162 thoughts on “Losing Bet

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  • Villager

    And the universal mind reminds me of another obscure but brilliant beatles song:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN9n1bAahg4

    JAI GURU DEVA!

    Words are flowing out like
    Endless rain into a paper cup
    They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe.
    Pools of sorrow waves of joy
    Are drifting through my opened mind
    Possessing and caressing me.

    Jai Guru Deva. Om
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world

    Images of broken light, which
    Dance before me like a million eyes,
    They call me on and on across the universe.
    Thoughts meander like a
    Restless wind inside a letter box
    They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe.

    Jai Guru Deva. Om
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world

    Sounds of laughter, shades of life
    Are ringing through my opened ears
    Inciting and inviting me.
    Limitless undying love, which
    Shines around me like a million suns,
    It calls me on and on across the universe

    Jai Guru Deva. Om
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Nothing’s gonna change my world
    Jai Guru Deva.
    Jai Guru Deva.
    Jai Guru Deva.
    Jai Guru Deva.
    Jai Guru Deva.
    Jai Guru Deva.

    OM

    Then a George Hari-son one!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLPNrI3OT5g

    Om Hari Om!

    And then a truly obscure one about an obscure place that i’ve happened to be in
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qupu2o7w8W4

  • Fred

    “However to find a chief Plutocrat/Oligarch who is ensconced amidst the population of the lesser plutocrats to be equated to some pissant footballer or a pop singer is not perhaps the best of comparisons won’t you agree?”

    All the same to me.

  • Herbie

    Habby asks:

    “you said that there was a blurring on the executive and the legislature (resulting in an “elective dictatorship”) and that the solution would be to have an executive outside parliament, with a President with “real” power; in this way Parliament could do a proper job of scutinising and controlling the executive.

    But you are now saying that the real levers of power lie in Parliament.”

    I’ve always said that, habby.

    It’s central to my argument, in fact.

    There’s nothing above that contradicts that, though it’s worth pointing out that you seem to have little grasp of the British system of government. That’s understandable, particularly if you’re a member of the vast vast majority of the British public, or a foreigner perhaps.

    Let’s just say that it’s an unusual system of government, from the earlymodern period before enlightenment got off the ground.

  • Sofia Kibo Noh

    @Villager
    25 Jul, 2013 – 10:00 pm

    Re Komodo’s post 11:29 am

    You say, “Very telling that you made no observation about that, Buddhist or not.”

    Yes. It tells me that again you jump to an awful lot of conclusions and feel it somehow appropriate to force your superior wisdom down my gullet.

    I can’t for the life of me think why I should have felt the need to make a public observation on a short post that was,

    a. A statement of fact, as in “Fact.”

    b. An exasperated and funny response to your regularly preachy judgements and instructions, “Now bugger off to the forest and listen for falling trees before I clap your head with one hand.”

    If you want to know, it gave me a laugh. (Thanks Komodo.)

    And WTF do you mean by “Buddhist or not”?

    Do you think you are putting down a Buddhist simply because I wrote that my wish for the royal baby is that “…Like the Buddha, he may grow up to reject it all and inspire multitudes to live useful and compassionate lives a couple of thousand wears hence”?

    I respect a lot about the Buddhists I have encountered. Does that make me a Buddhist? What about the people of other beliefs who I also respect? That would make me an Agnostic, Sufi, Methodist, Atheist, Taoist, Buddhist at the very least.

    In the meantime an innocent baby is beginning a life-conditioning that will most likely make him at the very least a parasite and possibly a boastful royal parasite with access to helicopters, machine guns and the like with which to destroy people.

    In the meantime the nightmare of Nakba continues for the Palestinians.

    Nationalists and Corporatists of all hues continue to carve up both physical and cyber space.

    Corporate media whores fill the airwaves and printed media with false, war-stoking narratives while whistleblowers are persecuted or killed.

    Real people suffer unnecessarily, caught up in nightmares of Nakba, environmental and economic desstruction, neofeudalism, banksterism, austerity and more.

    A growing number of people no longer accept the tired, delusional old narratives. On this blog and increasingly within society they are stating that these states of affairs are not OK with them.

    Do your judgements and preaching have any significance? Not to me at any rate.

