What's in Paisley's Pants? Political ramblings about things that catch my attention... (rather than some smutty double entendre...)

Monday, February 28, 2005

Brown sulks (still)

Despite hitting the campaign trail today in an effort to shake off the image that he is sulking, aides close to Gordon Brown have indicated that he is actually still sulking, although not for the reasons that will spring to most people's minds.

Brown is actually annoyed this time round because he feels that the Pope is hanging on just a little bit to long. In a surprising revelation, it is understood that Brown in 1997 met with several Italian cardinals in 'La Testa di Re' public house in Rome, and discussed who would be taking over after John Paul II died. In an even more surprising move, it is understood that the Scot managed to convince the cardinals that he would be the best man for the job.

Since then, Brown has been biding his time, and waiting to see who went first, Blair or JPII. It is not clear as to which position he would take up if both left their posts at similar times.

However, it seems history is repeating itself for Gordon Brown. While last summer, Brown felt that Blair was clinging on for too long, and should really step aside, he now feels that the pontiff is guilty of the same thing - namely hanging around when to be quite frank, it would be better for everyone if he just took his leave.

"Brown has been particularly twitchy these past few weeks" an aide commented. "I first noticed a change when the Pope first went in to hospital - Gordon had a definate spring in his step. But since then, and the Pope's seeming recovery, he has been unbearable".

It is unclear what the Catholic world would make of Brown appointment. The Scotsman is usually portrayed as being dour and slightly uncharismatic - the Italian press have latched on the the story, and the front page of 'La Repubblica' bearing the headline 'Vogliamo realmente questo fuckwit miserabile?' ('Do we really want this miserable fuckwit?').

Brwon refused to answer questions on the issue today, which mirrors his response to rumours surrounding both the "Granita pact" and the "Loch Fyne Accord". A spokesman for the palace told to me fuck off and find something better to do with my time.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Is it wrong to laugh at dwarfs?

Just reading this story in The Sun, got me thinking: why is it that dwarfs are funny? (also got me thinking that "You R2 drunk to drive" is one of the worst headlines ever...)

A quick search on wikipedia brings up this:
Little person (as opposed to big person), and short-statured are currently
preferred terms to refer to a person with extreme, disproportionate shortness.
Dwarf is sometimes perceived as having negative connotations, although the term
is often used by those affected. The plural is dwarfs — dwarves is used only for
the imaginary creature... Midget is now considered offensive in all contexts to
most...

Even reading this definition, I can't help but chuckle a little to myself ('dwarves is only used for the imaginary creature'). The Sun story also reminded me of a stroy I read in The Big Issue in December. The UK Paralympic Association is lodging a complaint with the international bdy, because the winners of the women's shot putt weren't actually dwarves at all, but merely 'short women'. Does this expose me as a small minded bigot, with in-built prejudices against those of a smaller stature?
I don't think the situation is helped by the dwarfish presence in comedy shows. In The Office for example, David Brent discusses the definition of a dwarf and a midget with an IT technician, coming to the conclusion that a dwarf is a short person who's arms and legs are in proportion. Gareth then asks what an elf is.
Another example is in Little Britain, where the odd Scottish hotel owner has dwarfs dance around him as if he were a may pole. (Just on an aside, is Little Britain the most annoying television show around? Or is it just the constant bad impressions that people force upon any innocent bystanders? "Yeah, but no, but yeah." Cunts.)
It is time dwarfs were given a fair deal: parts for them in films should not just be for doorkeepers in an evil megalomaniac island paradise... check out www.dwarfism.org for more information.

Chocolate Covered Bananas and Everything Reviewed

Must link over to Chocolate Covered Bananas, as it really is very funny.

The author claims to be "too 'smiley' and 'nice' to actually have the balls to say this shit.", and I'd go along with that: reading it, you can almost feel the bitterness that has been pent up for so long, particularly when discussing topics such as road grit's effect on poo:
Grit, you make poo the stealth bomber to my well-honed and highly advanced
poo-dar. You give me poo-shoe, and for that I will never forgive you.

Brilliant.

Also to be looked at is Everything Reviewed, which is one of those does-what-it-says-on-the-tin jobs, and reviews everything. For example:
Book review: The work of Dan Brown
You can imagine him, sitting at his
desk with his A4 narrow-lined leather-bound notebook and his laptop and his
bookshelves, tapping away at the keyboard. “The car crunched over the crunchy
gravel,” he writes. “God!” he thinks. “Look at that sentence! I must be some
kind of genius.”He’s probably sold more books than God. It’s the end of the
Enlightenment.
The work of Dan Brown: Man cannot live by plot alone. 3 out of 10.

