Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I see the BBC is showing a series about Saddam Hussein, starting this evening.
A drama series about a dead man nobody liked, so no need to stick too closely to the facts.
I imagine that this was made with one eye (maybe both eyes) on the US market, so the facts will have to be massaged to get the approval of those potential buyers who were the biggest cheerleaders for the war party, and enthusiastic transmitters of official lies.
I doubt that we will hear about the CIA's regular reports to Saddam on the whereabouts of his enemies in exile; enemies who subsequently suffered violent deaths. That was at the time that George Bush, Senior, was head of the CIA.
Will we see a re-enactment of the US Ambassador's interview with the Iraqi leader? You know, the one where she gave him the US Government's green light for the invasion of Kuwait.
Will we see western politicians and media blaming the Iranians for the gas attack on Halabja?
Will we see British experts designing and building the bunker Saddam was able to hide in while American and British flyers bombed innocent Baghdadis?
So much to dramatise, so little time.
Ah! The BBC and the charity racket. Nothing ever changes. These people are recidivists, incorrigible, beyond reform.
But who will be punished for these crimes? Why, the long suffering British public, whose licence money will go to pay off the fine. Don't, for Christ's sake, touch the offenders' inflated and unearned salaries!
Still the money goes back into the public purse instead of being wasted on the shite that passes for entertainment.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

“I do not like the ads on the shirts of hockey or football players. You’d think Coca-Cola is playing against Pepsi-Cola.” (Vaclav Havel)
I wonder if he ever said anything as critical of money-grubbing, - sorry, liberal capitalism - when he was in power.
"Ahmadinejad said today, "We're not pulling back... not one iota." They are very adamant." (Jerusalem Post, 25th July)
As opposed to being just a teensy bit adamant.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Sumer is icumen in" quoth the old rhymester.
"School's out for Summer" sang Alice Cooper.

It's the season of the twocker, the rodeo-rider, the firebug and the casual B&E merchant. Now as the weather's warming up we have to keep all doors and windows firmly closed and locked, for school is out and the gurriers are on the loose.
Overhead the police helicopter circles. We pray for rain.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Peace in the Middle East? Not while there's one Palestinian left alive."
Barack (call me Baruch) Obama
Not verbatim, but that's what it sounded like to me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Over 14 million people could find themselves in fuel poverty in the near future, if new figures from gas giant Centrica predicting a 70% rise in gas prices prove accurate - nearly a quarter of the population.
Evil old Radovan Karadzic has been captured at last. Hooray, hooray! Now all the kiddies can sleep safely in their beds. On to the next pantomime villain.
Karadzic is accused of being behind the massacre of Bosnians, which was an unforgivable crime against humanity. He is yet to be tried but I'm confident that, if he lives to hear a verdict, that verdict will be "guilty". After all the US wants his head on a plate.
Unforgivable crimes against humanity are in a different league from forgivable crimes against humanity. These last include -
The massacre of over half-a-million Indonesians by Suharto and the Indonesian army.
The massacre at No-Gun-Ri, Korea
The massacre at Deir Yassin
The destruction of Fallujah
The war crimes of the Nobel Laureate, Henry Kissinger

While Bosnians were being massacred by Serbs, Serbs were being massacred by Croats - but who gives a toss about Serbs?

Monday, July 21, 2008

I can't understand why food prices are rising so rapidly in a free market economy with untrammelled competition. Now let me think ...

Agriculture conglomerate Cargill said on Monday that its third-quarter profit rose 86 percent to $1.03 billion on strong growth in its commodity sourcing and finance business. It said the largest profits came from its origination and processing segment, which processes and sells food commodities.

Associated Press, April 14, 2008
Hedges watched how ten- and eleven-year-old Palestinian children were lured to their neighborhood’s perimeter fence by taunts from a loudspeaker on the Israeli side. “Where are all the dogs of Khan Younis? Come! Come!” The Israeli voice barked insults at the boys’ mothers. The boys responded by hurling their rocks at the jeep with the loudspeaker. The Israelis shot at them with M-16s fitted with silencers. Hedges found the victims in the hospital, children with their stomachs ripped out, and with gaping holes in their limbs.

Writing for “Harper’s Magazine” (see The Nation, March 11, 2002), Hedges wrote: “Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered. Death squads gunned them down in El Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights in Sarajevo, but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport.”

Friday, July 18, 2008

So plans are afoot to give the Queen of the Night a state funeral. Funny thing -
The last person to be so honoured was Winston Churchill. He, let us recall, ordered the military to gun down striking miners at Tonypandy.
Thatcher provoked the miners into industrial action to save their livelihoods, then used the full might of the state to crush their resistance.
From these two facts we can assume that, though the British establishment despises all British workers, the vials of its venom are reserved for the miners.
At the time of Churchill's death a public subscription was set up to commemorate the old alky appropriately. Some newspaper, The Daily Mail or the Daily Express (memory fails) rang the Miners Union office in Tonypandy and asked if they would be making a donation. "No", was the reply. The paper then attacked the miners of Tonypandy for their niggardliness towards the great man (still, better than murdering them I suppose). Such are the people we are supposed to rely on for a balanced account of current events, political, social and industrial.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.

