Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mad or Bad, we are all being Afflicted

I cannot recall an era when the 'Bad' did not have the upper hand. But even then there was a recognition that there were loonies that posed little problem. The Village Idiot was generally ignored by the rich and powerful bad and sometimes even treated kindly by ordinary folk. The loonies were little more than a tolerable nuisance. But this era we see a reversal. The Idiots are on the rise and the Bad use them as societal cudgels to beat the ordinary folk. They are becoming intolerable.

The more recent eras saw the mentally ill put into Institutions where some modicum of care could be provided. Not that they were ideal places.  Many were awful. Knowledge of mental illness was slight and treatments were crude and often unhelpful.  Those who were in charge of this brave new discipline had 'certainty',  which proved so often to be misplaced. Now the Institutions are all closed and the ill sent out into the 'community' where they are having a strange effect on the mental health of everyone around. 

And while those medical people have thrown in their treatment towels, bad politicians and bad media people have picked them up. 

Leave towels to Tavern Keepers, I say! 

 Richard Corradi and Andrew Devine were chatting about this and I overheard. Andrew was at the Ladies' table in the UK Room.
Madness gone politically correct – why is the media promoting mental illness as sanity?
Ever since large swathes of western society started demanding that humans with intact penises have as much right to be considered women as humans with vaginas, I’ve been wondering if madness has taken hold. 
In the past few months, I’ve stumbled across one article arguing that men have periods too and that it is 'dangerous' to assume that only women have menstrual cycles. 
However, the most baffling article I've read lately was about a trans-man, basically a woman with a lumberjack shirt and some stubble, giving birth. 
I'm sorry to be getting out the 'hate speech' so soon into this article, but the truth is that only women can gestate foetuses. Besides, it's even harder to take seriously a trans-man’s claim that he really wants to spend his life as a male when he wants to have an experience that by its very nature is exclusively female.
However, nothing could have prepared me for this article in the Irish online newspaper in which the author, a member of a UK-based charity called Intervoice, demands that we cease to use the word schizophrenia because it is offensive to use a label that connotes hearing the voices of dead celebrities with being mentally ill. This is madness gone politically correct. 
What I find even more perplexing is that day in day out the media across the British Isles, including, promote the notion that society is undergoing some kind of mental health crisis because they mistakenly conflate fleeting bouts of feeling down or being anxious, the normal ups and downs of life, with being mentally ill.
Meanwhile, has now decided to promote the message that auditory hallucinations are just friendly chats with old friends and nothing to be concerned about. 
Of course the Guardian beat them to it a few years ago with a piece lauding the benefits of mental illness entitled 'It's time to listen to the voices in your head’. 
Whilst it's great that some people have been able to deal with their psychotic delusions in a way that doesn't negatively affect themselves or others, this isn't the case for every schizophrenic or other sufferers of psychosis. In 2015, there were seventy-one killings by people listening to the voices in their heads in the UK, an increase of 92 per cent since 2009. 
The care in the community model which leaves people with dangerous mental health conditions living in mainstream society clearly isn't fit for purpose. 
Not to mention the trifling fact that paranoid schizophrenics have a very high rate of suicide compared with the rest of the population. Just how can leaving them living independently in society be called ‘caring’ for them? 
Perhaps the Guardian or might consider writing a piece called 'Please don't listen to the voices in your head’.
I have yet to meet anyone that didn't have a voice in their head. It is a common human facility enabling us to have internal conversations. But what the voice in your head says and urges you to do can be problematic in the immediate experiences of the person and increasingly problematic to a wider and wider circle of folk. Hense the use of Institutions, back when.

Today those voices are more and more stridently narcissistic and while being persuasive are also apt to be persuadable.  The transgender nonsense alluded to by Andrew was taken up by Richard. Richard B. Corradi, M.D. is professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio. Yes, one of the few that have held onto a corner of a towel.

And he had a lot to say. I shall fill your tankards while you pay attention.
Psychiatry Professor: ‘Transgenderism’ Is Mass
Hysteria Similar To 1980s-Era Junk Science
The movement’s philosophy qualifies it as a popular delusion similar to the multiple-personality craze, and the ‘satanic ritual abuse’ and ‘recovered memory’ hysterias of the 1980s and 90s.

Consider the remarkable phenomenon of transgenderism. A disorder of gender identity that afflicts a minuscule number of Americans has become a polarizing cultural cause celebre.  
Its influence—in capturing public attention and demanding social change—has been extraordinary, out of all proportion to the numbers of the gender-dissatisfied.
While the political left has fully embraced the transgender agenda as a “civil right” opposed by only the bigoted and hateful, many people see the movement as a concerted attack on traditional social mores and customs, an “in your face” assault on conventional standards, practices, and morality.
Clearly, the transgender phenomenon is the tip of the spear of the LGBT movement, greatly energized by the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage that includes in the definition of liberty the right of people to “define and express their identity.”
Back in older days a chap could define and express his identity as Napoleon and be put away in a padded cell. Then Shirley Maclaine came along and channeled Cleopatra and soon there were thousands of women all claiming to be reincarnated Princesses, Empresses, Heroines and even Godesses from Sirius. No-one argues with women.  Delusion had become mainstream.
For the LGBT movement this literally includes the right to decide one’s gender, to claim the rights of an alternative gender (since gender is malleable, there are choices other than simply male or female), have the choice acknowledged by society as a civil right, and ultimately become accepted as a conventional lifestyle.
The asylum was in the streets.

