Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

A reply to a line of Drew Jones about Corbyn

by melo Thu May 23rd, 2019 at 01:32:41 AM EST

he seems to be fundamentally against the EU but not quite willing to say it and say what he'd like to do.
Or maybe he knows what an unusual -and multiply nuanced- situation he is in.
I imagine his desire to reform the EU is tempered by the realisation that he would not get much/enough support to have a hope in hell of actually doing so, in the present rightward-drifting climate.
The Gilets Jaunes are probably close to being on the same page, yet they do not bother to form a party to try and channel that street unrest into a political force instead of (so far) just social counter-force. Who wants his head poking up like that?

With Macron wearing the colours of the Centre-Left while legislating away his people's rights and favouring his bestbuds at GS, a genuine leftie like JC would see what a flock of ignorant sheep he would have to persuade in France to vote for more EU workers' rights, or better hospitals. Ditto in Germany, Austria and most of the EU.

After decades of his own party being bent backwards and out of shape by Blairism he can see the signs in Europe of an ideologically hollowed-out Centre-Left in the PD in Italy, Podemos in Spain, along with the right's resurgence everywhere.

There's not enough of a political swell to ride and guide with even the best-placed rhetoric and judicious of policies.

Unless the balance of power shifted tectonically, Europe is too far gone into the neoliberal weeds to recover, barring some unforeseen upheaval nowhere to be seen.

The parties against the further Soros-isation of Europe, the Salvinis, Le Pens are tacky, loud and wrong about everything except the marriage of high finance and crooked crony politics, (thanks to decades of misleadership on the level of Barroso and Jungcker,) a paradise for the Amazons and Apples, playground for the rich to come make and spend billions taxfree, while it's austerity for Muggins and and everyone else down the totem pole.

Now that game has been recognised by enough voters for what it was, but... there's still no solution to chum up with except a shinier, more streamlined version served up by Macron with himself leading a new Europe even more tasty to the rich and bitter for everyone else, a two-speed Europe, just like good old days of yore when gilded elites trod on the great unwashed with impunity for centuries.
What dent could Corbyn have made in that corporate-friendly wave, all on his tod?
After hearing politicians beating their chests about how they will rattle Europe's cage and tell 'em what's what, from Cameron to Renzi and come up with bupkis, bounced off the smug rubber wall of complacent entitlement, I am glad JC doesn't waste energy posturing.
I wish he had more pizzazz to put forward his policies so they could break through the calculated interference run by the MSM and reach more people, maybe he just has to wait until the others all come completely unhinged as would happen with Bojo as PM, Mr Jolly Japes himself abroad would help Farage ensure whatever small vestige of shredded international respect for Britain's ability to even politically stand up without doing a John Cleese silly walk, would vapourise.

The harder they come, the funnier they fall...

--And Britain came SO hard when she was at her peak, by Golly-gosh-willikins, damn those Guards looked dashing as they suicided in 1000s charging cannons with glorified kitchen knives.--

What could Corbyn do about that, a country prisoner of such demented self-aggrandisement?

A lot, actually!

(Pity the giant distraction of the Brexo-drama got in the way, achieving less than zero benefit for anyone else but the 1% and their (9%) lieutenants and sucking years into a political black hole during which the Tories continued to ransack and betray the society whose very claim to exist they smugly deny).

Like Bernie Sanders in the US he expertly corralled and harnessed the popular backlash to these grim times, but like Bernie could not translate into enough Momentum to seriously, not symbolically breach the portcullis of the Establishment, slay the dragons and release the princess and the treasure from the grotty dungeons and return them to a deserving, expectant people to live happily ever after, (or until climate chaos definitively did them in.)

