Jun 012020
 

You could think that it all started with the killing of George Floyd; you would be wrong. There has long been a problem with extra-judicial killings by the police in a number of US cities for a long time.

Not all police forces, and not all of the police. But enough to qualify this killing as one of many.

Racism in the police? In many cases I tend to argue that “something” may not be racism but more to do with letting “sociopaths” be in control of the hierarchical capitalist economic system. Not that I am necessarily right, but it can be a point worth considering.

But in this case? It’s hard to argue against it in this case.

But it isn’t just racism; some of the police initiated incidents during the protests have targeted white people as well. Leading to the suspicion that some police regard themselves in some situations as above the law and willing to go too far in controlling certain segments of the community.

The community they are supposed to serve.

Just to highlight just a few incidents :-

  1. Arresting a news team where the journalist was black.
  2. Indiscriminate use of rubber bullets which has led to a photojournalist being blinded in one eye, and another journalist receiving minor injuries.
  3. Firing a tear gas round directly at a news camera.
  4. Drive-by attack on peaceful protestors with pepper spray.

Of course it hasn’t all been bad from the police.

Pitchfork Politics

A part of the community has been targeted by the police for a long time and that part of the community (the black community) has been protesting about that for a long time. And apparently ignored all the time.

If part of a community has a grievance that cannot be settled through conventional politics, they will resort to protest politics and eventually pitchfork politics.

We have seen something along those lines with the widespread disturbances in the US over the last week. There are numerous aspects to these :-

Not all protests have resulted in arson and looting, but some have. And despite the impression that some of the media portrayed, protestors don’t all set buildings on fire (it’ll be a tiny minority) and protestors won’t be looting (again a tiny minority – very often people who didn’t take part in the protest at all). Protestors have been known to complain about looting and violence.

Violence is never good, but if you think that property damage is more important than violence against the person then you are part of the problem.

Peaceful protests get ignored. If you ignore a complaint by part of the community repeatedly and for years if not decades, then you can expect violent protests. The more you ignore and abuse a part of the community, the more you can expect some to turn to the “cleansing purity of violence”.

This is after all the recipe for a violent revolution.

There are also indications that the violence and the looting is carried out by people other than the protesters. There is a) an arrested arsonist with white-supremacist tattoos, and b) rumours that white-supremacists are speaking about “getting their loot on”.

America: You have a problem, and it has nothing to do with burning buildings and looted shops. Restoring order won’t do a damn thing. Are you going to leave this problem to your children or your grandchildren?

Apr 102020
 

… is a slogan invented by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Frequently used and abused by those with no clear understanding of what it means.

The first thing to note is that it is just a slogan and a nineteenth century slogan at that. It isn’t necessary for it to be taken literally.

Secondly it does not refer to all property but specifically to land ownership, and needs to be understood in the context of nineteenth century grand estates owned by aristocrats.

Aristocrats had built up huge estates over many centuries; and not always by simply buying it. Feudal land grants from kings were originally more like rents – “I give you this land for your lifetime; in return you owe me military service to include 10 knights and 200 men at arms when I call”. Originally for a lifetime but gradually became inheritable and the military service that was owed as “rent”? That gradually faded away as kings found more professional armies were more reliable.

Laws were often arranged to protect large land holdings – for instance Scotland had a law that protected estates from being broken up and sold off during bankruptcy – effectively protecting the fundamental wealth of an aristocratic family from their creditors.

Lastly those close to the bottom of the rung of the rural community who saw in just a few short generations change from protected feudal client (roughly the equivalent of a tenant farmer) through to a day worker who could be discarded on a moment’s notice. At the same time, enclosures took away “common land” (which every member of the community could use for grazing, etc.) and gave it to local land owners.

In a real sense, this is where the notion that property is theft comes from – in many ways, although legally done, land was in some cases stolen.

When you come down to it, is it any wonder 19th century radicals were steaming at the ears at the land ownership of the elites?

But Today?

But is it still relevant or appropriate today?

Well yes and no. Certainly as a campaigning slogan it does apply. 

In the intervening decades, a number of laws have been introduced to mitigate the worst aspects of the landlord (in the most general sense of the word) tenant relationship, but there are still many, many opportunities for abuse.

It is one thing when a landlord is the owner of one or two properties and quite another when a landlord owns a large enough portfolio of properties to distort the local market. And in my history of renting homes, the later is far more common than the former (although this might be peculiar to my location). 

One of the biggest problems is that property prices (and rents) have inflated far faster than salaries (or wages) which is fundamentally a problem of supply and demand. Supply is always going to be limited (creating new land is rare).

Demand is split into property investment by the rich, and homes for everyone. The former limits the supply for the later, and in the case of property shortages (and excess costs), it is arguably true that the former should be suppressed in some manner.

Hypothetically

Before considering how to get from a world of private ownership of property to a world where that doesn’t exist, let us consider how a world without land ownership might work.

Land could be “owned” by the community as a whole, and a lifetime tenancy granted to people with an appropriate use case. With an appropriate rent owed – a monthly payment, profit share, etc.

At the end of the leasehold (when the leaseholder dies or gives up the lease for whatever reason), the community compensates the leaseholder for improvements – buildings constructed, land improvements, etc.  And the leaseholder compensates the community for any neglect of the land (and any buildings on it) – environmental, necessary repairs, etc. 

