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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Citizenship Education

I am advised that the UK government plans to drop "citizenship" teaching from the curriculum. Given that many young folk today grow up with no idea of the responsibilities of citizenship, let alone the duty owed by every citizen to the nation/state or people they are a part of, I doubt this is a good idea.

A new initiative called, appropriately, "Hands up who's bored" is aiming to try and close the gap and engage young people and interest them in politics and the processes of government. An idea of what its all about can be got from the YouTube link below and those who feel this should be supported by government might want to try the petition link.

The target group is ages 11 - 16 and the organisers are approaching schools to talk to the young people in their care. It has the support of O2 and a national campaign is getting under way to "save the Citizenship Education programme."  An advert is now appearing in Cinemas across Britain and can be see on YouTube.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6hvKnSTchs 


More information on the project can be found here: http://whosbored.org/  there is also a picture petition there.
Maybe the government, in the words of Fagan in Dicken's "Oliver Twist" - better think it out again.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Bureaucratic Garbage? Or Diplomatic Games?

Yesterday was frustrating in the extreme. Filled in all the forms, obtained all the photographs, certificate of insurance, proof of residence, etc., etc., etc... Then got told I have to produce a certified set of finger and palm prints before the visa will be processed.

Incandescent describes my mood, but it doesn't do to let that show, it only gives the little oiks satisfaction. After all, what this is really all about is putting "foreign devils" in their place and making sure they know they are absolutely powerless to resist. I suspect that this is a nice new way to annoy citizens of countries you are trying to irritate into starting a war - or to show them just how powerless they are to force anyone to change their politics or their stance on anything.

I'm not going to risk jeopardising my chances today by revealing which country I'm dealing with - some know anyway. I've been there numerous times and the people are great - the government sucks, big time, but that is not my problem. Of course, it isn't helped by well-meaning airheads constantly sounding off about how bad they are or by politicians making "gestures." All it breeds is a 'tat for tat' attitude and provides the 'bad hats' with more propaganda to play to the folks at home. "Look how easily we defy the British! We make them crawl to our demands and they can do nothing about it."

So, I look forward to another wasted day tomorrow, pursuing a visa for which I have already been "pre-approved" but for which I must now kowtow to the petty rules and stupid bureaucrats at the local consulate. It promises to be a frustrating waste of another day ...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The visa go-round ....

No, I'm not talking about the credit/debit card company, but the paperchase, bureaucratic hoopla that is involved in trying to get a visa out of certain embassies ...

Each time you go for one, the rules have changed, the fees have gone up or the forms must have extra information, all so some surly desk clerk can be rude to you, make you hang about in dirty waiting rooms and then tell you to come back in a week. I think this is definitely the last time I'm going through this particular evolution with this particular embassy. After spending one day trying to get some sense out of someone - I'm using a visa service for it.

But this is definitely the last time.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Their Lordships Request - The e-Book

Is now available from the publisher, 46 South Publishing. This is a small e-publishing house based in Dunedin, New Zealand and rapidly expanding. They specialise in e-publishing and the book is now available in all electronic reader formats.

Their site can be accessed from the embedded link above or through the bookstore link in the sidebar. Their pricing is very reasonable and they work through PayPal and other secure online payment methods.

Their Lordships Request ... is the first of the Harry Heron series.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Church of Atheism

In response to my post regarding the strident, ill-informed and fact abusing assaults on religion, particularly Christianity, a reader has sent me the following article from the Houston Chronicle. It explains a great deal as far as I can see ...

NEW ATHEISTS: TAKE AGGRESSIVE STANCE AGAINST ALL RELIGIONS 
In September 2001, Sam Harris was an unknown doctoral student who didn't believe in God. But after the World Trade Center crumbled on 9/11 he put his studies aside to write a book that became an instant best seller--and changed the way atheists, and perhaps Moslems--are perceived in this country.  
Published in 2004, Harris's "The End of Faith" launched the so-called "New Atheist" movement, a make-no-apologies ideology that maintains that religion is not just flawed, but evil. In the book Harris frequently uses the image of a Muslim bomber to highlight the dangers of religion, depicting Islam as a "cult of death" and a "machinery of intolerance and suicidal grandiosity."  
Within two years Harris was joined on the best-seller list by Richard Dawkins, Chritopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett, who all took religion to task for most, if not all, of the world's ills. Collectively, the men whose books sold millions of copies around the world came to be known as the apocalyptic-sounding Four Horsement. Now, 10 years after the 9/11 attacks that launched the movement, freethinkers are taking stock of the New Atheists' contributions to their community, which includes atheists, humanists and other nonreligionists.  
Many laud their defense of what they see as a truthful but unpopular stance. Others, meanwhile, say their heavy-handedness with people of faith--especially Muslims-- has caused irreparable harm.  
"9/11ushered in a big change, in that it put Islam squarely in the center of the discussion," said Tom Flynn, director of the Center for Inquiry, and a supporter of the New Atheists. "Previous freethinkers would have said that religion is horrible, look at the Crusades, look at the Inquisition. This opened up the possibility of directing strong arguments against religions other than Christianity." 
Flynn points out that atheists have long called for an end to religion. What's "new" about the New Atheists is their stridency and refusal to compromise. "I think religion should be treated with contempt,and I claim the right," Hitchens told a Toronto audience in 2007. Freethinkers who are in dialogue with people of faith are "accommodationists" the New Atheists have charged, and "enemies" of the movement. 
That rift has had real consequences. In 2011 Paul Kurtz was ousted as founding leader of the Council for Secular Humanists and the Center for Inquiry in what he described as a "palace coup." Talk amongst the freethinkers was that Kurtz was too accommodationist. 
Harris declined to be interviewed for this article, and Dawkins and Donnett could not be reached. Hitchens, who is battling cancer, is too ill to conduct interviews. 
But the New Atheists have also done good, observers say. Fred Edwards, head of the United Coalition for Reason, an umbrella group of freethought organizations, describes 2004 as the "year the dam broke." 
"My job exists because of all the new local groups that emerged in the wake of the rise of the New Atheism." 
One such beneficiary is the Freedom from Religion Foundation which was mentioned in Dawkins' The God Delusion. In 2004, it had fewer than 6,000 members. By 2007, membership had doubled, and this year topped 17,000. 
While multiple factors have affected Americans' negative views of Islam after 9/11 many American Muslims partially blame the New Atheists. A 2010 poll found that only 30 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Islam, down from 41 percent in 2005, a year after Harris' book. 
"I would say they have harmed," Omid Safi, a Muslim and a professor of relgious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "They direct much of their venom against Muslims, and I have seen some of their material used by Islamophobes." 

So it appears the new "religion" is no religion and the Prophets of it profit mightily. I find it interesting that Prof. Dawkins is paid a very generous stipend by the Oxford College he disgraces. The College was founded by the Church he now attacks and despises and his stipend comes from Trusts and Foundations established by the Church, Christians and people who believed in God, for the furtherance of scientific understanding and Christian learning.

