2014, March 21
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I have just become aware of 38 Degrees, a campaigning organisation based in the UK. This organisation polls people on the internet as to what campaigns it should run, runs those campaigns, and obtains content and then feedback from its members relating to these campaigns.
Well done them.
Now, in the UK, voting turnouts are extremely low, historically speaking. My guess, personally, is that this state of affairs does not really worry those who hold power in the UK. In fact, the voting turnout has little or no effect on their ability to retain their current power under the current electoral system.
However, they know that some people are concerned about the low voter turnouts. Therefore, in time-honoured fashion, a parliamentary committee has been “looking into” the issue. Rofl.
Yesterday (the 20th of March 2014), a representative of 38 Degrees, a Mr David Babbs, addressed the parliamentary committee in question. Read more of this post
2014, January 10
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Our beloved and totally trustworthy protectors… pshaw
On the 4th of August 2011, an unarmed man named Mark Duggan was shot to death by armed police in Tottenham, London, in the UK. His death was the incident that- added to many previous injustices and ills visited upon the small urban area by those in positions of power- triggered city-wide rioting and looting.
It has taken over two years for an inquest into his death to be completed, and a verdict to be delivered. The details of the case teach us a great deal about how our police force functions, and the verdict tells us a lot about the law, whom the law is designed to protect, and how society regards these things.
Yesterday, the inquest into Mr Duggan’s killing delivered the following verdict: Though they rejected the claims of some police officers that Mr Duggan had been armed at the time of the shooting, they stated that his killing was a “lawful killing”. This has provoked a storm of incredulous protest from Mr Duggan’s family and supporters of his family.
By itself, the verdict merely confirms the current state of affairs in the UK: that it is legal for police officers to shoot someone to death when the balance of probability is that they do NOT pose a lethal threat to the police, or to anyone. Here’s why I say that: Read more of this post
2013, December 15
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GSP seems to be happy that he’s left the sport… but he may have been happier if he’d never gotten into it in the first place.
Most people au fait with the martial arts will be aware that Georges St-Pierre, a man who could legitimately be called the greatest pound-for-pound martial artist the world has ever seen, has vacated his world title– a title which he has held and defended against all comers for the best part of six years- and has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
Naturally, most of the coverage of this significant event in the sport revolves around a discussion of his legacy, with some folks speculating that the closeness of his recent fights has led him to give up, due to his competition catching up uncomfortably close behind him. Others are wondering how his effective retirement will impact the box office for MMA globally; St-Pierre has been the biggest draw in the sport for some time, after all.
But- of course, and as ever- this is a sideshow to the real discussion that people should be having. The issue is not whether St-Pierre should leave the sport; the question is not how his departure will affect the sport… in fact the more pertinent point of discussion is: whether he should ever have gotten involved with the sport in the first place… and for that matter, whether anyone should.
Read more of this post
2013, November 4
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It is that time of year again: the week of Remembrance Sunday. This is when the denizens of the UK turn out on to the streets to commemorate the British soldiers who have died in war. Those familiar with my blog will be unsurprised to discover that I find the commemoration of only British dead; or only deceased soldiers; or even only deceased British soldiers, to be- if done in isolation and without equal consideration of the civilian dead or even the dead of our official enemies- to be manifestly ridiculous and in fact immoral.
I’ll therefore be wearing a White Poppy aka. the “Peace Poppy” this week, instead of a red one. The White Poppy was first produced en masse in the 1930s, when the manufacturers of the red poppy refused to put a message of peace on their flowers.
Here’s some reasons why I’ll be wearing one, and why you should too: Read more of this post
2013, July 19
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Here’s a delicate subject. Perhaps the most delicate, misunderstood, loaded subject one can deal with when discussing self defence. The subject of sexual assaults and rapes. Frankly I doubt my own ability to cleanly delineate the issues involved; they are so many and varied and subtle that no self defence commentator has walked the fine line carefully enough to avoid accusations of victim-blaming on the one hand, or to avoid watering down the self defence advice too much on the other.
I for one know all too well that one can be accused of victim-blaming when discussing less emotive topics like wilderness survival or street-attack avoidance… So it’s very likely I’ll be accused of victim-blaming in this case regardless of how cautiously I proceed. With that in mind, let’s begin.
The issue (in brief)
A primer for those new to the subject: Rape’s a crime that is predominantly but not exclusively committed against women. Children are victims a great deal of the time, and lastly and least commonly, men are also rape victims. Rape therefore tends to be regarded as a “women’s issue”, though some very smart commentators take issue with this classification for various reasons. Suffice it to say, the issue of rape has been of very great concern to women, women’s activist groups and women’s self-defence instructors and commentators for some considerable time. Read more of this post
2013, May 12
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Cover illustration for A Brave New World, used without permission
As perhaps the greatest exponent of intellectual self-defence in the world for the past fifty years, Noam Chomsky holds a special place in the hearts and minds of those who truly wish to escape the modern version of the net of psychological manipulation that has been cast over the minds of mankind by the wealthy and powerful since the dawn of civilisation.
