Monday, December 28, 2009

The other thing they dislike is that, as a theist, I reject the materialistic explanation of the universe which is held to by some, but by no means all, scientists. Now, if you think that paddle-steamers and telegrams are modern, you may still imagine that this is the triumphant, settled view among scientists. But if you pay any attention at all to modern science, especially Physics, you will find that it simply isn't so. Nor was it from the beginning. There is a perfectly clear argument that science and reason have their origins in Theism, especially monotheism, since monotheism relegates the Moon, stars and Sun from being Gods themselves to being (as someone said, who?) 'mere lamps and clocks'; simultaneously it makes the universe potentially explicable, and potentially reasonable, rather than just something that just mysteriously is, without purpose or direction. If other people wish to use science to exclude the possibility of God, that is their affair, but - as I always argue - it is their choice to do so and there is no ultimate supreme court of science to which they can appeal, which will rule in their favour. Nor can such questions be resolved by claims about 'the vast majority' or 'the consensus', since science, if it is anything, is not ruled by such things. They are equally free to choose a Theist explanation, and they really shouldn't try to pretend that science and God are incompatible.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A lot of what's interesting is found in the negligable..

I think most of what I find interesting, becomes interesting because I've failed to notice something which turns out to be more than what I have foreseen.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

In a statement released while Dr Fox was working overseas, he has explained the reason behind the repayments.

He said: "In October I raised with Sir Thomas the issue of the formula used by the fees office to determine reimbursement of mortgage interest against the cost of refurbishment and repairs.

"Sir Thomas has subsequently asked for a repayment of £7984.28 as a settlement for the accumulated overpayments over five years.

In other words you. are. pissed.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lead singer of the Inspiral Carpets, Tom Hingley, who currently lectures at Salford University on pop music, told Channel 4 News at Noon: "I think it's quite extraordinary for Simon Cowell to describe anyone else as being Scrooge."

He said that Simon Cowell and Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller "have kind of monopolised the top ten in Britain".

"It's like if the people who owned (Aintree) owned all the horses and all the bookies and voted on the winner at the Grand National.

"I don't know why these records from these reality TV shows have ever been eligible for the charts…it's not a fair playing field for all the rest of the music industry."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

How long can donors justify this expenditure? If Israel continues, as its prime minister says it will, to build settlements, making an agreement on a viable Palestinian state all but impossible, should the international community simply shrug its shoulders and write more cheques? The money that I spent in Palestine on behalf of European voters and taxpayers over five years as a European commissioner has drained away into the blood-soaked sand. Many projects funded by European taxpayers have been reduced to rubble by the Israeli Defence Forces. Is Europe’s role in the region to be the paymaster for intransigence and the use of disproportionate force?
Just one final point, there is an element of fantasy and arrogance here, that Israel wants to dictate to Great Britain what to do in its judiciary when Britain is the one that founded Israel.
Mr Reddihough brayed, as he wielded the sword of injustice: ‘If persons were permitted to take the law into their own hands and inflict their own instant and violent punishment on an apprehended offender rather than letting justice take its course, then the rule of law and our system of criminal justice, which are the hallmarks of a civilised society, would collapse.’

Take this garbage slice by slice. Whose law is it, if not ours? Why shouldn’t it be in our hands? It is wrong to steal, to rape, to kill. We all know this.
Must we stand by while these things happen, and wait for the useless police to come, hours later, and for the CPS then to drop the case?
What he means is that Left-wing fake justice fears competition from the real thing, and will do all in its power to keep the monopoly of force in its hands. That is why some of the toughest sentences are reserved for those who defend themselves against crime.

What ‘civilised society’ is he talking about? Does he live in this country? What is this ‘justice’ that he says will take its course? Heaven forbid that Mr Reddihough should ever need to call upon it, but if he does, he will find that he might as well dress up as a pantomime dame as in his wig and robes, for all the good he is doing.
By the time he qualifies for his large pension, the actions of people like him will have made the country so unsafe that even retired judges may come home to find skunk-crazed robbers waiting for them.

Here’s the point, Mr Injustice Reddihough. People like you have destroyed the rule of law by your weakness and discredited policies. There is no rule of law, just the rule of fear.

Bad people should be afraid of the law. When they are not, we have to be afraid of bad people.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Germans have restricted their military exertions in Afghanistan to horticulture, when will we see sense and just pull out of this mess.

The symbolic entrance sign to the Nazi death camp Aushwitz has been stolen. My guess is it couldn't have been taken without some help from inside.

There is still a small but significant Nazi/neo Nazi trend in Poland which goes largely unreported.
Simon Cowell wants to open up the X Factor to address serious political issues in a similar TV format, I can't wait to see the death penalty proposed for egregious fashion crimes and see it pass with a comfortable majority.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Under international law, “questionable legitimacy” does not exist. An attack on a sovereign state is a crime. This was made clear by Britain’s chief law officer, Attorney General Peter Goldsmith, before his arm was twisted, and by the Foreign Office’s own legal advisers and subsequently by the secretary-general of the United Nations. The invasion is the crime of the 21st century. During 17 years of assault on a defenceless civilian population, veiled with weasel monikers like “sanctions” and “no fly zones” and “building democracy”, more people have died in Iraq than during the peak years of the slave trade. Set that against Sir Jeremy’s skin-saving revisionism about American “noises” that were “decidedly unhelpful to what I was trying to do [at the UN] in New York”. Moreover, “I myself warned the Foreign Office... that I might have to consider my own position...”.

In February, Jack Straw, one of Blair’s principal accomplices, the man who let the mass murderer General Pinochet escape justice and the current “justice secretary”, overruled the Information Commissioner who had ordered the government to publish Cabinet minutes during the period Lord Goldsmith was pressured into changing his judgement that the invasion was illegal. How they fear exposure, and worse.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What about some kind of political engagement for the X Factor?

If you went around the public now there would 5 or 6 big issues... so I think there could be some kind of referendum type TV show... because I'm more interested in hearing what the public have to say than politicians.

There are so many really hot topics, for instance, should we or shouldn't we be in Iraq and Afghanistan? If you actually asked most people in the country, why are we there? I couldn't even tell you I don't know why we're there, I knew why we were in the Falklands, I don't know why we're over there. So when we see all these people coming back dead, I think we have a right to have a say in something like that, or knife crime, or just the whole way I don't think the justice system is working properly at the moment.
Stella Artois are hoping that their 'send a card, save a tree' campaign will save a million rainforest trees before Christmas, too bad half a million were cut down to process the promotional beer mats. Oh well you've got to kill trees to save trees, moving on.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The class war is not about hanging the Bourgeoisie from lampposts, its about recognising that different sections of society have interests which don't coincide with yours, and deciding which side you're on.
You had not formerly yet left the services... [and] that has attacked one of the fundamental principles of our constitution, which is the separation between the government and the military.
Mohammed Nasheed, the President of the drowning Maldives, said simply: “The last generation of humans went to the moon. This generation of humans needs to decide if it wants to stay alive on planet earth.”