I'm pretty sure there will be a clause in them somewhere that forbids the expenditure on the propagation of anti-Christian venom, or atheism.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Sometimes the humour is a little too close ...


Spotted this joke over on One Happy Dog Speaks and though it was worth "borrowing."
- People born before 1946 were called
The Silent generation
- People born between 1946 and 1959 are called
The Baby Boomers
- People born between 1960 and 1979 are called
Generation X
- And people born between 1980 and 2010 are called
Generation Y
Why do we call the last group Generation Y? 
Y should I get a job?
Y should I leave home and find my own place?
Y should I get a car when I can borrow yours?
Y should I clean my room?
Y should I wash and iron my own clothes?
Y should I buy any food?
Fortunately I have to say, not all of Generation Y are really like that, but enough are for it to be a worrying trend. 

Friday, 23 September 2011

Farewell is not Good Bye ...

Today, in roughly a half hour's time, my very dear friend Diana Matlock, nee' Batten, will be committed to the crematorium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. For many at her funeral I expect prayer will be meaningless, a fact I find very sad indeed. I will mark the time and the event in my own way and in quiet. Much as I would have liked to attend this funeral I cannot, and I suspect I would have found the impersonal surroundings, the "prayer free" attitudes, the speeches and the tea party afterward disturbing.

Di and I had many discussions on faith and I live in the expectation that one day we will meet again in another place. As I wrote in my title, farewell is not Good Bye and Good Bye is not final. It is, in fact, a corruption of "God Bless You." I am deeply saddened by the thought that she is being despatched or disposed of in this rather faith free manner as I'm pretty sure she held onto her faith right to the end. Certainly the last time I spoke to her she spoke of prayer and the need to be prayed for. But I understand that most of her family have no faith and so their choice of disposal prevails.

So I will mark the time and the occasion here, and hopefully it will touch her soul and the hearts and minds of those attending.

Rest in peace, Di, all your friends are deeply saddened by your going, but we look forward to being reunited in due course.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The fool has said ...

The opening line of Psalm 14 and the rest of the psalm about sums up the current state of affairs vis a vis faith and non-faith. All religions suffer from the same problem, as long as they are in the "folk" stage of growth they remain true to their origins, but then the rich and powerful recognise the advantage of having control of it and then the problems start. There are many examples of this "changing horses" in the Old Testament and nearly all of them end in pain and tears for the real believers while the rich and famous move swiftly on, embracing and espousing whatever is "new" and "popular" for their advantage.

I believe it is so with populist atheism today. A generation ago all the captains of industry, commerce and politics would have made sure you saw them in church Sunday by Sunday, now their descendants make sure you don't. Now it is fashionable to proclaim oneself an "atheist" and to declare one "believes" in a "religion free environment." As I wrote yesterday, it is now fashionable, if not de riguer to make a point of sneering at those who hold to the faith of their forebears. I do believe that this will, in due season, come back to bite with a vengeance.

Pure unadulterated atheism does not admit to there being anything special about humanity. We are, in that view, nothing more than intelligent animals who have a life span of around 70 - 80 years, assuming you don't get hit by a bus crossing the road, and we are all "free" to make a success or failure of our lives. In this line of thought a person only becomes a person when they are born and able to exist externally to the mother, at any time before that point, abortion can and should be carried out to eradicate defects, perhaps because the child threatens the mother's health or any one of several dozen excuses - most of which are predicated on the "child" not having any "right" to life until it is born.

This is a worrying state of mind, because it does not take a great leap of intellect to extend that thinking into a "final solution" for the vulnerable, the disabled, the helpless or the aged and infirm. If the test of having achieved a "right" to life is to be able to exist "independently of the mother" for infants, then how long will it take before some follower of this reasoning begins to ask the question "when should life be ended for those dependent on others?" Who then, will control the choice? The subject of the "care" or the "carer" who has grown tired of caring?

Much is made these days of the claim that atheism is more "moral" than any religion, and this is supported by the claim that there are laws in place that "protect" the "rights" of individuals to be, well, individual. It is argued that the Christian Faith "hates" those who are homosexual, a horrendous term coined early in the 20th Century to describe men who love men. Much is made of some of the more ludicrous and ill-informed utterances on this subject by fringe sects and a great deal is made -usually by the same people who accuse the Roman Catholic Church of sexual abuse - of their recent attempts to clean up their act by, among other things, excluding homosexuals from their clergy selections. There is a scream of indignation against this, yet the evidence does suggest that a "Gay" priest, living in seclusion and supposedly celibate, is more likely to abuse his position. Yes, that is a rather general statement, but it is supported by the evidence of the many cases of abuse reported.

The churches do need to reform and adapt a great deal of their thinking and teaching. Mainstream Christianity has always encouraged and fostered the sciences despite the much vaunted accusation around Galileo, whose offence was to insult the Pope rather publicly and had little to do with his theories and discoveries. It was the Church that founded all the great universities and it was Christian scholars that made the first tentative steps in modern scientific discovery. Darwin was a clergyman and held back publishing his results because he hadn't completed piecing his "theory" together (His correspondence with a bishop, when not quoted out of context or selectively, is enlightening) and there are scientists even now who claim it is not a theory but a hypothesis for which there is, as yet, only incomplete proof.

I find the current atheist drive of concern for a number of reasons and I do believe that it is, in part, fueled by a misrepresentation of the Biblical "ask and it shall be given ..." and by the present generations expectation of "instant gratification." It is said that many children now cannot understand why something they see happen instantly on television, can't happen in the same time frame in reality. Perhaps this is where we have a problem with understanding God and His method of working. Evolution being a case in point. It took millennia and generations to get the humans we are now. It has taken as long to develop the intelligence we have and one sometimes has to wonder about that! God doesn't do "quick fix" and most of His work in our lives is through people.

Therein lies my next concern, He does not force people or coerce them, those are human traits, so where there is no will among the people for a solution, one will not be found. If Atheism becomes the norm (and in recent correspondence with an atheist she suggested that the "world faith" picture" was Christianity, Islam, No Faith, Buddist, Hindu ...") then it will not be long before some of what I was asking earlier concerning the disposal of infants, non-viable adults and those dependent on others becomes a reality...

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Belief in unbelief ...

Am I alone, I wonder, in finding the torrent of abuse directed at religion currently popping up everywhere, offensive? Facebook seems, at present, to be full of people taking snide, and often ill-informed, swipes at believers. Atheism is now become the "cool" and "clever" position to occupy.

