children, two boys and two girls, the greatest of whom was not more than seven years old, and around her were thirty or forty young women of noble family, and grandly beau­tiful. They all had their faces bowed down towards the ground, and tears in their eyes, and leaned upon other women. After these marched in order certain Falagrepos, who are among themselves like the Capu­chins among us, and who all, barefooted and bareheaded, marched onward praying, and carrying in their hands a kind of chaplets. Moreover, they encouraged these ladies as well as they could, throwing water in their faces to revive them when their hearts failed them, which happened often enough --- a lamentable spectacle, which it was impossible to look upon without shedding tears. This unhappy company was followed by a number of foot-guards, and after these came some five hundred Burmese on horseback. Near them was the Chambainhaa, mounted on a small elephant, in token of poverty and of the disregard of the world, conformably to the religion to which he had devoted him­self anew. There was no greater pomp about him than this, and he was dressed simply in a long garment of black velvet, in token of mourning, having his beard, his hair, and his eyebrows shaved off; and, moreover, he had caused an old cord to be placed about his neck before he gave himself up to the king. This spectacle, too, was so mournful that none could look upon it and refrain, from weeping. With regard to his age, he was about sixty-two years old, of very lofty stature, with a grave and severe countenance, and the look of a very generous prince. When he had come to a place where a confused company of women, children, and old men awaited him, when they saw him in such a lamentable condition, before he had emerged from the city, they all raised, six or seven times, such a loud and terrible cry, that one would have said the earth was crumbling under his feet; and these lamentations and cries were incontinently followed by a multitude of blows that they inflicted on their own faces, striking themselves heavily with stones, with so little pity for themselves that the majority of them were in a short time covered with blood. Moreover, these things so horrible, to see and so terrible to hear, in such measure afflicted all the bystanders, that even the Burmese guards, though they were men of war, and con­sequently little inclined to compassion, and enemies of the Chambainhaa, could not refrain from weeping like children. It was at this place, also, that the heart of Nhay Canatoo, the wife of the Chambainhaa, twice failed her, and: all the other ladies gave way also, insomuch ilhat it was necessary to let him dismount from the elephant on which he was riding, that he might be able to encourage his wife and to console her. Then, seekig her lying on the ground like one dead, and embracing her four littte children, he knelt down on the ground and looked up with tears in his eyes."

The severest part of the unfortunate prince's trial was the mortifica­tion of meeting the Portuguese, who had behaved very treacherously towards him, and who were now standing to see him pass "all clothed in holiday dresses, with cuirasses of buffalo leather, their hats on their heads ornamented with a great number of plumes, and their arquebuses on their shoulders." Juan Cayeyro, one of the number, especially attracted the notice of the Chambainhaa by flaunting in crimson satin. On seeing him, the fallen monarch bent forward on his elephant's neck, and declared that he would go no farther unless these wicked and trea­cherous men were removed. The Birmans themselves were irritated at the double-dealing of the Spaniards, and the captain of the guard sar­castically bade them go shave their beards, and no longer deceive people into the belief that they were soldiers; and the Burmese would hire a number of women in their stead, who would serve for money. The Burmese guards, following their commander's lead, thereupon pushed away the Spaniards with great contempt, and Pinto adds pathetically, "Not to tell a lie, nothing ever so sensibly affected me as this, for the honour of my compatriots."

 
Elephant East

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II : ‘We Shall Have To Teach You’">Jerome II : ‘We Shall Have To Teach You’

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(Other Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy, The Enemy, The King of Terrors)

As a child I studied one of the part-works --- a form once popular from the 1920s to 1980s, but which has rather naturally fallen out of vogue: magazines issued weekly --- on WWI; obviously such publications included photographs which should be seen once, in order to understand consequence, but not dwelt upon unless one is in training to become a serial killer. Actually, mere death cannot appall: there is nothing in the least romantic in death --- as opposed to dying well --- and it's displays are solely squalid; however ongoing injury or the truthful immediacy of creatures suffering causes as much instantaneous flinching within as if in their presence. The issue dealing with the murder of Tsar Nicky and his family had on the back page another murder, that of a black man burning with grinning morons surveying this act.

