Saturday, February 28, 2009

I heard on a news programme (Russia Today) that Oleg Deripaska has debts that are greater than his total assets. So, in effect he's poorer than me. However he still counts as a billionaire and has access to limitless credit. Nobody dare start calling in the IOUs as in probability they won't get all their money back, so they keep throwing money at him to stop him going under. A sort of Micawberist approach I suppose. We may be in the gutter but we're looking up at the Canary Wharf Tower.
I've never been able to figure out how the global economy "works". Now I'm beginning to wonder if anybody has really got a handle on it.
Give to the rich to help the poor? An idea worthy of Bono(Marina Hyde)

Some quotes -
"Mehta enlisted the Nobel prize winning economist Sir James Mirrlees to come up with a plan to address the shaming statistic that Britain's richest 20% donate 0.8% of their income to charity, while the poorest 20% give 3%."

"One suspects Mirrlees is a Nobel economics laureate much in the same way that Henry Kissinger is a Nobel peace laureate."

"Depressingly, Mirrlees and Mehta have already been granted two meetings with the Treasury, at which they insisted the scheme should be extended to those whose tax affairs are offshore, in effect allowing the use of UK taxpayers' money to be directed by tax exiles - and giving them tax relief for the privilege."

They are trying to get tax cuts for people who don't pay tax. How is that going to work?

Ms. Hyde adds a new word to my vocabulary of contempt - fauxlanthropy

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm grateful to that chevalier d'industrie, Sir Fred Goodwin, for showing us who is really running this country. The elected government demands that he give back some (some, mind you) of the public money that he's rewarded himself for overseeing the biggest cock-up in the history of British money-grubbing. The good knight's response, "Away and keich!"
The British people are now in possession of this heap of debt, as they own over 80% of the shares. But here's the best part, they are non-voting shares. So the people saddled with this massive burden will not be able to do anything to stop the board members from continuing to award themselves big pay rises and juicy bonuses.
Isn't capitalism wonderful?
I confess to having been moved by Gordon Brown's words on the death of Ivan Cameron.
Yet here was a man I dislike, speaking of a child unknown to me, the offspring of a man I despise.
I have to warn myself, this is a politician speaking, so there is always a subtext. I recall Claude Cockburn's unspoken question when interviewing politicians -"Why is this bastard lying to me?"
A gent going by the name "Sabretache" places Brown's words in a wider context -
Genuine sorrow is the only humane response to the news of the death of Ivan Cameron and, like the Prime Minister, I too offer sincere condolences to David and Samantha Cameron on their tragic loss.

But watching Gordon Brown's statement in the Commons yesterday I could not help but note that, in the strange, cocooned, self-righteous and self-absorbed moral universe we inhabit in this country, some children are more precious and some parents' 'unbearable sorrow' more worthy of empathy than others.
Brown said:
"Every child is precious and irreplaceable and the death of a child is an unbearable sorrow that no parent should ever have to endure."
Quite so; but where were his words of condolence about the preciousness of the 450 children so recently killed by the Israeli military in Gaza? Or the unbearable suffering of their parents? and all in the worthy cause of self-defence we are told - so that's alright then.