It seems to me to be, at least in part, a result of the failure of Christianity in all its forms to engage and confront those who spread the lies and the anti-religious propaganda. It must also be said that there is a a lot of ammunition provided by the fundamentalists who insist in perpetuating the teaching that the creation must be taken literally from the first chapter of Genesis. (Islam has a similar wing and adherents who insist that the opening lines of the Quran describe the same event in virtually the same words!) Of course young people don't fall for this, they are intelligent and have been taught to think about things. They are surrounded by science and scientific discoveries which tell them that the creation is a much more complex event or series of events than the Genesis story admits. Yet that, in itself, is an oversimplification because if Genesis isn't taken literally, it actually supports the whole Big Bang and Evolution right down to the rise of humanity.

The fact that someone chooses NOT to accept a religious belief or teaching is not what bothers me most. I am most disturbed by the fact that it is now fashionable, indeed considered clever, to mock everyone who does believe. In fact if you can find something insulting or inflammatory to say to someone who dares to profess a religious belief, so much the better. Scientists who dare to confess religious beliefs are immediately labelled as "nutters" whose work is to be ridiculed and barred from publication because their "faith" makes them suspect. Medical staff who profess Christian beliefs are barred from NHS hospitals, or disciplined for "offending" some non-believer, but someone can post really offensive comments about someone's or some group's faith and that's all right. Posters can be displayed such as "This is a Faith Free Zone" in a workplace and it is considered a "personal statement" but putting up a religious poster is "offensive."

Yes, there are some extremely sick people out there calling themselves Muslim, Christian or whatever, but they do not and never have represented mainstream religion. But that is exactly what the Atheism promoters are trying to convey as "typical" religious behaviour. Thus Witch Burnings in Africa, the crucifixion of a cat (also in Africa), suicide bombers from Islam and the sexual abuses of some Roman Catholic clergy have become "typical examples of why religion must be suppressed."

I believe in God for a number of reasons, not least being that I can cite occasions when He has intervened in my life, usually when I was not expecting it or beyond the point of saving myself from a situation. I also believe because, as someone trained in investigations, I find the New Testament accounts of events believable, particularly the accounts of the Resurrection and the empty tomb. To actually understand what the witnesses are saying about that you need to talk to a Jew, because there are little details in the text that no Westerner will get unless they know Jewish custom and practice. No I don't believe in instant answers to everything from prayer, but I do believe that prayer is answered.

Over the years my faith has grown, changed, matured. The more I study history, the more sense the Bible makes in certain places - even down to the current attacks by the atheist horde. What concerns me is that our children are being fed a diet of false history (Religion is the cause of all wars. Christians supported slavery. The Roman Catholics murdered "millions" of native American Indians in pursuit of gold...) and a strongly anti-Bible, anti-faith message in schools. Religious leaders are swiftly accused of "brain-washing" if they attempt to present a truer picture of their faith, but the atheist community is allowed to brainwash away without a murmur. All, presumably, in the name of "enlightenment."

The truth is that, while religion certainly followed the explorers, there were frequently clashes and confrontations between the "free traders" and the Church in all its forms as the churchmen tried to stop the abuses. It was avowed Christians who finally succeeded in outlawing slavery, not atheists. It is ironic that the story has been twisted on its head and the true accounts, which are available, are never ever shown or mentioned.

I will continue to practice my faith and I will continue to proclaim it. I will also continue to pray for the enlightenment of my children, my friends (where they don't share my faith) and all those who are lead by their gullibility to declare such nonsense as "God is an Atheist." When I first committed myself to faith in God, aged 15, I never expected to be ridiculed or to perhaps suffer for it. I begin to think I may have to take that last on board before very much longer.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Death of the Paper Book?

The death of paper based "print" books is much discussed these days on a variety of fora frequented by authors and would be authors. Seanan MacGuire, writing on Live Journal, makes an excellent case regarding the need for "printed words" to continue. I find myself in full agreement with him.

Electronic books are fine, I have some of mine available in e-format now, but if you don't have a Kindle, iPad, whatever, you can't read them. All you need to read a paper book is the book. You can get it from a library, from a bookstore, from Amazon and even from the second hand bookstore tucked away in a backstreet. But here lies a part of the problem. Authors have to get past a large number of "gate keepers" in order to get published by the traditional publishers. Most won't even look at a manuscript submitted by an author if it doesn't come through an agent. Even when they say they will. The truth is that they are swamped by manuscripts these days as the electronic age gives more and more people the power to create the novel "everyone" is supposed to have inside them.

Even if you do get read by a traditional publisher, more and more manuscripts are rejected because the author isn't marketable. Note, I said the Author isn't marketable. An unknown writer is just too much of a gamble. It costs a lot to publish traditionally, the overheads are enormous in terms of premises, salaries and so forth and then the manuscripts have to be edited properly. That all takes up time and money. I know, because I have been told and have now acquired quite a bit of experience in "doing it myself" that the actual printing isn't expensive. It ain't, what is expensive is the editing (Someone has to take the time to find the mistakes, typos and so on), the correcting (Again, there has to be a physical check that the "Proofs" are correct and there are no glitches), that any "facts" are properly sourced, correct and acknowledged, and finally, the really expensive bit - promotion. If people don't know its available, they won't buy it! More and more, this is the bit left to a new author ...

Even once you have managed to get your book printed, there is a further hurdle. The bookstore has limited space on their shelves. The books they are prepared to put there are those they believe will sell rapidly. Any book that sits on the shelf more than two weeks is costing them sales. Ergo, the books they will put there are those they KNOW will sell quickly. In other words, the books that make it through the next hurdle gate, the media review pages, the advertising posters and blurbs and so on. The books listed for various "Literary Prizes" and promoted to the point the public believe that only that book will be available in the stores ...

This leaves the "fringe" author very few options. I can try to get my books noticed by the bookstores, I can even offer them a "sale or return" deal on limited numbers so it gets at least onto a shelf. Trouble is, I know it won't get a prominent place and it remains a matter of chance whether anyone will actually spot it. (Funny thing about shops and shelves - the middle range, around eye level is where most people will look for something and buy it. Lower shelves seldom get looked at unless the buyer knows they are looking for something on a low shelf, and the same applies to anything above head height. These are well known ploys in store layout and marketing. Being on a bottom shelf is near 'death' for a book and being on a high one is to be classed with the sort of magazine that comes in opaque wrappings and not for sale to minors ...)

It is also said these days, that for a "self published" author to get taken seriously, they need to make sales of 10,000 copies. I find that threshold a bit misleading, especially since the traditional industry regularly publishes "Prize Nominees" and "known" authors who sell fewer copies. One "Prize Nominee" a few years ago sold a total of 150 copies!

So, this leaves us with a market where the easiest way for a fringe author like me to sell my stories and books is through the e-formats. However, I still prefer the book to be available in paper and like to see paper sales. After all, I like to hold a book, to smell a book, to feel a book and to read it. Like Seanan MacGuire, books were my friends as a child. They were my escape into a wider world and a wider understanding of how the world works, its people and the wonders of science, religion and nature. What I think needs to change is the publishing industry, not necessarily the format of books. There are a lot of good books not published by "traditional" publishers, some of them definitely potentially best sellers. But there are also a lot of absolute rubbish books as well. As they say, the buyer must exercise judgement and caution there.