To maintain that these lynchings --- within living memory --- were all of the innocent seems both unlikely and inapposite; since that matters not: such behaviour is utterly unacceptable were you dealing with devils from Hell. Still, it can be pointed out that this is one form of action that can be justified under any variant of democracy, from pure populism to libertarian individualism. And again, those who condemn such atrocities of the past, just under current fashion rather than for the pure lack of decency in such degrading manifestations, are often glad and usually silent when the victims are those of whom they disapprove --- such as say, nazis or Saddam's people..

 
Once only --- at Chattanooga --- did I meet with dis­agreement : and then I was asking for it. Two negroes had been lynched a few days before my arrival on the usual charge of having assaulted a white woman: proved afterwards ( as is generally the case ) to have been a trumped-up lie. All through the South, this lynching horror had been following me; and after my reading I asked for permission to speak on a matter about which my conscience was troubling me. I didn't wait to get it, but went straight on. At home, on political platforms, I have often experienced the sensation of stirring up opposi­tion. But this was something different. I do not suggest it was anything more than fancy, but it seemed to me that I could actually visualize the anger of my audience. It looked like a dull, copper-coloured cloud, hovering just above their heads, and growing in size. I sat down amid silence. It was quite a time before anybody moved. And then they all got up at the same moment, and turned towards the door. On my way out, in the lobby, a few people came up to me and thanked me, in a hurried furtive manner.
My wife was deadly pale. I had not told her of my intention. But nothing happened, and I cannot help thinking that, if the tens of thousands of decent American men and women to whom this thing must be their country's shame would take their courage in both hands and speak their mind, America might be cleansed from this foul sin.

***

My curiosity has always prompted me to find out all I could about my fellow human beings wherever I have happened to be. I maintain that the American man, taking him class for class and individual for individual, is no worse than any of the rest of us. I will ask his permission to leave it at that.
The last time I visited America was during the first year of the war. America then was all for keeping out of it. I had friends in big business, and was introduced to others. Their opinion was that America could best serve Humanity in the bulk by reserving herself to act as peace-maker. In the end, she would be the only nation capable of considering the future without passion and without fear. The general feeling was, if anything, pro-German, tem­pered in the East by traditional sentiment for France. I failed to unearth any enthusiasm for England, in spite of my having been commissioned to discover it. I have sometimes wondered if England and America really do love one another as much as our journalists and politicians say they do. I had an interesting talk with President Wilson, chiefly about literature and the drama. But I did get him, before I left, to say a little about the war; and then he dropped the schoolmaster and became animated.
"We have in America," he said, "twenty million people of German descent. Almost as many Irish. In New York State alone there are more Italians than in Rome. We have more Scandinavians than there are in Sweden. Here, side by side, dwell Czechs, Roumanians, Slavs, Poles and Dutchmen. We also have some Jews. We have solved the problem of living together without wanting to cut one another's throats. You will have to learn to do the same in Europe. We shall have to teach you."
Undoubtedly at that time Wilson was intending to remain neutral. Whether his later change of mind brought about good or evil is an arguable point. But for America the war would have ended in stalemate. All Europe would have been convinced of the futility of war. "Peace without Victory " --- the only peace containing any possibility of permanence --- would have resulted.

To the democrat, America is the Great Disappoint­ment. Material progress I rule out. Beyond a certain point, it tends to enslave mankind. For spiritual progress, America seems to have no use. Mr. Ford has pointed out that every purchaser of a Ford car can have it delivered to him, painted any colour he likes, so long as it's black. Mr. Ford expresses in a nutshell the mental attitude of modern America. Every man in America is free to do as he darn well pleases so long as, for twenty-four hours a day, he does what everybody else is doing. Every man in America is free to speak his mind so long as he shouts with the crowd. He has not even Mr. Pickwick's choice of choosing his crowd. In America there is but one crowd. Every man in America has the right to think for himself so long as he thinks what he is told. If not --- like the heretics of the Middle Ages --- let him see to it that his chamber door is locked, that his tongue does not betray him. The Klu Klux Klan, with its travelling torture chamber, is but the outward and visible sign of the spirit of modern America. Thought in America is standardized. America is not taking new wine, lest the old bottles be broken.