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Sooner or later the Conservative party will have to face up to the fact that they are the first party in history to devise a tax cut entirely for themselves.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

NIR ROSEN: This is impossibly naïve and would require a revolution in the way America does business, but stop supporting dictatorships in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and elsewhere, stop supporting the Pakistani dictatorships or quasi-dictatorship, stop supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Be perceived as a fair player in the Middle East and the Muslim world. Stop killing Muslims and Muslims will not want to kill you. It is really very easy.
the McChrystal report or assessment identified the Afghan police as one of the main problems in the country, so your going to double them? —So you’re going to double? Basically the Afghan police are the recruiters for the Taliban. They oppress the population. They are mostly on drugs. They are incompetent. Some of them are very brave and they are being killed in large numbers, but your going to double this corrupt and oppressive force? That is truly not going to win you any support among the local population. The Afghan army, meanwhile, which we have spent billions on, was a failure. We saw in the Helmand operation in July, they just decided not to show up. I was in Helmand and the Americans and Brits were surprised and complaining the Afghan army didn’t feel like taking part. They perceive themselves more as a force designed for external threats, not for internal purposes. So that’s a complete waste.
If we are talking about Al Qaeda and the whole reason for why we are in Afghanistan allegedly is this threat from Al Qaeda which has been severely exaggerated, then at least understand their motives. Their chief motives are the Indian occupation of Kashmir, the Israeli and American backed occupation of Palestine. These are the motives. If your goal is to weaken Al Qaeda, understand their motives, address their grievances. This is not some James Bond villain the wants to attack the U.S. for no reason. These people who have grievances, the same grievances that have been troubling people around the world for decades. They were once explained using a secular Marxist nationalist discourse, today it has become a more religious discourse; but the grievances have remained the same. So why, if your goal is to weaken Al Qaeda, are you attacking the Taliban? The Taliban being a local movement with a very limited and unsophisticated ideology. Al Qaeda exists to much larger extent in Pakistan yet there are no American troops in Pakistan, so why do you need such a huge military footprint in Afghanistan were there is no Al Qaeda really if they are coming in from Pakistan?

In Pakistan you do not have this American presence and yet you have been relatively successful. There been no attacks on America thanks to intelligence, interdiction, heightened security. Al Qaeda isn’t really a threat. You have a couple of hundred relatively unsophisticated guys. They used their A team on September 11 and it was tragic, but it wasn’t that significant and didn’t really affect the U.S. What affected the US was the American response internally and abroad. Al Qaeda isn’t really a big deal, but even if you think it’s a big deal, even if you think this is a huge threat that really deserves so much of our resources, understand their grievances and address them.

If your remove Palestine and Kashmir, you’d have way less people in the world who support Al Qaeda, who want to join it. Instead, what we are doing is increasing the occupation of a Muslim country. Although Obama mentioned the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, he mentioned Al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan, what about the American occupation of Afghanistan? What about all the innocent people who being killed there today thanks to American counter-insurgency, counter terrorism operations only further increasing ethnic tensions? You are going to have a civil war in Afghanistan between Tajiks and Pashtuns at some point. It is going more and more in that direction.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Why is the Copenhagen summit looking more and more like a tin-foil hat convention for self-righteous Millenarians

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The confusing and varying disparity between the popularity and perceived worth of various products and artistic endeavours is much documented and discussed. Why are some shit things so popular – Madame Tussauds and Dan Brown books, for example? And yet some popular things are also brilliant, like The Simpsons and the Angel of the North. While other brilliant things hardly anyone buys – I'd put my friend's first novel and sherry in this category. And then there are things for which there's an apparent consensus of abhorrence, and yet loads of people do: hogging the middle lane, going to James Blunt concerts and so on.

So I realised the commercial viability of I Dreamed a Dream is no guarantee of musical excellence. It'll just make a fortune for some, while others' minds turn darkly to eugenics. I've listened to it now and I think I prefer it to But Seriously. Mind you, it's been a long time since I heard that – I couldn't get the cassette to go on my iPod.
It was the misplaced deference of civil servants and others, and the trusting compliance of a largely gullible media, which led us into folly. If we can learn one thing from this, it is that we trust our governments far too much.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Your work has focussed on what you call the 'terrorism', the 'criminal acts' of the United States, and yet your parents view America as a safe haven, as a place of opporutnity and security, how do those two elements of your life fit together?

Chomsky: Very simple as in the same way it did for my parents, yes its a land of opportunity and in fact we know why: its a land of opportunity because the British colonists came and effectively exterminated the indiginous population, which is a typical property of settler colonialism the worst kind of imperialism, conquered half of mexico, instituted slavery, committed huge crimes and created a rich, prosperous country from which I benefit, enourmously. And since then have gone on to carry out horrendous crimes everywhere, the Vietnam war alone is probably the worse crime since the second world war, maybe 4million people killed, three countries devasted, these are real crimes and there are many others.

I don't want to go into detail I think its more the style of argument that I'm getting at now.

Chomsky: I think the style of argument should be to tell the truth, about important things..

Its very easy to condemn the crimes of others, Stalinist hacks condemn the crimes of the West, I don't applaud them for that. I applaud the Soviet dissidents who condemn the crimes of their own government.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

“Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly exaggerated computer predictions combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a rollback of the industrial age.”

But today's revelations show that Lord Goldsmith told Mr Blair at the outset, and in writing, that military action against Iraq was totally illegal.

The disclosures deal a massive blow to Mr Blair's hopes of proving he acted in good faith when he and George Bush declared war on Iraq. And they are likely to fuel further calls for Mr Blair to be charged with war crimes.
The USA’s ex-Vice President, the propagandist Al Gore, got audiences going ‘Aaah!’ by saying the bears had ‘nowhere else to go’. Really? The picture was taken in August, when the Alaskan ice always melts. The polar bears were fine. Think about it.

They can swim and they weren’t far from land. Recent studies show that most polar bear populations are rising.

The world was warmer than it is now in the early Middle Ages, long before industrial activity increased CO2 output, a fact that the warming fanatics have worked very hard to obscure.

Oh, and the most important greenhouse gas by far is not CO2 but water vapour, which is not influenced by human activity at all.

Read more:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It gets worse. As you type 'Michelle Obama' into google one of the first suggested terms after 'mother' is 'monkey'.

Why are our distant cousins not up in arms at this blatent attempt at defamation.

The bloc party video for 'mercury' springs to mind..

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Interestingly, exactly the same problem afflicts Al-Jazeera Arabic, which has never been profitable, and has to be heavily subsidised by the emir of Qatar, even though it is the most popular news channel in the Arab world. Western analysts usually ascribe Al-Jazeera Arabic’s problems to the fact that it is an independent broadcaster trying to operate in the undemocratic environment of the Middle East. What does this suggest about Al-Jazeera English’s problems?

Clearly, any fledgling commercial media organisation – if it did not already understand the commercial imperatives facing a broadcaster in the West – would have been able to draw obvious conclusions from Al-Jazeera English’s treatment. In fact, one could plausibly argue that Al-Jazeera is starting to draw the right conclusion itself, toning down its own coverage to ensure it does not sound too much like its more “controversial” Arabic sister channel. And it may yet choose to make further compromises in the hope of gaining entry to the US market.

Monday, November 16, 2009

all that women and ethnic minorities in parliament have proved is that they can be just as venal and crooked as anyone else. I'll stick with the class-ridden cravat &blazer brigade thank-you.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

First, he refers to something called 'Al Qaeda', on the assumption that there exists a defined, centralised organisation going under this name. Can he tell me: a) where I can find AQ's statement of aims, as opposed to baseless journalistic and political assertions of what those aims are; b)where and when it was founded, and by whom; c) how does it raise and where does it bank or store its funds, and how and to whom does it disburse them? d) what specific aims, methods, etc allow an analyst to decide whether an Islamist terror group is or is not affiliated to AQ, as in ‘such and such an action “bears all the hallmarks of Al Qaeda” ‘. What precisely are these 'hallmarks'? In what way are they different from the modus operandi of any fanatical Islamist terror group, and what reason do we have to assume that they are linked, except in the vaguest sense, with the actions of any other such group, Islamist fanatics existing in places as distant and different as Bosnia, Leeds and the Philippines, and often being from differing and even hostile types of Islam? e) what its political front organisation is, and how we can tell objectively that statements or actions attributed to AQ by journalists or intelligence organisations or governments are in fact connected with it?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Passed unanimously, Resolution 1887 calls for the end of threats of force and for all countries to join the NPT, as Iran did long ago. NPT non-signers are India, Israel and Pakistan, all of which developed nuclear weapons with U.S. help, in violation of the NPT.

Iran hasn't invaded another country for hundreds of years -- unlike the United States, Israel and India (which occupies Kashmir, brutally).