Personally I think the paper book is far from dead, but the industry that produces them must also change and adapt. E-Books are here to stay, though not everyone will embrace them and some, like me, will continue to keep stacks of printed books on every flat surface and in every shelf we can find.

Books provide a fantastic opportunity to learn, to gain knowledge and to have fun doing it and killing off the paper based book will cut off access to them for a large section of every community. The Public Library was my door into a whole new world as a kid and I sincerely hope it will continue to provide that door to generations yet to come. Sadly, though, there is another part to this problem, illiteracy.

Looking around the sink estates today and listening to the youngsters speaking one quickly realises that many cannot read anything complex. Worse, they don't have the underpinning knowledge to realise what they are missing or what they could gain by stretching themselves reading a good book. There are all sorts of causes underlying this state of affairs and one of them is the "instant gratification" that comes from "quick hit" TV shows, games and the like. Reading a good book means actually having to savour the anticipation of the pleasure to come as the book reaches its peroration. For a generation now trained to have the attention span of gold fish, that is difficult to grasp.

If books are to survive in our society it requires that we nurture a wider audience than the cognoscenti who currently dictate what is published. We need to engage the youth at schools, particularly among the poorer end of society and show them what is available to them in the printed word. Books must be saved, but not just as the preserve of those who consider themselves "above the common herd" or as the "literate" - we must find ways to reach those who don't, at present, read anything other than the blurb on the latest "game" wrapper...

Quite a challenge for authors, publishers, sellers and educationists.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Good bye old friend ...

Sometimes our mortality is brought rather sharply into focus. I have just had that sort of day.

At 09.30 this morning a lady I was at school with, who sailed with me in the Sprog "Seanna" (Xhosa for "Runner") and who shared a large part of my life as a friend, and "sister" in many ways, died. Diana had suffered for a number of years with failing health. She suffered from glaucoma and she'd had a tumour removed from her brain around twelve years ago. The operation and the radiotherapy left her with an epileptic like condition, horrendous scarring and loss of her hair, but Di never gave up trying to beat it.

She was a very talented woman, musical (played the cello, mandolin, guitar and several other instruments), she was also creative, enjoyed singing and walking and certainly knew and understood the flora of our home country. In 2006 I was able to take her to Ireland and we were lucky enough to catch the show by Bru Boru. (I've probably not spelled that correctly.) She was entranced. We had taken seats near the stage so she could see them and the instruments, and once the players realised how interested she was and that there was a problem with her eyesight, some moved to sit next to her so she could see what they were doing. I've never seen performers do that before or since.

Her last four or five years have been very difficult, but she bore it all with her usual determination and humour and she never lost the faith we shared - we were confirmed together in 1962 at St Saviour's Anglican Church in East London. For the last few days she has been in a coma and died quietly and painlessly this morning. The cancer eating away at her brain finally won.

May she rest in peace and rise in glory with all the faithful.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Weekend

It's been a busy weekend. Yesterday we had a street party. The residents of our street came together, tents were pitched in front of one of the houses, "Schwenk-grills" were set up, children's games set up in the street and beer, grilled sausage and loads of salad supplied. Proceeds will go to support a school for blind children in Wiesbaden. It was great fun, and now the Monk finds himself with three "students" for English Conversation classes ...

Quid pro quo ... He gets to practice his German on them.

Today has been a rather autumnal day, though the Old Catholic community had their "Parish Meeting" after the Eucharist. Both were quite well attended and we also learned that our Pfarer has been elected to replace the retirning "Dekan" for this area. This is the equivalent of an Archdeacon in Anglican terms, so he will have a lot of extra responsibility to deal with.

And now the weekend is winding down and Monday looms for Mausi and a deadline for his presentations and papers for a conference for the Monk. Tempus obviously has a serious case of the fugits ...

Friday, 16 September 2011

Supporters of Genocide ...

Seems to be what the current British Government will become if they continue to allow the BBC among others, to spread the hate against Israel. Cranmer carries an excellent post on the sordid manner in which British prejudice is being openly exploited by those who wish to eradicate Israel from history. The post Palestine – no Jews, no gays, no gypsies... is well worth reading.

Do they not understand that a Palestinian declaration of statehood - based upon the 1967 'borders' and with the 'right of return' of several million Arabs - amounts to a declaration of war against Israel? How is it that Israel may be demonised simply for existing? How is it that she may be universally condemned for allegedly propagating the very evils which Palestine is seen to do with impunity?

We are treated to the spectacle of British politicians campaigning for the recognition of a "Palestinian State" while the leaders of this supposed "people" (Who didn't actually have a name or exist until the pedophile Yasser Arafat invented the title in the 1960s) openly proclaim that they intend to make the new state a "Jew Free" land. The PLO "Ambassador" has declared this publicly. Given that there are some 300,000 Jews who have lived in and around Hebron and in Samaria for several millennia, that can only mean one thing. Hamas make no secret of their intentions regarding anyone non-Muslim or non-Palestinain. Get out or die. As I recall, some 70 years ago our fathers and grandfathers were busy fighting a war over an attempt to exterminate the Jews in Europe.

Funny, isn't it, that the same bunch of politicians in the UK have campaigned to bring Serbian generals and politicians to trial in the Hague for doing what their Palestinian friends are now proposing to do to the Jews. Funny? Or is this a sign of the prejudice in the UK political classes? Israel is now branded an "Apartheid State" because of the way it treats the Palestinians - who don't live in Israel and are not Israeli citizens - at the security check points. They refuse to acknowledge that "Palestinians" who live in Israel and are Israeli citizens enjoy all the rights of Jewish citizens and do rather nicely thank you. But now, a bunch of self-serving, propaganda spouting politicians plan to give ascent, on behalf of the people of Britain, to yet another war to eradicate the Jews. If the draft Resolution goes through with the words "return to the 1967 borders" in it (Those words are NOT in the original UN Resolution), they will, by default, be giving Iran, Syria and every other Jihadi inclined Muslim state a license to launch an all out war.
It’s nothing to the Jews, of course. They’ve been there and done that numerous times – Seleucid Empire 167 BC; England 1290; Spain 1492; Goa 1552; Germany 1941 – to name but a few. Of course, other ethnic and religious groups have also suffered throughout history: Don Cossacks, Greeks, Armenians, Serbs, Roma, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Tibetans, Tutsis, Arabs, Muslims, Christians... The world has bent over backwards to prevent the repeat of such atrocities, and has occasionally directly intervened to preempt the return of such horrors.
Where, in the Arab world, has there been a Jewish President? No where; and you won't find a Christian in that position either, yet, in Israel, there has been an Arab President and there are "Palestinian" members sitting in the Knesset. Yes, there are problems in Israel and it, like most democratic states isn't always right and isn't perfect, but it is a damned sight more free and fair than any of its neighbours.