I ask my American friends --- and I have many, I know --- to forgive me. My plea is that I am growing old. And it comes to me that before long I may be called upon to stand before the Judge of all the earth, and to make answer concerning the things that I have done and --- perhaps of even more import­ance --- the things that I have left undone. The thought I am about to set down keeps ringing in my brain. It will not go away. I am afraid any longer to keep silence. There are many of power and authority who could have spoken it better. I would it had not been left to me. If it make men angry, I am sorry.
The treatment of the negro in America calls to Heaven for redress. I have sat with men who, amid vile jokes and laughter, told of "Buck Niggers" being slowly roasted alive; told how they screamed and writhed and prayed; how their eyes rolled inward as the flames crept up till nothing could be seen but two white balls. They burn mere boys alive and sometimes women. These things are organized by the town's "leading citizens" Well-dressed women crowd to the show, children are lifted up upon their fathers' shoulders. The Law, represented by grin­ning policemen, stands idly by. Preachers from their pulpits glorify these things, and tell their congrega­tions that God approves. The Southern Press roars its encouragement. Hangings, shootings would be terrible enough. These burnings; these slow grillings of living men, chained down to iron bedsteads; these tearings of live, quivering flesh with red-hot pinchers can be done only to glut some hideous lust of cruelty. The excuse generally given is an insult to human intelligence. Even if true, it would be no excuse. In the majority of cases, it is not even pre­tended. The history of the Spanish Inquisition unrolls no greater shame upon the human race. The auto da fe, at least, was not planned for the purpose of amusing a mob. In the face of this gigantic horror, the lesser sufferings of the negro race in America may look insignificant. But there must be tens of thousands of educated, cultured men and women cursed with the touch of the tar-brush to whom life must be one long tragedy. Shunned, hated, despised, they have not the rights of a dog. From no white man dare they even defend the honour of their women. I have seen them waiting at the ticket offices, the gibe and butt of the crowd, not venturing to approach till the last white man was served. I have known a woman in the pains of childbirth made to travel in the cattle wagon. For no injury at the hands of any white man is there any redress. American justice is not colour blind. Will the wrong never end ?

Jerome K. Jerome : My Life and Times

 

Bat Bombs

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Où Est Le Chaise Électrique ?

We stopped in Belgium long enough to savor the richness of Flemish art, in which Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges abound; then returned to Paris for a last taste of its delights. It was a good time to be leaving France. The franc had been slipping and slipping; it looked as though it might follow the course the German mark had taken five years earlier. There were disturbing political rumblings; people were tense and edgy. The Parisians, never particularly cordial to foreigners, were now openly hostile. They had to stand by and watch the aliens, especially the Americans, stock up with merchan­dise they themselves could no longer afford. At the banks, knots of well-to-do Americans kept their eyes glued on bulletins that an­nounced fluctuations in the rate of exchange, waiting for another drop so that they could get a few more francs for their dollars. This did not go down well with the French. Nor did the fad, adopted by some exuberant tourists, of pasting hundred-franc notes on the outside of their valises. I resisted the temptation to snap up art bargains, confining my purchases to a few inexpensive prints by Matisse, Marie Laurencin and Foujita.

Our return to Paris coincided with the arrival of hundreds of members of the American Legion, who had come over to attend the organization's tenth-anniversary celebration. Careful prepara­tions for the event had been made, especially with respect to public relations. An American friend of mine who had close connections with the French press was asked to handle the publicity. He agreed on condition that he was to have a million francs to use at his dis­cretion. During the convention, the only newspapers that criticized the Legion were the Socialist L'Oeuvre and the Communist L'Humanite.

The behavior of the Legionnaires was characterized by the boorishness, bad taste and rowdyism that are typical of the annual gathering of this aggregation of professional patriots. In American cities one endures it with resignation, knowing that the boys will soon be going home to their service stations, funeral parlors and haberdasheries. But on foreign soil, and in Paris of all places, the American who esteems his country and values its good name squirms at the antics of these ill-bred middle-aged adolescents.

