We have made a covenant with Death….

..and with Hell we are at agreement.

 

Some eighteen-odd years ago, I was a supervising engineer running construction works sites to install a new system supplying, transporting and pumping huge quantities of treated drinking water to a sector of North London.

My site office was on the outer rim of a fairly large site, with the telephone line strung along three sections of an old wall, total length of cable was some eighty yards. The whole site was hit by a lightning strike, my old-fashioned fax machine was literally blasted, the electrical supply cable to the office blown apart at a junction box. Once we got sorted, power supplies were repaired, but the phone cable was dead. As the phone company couldn’t supply staff to immediately repair the line to the site office, I decided to locate the fault myself. The field area itself was virtually waterlogged, as we had been hit by unremitting rain for over three days; the mud was literally deeper than my site rubber knee-high boots. For the next hour, I had to literally pull my feet and legs every water-logged yard, as I worked my way along the length of the phone line. It was unremitting slog, with the mud sucking at my legs and feet every foot of my journey.

Now transport me to a trench dug into the soggy earth of a wood given the name ‘Polygon Wood’ timed at ten a.m. on the morning of 31st July 1917, place me amongst three regiments of British soldier ‘Pals’, arm me with a rifle, burden me with 90 pounds of kit, ammunition and equipment deemed necessary by someone in an office in London who had never seen the conditions under which we had to fight or even exist; and then, on the signal of a whistle, blown by an officer who was just as doomed as the rest of us; climb out of that soggy trench, and struggle forwards into the never-ending mud and machine-gun fire from the Kaiser’s well-armed, well-supplied, and confident regiments opposing us. The title, ‘Polygon Wood’ may be a slight misnomer, as the only evidence of trees left in that nightmare swathe of blasted and bomb-strewn mud, were a few splintered trunks still upright.

For those of a delicate disposition, or who remain of a sensitive nature who recoil from reality, the photograph which gives the full bloody, body-tearing message of this nightmare is shown below. We struggled on, and then too often fall back under the guns, shells and bullets of well-sighted German infantry and artillery, who had of course been informed virtually of the minute when we would first advance because all the roads, where all the vast amount of stores, shells and of course; men were under the gaze of German observers, who knew how to count. Men and horses literally drowned in the mud, churned by the millions of shells from both sides, which is one reason why there are so many names on that Memorial.

menin

The battle ended in November, with over half-a-million casualties; with approximately four miles of territory gained after three months. The plan, to sweep forward and attack the Belgian coast-sited submarine bases, from where the U-boats aiming to starve Britain into a surrender would sail; did not even smash the well-built artillery bases which protected the frontier barbed wire. The Passchendaele salient was gained, but very, very little else.

Back in the comparative silence and safety of 2017, I must look back, and ponder, if we had known them what we know now, would we have even bothered? We, the West and Allies, had to fight another War, but not, as we thought to stop an autocratic Dictator from pursuing his dream of ‘Lebensraum’; but to stay and end the dream of an evil genius whose dream was that of a world without Jews, without gypsies, without homosexuals or the mentally-ill or feeble, without Communists and Stalin: and of course without the military might, arms and minds of an Allied Cause who fought and finally defeated him.

Looking at today’s world, where we have allowed a Fifth Column numbering nearly three million adherents of a Religion which preaches our destruction; to enter and settle in their ghettoes; sited in London, Luton, Bradford, Manchester and in many other towns and cities across the four nations which make up this once-United Kingdom. Look at the 23,000 listed people, all from that same religion who have at least come to the attention of our Security Services who have thought about, considered or preached ‘Jihad’, who demand ever more that they need to come first, and everyone else a bad second; and then determine if those sacrifices in the three months of mid-1917 were really worth it, after our pusillanimous politicians have not only left the field, they have surrendered that high ground completely!

Dicken’s Oliver Twist (as amended)….. ‘Give us More’

A new problem for the ever-nearly-broke (£ $ € terms) (Dis)United Nations

Seems as though the United Nations’  UNWRAgency would like to start spending more; a lot more, and it feels it has got to start getting real, and in a hurry, about what cash it would like, and where it would like to spend ever-more of that same cash.

