The Judge RANTS!
I know, I know. It's been a very quiet month on here. But getting through and over a particularly nasty infection took its toll on my energy. It has coincided with one of those periods which hit me every three years or so when I wonder whether it's worth carrying on with this. After all, hardly anyone ever reads this shite, do they?
On top of which, it is an increasingly depressing task keeping up with the spiralling insanity of those who rule over us and those who act as megaphones for their
deceit and self-delusion.
And in addition to all that, my typing's seriously all to cock. It has got so bad that I can intend to type a word and end up not merely with a twisted Unwinised version of the word, but sometimes with a totally different word altogether. This means that the proof-reading phase of producing anything becomes not merely more lengthy but also utterly dispiriting.
(I'd also like to murder the person who put the comma and full-stop keys next to each other; ditto with the colon/semi-colon and apostrophe keys.)
Nonetheless an effort has to be made to excoriate the inexcusable, if only to enable me to tell myself that I've done so.
So, in no particular (New World) Order:
- We have seen yet more gun massacres in and around The Shining City Upon The Hill, and the same wretched, hypocritical response from those with the power to change things. The UncleSamian fixation on firearms seems to me to be a manifestation of a deep-seated psychosis in the USAnian male. The obsession with size which has always been endemic in that culture (to use the term in its broadest possible scope) and the conviction that Big Is Always Better has quite clearly warped the psyche of many males of that land, and to such a degree that they have transferred that warpage onto their sense of their own masculinity.
To cut through the psycho-babble, the gun fetishists aren't so much obsessed with the Second Amendment as with the size of their cocks and - fearing rightly or wrongly that they don't measure up - seek a greater degree of psychological comfort from carrying the mighty and stiff weapons of Messrs Heckler, Koch and Colt as a compensatory mechanism for the perceived inadequacies of their own.
If you think this fanciful, just consider the large overlap of support (and, quite possibly, of membership) between the NRA and the so-called MRAs. Bear in mind too that US society is still - when viewed from an historical perspective - in the adolescent phase of its development, and the motives for such dick-waving become more readily understandable (if no less pathetically repulsive).
- Staying with overgrown teenagers trying to compensate for their physical inadequacies brings me to the Tweeter-In-Chief.
That the personnel of President Fart-Euphemism's White House staff changes more often that the cast list of a struggling soap opera can provide us with some comfort, in the sense that if they are expending so much energy on stabbing one another in the back, then that gives them less time to do it to anyone else like, say, the population of the entire planet. Yet these people - utterly inadequate and unsuitable as they are - still hold immense power and - due to the bandwagon effect and to the supine nature of state- and courthouses from Sea To Shining (because of the plastic) Sea - their reach into the lives of the citizenry is great, and growing greater.
- The Big Story around Trump, however (or so we are constantly being told), is what has been dubbed - with the customary lack of originality and the equally lamentable tin ear for language - 'Russiagate'.
We know, of course, that this is the one thing which unites the media across the political spectrum: the so-called 'liberal' media have battened on to the story not merely because it gives them the chance to stick the boot into a (nominally) Republican administration, but that claiming the 2016 election was 'stolen' by Russian interference (a likely story) seeks to let the upper echelons of that entity of entitlement called the Democratic National Convention off the hook for fielding the most inappropriate candidate possible in that campaign. Similarly, the 'conservative' media (and since when has 'conservative' meant 'the wholesale destruction of the basis of civil society'?), whilst inwardly shuddering at the man-baby currently playing Highest Up The Wall in the Oval Office, can invoke decades of scares and hysteria from the Cold War to blame Dem Goddam Godless Commie Russians for everything that has gone wrong since January last year, even if that means that the story - if true - completely delegitimises 'their' candidate.
And yet, and yet...after well over a year of loudly-trumpeted 'revelations', we still have no real evidence of Kremlin influence over the result of the election, and far more attention has instead been paid to the business connections between current and former members of the administration and Russian concerns. As if, of course, there had been no such links between Vladimir and the Oligarchs (whose second LP Crimea River is highly thought of in some critical circles) and any previous occupants of the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon. Why else did the US expend so much time, effort and the tax money of poor stiffs in Butthurt, Ill. on making sure that the corporately-complaisant drunk Yeltsin was re-elected?.
Trump's routine response is to cry "Fake News" at every story which doesn't suit his schtick or threatens to rain on his (highly-militarised) parade. What is a source for the goose-stepper is a source for the propaganda, and so the charade continues.
- But now we Global Brits have our very own Russian scare story, following the poisoning of a Russian double-agent and his daughter in the unlikely setting of Salisbury in Wiltshire a few weeks ago.
