Eurozone – a new religion?
The Eurozone has gradually and imperceptibly acquired all the unsavoury aspects of a religion – and we don’t even appear to have noticed!
For instance, Greece is having to do PENANCE (austerity) as punishment for its past sins. Others are already gathering to follow the Greek example. The HOLY EURO demands it!
All believers need HOPE in order to believe. The Eurozone hope is provided by the ECB which may or may not decide to help. Sometimes it is merciful but yet on other occasions it gives the impression that perhaps Euromortals should be allowed to make their mistakes and then clear up the mess themselves. Freewill or Predestination?
Then of course, any religion worth its salt has its Unique Selling Proposition. The most simple and powerful is the promise of an afterlife or , more accurately, the choice between TWO afterlives. One where the Euro remains intact and everyone lives happily ever after (HEAVEN). The other is the threat of HELL should the Euro break up. However, the Eurozone High Priests have provided a third way – PURGATORY – where the genuinely penitent can suffer for a while so that their transgressions (SINS) may be forgiven.
(Greece is currently languishing in PURGATORY with its cilice so tight that it has begun to draw blood).
Every religion has a DOGMA. That is provided by the strong belief that Monetary Union is the only true Path of Righteousness.
The DOCTRINE is extracted from the many words which have been handed down over the years. They are true because it has been written that they are true. (See Maastricht Treaty).
There are RITUALS – every religion has its rituals. The Eurozone rituals are mysterious and enacted during the frequent MEETINGS of the High Priests with the important rituals being acted-out in THEIR own Vatican, which is in Brussels but some believe that it is in Berlin. Every such ritual generates words for the believers – but just like every other religion, the words have become repetitive and Mantra-like with little real meaning or relevance.
There has to be a MYTH. Something which , even in the face of overwhelming evidence , remains sacred. Theirs is THE HOLY EURO…..
Every religion has its DETRACTORS – those who may wish to modify or change either the beliefs or the mode of worship. There are those who would REFORM. Europe has such an enemy within – it’s own JUDAS. It is called the United Kingdom – which is sometimes viewed (by High Priestess Merkel) as the DEVIL incarnate.
It is appropriate to highlight the New Religion this week because it is the time when the new round of meetings and pilgrimages begins.
At the end of this Holy Euro Week, there will be no changes but the faith of many will be strengthened by the promises of the High Priests.
Amen. May the blessings of the Euro be with you.
God’s Word and Selective Belief
Brian: “All right! I am the Messiah!”
Followers: “He is! He is the Messiah!”
Brian: “ Now, fuck off!”
Arthur: “How shall we fuck off, O Lord? …”
In her American radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger, an observant Orthodox Jew, said that according to Leviticus 18:22 homosexuality is an abomination and cannot be condoned under any circumstances.
The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a distinguished US resident :
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan,
James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and SpecialEducation University of Virginia.
(It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian )
The Kraken Wakes.
The Kraken. According to ancient stories, this huge many-armed creature looked like an island when motionless and could reach as high as the top of a sailing ship’s main mast with its arms deployed. When the Kraken attacked a ship, it wrapped its arms around the hull and capsised it. The crew would drown or be eaten by the monster.
Occasionally, we Europeans look at Africa and its constant political flux and we shake our heads. We mutter about the conflicts between tribal culture and political expediency and how impossible it is to overlay a stable democratic system over an ancient tribal mentality.
We forget the similarity between those African mud huts and the wooden shacks of what used to be the USSR. The ethnic stirrings within Georgia remind us that tribal identity and tribal belonging – our ancestral herding instincts – are far from extinct.
This week, the news networks have been dominated by harrowing scenes of civilian suffering in the ongoing Russo-Georgian conflict over the separatist region of South Ossetia.
There are shades of the Sudetenland crisis in 1938, when Hitler, on the pretext of defending a ‘persecuted’ German minority in that region of Czechoslovakia, was appeased and allowed to annex it. Six months later, he had conquered the entire country.