    I learned long ago to be wary of true believers with their very own exclusive Books of Truth, their self-righteous high-handed sermons and the destruction that so often follows in their wake.

    Let’s debate the issues not the posters.

  • Flaming June

    It will be interesting to see how this concludes. Good for the Guardian.

    Prince Charles’s letters: judges allow appeal against block on publication
    High court judges give the Guardian right to challenge cabinet move to keep secret so-called ‘black spider memos’

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk-news/2013/jul/25/prince-charles-letters-judges-allow-appeal

    ‘Three high court judges have given permission for an appeal to be mounted against a decision to conceal details of Prince Charles’s lobbying campaigns.

    The Guardian will seek to overturn a high court ruling this month that the prince’s private efforts to influence public policies should remain secret.

    Lord Judge, the lord chief justice of England and Wales, and two other judges have allowed the newspaper to appeal.

    The appeal will be the latest stage in an eight-year battle by the newspaper to view a set of letters written by the prince to ministers in seven government departments over a nine-month period. It is due to be heard in the court of appeal later this year.’

  • Jemand - Censorship Improves History

    Over the next 50 years we will have two unelected Kings before the crown is handed over to George, notwithstanding unforseen events.

    It has been observed before that politicians are so crooked and incompetent that a random appointment of an ordinary person would yield a better form of representation. And another commentator (Abe Rene?) noted that royal birth is arbitrary. Many people also acknowledge that the royals are not special, not divinely chosen, but are very ordinary people who often appear to exhibit very ordinary faults. 

    So what we have, with this young prince, is a very random selection (at the point of conception) of a very ordinary person to be our head of state/s to serve as a mostly powerless figurehead and roving ambassador. In return for the service that is *imposed* on this person, from birth, he is provided with all sorts of compensation in the form of wealth and public adulation. He is also exposed to a very real risk of assassination and a life of very little privacy and rude speculation about his personal habits.

    I can understand people being irritated by anachronistic traditions and irrational public affection for people with whom they have no personal relationship. And I am supportive of those who demand financial prudence and accountability in matters related to the cost of maintaining a monarchy. 

    But I disagree with the resentment expressed at the appointment of a person to such an important position through the accident of birth. I think it is an experiment worth pursuing in the UK for the time being. Adjustments can be made to the system but it is pretty clear to many that an elected politician is not a guarantee of better representation. Don’t forget that YOU voted for Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair, David Cameron in a democratic process.

  • Phil

    Jemand – Censorship Improves History 26 Jul, 2013 – 8:18 am

    “…it is an experiment worth pursuing in the UK”

    Monarchy is fairly well tested already. It’s about as unexperimental as anything can be in an ever changing world.

    “Adjustments can be made to the system”

    They have been, from decapitation to parliament.

    Personally I am surprised that Australia still has the colonial governer general retaining constitutional power even after the 1975 coup. That was political power achieved through constitutional monarchy in a way that we are promised will never happen. The same undemoctartic remnants of absolute rule allow the uk pm to take the country to war without consulting an elected body.

    “Don’t forget that YOU voted for Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair, David Cameron in a democratic process”

    No I didn’t. Ok I did vote for one once but it didn’t work out and I have learnt my lesson.

  • Phil

    Jemand – Censorship Improves History 26 Jul, 2013 – 8:18 am

    “it is pretty clear to many that an elected politician is not a guarantee of better representation”

    I’m not going to argue with that. They’re as bad as each other. So, no presidents or monarchs…

  • Phil

    By coincidence I have just got a telegram from the queen on this very subject. It’s relevant so I’m sure she won’t mind me sharing:

    “My guilded carriage, lottery funded and trident secure, is in fact powered by angels. Worship excessive wealth serfs!”

  • Sofia Kibo Noh

    “…it is an experiment…”

    What?

    How long do you have to run that experiment before you accept that it produces consistently negative results for both those ruled and for their neighbours in other regions that attract the royal ambitions?.

    From Herodotus onwards. That is from the first written “Histories it’s an endless repetition of:

    Spending lives and taxes getting large numbers of people killed for the consistent royal appetite for power and wealth.

    Squabbling, frequently lethally among themselves, sibling against parent, sibling against sibling, parent against parent. Surrounded by aristocracies who mimic royal behaviour.