The threat from Iran is minuscule. If Iran had nuclear weapons and delivery systems and prepared to use them, the country would be vaporized.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Another indication that the ridiculous amount of hatred aimed at Gordon Brown is entirely hollow and irrational.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Brown argued that it was a conflict that must be "prosecuted out of necessity" to protect this country and the wider world from terrorism. On the other, he warned President Hamid Karzai that in a country that had become a "byword for corruption" and cronyism, he would no longer put Britain's soldiers in harm's way unless Karzai improved.
Barack Obama, winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, is planning another war to add to his impressive record. In Afghanistan, his agents routinely extinguish wedding parties, farmers and construction workers with weapons such as the innovative Hellfire missile, which sucks the air out of your lungs. According to the UN, 338,000 Afghan infants are dying under the Obama-led alliance, which permits only $29 per head annually to be spent on medical care.

Within weeks of his inauguration, Obama started a new war in Pakistan, causing more than a million people to flee their homes. In threatening Iran – which his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said she was prepared to “obliterate” – Obama lied that the Iranians were covering up a “secret nuclear facility”, knowing that it had already been reported to the International Atomic Energy Authority. In colluding with the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East, he bribed the Palestinian Authority to suppress a UN judgment that Israel had committed crimes against humanity in its assault on Gaza – crimes made possible with US weapons whose shipment Obama secretly approved before his inauguration.
If people hate you, and you train and arm them, you are training and arming your enemies, the better to kill you – as we see. But none of the three front benches has the small courage to admit that the war was a mistake. When it was popular, they were happy to share in its popularity.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

There is a laboratory where these Tory policies are being played out now. It is called London. Boris Johnson said he was a "progressive conservative" who would "help the poor" and "green the city". One of his first acts in power was to lay off half the people in London government working on lowering the city's carbon emissions, and to kick plans to limit pollution levels into the long grass.

One year in, it is clear he has delivered handsomely – for the rich. He has given them a de facto tax cut by abolishing the extension of the congestion zone to well-heeled west London, and by abandoning the £25-a-day charge for SUV drivers. He has paid for it by pushing up costs for the poorest people in London, ramming up bus fares by 20 per cent. He has opposed all new regulation on the City of London, and still praises sub-prime mortgages – the cause of the Great Crash of 2008.

Under the Conservative council of Hammersmith and Fulham – named by Cameron as a model for how he will rule – things have gone further. It has paid for tax cuts by shutting down 12 homeless hostels, increasing the cost of meals on wheels for poor pensioners by 60 percent, and suddenly charging disabled people who need home help £12.40 an hour.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

In September, director Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland for leaving the U.S. in 1978 before being sentenced to prison for raping a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson’s house in Hollywood. During the time of the original incident, you were working in the industry, and you and Polanski had a common friend in theater critic and producer Kenneth Tynan. So what’s your take on Polanski, this many years later?

Vidal: I really don’t give a fuck. Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she’s been taken advantage of?

First, I was in the middle of all that. Back then, we all were. Everybody knew everybody else. There was a totally different story at the time that doesn’t resemble anything that we’re now being told.

The media can’t get anything straight. Plus, there’s usually an anti-Semitic and anti-fag thing going on with the press – lots of crazy things. The idea that this girl was in her communion dress, a little angel all in white, being raped by this awful Jew, Polacko – that’s what people were calling him – well, the story is totally different now from what it was then.

You think anti-Semitism is motivating the prosecution of Polanski?

Anti-Semitism got poor Polanski. He was also a foreigner. He did not subscribe to American values in the least. To [his persecutors], that seemed vicious and unnatural.

What are “American values”?

Lying and cheating. There’s nothing better

You first started traveling to California in the 1950s; then you moved here. What’s the most dramatic change you’ve seen in this state since those days?

More foreigners. But that’s a very healthy change. At one time, California was the most parochial place on earth. It was kind of gooney. In a sense, Hitler put the United States on the map by murdering as many Jews as he could get his hands on and driving the others away. They came here, to America, and many to California. My first years here, right after I got out of the Army, Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, and Thomas Mann dominated this town. We didn’t even have to develop people as good as this! We inherited

Monday, October 26, 2009

‘Talk about Europe and they call you extreme. Talk about tax and they call you greedy. Talk about crime and they call you reactionary. Talk about asylum and they call you racist. Talk about your nation and they call you Little Englanders.

But we trust the people. They are not bigoted or ungenerous. They understand that Britain has responsibilities to those who have been displaced by war or persecution. But they can also read maps. And they can tell that something is going badly wrong when tens of thousands of people are crossing the entire length of the European Continent, travelling through safe countries en route, before suddenly lodging an asylum claim in Britain.’

William Hague speech 2001. Tumbleweeds and the BNP now occupy the ground of abandoned convservatives.

Friday, October 23, 2009

What an absolute red herring this entire week has been, and how convenient for self-righteous bien-pensant liberal elitists to wag their fingers at a thoroughly (and disproportionately) discredited small party, as if this magically waves away the utter mess they've created in this country, and how discredited they themselves are amomgst the public at large.

If anyone on that panel decided to go home thinking they've gained some points for courage for kicking someone while he's not only down but vehemently pinned to the ground by a baying mob, they're more deluded than anyone thought.

The circus preamble around the event only gave Nick Griffin a rock-star aura until the actual show where if anything, being jeered and derided, he ridiculously came to resemble some kind of persecuted Messiah. Vilification ill-befits any serious person, interested in serious issues and discussing them reasonably. All the mud-slinging went beyond its affect and turned the show into a joke. A delicious irony was the way Chris Huhne talked about defending minorities and then proceeded to delight in the format of the show, which pitted one person (and the small constituency he represents) against 4 pannelists, a hostile audience and the entire mainstream press.

Most people who vote BNP, and this wasn't touched on enough, do it stick two fingers up at the political class. This is what the press would be addressing if they weren't inextricably part of the problem. This isn't about Nick Griffin or his party, there is still a major problem about how we as society deal with minority views which don't fit an ever-smaller spectrum of acceptable opinion.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

He says today:

Beyoncé belief
Reader Nick Paterson-Morgan drew my attention to the following announcement in The Times:

My first reaction was that this must be a wind-up, probably placed for a bet by someone at the swine flu hotline with nothing better to do. We rang The Times advertising department and they assured us it was genuine.

There’s no mention of a Mr Pong, or any father’s name for that matter. If true, which I still doubt, somewhere out there in Shropshire is a single mother called Kate Pong with quins, variously named after an American pop singer, a model and the U.S. President.

You couldn’t make it up.

Actually you could make it up. MacGuffin at TabloidWatch points out that Littlejohn’s team, typically, didn’t bother checking their facts properly. Kate Pong is a labrador.

He says ‘we’ rang the Times, which suggests he couldn’t even do that himself either. And notice how he even includes a snide remark about single mothers. In a story about a dog.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It is surely a positive that Britain finally has a world champion with an appreciation of the good things in life (Jenson Button) as opposed to a monosyllabic, monkish automaton in a helmet. It also shows what a Japanese lingerie model can do for your lap-times.

But once the partying is over, someone should invite Button to spend 30 seconds on a set of asymmetric bars. By the time they have scraped him off the crash mat and called an ambulance, Tweddle will have gained the limitless respect she deserves.
What makes the new 'Modern' Conservative party modern? There are still more Etonians than women and Ethnic minorities combined.
There is obviously a huge risk in sending an extra 40,000 machine-gun wielding troops into a country they don't understand to "clear" huge areas of insurgent fighters who look exactly like the civilian population, and establish "control" of places that have never been controlled by a central government at any point in their history.

