Back to the Past – Mutiny on the sailing ship

Posted January 24, 2011 on 3:40 am | In the category Germany, Uncategorized | by Mackenzie Brothers

German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is suddenly in big trouble because of a military incident that recalls the nineteenth rather than the twenty-first century. In early November, 2010, the German military sailing ship Gorch Foch, one of the largest and most beautiful sailing ships in operation, that is now used to train German naval cadets in the skills of nineteenth century seamen, anchored in a Brazilian port. Cadets were ordered up into the rigging to reef the sails and one of them, a 25 year old female officer candidate who had arrived on board two days before, fell to her death. When the captain ordered other cadets to climb up, some refused, an act of mutiny by naval military code, and the entire crew was flown back to germany and replaced by professionals for the return trip. It is a scene out of a work like Melville’s Billy Budd.

Reports that followed did not mention the breakdown of order on the ship. In January the true story emerged through unofficial channels, and only then did the Defence Minister act by removing the captain from command. While he denies having acted only after coming under media pressure, Guttenberg, probably the most promising younger politician to be considered as a Chancellor candidate as Merkel’s tenure seems to be running down, may well be the first post-modern head-of-state candidate to be removed from his potential command because of dangerous winds blowing out of the supposedly long-forgotten past. One thing all agree on: climbing up into the rigging – six people have fallen to their deaths from the rigging since the Gorch Fock first set sail – is an unnecessary task for a modern naval officer.

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Ten for the New Year – a quiz

Posted January 14, 2011 on 4:28 pm | In the category Uncategorized | by Mackenzie Brothers

A quiz for 2011;
Which of the following stories were covered in the January 14 issue of Globe and Mail and which were gleaned from Tom Lehrer’s blog?

1. China has made clear its willingness to save key European nations from looming bankruptcy.
2. Brussels, the bureaucratic hub of the European Union, will soon be a hub without a country.
3. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has banned Dire Straits’ 25 year old hit song Money for Nothing from Canadian air waves because it includes the word “faggot” even though this is spoken in the text by an obvious bigot, and generally understood to be satire
4. A former vice-presentential candidate in the United States said that commentators who registered their disapproval of the shooting of a Jewish congresswoman were engaged in a “blood libel” campaign.
5. Supporters of the vice-presidential candidate defended her on the grounds that she literally didn’t know what she was talking about.
6. 61 year-old Sandra Finley, head of the Albert Green Party, faces jail time after having been found guilty of refusing to fill out a long-form Canadian census. The ruling Conservative Party also opposes this census.
7. 69 year old retiree Barb Copp has had her driver’s licence revoked after her doctor reported to the Ontario government that she had had elevated alcohol levels in her liver after she attending a wake. Ms. Copp had no previous flaws on her driving record and had taken a taxi to and from the wake.
8. Mr. Wally Balloo had his driver’s licence revoked when Vancouver.
police reported that he had used improper diction in a radio report criticizing police.
9. Poland announced that it had removed visa restrictions for all citizens of Belarus except the government leaders.
10. Quebec securité confiscated the pots and pans in 55-year old Mary Magoon’s kitchen after she had been denounced for using cookery made in Newfoundland.

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Big Brother And the Ants

Posted January 6, 2011 on 12:09 am | In the category Free Speech, Politics, U.S. Domestic Policy | by Jeff

The new congress has been installed and the loonies are officially in power. There will be plenty of opportunities to laugh with Jon Stewart and weep with John Boehner over the next two years – but fact is we are continuing on a headlong trip to Bananarepublistan.

One early warning came two weeks ago when Boehner and (Eric) Cantor (no they are not lawyers or tailors, but rather the GOP House leaders), spokespeople for less government intrusion in our lives, decided that they could and should determine what we could and could not view in our nation’s publicly-supported museums. Seems that the Museum of American Art – part of the Smithsonian – installed an exhibit of art produced by gay and lesbian artists who included an eleven SECOND segment of a video of ants crawling over a crucifix. Cantor, A Jew, in a burst of ecumenism, denounced it as a sacrilege and Boehner became Big Brother incarnate and ordered it removed or risk reduced funding. The Smithsonian, in an act of classic bureaucratic cowardice, removed the offending video, the curator   resigned on principle, the video got picked up and played around the clock by museums around the country, including Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art and the nation’s troglodytes felt a measure of power over liberal, elite museum goers.  The irony of small government Republicans telling us what we can and cannot view is lost on the fools who are leading us to Bananarepublistan; they want to control us in every way possible while starving us of any benefits.  We are in for it in more ways than most of us realize.

None of this should surprise us – the guardians of our culture are always out there to protect us from our own desires, wishes and tastes. Who better to protect us from our own taste than an emotionally unstable hick from Ohio who responds to the dictates of the nutty ramblings of William Doherty of the Catholic League who initiated the complaint? Doherty is an overpaid loudmouth who reveres Mel Gibson’s homoerotic, anti-Semitic Passion of Christ movie while freaking out over 11 seconds of ants crawling over a crucifix. We can also remember Attorney General Ashcroft placing a drape over Liberty’s breast.

In a small but telling event during this same period, the elementary schools in Rockport Massachusetts refused an offer of free copies of an award-winning children’s book for each child because the book referred to a donkey who did not like books as a “jackass”. Recognizing that we must protect the young from evil – a jackass is a jackass, whether a donkey of a superintendent of schools, and there is no way around it.  Reminded me of a day on the beach at Rockport with one of the Mackenzie Brothers and his 12 month old daughter who was romping on the beach with – alas- no bathing attire. The Rockport police arrived in full police regalia and ordered immediate covering of the child. Mackenzie (not sure which one it was) had recently returned from Munich where people of all ages were free to take clothes off so had a bit of a fit.

Big Brother is  here to protect us from our base desires and tastes, and someone actually voted him in.

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