The community could look at any land returned to it and make decisions on such matters as whether it should be sub-divided – is a 6-bedroom house on a half-acre of land suitable for an inner city?

There are undoubtedly problems large and small with a solution to land such as this; but there are problems large and small with our current solution to land.

Whilst we have tinkered with land ownership rights and wrongs, we have not yet thrown the rulebook away and started again. Don’t give up on the idea just because it is not done the way it has “always been done”.

 

The Red Door
Mar 152020
 

Those of a sensitive disposition may want to read elsewhere – I’m going to get a bit sweary because this gets my goat. And I’ll be using three little words (or at least one of them) that were previously used (a century ago) to refer to the learning disabled; they no longer refer to them and there is no association between my use of those words and the learning disabled. Besides what other word can you use alongside ‘racist’ other than ‘retarded’? Having said all that, let’s get to it :-

It’s not flu.

Every time you call it that, there are microbiologists banging their head against the wall in woe. And those guys have important things to be getting on with – don’t distract them by making them bang their head against the wall.

Now don’t get distracted by all the weird looking scientific names here – we’re only interested in the distance between a random flu and Covid-19. Count the connected circles between them – there’s fourteen. You are probably more closely related to a fruit-fly than a random influenza virus is to Covid-19.

Having had this season’s flu is no more protection against Covid-19 than wearing heavy boots would protect you from a poke in the eye. 

It’s not fucking Chinese.

The WHO prohibits naming diseases after locations (amongst several other prohibitions) and it is not difficult to see why.

Take “Spanish flu” (the 1918 flu pandemic) as an example – it became known as that because the first news reports about the existence of a dangerous new flu came from Spain; ignoring the fact that news stories about other outbreaks were suppressed because other European countries were busy engaged in a world war. People going to Spain to research the origins of this pandemic are off to a very bad start.

As for Covid-19, it currently seems very likely that it started in China, but what if we find out in a month or two that it actually originated in North Korea? Is it going to be renamed? Who is going to go through that many scientific papers, public health policy documents, and even more web pages to correct the name?

In addition, there are racist retards all too willing to hear “China” and start blaming the Chinese; including people who may have had Chinese ancestors but probably have never been to China in their lives – just talk to your local Chinese takeaway for examples. 

Some of the posts by internet idiots have been particularly disgusting and ridiculous – particularly accusations that the Chinese cause pandemics because they are routinely (or live) in close proximity to food animals. Half the fucking planet does exactly the same, and the other half used to. 

Epidemics happen from time to time, and no they don’t always originate in China.

So stop calling it “Chinese flu” and verbally abuse a racist retard today.

 

Jan 122020
 

To be plain, I’m not a vegan; I’m a vegetarian and have been for over 30 years now. Somebody has to eat all that surplus cheese, and what else am I going to put on my morning muesli? Navy-strength rum? It’s a nice idea, but I doubt my employer would be too impressed.

The old joke goes: “How do you know if someone is vegan? They’ll tell you.”. And somebody always makes it every time veganism is mentioned.

Here’s a few thought on that …

First of all, how do you know that all vegans will tell you and preach? The existence of noisy ones doesn’t provide you any information about quiet ones – you (and I) don’t know whether it is 1% of vegans being quiet, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 99%. From my experience of vegetarianism, the ones most inclined to make a noise about it are the newly converted … and vegans have been around for ages. I even know a few that have been vegan for longer than I’ve been a vegetarian.

Secondly, I know from my own experience that eating out with a bunch of relative strangers (co-workers, sales critters, and the like) is likely to result in being questioned on your menu selection: “Why are you eating that bloody rabbit food?”. It’s kind of hard to avoid the topic when you’re being interrogated all meal long about it.

Finally, I think that ‘normals’ overlook just how much pressure there is to conform to the standard carnivorous diet – from the restaurant menu that sticks vegetarian/vegan choices in the ‘restricted diet’ section, through to jokes about a steak is overdone if it doesn’t “moo” when you stick a fork in it.

Is it any wonder vegans are in your face?

Lastly, with the exception of a certain Twitter exchange, vegans have never been in my face.

Grazing In The Misty Morning
Jan 052020
 

So the US has blown up Soleimani with a drone strike; what’s the problem?

Well it isn’t that Soleimani didn’t deserve it, although I would lean in favour of being imprisoned for life after a conviction for crimes against humanity (yes this would be a lot more difficult to arrange). And no it isn’t because the one effectively pressing the button was an orange-painted idiotic sociopath.

No, it’s the way he was killed.

What seems to be commonly overlooked is that a total of ten people were killed by the drone strike – did all of those there deserve to die? Each and every one? No, probably not.

And who made the decision to go ahead and make the drone strike? The president of the USA with an arbitrary decision rather than any proper due process. In other words, this ‘execution’ (or assassination) wasn’t sanctioned by a court of law .

And lastly, this was an act of war by the USA against Iraqi territory and an Iranian general. Either could use this act as justification (as much as any war is justified) for war with the USA. And as the USA has used similar acts by others as justification for war, it can hardly claim that they are not. At least not honestly.

In terms of reactions to this assassination, it doesn’t matter what USA citizens think; it matters what Iraqis and Iranians think. And judging by the public reactions so far, they don’t appear to like it much. That will further radicalise ordinary Iranians and Iraqis and make them more likely to side with the Islamic terrorists.

Unoccupied

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