US aerial attacks on the Afghan-Pakistan border have killed 14 al-Qa'ida leaders, at the expense of more than 700 civilian lives. He says: "That's a hit rate of 2 per cent on 98 per cent collateral. It's not moral." It explains the apparent paradox that broke the US in Vietnam: the more "bad guys" you kill, the more you have to kill.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It has been 20 minutes since I’ve read [Jan Moir's] now-notorious column, and I’m still struggling to absorb the sheer scope of its hateful idiocy. It’s like gazing through a horrid little window into an awesome universe of pure blockheaded spite. Spiralling galaxies of ignorance roll majestically against a backdrop of what looks like dark prejudice, dotted hither and thither with winking stars of snide innuendo.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Iraqi puppet government has requested that Syria turn in Iraqi Ba`thist leaders who are stationed in Damascus. A Syrian official gave a rather (unusually) good response: he said that if Syria were to turn in Iraqi dissidents, Nuri Al-Maliki would have been turned in to Saddam Husayn. Nuri Al-Maliki responded thus: whatttt????

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This doesn't surprise me in the least. I can't remember the last time the Nobel peace prize wasn't handed to a rapacious mass murderer. (Before you mention Al Gore he was pretty enthusiastic about destroying Yugoslavia before he started jetting around the world telling us not to use aeroplanes.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

The purge crushed Most's belief in gradual reform. He became convinced the system could only be changed by blowing it up – and suddenly realised that explosives were now lying all over Europe and the US, in sheds controlled by ordinary workers. Dynamite needed no expertise to operate; it could be carried in your pocket; and it could kill. He announced: "It is within the power of dynamite to destroy the capitalist regime just as it had been within the power of gunpowder and the rifle to wipe feudalism from the face of the earth. A girdle of dynamite encircles the world!"

Most travelled from country to country, urging workers to pick up their dynamite and use it against the bosses who forced them to work 12-hour days, seven days a week, for starvation wages. He became the model for Ossipon, the refugee-anarchist Ossipon in Joseph Conrad's novel The Secret Agent, who walks the street with a bomb forever strapped to him, ready to blow himself up the moment the police swoop. In anticipation of Islamism, Ossipon brags that his enemies "depend on life ... whereas I depend on death, which knows no restraint and cannot be attacked. My superiority is evident."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

There is however a need to explain why things like this make the headlines without fail every single time. Who gives a shit? I would love to commission a poll to see how many in the Asian community give a shit. He insulted someone, he probably didn't mean to, he said sorry. A man in his 70s said it wouldn't have been a big deal in his day. What an earth shattering event. This is just an excuse for the chronically PC to rattle their tired old sabre and pseuds to justify writing about a boring, worthless reality TV show they'd otherwise be ashamed to admit they watch.
The Nobel peace committee should retire, and turn over its huge funds to some international peace organization which is not awed by stardom and rhetoric, and which has some understanding of history.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The judge [at his trial] quite liked him, and he was intrigued by the fact that this rather talkative kid who wrote tons of pieces for the press had not defended himself. So he said - Mr McVeigh, could we hear more from you? [McVeigh] said, 'Well, your honour, I will base my case on Justice Brandeis, one of our most brilliant jurists, in his opinion in Olmstead. There, he writes that when government ceases to lead by example and actually provides a bad example, anything can happen. Government is the last teacher. Everything I did, I learned from my government."
Since when, with debt levels lower than almost all other wealthy nations, and lower than almost all of modern British history, is it suddenly "a disaster" which requires savage cuts.

"From 1750 to 1870, Britain won wars, assembled an astonishing navy, built an empire and launched the Industrial Revolution to become the envy of Europe, yet the national debt was consistently above 80 per cent of GDP. Nobody cared. High national debt was a precondition for winning two world wars in the 20th century. Periods when the over-riding preoccupation has been lowering the national debt have coincided with industrial, economic and strategic decline. So it will again."

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Just before Vidal arrived, the poverty-wreathed Guatemalan people had elected a left-wing president called Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán. They wanted him to introduce a minimum wage and start taxing the US mega-corporation, the United Fruit Company, that dominated the country's only industry, banana-growing. The outraged United Fruit Company acted to preserve its profits – by getting Washington to topple Árbenz and install a dictator. The phrase "banana republic" entered the language. (Bananistan for a central Asian variation.)

"I was astonished," Vidal says. "I had known vaguely about our numerous past interventions in Central America. But that was the past." He discovered that Senator Henry Cabot Lodge was leading the charge, and "I didn't believe it. Lodge was a family friend; as a boy I had discussed poetry with him". He says he realised then he had been fighting "for an Empire, not a republic". His grandfather, he resolved, had been right all along: wars only serve elites.

He rapidly became the leading left-wing critic of American foreign policy. He warned against every war from Vietnam to Iraq, often with extraordinary prescience. At the height of George W Bush's post-9/11 popularity, he said: "Mark my words – he will leave office the most unpopular President in history."

Sunday, October 04, 2009

In the meantime, we should take the only lawful action that is open to us.
At the coming Election, refuse to vote for any of them, and do so in such numbers that they can no longer claim they have any mandate to rule, so that their zombie parties collapse in a heap of dust and worms, and we can start again.
But do not imagine that this is some sort of Labour crisis, which will be solved by a smiling team of Old Etonians floating along our troubled streets.
The evil that drove Fiona Pilkington to her horrible death was released by Labour and Tory governments alike, by the liberal elite in general, during half a century of misguided stupidity

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The same techniques, it was hoped, would ensure that the "intelligent minorities" would rule, undisturbed by "the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd," the general public (the Sun readers), "ignorant and meddlesome outsiders" whose "function" is to be "spectators," not "participants."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Similarly, the problem is not that writers sell-out, but that, as Noam Chomsky told the BBC’s Andrew Marr, “if you believed something different you wouldn't be sitting where you're sitting". (The Big Idea, BBC2, February 14, 1996) Chomsky once related a story he had heard from a civil rights activist at Harvard Law School:

“He once gave a talk and said that kids were coming in to Harvard Law School with long hair and backpacks and social ideals and they were all going to go into public service, law and change the world. That's the first year. He said around April the recruiters come for the summer jobs, the Wall Street firms. Get a cushy summer job and make a ton of money.

“So the students figure, What the heck? I can put on a tie and jacket and shave for one day, because I need that money and why shouldn't I have it? So they put on a tie and a jacket for that one day and they get the job for the summer. Then they go off for the summer and when they come back in the fall, it's ties and jackets and obedience and a shift of ideology.”

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In 2007, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission referred Megrahi’s case for appeal. “The commission is of the view,” said its chairman, Dr Graham Forbes, “that based upon our lengthy investigations, the new evidence we have found and other evidence which was not before the trial court, that the applicant may have suffered a miscarriage of justice.”

The words “miscarriage of justice” are missing entirely from the current furore, with Kenny MacAskill reassuring the baying mob that the scapegoat will soon face justice from that “higher power”. What a disgrace.
One of the functions of a capitalist state is to defend capitalism from itself, to defend capitalism from the capitalists. It was Marx—dare we mention him? I hear he’s coming back in style. It was Marx who said one capitalist will kill many other capitalists, that the system begins to consume itself. We see that with Bernard Madoff and the like.

Friday, September 04, 2009

My reading of 1945 tells me that we ended up making a shameful deal with Stalin, under pressure from Roosevelt to do so, giving the Soviet tyrant the very 'free hand' in central Europe that we had impotently sought to deny Hitler. The difference was that by then we had sacrificed huge numbers of lives, all our wealth and our Empire. For what? If we had stayed out of power struggles in which we had no power, there'd have been no need to make a deal with Hitler, or Stalin either.
Joyce - the first senior Government figure to resign over the war - said: "We need to make it clear our commitment in Afghanistan is high but time limited. For many, Britain fights, Germany pays, France calculates, Italy avoids.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Conventional wisdom about the distant or quite recent past was seldom conventional wisdom at the time. The perceptive commentators (Trotsky and Churchill on Hitler, for instance, not to mention those who opposed the Iraq war before it began, those who initially said that British exams were being devalued, those who warned against university expansion, those who refused to accept that Gordon Brown was a competent Chancellor, I could go on) were in small minorities when it mattered, and only became recognised as wise when it was far too late. Mr O'Brien must have heard the story of the Emperor's New Clothes. Most people who hear this story think they would have realised the little boy was right. Experience tells me that most of them would have sided with the crowd, and believed the fake tailors. The curse of Cassandra was to be always right, and never believed.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Legal and judicial reform is one barometer of social change, but so is popular culture and Bryant must have been extremely sensitive to it. A quick scan through 1970s popular culture reveals how its ideas about sexuality, gender, and relationships were a radical break from the past.
IF anyone thinks that someone is obliged to produce scientific proof of God's existence for him or anyone else, he overestimates human capacities. No-one has ever suggested that such proof was available, and I don't know why anyone would look for such a thing in such a place. All the arguments about the existence or non-existence of God are very old, and none of them has ever persuaded anyone who didn't want to be convinced in the first place. What I'm interested in is the motives people have for belief - and unbelief.
Anyone violating the sanctity of the Holy month of Ramadan will be arrested under the Jordanian Penal Code number 16, article 247 from 1960, the police department in Ramallah said Wednesday.
"The only man convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 arrived in Libya today after he was released by the Scottish government -- drawing ire from heartbroken family members of the 270 victims who felt they had to relive the searing pain of loss all over again." Drawing ire? The families (through their association) sold their loved ones for cash payments from Qadhdhafi. (To be fair: there were families who were opposed to the deal, but the majority prevailed).

