Friday, 26 December 2008


I finally got around to watching Caché by Michael Haneke, without a doubt the best film I've seen in years. Moreover, it made me aware of the Paris massacre of 1961, an event I admit to my great shame I'd never even heard of until last week.

Might there be parallels between France in 1961 and Britain today? In both cases, an abject war abroad triggers domestic turmoil, including terrorism committed by a small minority. In both cases, the powers that be decide that under these circumstances, human rights are to be suspended, if not in law then in practice. In both cases, the police are unaccountable; no one has ever been convicted of the Paris massacre, as no one has been convicted of the killing of De Menezes and no police officer has received even the slightest reprimand for any of the many thousands of baseless arrests, search warrants and other forms of harassment of what turn out to be innocent people, under 'anti-terrorism' laws that lack any moral or other justification. As in France in the 1960s, the press is all too eager to do its 'duty' demonising those breaking the law, while glorifying the law enforcement agencies that protect us, our children and our way of life.

If none of this makes any sense and the analogies are false, then forget all this, except that the film is highly recommended.

'More sex offenders' go missing

'More sex offenders' go missing (BBC News, Tuesday, 23 December 2008)

The horror! Do the missing sex offenders include the man convicted of having sex with a bicycle (BBC News, Friday, 16 November 2007)? Better lock up your bike sheds then!
Child protection charities warned it was common for sex offenders to re-offend

Define 'common'. Some types of sex offence have the lowest reconviction rates among all crimes, according to government statistics, which regrettably leave out of consideration those cases where the victims were bicycles, shoes, traffic cones, or other inanimate objects involved in recent convictions.

The above article should be seen against the backdrop of a growing awareness that the sex offenders register as it is maintained in the UK breaches human rights:

Sex offenders win rights ruling (BBC News, Friday, 19 December 2008)

Of course, it is not politically correct to talk about this. And think about the poor underage Vettas, Konas and Raleighs!

Thursday, 25 December 2008

star of wonder

My Christmas message? There's probably no God (Guardian, Tuesday 23 December 2008)

Polly Toynbee's article doesn't contain much that we didn't know before, but we need more of this as long as media such as the BBC continue to feed us theist crap like this, disguised as science reporting:

Star of wonder (BBC News, Tuesday, 23 December 2008)

Basically the same 'story' the BBC have been recycling year after year, e.g. December 24, 1998; February 23, 1999; November 28, 2003; December 22, 2005; May 8, 2006.

Ahmadinejad show causes offence

Ahmadinejad show 'causes offence' (Thursday, 25 December 2008)

I don't watch Channel 4, nor the infantile rubbish on any of the other TV channels, but it seems that this year's alternative Christmas Message was particularly successful in exposing the hypocrisy rampant in this country. It is so much easier to throw predictable verbal abuse at an insane foreign leader than to come to terms with the embarrassment of having to further tolerate Gordon Brown's fruity club, possibly until June 2010, heaven forbid.
Allowing Iran's president to deliver Channel 4's Alternative Christmas Message will cause "international offence", the UK government has said.

... whereas the war in Iraq has caused no offence at all, least of all internationally.

The war has in fact significantly strengthened the position of hardliners in neighbouring Iran, among other things leading to the election of its current president. Considering we indirectly helped Ahmadinejad get his post, why would we not ask him to give us a speech?
"The British media are rightly free to make their own editorial choices, but [...]

The word 'but' pretty much sums up New Labour's position on freedom of expression and civil liberties. You little people have rights. But not really.
"Who will deliver next year's alternative Christmas message? Will it be David Irving or Robert Mugabe?"

I don't give a damn, as long as it is not Tony Blair. With one half of the British media spouting sexist, racist, xenophobic rant, and the other offering little more than docile, law-abiding platitudes never straying too far from the government's position, apparently it takes someone like Ahmadinejad to provoke a debate. Too bad.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

opera is harmful

BBC's Christmas Day Hansel and Gretel will show 'dead children' (Telegraph 12 Dec 2008)

(Found via Melonfarmers.)

Children's campaigners have criticised the BBC's decision to broadcast it at a time when young children will be watching. [...]

This is the most violent stuff young children will ever see on TV! And the blasted thing is sung in some weird language that normal people don't understand!

The Torygraph and self-proclaimed 'children's campaigners' would do anything to protect children from foreign culture. Right, let's stick our heads in the sand and pretend that if British children grow up to be violent or otherwise dysfunctional, it is because they once saw a non-Anglo-Saxon opera with puppets of dead people in it. It can't have anything to do with our educational system, the many violent cartoons on TV, our crypto-fascist government, or anything like that, can it? So, blame it on zee Germans!