However, transgenderism as a normative lifestyle may be a hard sell. While fair-minded people can agree that gays or people with gender confusion should not be discriminated against, the general public doesn’t appear to be ready to accept gender as simply a social construct or that people can be whatever gender they choose. These contentions, the conceptual foundation of transgenderism, 
fly in the face of reality: 
the biological difference between the sexes.
The Contagion of Mass Delusion
Transgenderism would refute the natural laws of biology and transmute human nature. The movement’s philosophical foundation qualifies it as a popular delusion similar to the multiple-personality craze, and the widespread “satanic ritual abuse” and “recovered memory” hysterias of the 1980s and ‘90s. These last two involved bizarre accusations of child abuse and resulted in the prosecution and ruined lives of the falsely accused.
One difference, however, makes a big difference. And that is having the powerful and bad use it as a cudgel to beat normal people with, force them to adopt strange words and pronouns and even interfere with organisational functions. As, say, in the Military. 
Such popular delusions are characterized by a false belief unsupported by any scientific or empirical evidence and have a contagious quality that overrides rational thinking and even common sense. This all-too-human tendency to suspend individual critical judgment and go along with the crowd is greatly facilitated by social media. 
Most important, however, the cause has received the imprimatur of “experts.” The very people who should know better have bought into the hysteria. 
Just as “mental health professionals” a generation ago supported the child abuse delusions, and even participated in prosecuting the unjustly accused, so too have they fueled the fire of the transgender delusion.
The Child Abuse delusion has metastasised and mutated. It now focuses blame on Men and priests, completely ignoring the incidence of women abusing children.
The transgender movement was greatly energized when The American Psychiatric Association (APA) in its 2013 revised edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders” (DSM-5) delisted “Gender Identity Disorder” as a psychiatric “disorder,” reclassifying it as “Gender Dysphoria.” 
However, rather than providing a scientific validation of the transgender agenda, the APA’s action was a remarkable abrogation of professional responsibility in the interest of political correctness.
Unlike medical diseases, psychiatric disorders have no diagnostic biologic markers—no physical findings, laboratory tests, or imaging studies. Psychiatric diagnoses consist of symptom checklists determined by committee consensus.
Ahh now, where have we encountered 'consensus' as a scientific methodology before? 
It should come as no surprise that the process is exquisitely reactive to prevailing cultural and political winds. 
Absent biomarkers that define illnesses, there is no end to the mental and emotional conditions that can be called psychiatric disorders. It can be extremely profitable for an activist special-interest movement to succeed in getting its cause legitimized as a mental disorder, not least for a pharmaceutical industry poised to retarget psychotropic drugs to treat any new mental illness.
Activist Science Plus Relativism Equals Insanity
However, the process works both ways. Psychiatric “disorders” both come and go in response to contemporary cultural fads and determined special interests. For the sexual liberation movement the political advantage lay in having offending disorders removed. 
In 1973 it succeeded in getting the APA to remove homosexuality from its lexicon of disorders simply by vote of the membership.
The tragedy, of course, is that people suffering from identity issues do not receive the help they need.
Subsequently the movement conflated with postmodern relativism, in which there are no universal or transcendent values, only social and cultural conventions. The doctrine as applied to gender asserts that gender—male or female sex—is merely a social construct, not a biologic fact, and subject to change according to one’s desire. People can be of any gender they choose, an “alternate gender,” or even opt out of the entire gender construct.
Such was the agenda that the APA bought into when it dropped “Gender Identity Disorder” from the DSM-5. However, rather than simply eliminating the concept of gender identity since officially it was no longer a disorder, it created a “new diagnostic class” called “gender dysphoria.” 
This carried the assault on common sense even further, since now psychiatrists, the purported experts on distinguishing between fantasy and reality, put their stamp of approval on the transgender hysteria.
Only prelogical children and psychotic adults believe in magical thinking, that “wishing can make it so.” Yet “gender dysphoria” is characterized as “gender incongruence:” a feeling of dissatisfaction with one’s “assigned” (birth) gender, and a wish to be otherwise-gendered, makes one a different person. To reclaim one’s true (desired) gender identity may require sex-reassignment surgery, a treatment for the “new diagnostic class” of gender dysphoria sanctioned by the APA. The torturous vocabulary the DSM manufactured to label the possible gender spectrum variations would be laughable were it not so tragic.
Refusing to Diagnose Withholds Needed Treatment
The tragedy, of course, is that people suffering from identity issues do not receive the help they need. Anorexia nervosa is another disorder characterized by a distortion of body image. However, in contrast to the transgendered, who are aided in acting out a delusion with hormones and “sex-reassignment,” people with a morbid and unrealistic perception of themselves as being obese or too heavy are not put on weight-reducing diets. Rather, anorexia is diagnosed as a psychiatric disorder and treated appropriately with psychotherapy.
