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. “Don’t think we are ever going to see the end of arguments about the world’s current abysmal conditions.”

    I hope not Trow, there are too many places in the world where one side is denied the right to argue.

  2. “The reason people are out protesting, defacing icons and creating disruption is that all this “debate and freedom of speech” isn’t actually changing anything much; inequality continues to increase, cops are still killing Blacks and emissions are still rising.”

    It has the potential to change a lot of things Clark. There will be a kickback, if left wing activists continue to vandalise things others see as representing their cultures and heritage the right wing will go out to defend them. There will be clashes, there will be violence and the police will be forced to intervene. People will see the police treating two sections of society differently, going in heavy handed against those there to protect public monuments while ignoring those vandalising them. The right wing will take advantage of public support and field candidates at the next election on a mandate to protect British culture and values and they will get a lot of votes, not enough votes to get any seats but enough to put pressure on the Conservatives. The Conservatives will have to adopt right wing policies and a right wing leader or risk losing enough votes to extreme right parties to lose them the election.

    Look at what happened with Nigel Farage and and the Brexit party.

    People are not going to just stand by while statues of Churchill and war memorials are vandalised, there will be a price to pay.

  3. Looks to me that Farage got what he wanted, and which wars and statues are you referring to, Fred?

  4. Fred the prophet now? OK, OK, there was an initial “if”, but I’m really not sure that every subsequent step is a foregone conclusion.

    Besides, it probably won’t go on very long, and there are far worse things you could moan on and on about. Or even do something about.

  5. Fred, I really don’t know why you worry about all this stuff. Capitalism is driving the biosphere to disaster. We’re in a paradoxical situation in which the worse that happens to humanity now, the less bad it’s likely to be in the long run. The usual ways of thinking make no sense any more.

  6. Still going on Clark, about not seeing the film video of my father which portrays him as just a director of the Army Air Force’s air training school at Fort Sill, and the artillery commander of a division which cleaned up at St Vith what was left of the German Battle of the Bulge when he directed a new school there solely which was under the control of Artillery General Leslie McNair, and the plot of Patton, 87th Division Commander General Frank Cullen and my father to see that the German willingness to fight had collapsed in the face of the coming Soviet onslaught; how the West could take advantage by pursuing a rapid, peaceful race across to where the Soviets would be arriving in Sudetenland, and to collect millions of surrendering Nazi forces in the process without hardly any resistance.

    It was one of history’s most amazing successes which passed without notice. It’s all the Anglo-American bombing campaign, and beating the Soviets to Scandinavia.

  7. “Fred the prophet now? OK, OK, there was an initial “if”, but I’m really not sure that every subsequent step is a foregone conclusion.”

    Remember when you were encouraging people to pay £4 to join the Labour Party and vote for Corbyn in the leadership election?

    How did that work out then?

  8. Millions of species have gone extinct without our help.

    That’s why they call it Natural Selection. They were selected for extinction.

  9. Trowbridge, I know; it’s typical of media to concentrate on strife and exploit it for drama. It’s an unhealthy obsession which feeds jingoism.

    I haven’t watched the film yet; I’m refurbishing my washing machine and posting comments during tea breaks.

  10. Ben, the current accelerating die-off is not something to be complacent about; pollinators are in decline, food chains are threatened. The IPBES report from the UN is clear; humanity is endangering itself by depleting the web of life, Spaceship Earth’s natural and irreplaceable life support system. We can’t afford to waste three decades on this like we have climate change.

  11. I didn’t pay four quid Fred, I joined the party and I’m still a member. Corbyn’s Labour did well in 2017. The system’s broken; I never expected it to be easy, but I have to try.

    Must say, your constant harping makes it harder. You really have no idea about XR; do you get all that stuff from the corporate media? I think it makes too much noise already without you amplifying it.

  12. “You really have no idea about XR; do you get all that stuff from the corporate media?”

    No, I hope to have more stuff later today courtesy of Zion Lights. No longer XR, she’s promoting nuclear now.

  13. It must be amazing to live in Fred-world.

    Absolutely correct about everything at all times. Zero doubt about anything.

    Never a reason for self-reproach either, because in Fred-world, everything one does is absolutely justified. Every decision, and every statement one makes is objective, perfectly judged and totally appropriate. Even while dishing out insults and lies.

    Complete confidence in treading the Goldilocks zone throughout life – not too far this way, not too far that, just a perfect path always in all things.

    This Fred-world is approaching perfection itself – but in a world full or inferiors, with stupid people who are wrong about everything.

    You or I might view such a being as a mean-spirited, cantankerous wind-up and bully, but that’s only because we don’t understand perfection when we see it.