    Swanning around in obscene royal splendour, often, as in the UK, when a large segment of their subjects live in poverty.

    Needing the protection of armies of hired guns and a war economy that devotes otherwise productive resources to the technologies of destruction.

    All that at 122 times greater cost than Ireland, whose electorate have chosen three sound presidents in a row. How about that for up to date experimental data?

    Isn’t it time to accept that we know the results of the “experiment” and get on with designing a more fit-for-purpose head of state?

    Economically it doesn’t take a genius to realise that, for example 8560 nurses would spend the UK monarch’s fees in ways that would have a far more beneficial effect in the wider economy than the lavish conspicuous consumption of the royals.

    But monarchy isn’t the only fish to fry.

    If monarchy is corrupting – and it is – wait till you see what overt empire does to us. Daniel Ellsberg

  • Sofia Kibo Noh

    Oops!

    Anyone interested will have no trouble finding Herodotus’s Histories then.

  • Jemand - Censorship Improves History

    Hi Phil,

    The tossing out of the Whitlam government wasn’t a coup as card-carrying Oz Labor Party members claim – even Whitlam never said as much. But that’s another story.

    I could go on and explain what I meant about an experiment but I won’t. That idea apparently has little or no prospect of attracting an interested audience here.

    But I will ask this question. All fantasies of a Utopian paradise put to one side, what kind of nation or nations would Great Britain become if it becomes a republic (sans president)?

    Remember, the American colonies replaced one kind of class system with another and now pay a massive amount of money to maintain a democratically elected ruling class. Despite all of the US’s pretensions to being a welcoming land to the world’s poor, a lot of people here hold the country, its culture and its people in contempt.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Jemand

    Excellent posts, thank you.

    It’s also worth re-emphasising one point you make, or gently hint at : some of the very people who deplore the randomness of the ‘selection’ of the future Monarchy (“accident of birth”, “non-elected”) call for the random appointment of a Prime Minister or Head of State through a kind of lottery (“accident of lottery”, non-elected”)!

  • Herbie

    Habby’s effusive praise of Jemand’s posts raised in my mind the probability that Jemand must be talking cobblers.

    So, when Jemand said:

    “The tossing out of the Whitlam government wasn’t a coup as card-carrying Oz Labor Party members claim – even Whitlam never said as much.”

    I checked, and found it just isn’t true.

    Here’s Gough, in his own words:

    But that way there could have been no ambush; and without the ambush, there could have been no coup.

    http://whitlamdismissal.com/1995/11/08/whitlam-the-coup-20-years-after.html

    So whenever you see habby praise something just check. It’s probably cobblers. When habby disses something. It’s probably safe enough.

  • Jemand - Censorship Improves History

    I suppose it wouldn’t make any difference if I make a post hoc qualification and say that Whitlam made no mention of his dismissal as a being coup at the time of his dismissal. The right time to make the claim, no?

    Subsequent references to the event by Gough, some 20 years later, as a ‘coup’ seem a little belated and revisionist, don’t you think, Herbie?

    And was it really a coup as we understand it to mean (in the dictionary) when we see real coups in nice places like Africa and Asia? Or was it really just a shabby exercise in an ambitious arsehole (Malcom Fraser)  taking advantage of an opportunity to oust an unpopular and incompetent government led by the oh-so modest Gough Whitlam (pbuh)?

    When it comes to Oz politics, I certainly need no lessons from amateurs.

  • Herbie

    Jemand

    “Subsequent references to the event by Gough, some 20 years later, as a ‘coup’ seem a little belated and revisionist, don’t you think, Herbie?”

    No. I think 20 years after an event we’d all be better informed, including Gough. That’s generally the case, for fairly obvious reasons.

    “When it comes to Oz politics, I certainly need no lessons from amateurs.”

    And yet, it seems you do.

  • Herbie

    No worries, Jemand.

    So long as the customer is happy, I’m happy.

    Anyway, Jemand, come across any other big transitional events in the western political world during the 1970s that might inform a view of these events in Oz?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Herbie

    “So long as the customer is happy, I’m happy.”
    ______________-

    Who are your customers, Herbie?

  • Flaming June

    Extra! Extra! Wee royal babe will boost economy.