In using the term "Apartheid" in this manner they debase what that ideology actually stood for and did. Mind you, what can one expect of such passionate campaigners who know nothing at all about the philosophy that was "Nazi" or "Fascist" and now apply these labels to anyone who fails to share their particular point of view.

Would someone please take the BBC in hand and stamp on their constant stream of apologetics for the daily - yes, daily - rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza. Will someone in the government please stamp on the moronic Student Unions, Greens and other left wing clowns who are running these "boycott Israel" campaigns? Send the lot of them to live in their idealised states in the Middle East. A dose of the realities of those supposedly "nice" countries might just slap them into recognising reality.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

My Review on GoodReads

Cox's Navy: Salvaging the German High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow 1924-1931Cox's Navy: Salvaging the German High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow 1924-1931 by Tony Booth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Absolutely fascinating story and man. This is the sort of man who made the Great in Great Britain, and his story reminds one forcibly that we have lost the ability to be innovative, to tackle the "impossible" and to succeed through sheer determination and natural ability. This should be studied in schools.

The book is so well written I couldn't bear to put it down. If you attempted to write a fictional story around this man's achievement you still couldn't beat the reality of what he did.



View all my reviews

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Six sentences which sum up the problem ...

These sum up the root problem with the Socialist dream:

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

6. Maggie Thatcher: Socialism fails when it runs out of other people’s money!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Cranmer's Law ...

The terrific Blog, Cranmer, has come up with one of those definitions that requires considerably wider circulation. In his own words -

His Grace promulgates ‘Cranmer’s Law’, in honour of the memory of the one who was ‘an heretick’ no matter what he wrote, recanted, preached or proclaimed. He dared to articulate a view contrary to the state’s received orthodoxy, and duly paid the price. ‘Heretic’ has today simply been supplanted with ‘bigot’; ‘heresy’ with ‘hate speech’. But it is the same spirit of blind intolerance which is seen to possess even the most intelligent of commentators.

CRANMER’S LAW: “No matter how decent, intelligent or thoughtful the reasoning of a conservative may be, as an argument with a liberal is advanced, the probability of being accused of ‘bigotry’, ‘hatred’ or ‘intolerance’ approaches 1 (100%).”

Observe, declare and disseminate far and wide.

It encapsulates very succinctly the problem with almost every attempt at debate by those whose views are not shared by the extreme Left, Liberals or the terminally Politically Correct. It does deserve further dissemination.

Monday, 12 September 2011

New Cover Art for Their Lordships Request ...

A change of artwork for the cover of Their Lordships Request is in progress, the new cover was designed by Kura Carpenter in New Zealand at the behest of the ePublisher, 46 South Publishing. As I was never terribly happy with the artwork (my own!) for the original cover, I've decided to withdraw it and use the new cover.

I tested the response to it with a large slice of my readers and others and the cover you now see incorporates some of their comments and is the one identified by most as "the one!" Suffice it to say the Publisher loved it and, since he's the man selling it ...

The "face of Harry" is a young man from Wiesbaden named Lukas who thought it hugely amusing to be posing as an 18th Century British/Irish Midshipman...

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Ten Years On ...

Ten years ago today probably the worst act of premeditated mass murder of all time was perpertrated on the citizens of the US. It was marked by disgraceful displays of public rejoivcing in almost every Islamic country, yet today this is forgotten by the likes of the BBC and the Guardian who continue to spread the lie that it was a response to "Israeli intransigence and 'apartheid' activity."

Ten years on, Afghanistan is still a running sore, Islamism is on the rise, Israel is now the target of Left-wing mis-information and boycotts and Islamism continues to spread unchecked. There are still morons in the US and elsewhere who believe that the whole thing was somehow "engineered" by US President G W Bush and that Michael Moore's trashy film "Fahrenheit 911" is a "documentary."

One has to ask what the Liberal/Left think they may achieve by promoting the destruction of Israel and their support for openly terrorist organisations that make no secret of their intention of carrying out genocide at the first opportunity they have ...

Friday, 9 September 2011

The "West Lothian Question"

Ever since Blair meddled with the UK Constitution, unwritten though it was, the English have suffered the indignity of having Scottish, Welsh and Irish MPs, most of the first two socialist Liebor Members, voting on issues that did not apply to their own constituents. This enabled Blair to ram through legislation that was deeply unpopular in England and only adopted in a very different and watered down form in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The present government has now begun to consider how best to address this issue. A report from Associated Press says they are setting up a "Commission" to consider the options. One you may be absolutely certain will never appear on the table is to give England its own Parliament, free of Welsh, Scottish or Irish MPs.

One of the more difficult issues here is the Union itself and though, if you travel to Wales or Scotland you will hear how the "English" have oppressed and "robbed" both those nations, what you will not be told is that Scotland has a disproportionate number of MPs in Westminster, or that most of the most Socialist Prime Ministers have been either Scottish or Welsh. Nor will you hear how England has been deliberately villianised and its internal divisions fostered and deliberately multiplied by successive Liebor governments.

What Blair (Scottish), Brown (Scottish), John Smith (Scottish), Kinnock (Welsh), Callaghan (Scottish) or any of their predecessors will not admit, particularly now, is that the only way Liebor can gain a majority is to have all the Welsh and Scottish MPs they can get. It is the Liebor propaganda which has now come back to haunt them. Over the years they have preached that the English have oppressed and suppressed Scottish and Welsh prosperity while pouring funds into both from England. Now they face increasingly powerful separatist movements in both "heartlands." Sadly, the poison, once spread, has damaged relations between three peoples almost, I suspect, to destruction.

I doubt very much the Commission will address anything other than a mechanism to ensure that only those MPs whose constituents are affected by a piece of legislation will vote on it. At least it is a start.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Book Review: Sydney Anglicans and the threat to world Anglicanism

Written by Muriel Porter, an Australian Anglican member of the General Synod and wife of an Anglican priest, this well researched book is a compelling account of the manner in which the Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Communion has been dragged back into the distant Reformation model of an anti-catholic, Puritanical and congregational model of the church. I have found it exceptionally readable. The author is an Anglican, one who grew up in a very different Sydney Anglicanism in the 1950s and now lives, worships and celebrates in a different style of Anglicanism in Melbourne. She certainly knows her subject and the protagonists. Her descriptions of what is happening in the Sydney Diocese mirrors my own experiences and impressions from having attended services there in the late 1990s and the start of this century and it should worry every real Anglican.

