Archive for July, 2017

Tor Raven Mystery

Monday, July 31st, 2017

The Hastings Option by [Raven, Tor] 

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North Korea: The Way Forward

Monday, July 31st, 2017

Kim Jon Un has turned out to be nobody’s fool. North Korea’s launch of a missile which went high enough on test to be able to reach any target in the U.S. was not only impressive but ahead of the general view of their capability. This pattern of being ahead of the expectation is fairly consistent. We can assume that they are ahead of the general assumptions on both miniaturization and guidance. North Korea does not have the capacity to launch a nuclear strike on the United States tomorrow, but it is not as many days after as hoped, that they will be able to.

Kim Jon Un knows that if he decides one day take to hit Chicago and Los Angeles, or even New York, his country will be obliterated before that day is out. So what is his plan? It is very simple. He watched Iraq and Libya face not only regime change but state failure as a consequence of Western intervention. He calculated he was next on the list, or if not next, on it somewhere. Having a strategic nuclear capability to threaten the US is a sure way of bringing the  US to recognise, with the rest of the West, that North Korea has to be shown respect as a nuclear power and negotiated with on equal terms.

Ultimately the official war between north and South Korea has to be ended. At the moment there is only an armistice. China wants a demilitarised Korean peninsular, which would involve the North giving up its nuclear weapons in exchange for recognition and peace. Absolutely nobody wants a war and certainly not a nuclear one. Looked at this way the gap between Trump and Kim Jon Un is not as wide as it seems. If China could host some kind of meeting between them, good would come of it.

It is certainly worth trying.

Transatlantic Thriller

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Purple Killing by [Blair-Robinson, Malcolm]  

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Trump Explained?

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

As you know this blog is critical of Trump’s social conservatism and climate change denial, but respects the reasons he won and supports many of the practical ambitions that he projects and which have given hope to millions of Americans regular politicians ignored.

On the face of it the Trump Presidency is little short of a fiasco. That is the quick take by the rest of the world on extraordinary events in Washington. By conventional judgment this is about right. Not only are there enormous legislative gaps and failures, but fighting among White House staffers is now in the open. The Republican party is becoming ever less co-operative with a White House they find embarrassing. The media are in overdrive with talk of internecine warfare, leaks, Russia, and plots. They scent blood and know that a failed presidency provides material to make many of them rich. So is it all over for Trump?

No it is not. What you see in the United States is a political civil war between professional politicians and their outriders of both parties and a President elected because he was not a politician and sent to Washington, in his own words, to drain the swamp. So far he has hesitated with the pumps, while trying to work with the extraordinarily ill disciplined Republican party in Congress. It is clear that enterprise is now doomed to fail. So the White House is being purged of politicians and replaced with business people and generals. The President likes billionaires and generals.

Seasoned political observers lament the absence of political experience within this maverick administration, failing to see that this is the whole idea. No longer will the game of politics be played, so politicians are not needed. Instead stuff is going to happen a different way, to cut adrift the self indulgent grandstanding and ridiculous investigations which have paralysed the Capitol, detaching it almost entirely from attention to the everyday needs of the American people and the pressing issues in the international arena.

This new amalgam of Trump, his generals and billionaires will have to face the politicians down. They must end this Russia obsession and get a working relationship with Putin, without which not a single one of the crises around the world will be resolved; they must sort out tax cuts and infrastructure investment, and come up with a workable health care system which provides for everybody without excessive cost. All of that will boost growth and improve the lives of ordinary people. The Republicans will have to find common cause that helps their country and their President and the Democrats will have to get real and understand that Hilary lost not because of Russian hackers but because American voters chose somebody else.

Trump’s challenge is simple. He either drains the swamp or drowns in it.


Political Thriller from Tor Raven

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

Power Corruption and Lies by [Raven, Tor]  



When The Cat’s Away…….

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

You may not have noticed but May is in Italy on a walking holiday, Boris has been in Australia and Fox was in America.