All the ‘buzz words’ are used; such as Taking note with appreciation, recalling, having considered, taking note, noting with appreciation: along with all the other blether which is a major constituent of such documents, the begging letter, otherwise known as the Ecuadorian draft resolution United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East  says many things, notes many achievements; it also re-affirms, welcomes, appeals and expresses its appreciation for cash contributions in the past, totalling $623,000,000.00 (that’s 623 million bucks to the average Joe or Joelene) for 2016 ONLY. What it wants to say for future Donors is to say please; pretty please, kindly keep quiet and otherwise quietly accept without discussion our published hopes for a 61.7% rise in proposed expenditure, as we know that Big Brother Donald, along with his mates in the Republican (and some of the Democrats as well) Senate, are just hoping that we’ll just ask, like Oliver, for ‘some more, please’.

The problem, for UNWRA at least, is the request that future contributions will come from the actual Budget for the United Nations; in other words, the ‘voluntary contributions’ would now become a normal sector of UN disbursement, and this of course would mean an automatic uplift in expected contributions from the major UN Member States, which of course means ‘More Cash from Uncle Sam’. The General Assembly runs the budget, and the U.S.A. has no blocking vote; but can you imagine the uproar from just about all Senators, on both sides of the aisle, never mind an incendiary President; when UNWRA can’t even bother to say ‘thanks’ to its major funder, of some $150,000,000.00 for the previous year?

A troubling (for definitely some Republicans) problem within UNRWA is the fact that the Palestinian Authority routinely pays salaries to the families with terrorists held within Israeli prisons. The payments are supposed to be ‘welfare and subsistence’ payments, but they are listed within PA official papers as ‘Salaries’’ and The Donald apparently blew his top with Mahmoud Abbas when they met. Another item which really ticks Americans off is the strange silence from UNWRA when it was ‘discovered’ that HAMAS were storing rockets in a UNRWA school. In a statement, UNWRA said there were indications that the items found were not rockets, but declined to comment when a reporter asked if they ever recognised the old adage ‘if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck…..’

The Resolution is postponed for now, with U.S.A., Canada and Israel opposing the Resolution; but what the reaction of an angry America will be is totally unknown. America is used to being battered by little countries with big mouths, but what will happen when America decides its just had about enough of the trash talk?

Standard tour, or a sick visit to a very sick culture?

I was paging through my Telegraph, noticed a full page advert for a holiday based around six cities in the Balkans without really pausing: then stopped short, simply astounded at what was being advertised as ‘A fascinating insight’ by virtue of a walk through the infamous Sarajevo tunnel’, as part of a ‘discounted tour’ by Saga. The advert, in the smaller print, also states that a Saga Tour Manager will be available!

I wonder whether the Tour Manager will be explaining that, for the bargain price of £1,700, the tourists will be given an insight into the deadly internecine blood feud which was the source of the bloodiest ethnic-based civil war in decades! I wonder whether the Tour Manager will be authorised to give out rebates for the tourists who are sickened by the tales of genocide and savagery which was the hallmark of all four sides of this terrible conflict? I wonder if the Tour Manager is from one of the ethnic and religious groupings which started this grab for power, for land, for the sheer thrill of peering over a telescopic sight fixed to a high-powered sniper rifle at a panic-stricken mob fleeing from a mortar explosion specifically targeted to make those same panicked people run straight into the target sights of those pitiless snipers, as they perched in their camouflaged bases?