An uproar in the Rue de Lille informed me that the Legion­naires were in town. Drawn to the window of my hotel room, I saw one of the visiting merrymakers on the balcony outside his room at the Hotel Palais d'Orsay, across the street. Stripped down to his underwear, he was brandishing a bottle to which he had frequent recourse. To the passing women in the street below he addressed pointed invitations; to the men he shouted, 'What you make in francs I make in dollars." For almost the only time in my life, I wished that I were anything but an American. This opening note was repeated over and over, with variations. Everywhere one saw blowzy men in fatigue caps, drunk, boisterous, quarrelsome, trying to bargain with shopkeepers, drinking champagne at little bistros at eleven in the morning, lining up in the stifling heat and the stench of frying fat to buy doughnuts in the barracks which the Salvation Army had erected in the citadel of French cookery.

On the final day of the convention, the day of the big parade, there was an incident that was both hilarious and grim. We posted ourselves in the Place de la Concorde to get a good view of the proceedings. The Parisians who packed the huge square stared in amazement as the paraders, state by state, marched by, the trim drum majorettes cavorting, the men arrayed like members of the chorus in an operetta with a Ruritanian setting. In due course the Massachusetts delegation appeared, resplendent in scarlet or green or purple. Suddenly someone shouted, "Où est la chaise électrique ?' The memory of the Sacco-Vanzetti execution was fresh; the crowd took up the cry with savage delight. Soon it filled the whole square. The men from Massachusetts, interpreting it as some special tribute, beamed and waved in grateful acknowledgment.

Elmer Rice : Minority Report

 
Thiers

Jehan Georges Vibert --- The Apotheosis of Mons. Thiers

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Fat Shubin

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at 2:30 pm (Other Writ, Royalism, The Building Blocks of Democracy, War)

Comte Louis de Robien was a cynical French diplomat attached to St. Petersburg during the First World War: in his diary of the final years he detailed the Revolutions and that curious time when at any given time Tsarists, democrats, bolsheviks, socialists, the German army, Ukrainians and many other groups of varying sizes could be either fighting each other, or in very temporary alliance contesting the other groups singly or in concert...

 
Monday 9th April 1917
Shubin is still very worried. The apparent orderliness of the demon­stration in honour of the victims of the revolution does not re­assure him.
He analysed the psychology of Russian crowds to us with great shrewdness --- he understands them better than we do, their men­tality is so far removed from ours.
"I saw," he told us, "a troop of a thousand demonstrators in a small side-street, waiting their turn to take up their position in one of the processions. There they stood, each one in his place, from ten o'clock in the morning until eight o'clock at night, marking time in the melting snow without the slightest sign of impatience, with nothing to eat and nothing to drink, without asking for anything from the neighbouring houses. The bearers laid five or six red coffins down on the bare earth, and none of this great crowd gave any sign of impatience. And yet, on the banners which they carried, the most extreme and violent demands were inscribed. From time to time a leader raised his baton, giving the note, and they began to sing: 'We will pillage ! --- we will kill ! --- we will cut throats ! --- to the gallows with the Tsar ! --- the bourgeois are vampires !' etc. . . . The tenors cried out for the heads of the aristocrats, the sopranos for that of the Tsar, the basses wanted no one spared. Then, when the verse was over they rested for ten minutes and then, at a new signal, they started again. It wasn't until that night that the procession could start marching, the bearers lifted the coffins on to their shoulders, and the crowd left in an orderly fashion, singing: 'We will pillage ! --- We will murder !' etc. . . ."
Fat Shubin mimed the scene all the while he described it, rolling his pale blue eyes, beating time, singing first in a tenor voice, then in a bass... and then marching across the drawing-room with superb calm.
He was most amusing. But his observation is very exact. In no other country could people confine themselves to words like this, without breaking into action. But how dangerous it all is ! Because, once let loose, these brutes are terrifying. In 1905 there were atrocious scenes and the moujiks, so mild in appearance, pillaged everywhere with sadistic cruelty. Someone told me about one 'estate', where the peasants cut three legs off all the sheep. In other places they tore out the cattles' tongues and put out their eyes. Let us hope that we do not see horrors like these !

Wednesday 8th August 1917
Everyone is interested in the battalions of women soldiers who exercise in the courtyard of the Paul Palace on the Fontanka . . . people talk of the 'heroism of the Russian women' and they get all excited about it... as for myself, I feel that it is rather unpleasant histrionics. As far as fighting goes these women can only be thinking of the rough-and-tumble !