Anorexia and “gender dysphoria” are among the many manifestations of psychological conflict that may occur during the “identity crisis” of adolescence, an important developmental milestone in identity formation. It is a time of rapid physical changes and strong sexual urges. Gender confusion—the wish to be the opposite sex, or even to be no sex at all (non-gendered)—can simply be a young person’s temporary pause in resolving the conflict between the safety of secure parental attachments and the compelling but frightening urges of adult sexuality and autonomy.
Asceticism—a renunciation of sexuality and sensual pleasures generally, in effect becoming asexual and anhedonic—is another coping device young people sometimes use. It is remarkably similar to gender dysphoria in its purpose of achieving a temporary respite from confusion about one’s emerging sexuality and anxiety about the demands of adulthood.
The vast majority of such defense mechanisms are transient, useful when the storms of adolescence are most intense, but no longer necessary as a more stable sense of self emerges. (Most common perhaps is the adolescent idealization of celebrities. That many of these popular figures are androgynous illustrates the nature of these identifications as a respite from sexual and gender conflict.) Very few young people who diet severely become lifelong anorectics. Not many adolescent ascetics become cloistered monks. 
In contrast, some gender-dissatisfied youths are given hormones and even undergo sex- reassignment surgery. 
A transient developmental conflict is subjected to life-changing and sometimes irreversible treatment.
Reinforcing Delusions Hurts People
More lamentable still is the use of these “treatments” in prepubescent children whose prelogical thinking blurs the boundaries between fantasy and reality. Young parents with concerns about their children need to seek the counsel of people with knowledge about normal child development. Unfortunately, good advice is sometimes hard to come by. Afraid of being seen as “behind the times,” “ignorant,” or “bigoted,” people who should know better are unwilling to rely on their own common sense and the wisdom of generations.
If a four-year-old girl, who, afraid of being displaced in her parents’ affection by a new baby brother, announces that she is a boy, wise parents do not begin treating her as a boy. They do not assume she is transgendered. 
Instead, they embrace her and assure her that she is their precious little girl whom they love. Parents who allow prepubescent children to choose whether they want to be male or female have relinquished their role as rational adults, and are themselves in need of psychiatric consultation.
Clearly forming a stable personal identity is a complicated business. For some people it is prolonged, and some never achieve it. While adolescence and young adulthood can be a pivotal time in shaping one’s personal identity, identity is subject to inevitable challenges during the life cycle, as well as to unique individual stressors.
Midlife is a challenging time for many people. Middle-aged men and women who feel dissatisfied with their lives may act out unrealistic romantic fantasies in an attempt to remake themselves. Often this leads to the tragedy of divorce and the destruction of families. 
The transgender movement has fostered the most unrealistic fantasy imaginable 
—that one can solve what is always a multidimensional dissatisfaction with one’s self by changing one’s sex.
Why Some People Want to Believe They’re Transgender
The characteristics that define one’s personal identity are the nuclear elements of personality. People with a chronically unstable self-image, poor self-esteem, and an ill-defined sense of self are poorly equipped to deal with the stresses of ordinary life. This group constitutes the vast majority of the self-identified transgendered who undertake the full sex-change regimen of hormone treatment and “sex-reassignment” surgery.
However, most people suffering from such common personality disorders do not focus on gender dissatisfaction as the cause of their global dysfunction and do not regard sex change as the remedy. Why would a few people with a complex and multidimensional disorder of personal identity decide that their problem consists in having been “assigned” the wrong sex? 
The answer lies both in the nature of the personality disorder itself, and in powerful social, cultural, and political influences.
The LBGT movement has achieved enormous success in exploiting the psychological vulnerabilities of people who lack a coherent sense of self, providing both activist leaders and a “noble” cause with which to identify. Flush with success following the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, the movement has taken on an aura of invincibility.
The success of the transgender rights crusade, based as it is on the cultural delusion of denying biologic difference between the sexes, would suggest there are no limits to the movement’s goal of reshaping American culture and its institutions. Attaching oneself to such a powerful force can be a heady experience for someone whose self-identity is largely defined by the people and causes with which he or she identifies.
Transgenderism Is Identity Politics
The transgender movement has made clever use of the powerful force of identity politics. Clearly, personal identity, the totality of one’s sense of self, does not consist simply of gender any more than it does of one’s race, ethnicity, religion, or class. Such, however, are the categories upon which identity politics are built. 
To be politically effective, identity politics depend upon lumping people into groups that obliterate personal identities and characteristics. 
There are no individuals in identity politics, only amorphous masses of people with a common and defining property, one exploited for a political purpose.
All this is with the credulous support of people and institutions who have succumbed to the contagion of a cultural delusion.
This process exploits differences between people (cultural, social, ethnic, religious, etc.) to build constituencies of the aggrieved, the marginalized, and those led to believe they’re marginalized. They are assured redress of their grievances by a special interest group—commonly a political party that profits at the polls from activating them as a victimized group. 
The victimized must of course have victimizers, who are vilified as oppressors of the community of aggrieved.

