Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Price of Oil

OK, I'm sat here listening to this for the first time. ( God bless WinMX! ) It's "The Price of Oil" by Billy Bragg. If only this was understood by more of the people that sent young men into "harms way" as the awful term is used. After that, listen to "Everywhere" by the same chap. It's about a different war and a different time. But it's the same frightened kids we're sending out to do our polititians dirty work. Who say's music doesn't change anything? Listen to these lyrics, then tell me you agree to what Shrub does......

One of Those Days

Well, it started with staying up to watch the last debate for the US presidency. It started at 02:00 GMT and threw our body clocks way out. Next morning, dreary and grey even by UK autumn standards there was no hot water. The boiler completely stuffed. OK, no worries, we rent so the landlord can fix it. It's now Saturday and it's still waiting to be fixed...
So on with opening the post. Ahaa! I need to renew the road tax on the car. Easy, just assemble the Insurance.. Dammit! No documents, paid for but not sent by the insurance company, so it's onto the 'phone to remonstrate with them. Now then, need the MOT to get the tax as well. M.O.T. Hmm.. here it is .... Bugger, MOT's run out a few days ago.
So the car's taken to the garage, it fails dismally. Needs a tyre, drivers seat, new exhaust and a fog light switch. Off the road till Wednesday at the earliest. Looks like Monday will be a trip around several breakers yards to find a suitable seat. Why do these things come in clumps? One minute all is comfy and rosy, next minute all hell breaks loose!
There's lots to blog about really, the possibility of British troops being put under US control, Kerry showing a faint lead etc etc.... but at the moment it's a time of boiling a kettle to wash ( it's 1952 in our bathroom at the moment ) walking everywhere, searching on the net for car parts and huddling in blankets accompanied with much swigging of gin to keep warm. Hmmm.. perhaps things ain't quite as bad as all that after all!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

War Crimes and Imperial Fantasies

Noam Chomsky interviewed by David Barsamian.

I'm new to the writings and words of Noam Chomsky but find him a total breath of fresh air. Everytime I read something of his I learn a little more, see things a little clearer and find myself heartened that there are still people in this world that are brave enough, especialy in the current climate, to stand up and say "The Emperor has no Clothes!" and intelligent enough to take a step back and look through the "Doublespeak" and dogma our governments bombard us with. Whatever your politics, you will come away with a new perspective and a deeper understanding of not only what is happening now, but it's roots in recent history and the real reasons why our leaders do and say what they do.
This interview, for the International Socialist Review Issue 37 2004, is no exception.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Shock and Awe