Tuesday 14th August 1917

What strikes one about the present events is the lack of men ... the Kadets, who stirred up so much trouble in the opposition under the old regime, have shown themselves to be lamentably incompetent when in power. It makes one wonder whether the Emperor wasn't quite right in not calling on their help. If he had given them power, far from saving him they would have precipitated his downfall, because they have shown themselves to be doctrinaires, muddlers and blunderers. . . .
During the first days of the revolution one of these brilliant theoreticians came to see Shubin, completely panic-stricken. Shubin expressed astonishment at his being in such a state at the moment when the event which he had spent his whole life preparing for was actually taking place.... "Yes," his visitor replied, "the revolution is all very well, but it is not happening the way I wrote about it in my book...." The whole history of the Kadet party is contained in that answer.

 
Heart of Snow

Edward Robert Hughes --- Heart of Snow

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PC">Old Skool PC

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(Generalia, Other Writ, Self Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy, The Enemy)

A sort of doubt has always hung around the char­ac­ter of Tol­stoy, as round the char­ac­ter of Gandhi. He was not a vul­gar hypo­crite, as some people declared him to be, and he would prob­ably have imposed even great­er sac­ri­fices on him­self than he did, if he had not been interfered with at every step by the people sur­round­ing him, espe­cially his wife. But on the oth­er hand it is dan­ger­ous to take such men as Tol­stoy at their dis­ciples’ valu­ation. There is always the pos­sib­il­ity  —  the prob­ab­il­ity, indeed  —  that they have done no more than exchange one form of ego­ism for another. Tol­stoy renounced wealth, fame and priv­ilege; he abjured viol­ence in all its forms and was ready to suf­fer for doing so; but it is not easy to believe that he abjured the prin­ciple of coer­cion, or at least the desire to coer­ce oth­ers. There are fam­il­ies in which the father will say to his child, ‘You’ll get a thick ear if you do that again’, while the mother, her eyes brim­ming over with tears, will take the child in her arms and mur­mur lov­ingly, ‘Now, darling, is it kind to Mummy to do that ?’ And who would main­tain that the second meth­od is less tyr­an­nous than the first ? The dis­tinc­tion that really mat­ters is not between viol­ence and non-violence, but between hav­ing and not hav­ing the appet­ite for power. There are people who are con­vinced of the wicked­ness both of armies and of police forces, but who are nev­er­the­less much more intol­er­ant and inquis­it­ori­al in out­look than the nor­mal per­son who believes that it is neces­sary to use viol­ence in cer­tain cir­cum­stances. They will not say to some­body else, ‘Do this, that and the oth­er or you will go to pris­on’, but they will, if they can, get inside his brain and dic­tate his thoughts for him in the minutest par­tic­u­lars. Creeds like paci­fism and anarch­ism, which seem on the sur­face to imply a com­plete renun­ci­ation of power, rather encour­age this habit of mind. For if you have embraced a creed which appears to be free from the ordin­ary dirti­ness of polit­ics  —  a creed from which you your­self can­not expect to draw any mater­i­al advant­age  —  surely that proves that you are in the right ? And the more you are in the right, the more nat­ur­al that every­one else should be bul­lied into think­ing like­wise.

George Orwell : Lear, Tol­stoy and the Fool

 
I can­not esteem the tra­gic Wal­ter Ralegh par­tic­u­larly highly, if the jury may still be out on wheth­er he was a trait­or or not he had an unfail­ing abil­ity to give bad advice, and his pom­pous Polo­ni­an — wholly unasked for by King James —  pre­cepts sug­gest­ing that the Dyn­asty recon­cile itself to par­lia­ment­ary gov­ernance would have res­ul­ted in Kings becom­ing mere feeble pup­pets of whatever fac­tion is tem­por­ar­ily in power, as it has with the present use­less grin­ning eunuchs of Wind­sor, down, down into the the noi­some abyss of true demo­cracy. Still, like many men of action includ­ing the bru­tal dic­tat­ors of the past cen­tury he had a pithy turn of phrase on occa­sion express­ing obvi­ous sense; in one debate on the Pur­it­an Men­ace he rightly poin­ted out:

That law is hard that taketh life, or sen­de­th into ban­ish­ment where men’s inten­tions shall be judged by a jury and they shall be judges of what another man meant.”