This bitterly polarizing formula casts the “transgendered” as an amorphous lot of hatefully oppressed people. No distinction is made among highly disparate groups of the “gender dysphoric.” As has been described, these range from transient expressions of gender “incongruence” that occur in the normal developmental process, to those that are surface expressions of common life-stage conflicts, and to those more deeply rooted problems of personal identity that are symptomatic of personality disorders.
Ironically, individuals are robbed of their personal identity and become anonymous members of the gender identity community—the “transgendered.”

Rather than the individual assessments and personalized psychotherapy that the sufficiently distressed should receive, the remedy is one-size-fits-all. A transgender person can become any gender he or she chooses, or be no gender at all. They can call themselves any names they choose, take hormones, and have their sex surgically “reassigned.” All this is with the credulous support of people and institutions who have succumbed to the contagion of a cultural delusion.
Individuals are further stripped of their personal identity as they become pawns in the broader LGBT agenda. As it has gained judicial and political power, the LGBT goal appears to be no less than full public acceptance of any variety of sexual expression it chooses, with no tolerance for dissent. Transgenderism is the vanguard of the current offensive. The bitter social strife it has fostered indicates the lengths to which the movement will go in destroying the opposition.
Demonizing the Opposition
Who are the opposition? True to identity politics, they are cast as a mob of bigoted haters who would deny the transgendered their basic human rights. There can be no other explanation for why someone might believe that transgenderism defies both reason and the laws of biology.
The liberal mainstream media is chief among the institutions in lock-step with the divisive tactics of identity politics.
The demonized, of course, are those of religious faith. 
Much of the Western world has become secularized and anti-religious, but a strain of strong religious belief still remains in the United States. These adherents to a code of sexual morality that differs from the LGBT sexual liberation agenda, albeit foundational to the Judeo-Christian value system for millennia, are seen as the last bastion of opposition. 
Consequently, expressions of sincerely held religious belief are attacked as hateful and bigoted. 
Believers are mocked as unsophisticated rubes and rednecks, desperately clinging to their guns and religion while resisting the inevitable triumph of rational modernity.
The liberal mainstream media is chief among the institutions in lock-step with the divisive tactics of identity politics. 
Glowing anecdotal accounts and individual testimonies of people who have had sex-change surgery regularly appear in fawning media reports that support and encourage the transgender craze.  
Transgendered celebrities in particular are commended, and the person’s preferred gender pronoun always dutifully applied.
Any religious or moral opposition to the movement is reflexively characterized as hateful and discriminatory. 
Nowhere to be seen are the accounts of disillusionment and depression by those who regret having had surgery. In neglecting compelling clinical evidence and research in support of the common-sense notion that surgery is not a treatment for a psychological disorder, the psychiatric profession is certainly most culpable although one wonders what has become of responsible reporting and the honored tradition of investigative journalism.
The Long March Through Institutions
Along with the media, the political left has warmly embraced the LGBT movement’s apparent goal to reshape the social fabric and cultural traditions of American life and to reconstruct society to suit its demands. 
There appears to be no limit to efforts to silence dissenters.
Religious believers are being demonized, and many fear even freedom of the pulpit is in jeopardy. There is no hesitation in using courts to impose the will of a tiny minority on the general public, even to the extent of changing the bathroom practices of the entire nation.
The effect the transgender delusion will have on our society and its institutions, including the military, remains to be seen.
Objections of the majority, even on grounds of privacy or to protect young children from premature exposure to sexual issues, are simply ignored. Many of our elite academic institutions willingly comply with efforts to alter our basic language, promoting use of the many neologisms invented to label the new varieties of gender.
The federal government’s decision to allow transgendered people to serve openly in the military, women to serve in combat roles, and eventually to have a fully sexually integrated military, illustrates the extent to which political correctness has triumphed. That men and women in the intense and intimate daily contact military service demands could become a highly effective fighting force, a band not of men and women but of generic soldiers, would prove that gender is simply a social construct. It would also refute the laws of human nature. The belief that men and women will not behave in accordance with their biology is precisely the delusion.
The effect the transgender delusion will have on our society and its institutions, including the military, remains to be seen. In contrast, the destructive influence of identity politics is immediate and very personal for the transgendered. As faceless members of a political special interest group, they are robbed not only of their distinctness as individuals but also of their chance for effective treatment.
The vicissitudes of life—developmental conflicts, life-cycle stressors, personality disorders—that express themselves in gender dissatisfaction or confusion are the same as those that can challenge a secure sense of self and cause emotional distress in anyone. Indeed, such distress is what most commonly causes people to consult psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. People labeled “transgendered” or “gender dysphoric” are no less entitled to individual psychological assessment and personalized counseling or psychotherapy.
Historically, contagious popular delusions that deny common sense and fly in the face of reality eventually run their course. This will likely be the fate of the transgender craze. 
But before it collapses under its own weight, many people will suffer irreparable harm.

The powerful bad used to be Kings and Warlords. These days the powerful are the rich, the media, the politicians.... and the medical profession.  Behind them all are the Very Rich; the few who pull the strings, feed the chooks and bus rioters to 'protest' marches. 