In this age of cultural barbarism and instant gratification, the 0.001% of British children who can be bothered to watch any opera for more than 5 minutes may be expected to have the intelligence to cope with the discussed scenes.

On a happier note, I can highly recommend Humperdinck's delightful opera, for children and adults of all ages. If you miss the broadcast, or if it is cancelled thanks to xenophobic, self-important bigots, there is a wonderful recording on CD with Anna Moffo, Helen Donath, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Kurt Eichhorn conducting.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Most 'do not believe in nativity'

Most 'do not believe in nativity' (BBC News, Saturday, 20 December 2008)

I know the BBC see it as their task to cater for a wide audience, which includes those who suffer from organised delusion. That is no reason however to quote an 'expert' whose comments are very unlike those of a scholar and very much like those of a propagandist.
Simon Gathercole, a new testament scholar at Cambridge University, said people were sceptical because they were not aware the origins of Christianity were anchored in real history.

Looking at biblical writings from a sound historical perspective is the realm of biblical criticism, which, unlike theology, is a serious discipline. Its study of the origins of among other things the New Testament is often reported by believers (and former believers) to be a powerful antidote to literalism, as it lays bare the fatal weaknesses of any suggestions that events must have taken place exactly as reported in the four gospels from the New Testament.
"Jesus was born while Augustus was emperor of Rome just before Herod died... we're talking about events that are anchored in real history not in ancient Greek myths."

There is solid evidence that Mohammed actually existed, and did at least some of the things the Quran reports he did (which includes some quite nasty stuff, as everyone knows or should know), whereas very little is certain about the life of Jesus, except maybe that he must have been a much nicer bloke. Should we therefore take the Quran as the Word of God, just because it is more archored in history than the New Testament is?
"There's something in us that misses that connection with God that we sometimes feel our historical forebears had," he said.

We? Speak for yourself. The great lie of our time is that atheism would have existed only since Charles Darwin. Although On the Origin of Species delivered the death blow to theism, at least among those in possession of full mental faculties, there is solid evidence that the 'connection with God' has been tenuous throughout the ages, and religious beliefs had to be hammered into the flock, by force, by threats of force, or merely by lies and trickery. The many crackpot 'proofs' for God's existence by Thomas Aquinas and hordes of other 'thinkers' from the middle ages only show just how familiar the concept of not believing in a god was to many people. And those who genuinely believed may not have had the same 'connection with God' as some sufferers of schizophrenia quoted by BBC News.

Merry Christmas by the way.

Friday, 12 December 2008

virtual reality

Gordon Brown saved the world and a fake Simpsons cartoon is child abuse. Reality has ceased to be a relevant concept. More examples:

Stone jailed for Stormont attack (BBC News, Monday, 8 December 2008)
Stone had denied the charges, claiming the incident was performance art.

Spending time in prison is also performance art. It now appears the judge is an art lover.

How do avatars have sex? (BBC News, Friday, 14 November 2008)
So how do computerised characters have sex?

"First you need to buy genitals,"

Call me old-fashioned...

As usual, last month's prize for the most warped view on reality goes to the Labour government:

£1,000 fine for wrong ID details (BBC News, Friday, 21 November 2008)
the government plans to fine innocent people for inaccuracies on the government's own database

Open verdict at Menezes inquest (BBC News, Friday, 12 December 2008)

A gagged jury returns the only reasonable verdict that remains and the response by wacky Jacqui is:
What we have learnt from the accounts of the tragic events that day reminds us all of the extremely demanding circumstances under which the police work to protect us from further terrorist attack,

So if police shoot an innocent and unarmed civilian, then feel sorry for the police. Because the police are the police, and civilians are just civilians.

The Labour government is making it rather hard to still think of policeman as an honourable profession, a feeling that I may share with many thousands of others who have been the victim of random stop and search under Section 44(2) of the Terrorism Act, such as Terence Eden.