Russia is seeking Anschluss of Russocentric regions in its former Soviet empire.
While anxious that Russia must not be appeased (for a change, George Bush is right in having sent an uncompromising Condoleezza Rice to state the West’s views), one can sympathise with nationalities seeking to go their own way in an historic homeland.
Even so, the merits of their independence bids are not universally clear to those without a knowledge of the history of the South Ossettian and Abkhazian conflicts which have led to two Russian puppet-states on internationally-recognised Georgian soil.
In Abkhazia, prior to the 1992-1994 war, the majority of the population was Georgian.
Now, Abkhazia seems undeserving of independence, given that its pro-independence demographic is a result of the ethnic-cleansing of Georgians.
Nowadays, the Abkhaz people, (who were never a majority in the region) are the largest ethnic-group.
The 1989 census said that the Abhkaz were 18% of the population, whereas now, according to the 2003 census, they are closer to 40% .
Around 190,000 ethnic-Georgians were expelled and 15,000 massacred by Abkhaz pro-Moscow militias and Russian troops.
The Sukhumi Massacre of September 27th 1993 was a gruesome atrocity against the ethnic-Georgians.
The late Russian journalist Dmitry Kholodov (assassinated in a suspected contract-killing for investigating corruption in the Russian military) , witnessed the massacre and reported the following:
“They captured a young girl. She was hiding in the bushes near the house where they killed her parents. She was raped several times. One of the soldiers killed her and mutilated her. She was cut in half. Near her body they left a message: as this corpse will never be as one piece, Abkhazia and Georgia will never be united either.”
The Abkhazans could not have driven the Georgians out without massive military aid from Moscow, which certainly connived to help the separatists. In 1992, it negotiated ceasefires in Sukhumi and Gagra.
The Georgian troops were promised an end to the shelling of the cities if they left. In fact the cities were stormed by the separatists. Thousands of Georgians were butchered in the ensuing massacre, some of them, ironically, by Chechen militia led by Shamil Basayev who later masterminded the Beslan massacre.
So to grant Abkhazia international recognition as an independent state would be to reward ethnic-cleansing and should be unacceptable to the international community.
The Georgian refugees expelled in the 1990’s must be allowed return and then perhaps take part in a referendum on independence.
The existing “YES” votes on independence cannot stand, considering their basis in ethnic-cleansing and their non-recognition by the international community.
Abkhazia’s place in Georgia dates back to the ancient kingdom of Colchis. Subsequently, there was an independent kingdom of Abkhazia, which nonetheless may have been primarily ethnic-Georgian anyway, judging by the names of its kings. Abkhazia was later reunited with Georgia by marriage.
In South Ossetia, the Ossetians have been a majority since at least 1926, with a 26% Georgian minority prior to the current conflict. But the Georgian claim to the territory is legitimate in moral terms because they were there first.
The Ossetians migrated to South Ossetia in the 1300’s following expulsion from parts of European Russia by the Mongols.
North Ossetia, which is a Russian republic has 10 times the Ossetian population, and as such the Ossetians already have a homeland (considering they don’t want independence and have always been remarkably loyal to Russia).
According to Human Rights Watch, there is evidence that pro-Russian militia are ethnic-cleansing Georgian villages. Russian troops have been pouring into the region ever since the Bucharest NATO summit that refused to give Georgia and Ukraine a date for admission to the alliance.
The Russians have continued the intermittent bombing of parts of Georgia in an attempt to provoke Tbilisi. Now Russia has the excuse it needs to meddle in Georgian affairs with something approaching an occupation.
As with Abkhazia, the old pattern of ethnic-cleansing, destruction and looting of ethnic-Georgian villages in South Ossetia seems to be repeating itself.
Human Rights Watch claims that it witnessed the destruction of the four Georgian villages of Kekhvi, Nizhnie Achaveti, Verkhnie Achaveti and Tamarasheni.