They feed delusion because they seek the destruction of society so that the ordinary man and woman becomes less and less an individual with a mind and soul, but a cog in the machine, enslaved and confused. The children cannot be trusted to them and will become owned by the state. And One huge monolithic State at that.

Drink up. Cast away delusions.

See the writing on the bottom of your mug.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Quiet Life

Not everyone is suited to the hustle and bustle of city life. There are people who prefer very little contact with any but a few: who prefer the natural environment: quietness. Many who live in cities, especially huge, noisy overcrowded cities, do so because they are stuck there. 

I have travelled the world and lived in many places, and usually with many people around me.  The oriental crowds and smells of Singapore were once my constants in a place of temporary - 3 years - residence, whilst on campaign. Indeed that huge city was where I was first made a Knight as a young fellow. I had never lived in such a place before. I was a country lad previously.

With 7,000,000,000 folk in the world it is the 'norm' to have a lot of other people around and our modern world requires much cooperation and development in order to work as it does.  One also needs chaps around with whom one fights the Good fight.

But now I live alone, in a small cave fit for a Knight, and while there are folk around, the quietness and the opportunity to sit and see with out being disturbed suits me.

Other people though go to far greater lengths to make their own quiet lives. They seem to thrive. Not for them being 'Alone' whilst surrounded by humanity that cares not a whit for them. They do not get 'lonely', despite very little human contact. 

Travellers stopping by at the Tavern tell of those they have come across. The sorts of lives they see give pause for thought. Whilst the world today has many benefits, the downsides increase by the day. Nastiness grows; mental viruses proliferate; crime, socially polluted pressures, even sacreligious religious, infect our lives. Some people just want to get away.

Take the middle of the  South Atlantic for instance. It is a bloody long way from even out-of the way places. Tristan da Cunha is situated midway between South Africa and South America and is looking for farmers- well an agricultural advisor to be specific. 

OK, there are 235 other folk there, scattered about. And you have to be useful.  There are many young men, MGTOWs who could fit in there.

But what is there was just you, and your family?

A young chap, coming into a sturdy manhood, future mapped out for him by a successful and even kindly Dad, decided to Go His Own Way. He had a similarly minded gal who went too. They had children. They live so far from the madding crowd that even intrusive travellers are given short hospitality. It is not that they do not like people. Clearly they do. But 'over there' not over here.

The Long family live as hermits in South Westland, New Zealand. They live in a makeshift hut without even the basics of modern life and have had no contact with the outside world for over 15 years. Well. almost no contact. 

Once a young medical student poised for great success, Robert Long decided to relocate his family to the bush. "I wanted to be somewhere where it was all wilderness", he says. Now living amongst the mountains of New Zealand they thrive from a lifestyle that would terrify most people. Of his children, he says "I think they concentrate on what we miss out on, they don't realise how much we have that they don't have."

Give us this day our daily Lobster, Possum, Berries and Potatoes. My Supplier provides in abundance. Even a cask of milk once in a while.

Then there are those who choose to not simply live in and enjoy the surrounding nature, but work to change it. Back to nature sometimes mean bring nature back where it has withered. It helps to have the wherewithall, of course, but the heart and mind are the first requisits. 

They have to be restored too. For that one needs quitness. Selah. Stop, Pause, look around, contemplate upon what you see.  Almost 50 years ago, fried chicken tycoon David Bamberger used his fortune to purchase 5,500 acres of overgrazed land in the Texas Hill Country. Planting grasses to soak in rains and fill hillside aquifers, Bamberger devoted the rest of his life to restoring the degraded landscape. Today, the land has been restored to its original habitat and boasts enormous biodiversity. Bamberger's model of land stewardship is now being replicated across the region and he is considered to be a visionary in land management and water conservation.

The really brave: the hermits of the world: those who have their own inner voice as their only human company: they count on the Great Supplier, whatever He chooses for them. They go along with it, make the best of it, make something useful of it.

Few people could live alone for 40 years, even with a bit of occasional help and some modern technology.  Welcome to Gothic, Colorado—one of the coldest places in the United States. This ghost town has been abandoned since the 1920s, but there is at least one person who still calls it home. For more than 40 years, current resident billy barr has lived in a small cabin, recording data about the snowpack to pass the time.

Apart from the restoration fellow, I cannot see me following in their footsteps. Were my Supplier to send me millions of bucks I might have a go at the 're-creation' bizzo m'self, but He hasn't as yet and still wants me to run the Tavern. 

So Be It.

Drink your drink. Look into your tankards.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

UN - tenable

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Bungy jumping is like that but the risk is to the one who jumps. The United Nations on the other hand..... perhaps at that dire time in 1945 it was a good idea, but now, for the majority of people in the western world - and there are a lot of us -  it is perhaps not able to be maintained or defended against attack or objection: indefensible, undefendable, unarguable, insupportable, refutable, unsustainable, unjustified, unwarranted, unjustifiable, inadmissible, unsound, ill-founded, flimsy, weak, shaky, flawed, defective, faulty, implausible, specious, groundless, unfounded, baseless, invalid, absurd, illogical, irrational, preposterous, senseless, unacceptable. Take your pick.