But didn't have the guts to tell him what a disgusting piece of work he is.
"Before I leave I'll just piss all over you", said he. Well no, he didn't but he might as well have. I imagine if he'd pissed on Gordon Brown that gent would have declared, "Oh, that's lovely and warm Mr. President."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The US Senate has given that nation's secret police a licence to tap the phones of anyone they take a dislike to. Senator Obama was among the toadies who voted for, of course.
Jesse Jackson has been overheard remarking that he'd like to cut off Obama's nuts. Too late, Reverend, someone beat you to it (Murdoch?).

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Workers organise globally to fight a multinational exploiter. "It's coming soon for a' that ..." July 5th, protest against *$$ union-busting - on four continents; in 22 or more countries; in towns and cities such as London, Birmingham, Brighton, Paris, Moscow, Melbourne, New York.
Walking round the town this morning I was struck by the growing number of big, big women that are about. Hull could be becoming a chubby-chaser's paradise. I wonder if there's a niche tourist market there that could be exploited.

Monday, July 07, 2008

You may not be interested in private equity…but private equity is very interested in you!

Did you know that in the UK?

- Over 3 million workers or 1 in 5 private sector workers now works for a company that is owned by a private equity fund.

- * Five of the 10 largest private equity-owned companies in the UK effectively paid not a single penny of UK corporation tax in 2005/06. Despite combined sales of more than £12bn and operating profits of more than £400m, in total the 10 companies received a £11m corporation tax credit from the exchequer*

More and more companies around the world, including hundreds here in the UK, are being bought up and sold off by a type of firm that takes pride in their lack of transparency, ability to rack up debt, cut costs and jobs and exploit the tax system so they pay little or no tax. The volume of private equity deals has grown 600% in the last five years. In 2006, private equity firms spent US$725 billion buying out companies. Today, they can potentially mobilise more than US$2 trillion – enough to buy McDonalds 38 times over!

Private equity companies have gained massive influence, power and wealth because they've stayed invisible to public attention and scrutiny. It is time for that to change!

On Thursday 17 July 2008, thousands of trade unions, community organisations, environmentalists, workers and activists will be taking part in a global day of action against KKR - are actions planned in 100 cities in 25 countries. These actions will send a loud and clear message to private equity firms like KKR that we are sick and tired of a few people getting even richer and ruining our lives and the planet in the process.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

What we are teaching them is to buy the same trainers and wear the same labels. We're teaching them that they can get the money for a house by going on some reality show.You ask a lot of young people what they want to be when they are older, and their only answer is "famous".

We give media attention to supermodels who take drugs or attack their staff. We give it to pop stars who get off jail more times than is funny, and to singers who are killing themselves before our very eyes. And we give it to the reality-show public who end up "famous" and make their money by either (for men) causing trouble and shagging around or (for women) appearing everywhere in their underwear
(Noel Clarke)

Or as Tony Blair would describe it, "Education, education, education."

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I've just found out, I'm not as poor as I thought I was. According to the Rowntree Trust a pensioner couple needs £265.92 to reach the basic standard of living , as follows:

Food and drink £60.65
Clothing and footwear £9.93
Housing costs £103.64
Household goods and services £20.20
Personal goods and services (inc health) £23.65
Transport £4.65
Social and cultural activities £43.21
Total £265.92

I just totted up joint pension (Missus and me), rent rebate, council tax rebate and free prescriptions, and I find I'm just over a fiver to the good. I imagine though with spiralling inflation the Rowntree figure is already in need of an update. Add to that the threat of worse to come, coupled with our income remaining unchanged until next April - now I'm depressed!
I also learned recently that we're not in fuel poverty. That's if you pay out more than ten percent of income on the gas and the lecky. I'm on one of those pensioner schemes, but we still pay just under ten percent (9.8).
That reminds me, I didn't take account of the annual fuel handout for pensioners, I think it goes up to £250 next time, which would mean something close to another fiver a week. Rich beyond the dreams of avarice!
But am I happy with all my wealth? No, I just want more, more, MORE.

Meanwhile the middle class are feeling the pinch according to our reliable [sarcasm] media. They are deserting Waitrose and Marks and Spencer and buying their victuals at downmarket Aldi and Lidl. We've been patronising Aldi for years and we thought it was upmarket. We've noticed that of late Aldi's prices have rising fairly rapidly, and we'll probably have to leave it to the suburban invaders soon. Let's hope they don't take a fancy to Netto, that would probably see us resorting to scavenging from food store skips.