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.


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

17,285 thoughts on “The General Discussion Thread

  1. That horrible thing, it kept going after Bascule the Teller, whenever he got too involved down in the crypt(osphere). I’d have thought you’d have quite enjoyed that book, Squonk 🙂 I did.

  2. The fact that a friend of mine who was a big Banks fan really didn’t like it probably put me off to start with. Then when I started to read it I couldn’t stop thinking of the Clarke novels – at least initially. I’m not sure what Clarke version I prefer “City and the Stars” or “Against the Fall of Night” – may have to read them again as well!

    Bits of “Endjinn” also reminded me of Moorcock’s The Dancers at The End of Time but then so many things do.

    I really just wanted more Culture novels. Btw I’ve always thought The Business’s “Uncle Freddy” was a renegade (or not) Culture “Special Circumstances” agent.

  3. Yes, I’ll always want more Culture novels. I haven’t read the Clarke or the Moorcock novels. Yeah, good call on Uncle Freddy, who didn’t eventually go so mad that he thought he was a one of those bits of rag tied to a string that you use to clean a shotgun. ‘But doctor, do you think he’ll pull through?’

  4. ‘Ha-Da-Ba-Bag-Ha-Ba-Gag-Aa-Ga-Ga-Gag-Ga’ reminds you of someone, Clark? Who could that possibly be? Did the flayed head thing ask a lot of questions? Why was it flayed? Perhaps the Eminences could tell us why I believe everything I read in the Daily Express?


  5. Following on from HSBC’s recent efforts to restrict cash withdrawals and China’s imposition of a week-long bank holiday, we now have Barclays enforcing a travel ban on staff and two banker suicides (one from JP Morgan and one recently retired from Deutschbank):

    Sounds as though something is definitely up, hold on to your hats (and do make sure you don’t have more than 85k with any one bank).

  6. Ha-Da-BaDa-Ba-Da-Ba-Bag-Ha-Ba-Da-Ba-Bag-Ha-Da-Ba-Bag-Ha–Ba-Bag-Ha-Ba-Gag-Ba-Gag-Ba-Gag-Ha-Da-Ba-Ba-Gag-Ha-Gag-Ha–Da-Ba–Bagg-HBa–Bagg-Ha-a-Ba-Gag-Aa-Ga-Ga-Gag-Ga-Gag-Ga-Gag-Ga-Ga-Gag-Ga-Gag-Ba-Gag-

  7. As the UK Winter remains wet, windy and relatively mild for once the pressure on UK Gas storage is off. Over in the USA however storage is well below normal for the time of year.

    You’ve probably all heard that natural gas prices in the US are supposedly a quarter or a fifth of UK prices due to “fracking”. Well as of right now US Henry Hub for February delivery is $5.56 per million BTU (British Thermal Units). UK price at National Grid Balancing Point is 63p/therm (yes National Grid still give the therm price as well as KWh) or 2.16p /KWh). A therm is 100,000 BTUs. So the UK wholesale price is $10.40/ million BTU to convert to US units or now less than double US Henry Hub.

    If you look at New York physical (as opposed to Henry Hub February delivery) spot prices they’ve actually recently gone way above UK spot prices at times during the cold weather. With the vast majority of US drill rigs now drilling for oil and not gas the only thing that has kept US natural gas production on a slow rise has been the backlog of wells drilled years ago waiting to be fracked and connected to a pipeline. This backlog is coming to an end I believe. Some in the industry predict that US prices could be back at UK levels within 2 years and that US plans to export LNG are just a fantasy.

    Natural Gas Soars to Four-Year High on Outlook for Supply Drop

    Natural gas surged to a four-year high on the last day of February futures trading on speculation that a government report tomorrow will show a bigger-than-normal inventory drop as frigid weather eroded supplies.

    Gas jumped as much as 13 percent as the Energy Information Administration may say stockpiles slid by 232 billion cubic feet last week, compared with a five-year average decrease of 162 billion, according to the median of 12 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. WSI Corp. in Andover, Massachusetts, said the weather may be colder than usual in most of the contiguous U.S. from Feb. 3 through Feb. 7.