Like I say, well worth a look...

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Just a quick thought on Jumblatt and Lebanon

This post at Harry's Place has started a bit of a debate around the place, so I thought I'd add my little bit in there...

A remarkable coversation David Ignatius of The Washington Post had with Walid Jumblatt, a leader of Lebanon's Druze community.
Jumblatt dresses like an ex-hippie, in jeans and loafers, but he maintains the exquisite manners of a Lebanese aristocrat. Over the years, I've often heard him denouncing the United States and Israel [that's putting it mildly], but these days, in the aftermath of Hariri's death, he's sounding almost like a neoconservative. He says he's determined to defy the Syrians until their troops leave Lebanon and the Lahoud government is replaced.

"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has
started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was
cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8
million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark
of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all
say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."


Now Harry's Place present this as the key to the 'Arab Domino' effect that the Iraqi elections will have - after seeing how joyously the Free Iraqi People voted, surely the rest of the Arab world will follow. This seems faintly ridiculous to me, but that debate is for another time. It is the fact that it is Walid Jumblatt making this statement that makes it seem like HP are clutching at straws. I shall let Lenin take over:

This would be Walid Jumblatt, the anti-semite and anti-American conspiracy
theorist?For example:
"The Lebanese MP is also known for espousing conspiracy
theories against America. On April 28, 2004, he gave an interview to Al Arabiyya
TV, in which he detailed how America was really behind September 11: 'Who
invented Osama bin Laden?! The Americans, the CIA invented him so they could
fight the Soviets in Afghanistan together with some of the Arab regimes. Osama
bin Laden is like a ghost, popping up when needed. This is my
opinion.'"

The National Review continues:

"In addition to hating America, Mr. Jumblatt has also spoke against the countries that support America. Lebanon's Daily Star published a February 3, 2003, article quoting him as saying that the true axis of evil is one of 'oil and Jews' ... The oil axis is present in most of the U.S. administration, beginning with its president, vice-president, and top advisers, including [Condoleezza] Rice, who is oil-colored, while the axis of Jews is present with Paul Wolfowitz.'"


Ah yes, that 'oil-couloured' give away in the administration. The turnaround that Jumblatt has made is too stark to be feasible or believable. So what is he doing? The answert must be a little bit of realpolitik. (This article in the Socialist Worker has a very good commentary on the situation)

With the pro-Syrian government becoming increasingly unpopular after the assasination of Hariri, a strong opposition coalition is forming, including so-called centre-left parties, such as Jumblatt's Progressive Socialist Party, and also right wing, nationalist parties, such as the Free Patriotic Movement, who advocate a 'Lebanon for the Lebanese'. Across the board however, all advocate anti-Syrian policies.

At the same time, we must consider the 'will they, won't they' situation regarding America's possible invasion of Syria. It would cause massive upheaval in the same way that the invasion of Iraq did, but America would be looking for allies in the region.

The country looks set, if Bassem Chit's Socialist Worker article is accurate, which I suspect it is, for a civil war. Jumblatt is courting American support with his comments in the Washington Post in the hope of coming across as a reasonable (albeit to the Americans) voice in the region, thereby winning the support of the Bush administration. What is more, if we look further down the line, the Bush administration would be more willing to support a leader who has publicly stated his support for the American campaign to spread democracy in the region. Jumblatt may well already be campaigning for such a time.

The Michael Moore in me bursting to get out...

Lovely report in the Independent today regarding just how well 'Uncle Bucky' has done out of the Iraq war. Not that I'm one to suggest that Bush went to war in Iraq for any reason other than that he was ridding the world of a tyrant and terrorism. I particularly like this bit:
In 2003, ESSI was awarded contracts for equipment to help search for, and
protect US soldiers from, Iraq's chemical and biological weapons, which turned
out to have been a figment of the imagination of the Bush administration.

It almost suggests that the Bush administration made up the weapons of mass destruction only for the reason that they could award the contract to Bush's uncle. They really are working hard on the conspiracies at the Independent aren't they? The worrying thing is that it sounds really quite plausible, what with the administration's past record on awarding contracts.

Anyway, my conspiracy theory addled mind was calmed a little when I came across an interview with Englebert Humperdinck, who probably has the coolest name in showbusiness:

If you could throw your knickers at anyone, who would it be?Karen Jones,
Manchester
I don't actually wear knickers, but if I did I'd throw them
back to my fans...