I wonder if the Saga Group, whose marketing is supposed to be aimed at the older generation, actually sat down and thought about where their ‘Six Cities’ tour would actually visit. Would they have visited THIS particular website, and then encouraged their future tourists and customers to maybe click on image #2, showing a sniper-eye view of Sarajevo; or perhaps just move forwards to image #3, showing that sniper’s targets in close-up, as they cowered, seeking cover from those commanding heights? Will they search forwards for #4, picturing Serb leader Radovan Karadzic (right) and General Ratko Mladic, butchers and murderers both, as they preened and smiled for the cameras. How’s about a few pages forwards, to see a real dandy image #10; of a tearful boy as he is driven away from his desperate father at the height of the siege? But I reckon that they will hold their search, and maybe get their printers to show image #12, and the exact results of their desire to show all of the mysteries of that great, fun-filled argument over, exactly; nothing! How’s about skipping forwards to image # 32, and maybe ask why there only girls and women in that sprawling encampment.

serbiaX

The puzzling thought is this: why would people who should know all about the massacre of Srebenica, or the siege of Sarajevo; who suffered under it, who carried it out, and, of course, the end result: want to give any of their hard-earned cash to people who, more often than not, were probably willing participants in this multi-ethnic slaughter? That same sprawling ethnic killing ground which carried on until, finally; the Americans got fed up with the bloodshed, went in and stopped the death rattles, for the time being, at least!

Gender bent, but not otherwise damaged.

When the news cycle, in either London or Washington, churns around towards elections, great play is made by many actors, some good, many not-so-good; when asked for their endorsements / opinions on those standing for office, or political affiliations in general: tend to utter the standard liberal garbage. Anything left-wing, liberal, or as the favourite label goes ‘progressive’, is fairly standard reaction from those who do a different job: because folks, that is what acting is. Its a job. The performers have to know their lines, alter their facial and vocal expressions to suit the tempo and the plot, and in many cases have studied and honed their craft for years, but; again, they are just doing their jobs. Most actors love the very idea of endorsing a favourite politician for President, or for opposing a wicked statement (wicked of course in their eyes and minds) because, as the old saying goes, ‘any publicity is good publicity’.

Martin Sheen did a competent job as standing in as the President in ‘The West Wing’, and won several awards for his role, but got infected by the insidious bug which actors tend to catch, and believed that he was qualified to tell Americans how and who to vote for. He might have studied American Politics to do his job as ‘President Bartlett’, but as for being equipped to ladle out advice on politics, and voting, he had no qualifications other than a belief that HE knew best what and who was to be in the White House, and look what that advice got America. (Obama)

 Michael Caine was asked why he voted ‘Leave’ in the Referendum, and he replied, sensibly, that it wasn’t about immigration, or ‘racism’; it was about Freedom. In other words, he was stating his opinion why he voted, but refrained from telling others how to vote: which, to me, is admirable.

Two actors who preferred to do the other job, of governing as politicians, rather than just pretending, spring to mind: one was the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger; the other was the late President Ronald Reagan. Arnie tried as California’s governor, failed, folded, and went back to acting; but you have to give him credit, at least he gave it a go: Ronald went on to become one of the great Presidents; and as the man who was hailed as ‘The Man who won the War’.

But I would like to write today about an actor who takes the other road, of a sensible, centre-right approach to politics, and who has entered into the cauldron knowing full well he shall be the target of every mouthy liberal, every frothy feminist, and especially any one with a viewpoint on Bender-Gender Politics. James Woods, star of  ‘Contact’ and ‘White House Down’ amongst many others, came full throttle with a Tweet condemning this family who put up a sign telling everyone their son has gone ‘Gender Creative’. Now the science tells us that females, women have xx chromosomes, whilst males, men have xy chromosomes. Women exhibit all the necessary functions for giving birth, vaginas, wombs, periods, breasts which will provide milk for the new-born babe: men have the ability to impregnate the female to enable that birth.

All the drugs, all the surgery in this world will not allow a man to become a woman, and vice versa. The tall, burly man who is the father of the ridiculous bunch of talentless weirdos a.k.a Kardashians, is dressed up as a woman, wants to be addressed as Caitlin, but still talks with a baritone voice; is but typical of the feather-brained mob who seek nowt but publicity. The ones who do need both support and sympathy are suffering from Gender Dysphoria, a mental illness.