    “The storage number is going to come in pretty big,” said Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA Inc. in New York. “Inventory levels at the end of the heating season are going to be knocked down even further.”

  8. Well I’ve been staying at a friend’s place and I’ve just now caught up with this thread; BrianFujisan, thanks for your kind thoughts. I’m going to be busy for a while but I’ll drop in when I can.

    I was staying round a friend’s place last night, and thus had the misfortune to watch The Paxman Show (whatever that’s called) on BBC Propaganda Television. Apparently, I’m still supposed to take Alistair Campbell seriously, and not feel utterly outraged that he’s still allowed to appear on national television at all.

  9. That must have been ‘Newsnight’ Clark, the programme that squelched the Savile item.

    Campbell is on a mission to rehabilitate his image with the public. An impossible task I would think.

    Did you know that a mental health charity has an association with him? Outrageous.

    I put a link up on Craig to this poem on Dissident Voice.

    Spin Doctors
    by Charles Fraser / January 29th, 2014

    Post modern soothsayers
    turning lies into truth
    Incompetence into
    misunderstood genius
    spinning, spinning, spinning,
    day and night
    weaving mixed messages and half truths
    spinning common straw into uncommon gold
    Corporate owned media
    angling, fishing, predicting, 24/7
    non-stop, over clover and under cover,
    finally, a metamorphous achieved:
    From bungling idiot, into mistaken, taken for granted
    Good ole boy, president Bush.
    Died in the wool,
    insightful complex visionary
    from shame to fame….
    and lame to gain, it is a miracle!!
    Lead to gold
    Democracy merely an illusion
    the truth, what about the truth?
    Spin doctors watch their spinning wheel go round and round
    never touching the ground
    quick silver spin
    They really like to watch them spin
    There’s much spinning to do
    They are tops at spinning the truth.

    Charles has been a social activist for 35 years. He can be reached at : [email protected]. Read other articles by Charles.

  10. Mary, the friend I was staying with actually wanted to listen to Campbell. I asked what point there was, since Cmapbell proved himself to be an utterly shameless liar over the destruction of Iraq.

    But this is the effect of propaganda; it legitimises the unthinkable. I asked my friend, would he find it acceptable for Joseph Goebbels to be given a prominent place on national television? My friend couldn’t see the similarity. He made excuses, said the Labour party had no choice but to destroy Iraq, or they’d have lost an election! I said, yes, that’s a choice. I reminded him that some politicians had resigned, and that was a choice, too. At times he tried to cut me off by interrupting me; when I spoke louder to finish my sentences, he spoke louder too, so I got louder and he told me not to shout at him!

    Seeing the corporate media for the propaganda it is, and saying so, contributes considerably to my loneliness.

  11. Good to hear you’ll be keeping Busy Clark.

    And Aye…i know exactly what you mean by trying to tell people whats going on

    I’ve had friends Actually Throwing arms in the air …Total Flapping Lol… if i remember that episode was over The Bin Laden execution Nonsense…but the worst of it is the attitude…” it’s not affecting Me so why should we be concerned”
    It’s already affecting you
    ” Well, when it starts to affect us, and my pocket, then
    then i’ll start to worry ”

    Stay Safe Clark…

  12. Clark I think he has to be SC as somewhere or other in one of the books we are told that the Culture are aware of Earth but Contact are officially leaving it alone during this period. That wouldn’t apply to “Special Circumstances” of course 🙂

  13. Clark,

    Craig’s video plays for me on Youtube if I switch to HTML5 video interestingly enough. It will not play for me using the default settings.

    I’ve downloaded it now in any case. Will put it up tomorrow.

    Anybody else wants to see it

    go to and select use html5 player

    then go to

    and it will play fine. If it stops playing fine that’s pretty much 100% proof of censorship as opposed to technical problem.