Ooooh... I had to take a cold shower and have a lie down.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

You know it's bad when...

IDS says that what you're doing is a good idea. So I guess we should all just give up really, and go along with Europhobia's post that 'UK Blogging is officially a pointless waste of everyone's time'. His post is uncomfortably close to the truth to be honest - it's never pleasant to have the futile nature of your actions thrust into your face; far easier to just pretend that someday, possibly far into the future, someone will come and read what you've written, and may even find it useful...

Anyway, onto more positive matters, Big Scrotum (as Steve Bell calls him) is facing an 'embarassing' climbdown after police told him that they didn't actually need powers of house arrest anyway.
"They support the measures in the Bill which allow me to impose obligations up
to, but not including, a 'requirement to remain in a particular place at all
times'."

I particularly like the way he points out that it will be him imposing the obligations on people. I can almost imagine him, his great big sweaty face cracking into a smile of pleasure as he unleashes the full force of the governement on his first target. Probably while he has his buttocks gently spanked with an oversized ID card, braille issue, with David Blunkett's mug grinning out at him.

That image will haunt me...

Monday, February 21, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson dies

Story is here.

You know it's bad when...

...the BNP are claiming you stole their ideas.

So just as New Labour has squeezed the Tories out of the middel ground, now the Tories are squeezing the BNP out of the far-right. However, rather than the BNP moving further right, Nick Griffin is changing the focus of the party:

"By getting people to vote on this issue, by making this issue one of the
talking points ... they are building up hopes and the chance of a bigger
breakthrough for us in the local elections in 2006. We're happy with that."

What Griffin is effectively saying is that the Conservatives will become the national face of the BNP policies, while the BNP will concentrate on local elections. It is desperately important for Michael Howard to distance the party from the BNP, but he has made immigration such an important issue in the Tory manifesto that it is going to be dificult for him to do so. He has made his racist bed, and he must racistly lie in it.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Bush: he's right up there with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

So Jose Manuel Barroso thinks Bush is much nicer in person...
"I could say that to him. He's a warm person, spontaneous, as far as I am
concerned," Mr Barroso said. "I think that the chemistry with him is much better
in the personal contact than in television, where sometimes he appears too rigid
- at least for European audiences. He appears too rigid, that's true.

He appears to rigid? He's a rabbit caught in the headlights in most interviews I've seen with him. Except of course when he has someone whispering the answers in his ear, but I'm not one for throwing paranoid conspiracy theories around... Anyway, the whole reason Bush is 'rigid' is because he's a useless politician, and can't really cope when put on the spot. It is actually possible to get away with this in America, where campaigns are so stage managed that a candidate will never actually have to meet a 'real' person. And of course once a President's in office, they have the entire CIA to keep nasty people who want to ask questions away. The reason politicians in Europe seem less rigid is because they can actually cope a little better with the rigours of actual questioning, and can therefore relax a little more.

But hey, maybe we can learn to love this warm, cuddly Bush. I can already imagine the 'Bush Beanie Baby' (or should that be 'Beanie Bush Baby'?) It'd make a change from the Real American Action Figure... Maybe we should send them to all the children in Iraq and Afghanistan? I'm sure they could do with some toys, what with all their homes being destroyed and everything...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

It'll be in the last place you look...

30kg of plutonium goes missing at Sellafield...

How can you lose 30kg of plutonium? I'm sure relatively it's a small amount, but I would reckon that's still a fair old chunk of the stuff. And it glows in the dark for christ sake, just turn all the lights off and you'll find it in no time. And what were the people there doing with it to be able to lose it? Surely there's only so much fun you can have with plutonium - sticking some in another guy's lunchbox, playing catch in the dark, seeing how long you can hold it for before you get a headache - that's about it.

Still no action over Darfur

In the 15 days since I last mentioned Darfur, at a rough estimate, 8,250 people have died, either from malnutrition or from janjaweed attacks.

And still Bush is desperately trying to block any sort of interference by the ICC.

What sort of cynicism drives someone to place a (good as) imaginary threat over the lives of thousands of innocent people? One of the most troubling things is that there is not even legitimate grounds for Bush's objections to the ICC. He claims that the court will open the flood gates for countless anti-American trials, where US citizens will not get a fair hearing. This is absolute rubbish. The ICC has tight guidelines regarding rights of the accused, available here. What Bush is actually objecting to is the opposite: the ICC is an entirely independent body, and as such, the US does not have a bigger say in it's operation than anyone else. The US, and US citizens will be subject to the same rules as everyone else, and goddamit, that just isn't the American Way.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

No news is good news?