The Russians keep a high-profile as they Blitzkrieg through the country. Consequently, observers do not see what is happening a few miles behind the Russian line. THAT is where the butchery and destruction are taking place.
In the village of Nizhnie Achaveti, Human Rights Watch researchers spoke to an elderly man who was desperately trying to rescue his smoldering house using two half-empty buckets of dirty water brought from a spring. He said that the vast majority of residents, including his family, fled the village when fighting broke out between Georgian forces and South Ossetian militias on August 8th but he then decided to stay to look after the cattle.
He said members of the South Ossetian militia came to his house on August 11, and tried to take away some household items. When he protested, they torched the house and left. The man said he had no food or drinking water. His hands were burned and hair was singed and he appeared to be in a state of shock. He said that there were five to ten elderly and sick people left in the village, all in a similar desperate condition. Many of the houses had been destroyed.
Russian influence in the region has been the real winner.
The crucial Baku-Ceyhan-Tblisi oil pipeline, owned by BP and carrying 1 million barrels worth of oil a day from Azerbaijan to Turkey (before it was temporarily put out of action by a terrorist attack in Turkey) now risks falling into Russian hands. The pipeline, more commonly referred-to as the BTC pipeline runs from Baku 443km through Azerbaijan, 249km through Georgia and 1,076km through Turkey to the Ceyhan Marine Terminal.
Russia has always been at its most dangerous when it has felt powerful. Currently, it feels powerful because of its substantial oil and gas reserves.
A crucial part of exerting leverage on Russia is to develop pipelines which bypass the country. Without Georgia, this strategy is dealt a crushing blow.
We must not be naive enough to believe the Russians on their ‘humanitarian’ motives for intervention. We remember the lack of concern by the Kremlin for Chechnya’s right to self-determination and its destruction of Grozny.
What about the Sarkozy Peace Plan and the curious refusal by Russia to agree to an amendment to Point 4 (on humanitarian agencies’ access to the region) that would have guaranteed the right of return of refugees to their homes?
Today in South Ossetia, the ethnic cleansing of villages continues. They have been told that Putin had ordered them to be expelled or killed.
Does this not show that Russia is motivated by territorial ambition and NOT by humanitarianism and concern for the self-determination of small nations?
For several years, Russian strategy has been to stoke the separatist conflicts in its former Soviet republics. Why?
In order to frustrate them from NATO membership and from forging closer links to the West.
There is a long way to go.
Click here for a look at ALL the Russian Tribes.
Titanic on the move again
” Fucked it up again.”
Prescott has been bludgeoning the old Titanic metaphor but because his paragraph construction has the direction and smoothness of a blind man attempting to slalom on broken glass, he has managed to hit the headlines again.
Gordon Brown’s “changes” will not be like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic because he has no idea where the deckchairs are. Some might say that he wouldn’t recognise a deckchair if he saw one. Eh , Vince?
BROWN’S CABINET MEETINGS ALL OVER THE PLACE
” Is Judas still at the off-licence?”
Good idea to keep on the move, Gordon.
Knife in the fast lane.
“We are clearing the decks, cutting the red tape, cutting back on bureaucracy, making it possible for policemen and women to spend far more time on the beat answering people’s inquiries, in touch with local communities – a visible presence on the beat so that more and more people will see a policeman or woman there and able to help them.”
Gordon Brown has said that more people will see more police officers on the streets under new reforms announced today. About time.
The word “police” has a specific meaning – it means to regulate, control and keep in order. That definition contains no reference to fannying about with bits of paper, typing out reports and being a desk jockey. It is an outside job.
Spygun sincerely hopes that we are at the dawn of a new policing era and that the consequence of this Government’s initiative will result in a long queue of wide-eyed innocents wanting to become proper policemen. We want policemen to be Policemen.
