The General Discussion Thread

[Publish Date updated to restore to front page]

Okay as an experiment here it is. Discuss your favourite generals here!

Well perhaps… Really this is simply the place to post news-items, fun-items or whatever takes your fancy. In short just post what you want here.

It’s just another wee experiment – comments welcome.

Squonk.

[Image: General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett (Stephen Fry)]

12,611 thoughts on “The General Discussion Thread

  1. Clark

    I hope the damage limitation is working mate!

    Anyways, the Green party, supporters of capitalism, offer no solution. Like all players in a broken system must, when they get power they implement regressive policies that they previously opposed. For example in Brighton they launched an attack on workers pay conditions resulting in confrontation with binmen. In Germany, where they got serious national representation, they sent in riot cops to attack folk demonstrating nuclear power, ie crushing the exact direct action they had previously participated in.

  2. I listened to the protesting children on the radio Phil and they didn’t seem to be offering much of a solution either. Not one of them said what they wanted the government to do, what they could do that they aren’t already doing, they all said the government should do something.

    Do they want more wind farms? Where I live is already full of wind farms, they are on every hill, there is nowhere you can look without seeing wind farms, even if you look out to sea the sea is full of wind farms.

    https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/198/planning_-_long_term_and_area_policies/152/renewable_energy/4

    I don’t see what more the government can do. Apart from pass a law making it illegal for children to not turn the light off when they leave a room empty.

    It’s themselves they have to convince, the government is already convinced. Combating global warming entails more than taking a day off school, it will mean foregoing the trip to Disneyland as well.

  3. Fred, like in the Second World War, environmental protection has to be made an overriding priority, overriding even capitalism. There is masses that can be done.

  4. The Iranian defector’s name is Monica Witt. Hoped a mistake would at least get a stir out of someone. Looks like no one even reads my posts.

  5. Trowbridge, sorry. I saw your post last night and meant to say that it was good to see that you’re OK. But the kids’ protest took priority, and I’m sorry to say that I forgot. How are you?

  6. Round here environmental issues already have overriding priority.

    The Highland Council turns down planning permission for even more wind farms on SSSI land and Holyrood overrides them.

  7. It means that the former Air Force officer has learned from inside what it and the NSA has been doing to Iran since the Gulf Wars, and has told Tehran how best to protect its strategic and sacred sites from quakes and deadly tactical weapons.

    No wonder the Air Force is claiming she is the dumbest spy. She fooled the stupid goons that she is not another Julian Assange or Edward Snowden, and made her getaway while she still could. Think it will try to kill her with a bunker buster bomb if it gets the chance.

  8. Elliott Abrams was exhumed and before Congress the other day Trow.

    Bolton, Ledeen also scampering to close on Iran before TrumPOTUS eats his own hemmorhoids on national teevee.

    Times a wastin’ for the Neocon Bund

  9. Fred

    I know, nothing is more annoying than a child failing to articulate comprehensive solutions to GW on the talking wireless and then, and then, on top of it all, not grasping that wonderful interview opportunity to expand a critique of consumerism. Bloody useless. We lived in brown paper bags and still happily sang the national anthem before gruel.

  10. Trowbridge

    TBF I mostly know nothing about the specifics you comment on and so have little to say.

    I am more than happy to say what I think it means that we are “lied” to if you’re interested in that discussion.

  11. Clark
    “But there are also a load of them that take direct action.”

    Exactly. In power they, like every “progressive” party, can only enact policies that fail to match their previously held positions.

    Direct action is a tactic not an end in itself. There are many groups who have taken direct action whilst proposing solutions that will not work.

  12. No Phil, we didn’t live in paper bags. But we did walk to school not get driven, we lived in houses with only one room heated and that only on an evening, we didn’t shower and put on clean tumble dried clothes every morning Sunday was bath night. Our gym shoes didn’t cost enough to feed a family of five for three months and they weren’t made by a twelve year old girl in China.

    https://scontent-lht6-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/52287143_10155756480661540_8671461351975026688_n.jpg?_nc_cat=103&_nc_ht=scontent-lht6-1.xx&oh=6078ebc5b375133de9e918aa25b2de29&oe=5CE5509F

  13. Fred

    No, I lived in a paper bag so poo poo to your privilege.

    Are you having a laugh? Otherwise, to offer such a monty python critique of consumerism/capitalism whilst berating a child for failing to grasp the contradictions is surprising.

  14. No Phil, I still live in a house with only one room heated, many pensioners do.

    I have friends with children and grandchildren, they have to spend a lot of money on getting them trainers with the right label on them because of peer pressure, they have to have the latest iphone.

    Look at the photographs, look at the clothes they are wearing, a sea of designer labels. Millions upon millions of children in developing countries are aspiring to have the same lifestyle they have and there is no way on earth they can have it and halt global warming at the same time. What do they want the government to do?