Main story on channel 4 news this evening - 'Iran not attacked by missile'. Thank God they got that one covered...

Although they missed out on the 'Elvis Still Dead' story...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

US war crimes

The Socialist Worker carries this story, which is one of those ones you hope with everything isn't true. Unfortunately, the photgraphs are pretty unequivocable.

Also check out Lenin's Tomb where I first picked up the story, and be sure to look at the sheer ignorance on display in the comments page... Phil: scrotum tighteningly obnoxious.

Huzzah!

Big kick between the arches...

Well, I say big kick, I'm sure they won't really miss out on the £40, 000 that Helen Steel and David Morris were meant to pay. However, like the 'McLibel Two' (as I've never heard them called before today) said, their campaign worked because people have already started to question McDonald's practices, resulting into things like this, from rense.com:
Fast-food giant McDonald's Corp. said on Friday it would close about 175
restaurants, slash up to 600 corporate jobs and pull out of three countries in
the Middle East and Latin America as it struggles to turn around its U.S.
performance and trim worldwide costs.

The main thing about the EU decision is that it may result in some sort of change to the British libel laws, which are stacked in favour of the big company. How likely this changes are remains to be seen... For a full run down of the case head on over to here for the full details of the case from the POV of the libelous pair... McDonalds are strangley silent on the matter...

But of course it doesn't end at McDonalds. There is a section of the McSpotlight website about things that still need to be done. See it here.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Of course, we still don't know if we're even having an election this year...

A couple of things that caught my attention before I get stuck into Blair's Bullshit (TM). Firstly, U2 claiming that Labour using 'Beautiful Day' for Blair's entrance music is no indication of their political leanings. Of course not: it was Bono speaking at the party conference which gave that away. And secondly, a picture in the Independent today of the fascist protestors in Dresden (unfortunately not on the website). It showed a row of skinheads holding crosses with captions on such as 'Dresden', 'Hiroshima', 'Vietnam' and 'Bagdad'. I'm sure Baghdad had an 'h' in it, but it nicely demostrates the level of intelligence of the people we're dealing with here...

Onto Gateshead... What an arse. (That's Blair, not Gateshead, which I'm sure is lovely) Tony was continuing the 'humble, seemingly apologetic although still not actually apologising, trying to regain the nice-guy c. 1997' image, as first seen on Richard & Judy. The line was something like this:
Gosh, I've been awful really haven't I? What with all these wars and what not.
You must all really hate me. You didn't used to though - remember '97? Those
were the days, giving the tories one in the eye. Well, you better all start
loving me again, or THE TORIES WILL BE BACK!!! RUN FOR THE HILLS!!! And don't
start protest voting for the lib-dems, as that'll MAKE THE TORIES COME BACK!!!
So look at it this way, it's either me, or THE TORIES, who are scary and nasty,
except in the areas where you want people to be scary and nasty, like
immigration, where we're the scariest and nastiest. OOGA-BOOGA!!!TORIES!!!
AAARGH!!!

Blair went on to comapre the relationship between himself and the elctorate to be like a marriage. I'm not sure how far Blair wants to go with this analogy, given the current propensity for divorce in the country, although I'm sure I can start a conspiracy theory with regards to Blair trying to leach off the feel-good factor surrounding Charles and Camilla's marriage... But what type of marriage would we have with Blair? I'm inclined towards some sort of 1950s nightmare, where the wife (us) is stuck in a realtionship that she hates. We married him young, probably because he got us pregnant, but he soon turned out to be less than he promised. Oh sure, he followed through on parts of his claims - he said we'd holiday in the south of France every year, while in actual fact we get caravanning in Frinton. And recently, he's just not been listening to us at all, despite all our protests...

Blair asked us in Gateshead whether we wanted the relationship to continue; unfortunately for us and our 1950s housewife, it is the only option we have. He knows that the Tories cannot even pull together to at least give the impression of a coherent party. Labour will win on the 5th May (rumoured date of the election), and Blair will use that to show that the public have forgiven him for his past mistakes. In reality, it would merely be a victory for the most appealing out of a bad bunch. And turnout will fall again.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Quick link over to Lenin

Lenin has put up this post "PR & the Iraqi election" which nicely summarises the amount of bollocks being touted by the right. Well worth a read.