Brown said that the new policing Green Paper will “clear the decks” and cut down on bureaucracy so that officers can spend more time tackling crime. That must have come straight out of the Ministry of the Bleedin’ Obvious.
Speaking of “bureaucracy” – let us hope that this initiative is not stymied by Westminster bureaucracy. We are at a stage when it would make sense to give the police powers under emergency legislation so that they would not be subject to Westminster ruminations while more kids are knifed to death or maimed.
The number of Police statistical “targets” is to be downsized so that instead of chasing numbers, they will be chasing criminals. Wow!
Knife crime has shaken the government from its moribund ambivalence and the Prime Minister has made the most memorable and sensible statement of his tragic tenure.
Sometimes the numbers can be useful and they revealed that last year the police recorded 20,000 serious offences involving knives. That is why the solids have hit the air conditioning.
More stop and search, metal detectors and prison sentences smack not only of knee-jerk desperation but may increase the “caché” of carrying a Stanley knife or machete. Caution should be exercised – otherwise we will have the biggest game of “cat-and-mouse” ever devised.
Balance is what is needed at this stage and not overkill.
Last week there was talk of making parents responsible but there was no mention of them in the latest statements.
Let’s face it, knife carriers do not come from nice homes and are probably thick with equally hopelessly thick parents. A knife in an adolescent’s hand is just a willy extension. Men and boys with sad lives need willy extensions because the knife takes the place of self-respect and self-esteem. It makes them feel like a big boy.
They probably still live with their mum and/or dad and have absolutely no chance in later life but regrettably will one day reproduce and there will be another idiot on the streets talking about “respec”.
He says and writes “respec” not for cultural reasons but because he can’t spell it.
New for Old?
How can Gordon Brown say that the Conservatives were against the 10p tax band? He was in apparent agreement with them – he abolished it!
He is being perceived as a ditherer and as we wrote before – he is not a ditherer – he’s an Analytical. He needs all the information in front of him before he decides whether or not to sit on the fence (or not).
There is one thing that he has shown on the last few weeks. He is Tony Blair’s natural successor.
He shares Tony’s monumental disdain for the true working classes. When Gordon Brown was about to take over from Blair, there was talk of “Old Labour” making a comeback. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is New Labour but without the charisma and unfortunately, it does not look as if New Labour works without the charisma. Or to put it simply (and let us not beat around the bush) : Brown cannot make New Labour work because he has no charisma.
What we did not realise at the time is the fact that Tony Blair’s natural charisma was an integral part of New Labour. In other words – NO Blair, NO New Labour.
Blair was the Levis 501 of politics and Brown is the frayed beige cardigan. The trouble is that he thinks that he can look cool by simply undoing the top button.
He still believes that people want to hear policies and figures. Here’s some news for you Gordo – most of the electorate does not understand the figures.
Perception is God. We don’t want to cloud the issues with facts – we want the bullshit. We have become used to it by the barrow-load.
When St. Frank Field begins to appear on our screens, you know that it ain’t good. Frank is still a bit miffed about having been sacked from the Social Security office that he held under Harriet Harman and there were rumours at the time that there was friction between him and the Treasury. Frank Field is a highly-principled but rabid egalitarian with deep-seated ideals and were it not for his “previous” with Gordon Brown , he could fairly be regarded as the champion of the poor.
Unfortunately, he is not very good on the telly because he looks dead.
The other half of the Field “double-whammy” is the fact that he has now reminded the electorate about what Old Labour was about. Not good.
Every Prime Minister has his or her screw-up moment. La Thatcher had her Poll Tax, Tony had Iraq and Gordon has his 10p tax band and of course, John Major had Edwina. EEEK!
The difference between Gordon and his predecessors is that he took no time at all to achieve his screw-up moment.
They took years but he managed it in four months flat and it will bite him hard (or not).
Gordon the Barbarian?
Why is Gordon Brown so unpopular? I am sure that he is a very nice bloke. THAT is where the problem lies. He is what we call (using the Tracom Social Styles model) an Analytical with a slight touch of Amiable. Predominately though, he is an Analytical.