A younger man with his popularity might have gambled one one or the other with a 50% chance of success, but by JC's age one becomes too cagey for such possibly rash gambles.
I think he knows a no-deal, hardest-of-hard Brexit will happen, and if pushed would admit he doesn't see much or any point in fighting it, as the UK is just a frying pan in the EU's fire, and he has a better chance of helping the lives of his electorate in the smaller fishbowl of the UK, even though his head is above the parapet and the bullets are dinging his helmet. Until the No Deal Crashout happens in October, Britain wakes up the next day and lo and behold the NHS is just a memory, and there is Bojo sweating in a pink linen summer suit, bulging wattles as he snows the next-gen maroons, so virtualised at this point they cannot see anything extraneous to a pop culture narrative and would only know reality if they fell in a hole in the pavement while texting.
If the Tories implode, Ree-smogg is unmasked as the archvillain cantral casting sent here to embody, Teresa May is gently helped offstage by those nice chaps in their white coats, Bojo takes up powergliding past Westminster Bridge in a sudden hurricane, the wind of 10000 bums all pointed at him, unless Britain is really ready to surrender its self-referential mythologising, Corbyn is powerless really.

His neo-Keynesian, Neo-Bennite vision of England would need an electoral majority of 99% to pull off, and for that you'd need the survivors living on dandelion hootch and hedgehog pie, huddled together in sports stadiums for warmth.
Then, only then, would JC's vision of egalitarian democracy ring and resonate in enough voters' hearts, (if democracy itself is permitted to last that long.)
So he has to content himself with trying to torment Teresa M into revealing even more who she is than Greenfell fire did, and lob more earnestly biting remarks into the Tory trenches, for the record.

A man who favours equality between Israel and Palestine, higher taxation for the rich, who doesn't tug his forelock when asked, stand up for the National Propaganda Dirge, blather, repeat, support Ireland's right to independence, the guys a pariah!
He will not be permitted to have any agency in the Tory Titanic's experiment in iceberg-crunching, nor is any needed, eh Mr. Speaker?
No need to throw these drowning bullies an anvil, the stolen gold in their fat jingling pockets will help propel them down to Davy Jones by itself.

Zing, ding, that was close.


LQD - May be gone?

by ATinNM Wed May 22nd, 2019 at 05:49:18 PM EST

Brexit: Calls grow for Theresa May to resign in bill backlash

Several cabinet ministers have told the BBC that she cannot stay, with one saying it is "the end of the line".

Others, though, insist Theresa May should push on with her plan to put her Withdrawal Agreement Bill to a vote.

Mrs May's own MPs have been unhappy with the concessions she has set out in the bill, but she has called for "compromise on all sides".

The BBC's political editor says it appears the government is almost at breakdown.

Comments >> (6 comments)

City Agriculture - May 17, 2019

by gmoke Fri May 17th, 2019 at 07:25:01 PM EST

Singapore Airlines reinventing airplane food with produce from a vertical farm

Agritech innovations

Fraunhofer Reports Combining Farming With Solar 186% More Efficient In Summer Of 2018
https:/www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/press-media/press-releases/2019/agrophotovoltaics-hight-harvesting- yield-in-hot-summer-of-2018.html
cleantechnica.com/2019/04/12/fraunhofer-reports-combining-farming-with-solar-186-more-effici ent-in-summer-of-2018
Editorial Comment:  The Japanese have been combining agriculture with solar electricity for a decade or two now.

The Circular Garden - a temporary pavilion made from mushrooms for Milan Design Week
University of Toronto Scarborough & Centennial College developing Canada's first net zero vertical farm
https:/utsc.utoronto.ca/news-events/our-community/u-t-scarborough-centennial-college-partnering-dev elop-canadas-first-net-zero-vertical
Editorial Comment:  Good to see more people thinking about net zero in relation to vertical farming but Treehugger is correct to criticize the idea for using arable land instead of, say, brownfields

Online urban agriculture class from UMass begins May 20, 2019

5000 square foot garden and apiary as Staten Island apartment house amenities

"Following in the footsteps of Toronto, San Francisco, Denver, and Portland, Oregon, all new residential and commercial buildings in the city [NYC] must top roofs with either plants, solar panels, mini wind turbines--or a combination of all three."
Editorial Comment:  The same act's "Dirty Building Bill" aims to slash the carbon emissions of all buildings over 25,000 square feet by 80% by 2050 through energy-saving solutions and retrofits such as installing better insulation.