Also contained within the post is a link to this story, which made me chuckle a little.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Labour playing the trust card. How ironic.

So Blair is appearing on Richard and Judy, presumably in a vain hope to have some credibility rub off on him. (A poll by the ITC and BSC to find Britain's most trusted figure, Richard and Judy got 10% of the vote, while Blair only managed 7%. Blair was also beaten by David Beckham and Chris Tarrant...) What sort of election is this years going to be? Dirty.

Labour are plugging away on the 'trust' issue. The news stories that have come out this week, such as the release of the ERM details under the Freedom of Information Act are reminders that 'WE CANNOT TRUST THE TORIES'. Goddamit, even their leader looks like Fagin, especially if you have him swinging a pocket watch and cowering in a Shylock-type manner. And who's going to trust someone who keeps small children locked up in his house?

And hence the appearence's on Richard and Judy. What better way to come across as an affable, warm, loving figure than appearing opposite 'The Nation's Favourite Married Couple' (according to the Daily Express). And Cherie phoning in to say he never sends her flowers! Oh how adorable! The Blair's are just like the rest of us! And look how self-deprecating he can be by playing 'You Say, We Pay'. I truly feel like I could sit down and have a nice cup of tea with them. Not like that nasty Mr Howard, who really does have something of the night about him...

But does anyone else notice the irony of Tony Blair trying to convince us all of his hinesty and trustworthyness? The man who mislead the country, sexed up an already rather sexy dossier on Iraq's WMDs, and should have followed the lead of the BBC bigwigs and resigned? One revelation on Richard and Judy last night was when Richard asked Blair whether, if he knew then what he does now, that Iraq does not posess WMDs, he would have invaded Iraq, Blair said he would have done. Blair was set on the war from the start, and if he had to lie to convince (ish) us to go along with it, then so be it.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Charles to wed Horse: you just can't trust these toffs

Big-Ear Charlie has announced that he is to marry a horse. Reports he has taken up the fiddle and started playing with matches are as yet unfounded...

Actually, I think 'horse' may be too kind. Some people actually like horses. (Or 'Girls loving horses' just to boost my random internet hits). I think 'mule' is probably more accurate, after all just 30% of Britons want to see her reign. (The other 70% couldn't give a toss)

The mule does get a hard time actually doesn't it? Even they don't deserve to be compared to her. In fact, to make up for the hard time they get, here's a page with pictures of mules on it. (The website is actually part of 'The Donkey Lover's Webring'... I hope I wasn't the only one who found that funny).

But 'Big-Charlie to marry inbred pointless rich person' just doesn't quite have the same ring...

Fighting back the cynicism...

To our Palestinian neighbours, I assure you we have a genuine intention to
respect your right to live independently and in dignity. Israel has no desire to
continue to govern over you. We in Israel have had to painfully wake up from our
dreams. We are determined to overcome all obstacles which might stand in our
path. You, too, must prove you have the courage to compromise, abandon
unrealistic dreams, subdue the forces which oppose peace and live in peace and
mutual respect side by side with us. (Mahmoud Abbas)

We look forward ... for the language of dialogue to replace that of bullets and
cannons and for coexistence and good neighbourliness to replace the wall. This
is in order to offer our children and grandchildren, Palestinians and Israelis,
a different, promising tomorrow. Here is a new chance for peace to be born in
the city of peace today. So let us all pledge to protect it until the hope of
peace becomes reality. (Ariel Sharon)

I have found since I started writing this blog that it seems to be the natural instinct to criticise, to be cynical, and to spout various posts witht he words such as 'vomit', 'vile', 'gut wrenching', and 'scrotum tighteningly obnoxious' (admittedly, I haven't used that one yet, but I have it lined up for my next diatribe against whoever). It is much harder though to say nice things: to speak of flowers and sunsets and rainbows. I think the cynicism need to be held back with regards to the Middle East ceasefire however. It is the first step along a very long path, but the first step must be taken before the second: we must start here to progress further. So while at the moment the peace deal seems balanced on a knife edge, a few years down the line there may finally be peace in the region.

So I am going to hold back my cynicism, and hope that the themes of compromise are not forgotten when the inevitable problems come.

On another note, I was recently added to the 'Axis of Good (organisation of fighting Brits)'. Fair enough you might say. But I think you'll get excited as I was when I realised that this axis was based at robertlindsay.blogspot.com. Wow. Citizen Smith himself calling me up into the ranks. What an honour. I hope you'll share my disappointment when you too realise that in fact Robert Lindsay is an 'Independent Left journalist in California', rather than the successful stage and television actor. I say disappointment, but I think in the long term I'll get more use from reading Mr Lindsay's 'Iraq War Reports', where he attempts to list all the attacks that happen in Iraq in one particular day. If used for nothing else, they act as an eyeopening account of just how volatile the situation is.