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization tasked to promote international co-operation and to create and maintain international order. A replacement for the ineffective League of Nations, the organization was established on 24 October 1945 after World War II in order to prevent another such conflict. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193.

Oz had a strong hand in establishing the UN through a third-rate socialist politician who must lie in his grave with a rictus, if not sardonic grin. He cannot take all the blame though.

In its entire history it has not employed a single cat-herder or pack of ratting terriers demonstrating to all that it should not be taken seriously. Except we have to. Its ineptness demands it.

The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City, and is subject to extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, protecting the environment, and providing humanitarian aid in cases of famine, natural disaster, and armed conflict. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world.

That is the official description. The unofficial and widely held suspicion is that it is a nascent One World Government. Perhaps that is what some folk had in mind in 1945. 

Everybody and his dog in the UN has a finger or nose in the trough.  It has more corruption than the Sicilian Mafia and the Russian Mafia and the Yakusa and the Bra-boys of Sydney combined.

It is a profligate waste of money, in the opinion of lowly customers of the Tavern and the President of the USA. Some quaffing Ales here in my bars think that such corruption might be decreased by re-locating the whole mob to, say Brazzaville, the capital and largest city of the Republic of the Congo. It could have fine river views too there from the north side of the Congo River, opposite Kinshasa. It is pretty certain that the corrupt monies would not have so far to go.

Perhaps though the Mayor of New York would miss all the money spent in his city. 

Mr Trump though may accept that loss as a small price to pay.  Kelsey Munro filled us in on some matters with a few facts and figures. But no names.
Who pays for the UN and where does the money go?
US President Donald Trump thinks the United Nations spends too much money, but who pays for it and where does the money go?
The US President is not a renowned fan of the sprawling global network of UN organisations, calling the institution "weak and incompetent" during his campaign. 
But if his first speech as President to the UN General Assembly on September 19 took a more measured tone, he still complained that the United States “bears an unfair cost burden”, and called for major reform, including for other countries to pay more. 
“The United States is one of 193 countries in the United Nations, and yet we pay 22 per cent of the entire budget and more,” Trump said.
In this case, a President who has {some think and say} been famously loose with facts, is correct.
Who pays for the UN?
The US is by far the biggest donor to the UN, in 2016 contributing some $10 billion of its $49 billion annual revenue. 
The next biggest donors were Germany ($3.4 billion) 
and the UK ($3 billion).
The permanent members of the Security Council that most often oppose American agendas in the UN, China ($1.3 billion) and Russia ($562 million), are ranked 6th and 15th respectively in terms of the magnitude of their contributions.
Australia was the UN’s 13th biggest national donor in 2016, contributing $748 million. 

Countries’ relative contributions are decided by a complex series of formulas for different aspects of the UN’s wide-ranging operations, which are supposed to broadly reflect each country’s capacity to pay. The payments, known as "assessed contributions", are recalculated every few years to adjust for changing circumstances.
As if 'progressive taxation' was not bad enough curse for most taxpayers in western countries, the old adage is most appropriate for the UN.  Poor white people in rich countries pay tax to give to rich black people in poor countries so they can swan around the world in 'first class', eat lobster thermidor in fine New York restaurants and sit on innumerable committees for which they are totally unqualified. 
There are also significant non-government donors like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which donated just under $300 million to the UN last year. 
Where is the money spent? 

The biggest drain on the UN budget is its peacekeeping operations, which cost $8.7 billion last year. There are currently 15 peacekeeping missions worldwide, and most of the soldiers involved are from African countries. The UN pays nations for their troops’ peacekeeping service meaning it can be quite lucrative for poor countries.

 Peacekeeping soldiers are paid by their own Governments according to their own national rank and salary scale. Countries volunteering uniformed personnel to peacekeeping operations are reimbursed by the UN at a standard rate, approved by the General Assembly, of a little over US$1,332 per soldier per month.
The World Food Programme had a budget of $5.9 billion last year, followed by the United Nations secretariat itself and the United Nations Development Programme at about $5 billion each.
Support for UN reform
Secretary-General António Guterres said 128 countries had pledged to back a 10-point plan for UN reform that would improve the member states' "value for money". 
“Our shared objective is a 21st century UN focused more on people and less on process, more on delivery and less on bureaucracy,” he said, following Trump's speech on September 19.
"Value for money while advancing shared values – this is our common goal.”
Hah! Believe that? I have a bridge over the River Derwent I could sell for a modest fee. 
Mr Guterres said the organisational problems of the UN kept him awake at night. “Fragmented structures. Byzantine procedures. Endless red tape,” he said.
Leadership from the top ! 
The UN also runs several agencies to tackle specific issues including the UN Development Programme which works to eradicate poverty; UNICEF, the children’s fund; and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Some autonomous agencies under the UN such as the World Health Organisation and UNESCO (the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation) are also partly funded through contributions of member states. 

And the Oz Furrin' Minister, Julie Bishop also sends vast amounts - in the tens of millions - to the nations she represents from petty cash which she tops up from borrowings. Several days a year though she does represent Oz.