Monday, August 10, 2009

NATO should be more involved in protecting its members' energy resources, the alliance's top diplomat said Thursday amid concerns that fuel supplies face threats ranging from terrorism to supply cuts by disgruntled exporters.

NATO has a "role to play in this field," Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a gathering of ministers and senior diplomats from almost 50 allied and partner nations.

Some NATO allies want it to consider a military role in protecting pipelines, oil platforms and sea routes bringing oil and gas to Europe and North America. Poland, which is heavily dependent on Russian oil and gas imports, has suggested a pact to support allies whose supplies are

Friday, August 07, 2009

If you’re a deskbound general continually demanding more men, more weapons and more money to subdue Afghanistan, you get endless air time, a peerage and a gold-plated pension.

If you’re a humble squaddie with service in theatre, whose doubts about the war are so serious you go Awol for two years, you face disgrace, a court martial and possibly jail.

Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, 27, of the Royal Logistic Corps, has been charged with desertion for refusing to return to Afghanistan, and faces extra charges for speaking out about a war he (and plenty of his mates) say is unwinnable.

When MoD top brass say the same thing it makes headlines, not a charge sheet.

Rarely has the class distinction between officers and men been so clearly defined.
Nobody - but nobody not the Queen, not the so-called captains of industry, not the bosses of the BBC or any other public body, not the brain free footballers of the Premier League, not the so-called celebrities on our TV screens and most emphatically not the pigswill brigade who run the privatised utilities, deserves more than the Prime Minister's salary of £195,000 a year.

If you can't live on that - and millions of people have to get by on much less than a 10th of that - then quite frankly you deserve to die.
When on his recent visit to Turkey President Obama called for Turkish entry into the European Union, he put his finger on a strategic and cultural sore spot. The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, speaking for the majority position in Europe, was quick to respond: Turkey may one day enjoy a privileged relationship with the EU, but full membership is out of the question. Turkey is not European – geographically or culturally.

Interpretations of the US stance are numerous and contradictory, but they highlight deep tensions within Europe on the issue. Some believe the US is concerned primarily with securing access to the energy reserves of the Caspian basin; others suspect Washington of using Turkish alignment with American policy (by way of Nato) to exert pressure on its European allies; still others see an attempt to weaken Europe by placing a Turkish economic, demographic and cultural millstone around its neck.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Considering events inside Iran from June 12 on, it seems highly likely that many of Iran's more affluent, urban-activist and technologically savvy youth had concluded that they could achieve their political objectives best, not at the ballot box in June 2009, and not by arguing their case before the rigid bodies of Iran's executive branch, but by tailoring their messages of dissent to foreign audiences, taking to the streets to provoke repressive responses by state authorities, with every action of the state serving to delegitimize it in the eyes of the West's metropolitan centers, whose recognition and validation the protestors have sought above all.

Indeed, the West is where we find the real streets the demonstrators want to control. Not "from Engelob Square to Azadi Square," as Robert Fisk reported it, but how Engelob Square and Azadi Square, Evin Prison and the Basij militia, play in the United States and other Western powers, where 98% of the "internationalists" wouldn't blog, "tweet," text-message, or take to their own streets to stop a single NATO missile from striking a wedding or funeral party in Afghanistan, however much they cheer Iran's dissidents.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

This is that these people are not, as idiotically claimed by much of the media, a 'right-wing' revolution against a 'left-wing' old-style Labour. They are practical men and women of the New Left, uninterested in nationalising the railways, gripped by sexual, social and cultural revolution and hostile to national sovereignty. They grasp that their revolutionary objectives can after all be achieved by Parliamentary means, not least because most in the media are either sympathetic to them, or so dim and uninstructed in the ways of Marxism that they cannot see what is going on in front of their noses.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

But it’s generally the others who go. That’s why the stupid war goes on unquestioned, and why politicians, never in our history so ignorant of war, have allowed the debate about whether we should be there at all (we shouldn’t) to dribble away into an argument about helicopters.
Next time, they should lay the coffins on the despatch box in the Commons, right in the faces of the Cabinet and the Shadow Cabinet, and make all the MPs look at what they have done, while they debate their stupid war.

Monday, July 13, 2009

AMY GOODMAN: That was President Obama in Cairo in his heralded address to the Muslim world. John Pilger, he says the continued expansion of settlements has to stop, your response? And an overall to his entire address?

JOHN PILGER: He says the continuing response, but what about all the settlements, the so-called settlements, colonies, that have so honeycombed the Occupied Territories over almost two decades? I thought the most significant aspect of that statement was he referred to the continuing settlements, leave the ones that have already been built. Let’s stop building them now. Of course, the Israelis, ever resourceful in this area, got around this very quickly. by issuing building licenses to those settlements that were about to be built and hadn’t been built as if they had been built so they would not fall into President Obama’s category.

The crime always is independence. Iran is an independent state and has almost miraculously maintained itself in forms that we might not approve of, certainly, but it has maintained itself as an independent, major state in the Middle East. That is absolutely intolerable to the U.S. State.

And Obama has not shifted from that at all. He has made a number of patronizing appeals to the Iranians, but now, as he is in effect saying, the protesters should be allowed to control the streets of Tehran. Turn that around. What if it was suggested that protesters should be allowed to control the streets of Washington? But that of course is another side of double standards. I don’t believe anything has changed. If it is going to change in the Middle East as in other parts of the world, there has to be greater pressure.

No mention is made of the enormous American army of mercenaries who are in all those theaters of war, and Special Forces. No mention is made of the special forces operation inside Iraq come inside—I beg your pardon, inside Iran. $400 million was allotted to that particular secret war by Bush, in one of his signing decrees, which money has gone to both the Kurdish and Baluchi separatist movements. The whole region is being crafted, if you like, for a very, very long American colonial presence. Eventually, it will not need a standing army there. That is the future in that part of the world, as I say, unless people become aware of that and start to bang on the doors of government, of Congress, and of power in this country to expose it.
His reaction hasn’t been perfect: unlike France and Spain, he hasn’t withdrawn the US Ambassador yet. He supports the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, which are vast brakes on Latin American democracy, and he bad-mouths Chavez while arming the genuinely abusive Colombian government. But it is a vast improvement on Bush and McCain, who would have been mistily chorusing “We are all Honduran Generals now”.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I still think it highly instructive that we challenge the wisdom of this war on the basis of casualties that we have endured, and never the countless civilian casualties that we are responsible for as a result of our actions.

We will now see a debate, covered uncritically in the media on the war in Afghanistan which is centred on its cost to us. A free press would surely be lambasting the political class for this outrage. Much like the commentariat here, the debate in Russia during the invasion of Afghanistan was invariably about the cost to the aggressor. The US/UK was calling for the withdrawal of Russia regardless of the security situation in the country.