Or if you prefer, the actor Rovert Lindsay's website can be found here.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The tories may have actually done something productive

In 2001, William Hague ran the Tory election campaign largely on the issue of immigration. It was a complete flop: voters did not want to hear about immigration, and they did not see it as a major issue.

In 2005, Michael Howard looks to be running the Tory election campaign on the issue of immigration. This time round however, people are taking notice, and Labour have taken enough notice to steal their policies (always a sign that Labour think the Tories are on the right track).

The difference, I think, is that this time the Tories have managed to get in early enough and to take advantage of a growing (and worrying) public hostility towards immigration. 66% of people agree with the Tories that immigration limits should be proposed. By timing the announcement of the policy to be before Labour's, the Tories have taken a lead because they look to be the party that is tough on immigration, and actually cares about the issue.

If immigration turns out to be a major issue in this years election, the Tories should gain from this. However, it is questionable as to where they will gain. I'm sure that many of the 66% who want immigration caps are already Tory voters. In cities, where Conservative support seems to have all but dried up, the reponse to the Tory proposals is less promising, as demostrated by this case.

Just as IDS found with his 'Keep The Pound' election campaign, there is no gain to be had in preaching to the converted, despite what Karl Rove will tell you. It is doubtful whether the Conservatives will be able to employ similar tactics as the Republican party, to target the core vote, simply because the Conservatives do not have a massive 'moral majority' to call upon to vote.

So while the Tories may have done something productive in setting their stall out early on immigration, they could just as easily throw it all away by not doing enought to court the middle ground voters that New Labour so successfully won in 1997.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Third Nipple Update

Just a quick update on Jo Whiley's third nipple, as reported in The Sun last week. A quick check on the Radio 1 website reveals that in fact she was getting a mole removed, rather than a 'superfluous papilla', to quote Bond in The Man With a Golden Gun.

Such a disappointment - extra nipples are so much more interesting. There are pictures of the scar here if that sort of thing interests you as much as it does me.

Condoleeza Rice and advancing Dubya's agenda

According to the US Department of State website, Condoleeza Rice's trip to Europe and the Middle East is 'to advance the President's agenda and the United States agenda in cooperation with our European friends and allies'. It seems reasonable therefore that what she says will give us a few clues as to what Bush plans to do in the next four years. So, allow us to cut through the bullshit. The interview is taken from 'Breakfast with Frost'

On her trip to Europe and the Middle East:
Well, it’s very important to come to Europe, our key allies
and global partnership. We have a lot of work to do. We have such wonderful
common values that unite us. We have done so much hard work together in the
past. We have faced down dictatorships before and spread freedom throughout the
whole of Europe.

Some regret in the Bush administration for all this unilatrilism? Almost as if they want to spread the blame around a bit in future. Or to take Parris' point that America is spread too thinly, allies to bulk up the troops on the ground?

And when asked if the US would support a regime change in Iran:
Well, all of us would have to agree that the behavior of this Iranian regime in
supporting terrorism, in sowing instability in the Middle East, in the way it
treats its own people is not a regime to be admired. And certainly the Iranian
people deserve the same opportunities for freedom and liberty that are beginning
to take hold in other parts of the Middle East.

Translation: 'Yes'. Frost tried to press her on whether that would be rought about through force, but Rice refused to be drawn, trotting out the party line of 'this is a time for diplomacy'.

The US, Rice says, will use it's 'wonderful alliance' with Europe to promote 'freedom and peace' around the world. On another part of the site, it says the 'democracy and freedom are the keys to peace and prosperity'. Hands up if anyone remembers the last time America tried to promote democracy and freedom? Anyone? Aha, I see your purple finger raised high into the air Mr Republican Senator...

Elsewhere, there is a slowly building stand-off between the Bush administration and the EU over the arms embargo to China being lifted. The EU wants to lift it (presumably to open up a massive new market to equip a military that hasn't been in action since the 70s, but is the biggest in the world), the US however does not want to lift the embargo, as 'We are concerned that there could be a shift that might affect the American military balance.' (Rice again). In other words, they won't be the big players in the region any more. However, there is more to it than that:
Beijing says Taiwan is part of Chinese territory and wants to unite it with the
mainland, by force if necessary. The US is bound by law to help Taiwan defend
itself.