NYC's eco-park PIer 35

Algae "biocurtains" from Photo.Synth.Etica absorb carbon from urban air

Engineers create plants that glow:  Illumination from nanobionic plants might one day replace some electrical lighting

Growing food in the Arctic - polar permaculture
www.bbc.com/news/av/science-environment-48257139/meet-the-arctic-farmer-hoping-to-make-his-t own-more-sustainable

A few years worth of City Agriculture links are archived at http://cityag.blogspot.com

Corbyn failing the test?

by Frank Schnittger Fri May 17th, 2019 at 02:39:44 PM EST

In a kindness to all concerned, Jeremy Corbyn has finally put an end to the the Conservative Labour talks aimed at finding a common solution to the parliamentary impasse on Brexit.  Everyone knew that both sides were simply playing for time, but it would have been farcical to continue after Theresa May had announced that her premiership was nearing its end.

Nevertheless his letter to her calling time on their joint efforts showed considerable more class than did her riposte. He thanked those involved in the talks for their detailed, constructive, and good faith efforts but said that the remaining differences between the parties combined with the instability of the government had made it impossible for them to succeed. For her part, May blamed divisions in Labour over a second referendum for the breakdown.

The reality is that Labour had offered her a lifeline to continue in office past the local and European elections, and if she really wanted a deal she could have had one. It would have meant compromising on her objections to a continued close relationship with the Customs Union and Single Market, and, in all probability, a second referendum to validate the deal. Without that there is no way Labour could be sure the next Tory PM would deliver on the deal.

Read more... (64 comments, 1288 words in story)

Imminent: Trump's War In Persian Gulf Region

by Oui Wed May 15th, 2019 at 11:39:01 AM EST

As I have written in my recent diary about signs of war preparation beyond the typical warmongering of the neocons in the White House and on that shining hill in Washington DC ...

Pompeo Cancels Berlin Visit .. Flies East Out of Moscow

The U.S. won't shun using the "tiny" nuclear bombs to impress other nations of the (al)might of the Pentagon and U.S. military prowess. Donald Trump is set out on a course to perform "better" than any previous American president in history. Carter got bogged down in the Iranian desert with a failed rescue attempt of hostages. Reagan got clobbered in Southern Lebanon and suffered great losses. Clinton was a fool who couldn't keep his zipper up. Bush and Obama made flawed decisions to expand wars beyond a theater the Pentagon and its global allies could handle. Terror has expanded a hundredfold across the globe.

The European Union was founded on a premise of peace between nations. The enemy is inside one's self, there is no reason to start a new global war on any scale. The Persian theater has been and will be a grave of innocents led into war by megalomaniacs.

More below the fold ...

Front paged - Frank Schnittger

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Britain wants its troops to commit war crimes

by IdiotSavant Wed May 15th, 2019 at 03:35:07 AM EST

That's the only conclusion that can be drawn from its "vow" to introduce an amnesty for crimes committed by soldiers and to derogate from the ECHR:

The new defence secretary has promised to introduce an amnesty on historical prosecutions for military veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and anywhere else around the world - with the exception of Northern Ireland.

Penny Mordaunt will consult on proposals for a presumption against prosecution for offences committed more than 10 years ago and will say she supports plans to opt out of the European convention on human rights (ECHR) in future armed conflicts.

But the minister risks courting conflict with some on the right of her party, who want Northern Ireland to be included within any amnesty, following the prosecution of a former paratrooper for the murder of two people on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972.

Front paged - Frank Schnittger

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The Whistleblower and Drone Assassinations

by Oui Fri May 10th, 2019 at 08:16:37 AM EST

Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept published an eight-part series titled "The Drone Papers" in 2015. Scahill is a hero investigative journalist whom I admire over the years.

Jeremy Scahill on Obama's Orwellian War in Iraq by Oui @BooMan on Oct. 9, 2014

US charges intelligence analyst for leaking information on drone program | DW |

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) charged Daniel Everette Hale, a former intelligence analyst, with the theft and disclosure of sensitive government information in Alexandria, Virginia on Thursday.

Hale, who was arrested in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday morning, faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted of leaking classified information on the targeted assassination of individuals in Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan.

More below the fold ...