I know how unpopular a view this is in Britain but the invasion of Afghanistan is just a war crime and we have no right to be there. The sooner we bring our 18 and 19 year olds from the front line of this phony war the better.

Friday, June 26, 2009

It’s based on my reading of what I believe is happening in Iran. This, in my judgment, is a post-ideological generation. My generation was divided into third world socialists, anti-colonial nationalists and militant Islamists. These are the three dominant ideologies with which we grew up. But if you look at the composition of Iranian society today, 70 percent of it is under the age of thirty—namely, born after the Islamic Revolution. They no longer are divided along those ideological lines.

And if you read their newspapers, if you watch their movies, if you listen to the lyrics of their underground music, to their contemporary arts, etc., which we have been doing over the past thirty years, this, to me, is a civil rights movement. They are operating within the Constitution of the Islamic Republic. They don’t want to topple the regime. If you look—come outside, from the right of the right, in the US Senate to the left, is waiting for yet another revolution to happen. I don’t think this is another revolution. This is a civil rights movement. They’re demanding their civil rights that are being denied, even within the Constitution of the Islamic Republic. From their chants that they are doing in the streets to their newspapers, to their magazines, to their websites, to their Facebook, to their Twitters, everywhere that you look, this is a demand for civil liberties and not—

There are, of course, underlying economic factors, statistically. The unemployment in the age cohort of fifteen to twenty-nine is 70 percent. So this is not a class warfare. In other words, people that we see in the streets, 70 percent of them, that a majority of them are young—70 percent of them do not even have a job. They can’t even rent a room, let alone marry, let alone have a family. So the assumption that this is a upper-middle-class or middle-class, bourgeois, Gucci revolutionaries on the side of Mousavi and poor on the side of Ahmadinejad is completely false.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The only demographic groups in which our survey found Mousavi leading or competitive with Ahmadinejad were university students and graduates, and the highest-income Iranians. When our poll was taken, almost a third of Iranians were also still undecided. Yet the baseline distributions we found then mirror the results reported by the Iranian authorities, indicating the possibility that the vote is not the product of widespread fraud.

Monday, June 22, 2009

It is bad enough that the ghastly Blair creature might rise from the political tomb, hands clasped in pious prayer, upper lip trembling with fake emotion, pockets crammed with money from the lecture circuit, drivel streaming from his mouth. That would perhaps be the only thing that might make the nation warm to Gordon Brown again.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gaza's forced separation from Palestine, and its miserable condition, have been almost entirely consigned to oblivion, an atrocity to which we should not contribute by tacit consent. Israeli journalist Amira Hass, one of the leading specialists on Gaza writes that "The restrictions on Palestinian movement that Israel introduced in January 1991 reversed a process that had been initiated in June 1967. Back then, and for the first time since 1948, a large portion of the Palestinian people again lived in the open territory of a single country--to be sure, one that was occupied, but was nevertheless whole... The total separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank is one of the greatest achievements of Israeli politics, whose overarching objective is to prevent a solution based on international decisions and understandings and instead dictate an arrangement based on Israel's military superiority... Since January 1991, Israel has bureaucratically and logistically merely perfected the split and the separation: not only between Palestinians in the occupied territories and their brothers in Israel, but also between the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and those in the rest of the territories and between Gazans and West Bankers/Jerusalemites. Jews live in this same piece of land within a superior and separate system of privileges, laws, services, physical infrastructure and freedom of movement" (April 24,

Saturday, June 06, 2009

There is much debate about whether torture has been effective in eliciting information -- the assumption being, apparently, that if it is effective then it may be justified. By the same argument, when Nicaragua captured US pilot Eugene Hasenfuss in 1986 after shooting down his plane delivering aid to Reagan's contra forces, they should not have tried him, found him guilty, and then sent him back to the US, as they did. Rather, they should have applied the CIA torture paradigm to try to extract information about other terrorist atrocities being planned and implemented in Washington, no small matter for a tiny and poor country under terrorist attack by the global superpower. And Nicaragua should certainly have done the same if they had been able to capture the chief terrorism coordinator, John Negroponte, then Ambassador in Honduras, later appointed counterterrorism Czar, without eliciting a murmur. Cuba should have done the same if they had been able to lay hands on the Kennedy brothers. There is no need to bring up what victims should have done to Kissinger, Reagan, and other leading terrorist commanders, whose exploits leave al-Qaeda far in the distance, and who doubtless had ample information that could have prevented further "ticking bombs."

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Occasionally the conflict between "what we stand for" and "what we do" has been forthrightly addressed. One distinguished scholar who undertook the task is Hans Morgenthau, a founder of realist international relations theory. In a classic study written in the glow of Camelot, Morgenthau developed the standard view that the US has a "transcendent purpose": establishing peace and freedom at home and indeed everywhere, since "the arena within which the United States must defend and promote its purpose has become world-wide." But as a scrupulous scholar, he recognized that the historical record is radically inconsistent with the "transcendent purpose" of America.

We should not, however, be misled by that discrepancy, Morgenthau advises: in his words, we should not "confound the abuse of reality with reality itself." Reality is the unachieved "national purpose" revealed by "the evidence of history as our minds reflect it." What actually happened is merely the "abuse of reality." To confound abuse of reality with reality is akin to "the error of atheism, which denies the validity of religion on similar grounds." An apt comparison.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mr Brown has the bad luck to look like his party and like his government, ie not very nice. But he is no worse than Anthony Blair, who was voted for and tolerated by many of the people who are now so enraged about Gordon Brown. There is no significant difference, apart from public relations skill and the physical features of the Prime Minister, between a government led by Gordon Brown, Anthony Blair and David Cameron. Labour's poll ratings and popularity collapsed not when it changed its policies (for it never did) but when it swapped a Prime Minister who could smile but not read, for one who could read but not smile.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

We are still governed by an unaccountable establishment. But nowadays it is made up of Eurocrats and human rights judges, BBC executives and quango heads.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ban did condemn "the excessive use of force" by the Israelis in its massive assault on Gaza. As Abu Nimah noted, presumably the UN Secretary-General "found Israel's attack on Gaza perfectly acceptable, but he disagreed only with the tonnage of high explosives that should be dropped by Israeli planes." While correctly condemning Hamas rocket attacks on Israel as "violations of basic humanitarian law", Ban neglected to say the same of Israel's ongoing massive violations.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

So you've seen television ads. Suppose there's a television ad for a drug, or a car, or something. In a market society, what you would have is a description of the properties of the commodity because then you get what are called Ôinformed consumers making rational choices.' But that's not what you get. What you get is forms of delusion because the business wants to create uninformed consumers, who make irrational choices. That is, they want to undermine markets. Which is very much like the political system. You want an electorate, which is uninformed and makes irrational choices under modern democracy, so the whole kind of ideology is so remote from reality that it's almost impossible to discuss.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Yohji Yamamoto, Spring 2009
Sure, the creative loafer has the cash, but he's not about to pay someone else to pick up his milk and morning paper. After all, the vocation may be artistic, but the values (and, in this case, the clothes) are blue-collar.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Exchange with Mark Urban

Mark- I find your blog very thorough and engaging. I don't however seem to see much distinction between our military institution and our political system which couldn't be further apart at this moment in time. As an anti-war Brit I don't think the confidence and effectiveness of our armed forces is to be taken lightly, afterall they are probably the reason I am freely able to conduct this e-mail to you right now.

Surely though you can separate criticism for our political elite from demeaning the role of our armed forces. If you agreed with the war then its not an issue, but for those who feel tagging along with the worlds only superpower in plundering vulnerable third world countries is not a good policy- shouldn't be required to bite their tongue in a time of war.

This has nothing to do with the general principle that a strong national defence is of utmost importance. Do you have an opinion on our political leaders, most with no military background, making decisions to send our troops to war on ever-changing pretexts? Moreover ill-equipped in many cases- If so what is the required mode of protest?