That the attack vector (that is to say, the poison) is known is a given. But the attempts of the May régime to pin the source of the attack on the Russian government have been unconvincing to anyone who gets their information from other than exclusively our tame, neutered news media. That the government has been unable to arm-twist even their employees at the biological weapons centre at Porton Down (located as it is a mere handful of miles from the site of the outrage, thus adding a new twist to the estate-agently phrase, "Handy for the shops") into saying definitively that Putin's mob was the source of the weapon. Instead, it has had to rely on a weaseloid formulation describing the poison as being, "...of a type developed by Russia". I recommend for further reading these pieces by the ever-redoubtable Craig Murray, a man who has a far better understanding of reality than Boris Johnson.
None of this has, of course, prevented such a falsified narrative from being pushed as The Truth. From every media orifice has come a diarrhoea (*) of parroted assertion unbacked by any reliable evidence that It Woz Vlad Wot Dun It. As a result of such wilful disinformation being so widely spread, is it any wonder that three-quarters of the population of Greater England believe that this is indeed the case, and that when a senior parliamentarian, in the form of the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, ventures to suggest that we should have some, y'know, evidence before doing anything precipitatively foolish, he is widely blackguarded as a 'traitor', even to the extent of what we are still expected to believe is BBC Television's 'flagship' news programme concocting a backdrop which practically screams "Corbyn is a Russian agent!" at its dwindling audience?
- All of this has enabled May and her collection of trophy idiots to divert at least some attention away from the momentum-gathering fuck-up known as 'Brexit', about which I will say comparatively little in deference to my cardiologist. What I will say is that a certain grim humour may be derived from the attempts to portray the latest 'agreement' on transitional arrangements as being some sort of triumph for the arts of British Diplomacy™ when all that has happened is that the government of Greater England has simply agreed to do what the EU insisted upon. That - and the wretched sight of has-been and never-will-be politicians throwing dead fish from a boat into the Thames (something which is surely actionable under the littering laws, if not under the ones governing anti-social behaviour simply on the grounds of the people taking part in it) - renders any pretence at seriousness on the part of such a stupid policy's advocates to be doubly risible.
And yet, it will still happen...
- What such a carnival of capering may not be able to do is to douse the conflagration which has arisen over the use of very dodgy data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica to spread lies on behalf of the 'Leave' campaign during That Fucking Stupid Referendum. That the case against the Leavites - and with it the case that the referendum should be considered to be invalid as a result - is a strong one can be judged by how forcefully, to the point of the most rank behaviour, they have sought to bury the story under a shit-pile of cries of "Fake News!" (you see a pattern here, folks?).
On this subject, I recommend the posts of Tim Fenton on the subject, starting with this one.
- Our basic freedoms are under attack, especially regarding online communications. Although the Régime has kicked its plans to force its citizen-subjects to put themselves on a database if they wish to view perfectly-lawful 'adult' material (if only, one suspects, because with their ever-increasing experience in having to deal with clusterfucks, they can still only handle about fifteen at once) down the road to the end of the year, it isn't just pussy-peepers and cock-connoisseurs who need to worry about what The Law will do to them.
Here's the most recent example:
Mark Meechan lives in Scotland. He has a YouTube channel (I won't link to it, if only because I haven't seen all the material on it and so wouldn't be in a position to advise you of any 'unsuitable' material there may be).
His girlfriend has a pug dog, upon which she dotes because she thinks that the creature is cute.
Wearying of this, Meechan thought, "What is the least cute thing I can get the dog to do?". So, over a short period of time, he trained the dog to give a raised-leg salute every time Meechan said, "Sieg Heil!" and "Gas the Jews!". He then posted a video of the pug doing his new trick. The clip went viral.
Silly? Of course. Tasteless? Yup, ticked that box.
But it was quite clearly a joke. I mean, how could one take the concept of a 'Nazi pug' as being in any way serious? It's fucking obvious.
Obvious, that is, to all bar the prosecutors who dragged him into court in Airdrie last week, and certainly to the judge hearing the case on his own, Sheriff Derek O'Carroll, who allowed no thought of context, no consideration of intent, and emphatically no idea of proportion to enter his little pointed judicial noggin, and duly pronounced Meechan guilty of that advancing authoritarian catch-all, 'hate speech'. Meechan will be sentenced next month, with the real possibility of imprisonment.
For a fucking joke!
We have, of course, been here before. The fault - now as then - is Section 27 of the Communications Act 2003, which seeks to prohibit people sending "by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character". It was a piece of legislation shoved through Parliament during the high-sewage-mark of New Labour authoritarianism, and was drafted long before Twitter and Facebook had been invented.