Suddenly Philip Hammond was all over the media explaining how Brexit was going to be a gradual thing, at first we would not notice it, and then whatever deal was struck would be good for business and for jobs and the economy would come first. Amber Rudd explained that immigration would be according to economic needs and the needs of business. Both said while free movement might end there would still be plenty of EU immigration. The Cabinet is said to be broadly in agreement, not least because reality has marched in and they all  see there not much choice. Especially as  our economic growth, already near flat lining, is slowing up.

So now we know a little more about the shape of Brexit. It is rather like being in the EU.

Ah yes!

Tor Raven: Gothic Crime

Friday, July 28th, 2017

Satan's Disciple by [Raven, Tor] 



Gay Pride: Church Shame

Friday, July 28th, 2017

In the last few days there has been much recognition and celebration of the fact that only fifty years ago it was illegal to be gay. The progress made by the LGBT community and the enlightened understanding which has wrapped everybody else in a full acceptance that people are born in ways which vary, but all are equal in value, status and rights, is a wonderful advance for human civilisation. Even young children accept that people of the same sex can love each other and marry.

So it is a double censure upon the Church of England that, as the official Established Faith of this country, that it is out of step with the rest of us. It will not marry gay people who love each other on the excuse that somehow its faith would be compromised. This is not faith, nor theology, nor Christian. It is ignorance, prejudice and denial. And it is shameful.

UK Economy Strong: Really?

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Constantly we hear from government ministers that the UK has a strong economy, but yesterday Sir Vince Cable, famous for predicting the Crash, was worried. He rightly points out that very little new wealth is being created and the economy is now being sustained by record levels of consumer borrowing. An economy driven by borrowing can never be described as strong, any more than a family who splash out on homes and cars and jet set holidays, all on borrowed money, can ever be described as rich.

So with an economy which at the very least should be marked as vulnerable, we are set on a project that, whatever sunlit uplands may benefit the next generation at some point in the future, or even the one after that, in the medium term offers unwelcome economic shocks one upon another.

For it is now abundantly clear to all, including the Brexit hard liners whose vanity project has embarked this country on its worst course since the industrial revolution, that leaving the EU is a process of such complexity that we even have to negotiate that our air space remains open to civil aircraft and our nuclear power stations continue to produce electricity.

We have to negotiate with everybody across the world, including the United States, that the existing trading relationships we already have can be continued after we leave the EU, because the legal framework for everything comes not from the UK but from the EU, of which we are an indivisible part, but from which we are now busting free. Next we have to negotiate new trade deals with each country for the future. Those deals will take years not months and will have to get through the US Congress, and parliaments of one kind and another all over the place. And all of that just to get us on a par with where we are now.

Why? Because a bunch of con artists made out, they had never bothered to look into the details of what the legal framework of EU membership actually meant and how it engaged every nook and cranny of national life, that we could just walk out, be better off and have loads of cash to spend each week on the NHS. So people voted for it. But it was never there and now we are beginning to discover what actually is there, it is as plain as a pikestaff that people would not have voted the way they did in large enough numbers to give this misguided project legs. So the mandate was fraudulent and when it comes to the test, will be found to be not there either. As the coming months will slowly reveal.

The final shape of Brexit will be very different to the jolly off we go, promoted by ideologues who should have known better. The three top Brexiteers in the government, Fox, Davis and Boris are at this moment scattered across the world trying to fix things and the fourth, Michael Gove, has become the surprising chief pragmatist in a Cabinet echoing to the shrill cries of an unruly classroom, ignoring Teacher’s calls to order. But in the end it will not be ideology which will drive the Brexit bargain, if indeed it ever happens. It will be hard economics, jobs, living standards and common sense.

Ideology will not be allowed in the room. The British people are getting real.

Turn Left To Power: Original Ideas For Better Times

Monday, July 24th, 2017

Turn Left To Power: A Road Map For Labour by [Blair-Robinson, Malcolm]

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