I am replying to some of the recent traffic caused by my Iraq blog but would ask you to respect that this is a personal response to your interesting mail, rather than an attempt to re-start the debate in the forum of Medialens.
Yes, I accept there is a difference between criticising the political elite and the armed forces. Nothing in my blog or the subsequent traffic precluded: opposing the war; criticising political leaders for getting us into it; and trying to ensure that such a thing never happens again. The primary lesson that I drew was in fact that prime ministers are unwise to take a divided nation into such a campaign. But once we were in, a moral responsibility to the Iraqis and need to support the armed forces justified support for British operations there.
As for political leaders with no military responsibility sending troops into battle, it can be problematic. I have heard differing views from generals on this topic. But while most would, I think, prefer to be led by people who understand ugly realities of battle, they accept that this is a rarity in modern society.
all the best

From: S Izza []
Sent: 24 April 2009 17:22
To: Mark Urban
Subject: war and peace

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

While welfare fraud is committed on a mass scale from the Banks to the front benches, the tax-man is still much more concerned with the some coucil estate dweller claiming benefits while working at Iceland.

Vote none of the above please.
I think that one of the sort of untold and unheard story of Pakistan’s entire existence in the United States media was the lawyers’ movement that peacefully, I might add, and in large terms secularly, drove out of power a entrenched military dictator, both out of military power, but also out of civilian power.

And I think that that really speaks towards two inherent presences in Pakistani society. One is they have a robust, critical media that is not multi-—sort of multi-voiced. There’s Urdu presses, Urdu newspaper channels, English newspaper channels and other regional channels and newspapers, so very, very diverse media that has had a critical engagement with the state on many different levels. And secondly, the need of Pakistani people, in general, to—you know, as in any other citizenry of the world, to ask for security, to ask for safety, to ask for engagement with their government.

And I think that the rise of this sort of civil movement, the lawyers’ movement and its sort of student wing, really speaks to the articulation by the Pakistani people that they want to operate within a democratic framework and not within a sort of a military dictatorship that they had been under for the past ten years.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

David Cameron asks us to treat the June 4 elections as a referendum on the Brown government. Well, if you like. But you might also treat them as a referendum on the feeblest, most gutless, most ineffectual, most sleazy and complacent Opposition in British history, an Opposition that deserves to be sacked and replaced.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

One former Labour minister said: "I object to your decision not to reimburse me for the costs of purchasing a baby's cot for use in my London home... perhaps you might write to me explaining where my son should sleep next time he visits me in London?"
Don't mind paying taxes so that male MPs can order nappies and tampons even though they live alone, its pointless wars, trident& IDcards that the Telegraph fails to grasp the public outrage over.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

While you are entitled to your own opinions, you are not entitled to your own facts. To claim Thatcher boosted aspiration is false – unless you mean merely the aspiration of the rich to become super-rich.
IF there is anything more indicative of the inherent bias in our mainstream media which is miles apart from the people it pretends to inform and represent, its the reaction to the top rate tax increase.

Despite the fact that 68%, a large majority of the population are in favour of increasing the rate, the media have focussed on the political nature of the move in a collective effort to undermine it and present it as some kind of spiteful throwback to old labour.

Interesting angle to take given the mainstream press are comprised largely of 150k plus earners from public schools.
Joanna Lumley seems to have taken to the Ghurkha's in classic orientalist fashion. In fact the entire media has exoticised and romanticised the Ghurka's as this mysterious fighting force from the bygone days of Empire.

Very patronising and self-regarding of a Joanna to appoint herself the articulated consciousness of the Ghurka's plight. I see no similar campaign for our own soldiers who are underpaid, underequipped and sent to wars on ever-changing pretexts.

The government lost on such an issue of principle but the same people couldn't bring themselves to protect their own citizens and indeed constituents from summary arrest and detention without trial for more 500 hours, dismantling ancient liberties. The principle should be the following, in our current condition: people willing to lay down their lives for this country, should have their heads thoroughly examined.

Now we have an ID card scheme which promises to be voluntary but will inevitably be compulsory. Obviously the rally cry is if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about, but its precisely because I have nothing to hide that I'm deeply worried. Why should a citizen in a free society have to prove their innocence at every corner as if the country is on the brink of voilent revolution.

After Ian Tomlinson's tragic death, I hope foreign offices around Europe and even Africa are warning their citizens not to participate in political rallies when visiting the UK. Protests are being increasingly seen as inherently subversive and a threat to the state, whereas just about every worthwhile achievement has come about through political activism. WE haven't reached an end point, withering away the means to protest only provides fertile ground for the more extremist groups which explains the growth and relative popularity of groups like the BNP and hizb u tahrir.

Let's just hope ID cards are scrapped and these authoritarian measures are reveresed

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

If a writer has any guts he should write all the time, and the lousier the world the harder a writer should work. For if he can do nothing positive, to make the world more liveable or less cruel or stupid, he can at least record truly, and that is something no one else will do, and it a job that must be done. It is the only revenge that all the bastardized people will ever get: that somebody writes down clearly what happened to them." - Martha Gellhorn, 1941

Monday, February 23, 2009

هذه تقرير يتحدث عن الوظع الاقتصادي في الشرق الأوسط و البلدان الخليجية. يقيم التقرير على مقالة في الجريدة "Gulf News" و مقالة في "القدس العربي". يبحث في المقالات السعار النفط و ركودا الاقتصادي في المنطقة بسبب الازمة المالية العالمية.

يتوقع رئيس صندوق النقد الدولى مسود احمد انخفاض في النمو الاقتصادي بين البلدان في الشرق الاوسط و في الخليج من 2% في المائة في العام 2009.

وذكر التقرير الصندوق النقد الدولى ان معظم البلدان في العالم العربي سوف تستخدم ثروتة نفط لكي استثمر في الخدمات العامة و تجنب التراجع المالي.

المملكة العربية السعودية، التي عند الاقتصاد الاكبر في العالم العربي، سوف ملك عجز الذي يبلغ عن 1.7 بليون الدولار الأميركي.

يتوقع احمد ان سينزل الصادرات النفط الى النصف، و ستعاني الدول الخليج من تراجع في ثروتة نفط بنسبة 50%.

يقول الصندوق النقد الدولى البلدان التي تصدّر النفط هي الجزائر، والبحرين، وايران، العراق، الكويت، لليبية، عمان، قطر، المملكة العربية السعودية، السودان، واليمن.

حسب صندوق النقد الدولي يحدث الإنخفاض في اسعار النفط المؤسسات المالية المختلفة في المنطقة الخليج و العربية، ويشكل مشكلات طاويلً فيها.

يحدث الازمة المالية العالمية على قطاع الخاص و قطاع العام في منطقة الخليخ و العربية مثل سياحة و الصادرات.

اخيرا في الوضع الاقتصادي الصعب هل يمكن رؤساء العالم مثل الرئيس باراك اوباما يساعد في تعافي الازمة الاقتصادية العلمية؟
هذه تقرير يتحدث عن الوظع الاقتصادي في الشرق الأوسط و البلدان الخليجية. يقيم التقرير على مقالة في الجريدة "Gulf News" و مقالة في "القدس العربي". يبحث في المقالات السعار النفط و ركودا الاقتصادي في المنطقة بسبب الازمة المالية العالمية.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

عند للنساء في الغرب بعض الحريات التي ليست موجودة في بعض البلدان العربي والاسلامي.

Monday, February 09, 2009

"Restoring religious faith to its rightful place as a guide to our world and its future is of the essence." Or this: "In surrendering to God we become instruments of his love". He told the story of his "first spiritual awakening" aged 10 when his teacher knelt and prayed with him when his father had a stroke. He warned the teacher that his father was a committed atheist who didn't believe in God, only to be told "God believes in him". And he's had fun at the expense of the civil servants and Alastair Campbell who told him "we don't do God" by finishing with the hope that in acting, politicians will "follow God's will - and by the way God bless you all".