  14. XR doesn’t have a policy on nuclear power.

    XR members have their personal opinions on nuclear power, but XR is very clear:

    1) Government and media to Tell the Truth about the climate and ecological emergency,
    2) Act Now!
    3) Policy to be determined by a Citizen’s Assembly.

    XR is not advocating for or against nuclear power, nor any other method of addressing the crises. We’re just teeth and claws. What we’re demanding is a functional brain.

    In fact, funnily enough, on Thursday Chelmsford XR had our first meeting since March, socially distanced and outdoors, and I spoke for quite some time about various nuclear fuel cycles, cancelled reactor development programmes and why the current system that refuses to change makes so much horrible actinide waste. Everyone was interested and no one objected to nuclear power on principle, though of course others would, both in and out of XR. As a local group we are opposing the proposed Bradwell development because (1) it couldn’t possibly be generating soon enough, (2) it’s an EPR which are unproven and too expensive and (3) it’s too close to sea level, which is rising.

    My personal opinion is that it takes too long to build nuclear power stations, and PWRs and their variants lack engineering elegance. For the UK I’d like to see the nuclear weapons programme closed down and the money spent on reactor prototyping; fast-spectrum reactors with a view to utilising and simultaneously breaking down so-called spent fuel.

  15. Fred

    LOL. You found a definition on a user contributed web site. Possibly, the right wing shitposters from 4chan might have voted that up. But if you want to play the game of providing resources there are many way more informative than the urban dictionary one childish paragraph.

    Here’s some better user contributer resources explaining the Nazi history:
    Rational Wiki

    Even the New Statesman knows it is a racist meme hugely popular on the internet with the extreme right:

    Here are many explainers of the history and current uses by the racist extreme right.

    The Guardian:

    Or the Independent:

    Or the NY Times:

    The Salon says it fuel Trump:


    Looking like a duck Fred.

  16. Other problems with nuclear power are centralisation, the secrecy and security culture that comes with it, eg. no stories from Dounreay, poor safety records, and immense decommissioning problems with huge expense.

    Nuclear makes only a tiny proportion of humanity’s energy, and the majority of the global population are far below, say, the EU standard of living. For nuclear to be the solution to climate change it would need expanding by, at a guess, a factor of around a hundred. We already have over 400 nuclear power stations that are too near sea level should the Greenland or Antarctic ice sheets destabilise, each one capable of emitting as much fall-out as a full scale nuclear war.

    I think Shellenberger has tunnel vision; he’s seen the vast potential of nuclear power and latched onto it, blinding him to its problems. There are simple solutions to his objections to renewables; they’re much less problematic and far more achievable than nuclear, especially with the advances being made in semiconductors.

  17. Maybe all that effort and research money spent on wind and solar should have been spent on nuclear because all that effort spent trying to get people to use less energy has resulted in people using more energy than ever and renewables can not hack it and never will. The reason it wasn’t was the green lobby, scare stories like reactors being too close to the sea and sea levels rising when common sense tells us that sea levels rise slowly and nuclear reactors can be decommissioned quickly if the need should arise.

    Zion Lights was very interesting.

  18. I listened to Zion Lights. I found it sad because she doesn’t seem to understand the risk, and she seems to have fallen for the “there’ll be a technological fix” optimism trap.

    Yes, you can read, for instance, the IPCC’s ‘most likely’ scenarios. But when you’re considering global climate, it’s such a huge thing upon which absolutely everyone is dependent that you must also consider the less likely possibilities that are worse, as well. The IPCC rates some really bad ones as having ‘only’ 10% chance of happening, but such odds are comparable to Russian roulette.

    And you have to remember the caveats. The IPCC reports list possible ‘tipping points’ ie. positive feedbacks that amplify temperature rise, but their effects aren’t included in the projections.

  19. JOML’s link is about the Dounreay nuclear site, which had and has a particularly bad safety and contamination record:

    Secrecy is always a problem whether it’s government or private sector. It is initially imposed on grounds of national security or commercial confidentiality, but it often ends up being used merely to hide unpleasant facts or to avoid prosecution and compensation claims. There needs to be much more freedom of information.

    Secrecy kills.

  20. JOML, the cluster of childhood leukaemia around Dounreay puzzled scientists for some time and it took a nationwide survey to get to the bottom of it. The cluster was not just a cluster in space, it was also a cluster in time, it appeared in the 1980s and disappeared in the early 1990s .

    The Dounreay cluster was not the only cluster, they found clusters all over Britain the vast majority of which were nowhere near Nuclear installations. There were 22 nuclear installations in Britain only two had a cluster near to them, 7 nuclear installations in Scotland only one with a cluster.

    The overwhelming consensus in the scientific community is that nuclear power stations do not cause childhood leukaemia but fossil fuel power stations have killed vast numbers of people not only from air pollution but also from disasters obtaining the fuel. Remember Aberfan or Piper Alpha the list is endless.