The most crucial aspect as far as 'other nation interference' is concerned is the Security Council.  I had one of my staff work through his lunchtime to compile this next bit for you. And yes, he was drinking throughout.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, charged with the maintenance of international peace and security as well as accepting new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to its United Nations Charter. 

Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions; it is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states. The Security Council held its first session on 17 January 1946.

Like the UN as a whole, the Security Council was created following World War II to address the failings of a previous international organization, the League of Nations, in maintaining world peace. 

In its early decades, the body was largely paralyzed 

by the Cold War division between the US and USSR and their respective allies, though it authorized interventions in the Korean War and the Congo Crisis and peacekeeping missions in the Suez Crisis, Cyprus, and West New Guinea. 

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, UN peacekeeping efforts increased dramatically in scale, and the Security Council authorized major military and peacekeeping missions in Kuwait, Namibia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Security Council consists of fifteen members. The great powers that were the victors of World War II—the Soviet Union (now represented by the Russian Federation), the United Kingdom, France, Republic of China (now represented by the People's Republic of China), and the United States— serve as the body's five permanent members. 

These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General. 

The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body's presidency rotates monthly among its members.

Security Council resolutions are typically enforced by UN peacekeepers, military forces voluntarily provided by member states and funded independently of the main UN budget. As of 2016, 103,510 peacekeepers and 16,471 civilians were deployed on sixteen peacekeeping operations and one special political mission.

Along with the five permanent members, the Security Council has temporary members that hold their seats on a rotating basis by geographic region. Non-permanent members may be involved in global security briefings. In its first two decades, the Security Council had six non-permanent members, the first of which were Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Poland. 

In 1965, the number of non-permanent members was expanded to ten.
These ten non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms starting on 1 January, with five replaced each year. To be approved, a candidate must receive at least two-thirds of all votes cast for that seat, which can result in deadlock if there are two roughly evenly matched candidates. In 1979, a standoff between Cuba and Colombia only ended after three months and a record 154 rounds of voting; both eventually withdrew in favour of Mexico as a compromise candidate. A retiring member is not eligible for immediate re-election.

The African Group is represented by three members; the Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, and Western European and Others groups by two apiece; and the Eastern European Group by one. 

Traditionally, one of the seats assigned to either the Asia-Pacific Group or the African Group is filled by a nation from the Arab world.

 Currently, elections for terms beginning in even-numbered years select two African members, and one each within Eastern Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Terms beginning in odd-numbered years consist of two Western European and Other members, and one each from Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

This old Tavern Keeper is not a member.

Depressing, innit?

By the Lord Harry there are arses to kick.

Now, here we are on the day that the world is supposed to end, and I can pretty confidently suppose that the UN has made no contingency other than providing some well appointed holes in the ground for its knobs and ambassadors and perhaps some vital staff who can operate a word processor.

Have a drink.

You will need it.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Last Orders, Gentlemen, Please.

Tomorrow, 23 September 2017 will be the end of the world.  Our Number is Up. I have been assured of this by a chap standing outside the Tavern with a sign. I had a kind customer take a pint of cleansing Ale out to him as there are still some hours to go and I do not want him to go thirsty.

Have you ever noticed those chaps who carry 'The End is Nigh' signs? Have you noticed their expressions? They seem remarkably unmoved by how well all the passers-by are taking the news. This is not the first time such a chap has stood with such a sign in the vicinity of my modest rest-stop on the Road. It is unlikely to be the last.  

I say that with all the confidence of a fellow who has no clue at all when the world will be wiped out, but has seen many a time when folks around thought that Time was Up, and the 'Last Orders, Gentlemen, Please', shout should be made by the Tavern Keeper.

I am skeptical. Why it was only Tuesday, a few days ago, that I received a shipment from my Supplier and it was enough for a full week. I don't see Him as wasteful. On the other hand, perhaps He was preparing us for a rush.  The delivery angel did not give me any ear-plugs though. 

Skeptic or not, I think I am on a winner. If I am wrong the Tavern will be closed at the weekend and I shall have some time off. I may even get to go home. If I am right in thinking that the world has to go through a lot more toil and trouble, mayhem and finding its way up the mountain, then it will be more of the usual wiping of tables and bar tops and pulling pints as my Supplier requires.

There were other skeptics in the US room. Matt Walsh amongst them. 