Mr. Woods has taken a stand, and the gender-bender wolf packs are already gathering, but I reckon James Woods is ready for a fight, and, after all, he has both science, human biology and a fair few right-wing supporters on his side, so he shouldn’t worry overmuch.

The parents? Plain stupid, thick and obtuse!

As humans grow into maturity, we all develop ways of thinking, we all have to accommodate other people and their needs and desires; we all have to, literally get along. Most of what makes our patterns of life are unconsciously absorbed from our parents: and it is a fact that, from birth to five years-old, children absorb and learn everything which serves as a base for their future growth and life. My own philosophy, which I can state is mine own because it works for me, has grown over the years to encompass my family, the ones I love without exception. Put plainly, it states: You can only play the cards that you are dealt’.

I have learnt that ‘Responsibility’, that Duty’, that ‘Family’; are more than words: they are signposts by which one human being has, and indeed continues; to learn, and to accept that which he has undertaken. I tend to ‘tell it as I see it’, and if that means I come across as hard, bitter and uncompromising; so be it. Life is hard, and uncompromising; and if you don’t stand up, speak out and fight for what you believe in: you really shouldn’t have bothered! I have compassion, but not for fools; not for those who simply ‘knew best’!

I have striven, over the years, to advise my kids (now of course adults all themselves), from my own experiences and knowledge. I hope that, when my time to die arrives, they will look back upon the times, decisions, beliefs and actions of my life, and determine, ‘he did his best’. They might reminisce of the many times I told of the same happenings, and of the equal number of times they refrained from telling me they had heard it all before; but if that was a failing, hopefully it will be one of the few. I have given my kids advice on many subjects, but never insisted on holding to that advice, because they all have to make their decisions, all of which in the light of ‘what is best for them, and their families’. I hope that my life will be reflected in the lives of my sons and daughter; along with the four bundles of nitro-glycerine masquerading as grandsons. My family is, in mine own view, my attempt at immortality; and I would, and indeed have done, deal out extreme physical damage to one who would even think of assaulting or attacking my kids.

So it is that I can read of a death which should not have happened; should not have even been contemplated: and simply came too early in a lifespan which could have been counted in the decades: and state, categorically that this was due to a failing on the parents’ side. The young person, described by parents as a delightful strong-willed, caring and compassionate child (who) had developed into a courageous and confident young woman, was, unfortunately, nothing of the kind. She was, instead, wilful, headstrong, disdainful of advice which might have saved her bloody life: she thought she was ‘Invincible’.

Sorry, darlin’, the only Invincibles I know come care of Marvel Comics, and they only have a shelf life. The parents did not get their daughter into the single state of mind which told her “The only pills I take are from either a registered pharmacist or chemist, or a pack which has been supplied on a doctor’s prescription.” The parents might have stated, as reported in the news article, “Leah had the benefit of good information and advice from many different sources at various intervals of her adolescent life,” as well as Leah was well aware of the nature of different illicit substances and the risks attached.: but she wasn’t warned harshly or strongly enough. ‘She was only fifteen, she wasn’t, as they stated, ‘a courageous and confident young woman, she was, in reality, a spoiled brat who wouldn’t be told; wouldn’t take advice; and she died because of her own stupidity, and because the parents were simply not good enough!

I come to bury her, and to praise her!

I have always considered the funeral of Princess Diana to be the ultimate triumph of hypocrisy. Her marriage was a managed fiasco, her engagement was a farce, as the poor girl had only been alone with her future husband nine times before they became engaged; and as for her marriage! The only good thing to emerge from that disaster area were the two young Princes: and that was what she had been virtually hand-picked for. Diana was regarded by most of the Royal organisation as, quite simply, a brood-mare. The Line needed a direct heir, and hopefully a spare, and when that particular task was achieved, Diana’s job was seen to be completed: Charlie just waddled back to the local aristocratic bleached-blonde bicycle he had been, literally, riding for most of the time his marriage was in being, and Diana; that wonderful mother and woman was left to pick up the pieces. She received some support from Edna, but the rest of the pack watched as her life fell apart, then the separation; and finally the divorce.