  15. I blame the parents… children will ask for anything but it’s down to their family to manage their expectations and instil a bit of reality in their lives.
    As for the children demonstrating, that’s great and we should be heartened that they went out on the streets, highlighting the fact that the earth’s future is fucked unless the adults change.
    I laugh / cringe when I hear older people say that youngsters shouldn’t have the vote because of inexperience – the world might be a better place if no one over 25 were allowed to vote. What do the young want the government to do? Change direction from the current, carbon-money orientated path – which we know is a one-way ticket to oblivion. Any alternative path would be preferable and it’s down to all of society to come up with solutions. Bit fucking rich criticising the youngsters on the street for not having the solutions.
    Mother Nature on the run….
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1e3m_T-NMOs

  16. Actually, Fred probably is having a laugh. I know from months of first hand experience that he brags about such comments with a cynical grin on his face, recounting them in a sing-song, superior voice.

    However, he’s poor, generous, works hard, cares about his neighbours and is much better to get along with when he’s building things.

  17. “I have friends with children and grandchildren, they have to spend a lot of money on getting them trainers with the right label on them because of peer pressure, they have to have the latest iphone.”

    Yes, that’s exactly the type of attitude that needs to change, or at least go unsatisfied. It’s the attitude that develops in a society that has accepted the values of capitalism, promoted by the corporate media.

    If that one thing changed, it would do at least as much to help as all the alternative energy infrastructure. If only people would promote a different kind of pride; “here, look at how I fixed this!”

  18. Of course Fred, you were rather dismissive of my solutions, beyond that I’d do the climbing work that you and the others didn’t like. Wanted to keep me in my place, no? I was a threat to your position as top local tech.

  19. Fred

    Apologies for answering jokingly but your phrasing and your immediate linking your point with the SNP/windfarms threw me.So let me now make a sincere response.

    We make our own history but not in the circumstances of our choosing. It is currently impossible to escape the contradictions into which we have been born. We can no more live without oppressing others than we can hold back the tide. That is the shame of capitalism. Even you. I guarantee you own shit made by people poorer than you. Ever used the NHS? Well, paid for by empire. And to this day staffed by those worse off than you.

    So to point out that people are wearing trainers whilst demanding a world that will limit the stupid choices of footwear brands is nonsense. You may as well say to a revolutionary “aha you are a communist but you accept a wage!” Of fucking course.

    Consumerism is a madness. From cradle to the grave we are bombarded by the virus. It’s not just advertising, nor the news, it is capitalism. Sure, the patient may not yet have a full diagnosis but the first step toards a cure is to recognise we are sick. The first step is for us to say “this is wrong” and then to gain some undertanding, some self understanding, through defiant action. We must reject the ruling ideology. Until this is shed there is no space for new thinking.

    Karl Marx 1845

    “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it.”

  20. Phil.

    In Europe we are reducing carbon emissions, our governments have taken the matter very seriously, we have reduced the amount of greenhouse gasses we produce by 23% between 1990 and 2016, it’s a great achievement.

    In every other region of the world greenhouse gas production is increasing, increasing at an alarming rate and the reason it is increasing is a billion children like this:

    https://d2drhpw56bvoc4.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2013/09/16035800/UNI1112381.jpg

    Who want to be like this:

    https://scontent-lhr3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/52445513_10155756480636540_7851279192946638848_n.jpg?_nc_cat=103&_nc_ht=scontent-lhr3-1.xx&oh=37ebb1d472081a3fd8a930aebae2c1b1&oe=5CE3B892

    I don’t see what our government can do about that. What exactly do these protesters want?

  21. Fred
    “I don’t see what our government can do about that. What exactly do these protesters want?”

    As explained in my previous comment it is not surprising that fully-formed coherent demands are not always forthcoming from everyone.

    However, demands are being made. I struggle to believe you are not familiar with them. One example, the government should have long ago ceased to subsidise the fossil fuel industry:

    https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/fossil-fuel-firms-billion-pound-uk-state-subsidies-oil-gas-firms-leak-climate-change-environment-a7690966.html

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/aug/07/fossil-fuel-subsidies-are-a-staggering-5-tn-per-year

    https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/The-G7-Spends-100-Billion-On-Fossil-Fuel-Subsidies.html

  22. Fred, these protesting children want to rattle every cage in the book, they can see the inability of conformist adults to act and or understand the term sustainability, despite the fact that we once practised rotation cropping and were careful to put back what was lost.
    We knew that hedges foster a vibrant bird population and that this natural pesticide was a benefit to crops and land.
    That humanity evolved and managed to rid itself of diseases that once thinned us out, not unlike the Spanish flue and ravages of medieval times, has widely increased life expectancy.
    We breed like rabbits, but we have given up production of food to large farmers, large global conglomerates who are controlling seed supplies and tell us all whats best for us, self reliance and sufficiency is frowned upon.