The Sydney "Brand" of "Anglicanism" - and it is my belief that that 'label' no longer applies to this Diocese - is the sort of images smashing, idol hunting and intolerant Puritanism of the 16th Century. It has been fueled and fed by a number of extreme Evangelicals who have held key positions in this Diocese since the beginning of the 20th Century and it has become an entirely incestuous system of appointments. As the author states, the selection process for ministers makes it all but impossible for any trained outside Sydney to be appointed to a position in the Diocese. Even the selection for Bishops is handled by a deeply fundamentalist oriented commission selected and appointed entirely by the equally deeply fundamentalist Governing Board. But the real threat is the unholy alliances the current leadership of this rogue diocese have forged with African and North American dissidents, most of whom, ironically, share only two things with Sydney. Their opposition to women in ordained ministry and the belief that homosexuality is a learned and adopted lifestyle. Almost all their allies in the GAFCON alliance are from the ultra-catholic wing of Anglicanism, but this has not stopped Sydney from exporting and "planting" congregations carrying its poisonous brand of extreme evangelicalism into every Province and National Church.

She deals at length with the many facets of Sydney's departure from Anglican tradition and structure, including the practice of appointing only "deacons" into ministries traditionally requiring a "priest," of reserving that to the "leader" of a "Ministry Team" and of allowing Deacons and Licensed Lay Ministers to "Preside" at what passes for the Eucharist in their churches. "Services" are no longer held, instead congregations hold "meetings" or "gatherings." The symbol of Christianity is excluded from most of their churches (It isn't actually banned - yet!) because the Cross is considered idolatrous (Read the history of the Puritan rampage in the 16th and 17th Century under Edward VI and Cromwell when priests who dared to speak out against the Puritanical view were dragged from pulpits and barred from their own churches and weep.) and the Crucifix is denigrated as being a near blasphemy.

The current Archbishop and his brother, the Dean of Sydney's Anglican Cathedral, appear to fancy themselves as leaders of a world-wide Evangelical Puritanism. The Archbishop makes no bones about this in speeches in the UK to Evangelical groups there. Even, to the alarm of one of England's Evangelical Bishops, Tom Wright, encouraging Evangelical Parishes and congregations to break away from their proper Diocesan authority and bishop and seek to realign themselves, presumably with him.

Anglicanism has, traditionally, embraced both the catholic extreme and the Evangelical or, perhaps more properly, the Puritan extreme. What the Sydney Diocese is attempting to do is to tear that tolerance to shreds, to impose a Puritanical intolerance of anyone and everyone that does not share their narrow interpretation of scripture or their vision of "proper" worship. This book should be a wake up call to all Anglicans, but especially to the leaders of the church. The Sydney Diocese constantly threatens schism and uses it to blackmail and bully everyone else into adopting their stance. Perhaps it is time to simply accept that they will never be Anglicans - and caste them adrift. That would, at least, free real Anglicans to re-establish themselves in Sydney.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

In defence of Israel ...

Below I am posting in its entirety a letter to the Edinburgh University Student Association by Dr Denis MacEoin. Dr MacEoin is an expert on the Middle East and is responding to the Student Body's vote to ban the use of all Israeli produce and goods in protest at the "Apartheid Regime" in Israel and "Nazi State." That the students are as ill-informed as they are racist, anti-semitic and misguided goes without saying - but I've said it anyway. Dr MacEoin is a brave man to respond directly to these morons and one can only hope that the likes of the National Union of Students and the Anti-Nazi League don't respond as they are wont to do by taking "direct action" to stifle him and drive him out of post ...

I have taken the liberty of reproducing his letter here in the belief it needs to be read and circulated as widely as possible, my source is the blog Cranmer.

The Committee
Edinburgh University Student Association


May I be permitted to say a few words to members of the EUSA? I am an Edinburgh graduate (MA 1975) who studied Persian, Arabic and Islamic History in Buccleuch Place under William Montgomery Watt and Laurence Elwell Sutton, two of Britain’s great Middle East experts in their day. I later went on to do a PhD at Cambridge and to teach Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University. Naturally, I am the author of several books and hundreds of articles in this field.

I say all that to show that I am well informed in Middle Eastern affairs and that, for that reason, I am shocked and disheartened by the EUSA motion and vote. I am shocked for a simple reason: there is not and has never been a system of apartheid in Israel. That is not my opinion, that is fact that can be tested against reality by any Edinburgh student, should he or she choose to visit Israel to see for themselves.

Let me spell this out, since I have the impression that those members of EUSA who voted for this motion are absolutely clueless in matters concerning Israel, and that they are, in all likelihood, the victims of extremely biased propaganda coming from the anti-Israel lobby. Being anti-Israel is not in itself objectionable. But I’m not talking about ordinary criticism of Israel. I’m speaking of a hatred that permits itself no boundaries in the lies and myths it pours out. Thus, Israel is repeatedly referred to as a ‘Nazi’ state. In what sense is this true, even as a metaphor? Where are the Israeli concentration camps? The einzatsgruppen? The SS? The Nüremberg Laws? The Final Solution? None of these things nor anything remotely resembling them exists in Israel, precisely because the Jews, more than anyone on earth, understand what Nazism stood for. It is claimed that there has been an Israeli Holocaust in Gaza (or elsewhere). Where? When? No honest historian would treat that claim with anything but the contempt it deserves. But calling Jews Nazis and saying they have committed a Holocaust is as basic a way to subvert historical fact as anything I can think of.

Likewise apartheid. For apartheid to exist, there would have to be a situation that closely resembled things in South Africa under the apartheid regime. Unfortunately for those who believe this, a weekend in any part of Israel would be enough to show how ridiculous the claim is. That a body of university students actually fell for this and voted on it is a sad comment on the state of modern education. The most obvious focus for apartheid would be the country’s 20% Arab population. Under Israeli law, Arab Israelis have exactly the same rights as Jews or anyone else; Muslims have the same rights as Jews or Christians; Baha’is, severely persecuted in Iran, flourish in Israel, where they have their world centre; Ahmadi Muslims, severely persecuted in Pakistan and elsewhere, are kept safe by Israel; the holy places of all religions are protected under a specific Israeli law. Arabs form 20% of the university population (an exact echo of their percentage in the general population). In Iran, the Baha’is (the largest religious minority) are forbidden to study in any university or to run their own universities: why aren’t your members boycotting Iran?

Arabs in Israel can go anywhere they want, unlike blacks in apartheid South Africa. They use public transport, they eat in restaurants, they go to swimming pools, they use libraries, they go to cinemas alongside Jews – something no blacks could do in South Africa. Israeli hospitals not only treat Jews and Arabs, they also treat Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank. On the same wards, in the same operating theatres.

In Israel, women have the same rights as men: there is no gender apartheid. Gay men and women face no restrictions, and Palestinian gays often escape into Israel, knowing they may be killed at home. It seems bizarre to me that LGBT groups call for a boycott of Israel and say nothing about countries like Iran, where gay men are hanged or stoned to death. That illustrates a mindset that beggars belief. Intelligent students thinking it’s better to be silent about regimes that kill gay people, but good to condemn the only country in the Middle East that rescues and protects gay people. Is that supposed to be a sick joke?