Advice came there none, help was in short, very short supply; and as a direct result; the paparazzi’s wet dream gave up her Royal Protection detail, and she walked forwards, alone, into the storm; checking out the fools, vagabonds and Hooray-Henries as she passed. She died as she had lived, at a high and dangerous speed, accompanied by some Arabic dozy wanna-be who fancied his chances. She was guarded by the Arab’s father’s bodyguards; but unfortunately no-one thought to breathalyse the driver, and she died because the drunken fool tried to out-race paparazzi on high-powered motorcycles.

But worse was to follow. The funeral, a purely private one as wished for by the Spencer family, was transformed into a semi-state occasion; probably as a belated attempt to apologise for all the crap the Establishment, together with the Royals; had ladled out so carelessly when she was alive.

Her brother, Earl Spencer, did not wish anyone but Charles and himself to walk behind the cortege; but he was told the boy princes William & Harry had consented to walk behind their mother’s body. Interviewed by the BBC, Earl Spencer stated ‘Buckingham Palace staff, and Government lied to me. I was distraught; never mind the boys; as they walked through that wave of emotion from the crowds as they followed the noise of the horses’ hooves.’

At the funeral itself, Diana’s sister spoke, and was instantly forgotten, Prime Minister Blair spoke with a biblical quotation, and I doubt if anyone really noticed it; Elton John’s re-working of the song which actually was written in memory of Marilyn Monroe was played, and it was as gloopy as was envisaged; but then Earl Spencer stood, faced his world-wide audience, gripped the lectern, and delivered his verbal atom bomb, aimed straight at both the paparazzi whom he blamed for her death; and the Family whom he believed had deserted her once her task was over.

The only genuine emotion in the whole circus, came not from the funeral, not from the Abbey, not from the assembled show-biz squad in the cheap seats: but instead from the hundreds of thousands seated in the various Royal Parks. As Earl Spencer finished his dose of verbal dynamite as he praised his dead sister; ending with the words:- we, your blood family, will do all we can to continue the imaginative and loving way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition, but can sing openly as you planned”: that massive audience stood, almost as one; and sent that applause, never, never ever before heard at a funeral, rolling across the Parks, sweeping across the silent, still streets; and thundered into the crowded Abbey itself; startling the staid and sober congregation, just as Diana herself had done so many times before.

That was the single tribute which was honest, was heartfelt, did actually meant something.

 

Seriously violent protests quelled across Cuba!

The delusion that Cuba is somehow more free after the old goat’s death has suffered yet another embarrassing revelation.

Obama made a deal with the Castro regime, said it gave them access to tourism, gave them the belief that if you are interested in promoting freedom, independence, civic space inside of Cuba, then the power of things like remittances to give individual Cubans some cash, even if the government was taking a cut, that then allowed them to start a barbershop, or a cab service, was going to be the engine whereby individual Cubans—not directed by the United States, not directed by the C.I.A., not through some grand conspiracy—can now have their own little shop and have a little bit of savings and start expecting more.”

So Donald Trump gets elected, and reverses most of the Obama deal, stating “We challenge Cuba to come to the table with a new agreement that is in the best interest of their people, of our people, and of Cuban-Americans. We call for an end to the abuse of dissidents, release political prisoners, stop jailing innocent people, open yourselves up to political and economic freedoms.”

In an escalation of the arbitrary arrests and detentions against the Ladies in White, a dignified, silent protest group who always dress in white; seventy women were forcibly detained, some whilst on their way to church for Sunday mass. One of the serious charges levelled against these terrifying demonstrators (my sarcasm) was their statement that the Government charged her with “public disturbance” for shouting “down with Raúl”

See what I mean? The terrifying sight and sounds of a middle-aged woman calling for a dictator to stand down: why it calls for a battalion of armour on the streets in reply! Why, just think of the damage she could do with her handbag!