Like any great martial artist, (albeit an intellectual martial artist in his case) Chomsky has a laundry list of victories over foes that apparently overmatch him. Periodically I will explore some of Chomsky’s greatest battles, and analyse his keys to victory.
Unlike the physical techniques of an Anderson Silva however, Chomsky’s techniques cannot be used both for good and for evil; they can only be used for good: They are only useful for uncovering the truth and promoting peace between others. This is worth bearing in mind.
Chomsky vs… the “Brave New World” of the Behaviourists
There were several very influential dystopian novels written in the twentieth century. Most people will have heard of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell, which- thematically- dealt primarily with how a right-wing society might attempt to exert thought-control on a population by changing the way they use language, maintaining the fiction of continuous war, and promoting the belief in an authoritarian panopticon… “Big brother is watching you”, wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing. Read more of this post
2013, April 9
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Image by unknown author, used without permission.
Good readers, step right up! Listen if you will to the tumult of supine, servile, utterly vomitive tributes to the recently deceased Maggie in the mainstream media today.
Marvel at the astonishingly convenient forgetfulness of myriad toffee-nosed hacks as they trample riotously over the graves of the British manufacturing base, public services and- literally- working people in their rush to praise this dear departed demoness; wonder at the sheer gall of the crypto-fascist swine that form orderly, oinking queues to take turns stepping into the spotlight and raising a glass to their moral and political idol… Thrill to the sight of roving gangs of neo-conservatives slapping down any dissent or deviation from the party line!
In the news today, Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain (from 1979 to 1990) has passed away. Bereft of life, she rests in peace. This, is, an ex-premiere. Read more of this post
2012, February 18
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This is not a bee.
In an old blog entry on the subject of Steven “Runs Like a Girl” Seagal, the martial teacher and commentator Steve Morris noted that the secret to the success of liars like Seagal is that they are able to convince people of their ability, despite the fact that they lack ability. He stated:
“their greatest talent does not lie in what they get paid for doing, but in their ability to get people to believe that what they do is for real and what they say is true.”
This is the art of the mimic. In nature, a mimic is something which has- through the process of natural selection- evolved over countless generations an uncanny similarity to another thing, be that thing an inanimate object, a part of a plant, or another animal. This similarity offers protection from predators… Or disguises the mimic’s dangerousness, depending on the type of camouflage employed. Read more of this post
2012, January 28
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Just a quick one.
Henry Wilson Cook, better known as “Harry”, has admitted in court to committing the latest plethora of dire and disgusting crimes he has been charged with.
I blogged recently about the rather depressing obviousness of Cook’s failings as man and as a martial arts instructor, and noted that even if Cook hadn’t been a disgusting sexual predator, he would still have been a predator of sorts: one who preys on the gullibility of the average person, and sells them a crock of useless “martial” skills to make a buck for himself.
There are predators in all walks of life. Not necessarily sexual predators, but mental predators. Predators writing for the mainstream press, predators working as MPs, predators who manage financial institutions… all these predators will take your livelihood- if you let them- and will run off and buy expensive stuff with your hard earned cash, for themselves.
Let us make sure when reading about Cook’s sexual misdeeds that we do not forget that he was one of these predators; that he was also guilty of the lesser- but still insidious- moral crime of lying to people and charging for goods (karate) that were not fit for purpose.
2011, December 28
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This poor man was badly assaulted. How can others avoid his fate? The press ain’t tellin’.
On the 22nd of December, a sixteen year old boy named Tyler Fielding of Redruth, Cornwall in the UK, was found guilty of the attempted murder of Mr Victor King, a man in his fifties. Fielding, the court heard, kicked and stamped on Mr King, causing serious head injuries and damaging his trachea to the extent necessary to cause suffocation. Mr King was found lying unconscious in the street by a passer-by, and only survived because paramedics assisted his breathing at the scene. According to the press, the violent, murderous little thug will be sentenced in January 2012.
End of story, one might think. But no! This story reveals so much about the counter-productive nature of the mainstream press and their dismal, dismal role in contemporary society, that I simply couldn’t let it pass without comment. And, if the details of the crime published in the press are accurate (there’s no guarantee that anything the press publishes is correct), the case itself presents a simply excellent self-defence teaching opportunity. Read more of this post