  21. “JOML’s link is about the Dounreay nuclear site, which had and has a particularly bad safety and contamination record:”

    So what is the mortality rate among nuclear workers compared to say farmers or fishermen or forestry workers?

  22. Nuclear work is generally pretty safe, at least physically; at a guess far safer than the others listed. But do these people seem at ease with their work and emotionally healthy to you? –

    The site is also costing billions to decommission, there is widespread contamination, and it’s scheduled to remain closed off and under surveillance for over three hundred years.

  23. Clark Dounreay was the first ever fast breeder reactor and was never intended to produce electricity, it was built to produce plutonium, the electricity was a by-product.

    It bares no relationship to modern nuclear power plants whatsoever.

  24. “So what did cause that leukaemia cluster, and the others?”

    There is speculation but research seems to point to the influx of oil workers in the 70s. They spent three weeks away on oil rigs mixing with other workers from all over Scotland then one week at home with their families. Research world wide has shown that where there has been a large population influx from an urban to a rural area it has coincided with an increase in childhood leukaemia.

  25. “It bares no relationship to modern nuclear power plants whatsoever.”

    Thank goodness when you consider the Fukushima disaster – the world’s worst, with 3 reactors spewing out poisonous radiation, causing goodness knows short and long term damage. A perfect example of the dangerous nature of nuclear power, when even a modern economy like Japan is powerless to control this disaster – which has a world-wide impact.

  26. “Only one death has been attributed to radiation“

    Of course (or should I say off course), Fred, and you believe that. Lol

    PS. Smoking is good for you. Smoke Marlboro – be a real cowboy.

  27. “Of course (or should I say off course), Fred, and you believe that.”

    Are you saying there was a conspiracy?

  28. UNSCEAR.

    United Nations Standing Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.

    For such an influential body, UNSCEAR has the briefest and least informative Wikipedia page I’ve ever seen. Last time I looked, it was based on a single citation I think, and that was from UNSCEAR. I just checked, and it is still much the same:

    – This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)
    – This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (April 2011)
    – This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (April 2011)

    The UN was set up largely to administer global nuclear matters; the flagship policy was the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, whereby the right to make nuclear power was offered to nations undertaking never to build nuclear weapons – it grew out of the US Atoms for Peace Program. And of course the five Nuclear Weapons States, exempt from this restriction (or in perpetual breach of it if you prefer), became the five Permanent Members of the Security Council, holding the only five Vetoes (which of course aren’t in any way proxy for their nukes). At its root, the UN is the global nuclear authority.

    There was originally a lot of tension around the WHO. The WHO was highly critical of nuclear power, so it was decreed that the WHO would be the ultimate health authority about all health risks except nuclear, in which domain it must defer to UNSCEAR, which it still does.

    But the Atmospheric Test Ban Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty were both passed and ratified, consistent with nuclear fallout causing illness including cancer.

    Global cancer projections were about doubled shortly after the Fukushima Daiichi disasters.

    “No connection, of course”.

  29. No conspiracy, Fred, I just think that you will always swallow the ‘official line’ no matter what.

    What’s safe and controlled world you live in.

  30. The suppression of speech is perhaps the greatest threat of all.

    Everyone seems to focus on journalism’s demise as a beacon drawing attention to egregious Establishment control, as though it were the biggest example of FreePress suppression.

    But all these smaller assaults are more pernicious because they are more the fact that these little cases dont have the available time or money for court fights that might go on for years and the Established forces win by attrition, not because they are righteous by way of Law or Human Rights.

    It’s a coup de tat for the forces of ignorance, darkness and political correctness gone crazy as the Mad Hatter.

  31. Look at the unjust manner in which Craig Murray has had to fight his way out of a burlap bag filled with bureaucratic wolverines intent on holding him responsible for comments on his blog.

    ‘It’s my job’ is the dog-faced cretins of endless paperwork reply.

    Maybe they should find a real job

  32. “In 2013, two years after the incident, the World Health Organization indicated that the residents of the area who were evacuated were exposed to so little radiation that radiation induced health impacts are likely to be below detectable levels. The health risks in the WHO assessment attributable to the Fukushima radioactivity release were calculated by largely applying the conservative Linear no-threshold model of radiation exposure, a model that assumes even the smallest amount of radiation exposure will cause a negative health effect.”

  33. Fred, yes, local cancer rates were reported to have not increased, but global cancer rates were revised upwards in the subsequent year or two, by just under a factor of two as I remember.

    I also have a concern about those local rates. One of the explosions shot “spent” fuel about a mile up into the air – watch two nuclear power stations literally explode; proper Armageddon TV on your YouTube! Anyway, I read somewhere that Tepco hired homeless people to go and collect debris, and such people may be unlikely to show up in the surveys.