To which, more poin­tedly still, one bio­grapher adds: ‘Instead of pro­ceed­ing again­st inten­tions, Ralegh said, the law should pro­ceed again­st deed and fact; where they could be estab­lished, let the law be as harsh as neces­sary and justice would still be done.’ Bet­ter words were nev­er said, and the fact that Ralegh him­self was con­victed on deed rather than opin­ion is just another pleas­ant irony.

It can nev­er be too strongly felt that all opin­ion should be free, and that law should only con­cern itself with deeds. [ Plus the need for heavy pen­alty again­st vile deed, of course  —  *med­it­at­ively*  —  Ter­rible Swift Sword should nev­er be a mere phrase… ]

Fast-forward to our own day with ludicrous ‘Hate’ legis­la­tion to pro­tect the injured feel­ings of fools. If a def­in­ite crime has been com­mit­ted then it should receive due pun­ish­ment: it is not aggrav­ated because the act­or did it from hate; justice should ignore good or bad inten­tions and con­cen­trate solely on the action, and it’s due. For express­ing opin­ion, no mat­ter how vile, or just incit­ing oth­ers, there should be no pen­alty what­so­ever. I am not harmed if some wretched iman urges his dumb flock to mas­sacre non-muslims. I am if they act on it, and only if they act on it. If they do so, then they are the guilty, and he was merely the agit­at­or. They should have had more sense than to carry out his sug­ges­tions, and there­fore need to carry the pen­al­ties also. No-one should be blamed for thought or speech, how­ever dis­taste­ful, that does not cause palp­able injury, since to select what thoughts people should have leads to robot­ic tyranny and the para­dise of 1984.

Some years back, where I was work­ing one man was for­bid­den to talk to the cli­ents as an inter­view­er since he belonged to a pro­scribed polit­ic­al group, not that he would be offens­ive, merely that he belonged to this group. A num­ber of fellow-workers were of the opin­ion that he should not be given employ­ment at all. A pen­alty that has obvi­ously been applied to mem­bers of a num­ber of groups ranged from social­ists, nazis, com­mun­ists, jews, Irish etc. etc., and con­tin­ues as people are sacked for hold­ing views, racial­ist, com­mun­ist, insuf­fi­ciently islam­ist or pro-islamist ( depend­ing on loc­a­tion ) all around the world. The point being, that if you debar people from all employ­ment for, say, being racially big­oted; the next step is to sug­gest they should not have gov­ern­ment or state resources  —  their views being so abhor­rant  —  and may­be that they should be run out of town… The Left has a strong tra­di­tion of sug­gest­ing mor­ally objec­tion­able per­sons should be killed, or at the least dealt with by fascist-type viol­ence. In effect by deny­ing the rights of cit­izens to hold views that do not con­form to cur­rent mor­al­ity  —  usu­ally purely sub­ject­ive and emo­tion­ally held  —  one is deny­ing their rights to exist at all; and logic­ally they are then expend­able after a while.

Sir Wal­ter was leg­ally dead from his sen­tence, and reprieve, until his later exe­cu­tion; but his life in the Tower was not too bad for a pris­on­er in any age. The leg­ally dead of the future state won’t be so lucky.

 
Dingo Cat

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Deny’d In Heaven The Soul He Held On Earth

C. Van Carter has two good blogs, Across Difficult Country, and Craptocracy.

From the first is an old post Arrival: Vaduz, where he rightly says:

What truly sets Liechtenstein apart as a country is that it has not succumbed to the foolish democracy fad which has ruined all other modern nations. Liechtenstein is still ruled by a monarch, as it has been since the the Middle Ages (not coincidentally the last decent period in human history). The current head of state is Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, a rather dashing fellow, and over dinner at Vaduz Castle he describes to me the wealth and happiness that flows to Liechtenstein's people as a result of its monarchical system

I may add that Princess Sophie of Bavaria, Hereditary Princess of Liechtenstein --- daughter-in-law to Hans-Adam II and wife of Prince Alois, the Regent of Liechtenstein --- is, after her father Prince Max, heir to the Stuart regalities when the Stuart-Wittelsbach conjunction ceases.