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Europe Day - May 9th 2019

by Oui Thu May 9th, 2019 at 05:50:40 PM EST

Started as a response to a new member here @EuroTrib ... StillInTheWilderness

Nowadays I try te leave US politics and focus on the effect of its foreign policy on Europe, the Middle East and all other continents. Hopefully here @EuroTrib we can focus on the most urgent issues at hand for planet Earth - Gaia - and its living creatures.

Americans and their trauma of 2016 - h/t Cat

America in denial: Gabor Maté on the psychology of Russiagate | Grayzone |

Today I read an artikel about the US Ambassador to Germany ... why doesn't he get the boot from Berlin?

More below the fold ...

Read more... (6 comments, 475 words in story)

Pompeo Cancels Berlin Visit .. Flies East Out of Moscow

by Oui Tue May 7th, 2019 at 07:47:22 PM EST

LATEST NEWS: see updates below ...

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flies eastward out of Moscow ...

China vice-premier due in Washington for two days of trade talks ... Dow plunges nearly 600 points.

    "Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He will go to the United States on Thursday to continue trade negotiations, the Ministry of Commerce said. The trip, scheduled for two days, is shorter than expected. The South China Morning Post reported on Monday that Liu was preparing for the trip."

'No more concessions'. Why is China playing hardball in trade war talks with the United States? | SCMP |
China warns US after warships sail in disputed South China Sea | DW |

More below the fold ...

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RIP Booman.com

by Frank Schnittger Sun May 5th, 2019 at 07:38:23 PM EST

Martin Longman has decided to turn his community blogging site (Booman.com) into a commercial subscription site as a vehicle for his own writings and political ambitions. Comments will still be possible but even paying subscribers will no longer be able to publish their own diaries. Renamed Progress Pond, it looks much more up to date, but then again it looks very much like most other political and news sites on the web.

From a personal point of view it is a tragedy because I used to cross-post most of my diaries there, and often got as much of a response to them there as I do here. It helped me to keep in touch with a distinct US blogging community, and I liked to think I helped to keep them in touch with European affairs as well. With Trump at the helm the US is growing ever more distant from European sensibilities, and it doesn't help if blogging communities lose touch with each other as well.

Read more... (16 comments, 602 words in story)

Corbyn's Moment of Truth

by Frank Schnittger Sat May 4th, 2019 at 10:57:34 AM EST

Long after the scale of the Conservative defeat in the 2019 Local elections had become clear the BBC was still running with the headline that the elections were a disaster for the major parties and that the Conservatives and Labour had "lost hundred of seats". The reality is that the Conservatives lost 1,334 seats and Labour just 82 compared to the 2015 results.

But there is a sense in which the BBC has (perhaps inadvertently) actually got it right. In 2015 the local elections had been run in parallel with the general election in which Cameron had won an unexpected overall majority. So the Labour performance is actually slightly worse than on a day in 2015 when the Tories won an overall majority and unleashed the joys of untrammelled Conservative rule (including the Brexit referendum) on the nation.

Read more... (19 comments, 1632 words in story)

UK Local Election Results [Update 5]

by Frank Schnittger Fri May 3rd, 2019 at 04:59:06 AM EST

The UK Local Council elections took place yesterday and the votes are currently being counted. The elections took place in much of England and all of N. Ireland but not in Scotland, Wales, London and smaller parts of England. Turnout has been quite low, in the 30-40% range, but this is normal for local elections if they are held on their own. The last major Local elections were held in 2015 at the same time as the general election of that year.

Despite the growing disparity between the performance of the Conservatives and Labour, the BBC is still headlining its Election report by saying "the Conservatives and Labour have lost hundreds of seats"... The Conservatives and UKIP, the leave supporting parties have lost a combined 1,500 seats, while the Lib Dems and Greens, Remain supporters, have gained 900. And yet Corbyn and May think the elections represent a mandate to complete Brexit.

With 100% of the votes counted, the main trend is that pro-Remain Lib Dems and Greens are gaining a lot of seats at the expense of the Pro-Leave Conservatives and UKIP parties. The Conservatives have lost 1,334 seats. Labour, which has tried to have it both ways, has ended up treading water and losing 82 seats and control of some councils. The other major trend has been a big gain for independent candidates at the expense of the major incumbent parties - usually the Conservatives, but sometimes Labour as well.