    Us adults can’t deny the cancerous impact we created by our consumerist frenzies, our ignorance towards pollution and lack of sustainable practices, our hedonist attitudes and the will to defend these dangerous excesses with police powers and arms to boot.
    We pat ourselves on the back for exporting violence and the means to create more violence, suffering and finite exploitation of vital resources, which we regard to be ours, to be exploited by the here and now, leaving very little to future generations.

    What we do leave these children is degraded land, higher sea levels to come, lots of polluted health risks from industrial processes, a massively diminished quality of life , and very little prospects to change the equation.

    Demonstrating children is just the start, and for the forces that protect the exploiters of the world to claim that they have the safety of children in mind when they drive them back with mounted police, will be understood by these children, it will change their resolve and determin their fu8ture actions which might bypass demo’s and which will not be shared on FB or instagram.

    Children know already how the world is connected by modern communications and they will bypass them all by going back to basics, i.e. talking to each other face to face.
    They will become more radical than anything we have seen sofar and it will teach us a lesson about being socially irresponsible and ignorant to their futures.

    Off course I could be wrong, I’m open to be berated and educated by their aims, but I will utterly disregard political discourse and lying to us, its gone too far now.

    Here is a petition that, if adopted, would make it illegal to deliberately mislead the general public, feel free to support or disregard it.
    If we or businesses defraud or cheat others out of money or property, we are being judged by the law, so how come that professional career politicians are allowed to live the life of eels, slipping away from the law, cheating us in elections, lying to the electorate and deliberately impoverish the whole economy, as is obvious at present.?

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/239850

  23. But we are still heavily dependent on fossil fuels Phil.

    We have to ensure a secure supply or people will die. We need gas to heat our homes, diesel to put food on supermarket shelves. We have to invest in fossil fuels.

  24. Nevermind.

    When I was their age it was before the clean air act, I walked to school in smog so thick you literally couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, smog that had lumps of soot floating in it. Few survived to pension age where I lived, the old all coughed constantly, buses had signs saying “No Spitting” because everyone had bronchitis.

    Things have improved a lot since then, successive governments have brought in legislation, taken the lead and other poisons out of petrol, removed lots of dangerous substances from the environment. People in Briton are healthier and live longer than at any time in history.

  25. If we woulod have started to change our practises at the end of the 1960’s, when Rachel Carson wrote silent spring, it would have been a step by step approach and we would be more in tune with the need to change, Fred, but now we are facing huge steps and nobody wants to change because its too radical and too frightening to comprehend.

    Tough, we can get off diesel and use electricity to power transport, we can generate this electricity from many alternative ways without creating massive shortages. Supermarkets will shrink but will decentralise their outlets as to create less needs to travel.
    It is good to hear that you are supporting more cheap gas through Nordstream 2, but it will eventually run out and we must diversify our energy needs, find better ways to insulate homes so we get away with minimum heat.
    Not doing anything and arguing that this is ok because we are old/decrepit or unable to change is a fallacy, the more people change the easier it gets, but it is massive change that is required and some are ahead, showing the way how it can work.

    be positive about change.

  26. We are changing Nevermind, changing at a great pace. The change to cleaner energy hasn’t always been easy, there were huge protests when Thatcher closed all the coal mines, but progress was made and it continues to be made.

    Where I live what just a few years ago was open fields and rolling sea is now horizon to horizon windmills. I don’t know what makes people think we aren’t making the effort or that we aren’t making progress.

  27. Fred

    You really can’t make the connection between state subsidising fossil fuels and our dependency on them? Jeez.

  28. Scotland wil never achieve independence because of deliberate weather-wise modification against it.

  29. The connection is obvious Phil. The state subsidises fossil fuels because we are dependent on them. How do you think all those children got to the protest? Do you think they walked there?

  30. Fred
    “The state subsidises fossil fuels because we are dependent on them.”

    Or, wait for it, we are dependent on fossil fuels because the state subsidises them.

    You seem stuck in the mind set that the state is benevolent and expresses the will of the people. Currently a widely held misconception you share with many of those kids. However, getting corralled by mounted cops and getting arrested will have started some of those kids down the path of better understanding on this matter. The state exists to protect the interests of the rich.

  31. Fred
    “How do you think all those children got to the protest? Do you think they walked there?”

    By tube, bus and cycle actually.

    But this is just you repeating the nonsense (“you live in a capitalist world so therefore you support capitalism”) that I took time to address in my first comment today. If you are going to maintain your position you could at least counter the argument I made rather than simply ignore it.

  32. If the government didn’t underwrite the exploration risks of the oil companies they would go elsewhere and then they wouldn’t make finds like the 50 million barrel field they just found in the North Sea.

    Apart from helping Britain’s energy security it is going to benefit a lot of people, provide jobs, boost the economy. We could use some of the income it generates to develop renewable technologies so one day we might not be dependent on fossil fuels.