And that would be a very dangerous stand-off indeed.

Finally, the sun felt warm again yesterday. Truly spring is coming, and as nature returns to life, and the swallows return from Africa, so Alistair Campbell returns to Downing Street. Welcome back, you lying, conniving, murderous, master pupeteer.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Ah hahaha!

Just checked out my blogpatrol report, an I have had my first hit from somebody searching for 'xxx'.


I hope he stayed and read the rest.


Or she.

Iran - will they, won't they?

Lots of umming and ahhing over whether America will try and bring a about a 'regime change' (aka destroy) in Iran. Just as Bush's State of the Union address warning to Iran had echoes of warnings given to Iraq, the Indpendent leads with the opinion that Condoleeza Rice's words about Iran mirror those about Iraq:
On Iraq 'We're going to seek a peaceful solution to this. We think one is
possible' - 20 October 2002
On Iran 'The question [of a military strike] is
simply not on the agenda at this point in time. We have diplomatic means to do
this' - Yesterday

The Independent also quotes Peter Kilfoyle as being 'deeply unconvinced' that Blair would not be dragged into another war in the Middle East.

However, there may be some truth in what Matthew Parris points out in The Times (stolen quote from www.perfect.co.uk, a blog well worth a visit)
I am no military analyst, but it seems reasonable to observe that in pursuit of
US foreign and military policy, US defence forces are being pushed fairly hard.
It is fanciful for the Left to fear, or the Right to hope, that at the flick of
a switch President Bush can create large new arenas of American military
engagement.

So is America overstretched? Does Bush care if it is? Another interesting point made by Parris is as follows:
America’s need for brute force as a substitute for moral suasion may be
increasing. Mr Bush said “freedom” 27 times in his speech. John F. Kennedy could
be more sparing with the word because the idea behind it shone so brightly for
America then, and for the world. Across Africa in the past century, US foreign
policy goals, which included the peaceful dissolution of the British Empire,
were advanced without the firing of a shot — or the expenditure of more than the
few dollars needed to fund American propaganda. Arguments are cheap, and America
had the best arguments, the best visions, and the best tunes.

It reminds me of a passage in 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, where Pirsig says something along the lines of no one jumps up and down and shouts from the rooftops that they beleive the sun will rise tomorrow, because they are so certain that it will. It is only when people become insecure in their beleifs that they feel the need to start preaching them to others, and to hold those views ever more zealously.

If this is true, then what is it that is making Bush insecure about his freedom? Terrorism? - Is it possible that Bush feels genuinely threatened by terrorists? I think that it is. Before 9/11, the last major attack on America by outsiders was Pearly Habour. That is almost lost in the memory, replaced by a triumphalist Disney film. America had become insular and almost isolationist - it only acted in foreign issues when American interests were at stake - Kuwaiti oil for example. Then suddenly, a foreigner thrust a knife right into the heart of the American system. The targets could have been more symbolic - the Pentagon, the symbol of American military muscle, and the twin towers, the symbol of American economic strength and prosperity. After being insulated for so long, the attacks were a massive shock to the system, and the knee has been jerking ever since.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Vomit inducing self congratulatory bullshit

the tearful embrace in the VIP gallery between the parents of a US Marine
killed in Iraq, and an Iraqi woman who took part in Sunday's election, 11 years
after her own father was murdered by Saddam Hussein's intelligence services.

In the audience below, many Republican senators and congressmen pointed
their fingers, carrying the purple ink stains used to mark Iraqis when they cast
their vote at the weekend.


That quote came from the Independent. It is like some twisted scene from 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' - Raoul Duke would have an absolute fit if he saw the vile Christo-fascist pigs wallowing in their own pride about destrying a country, and destroying the family of whichever US Marine it was that was killed. In fact, it doesn't matter which one it was. That US Marine represents every single person killed in Iraq - the 18,000 Iraqi civilians, the 1,330 US military deaths, the countless others that remain uncounted... Every single one of those was slaughtered for some imaginary goal of 'democracy'. The 'free and fair' elections that America brought Iraq are an illusion. Voters were not free from the fear of being blown up by suicide bombers. Parties were not fairly matched with funds, and some leaders were too scared of making themselves known. And then bloated republican Congressmen turn round, and salute all those deaths with a quasi-fascist raised finger, stained purple to mimick the voting system, but also stained with the blood of countless innocents.

But God chose them, and God chose America...