  14. Thanks Clark and Squonk for doing that. Sorry for the bother.

    I did know about the choice of player but did not think of it. I assumed the fact that it would not play was due to some outside interference but how many others going to it would know about the player choices?

  15. Squonk, thanks.

    I thought I’d tried playing it in HTML5 by appending “&html5=true” to the URL. It didn’t work, but I hadn’t visited YouTube’s HTML5 page; presumably you need some cookie from there.

  16. Mary, you need never apologise for reporting errors; doing so is a service to the public. It’s part of the hacker ethos; keeping the ‘net working well is everyone’s responsibility.

  17. Youtube.

    Video, on default player:

    “an error has occurred…”

    Did the HTML 5 routine:

    “This video is currently unavailable”


    You tubes.

  18. Komodo, I get that message, too. But behind it the video is still there, or rather on my system a place-holder from NoScript is there, and clicking on that makes the video play. Very badly, at about two frames per second.

  19. If it was censorship by YouTube, I’d have expected the video to have been removed, rather than playing on some systems and creating error messages on others, thus making YouTube look bug-ridden.

    I suppose it could be that a YouTube employee who’s working for Israel has deliberately induced some technical fault. That sort of thing happens quite a bit, I think; I read that a lot of privacy breaches at Facebook were caused because so many of Facebook’s employees had unnecessarily broad access to Facebook’s system.

  20. No comment. Not enough information. You sometimes have to enable other scripts to get the advertised one working…some sites are fly to Adblock for instance, and don’t display until you have enabled…

  21. To play a video at YouTube, I usually only need to enable scripts from and then click NoScript’s place-holder for the video. Some videos also need scripts to be enabled from Scripts from (YouTube Images?) have to be enabled to display the thumbnails in the column on the right, and scripts are needed for YouTube videos embedded on other sites.

  22. the video plays ok for me at first click….sound aint perfect but one can hear what’s being said… it work also after clicking on Fred’s link…well done indeed everyone for that…great work, for a very important speech.

  23. Cross-posting significant update.

    US Attorney-General Eric Holder is visiting Sweden on 4 February, Prof. Ferrada de Noli reports.

    Amidst discussion in Sweden on dropping the case VS. Assange, arrives US Justice Minister Eric Holder. Meeting Swedish counterpart & lectures in Parliament

    This is in the context of a week of high-profile media “debate” about the case in Sweden leading up to this. There will be a full Agenda programme broadcast tonight on SvD, Sweden’s state-run broadcaster. It will pit Thomas Olsson (one of Assange’s lawyers) against Claes Borgstrom (lawyer to one of the women and somewhat disgraced in Sweden nowadays, due to his role in the Quick scandal).

    Here’s the Swedish announcement of Eric Holder’s visit. Only announced on 31 January. He’s doing an invite-only speech in Swedish parliament:

    And, verrrry weirdly, here’s the US State Department press department fielding questions – also on 31 January – about how State co-ordinates with the US Justice Department Office of International Affairs about extradition, and saying that they cannot comment on individual extraditions:

    Meanwhile, the Justice Department OIA’s weekly press release of officials’ schedules for this coming week is not up yet. Here’s the page to keep an eye on, for anyone here who’s interested in this development. If Holder’s 4 February visit is not included in the weekly schedule tomorrow (Monday) then they are definitely trying to keep this visit quiet.

  24. Here’s Swedish radio’s announcement of tonight’s Agenda debate on whether Sweden should dismiss the investigation against Assange (Google translate required):

    Here’s Johan Pehrson, Swedish Liberal Party spokesman, saying that it should:

    Sounds like Holder’s visit might be a case of attempted damage-limitation (with a touch of the usual US strong-arming bully tactics thrown in too)

  25. Arbed I saw your links on Craig for which thanks. Do you think we can now hold out some optimism that Julian will be given his freedom?