  33. But tubes and buses still need fossil fuels. Tube trains need electricity which has to be generated somehow, buses need diesel.

  34. The quintessential ‘false f;;ag’ mission was the CiA assassination of JFK which would have been blamed successfully on the Soviets if it had not also shot Texas Governor John Connally who survived, and threatened to get fellow conspirators who had apparently doubled crossed him.

  35. Trow

    Good to see your ok

    It was MsM – Better together Lies – Bias that Cost Us our Independence.. bbc Ect

    Now look at the fucking state of it

    And I do have a Grievance with the Dooms day clock recent announcement ..it aint two mins to midnight .. Try One minute.

    Clark thanks for Liking my wee Yes stone on C.M.

  36. Clark: ” If only people would promote a different kind of pride; “here, look at how I fixed this!”

    Clark, I was incensed to find upon returning to the UK about 15 years ago, that just about everything was non-serviceable. Not content with “tamper-proof” screws holding kettles and so on together, they took the trouble to spot-weld sections into place, to ensure that anyone with the sheer cheek to acquire a “tamper-proof” bit-set would still be thwarted.

    The “throw it out!” culture is every bit as bad as the consumer culture. They might persuade you to keep buying new iPhones because it’s a fashion you _have_ to keep up with, but why would anyone replace a working kettle or toaster, particularly if it was a fairly decent one?

    A not inexpensive kettle – Dualit – stopped boiling water. I diagnosed it as having a failed thermal fuse, but replacing it was absolutely impossible, without chiselling off spot-welds around the base, and drilling out deliberately spoiled screws.

    It lasted no better than a £10 kettle from Tesco, and was no more serviceable. But it looked nicer, while it lasted the same short lifetime.

    *

    Rowlett toasters, on the other hand, are entirely serviceable – British made too. Costs a bit more, but should last you a lifetime, just replacing elements as they blow. Replaced the first to blow just last week and – as you suggest – I was highly satisfied at doing so.

    Having repaired a good number of household appliances, I agree totally that it’s a great feeling to put life back into it. And highly annoying to have to throw something away, and buy a new one, say because the element cannot be replaced on a sandwich toaster, even when you can get the thing open.

    There were so many places around, when I was a kid, to get bits and pieces to repair things. Was always visiting them with my Dad. Nothing like that anymore.

  37. Fred
    “But tubes and buses still need fossil fuels.”

    And bikes need energy to produce too. So what? Yes, we need energy.

    And transferring investment away from fossil fuels into alternatives would still produce jobs. It’s a political choice.

  38. Fred: “… buses had signs saying “No Spitting” because everyone had bronchitis.”

    That concerned Tuberculosis, actually, and trying to prevent the spread of the its bacteria.

    Maybe the brave truth-tellers who deny global warming and the worth of vaccinations and so on are interested – there was once a huge scam of pretending to cure TB through some nonsense called “antibiotics”, which makes no sense at all. Clearly it was a all a con, because they’re not treating many TB cases with it these days, are they?

  39. Fred: “Apart from helping Britain’s energy security it is going to benefit a lot of people, provide jobs, boost the economy.

    Actually, no. That’s what happen in Norway, not in the UK.

    The wealth from North Sea oil went to subsidise the very wealthy by greatly relieving them of tax burdens, pay for the huge amount of unemployment caused by Thatcher’s deindustrialisation project, and and step up the security state while dealing with losses from privatised public assets at fire-sale prices.

    Come on, I thought you were wise to this stuff, unless you’re still having a laugh.

  40. I am wise to it glenn, I know a lot of the people it made wealthy. My next door neighbour was an electrician on the rigs and believe me he’s wealthy now. Take a look at property values in Aberdeen sometime.

  41. Come off it, Fred – a few individuals got wealthy. That was the whole idea of Thatcherism, it certainly didn’t benefit the country as a whole. Which was the point you seemed to be making.

  42. The government has invested in green energy Phil, the amount it is putting into nuclear is staggering. Those solar panels everybody has been putting on their roofs, not one of them makes a profit without subsidies. Those wind turbines going up offshore, the government has given them a guaranteed price for their electricity well above market value which will result in billions in subsidies being paid in the lifetime of the project. FIT is projected to be costing £20 billion a year by 2020.

    But we still need fossil fuels.

  43. It’s an industry glenn, it sustains more than 3,000 companies and provides more than a quarter of a million skilled jobs.

  44. Sure Fred, but where has the money really gone? Certainly not into a sovereign wealth fund, the way it has in Norway, which has effectively made _everyone_ wealthy there.

  45. I remember what I think was an episode of Nationwide from the 1970s where they introduced us to this strange American word for what we called at the time “customers” , “buyers” or just “people”, and how we would have to get used to it with the new “Consumer Credit Act (1974)”

    References to “consumer goods” apparently started in the late 19th century in the USA and by 1919 they had the “Consumer Price Index” for inflation. In the UK it was and still is the Retail Price Index. Surprised it hasn’t been renamed yet.