University is supposed to be about learning to use your brain, to think rationally, to examine evidence, to reach conclusions based on solid evidence, to compare sources, to weigh up one view against one or more others. If the best Edinburgh can now produce are students who have no idea how to do any of these things, then the future is bleak. I do not object to well documented criticism of Israel. I do object when supposedly intelligent people single the Jewish state out above states that are horrific in their treatment of their populations. We are going through the biggest upheaval in the Middle East since the 7th and 8th centuries, and it’s clear that Arabs and Iranians are rebelling against terrifying regimes that fight back by killing their own citizens. Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, do not rebel (though they are free to protest). Yet Edinburgh students mount no demonstrations and call for no boycotts against Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Iran. They prefer to make false accusations against one of the world’s freest countries, the only country in the Middle East that has taken in Darfur refugees, the only country in the Middle East that gives refuge to gay men and women, the only country in the Middle East that protects the Baha’is... Need I go on? The imbalance is perceptible, and it sheds no credit on anyone who voted for this boycott.

I ask you to show some common sense. Get information from the Israeli embassy. Ask for some speakers. Listen to more than one side. Do not make your minds up until you have given a fair hearing to both parties. You have a duty to your students, and that is to protect them from one-sided argument. They are not at university to be propagandized. And they are certainly not there to be tricked into anti-Semitism by punishing one country among all the countries of the world, which happens to be the only Jewish state. If there had been a single Jewish state in the 1930s (which, sadly, there was not), don’t you think Adolf Hitler would have decided to boycott it? Of course he would, and he would not have stopped there. Your generation has a duty to ensure that the perennial racism of anti-Semitism never sets down roots among you. Today, however, there are clear signs that it has done so and is putting down more. You have a chance to avert a very great evil, simply by using reason and a sense of fair play. Please tell me that this makes sense to you. I have given you some of the evidence. It’s up to you to find out more.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Denis MacEoin

It also shows that it is high time the government stepped into the activities of groups such as the NUS and EUSA and reminded them of the laws which forbid the "stirring up of racial or religious hatred" in force in the UK. Actions such as that taken by the EUSA and the groups and individuals who spread the anti-Israel lies should be dealt with. The Legislation exists, Blair put it on the books, its time to use it.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Dreams and Ideologies...

Came across an interesting document recently. It purports to make a case for a sustainable economic future in what it describes as a "climate constrained world." Entitled "The Greenhouse Development Rights Framework" it tries to make a case for the redistribution of wealth by a different guise. What should not have surprised me was who the sponsors are. They include EcoEquity and Christian Aid.

The paper takes some reading. It is full of some tortured English words, such as "operationalization" and a few other choice gems. It is also full of the usual strident garbage contained in the Greenpeace authored chapters of the IPCC 4th Report.

Tellingly the passage that confirms, for me, that the authors are driven by ideology rather than reality there is this quote -

To be clear, this does not mean that the countries in which poor people live are
not required to cut their emissions, but rather that the global consuming class – both
within these countries and especially in the industrialized countries – are the ones
who must pay.

So it boils down to this. The evil people of the wealthy developed nations must give up their wealth, their industry and the things that made them wealthy - and give it to the "developing nations ...

The authors make clear their belief in the IPCC numbers, that the IPCC is correct and that all "warming" is down to Anthropomorphic activity is clear throughout. As I said at the beginning of this post, the report takes some reading, but having read it I am more than ever convinced that the authors and the protagonists of this type of report don't live in a world in which things like sustaining economies in order to provide jobs, sustaining incomes in order to maintain lifestyles and modern infrastructures play any part.

This is a report in which dreams and ideology are so mixed, reality doesn't even get a look-in. Sad really, because, while well intentioned, it essentially asks the "West" (Actually the US which is mentioned throughout as having to make the greatest sacrifices) to reduce its standards of living to that of the developing nations in the misguided belief that this will somehow translate into a better living standard for the poorer nations and peoples. While it talks of building "trust" between nations and the "politics" of distrust, it fails to recognise that there are very sound reasons for the distrust - such as the syphoning off of aid to Swiss Bank accounts by various "developing nation" leaders...

All that can really be said about it is that it does acknowledge the need for "developing nations" to reduce their emissions as well - though that is then destroyed by proposing that the US should destroy its economy and give away the proceeds to provide "sustainable" development for everyone else.

I think I'm more likely to encounter fairies in my garden than reality among those who believe they can stop the world and its climate changing naturally by attacking the key element to life - carbon.

A rather scary observation ...

Came across this quote recently and it is a rather damning one. Unfortunately, when it comes to certain sections of the media, particularly the Left-wing media, it is all too true. Sadly it seems to be the cornerstone of national politics as well -

"The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous."

The scary part about this quotation is not that it was, is or even may be true, but who made it and when. At this point I will say that he is also a man who specialised in twisting fact, presenting half-truths as fact, and when there were neither facts nor semi-facts to support the case he was making, told lies. His technique has been copied and mimicked ever since by the Left who never miss an opportunity to misquote or use outright untruth, secure in the knowledge that most listeners, viewers or readers are too lazy to check.

This is the same man who probably did more to bring National Socialism to power in the 1930's than the man who led it himself. Yes, you've guessed it, the quote is from the mouth of none other than Dr Josef Goebbels.

The same man who claimed to have learned from the British that, if you tell a lie big enough and repeat it often enough, it becomes the new truth. Going by the recent assaults by atheists, humanists, "pro-choice" and anti-life campaigners on a range of issues from faith through to abortion - some organisations seem to have taken his maxim to heart and practice it assiduously.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Another Birthday to mark ...

Two birthdays close together sometimes creates a conflict of celebration, but the Monk is happy to report that on this day his son marks a significant birthday. He hopes that Nicolas and his partner will have a terrific day and a fantastic year ahead. Again, he is proud of what his son has achieved and of what he does - but he does wonder if his own insane career spent running into burning buildings and placing himself in danger has rubbed off.

After all, who wants to fly something where everything is suspended from a single bolt holding a great big fan over your head?

Have a great day Nick!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Happy Birthday ...

The Monk's youngest daughter today celebrates her XXth Birthday. While wishing her a great day and a fabulous year ahead, the Monk confesses that he still can scarcely believe so many years have slipped by almost unnoticed and yet not unmarked. He is enormously proud of her, her determination to achieve her goals and her achievements.

Many happy returns of the day, Allison!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

A date to remember ...

On the 3rd September, 1939, the "Great Appeaser," Prime Minister of Britain, Mr Neville Chamberlain addressed Parliament and declared that an Ultimatum had been delivered to Mr Hitler, demanding the withdrawal of German troops from Poland. He completed his rather short statement with the words -

"I have to tell you that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany."

By the time it was over in 1945, Britain had lost a million soldiers and civilians, Germany lost 13 million on the Russian Front alone and another 7 million elsewhere, the Russian losses tallied over 20 million (mainly due to Stalin's insane demand for "attack, attack, attack. It does not matter how many die!") France lost another million, Italy similar numbers. Over a half million German PoWs, simply "vanished" in Russian Camps and the survivors weren't repatriated until after 1949.