Arrogance, megalomania and sheer stupidity among the British police force are not restricted to the Menezes killing. The following is nowhere as serious, but it is symptomatic that anyone with the slightest understanding of computer security falls on the floor laughing when they read comments from a computer 'expert' of the police force:

UK police: 'We need crime breathalysers for PCs' (, 11 December 2008)

Councils are using 'lie detectors' about as reliable as the ancient Roman practice of inspecting the entrails of sacrificed animals (but less bloody):

Lie detectors for benefit claims
(BBC News, Thursday, 4 December 2008)

When it comes to distinguishing make-believe from reality, there is a glimmer of hope. For the first time in years, the word 'piracy' is used for what it means, rather than as a catch-all for anything that makes the music, movie and game industries lose revenues from the sale of overpriced rubbish:

US asks UN to allow pirate hunters into Somalia
(Guardian, Friday 12 December 2008)

Monday, 8 December 2008

censored Wikipedia image

Wikipedia child image censored (BBC News, Monday, 8 December 2008)

Wikipedia page censored in the UK for 'child pornography' (Guardian blog, 8 December 2008)

I don't exactly enjoy living in a country where people are put in jail every day by narrow-minded and self-righteous judges and magistrates, for an ever increasing number of victimless crimes, thought up by a maniacal government intent on obliterating every last shred of our civil liberties. But it is an outright affront to freedom and democracy that government-funded bodies operating outside the control of the judicial system decide what is good for us to see, hear and read.

Forms of censorship that are not answerable to anyone are at the basis of every dictatorship, and countries that are democratic, at least in name, have become a lot less so because of such censorship. Those who dare speak out are often themselves censored, as in the case of Lapsiporno:

Finnish government blacklists 'free speech' site (CNET news, February 18, 2008)

In Britain, internet censorship is implemented by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which was initially only concerned with identifying child abuse websites. Through the function-creep that is inevitable with such organisations, they then started to widen their scope to material that they deemed objectionable for a variety of reasons, from obscenity to incitement to racist violence (BBC News, Friday, 24 October 2008), and all major ISPs now adopt their blacklists blindly. No one except the government and ISPs have access to the blacklist, which makes the IWF unaccountable. The censored material will of course also cover (and likely now already covers) "extreme porn", in the light of new legislation:

Porn, abuse, depravity - and how they plan to stop it (The Register, 9th October 2008)

Government finally names the day for porn ban (The Register, 26th November 2008)

The case at hand involves an album cover from 1976, which is of historical interest, notwithstanding its bad taste, and unless the decision to blacklist the image is withdrawn soon, Britain will become the laughingstock of the (supposedly) free world even more than it already is.

If you cannot access the Wikipedia page, then it is advisable to change your provider to a decent one that doesn't play ball with the nanny state, or use a proxy situated in the free world, or to be more exact, anywhere except Britain, Australia and North Korea. (Check out Relakks and Alternatively, you can see the controversial album cover here or here or here or here or here of here. That is, if you're curious what the fuss is about, and are not shocked by a naked body!

If you haven't had enough yet, check out Le Sommeil de l'Enfant Jésus by Benvenuto Tisi. Every day, hordes of paedophiles go on a pilgrimage to the Louvre to see it.

And what to think of The Three Graces, either the painting by Raphael or the sculpture by Antonio Canova. Those girls look rather underage don't they?

You want bondage thrown in as well? No problem. See The White Captive by Erastus Dow Palmer.

But hush! Don't tell the IWF, or a large portion of classical and neo-classical sculpture will be ostracised, only to be appreciated by a handful of scholars, authorised after thorough psychological testing that qualifies them to see such depraved and depraving material.

By the way, our friends down under are in an even worse predicament than we are. But it won't be long till we catch up:

Fake Simpsons cartoon 'is porn' (BBC News, Monday, 8 December 2008)

In Conroy’s muddy waters you'll never know what’s being filtered (Computerworld, 28/10/2008)


For an update and thorough analysis, recommended reading is:

Scorpions tale leaves IWF exposed (The Register, 9th December 2008)

Addendum 2:

IWF backs down on Wiki censorship (BBC News, Tuesday, 9 December 2008)
"IWF's overriding objective is to minimise the availability of indecent images of children on the internet, however, on this occasion our efforts have had the opposite effect. We regret the unintended consequences for Wikipedia and its users."

So they couldn't foresee that blocking a Wikipedia page (and other collateral damage) would upset people? One cannot but wonder what incompetent fools are behind that organisation. It is very plausible that more harmless, or at least legal, images and textual material have ended up on the blacklist that we don't know about.

One of these days, some hacker will get hold of the blacklist, and distribute it on the web, thereby giving paedophiles the most concentrated list of filth in existence, and as we all know, the offending websites are and will always remain accessible with a minimum of technical know-how, by means of proxies, the TOR network, etc. How's that for "unintended consequences"?

The IWF is a serious threat to free speech, while having no effect whatsoever on the availability of child abuse material to those intent on finding it. Close the IWF down, now!

Addendum 3:

There are in fact now leaked blacklists for Denmark (Melonfarmers, Dec 24, 2008), Thailand (CircleID, Dec 2, 2008), and Finland as mentioned above.