*****

And from the second, a more recent post discusses some absurd fellow who seeks the equally absurd position of president to the USA: never heard of him, but a Mr. Hucklebee. This unsavoury little chap wishes to ban smoking throughout the American dominions --- admittedly one may say 'fat chance' sceptically, but Yanks do adore ploughing their economy into pointless wars, and an extension of the War on Terror into a Second Front against domestic smoking will certainly appeal to the moral retard majority... --- and there's a nasty story regarding his son --- who recently was fined for having a loaded gun whilst travelling through an airport [ don't try this whilst devoutly reading the Qur'an and mumbling ] --- hanging a dog at Scout Camp. Something he later claimed was done since the animal was sick and suffering: must account for the rows of gallows adjacent to every retirement home... His benighted father is alleged to have attempted to interfere with the administration of justice. His Chief of Staff admitted asking the Director of State Police who was afterwards fired by Governor Hucklebee: "Is it normal for the state police to … investigate something that happened at a Boy Scout camp ?"

Kinda... police in most jurisdictions, even perhaps Pakistan, are going to get active over any allegations of torture unconnected to their own activities. It's what makes us civilised.

 

Tomb of Boatswain

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Ah, Take One Consideration With Another

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at 7:00 am (Melancholy, Royalism, Self Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy, War)

Parts 1 - 4 of Erik Jorgensen's award-winning video of anti-war protests in Northern California in 2003'.

Quite apart from the fact that protests rarely succeed in altering anything, any more than voting does, or contacting one's --- and I may add that I take it as a deep and perpetual insult to suppose that anyone can 'represent' me --- representatives does; ultimately protesters and fascistic guardians are locked in a dance, and in the longer run keep exchanging roles. As Göring once affably pointed out to some ( agreeing ) communist prisoners: it could have easily been him in jail and them as the jailers. In this case I prefer the protesters philosophically, and despise the rigid guardians > yet in another I would as easily crush the iron heel down on protesters I personally despised... And in this case, neither side are efficient --- beyond the habitual national characteristic of inefficiency --- mainly because each claims to be speaking on behalf of 'The People': an entity, who like the Almighty, to which any assorted randomly chosen beliefs and feelings may be attributed. Oddly enough, the protesters prefer not to point out that thus they are speaking on behalf of redneck gun-toting anti-commies who gibber for Bush; whilst the state spokespeople equally refrain from acknowledging part of their constituency are shiftless liberal slackers who would elect for all war-mongers to be hung from apple-trees. Which is one of the prime jokes of conceptual democracy.

But anyway, this is funny and exquisitely chosen: for a state with such a worldwide reputation for wackiness ranging from hippydom to the extreme marcusian egalitarianism enshrined in PC to various cults, Californian policing appears to be modelled on the vague inchoate fascisimo of a Latin American country run by a demented authoritarian general who has been delaying death from extreme old age for thirty years during the mid twentieth century.

 

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I've Got a Little List

 

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TaranTara

 

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A Policeman's Lot

 

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Resilience - 'Opposing Force'

 
 
As a bon-bouché for a reprise...

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'A Policeman's Lot Is Not A Happy One' from the DVD ( not the film ) of the Delacorte Theater production with Linda Ronstadt

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The Categorical Imperative Has A Good Time In Siberia

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(Other Writ, The Building Blocks of Democracy, The Enemy)

The cold of those white Siberian nights with a pale, sickly gleam by which you could read, pierced us through and through. The prisoners, inadequately nourished by hot water, went below decks to sleep off the hunger which was becoming ever more acute.

A draft of women convicts was separated from us only by a thin wooden wall made of planks. Behind it were a few score of thieves, prostitutes and other assorted criminals: Russian, Ukrainian, Cossack, Tartar and Azerbaijan. Locked up in such close proximity to the men prisoners, they were yet more restless than the latter. Their long sojourn in captivity had affected them quite differently: more than food and sleep, they desired men.