Read more... (34 comments, 931 words in story)

The Jewish State and the Holocaust

by Oui Thu May 2nd, 2019 at 12:17:18 PM EST

All wars of choice are horrible episodes in terms of human suffering and devastation of lives lost.

The 20th century was one of the ugliest with many genocides and the first unleashing of massive destruction by use of the atom bomb.

The European Union was founded on the principle of the Four Freedoms and to build a union of peace, not accepting devastation of war. In the new century, the lessons of history seem to be lost as the production and spread of arms is seen as economic well being. I strongly disagree ... and will resist thru my writing and voice at the ballot box.

Raphael Lemkin (June 24, 1900-August 28, 1959) was a Polish lawyer of Jewish descent. Before World War II, Lemkin was interested in the Armenian genocide and campaigned in the League of Nations to ban what he called 'barbarity' and 'vandalism.' He is best known for his work against genocide, a word he coined in 1943 from the root words genos (Greek for 'family,' 'tribe,' or 'race') and -cide (Latin for 'killing'). He first used the word in print in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation - Analysis of Government - Proposals for Redress (1944)

More below the fold ...

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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Brexit Revisited

by Frank Schnittger Tue Apr 30th, 2019 at 07:48:52 PM EST

Many people will no doubt be pleased that Brexit has been removed from the headlines, even if only by a tragedy like the Sri Lanka bombings or the attempted Venezuelan Coup . But as they used to say about the IRA, it hasn't gone away, you know!

In truth, not a lot has been happening, despite Donald Tusk's injunction to the UK not to waste the time it has been granted by the extension of the Brexit deadline to the end of October.

The May government has seemed like the rabbit stuck in the proverbial headlights, unable to decide which way to go as the onrushing car approaches. MP's were glad of the Easter recess, only to find on their return that not much has changed...

But has it?

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Guilty, as charged

by Frank Schnittger Tue Apr 30th, 2019 at 03:36:45 PM EST

An edited and truncated version of my letter to the Editor was published by the Irish Independent as it's featured and highlighted letter last Saturday, much to my surprise. It was an early draft of a very long letter which I feel I improved substantially (following Bernard's comment) in my subsequent letter to the Editor of the Spectator. I only discovered it on Monday.

Today The Irish Independent has published a riposte in which I am accused of lacking "balance" in my critique of the Spectator. In particular, I am accused of failing to mention "the importance of Jesus and his resurrection" in my critique. Little matter that I was writing specifically about The Spectator's apparent anti-Irish bias (as noted by the Irish Ambassador to the UK), and more specifically its demonisation of Leo Varadkar.

Today's featured Letter reads as follows:

I read what I felt was an unbalanced view of the special Easter edition of the 'Spectator' in the Irish Independent (Letters, April 27) by Frank Schnittger.

He fails to mention the Easter edition contains six pages devoted to the importance of Jesus and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.  The editorial has as its central theme the fact that "Christianity is dying and traditional belief is dismissed as embarrassing superstition by the secular states of the west".

There is a two-page article by a young British actor under the title of 'Way of the Cross'. The central theme as a byline to the heading is 'Without Christ we would not have western values'. Charles Moore in his weekly 'Spectator' notes devotes his full page to an evaluation of the four Gospels of the New Testament, summarising the powerful message as it "bridges the chasm between God and man" and explains divine love.

The commissioning editor Mary Wakefield has an article headed 'The true cross'. In it she describes the dying of a 93-year-old friend who was not very religious, but his final week in which he stuck to his resolve and sank from consciousness made her, although she was a Catholic, begin to understand Easter and the passion of Christ for the first time.

As far as the article by Liam Halligan, he was invited by the Irish Government in 2012 to join the Global Irish Network - a high-level advisory board of Irish nationals living outside the island of Ireland. Don't blame the 'Spectator' for his views, as the Irish Government appointed him aware of his journalistic views.

Hugh Duffy

Cleggan, Co Galway

Clearly, I am guilty as charged.