No doubt Mr Blair's religious outpourings will generate a spot of reaction from those who might find it a bit rich to be lectured in religious and moral terms by the man who led us into Iraq and oversaw the culture of casual mendacity that marked New Labour. But for those of us who toil along the Burma Road, watching Mr Blair put on a trademark display of self-deprecation and lip-quivvering guffery was a moment for nostalgia. Say what you like, this guy is good.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Erich Fromm, 54 years ago, concluded: "Man [sic] today is confronted with the most fundamental choice; not that between Capitalism or Communism, but that between robotism (of both the capitalist and the communist variety), or Humanistic Communitarian Socialism. Most facts seem to indicate that he is choosing robotism and that means, in the long run, insanity and destruction. But all these facts are not strong enough to destroy faith in man's reason, good will, and sanity. As long as we can think of other alternatives, we are not lost."

Monday, February 02, 2009

Dear Mr Izza

Thank you for your e-mail regarding 'BBC News' on 3 January. Please
accept our apologies for the delay in replying. We know our
correspondents appreciate a quick response and are sorry you've had
to wait on this occasion.

I understand you felt Peter Sisson's did a poor job of presenting the
item on the Gaza protests in London. I also note that you felt the
item was biased in favour of an Israeli point of view.

The range of tastes and opinions held by our audience is so diverse
that it's inevitable some viewers will dislike or disapprove of the
performance of certain presenters. It's a very rare TV personality
who meets with everyone's approval, and it's clear that opinions on
them can vary considerably.

Our programme contributors are appointed on the basis of their
experience and talent, but judgements are often subjective and we
would never expect everyone to agree with every choice we make.
However, we don't engage any presenter or reporter unless we believe
they're competent and can meet the specific demands required of them.

All BBC journalists and newsreaders are well aware of our commitment
to impartial reporting. They seek only to provide the information
which will enable viewers and listeners to make up their own minds;
to show the political reality and provide the forum for debate where
there is full opportunity for all viewpoints to be heard.

In dealing with any controversial matter the BBC is required to give
a fair and balanced report. However, balance cannot simply be judged
on the basis of the time allocated to the representatives of either
side of an argument. One spokesperson may make his or her points
concisely while another needs rather longer to explain a point of
view. Account also needs to be taken of the way a subject is covered
over a period of time; perfect balance is difficult to achieve on
every single occasion while overall it is a more achievable goal.

Please be assured that senior editorial staff, the Executive
Committee, and the BBC Trust keep a close watch on programmes to
ensure that standards of impartiality are maintained.

I would also like to assure you that we've registered your comments
on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback
we compile daily for all programme makers, news teams, and senior
management within the BBC. The audience logs are important documents
that can help shape decisions about future programming and content
and ensure that your points, and all other comments we receive, are
circulated and considered across the BBC.

Thanks again for contacting us.


Stuart Webb
BBC Complaints

-----Original Message-----

Why am I paying a liscence fee to listen to supercilious wankers like Peter
Sissons treat with contempt a popular gathering against an international c
rime (assault on gaza), endorse police brutality and apologise for Israeli
crimes by accentuating Hamas and equating protestors with Hamas sympathiser
s! Please address this, the BBC is worse than Sky news on this issue, its p
athetic and cringeworthy at times. Is Peter Sissons the self-appointed pros
cribor of 'evil terrorist' organisations because I certainly didn't get the
impression he was mediating and sourcing information like an actual report
er, as opposed to a sycophantic apologist for state crimes and those of the
ir allies.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Actually, it is still not too late to bring back the Hereditary Peers, decent incorruptible old coves who have Britain in their bones and blood. Why do we believe that ‘democracy’ is the answer to everything when it so frequently elevates idiots and crooks to power?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

"Impartiality is a nice cop-out. How can we be impartial when people are suffering and dying? It's a luxury we can't afford," she said.

Broadcasters do not have to be absolutely neutral on every
controversial issue. And while broadcasters should deal even-handedly with
opposing points of view in the arena of democratic debate, it does not mean that
'balance' is required in any simple mathematical sense or that equal time must be
given to each opposing point of view”.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tzipi Livni says in 2009 that the assault was necessary, that it is going according to design, that there is no humanitarian crisis, and that the invasion will be good for the Palestinians. Yet Ehud Barak in 1999, in answer to a question from the reporter Gideon Levy about what he would have done if he had been born Palestinian, replied without pause: "Joined a fighting organization." Ehud Olmert says in a daring interview in his penultimate season in office that there will have to be a two-state solution and that Israel will have to give up a large part of the settlements it now holds. Yet Olmert devotes his final weeks in power to the merciless waging of this war, and refuses to convene his cabinet to take up the encouragement of a cease-fire...From the imposition of state terror in one generation spring the soldiers of guerrilla terror in the next generation. Those to whom evil is done, do evil in return.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One family buried a slain son over his grandfather. Another bundled up the tiny bodies of three young cousins and lowered them into the grave of a long-dead aunt. A man was laid to rest with his brother.
"Gaza is all a graveyard," gravedigger Salman Omar said Tuesday as he shoveled earth in Gaza City's crammed Sheik Radwan cemetery, a cigarette dangling from his lips.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The New York Times attempts to show itself to be self-critical in its reporting of the current aggression on Gaza, unsurprisingly the article descends into a slimy self-regarding exculpation of all inaccuracies and alleged biases. By showing e-mails from opposing sides of the argument it points to the likelihood that they're doing something right, then it reports,

"But in the case of the complex, intractable struggle between Israel and the Palestinians, even the best, most evenhanded reporting will not satisfy those passionately on one side or the other."

Why is it such a mystical struggle? The solution has been on the table for over 30 years, and is agreed upon by virtually the entire security council bar the US and Israel. Its instructive the only people who wish to mystify the conflict are precisely the ones who oppose a peaceful settlement on the basis of the overwhelming international consensus. For this reason there can't be a liberal utopian compromise between the two sides, the colonialist never concedes something for nothing, whatever is achieved through political or armed struggle is only a result of the colonialists realisation that the concession is in its own interest to make.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Fisk writes that the Israelis claim they are fighting in Gaza for us, for our Western ideals, for our security, for our safety, by our standards. He laments this but the Israeli's are absolutely correct, in fact by our Western standards they are being quite proportionate. Did we even have a pretext rooted in any conception of reality for going into Iraq or Afghanistan? There is good reason why the former colonial powers of Europe are refraining from being seriously critical of Israel's atrocities, one is we have been committing them for centuries and continue to do so now. There has been scarcely a year in the last few centuries when European colonisers and their hired soldiers haven't been plundering some distant land and oppressing its natives.

Satre captures the colonial dilemma
You said they understand nothing but voilence? Of course; first, the only voilence is the settler's; but soon they will make it their own; that is to say, the same voilence is thrown back upon us as when our reflection comes forward to meet us when we go towards a mirror.

Monday, January 05, 2009

If one was to step back from the present conflict and look at the issues dispassionately the main question which arises is the nature of the attack, whether Israel is acting defensively or offensively is important because it delineates the distinction between aggression and lawful retaliation. Its difficult for any objective observer, who happens to know five minutes of the history of the region, to see Israel as anything other than an aggressor. In which case the aggressor has no rights (under international law) and must pull back immediately. The calls for a ceasefire are futile but correct. Attacks by non-state actors or quasi-administrations are either isolated terrorist attacks, (much less severe breach than aggression) or belligerant reprisals. If the Israeli actions are seen as defensive then it must be tacitly admitted that Israel is not just defending its citizens but an occupation which is itself is necessarily offensive. The Western governments cannot condemn Israel however because it would smack of unimaginable hypocracy, not least, the western media narrative is rather more simplistic, the guys with suits are the goodies, the one's who can barely afford them are the badies
The story of the 2009 war on piracy was best summarised by another pirate, who lived and died in the fourth century BC. He was captured and brought to Alexander the Great, who demanded to know "what he meant by keeping possession of the sea." The pirate smiled, and responded: "What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you, who do it with a great fleet, are called emperor." Once again, our great imperial fleets sail – but who is the robber?

Saturday, January 03, 2009