Am I talking about the American invasion of Iraq? In a way. But not that first night of pyrotechnics we all saw on out TV's. It's what has happened afterwards that this entry is about and "Shock and Awe" is a pretty good description of my feelings towards the way the US handled it's first four weeks in Iraq. Shocked by their crass stupidity and in awe of the way they brazenly lie to the world about their motives. First, lets look at one of the main reasons we were fed about why we went in to Iraq. It was this; "To stop the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and to keep them out of the hands of terrorists."
On the news tonight we were shown how in the first four weeks after the invasion a systematic dismantaling of the Iraqi regime's nuclear programme occured right under the noses of the US. Not vandalism, not looting by locals for scrap, but the removal of whole instalations. Often comprising of multiple buildings and all their equipment contained within. These were then spirited away accross the border to where? No one knows. It seems the US had absolutely no idea that this was going on. Before the invasion these facilities were closely monitored by the UN. Mothballed and inactive, we knew exactly where they were, what was there and kept close tabs on all of them. Now it's chaos. The UN has to rely on sattelite imagery to keep an eye on these places and it's only by this method we know that they've been spirited away because no one is allowed in to check. No weapons inspectors are tolerated by the US invasion forces.
This means that the invasion has actually dramatically increased nuclear proliferation. We've given someone, somewhere, capabilities they could only dream about previously. Take Iran. Just starting out on it's weapons programme. How they would love an entire facility, with all the bugs, glitches and teething troubles worked out, to fall in their laps. This isn't about know how, anyone with the time and inclination could do the research needed to collate the information to make weapons grade material. This isn't even about the machinery needed to make weapons. Although they took all the machinery contained in the buildings along with the buildings. This is about the whole process. From raw material to finished product. The layouts of the facility, the step by step process. The buildings, the machinery and the raw materials. Somewhere, people unknown, have the whole kaboodle from the gas centrifuges down to the cafeteria, from the yellowcake down to the urinals.
Now Bush has even more explaining to do. All he did was go in and protect the oil. Nothing else. Iraq's museums were looted, losing thousands of priceless items from Iraq's past. Irreplaceable. Then the palaces were looted, losing vital information and documentation about the Ba'athist regime. And now this, Iraq's nuclear facililities unguarded and loaded lock, stock and barrel onto trucks and shipped out to who knows where. What was once tightly monitored by the UN is now lost and no one has a clue where it all went.
So yes, i'm shocked, and completely in awe of how incompetent the US has been. One of the major tennets of the invasion was anti nuclear proliferation and once they were there they didn't give a toss about anything except the oil fields. This should tell you all you need to know about Bush and his wars of conquest. Everything you've been told is lies. There were no WMD's, the British have just today withdrawn the intelligence about the 45 minute claim. Iraq was not a "Clear and Present Danger." Bush was after the oil. Nothing more and nothing less, and the bodies of many thousands of American, Iraqi and British were not going to get in his way.
Sadly, it seems, nor was the security of Iraq's nuclear weapons programme.

What if the Whole World Could Vote?

Go to Betavote and find out. Voting for the US Presidential election country by country. Seeing that the outcome will effect just about everyone on the planet, this is very interesting. What interests me isn't that the vast majority of the world would rather Kerry made it into the Whitehouse, it's the few countries that want Bush to hold the Presidency and trying to puzzle out why they think that way. Strangely, it's only a handfull of African countries that come out for Bush.

The worldwide percentages as I write this are: Bush 34935 (11%) to Kerry 257353 (88%)

Monday, October 11, 2004

Cabbages and Kings

Being an ardent anti-royalist the idea I had this morning was pretty surprising. My normal stance on the royals could be summed up as "Turn them into meat pies, feed them to the nations homeless. Then divide their assets equally anongst the bottom 25% ( by wealth ) of the general populace." So actually discovering a reason why having a royal family is a good thing was a shock to say the least.
Ms Morpheus and I were talking about the way the americans treat their politicians so deferentially that they never get asked any difficult questions by the news media. Investigative journalism in the US can only be described as gentle by UK standards. This deification of people in the public eye, actors, musicians and of course polititians and presidents severely hampers journalists from putting them on the spot. It's as if americans are searching for a figurehead, a psuedo royal family. The Kennedy dynasty is a prime example. JFK's death was mourned nationally, and as deeply, as when Queen Victoria died in th UK. Jackie O was held in much the same regard in america as Diana Spencer in the UK. Ronald Reagan's death, although he was despised by a huge part of the US whilst in office, was remembered and honoured as a passing hero. All his problems, mistakes and wrongdoing whilst in office wiped from the collective memory. It's as if the US is looking for a national figurehead and they're looking to many areas of society for one to appear.
But it's the elevation of polititians to the psuedo-royal status that causes the greatest problems. Take the president. An elected, supposedly accountable career polititian suddenly protected by a huge barrier of deference. "Yes Mr President, No Mr President". Journalists inteviewing the president stumble and never call him to account properly. This deference percolates down through the levels of power. Giving polititians in the US a status that protects them from proper investigation.
Here in the UK it feels very different. We have a royal family. Now powerless tucked away in a palace somewhere, bought out for the odd opening of a bridge or sent abroad for a bit of PR work. All the deference due a countries figurehead can be safely beamed their way and it seems to fill a need in many. But the result of this is interesting. Polititians are here seen as what they are. Elected, accountable representatives of the people that vote them in. The prime minister is often questioned hard, interupted during trite contrived answers and often embarrased by a good journalist doing his job as he should. The relationship between the people and their polititians here is much more healthy. Much more distrustful. They don't get such an easy ride.