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The State of The Union

My fellow non-Americans.
On the 2nd November 2004, God moved against us because we are pinkos, commies, liberals, or worse, French. God moved against us because we have doubted his chosen prophet on earth, the Most Holy And Reverand Alcoholic Bush. We doubted that he had the sense to lead the most powerful nation on earth. We doubted that he would bring us 'Compassionate Conservatism'. We doubted whether the Most Holy And Reverend Alcoholic Coke Headed Bush was really the right person to lead the world in a time when inreased dialogue was needed. We doubted, and the LORD smote us. The LORD did smite us becasue we are ehathens. And the LORD, and all those moral majoritarians on the Christian Right, did put the Most Holy And Reverend Alcoholic Coke Headed Bible Bashing Bush into the Whitehouse for a second term, thus defeating Satan in all his forms, even those with a long chin. Cursed be the Kerry, who is both a liberal and French.

And now the Most Holy And Reverend Alcoholic Coke Headed Bible Bashing War Mongering Bush will lay out his plans for a second term. His priority is to jeopardise the security of millions of pensions by privatising them, and making them subject to market forces. While this may benefit everyone when the market goes up, if the market goes down, all the subjects will be most royally (religiously) screwed. And the way the Most Holy And Reverend Alcoholic Coke Headed Bible Bashing War Mongering Economy Screwing Bush is going about running up a defecit, that could be all too soon.

But the LORD has spoken, and we must obey His will. Well, it was either the LORD, or some goddam Christo-Fascist who is determined to return us to the 1950s.

I am totally ready to be smote now.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Nicholas D Kristoff in NY Times

Just found this article in the NY Times, which kind of sums up everything I've been saying... you need to register to read it, but it's all free...

Poodle again

So now Blair is following the US lead (or is just being on the US lead) and is beginning to drag his feet over using the ICC for any Darfur prosecutions, as reported here. It is idiotic really. The only results delay produces are more deaths in Sudan. There is a time when politics has to be put to one side, and action must be taken, but unfortunately Western leaders seem reluctant to do this.

Atually, that's not strictly true. Bush was more than ready to put politics to one side and start a war or two after 9/11. In fact, he completely bypassed any political negotiation with the UN Security Council or any other international body (except his 'coalition of the willing' of course). One has to ask why the Sudanese don't get any help, and I can only really think of two answers. Firstly, it is that the West simply doesn't care - there is not enough monetary or economic benefit for helping the Sudanese. Secondly, it is because the Sudanese aren't white. I'm not suggesting that this is a deliberate move, but I'm pretty certain that subconciously the West cares less about Sudan because none of the people involved are white. Look at the Boxing Day tsunami - al the main coverage there was devoted to the hundred or so Britons lost (as the figures were thought to be then), or the thousand Swedes who lost their lives. The hundreds of thousands of Asians who died were mere background detail, simply a rising figure of death. The death figures were announced to be rising seemingly by the hour, like some grisly Blue Peter appeal. But there was a detachment in all those figures, because that was precisely what they were, just numbers. The story was even worse for the 'millions' of people left homeless. It would be interesting to know how much coverage the wave would have got if there were no westerners involved at all.

Maybe we have become desensitised to suffering in Africa. While Michael Buerk's report in 1984 (?) on the famine caused uproar, and resulted in Band Aid etc., maybe we have become too used to seeing starving Africans to take any real notice any more. Maybe African children are meant to look pot bellied and have flies in their eyes? Africa needs to be rebranded. Rather than the continent of AIDS, famine, war and poverty, it should become... 'Insignia'

But back to Blair. By carrying on this poodle act, he is losing any ounce of respectability he may have had on the world stage. He is seen as a puppet, controlled by a master in the Bush administration. Britain has power in world politics that far exceed its actual importance, and Blair must start to use this, rather than simply follow orders.

In other news, once again my influence stretches farther than I realise, and just a week or so after I wrote that its about time the Pope heads for the great cathedral in the sky, lo and behold, he stops breathing. I'm going to have to start beng careful with this power.

Also, the Sun's front page declares that now we can kill burglars... so hoorah hooray, let's go lynch someone. I stole one of those little squidgey bath ball things form the Body Shop once when I was about 6. I wanted to see what it was like if you stood on it (it was very cool). Will that come back to haunt me? Also in the Sun, Jo Whiley has a third nipple removed, and lady vicar turns out to have been a man called Colin...

Do you think you get to keep its of your body that you have removed? A nipple would make a lovely matle piece ornament...