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Questions Of The Day (Politics)
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Mick Harper
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It's funny you should mention Section 18b as I've literally just finished reading The Nameless War by the British MP Archibald Maule Ramsay. He was held under this act for the duration of WWII. He blames pretty much everything on the Jews. It's quite an interesting read though.

Yes, there is always good stuff for people who are prepared to hold their nose. This is why academics can never access all the astounding material discovered by the crazies. Apart from being morons of course.

I think what he identifies (i.e. the "International" conspiracy) is a real phenomenon, but his is a pretty crude and racially-fixated interpretation of it.

It's the same with Hitler’s two books. If you understand, as he does not, that he means the international conspiracy rather than the Jews it is much easier to read – and appreciate. Coupla things though:
1) it doesn’t matter whether you yourself believe in the conspiracy because Hitler (and I assume Ramsay ... was he the Right Book Club man?) are quite good analysts. It’s like reading, say, Marx. You don’t have to buy into the theory to hoover up all kinds of useful stuff. Or Left Book Club books come to that. And, as you say, these genres can be quite enjoyable in their own right. Orwell, anyone?
2) there really was potential for conspiracies in the early twentieth century—it was the age of the cartels after all. You really could get the Seven Sisters on the phone and ruin leftist governments nationalising oil in, say, Mexico or Iran. The Merchants of Death could be got round a single boardroom table to plot plots. Silicon Valley really did exist ... no, wait ...
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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N R Scott wrote:
We have a relatively fixed view of the word Jew now (though even now the term is very vague and subjectively defined). However, I think historically the term was much more loosely used, and I think its general sense simply implied an economic group that operated across political or national boundaries. ...

I would suggest that the religious differences between Jews and Christians, etc is the product of this economic/social driving force.

My father-in-law, a Romanian Jew, used to enjoy reminding me that England was the first country to expel Jews. As a result of researching 'Dark Age' monasteries we've come to realise it is also the first country with network of monasteries-cum-wool merchants. So presumably these are not disconnected.

A while back Scottie noted that York, Eboracum or 'Yew' city, was the site of the much-cited if uncorroborated massacre of Jews. The 1290 mass expulsion (corroborated) of Jews was a hundred years later by which date monasteries had become hugely successful especially in Yorkshire where the greatest Cistercian houses were established. Again, presumably the two events are connected since Jews are renowned for business acumen, notably in the rag trade.

I wonder how the wool trade fared after the dissolution of the monasteries and who ran it.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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I am hoping that as we all now all agree (well both Bernie and Donald) Amazon is too big, I won't have to write any more reviews for multi million selling authors.
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Mick Harper
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There can no longer be multi-million-selling authors now that Amazon allows you to buy their works (in pristine condition) for a penny. A good thing on wider grounds.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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London murder rate overtakes New York for first time ever

A fundamental shift in one of my most entrenched politial verities has just occurred.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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London murder rate overtakes New York for first time ever



2017...the homicide rate per 100,000 population stood at 1.2 in London and 3.4 in New York.

You are changing your perception on 3 monthes statistics.

As ever during a panic, folks are looking for a solution to what is probably a statistical blip.

London needs to check out what they have been doing right, but as with any panic they will bin the good local targeted stuff, and adopt the Bejing, Perth, NewYork, Glasgow model and hey presto the muder rate will go up, proving the doom mongers right.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Of course you are correct. It was my fundamental verity about New York rather than London that was shaken. The problem is, as always, careful ignoral. The spike is because of gang violence and the gangs are black. Now this is not carefully ignored -- indeed you have to be black to discuss the problem -- but the correct solutions have to be carefully ignored because all racial problems require racist solutions.
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Mick Harper
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These phone conversations with President Trump recorded by his lawyer are clearly going to feature big in the upcoming impeachment proceedings. But there's a problem. In some states both parties have to give their consent to being recorded to make such tapes admissible, in some states only one. Already there's a question about the Stormy Daniels chats because Trump was in California (both must give consent and Donald didn't) and Cohen was in New York (where he doesn't need the other person's consent). Which state's law counts? That one will have to go the Supreme Court.

But what about phone calls from Air Force One? As it flies above one state or another portions of the conversation will become admissible then inadmissible then admissible again, as state boundaries are crossed. The final transcript will have tantalising lacunae, just like Nixon's Watergate tapes when his secretary, typing out the phone logs, accidentally kept her foot on the pedal and erased ten minutes.

But President Trump can take comfort from the fact that Nixon was never impeached.
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Mick Harper
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If it is now accepted that the Great Powers have a duty to punish, on behalf of the wider world community, those they sincerely believe to be guilty of chemical attacks, shouldn't Russia be making targeted strikes on the United Kingdom?
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Hatty
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Was there a chemical attack in Douma?

Robert Fisk, The Independent's reporter on the ground, voices some doubts. He quotes a Syrian doctor saying the video of victims was genuine but

the same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.