    Now of course it is in common use in UK English rather than just with economists.

    https://www.etymonline.com/word/consumer

    consumer (n.)
    https://www.etymonline.com/word/consumer
    early 15c., “one who squanders or wastes,” agent noun from consume. In economics, “one who uses up goods or articles, one who destroys the exchangeable value of a commodity by using it” (opposite of producer), from 1745.

    Consumer goods is attested from 1890. In U.S., consumer price index calculated since 1919, tracking “changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services” [Bureau of Labor Statistics]; abbreviation CPI is attested by 1971.

    The word “consumer” does not generally appear in UK legislation on credit, hire-purchase or sales of goods acts prior to its importation from the USA with the “Consumer Credit Act”, and that being so alien that it needed a Nationwide segment.

    The Sale of Goods Act (1979), which was based on the Sale Of Goods Act (1893), has now, of course, been replaced with the Consumer Rights Act (2015).

  46. Extinction Rebellion protestors blockaded a major fashion show in London today, I think.

    That seems to me a good thing. Symbolic. Fashion seems to epitomise pointless consumption.
    Rebel against extinction. Rebel against the dictates of fashion.
    Maybe some of Friday’s striking school pupils were involved. Maybe they’ll put two and two together and turn against the designer this and that which Fred rightly complains about. Maybe making our own fashion is empowering, and does less environmental harm.

    But maybe Phil will tell me its all rubbish; he doesn’t seem to like Greens or the XR adults. And maybe Fred will tell me that they should keep on conforming, to keep the money flowing, or we won’t be able to afford fossil fuels and nothing good will ever happen again.

    I rebel. I think they did something good. They rebelled for a while.

  47. “Is this Nazi land so good, would you leave it if you could?”

    “Ya, this Nazi land is good, we would leave it if we could.”

    Thanks for the memories, Spike.

  48. Thanks Clark, it’s still funny after all these years, but there is nothing funny about our neo-Nazis who give us rabid nationalism without socialism, create drones who do vital work as slaves, are quite willing to kill opponents and supporters as long as nukes are not used, drone on about their past use, always engage in deep state warfare, have no clearly identifiable storm troopers etc., ad nauseam.

  49. Trowbridge, all you said there is true, but take heart; it’s just a phase and it will pass. I see what’s happening on my side of the water with those eight Labour MPs; they’re getting desperate.

  50. Hope you ate right Clark, but fear you are not.

    Non Nazis still think that neo ones are still just white supremacists. burning crosses and dressing up as Klansmen, having learned nothing from the Hitler debacle, still committed to quick,, total war and all its unnecessary side effects.

  51. Trowbridge, I didn’t say it would pass quickly, nor that it wouldn’t get worse before it gets better.

    But this is how change happens. The status quo suits some, so their vested interests oppose needed change. But they can’t resist forever, so the pressure builds until the pipe bursts.

  52. Gavin Newsome, new Governor of California seems to be channeling FDRs fireside chats.

    He understands all politics are Local and hes making a lot of face to face contact. I hope he continues that practice.

  53. Clark
    “The status quo suits some, so their vested interests oppose needed change.”

    Quite so. To take it one step further into historical materialism territory: If the “economic” (material) base is the driver of social relations (ie society) then social change happens when the means of production (technology) can no longer be managed by the current order.

  54. Ben
    “all politics are Local”

    Had to google this to discover it’s a common phrase in US politics. What do you mean by it Ben?

  55. Trow

    I recall at school discussing the idea that a white coat is a symbol of authority misused to sell headache tablets and the like. There was a much used ad slogan:

    “nothing acts faster than anadin”.

  56. Phil, that seems a bit abstract for me; please cite some examples. I’m not disagreeing, but I wasn’t thinking about specifically the means of production when I wrote that. I was thinking generally of privilege, authority and the attempt to control information.

    Lab coats as a symbol of authority crop up in Bad Science, regarding science as portrayed in the media.

  57. Following Glenn and Clarks discussion on disposable consumption I just encountered a truly glowing example: a new kitchen knife which replaced the old one which had gone blunt.

  58. Clark

    One example was the rise of usury. Production required an amount of capital that feudalism did not have the mechanisms to provide. Society had to change to accommodate the new reality. Lending foresaw/paved the way to the rise of the bourgeoisie over the monarchs (French revolution).

    Incidentally, I mention this example because it is in a great article I am reading on conspiracy theory. The frowning on lending led to the lenders (Jews, Knights Templars) to be the subjects of speculation and false accusation.

    Got to go now. Back later ifyou want to talk about this.