    I’ve never liked Pressurised Water Reactors or their variants. They are primitive military nuclear technology, prone to explosion; even their inventor declared them unfit for civilian use, and got sacked for saying so. The danger is inherent; adding more and more safety systems just adds to the complexity and is an inadequate bodge.

  34. Ben, I regard such prosecutions as counter-productive, but those two incidents were hate speech rather than free speech; they weren’t cases of valid opinions being suppressed.

    Free speech can’t be absolute. To cite extreme examples for illustrative purposes, there can’t be any right to persuade people to run across busy motorways, or to take up smoking.

    Freedom and responsibility are inseparable. I don’t know what the answer is. But it would help if media and politicians didn’t constantly blame immigrants for economic injustice. Those with the most amplification should carry the greatest responsibility.

  35. “‘It’s my job’ is the dog-faced cretins of endless paperwork reply.”

    This now seems to be the predominant structure of society. Human judgement seems to have been displaced by box-ticking and form-filling.

  36. “Fred, yes, local cancer rates were reported to have not increased, but global cancer rates were revised upwards in the subsequent year or two, by just under a factor of two as I remember.”

    Cancer rates world wide have been rising for decades. The types of cancer predicted to rise are not the types of cancer predominately associated with radiation and by far the greatest increase is predicted to be in developing countries while a global cause would affect all equally.

    People are living longer which means the cells in their bodies will divide more times. Each time a cell divides there is a chance of errors in the DNA which will lead to cancer. There are many environmental factors which will come into play as people in developing countries move into the modern world.

    Do you have any evidence that predicted increases in cancer rates are connected to Fukushima?

  37. “No conspiracy, Fred, I just think that you will always swallow the ‘official line’ no matter what.”

    So you would agree with Node that the official line about COVID19 is a lie and millions of people have not really died from it. How about vaccines is the WHO lying to us or do you believe the official line? On 9/11 was it controlled explosions which brought the towers down or was the official line true?

  38. Fred, no I don’t. But I don’t trust the official position on this either, because nuclear issues are at the height of superpower geopolitics.

    I read the three peer reviews that rejected Busby’s ‘second event’ hypothesis. One seemed reasonable but equivocal, but two of them just blatantly evaded the hypothesis. I’m no great fan of Busby, and Caldicot is an opinionated fool, but ‘second event’ is reasonable and deserved better treatment than it got.

    There’s more like this too, but remembering and finding it all is more than I can do. As usual there’s a bland, nearly universal official position, versus various wild, almost meritless conspiracy theories, leaving the serious nuggets hard to find, and even when you do the most important data turns out to be shrouded in secrecy or somehow incomplete.

    10,000 new PWR stations just to get us started looks like a nightmare to me. Is there even enough U235 to power them all, and if so, for how long? And it’s all very well saying we’ll just decommission them all if the Greenland ice sheet destabilises; the reality of replacing that much infrastructure would be an immense challenge.

    On the other hand, the sun delivers more energy to Earth in one hour than humanity uses in a whole year; renewables should be doable.

  39. “Cancer rates world wide have been rising for decades.”

    Yep. Radioisotope pollution has been going on for decades too; that’s why the Atmospheric Test Ban and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaties were instigated.

  40. “So you would agree with Node that the official line about COVID19 is a lie and millions of people have not really died from it. How about vaccines is the WHO lying to us or do you believe the official line? On 9/11 was it controlled explosions which brought the towers down or was the official line true?”

    So either-or, either-or and either-or. Not like you to exaggerate or polarise arguments, eh Fred? You’re not a bit like Node in that respect, are you?

  41. You guys pick and choose when you start discussing any alleged conspiracy, whether it be the pandemic, Fukushima or 9/11.

    The Fukushima disaster was caused by a deliberately made earthquake, as was 9/11 when the American counter terrorists assumed that the suicide bombers were just hijackers, and no one really knows yet where, when and why the pandemic started.

    Am going on a vacation to experience the pandemic in central New York for a few days, using all the precautions against the alleged risks so you will know if I don’t return that it wasn’t properly understood either.

  42. The bald fact is, us humans need to cut back our energy consumption until we have a decent method of supplying it.

    Radically changing this political-economic system that virtually enforces ever increasing over-production, over-consumption and ludicrous amounts of transport of both goods and people seems by far the most practical interim solution.

    We suspended capitalism for WWII and it wasn’t the end of the world; in fact it improved quality of life for most.

  43. Trow, a tsunami was inevitable eventually, US submarines or none. The three explosions and meltdowns were human-constructed accidents waiting to happen.

    And yeah, jihadis do what jihadis do. It’s laughable that the authorities still pretend it was a surprise, because that’s exactly why they keep funding, training, arming and supporting them.

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