The doctor may or may not be a supporter of the Assad regime, it's hard to tell because 'terrorist' is now applied to diverse nationalities and faiths, of all sides

he refers twice to the jihadi gunmen of Jaish el-Islam [the Army of Islam] in Douma as “terrorists” – the regime’s word for their enemies, and a term used by many people across Syria.


The inhabitants themselves are strangely unaware of, even uninterested in, the infamous 'gas attack'

There are the many people I talked to amid the ruins of the town who said they had “never believed in” gas stories – which were usually put about, they claimed, by the armed Islamist groups. These particular jihadis survived under a blizzard of shellfire by living in other’s people’s homes and in vast, wide tunnels with underground roads carved through the living rock by prisoners with pick-axes on three levels beneath the town. I walked through three of them yesterday, vast corridors of living rock which still contained Russian – yes, Russian – rockets and burned-out cars.

Are the people of Douma able to talk freely? The Russian military is very much in evidence and judging by Russia's habit of eliminating inconvenient opponents, it's probably not advisable to talk to foreigners

The town’s complement of Syrian interior ministry civilian police – who eerily wear military clothes – are watched over by the Russians who may or may not be watched by the civilians. Again, my earnest questions about gas were met with what seemed genuine perplexity.

The chemical weapons inspectors have been blocked from entering the town until today by Russian officials claiming they lack the required passes or something like that. The suspicion is that the evidence is being cleaned up prior to the inspection but Fisk's article doesn't indicate a clean-up and he was, apparently, allowed to roam around unescorted.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-fisk-ghouta-damascus-a8307726.html
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Mick Harper
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Some 'careful ignoral' arises here. The Russians/Assad must know if there wasn't a gas attack so surely they would be hurrying journalists, inspectors etc in if that was the case. Their profound delay (which may be for innocent bureaucratic/ingrained reasons) will surely mean that either
a) gas will be found -- the West triumphant
b) gas won't be found -- the West will claim it's been cleaned up.

The most interesting thing is if the West comes to the (private) conclusion that gas was not in fact used (cf Saddam's weapons of mass destruction) and how they react. Will it be bluster or hand-wringing? And if the former, can three different state apparats keep it secret?
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Wile E. Coyote


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It's not the same as Saddam.... not least as the UN has already now looked into 16 alleged chemical attacks in Syria in 2012 and 2013 alone. It found evidence in 7 cases. Sarin gas, which kills by paralysing the lungs, was used on at least 4 occasions.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24130181


Folks are using the Saddam analogy wrongly, but there again this is what folks do.

Someone will next post that we don't know who actually used the gas, ie it could be Al Quada rebels/terrorists, who have captured Syrian stocks.

They would most probably be right. Chemical weapons are now in the hands of the terrorists. Well done Assad.
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Mick Harper
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Barking up two wrong trees, ol' dear. I wasn't comparing Saddam and Assad but how western governments react when their assumptions prove unfounded. You will recall that it took a good six months (and with the war well over) for Western governments to stop saying, "Oh yes, well they're there all right, we just haven't found them yet."

You are equally wrong about the significance of the previous Assad chemical attacks. This is just as likely to mean that a) others might be tempted to fake another one or b) jump to the wrong conclusions. After all, as Fisk and everyone else with a fairly neutral view has pointed out, there was absolutely no need for Assad to use chemical weapons and every reason not to. On this occasion.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Mick Harper wrote:

You are equally wrong about the significance of the previous Assad chemical attacks.


I am glad you admit there have been.


a) gas will be found -- the West triumphant
b) gas won't be found -- the West will claim it's been cleaned up.


The other side reads.

a) Gas will be found, the Syrian/Russian govts will claim that it was a rebel attack

b) Gas won't be found, the Syrian/Russian will say there never was was a gas attack.

The likely outcome will be inconclusive. Folks will pick their answer according to the so called "balance of evidence" and tie it in with their previous position, and the inspectors have little hope of finding out who fired the gas, just where it was produced.

Such is life. Folks that will go off the scale if they thought that Israelis might be gassing Palestinians.... are suddenly champions of the UN and infallible evidence when it's Syria.
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Mick Harper
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I am glad you admit there have been.

Admit? It has been demonstrated beyond doubt, hasn't it?

a) Gas will be found, the Syrian/Russian govts will claim that it was a rebel attack

They have gone further than this and claimed it was British-trained rebels who did it, presumably with Porton input.

b) Gas won't be found, the Syrian/Russian will say there never was was a gas attack.

No doubt they will and with good cause. What's your point?

The likely outcome will be inconclusive. Folks will pick their answer according to the so called "balance of evidence" and tie it in with their previous position,

It is already agreed that the outcome is certain to be inconclusive.

and the inspectors have little hope of finding out who fired the gas, just where it was produced.

Not 'little hope', they are not permitted to say anything about either of these things.

Such is life. Folks that will go off the scale if they thought that Israelis might be gassing Palestinians....

First I've heard about this. Which is strange since it would be headline news round the world. If you're just presenting it as a 'for instance' then it is not very helpful.

are suddenly champions of the UN and infallible evidence when it's Syria.

I don't know of the existence of any such people. Please enlighten.
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