  59. We have conspiracy theories because the human brain is programmed to see patterns Phil. Even before our eyes can focus we look for the pattern of our mother’s face and all our lives we will see random patterns, like a damp patch on a ceiling, and see a face. We can look at random ink blots and see a pattern, the ancients looked up at the random stars in the sky and saw, archers, lions and crabs. We are compelled to see a pattern in everything, someone would far rather see order without evidence than chaos with, our brains will create the pattern then shoehorn the chaos into it. I look at the stars and see pans and the longer I look the more pans I can see.

    Someone once took a map of ancient monuments and churches and found you could make patterns from them and ley lines were born. You can take a map of general post offices and make lines much the same, you just ignore the ones that don’t fit on a line. Once you have found the pattern then you have to explain it, a pattern must have been created by someone or something.

    Conspiracy theories are just people shoehorning reality into the pattern they want to see and ignoring the bits that don’t fit. Searching for anything which fits their pattern and ignoring anything which doesn’t, then trying to explain it.

  60. Just more rubbish, Fred.

    Just the reverse of what happened in my case. I used to believe all the rubbish published in the USA about all the assassinations by the deep sate during the ’60s. Same happened when I started reading what historians wrote about A.V,. Dicey and Henry Brougham.

    Reall conspiracies are only discovered after serious study.

  61. Well I think Fred makes a good point. However, a tendency to see patterns does not explain why conspiracy theories prevail at some times compared to others.

    And of course Trow none of this means that conspiracy doesn’t happen.

    Here’s the article I mentioned. It attempts to answer why conspiracy theories become popular from a historical and socio-economic persective. It argues a history dating back to the crusades and then focusing on two examples, the civil rights movement and 911, the article suggests that conspiracy theories:
    -are an incomplete, easy substitute for real world material conflict
    -thrive in the vaccuum of defeat
    -encourage helplessness in the face of an alleged omnipotent opponent

    “Conspiracy theories often mistake the workings of capitalism for a conscious conspiracy by a small group.”

    The rise of conspiracy theories – Reification of defeat as the basis of explanation

  62. “Just more rubbish, Fred.”

    There was a time when people believed that random events, storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, were caused by superior beings, gods, who were displeased for some reason. They looked back to try work out what had displeased the gods, made sacrifices to try and keep the gods happy. They could not accept that they were just random events, they had to fit them into a pattern.

    Of course man has progressed some since those days…hasn’t he.

  63. O.t regarding Most of the Above Discussion ..The Japanese in a Bold Asteroid Landing ..Live in An hour –

    Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft is touching down on an asteroid called Ryugu to grab a sample — and you can watch the action live.

    The maneuvers will be broadcast live by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which manages the spacecraft, beginning today (Feb. 21) at 4:45 EST (2145 GMT). You can watch live on Space.com courtesy of JAXA, or through the

    https://www.space.com/hayabusa2-asteroid-ryugu-landing-webcast.html?utm_source=notification

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeMwAdquDYM&feature=youtu.be

  64. Robert Mueller was FBI Director when 9/11 occurred because Robert Hanssen was discovered to have been a Soviet agent, allowing the CIA to take over the arrest pf the 19 alleged hijackers on the planes because the Bureau could not be trusted in such an important mission, permitting a massive fiasco to occur when they turned out to be armed suicide bombers.

    In short, Mueller is a damaged investigator who was picked because he would overlook Trump’s collusion with Putin during the 2016 election, and Mueller has allowed him to get away with it, as his report will demonstrate.

    Some Special Counsel, as the correct conspiracy theory will show, Fred, is not to be trusted. and don’t expect anything like this on Craig’s as it will not allow anything about 9/11 to appear.

  65. Conspiracies arise in the vacuum. The Middle East is a cornucopia of conspiracies because their Institutions are sterile. No one puts trust in an edifice unless there is a credible history in that bureaucracy.

    Trump and Neocons work tirelessly to undermine institutions people trust. If he wasnt such a Doofus he’d be evil incarnate.

  66. Are conspiracy theories just another name for lies? Lies are central to ‘divide and rule’ and it suits the liars that people argue over ‘conspiracies’. For me, there’s alternative views and individuals can opt to believe what they feel is closest to what they find most believable, based on their experience and knowledge – although I do appreciate that there are elaborate forces behind the creation of lies… and it’s infuriating that alternative views can be dismissed as a conspiracy. Confusion suits the liars.
    The religious divide in Northern Ireland is a perfect example of how effective lies can be. The ‘conspiracy’ is that this divide was a deliberate ploy / lie by Britain to undermine Irish independence.

  67. The 9/11 disaster was the result of a conspiracy where Mueller’s Bureau allowed Tenet’s Ci\A to take over counter terrorism against the 19 suspected hijackers because it could not be trusted because it was feared to be infiltrated by more traitors like Robert Hanssen.

    There were 15 CUA agents put on the last three planes going to LA The trouble was they were assumed to take over them by unarmed means when they proved to be vicious killers armed with box cutters. They made short work of the agents on the planes except the one which crashed in Pennsylvania.