He had a few words to say in his usual no-nonsense way. 
Christians, prepare yourselves. The end is definitely near.
I keep reading media reports claiming “Christians believe” the world will end on September 23. This is kind of odd considering the world already ended 46 times in the past decade, according to various predictions. But as for this prediction, I have not personally met a single Christian who believes it. 
I suspect “Christians believe” in this month’s doomsday prophecy in the same way that “Christians” believe a Starbucks cup is offensive. 
Which is to say, they don’t.
This latest fake apocalypse proclamation seems to have been cooked up by a “Christian numerologist” named David Meade, who has discerned the end of the world — or at least the beginning of the end, or the endish, or something — through certain signs in the Heavens, like the solar eclipse, and through his reading of the Book of Revelation. Perhaps a small collection of Christians have bought into this false prophet’s nonsense, but I think it is very small indeed.
Of course, a big problem here is that solar eclipses happen multiple times a year across the globe. There was nothing special about this year’s eclipse, other than the fact that you could see it in Bowling Green, Kentucky. 
Also, “Christian numerology” doesn’t exist. 
Numerology is a pagan superstition. 
You may as well tell me about Christian Tarot cards or Christian crystal balls. If a person does access any supernatural power through these methods, it isn’t God supplying it. You need to look further south for the source.
As far as Revelation goes, any Christian who claims to have definitively cracked the code and determined exactly what it means has either been deceived by the Devil or is a liar, or both. Revelation is a beautiful and important book, but I cannot give you a precise interpretation of its content, and I certainly cannot tell you with confidence when the world is going to end based on its mysterious verses. Nobody can. 
I know that nobody can because, rather than providing us with a formula to ascertain the date of the Second Coming, Christ does the opposite. He tells us specifically in Matthew 24 that no one will know the day or hour, not even the angels or the Son. The Apostles reiterate this instruction in Acts. 
So, that should be it.
But that’s not it because we are not willing to accept our own ignorance. 
Even if most of us haven’t bought into the September 23 “prophecy,” there still remains a great number of Christians who think they will be able to detect when the end is coming. Many of us think we can detect it now. The fact that Christians have been sure that the end is right around the corner for 2,000 years doesn’t dissuade us. Now is different, we say. 
Now is the time. Or almost time.
Well, maybe it is time. I don’t know. Neither do you. 
I mean, yes, it certainly feels like we’re at the end of something. But who can say that “something” is the world? Maybe we’ve just reached the end of our country or our civilization? Many civilizations have passed from the Earth, and they all thought the world was going with them. They were all wrong. We probably are, too. But who knows? I don’t. Nobody does.
Here’s what I do know: your world is coming to an end pretty soon. So is mine. I can’t say what will happen to planet Earth, but I can say that you probably have less than 50 years left, and you may be gone much earlier. You may be gone next week. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe tonight. You could suffer a massive heart attack in November. You could get hit by a bus this weekend. You could be diagnosed with cancer and be dead before Easter. 
The chances are very, very high that you will die long before the world. 
Concern yourself with that. Focus on your own mortality. Scripture says to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, not to work out the Apocalypse with mathematics and astrology.
I think this — our fear of our mortality — is why we concentrate so much on predicting the Apocalypse. Ironically, the more a person is afraid of death, the more he wants to believe that the End of the World is around the corner.
Life is tenuous and uncertain, death is sudden and intrusive, and we cannot accept this fact. We cannot look our own mortality in the face. We cannot bear to contemplate the extremely high possibility that we will die, individually, while the world lives on. 
So we cling to this dark hope that Armageddon will spare us an individual death. And we tell ourselves that we’ll see it coming. We’ll have time to prepare. We will ease into it.
But that’s not how it has worked for billions of people, and that’s probably not how it will work for me or you. We aren’t special. You think things are so bad that the destruction of the world must be upon us? Well, 200 million people were wiped out by the Black Plague in the 14th century. We had four people get Ebola in this country a few years ago and we panicked like mankind was on the brink of extinction. Imagine how they felt as half of Europe’s population perished from the Earth. Yet the world lived on. And you think this rash of natural disasters portends something ominous?
Well, 800 thousand people were killed in an earthquake in 1556. 92,000 were killed by a volcano in 1816. 22,000 were killed by a hurricane in 1780. Yet the world lived on. You think our wars and international conflict must be apocalyptic? Please. The deadliest war in US history happened 150 years ago. The entire planet was in a near constant state of warfare for thousands of years. Civilizations clashed. Cities were destroyed. Death and starvation and bloodshed occurred on a scale we cannot fathom and will never experience. Yet the world lived on. A lot of people didn’t, but the world did. I bet they even had eclipses back then, too.
But who knows? Maybe the Heavens will open up right after I publish this post and I’ll be pretty embarrassed (and my web traffic will really take a hit).
That probably won’t happen, though. More likely, the world will continue existing and you’ll just die eventually, sooner than later, by yourself, while most everyone else keeps living for a while. 
That’s how it has always worked and that’s how it will continue working until God decides otherwise. Will he decide otherwise soon? I have no clue, but it doesn’t really matter. Our job is the same regardless.
My father-in-law had a neighbor who passed away recently. He was young man with a wife and three kids. He opened the door to his second floor patio and forgot that the patio hadn’t been built yet. He was dead within moments. Sudden. Tragic. Out of nowhere. That was it. Like a thief in the night it came. Just as it will come for us. Not with fire in the sky and the Lord descending upon the Earth, but with a shock. A cry. A 911 call. Or maybe it will come later, in a bed at the nursing home. Our kids will stop by for a visit with their kids, who will be very young and anxious to leave. And one of those visits will be the last. We’ll die quietly while the world buzzes on, too busy to notice. There will be a funeral and a eulogy, and that will be it.
That’s death. Face it. Accept it. 
Have faith. 
Have courage. 
Have humility. 
Admit what you do not know and prepare for what you do. 
The End is near, that is certain. But just your end. And mine. 
Pray that you are ready when the summons arrives.
And this evening whilst you wait for the midnight hour, drink deep of Grace.

The Bars will remain open.