The problem is ineluctable: what is 'grossly offensive' (and don't say, "it's 144 times more offensive that just 'offensive'", or I'll twat you one)? What is 'indecent'? What is 'obscene'? These are utterly subjective terms, and to leave their definition solely in the hands of a judiciary which all too often demonstrates its inability to grasp far more straightforward concepts is just asking for trouble.
Now I used to be a free-speech absolutist, but I have rowed back from that position just a little. For me, anything which does not actually and seriously intend to incite violence or other forms of criminality must be allowed without the threat of criminal prosecution. To have it otherwise is to end up where we are, where anyone can claim to be offended (even if they aren't actually, or are merely being offended on behalf of other people or groups whose views they haven't even sought - a popular pastime amongst self-identifying 'progressives') and get someone a criminal record or even a spell in chokey. It is a legal-judicial channel for a form of revenge porn.
What has been interesting is who has actually come out publicly in Meechan's support and who hasn't. Stephen Fry - prominent (and rightly so) in support of Paul Chambers, and someone who is never off Twitter - has been silent other than one solitary re-tweet of someone else. Nick Cohen has been silent. To their credit, both Ricky Gervais and David Baddiel (the latter no slouch when it comes to challenging real anti-Semitism) have defended Meechan's right to be offensive in the name of humour. Beyond them, only the loony Right in the form of celebrity motormouth Katie Hopkins and the neo-fascist Stephen Yaxley Lennon (who styles himself 'Tommy Robinson' because it sounds more 'white working class') have given visible support.
Their interventions may have dissuaded others from voicing their opinion, but that shouldn't matter. The key point about freedom of speech - if it is to have any real meaning at all - is that it cannot be confined to 'freedom of nice speech' or 'freedom of speech you happen to agree with'. In that sense, it is an absolute, and it is in the cases arising from the expression of unpopular views that it needs defending the most fiercely.
- Finally, I come on to the running pustulence on the face of European 'liberal' politics which is the response of the EU and its member states to the ongoing crisis in Catalunya.
From reading the UKanian official media in the last few months, you would think that nothing had actually happened there since the election forced upon the Catalans by the Madrid régime in December. And, indeed, there was a comparative lull (as opposed to a total Llull), during which time the Spanish state did nothing more than take over Catalunya's police force, seek to remove Catalan as the main medium of education in the country's schools, and raid the country's museums to steal their exhibits.
All that has changed in the last couple of weeks. The parliament elected via the forced ballot - with, despite everything, a continuing majority of parties which are either pro-independence or at least pro-referendum - sought to elect a president. The previous encumbent Carlos Puigdemont, being in exile in Belgium, was deemed ineligible by order of Madrid's thoroughly corrupt courts. Every successive candidate put forward instead was either forced to withdraw under threats of personal reprisal or just failed to garner enough votes.
Then, at the end of last week, the Spanish prosecutors dragged even more elected and formerly-elected members of the government and the Generalitat into Spanish courts on charges of 'rebellion'. The result? There are now no fewer than nine politicians or leaders of civic movements imprisoned without trial by Madrid, some of whom have already been there for over five months. At least as many have now been forced into exile to avoid the same fate. The Rajoy régime has issued further European Arrest Warrants. And, this very day, President Puigdemont has been seized and imprisoned without trial in Germany whilst travelling from Finland back to his current base in Brussels.
And the response of the EU? Silence. Silence from Commission President Juncker and his sidekick Timmermans. Silence from Council President Tusk. And silence from that doughty champion of democracy and human rights (as long as they're in Eastern Europe or Turkey) Verhofstadt. Mind you, given that the previous times that they have addressed the issue of Catalunya they have all sided with Madrid, perhaps silence is the less offensive option for them.
And yet, in the last few hours throughout Catalunya, the now-Spanish-directed police have been firing what the Americans with their customary delicacy call 'non-lethal projectile weapons' at non-violent demonstrators, they have been assaulting even more mano a mano and they have been driving their vehicles at speed directly at more still.
To sum up, then: the Kingdom of Spain sends its goon squads to beat and maim people simply trying to vote; it jails people for organising a democratic vote; it insists on forcing fresh elections; it loses those elections; it then uses judicial force to prevent a new President being elected; it imprisons even more representatives of the Catalan people, and seeks to drag those who have escaped its authoritarianism back into its claws.
And the soi-disant 'progressives' and 'liberals' of Europe stand united...in their complicit silence with all of this.
Spain has now irretrievably 'lost' Catalunya. And serve the Franco-fellating fuckers right.
And now, the weather...
* Funny. I managed to type that word right first time, despite not ever being sure how it's spelled. Or is that 'spelt'? Or is that 'spaghetti'?