Sunday, December 31, 2006

Arise Sir Wiggy!
Now that Robin Gibb has joined the list of Blair's super-rich benefactors can we expect him to feature on some future honours list, or has the Right Honourable charity case kicked the arse out of that one? Having left his erstwhile friend Lord Levy to face the music, has Blair done enough to get the Metropolitan Muskers off his case? I hope not. Until we can get him before a war crimes tribunal this illegal huckstering will have to do.
So farewell then, Saddam Hussein. You were an ardent advocate, and practitioner, of capital punishment. What fitter way to for you to go?
A pity though that Saddam's successors were unable to eschew his methods and make a clean break with the past. What, give up torture, imprisonment without trial, judicial and injudicial murder? Not while their American masters encourage the use of the old and tried methods of government by despised puppets.
One problem, now that Saddam has gone, who will replace him as the embodiment of evil for Fox-ridden Americans? They need a hate figure and Usama seems to have left the building. Ahmadinajad! Give him a snappy name and he'll fit the bill. A five-syllable monicker is too much for any Anglophone.

Neoliberalism and Global Justice
This report is lifted from December's Industrial Worker. The terms "Wob" and "Wobbly" refer to members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). "Chooks" are chickens.
Melbourne Wobs participated in the
Second Latin American and Asia Pacific Solidarity
Gathering Oct. 21-22 at Trades Hall.
The conference sought to widen the cracks
in neoliberalism by building bridges between
grassroots organisations around the world,
which are fighting back in new and ever more
inventive ways.
IWW delegate Margaret Creagh spoke on
the opening day, beginning her talk with the
Wobbly Doxology. Excerpts follow:
“When the IWW was founded in Chicago
101 years ago, they said: ‘There can be no
peace so long as hunger and want are found
among millions of working people.’
“We were made criminals then and the
capitalists have plundered ever since.
“Ten years ago 176 bullshit world leaders
at the World Food Summit pledged to halve
the number of undernourished people by
2015. Yet 850 million are still hungry – some
18 million more than in 1996. ... Six million
children die from hunger each year, yet we
... have enough food to provide everyone
in the rest of the world with at least 2,720
kilocalories per person per day.
“Naming The Bastards: Monsanto’s empire
includes Dow Chemicals, infamous for
giving us the Vietnam War chemical Agent
Orange. ... Monsanto are now patenting
indigenous foods as privatised corporate
property; and genetically engineered soya
beans grown in Argentina are shipped here
to Melbourne for feeding chooks.
“Every year more of our class die due
to work-related illnesses and accidents.
Yet asbestos is still exported from Canada
and ‘Australian’ company James Hardie has
moved offshore to avoid liabilities here.
“Corporate crooks run amok. Climate
changed governments and capitalists are rebranded,
green-washed sustainable exploiters
of the planet. There is no right to food and
no right to water. In South Africa’s economic
apartheid slums you must get a pre-paid card
to get water from a tap in the street. That’s
profiteering in the 21st century. ...
“Military spending has gone ballistic
which means there is no more pretence at getting
rid of poverty in this world. When there
are ‘natural disasters’ ... the poor suffer the
most. ... Poor people who start climbing the
ladder to better conditions are outnumbered
by people who are facing worse conditions,
because of unemployment or more informal
employment. The abyss between rich and
poor increases daily in all countries.
“Where could be global justice?
“What if we join our community and
union forces to meet all the challenges of
today – we are millions, billions in fact.
Health and safety are the priority at work – we
cannot improve conditions and wages if we
get maimed and die. Here in Australia, April
28th is industrial work deaths and injuries
day. In the lead=up to May Day, May 1st, it is
a time to remember the dead and fight like
hell for the living.
“The International General Strike is coming
– Latin America can do it and Central
American can do it. In the USA, on May Day
of this year, millions of migrant workers went
on strike.
“Here in Australia the General Strike
defends and extends hard-won conditions
now under siege by the corporations and their
puppet governments.
“Before the invasion of Iraq began, several
unions, most notably in Italy and the UK,
made efforts to use their power as workers
to stop the transport of war materials. As an
IWW poet said years ago, ‘Without our brain
and muscle not a single wheel can turn.’ The
ruling class – international capitalism – needs
us to do its bidding. When we organize and
refuse its orders, we can start to define an
alternative to the ‘New World Order.’
“We can take over and lock out the employing
class and transform production to be
in harmony with Mother Earth, so six million
children do not starve to death again next year
and 850 million others are no longer hungry
and the bloody plunder wars cease.”

Monday, December 11, 2006

So farewell then, Pinochet - asesino, ladrón, hijo de puta. We mourn the thousands you murdered, but for you we feel only contempt. You evaded justice in a most cowardly way.You seized power in a cowardly way, bombing the presidential palace from the air. Did you ever in your life act like a man?
We remember also your British friends, Thatcher, Lamont and Jack Straw, a man whose reputation for cowardice vies with yours.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

L'Wren, isn't that the most ridiculous name ever concocted, and it's real. There is someone going around with this name. What I want to to know is, did her parents foist this name on her, or did she just adopt this exotic spelling? Perhaps she thought it was "kinda classy", as Kirk Douglas did his nom de guerre. The apostrophe is the icing on the cake, gives it that little extra.
I've always wondered who sent the name Lauren out into the cold world - I'm assuming L'Wren is a "classy" version of Lauren. But that name seems to me to be synthetic, one with no genuine roots . The first of the name, to my knowledge, was the actress Lauren Bacall, but she was Betty Perske in the real world. I'm guessing that the pseudonym was imposed on her by some agent/ manager/PR person who thought it "kinda classy".
Then there's Lauren Hutton who's really called Mary Hutton; and Ralph Lauren, who's real name is Ralph Lifschitz. So when do we get to the genuine article?

Remembering my copy of Leslie Dunkling and William Gosling's "Dictionary of First Names" I looked up Lauren. It seems that the individual who renamed Ms Bacall and gave this name to the world was Howard Hughes, though Lauren was found occasionally as a male given name for a few years prior to Howard's stroke of genius. She, it seems, was the first female Lauren.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Blair apologises for slavery, which was abolished 200 years ago. Well, not quite an apology, but he feels bad about it. How long will the Iraqi people wait for an to apology?
What is the point of apologising for something for which one is not responsible, something that happened hundreds of years ago? A Tory MP, Greg Clark, said recently of the Thatcher years, "Ignoring the reality of relative poverty was a terrible mistake." A Tory criticising Thatcher, that's more like it. Maybe one day the Conservatives will issue a full-blown apology for the Poll Tax, Mad Cow Disease, the destruction of the mining industry (virtually all British industry, in fact). Then it will be Labour's turn to apologise for Blair. Let's witness a little contrition for what the malefactors have done to us, the living, to our institutions, and to our communities.

Litvinenko, who worked for Berezovsky, met Lugovoy, who works for Berezovsky, then he died. Goldfarb, who works for Berezovsky, produces what he claims is a deathbed statement by Livinenko, blaming Putin for his poisoning. Putin, Berezovsky's bete noire. There's something missing from this investigation, and from the media's reporting of it. What can it be?
Meanwhile, in Lebanon, the investigation into the death of Pierre Gemayyel has turned up two names; the mass murderer Samir Geagea, and Sami Gemayyel, brother of the deceased. Both Maronites, both, presumably anti-Syrian. This is not the way things were meant to work out. Time for a change of tack.