    Mueller admitted 12 years later as much when he pronounced that only spies could have stopped the disaster. He failed to mention that was what happened when he allowedTenet’s people to play copper instead of his agents.

  68. Trowbridge, are you saying that the FBI permitted the CIA to handle surveillance of the 9/11 terrorist teams? Because my understanding is that the FBI didn’t know that the terrorists had entered the US because the CIA never told them; that CIA broke US law by not informing the FBI when the terrorists they had been monitoring all the way from Asia entered the US:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl6w1YaZdf8

  69. JOML, my own use of “conspiracy theory”, and I think the correct usage, is a theory that requires a conspiracy of near super-human ability, and which the theorists expand whenever they need to cover any deficiency in their theory.

    Examples: Twin-Tower-demolition theory (promoted by Chandler with A&E9/11Truth), vaccinations-cause-autism theory (originally promoted by the MSM), chemtrail theory (promoted by enthusiasts on the Internet), global-warming-is-a-hoax theory (promoted by the fossil fuel companies through front organisations), and all-criticism-of-neocon-policy-is-by-Russian-bots theory (promoted by neocon organisations). These all entrain more and more people as conspirators as objections are raised.

    So let’s consider Twin Tower demolition theory, which is that Chandler’s simple physics supposedly proves that the Twin Towers’ top sections could not have accelerated downwards unless explosives were destroying the support of the lower sections. OK, so we need some conspirators to place an awful lot of explosives, and someone in WTC site security had to assist them.

    But then the collapses were investigated by people who know physics, so FEMA must be conspirators too. And all the professionals who assisted FEMA, and then NIST who performed the second investigation, and all the professional bodies that contributed to NIST’s investigation, and then all the physicists and engineers who’ve read NIST’s report, and all the university engineering departments in the world, and then Noam Chomsky for telling the theorists to present their physics to their local university, and Assange for not exposing it, and eventually even people like me. At best all of these must be sheeple, and at worst they’re accessories to mass murder.

    Do you think I’m exaggerating? Go check the 9/11 thread and see that people repeatedly hinted or outright accused me of being a supporter of neocon wars and some sort of secret agent. One wrote that I was like “Cameron, with blood on his hands”.

    This stuff is clearly nutty; it’s paranoid. And that is what makes it useful to propagandists when they want to dismiss something real.

  70. Yes I am, Clark. And if the FBI didn’t know that the suicide bombers were in the States, why was Bureau agent John O’Neill, most knowledgeable one about what Osama was up to, sidelined by the Bureau before that attacks on the WTC, and in them as their security chief when they occurred, being killed in the process.

    To add insult to injury, Mueller did not apparently attend his burial service, only former FBI Director Louie Freeh did.

  71. Trowbridge, what do you make of the video I linked? That’s just one section from a whole film; the rest of it seems to have been suppressed.

    Could O’Neill have been sidelined due to CIA or Administration pressure upon the FBI? I’m not sure that O’Neill’s expertise regarding Osama bin Laden would be relevant, because it’s far from clear that Osama was directly involved.

  72. Not much, since it makes no mention of O.Neill, who constant;y claimed that the first attackers on the WRC were coming back, and Suzanne Jovin, who had claimed in her senior thesis at Yale, for which she was murdered, that such an attack by planes was in the works.

    Of course, O’Neill was sidelined by the CIA because he could be another FBI spy for the Soviets.

    The 9/11 Commission was composed to cover u[ the whole fiasco.

    And Osama was clearly behind the attacks, hiding his role as best he could, and using surrogates in the Libyan Fighting Group to do some of the dirty work, like shutting up Jovin.

  73. “a conspiracy of near super-human ability, and which the theorists expand whenever they need to cover any deficiency in their theory.”

    I think Clark’s definition is good. And it is this super human element that suggests conspiracy theories are mal-formed and incomplete critiques of capitalism. They are a substitute for clear class analysis. This compelling idea is in the short, well argued, well referenced, well good article I linked to above.

    No need to bang on about 911. For an example look at todays hot on twitter scandal, Tommy Robinsons Panodrama documentary. He seems to really have secretly filmed BBC jornos conspiring to stitch him up. Yet lacking a materialist perspective he then seems to conclude the urge to have sex with children is somehow the motivation. This ridiculous shit will let the corrupt jornos off the hook. Classic conspiracy theorist.

  74. Not banging on about 9/11. just explaining why Mueller is letting Trump get away with obvious treason.

  75. Phil, thanks for the reminder; I’m reading through the article, and just encountered:

    “Also distinctive is the circular form of justification often found in discussions of evidence: ‘negative evidence shows the power of the conspirators to manipulate evidence’. As with the Charlie Hebdo example, there is usually a focus on apparent discrepancies in the official account of events or in the way they are reported, which is the step to positing an alternative account. Another feature is their ‘meticulous pseudo-scholarship’ and their source citation format which mimics conventional scholarship. Further, according to a number of scholars of conspiracy theories, selective treatment of evidence is part of the hallmark as is indiscriminately accepting any argument that points to conspiracy.”