Let me show you the behavioural traits of each type:
Analytical: He is driven by numbers – the accountant, the nerd, the engineer. At University, he will study a subject with lots of facts and figures. Stuff that can be analysed and reanalysed. He is driven by facts and not emotions. The analytical needs proof and the “numbers” have to make sense. The Analytical is not a risk-taker – only if it is a sure-thing. He suffers from what is known as “analysis paralysis” and will not make decisions on 90% of the facts. He needs all the facts. He does not release his stress very often but when he does or when you cross cross him, you are in deep trouble. He will bury you. When he insults you – it will be personal! If you want to be loved by an analytical – give him the facts – the bottom line. Even so, he will say “No” a lot. He will procrastinate and use the fact that he still does not have all the information as an excuse. He is only liked by other analyticals. He prefers a road map to a compass when going from A to B. In spite of that, he may not always get there because the map is not detailed enough.
He will not say : ” I really feel for all of you who are struggling with their mortgage and household bills. I will do everything to ease your pain.” (Clinton, Blair) . (Clinton would probably add: “Your pain is my pain”.)
The analytical will say: ” I will do my utmost to ensure that the economy comes back on track as soon as possible.”
The Analytical can be considerate and is self-controlled but very moralistic – with an over-developed sense of right and wrong. He is a prude who always comes across as a bit stiff and starchy. He prefers the missionary position and a cup of tea. His dress sense is very “straight” and conservative. No Levis.
Amiable: Very much related to the Analytical. This is the submissive church-going type who is kind in his personal life. He makes a good Staff Officer but needs a Driver-type to show him the way and to make the decisions. He is an idealist who wants a better world. He cannot lead.
Politics is all about “perception” not fact. Once a politician is perceived as a certain type, it will stick. There is no going back.
As a “herd” we want and need to be led – preferably from the fiscal swamplands into the sunshine of the Plains of Plenty. When Gordon Brown first took over from Tony Blair we wanted him to be strong and statesman-like. Remember how he came across during his early skirmishes with the farm and flooding crises? He looked good but only because we were willing and wanting him to be good.
Then we had all that nonsense with the snap Election which didn’t happen. That was ( in Vince Cable’s words) his first Mr Bean moment. The beginning of the end.
The ugly spectre of self-interest is asserting itself in Westminster. MPs are slowly realising that in 2010 many will lose their seats. Those with small parliamentary majorities may have to get a proper job!
They need a scapegoat. Their evil thoughts, like fledgling vultures are already clattering against the Westminster windows . Soon they will take to the skies. There will be blood.
Gordon was nearly the man who never was. In reality, he is the man who never should have been.
Embryo or not embryo?
The old blokes in long frocks and funny hats have been making noises. Yes, it’s the Roman Catholic hierarchy again.
So when does the soul enter the cluster of cells? Is it when the sperm penetrates the egg wall? Does it sneak in through the puncture? Does it wait until the cells have divided once? Does the soul arrive after 24 weeks of development?
500 years ago, the church would have invented an answer. Unfortunately for them, the education of the masses has meant that they have to join a debate and because they have not had that much practice at rational thought, they are struggling to put together a decent argument.
Perhaps das Pope will come up with an answer.
Let’s assume for a moment that Big G does exist. He has given us the knowledge to tamper with life so He must agree with the scientists. Let’s go for it! Let’s find cures for all those nasty diseases.
The old “soul superstition” which somehow (according to the church) makes “Man” special has caused successive misguided and ignorant governments to allow very sick people to have their lives prolonged and experience an unacceptable level of suffering and pain.
The same superstition is stopping us from encouraging our scientists to find a cure.
Let us thank God and the men in frocks.
Jesus must be spinning in his grave. Sorry (oops!), I forgot. He was allowed to tamper with nature. Probably some sort of cell regeneration.