One of the planks dividing us was soon prised free and a woman crawled through the opening, to find herself amid rows of men, lying one beside the other, like brown loaves on a baker's shelf. We heard no affectionate exchanges, but a few heavy sighs, quickened breathing and a hasty struggle followed by a moment of silence while one lover changed places with the next. This scene caused no undue commotion. The barge was wrapped in darkness, many of the men were sound asleep, totally unaware of the amorous delights available, and the woman, moreover, was dressed no differently from the men. This daring escapade might well have passed unnoticed by the authorities had it not been for the malice of man. Someone whose moral susceptibilities were above average or who, perhaps, was himself incapable of such amorous pursuits, ran off to report. We heard the rapid tread of army boots and in rushed the soldiers who, obviously well directed, made straight for the scene of the crime. They caught hold of a man by the neck and flung him on the floor thus revealing the girl. She betrayed no fear. She was a street-walker. That was what had brought her to prison, to trial and now to Siberia. Nothing worse could befall her.

A soldier grabbed hold of her legs and started to pull her, but she was perfectly willing to go of her own accord, which she did with an impudent smile of triumph. What could they do to her ? But the authorities were well able to deal with the case.

With the soldier as escort the girl set off in the direction of the ladder, parading between the rows of men who surveyed her with regretful longing --- sorry to see her leave so soon. She was taken up on deck and there ordered by the soldier to remove her padded jacket, her blouse, a sweater in shreds and her vest. Thus stripped, she was placed in the bow and made to face up-river. She was going to freeze, so that she might cool down a little.

In the grey, misty silence of the Arctic, the half-naked woman with her shameless smile and hair streaming in the wind, the full, white flagons of her breasts thrust proudly forward, seemed to challenge the forest deities lurking in the tundra, slowly gliding towards her.

Behind the girl stood a soldier, silent, sullen and indifferent. He was not a man, not even a male with whom she could go. With bayonet levelled at the girl's bare back he stood there motionless, as though carved out of wood. The punishment lasted one hour, and the frozen girl had hardly gathered up her clothing to go below when another woman was sent up to take her place on that unusual pillory.

Tadeusz Wittlin : A Reluctant Traveller In Russia

 
The Death of Love

Dorothy Tennant -The Death of Love

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Not Quite So Handsome

For sentimental reasons, the Lancastrian usurper PKing Henry V is somehow excused for ordering prisoners killed at Agincourt --- even in the following civil wars affecting parts of England during the rest of the century, caused by his verminous House's illegal seizure, this would only happen to prisoners of high enough status to merit expungement --- however, although England has actually had more monarchs who were usurping thieves than legitimate rulers, this little fellow may well be in the top three for unpleasantness: a snivelling pious puritan who majored in self-righteousness and slaughtered as freely as any serial killer for pointless aggrandizement.

Usually however it's considered a bêtise to slay the surrendered --- the Aussie furore on behalf of Breaker Morant and his mates being shot for so doing may be charitably ascribed to pitiful anti-Pom nationalism rather than condoning his shooting of captives.

After the invasion of Russia in 1941 the Germans, partially through luck and partially through skill were rewarded with hundreds of thousands of prisoners: partially through immediate inability and partially through ideological imperative a large proportion of the 5-6 million soviet POWs were starved to death in a crime worse than the labour-camps. This had a precedent ( apart from the fact that 85% of German POWs died in the camps that Stalin kept for his own people, and anyone else he could collect... ):

 
In the evening of the long day, as the imperial column was approaching Gzhatsk, we were surprised to find a number of dead Russians, still warm, on the road in front of us. We noticed that their heads had all been shattered in the same manner, and that their brains were scattered about. We knew that two thousand Russian prisoners had gone before us under the escort of Spanish, Portuguese, and Polish troops. Some of our generals greeted this with indifference, others with indignation, still others with approval.

...

...but the next day those murders had stopped. After that we simply let our un­fortunate prisoners die of hunger in the enclosures where we penned them up for the night, like cattle. This was doubtless an atrocity; but what were we to do ? Exchange them ? The enemy refused to consider it. Set them free ? They would have spread the news of our destitute condition far and wide, and soon would have joined up with others and returned to dog our steps. In this war to the death we should have sacrificed our­selves in letting them live. We were cruel by necessity. The evil lay in the fact that we had got ourselves in a position where we were faced with such a terrible alternative.

Count Philippe-Paul de Ségur : Napoleon's Russian Campaign

 

Maclise Elfin Knight
Daniel Maclise --- The Elfin Knight

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