    Yep.

    I picked 9/11 for a couple of reasons. First of course is my personal experience of arguing about it – it’s one thing to read someone else’s conspiracy theory and think “oh, that’s nutty”, but to actually engage with people, present them with counter-evidence, witness first-hand all the attributes listed above, make zero progress and get ‘accused’ of being Jewish and a secret agent is a far more absorbing experience. Secondly, the science involved is very simple compared with vaccinations and global warming, so it serves as a good learning tool.

    Thirdly, the article notes that conspiracy theories have enjoyed a resurgence in the last ten to fifteen years, and I think that Twin Tower demolition theory may have had much to do with this; the timing is certainly right. Loads of people have accepted Chandler’s physics argument, they keep citing Newton’s laws as if this places their theory beyond doubt, and Chandler’s ‘paper’ does have very persuasive superficial plausibility. Notably, the big conspiracy theories that have gained most diverse acceptance since then have strong elements of distrust of mainstream science. Indeed, Wakefield launched MMR-causes-autism in 1998, but MSM coverage of it surged by nearly a factor of five in 2001, though the Leo Blair incident wasn’t until December that year.
    – – – – – –

    One thing that intrigues me is that conspiracy theorists don’t propose meta-conspiracy theories. Why are they never suspicious enough to wonder whether some shady entity is seeding and pushing the theory? With global-warming-is-the-globalists’-hoax theory, we know that front organisations for the fossil fuel companies have been sponsoring it, yet still they lap it up.

  76. “For an example look at todays hot on twitter scandal, Tommy Robinsons Panodrama documentary. ”

    Is there any faction left, right, or centre that doesn’t think the BBC is biassed against them?

  77. Don’t forget the conspiracy to undermine exposure of legitimate conspiracies. They serve the dual-purpose of shaming conspiracy weavers while promoting their own agendas making a pandemic muddle.

    Chaos serves them well.

  78. Fred
    “Is there any faction left, right, or centre that doesn’t think the BBC is biassed against them?”

    Possibly not, but that’s not my concern. Especially if its leading to the conclusion that they must be doing something right then!

    I definitely believe the BBC is biased towards my worldview. I simply can never recall a positive mention of anarchist communism on it. However, it’s nothing personal because the BBC, like all culture but especially a state broadcaster, will reflect the ethos of the ruling class. It is biassed against anything that challenges the status quo. It’s campaigns against Corbyn, Scottish independence and Tommy Robinson are proportional to the perceived threat. Unfortunately UK anarchism is so useless the BBC don’t even bother to attack us. 🙁

  79. Ben

    Yes. I still imagine an evil laugh somewhere in Langley every time Vanessa Beeley posts online. 😉

  80. “I definitely believe the BBC is biased towards my worldview. ”

    Der. I meant “against” my worldview! If only.

  81. I think it’s good for a broadcaster to favour the status quo for the same reason I think constitutional changes should require a super majority. It provides hysteresis and hysteresis provides stability.

  82. I agree with Phil’s 7:14 pm point:

    “…like all culture but especially a state broadcaster, will reflect the ethos of the ruling class. It is biassed against anything that challenges the status quo”

    ..to an extent. The government, the rich, and the powerful are not all identical, and the media, serving the rich and the powerful, often pressure the government to make policies even worse. Note how the MPs expenses scandal was broken just as the government were bailing out the financial sector. Note how the Blairite MPs voted with Conservative benefit cuts to the disabled, because they thought that so doing would be electorally popular. They’d obviously been reading the media rather than looking at public opinion.

    In addition I would add: (1) Simple incompetence will result in everyone feeling the media is biased against them, personally, because of the human tendency to assess everything from the viewpoint of their own ego; (2) The very concentration of media itself inflates the self-importance of those who work in it; (3) Media tends to sensationalise because so doing boosts circulation; (4) Media tends to advocate for war, because war also boosts circulation.

  83. Westminster has so much hysteresis that it produces stagnation rather than stability. For a demonstration of Westminster’s unfitness for purpose, just look at its response to the Brexit referendum result. Supple and agile it is not.

  84. Mmn

    Trowbrige.. You seem certain Bin Laden did 9/11.. I’m not so sure.. Do you have research Unrelated to Corrupt Governments.. They would have us believe this attack was masterminded from a Cave. I find That Strange.. Also was Bin Laden not an CIA asset .. Which is what got him into a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi, for kidney dialysis treatment – on September 10 2001

  85. I think the fact there was a referendum result is argument against you.

    A new party was formed which won enough support to rock the system even if the BBC did favour the status quo, they got a referendum and they won it.

    If only Britain required a super majority for constitutional changes as other countries do we wouldn’t be in this mess.

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