    That’ll be sales of £100 Britax car seats, £45 a pop merino shawls, Aden & Anais muslin wraps £40 for 4 and oh yes! commemorative pottery. The wee babe’s mother was wearing a one off designer dress so that won’t count.

    Royal Baby: George Gives UK Business Boost

    The Royal birth has already helped sales for some retailers, with predictions that Prince George could add £250m to the economy.
    http://news.sky.com/story/1120984/royal-baby-george-gives-uk-business-boost

  • Flaming June

    The wild colonial boy is wrong.
    ‘Don’t forget that YOU voted for Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair, David Cameron in a democratic process.’

    Me neither Phil.

  • Flaming June

    It gets worse.

    Kate parents’ cabbie: ‘Jaw hit the floor’
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-23452815

    “It is unbelievable,” she added. “Not in a million years would I have ever thought I’d be picking up someone like that.”

    “If I knew, I would have done something with my hair, put my make-up on and made myself a bit more presentable,” she said.

    ~~~

    Hope ‘Carole’ gave her a big tip. She can afford it.

    The ghetto families on 10p an hour making party gifts for Kate’s mum’s £30million business empire
    The Middleton’s business Party Pieces is among companies who sell pinatas made by workers who are paid as little as 10p an hour
    The business said they would urgently investigate the conditions

    Monica Villegas works 10 hours a day, seven days a week and gets her daughter, 5, and son, 18 to help her.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2283104/Kate-Middletons-family-business-The-ghetto-families-10p-hour-making-party-gifts-Carole-Middletons-30m-business-empire-Party-Pieces.html

  • Phil

    Jemand – Censorship Improves History 26 Jul, 2013 – 3:08 pm
    “All fantasies of a Utopian paradise put to one side, what kind of nation or nations would Great Britain become if it becomes a republic (sans president)?”

    I would welcome a republic and then struggle to be free of the president. Never happy some people.

  • Phil

    Jemand – sorry I misread your question before posting above.

    I do not think a monarchy/president free society is fantasy. Granted, these leader things do seem very popular nowadays but that is changing. In the meantime I would prefer elected representatives to queenie. It’s a step in the right direction.

  • Jemand - Censorship Improves History

    Phil, your (preferred?) minimalist system (mine too) is of slicing off the head, figuratively speaking, the current system and, I guess, transferring residual powers to a kind of constitutional court which resolves unexpected legal problems at that level.

    That’s a fair and reasonable form of republican model, that I support. Although I’d still have my roving Ambassador General go around the world smiling and shaking hands as a figurehead, oiling the machinery of sleazy international political dealings.

    But my question was about what kind of Britain would result without the expected dreaming of a land in which everyone is happy and working and holding hands and where other nations do not fear Britain but see it as benign and friendly – like the way poor people in shitty countries see tourists… before they stab them.

    For example, the class system would shape shift, but into what? The aristocracy would redefine themselves and maintain their privileges. Money and power would still rule the day. But the UK would also lose a lot of its international prestige along with its name (UK), as much as people will scoff at the idea. Image counts for a lot in terms of fear and respect. Without either, one outcome will be a decline (small or large?) in British clout in political representations. Let’s not kid ourselves here, and I’m sure you don’t – the world plays hard ball and a power in decline, like the UK, needs everthing it’s got in its favour, to have a fighting chance.

    Oz can certainly go down the republican route with fewer concerns because we don’t really get any benefit of having a British monarch as our head of state, especially when dealing with those shabby crooks in other Commonwealth countries. It doesn’t lend us any advantage for the purposes of negotiations. But the UK does have that advantage.

    There are so many little details that need to be considered that are probably unworthy of discussion on this, or any forum. One is the cost savings of booting the royals out of the palaces. That sounds good but what happens to the palaces? Are they razed to accomodate construction of housing for the poor? Are they maintained as museums for fee paying Japanese and Chinese tourists or memorials for nostalgic working class people who still own commemoration Chuck and Dianne coffee mugs? I’d like to find a good website that goes over the cost/benefit analysis of pros and cons of retaining the monarchy(for the UK).

  • Fred

    Cromwell abolished Christmas.

    Don’t want to be making the same mistakes again.

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