Well, I did it. Found a reason to keep the royals. I'm still getting used to it, it's an odd feeling. But every time i see how the americans treat their polititians, and especially their president, I'm sure it's a good thing. All that sickly sweet drivel that some ameriacans spout when the president appears really looks very strange from over here. I still can't understand what happens to a polititian, in an americans eyes, when he gets elected president. It's the deification of a career polititian. These are people that have lied, schemed and stuck on a false smile for years to get that office. They should be questioned, held to account and mistrusted more than anyone else.

Deference is their cloak behind which they hide. I'm sure UK prime ministers would love to get the respect that their american counterparts recieve. But I, for one, am bloody glad they don't.

The Price of Subversion

Well, hosting the Bush Chirac video on my free web host totally stuffed my bandwidth limit and they suspended my site. OK, I don't mind. It's a service and if I want it I have to pay. It's cost about £30 for the year to increase the bandwidth. Lets hope it has enough to cope now!
The heartening thing was the conversation on the hosts tech help IRC channel. There's me in the UK, the web hostess in the US and a chap in Australia. We were all there to sort out varous web hosting glitches. Not a representative sample I'll grant you, just three people meeting by chance. The Ozzie was bemoaning the fact that their anti war, anti bush candidate lost today. Our American hostess was supportive in the hosting of the video to help get Bush out and myself with a position completely opposed to my government and it's US lapdog prime minister Blaire. That's three people roughly spaced evenly around the globe. All with the same view. Bush, along with his poodles, the UK and Australia are wrong! The people around the globe know this. It's not bleeding heart liberalism, it's common human sense and decency. It's the people in power that ignore their respective populaces to carry on regardless of opinion. Blundering around the world with ill thought out, violent, insensitive policies they call "Spreading Freedom" in the saddest Orwellian ways. When all they do is secure their own energy reserves for the coming oil crisis.
The Palestinians would not be in the situation they're in if they had oil. Darfur would not be a "Genocide" in Colin Powell's words, if they had oil. It's so obvious, I can't understand how so many people in so many countries swallow the official line and quake in their homes. Thankfull that Bush and Blaire are busy stripping away their human rights and freedoms to "Make them Safe". Keep a population suitably scared and you can do what the hell you want to them and they will thank you in the name of "Homeland Security".
Why do they fall for it every time? When the eveidence is staring them in the face. I don't understand, perhaps I never will. But today's chance meeting of three like minded people on the net gives me a whole lot of hope. Someday, sometime, someone will stand up and say "Hang on, this is all bollocks!"


Sunday, October 10, 2004

Mindless Wetware

I can't stop watching the .mpg of the Bush-Chirac meeting for the D-Day celebrations last June. It has Bush speaking with another voice bleeding over the translation equipment feeding him what to say next. Right down to which reporter to go to first for the question and answer session afterwards. The POTUS even mimics the sigh and tone of the prompter when he goes to the first questioner.
There has been much talk online recently about the possibility of the POTUS being wired enabling his handlers to feed him lines, facts and figures. The Mysterious Bulge, has just reached the mainstream news here in the UK. As I write Channel 4 news has a few sentences and the famous picture. OK, I know politicians don't write their own speeches, use teleprompters etc. But the two parties in the recent Presidential debates specified a whole host of rules before either would agree to them taking place. A wire feed worn during these debates breaks the very groundrules they formulated and discloses the fact that the most powerful leader on the planet can't even string a few coherant words together on the subjects he should live and breath every day without covert outside help.
There is much more at isbushwired. Required reading on the subject.