Read more... (6 comments, 784 words in story)

The American Century - End of Exceptionalism

by Oui Sun Apr 28th, 2019 at 09:07:43 PM EST

Excellent diaries by Jeff Huber for a timely reread ...

Neocon Bunker Hunker (Continued)

Part I outlined the neocons' "resurgence" strategy.  Part II discusses how Barack Obama may be steering us toward a neo-neoconservativism.

More below the fold ...

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Socialists win Spanish General Election [Updated]

by Frank Schnittger Sun Apr 28th, 2019 at 08:05:23 PM EST

{Updated} The Spanish Socialist government has won the general election with 123 seats (+38) in the Congress of Deputies, and an overall majority of 139 seats out of a total 265 seats in the less powerful Senate.

Congress of Deputies poll results and change since 2016 elections.

The main winners are the outgoing Socialist government (+6%) and the new far right Vox party (+10%). The major losers are the corruption scandal hit Partido Popular [-17%] and Podemos [-5%]. Outgoing Socialist prime minister Pedro Sanchez is expected to form the next Government probably with Podemos and perhaps some other regional party support. 176 seats are required for an overall majority in the 350 seat chamber.

Read more... (49 comments, 800 words in story)

The Heiress

by Oui Sat Apr 27th, 2019 at 07:51:55 AM EST

So wondeful! The American Dream in reverse is still possible ... from the Ritz to Rikers Island. Hopefully the "heiress" has TV in her room so she can watch the Netflix serie in her name ...

Rubbing shoulders with the "greats" walking this planet!  Just like Hollywood ... mostly fake.

More below the fold ...

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Spectating on Ireland and other pet hates

by Frank Schnittger Thu Apr 25th, 2019 at 10:32:52 PM EST

In my more idle moments, and purely as a service to you, dear readers, I sometimes spend some time perusing the online editions of right-wing UK publications such as the Telegraph and The Spectator. There you will live in an alternative factual universe, where poor Britain is set upon by an evil EU, and worse still, is betrayed by its supposed allies.

Chief culprit, these days, seems to be the Republic of Ireland, which has been set upon an anti-British course by its demonic leader Leo Varadker. "Little Leo" (who stands 1.94 metres tall), stands accused of "do[ing] anything to suck up to the top gang in the EU playground..." and giving a "calculated two fingers to Brexit Britain" by applying for observer status at the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie rather than rejoining the British Commonwealth.

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Sheela na gig

by Frank Schnittger Mon Apr 22nd, 2019 at 05:04:22 PM EST

The inclusion of often sexually explicit iconography in the architecture of ancient churches, cathedrals, castles and public buildings has often struck me as odd, given the predominance of the puritan paradigm in so much of religion today. The grotesques, chimeras and gargoyles of Notre Dame are variously supposed to have been intended to ward off evil spirits, with gargoyles also fulfilling the practical function of redirecting rainwater away from the stone masonry to reduce the erosion of the mortar from the walls.

However the Sheela na gigs, found over much of Europe, but most frequently in Ireland, were often sexually explicit mostly female figures whose purpose is the subject of some dispute. Various hypotheses have been put forward ranging from that they represent the survival of a pre-Christian pagan goddess, a fertility figure, a warning against lust, or a more general protection against evil.

More recently some feminists have re-interpreted the imagery of Sheela Na Gigs as portraying a more positive, empowering view of female sexuality and adopted it as a symbol of Irish feminism. However it is open to question whether this has more to do with present day cultural and political concerns rather than what they were meant to portray in their own time and culture.

Perhaps there is no unifying theory of what they were meant to represent in a lot of different and often localised historical contexts. Perhaps some artists and stone masons were just having a little fun right under the noses of their clerical and civic overlords: An imaginative rebellion against the stultifying orthodoxy of authoritarian religion. Perhaps they were intended to allow us to project our own fantasies onto them so that they can mean different things to different people at different times.

Your fantasies are welcome...

Read more... (57 comments, 409 words in story)
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 6 - 12 May 2019

by Bjinse - May 6, 212 comments

Your take on this week's news

 May Thread

by Bjinse - May 6, 35 comments

In the merry month of May, sitting in a pleasant thread, which a grove of myrtles made

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