All for a lunatic ideology, a pernicious one, which has many faces and guises and is not, as so many believe today a "Right Wing" ideology. Study of the ideas which gave rise to it and some of the things it brought into public life and action are to be found in Marx and Jung. Nazi-ism was Corporatist Socialism as was Mussolini's Fascist Party, with Mussolini himself having Communism as his training ground. Among the many things it espoused were "secularist society, welfare provision, racial superiority supported by "Eugenics" (An extension of Darwin's Evolutionary Theory much favoured by some British thinkers and scientists including Huxley, Russell, Shaw and many of the politicians of the time), ethnic cleansing and the suppression of opposition by, initially, smear campaigns, then outright propaganda and finally, ghettos and death camps.

Sound familiar? It should, just take a look at some of the campaigns currently being run by the likes of the Socialist Worker's Party, Campaign for Choice, the Anti-Facist League, the Liebor Party and sections of the Left-wing media.

In remembering the failure of Mr Chamberlain's appeasement policies, we should also remember the lies that so many desperately wanted to believe they blinded themselves to reality. The cost was far, far higher than we think.

Friday, 2 September 2011

AGW - CERN proves it's Cosmic Rays ...

This is a story that begins back in 1996 with two very qualified Danish scientists and, as the Telegraph article "Sun causes Climate Change Shock" says, it goes downhill from there. In fact the campaign by the AGW proponents who immediately saw the risk to their lucrative funding, money making scams and the entire "Green" industry, would make an excellent plot for a book. But fiction is often never as convoluted as reality, and this is no exception.

This story has everything, from the character assassination of respected scientists who failed to grasp the political implications of their openness in voicing their findings, to the science magazine editor removed from his post for refusing to bow to pressure from the AGW lobby. The article quotes Lawrence Solomon -

The hypothesis that cosmic rays and the sun hold the key to the global warming debate has been Enemy No. 1 to the global warming establishment ever since it was first proposed by two scientists from the Danish Space Research Institute, at a 1996 scientific conference in the U.K. Within one day, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Bert Bolin, denounced the theory, saying, “I find the move from this pair scientifically extremely naive and irresponsible.” He then set about discrediting the theory, any journalist that gave the theory cre dence, and most of all the Danes presenting the theory — they soon found themselves vilified, marginalized and starved of funding, despite their impeccable scientific credentials.

One reason why the CERN experiment is not more widely publicised is that CERN might lose its funding if it dared to enter the cut throat arena that is Green Politics and AGW/Climate Change. The last thing politicians, Green Lobbyists, windmill manufacturers and the anti-modern industry, commerce and everything else lobbies want is proof that Anthropomorphic Global Warming is a myth. As the Director of CERN says -

I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them. That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate. One has to make clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters.

(The emphasis there is mine.)

So what is all the fuss about. Again I quote from the Telegraph article -

The research, published with little fanfare this week in the prestigious journal Nature, comes from über-prestigious CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, one of the world’s largest centres for scientific research involving 60 countries and 8,000 scientists at more than 600 universities and national laboratories. CERN is the organization that invented the World Wide Web, that built the multi-billion dollar Large Hadron Collider, and that has now built a pristinely clean stainless steel chamber that precisely recreated the Earth’s atmosphere.

In this chamber, 63 CERN scientists from 17 European and American institutes have done what global warming doomsayers said could never be done — demonstrate that cosmic rays promote the formation of molecules that in Earth’s atmosphere can grow and seed clouds, the cloudier and thus cooler it will be. Because the sun’s magnetic field controls how many cosmic rays reach Earth’s atmosphere (the stronger the sun’s magnetic field, the more it shields Earth from incoming cosmic rays from space), the sun determines the temperature on Earth.

Not surprisingly, some scientists have smelled the large rat and blown the whistle -

CERN has joined a long line of lesser institutions obliged to remain politically correct about the man-made global warming hypothesis. It’s OK to enter “the highly political arena of the climate change debate” provided your results endorse man-made warming, but not if they support Svensmark’s heresy that the Sun alters the climate by influencing the cosmic ray influx and cloud formation.

and

The once illustrious CERN laboratory ceases to be a truly scientific institute when its Director General forbids its physicists and visiting experimenters to draw the obvious scientific conclusions from their results

So there you have it. It is all about funding. Toe the line on AGW, and you can have all the money you want. But if you have something which shows up the AGW scam - suppress it or your funding will go the same way as the original Danish Scientists research. Straight down the tubes. As many members of the non-scientific public have begun to suspect, all this talk about reducing "our carbon footprint" (an oxymoron, since all life on this planet is Carbon based) is really about controlling resources, funding for certain research, population movement and mobility and wealth.

Do read the full article I have linked above.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Amnesty International or the International Criminal's Friend?

The Canadian Branch of Amnesty International has published an Open Letter to the Canadian Government expressing its concern over the decision to deport "war criminals" who have tried to take refuge in that country, rather than put them on trial in Canada according to "international human rights obligations." It is precisely this sort of activity and the abuse of facts, the misapplication of UN Resolutions (which are not binding on anyone unless a national government specifically adopts them) and re-interpretation of Treaty provisions that is bringing this organisation into disrepute.

It was founded with the very laudable purpose of campaigning for the recognition of human rights and the stopping of the use of torture and oppression among the world's many draconian dictatorships. That has obviously proved too hard for the well paid campaign managers based in the western countries whose ideals of freedom and justice accessible to all they are supposed to espouse. Now they resort to the dirty tricks of propaganda and misrepresentation of facts, even applying double standards in pursuit of their campaigns against the very countries whose cash supports their work. The response by the relevant Minister in Canada is informative in itself.

As the Minister identifies, Amnesty wants, from the Canadian government, the "protection" of the identities of the "accused" deportees and, in contravention of Canada's Privacy Act, that the details of the "accusations" be made public. As the Minister says, you can't have it both ways, but it seems that Amnesty's heirarchy thinks they can.

Both the Amnesty letter and the Minister's response are very well worth the time and effort to read. The first convinces me that Amnesty International has now reached a point where I can no longer be comfortable supporting their campaigns. It is time to call a halt to the complete nonsense that criminals should not be deported or extradited to the country in which they committed their crimes because "they MIGHT face torture or a death penalty." International Agreements are NOT national Law unless the national government chooses to enter it onto the Statute Book as an Act of their Parliament. Most nations honour such "agreements" as long as they do not impinge on matters of national security or, as the Canadian Minister points out, threaten the security or safety of any of that nation's citizens.

As a result of some of the more zany decisions forced through courts in the UK by Amnesty over the last few years, there are some very dangerous criminals living in the UK. And Amnesty is more concerned about protecting them than they are about the safety of the citizens they put at risk by their activities.