  26. Hi Mary,

    I don’t know how closely you’ve been watching the Why I’m Convinced Anna Ardin is a Liar thread, but we’ve more or less established there two things:

    1. Woman SW had already received HIV treatment herself three days before going to the police, she says “to seek advice about forcing Assange to get a HIV test”. Clearly, the reasons she gives publicly for her police visit don’t hold up.

    2. BOTH women each handed in a “torn used” condom. Forensics found BOTH had been manually torn in the same way, but also that one condom had no DNA at all on it – so one is clearly faked evidence, and the other likely to be.

    We also know that SW made a third visit to the hospital on the morning of the police visit, but AFTER she spoke to the older woman for the first time. There’s no reason for this trip, given that she had already had HIV tests and “rape kit DNA examples” done at a hospital three days earlier. The theory is she probably claimed “rape” at the hospital on the Tuesday evening in order to be given PEP treatment (precautionary post-infection HIV treatment that is only effective within a 72-hour window). So the Friday morning hospital visit is purely to do with her conversation with the other woman (the first time she discovered Assange had slept with someone else) and may be when she handed in her OWN version of a “torn during sex” condom (there’s no proper police chain-of-custody document for it; nevertheless it appears in the forensics report) – a fragment she apparently told police she heard, but didn’t see in the dark, being deliberately damaged – she “heard a noise like he was pulling on a balloon” and “found the fragment under the bed on the side where he lay”. However, she never mentioned this incident to any of her friends, or in text messages, or to police in her FORMAL statement. She’s been re-interviewed by police a total of 8 times, as far as we know, up to February 2013.

    There’s no case. There never was. The Swedish prosecutor had that forensics report for a month before she issued an extradition warrant for Assange, on which she lied. As she also did to the UK court (by fax; she refused to appear for cross-examination) during the first extradition hearing.

    I think this very quickly arranged trip to Sweden shows panic at the US DoJ that they are losing public support in Sweden for extraditing Assange (and that Assange is gaining public support to have this travesty of injustice finally laid to rest). The Swedish Prosecution Authority has issued a statement this morning about the Agenda debate to be broadcast this evening, saying the prosecutor was asked to take part but declined; that nothing in the case has changed; that she’s in sole charge of the prosecution and therefore no one else can act as spokesperson in her place:

  27. Arbed; DOJ is scrambling to find a consistent identity for the Rule of Law, which has suffered wrt 4th Amendent issues and Snowden is the fly in that ointment.

    Last year two states (Washington and Colorado) legalized marijuana with Holder making some flaccid comments, and Obama has handed the issue to Congress.

    I suspect Holder’s visit is one of temperance, because he is the most tepid of all bureaucrats. It’s a fig-leaf he postures for Sweden and that requires a personal visit, mea culpa.

  28. Should be a good watch. Jowell is dire. She does the paper review once a week on Sky News.

    Question Time BBC 1 Thursday 6.2.14
    Duration: 1 hour

    David Dimbleby presents the topical debate from Gillingham in Kent, with a panel including former Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell MP and Respect MP George Galloway.

    Wonder if she will defend BLiar? GG is producing a film entitled The Killing of Tony Blair.

  29. Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet recently. This isn’t my favourite time of year. And this winter I have almost forgotten what weather other than wet, windy and grey feels like. Long range weather models have more of the same lined up.

  30. Indeed very depressing AlcAnon. Strange weather all over the planet.

    A pic of the puppy would cheer us all up!

  31. Dude; You seem like a highly structured guy. Break some routines. Find a steam or sauna or get a massage (no, a real massage). If you don’t normally eat breakfast make a huge breakfast. Clark’s idea is good. Any change of scenery might break the closed-loop.

  32. Alcanon

    i hear your heart…only upside is that we have an extra hour of light already…and some kind of Summer is on the way…lost count of how many aurora alerts i have went hunting to be robbed by effin clouds……i have had far more luck with the Noctilucent clouds… of High Summer…

    We all….Appreciate this Friendly Blog space you have Provided…Big Pat on The Back to ya…. Cheers…if you can’t make it South to Clark’s maybe we could meet somewhere (halfway ) for a bite n Blether

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