Frankly, the grossness of the double standards make me sick.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I saw the film "Gomorra" last night. I was wondering - do Italians need sub-titles to follow the dialogue? The Neapolitan dialect was so thick as to sound in places like a grunted code. It was probably laced with some impenetrable argot - who knows? The only time intelligible speech featured in the dialogue was during contract negotiations in Venice. Otherwise the actors could have been speaking any language.
I have a question about this film. How could it have been made without the tolerance, if not the co-operation, of the Camorra clans it was depicting? We are informed that three of the actors have since been arrested and charged with Camorra linked offences. I know that Saviano tells us in his book that the Guappi are obsessed with gangster films, and imitate the behaviour and the language they see and hear on the big screen - but taking part in a film that exposes their murderous organisations?
In fact, when I read Saviano's book, I was surprised at how well the organisation ("sistemi") came out of it in areas such as business efficiency, prompt delivery, decent pay levels, care of prisoners' families. Apart from the bloodletting the Camorristi were depicted as successful and fairly benevolent capitalists. According to Saviano all the top Italian fashion houses rely on the Naples crime organisation for manufacture (contracted out) and transportation.
It is not strong-arm tactics but efficiency and competitive pricing that keep outfits like Gucci and Armani in partnership with the Camorra.
It is said that, unlike Hollywood products like the "Godfather" series, "Gomorra" does not glamorise the gangsters or depict them as in some way honorable men. I think that's true, but nonetheless it may serve the purpose of the organisation by showing it as powerful and invincible, and as an integral part of the Italian economy. I'm sure they got something out of the deal as they allowed the film to be made on their territory.
Saviano is supposed to be in hiding from the Camorra. Perhaps so, he named the gangs, their bosses, their spheres of influence and of business activity. The film is not so specific.

Addendum, 23.2.09: I've found out that "Gomorra" did have subtitles for Italian audiences -
Gomorra, il film di Matteo Garrone premiato a Cannes, tratto dal libro di Roberto Saviano, è interamente recitato in dialetto; un napoletano strettissimo, incomprensibile senza l'aiuto dei sottotitoli in italiano.
(La Stampa,30.5.08)
I also read that there were discussions between the film makers and the camorristi before filming began, but haven't learned yet what what was on the agenda.
Damian Hirst - no talent, lots of money.

Cartrain - copies the work of a talentless turd; not much hope for him as an artist. No hope for him as a money-grubber, when he hands over his few quid to to the loathsome bunco-artist.

Friday, February 20, 2009

30 Rock back on the box tonight. At last, something worth turning the telly on for. Welcome back Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Jack McBrayer, et al.
I'm hoping to see more of Jack Donaghy's family.
"Obama's first foreign trip" (Guardian headline)
My money was on Israel, but I was wrong.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I see that there's a British version of the US "Law and Order" TV series on the way. In this version the role of the District Attorney's office is taken by the Crown Prosecution Service. So they've already given the game away if the programme is true to life. If the suspect is rich or a politician all charges will be dropped; if a poor and powerless person the full force of the law will come down on them, and the tabloid press will be called in to blackguard them. A guilty verdict will ineviably follow.
"Gambaccini also condemned Moyles – who had audience of 7.3 million weekly listeners on average in the last three months of 2008 for his breakfast show – for his apparent homophobia towards the likes of singer Will Young, which he said merely reinforced negative stereotypes."

7.3 million, all of them, no doubt, included in the quarter of the population who believe that our planet is less than 10,000 years old.

Mr. Gambaccini should tread warily. He'll get the chop before the bigots.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"The US has gone too far with Guantánamo and the tortures. MI5 does not do that," (Stella Rimington, blackmailer, perverter of the course of justice, and spy)
Doesn't need to, Stella, the Yanks are happy to do it for our secret police.
Does this stance coincide with Conservative Party policy? Is SR the Tory spokesperson on the surveillance state? She was certainly happy to commit felonies on behalf of Thatcher. Now, under a Labour government, she has developed a social conscience.

Cameron is going to free local government from the shackles of centralised bureacracy; those shackles forged by his patron saint, Lady Gaga. Ah! The Thatcher legacy, it rears its ugly head once more. Now, under a Labour government, it's all wrong.
The Blair War Crimes Foundation is collecting signatures -

Monday, February 16, 2009


A reality TV show about a woman dying of cancer.

850 workers sacked at an hour's notice. Some of them have worked for the firm for five years, but will, I suspect, receive nothing in the way of redundancy payment.

I'm sick of right wing commentators and truth twisters blaming all the ills of our society (for such an entity exists) on the "permissive sixties" or liberal do-gooders. Credit where credit's due. If it's down to the old witch and her coven don't try to pass the buck. Let's record the results of her mad career.
That last word is open to interpretation.
Fat Ali Usmanov tightens his grip on Arsenal and everybody's comfortable with it - well, everybody who has access to the media. Being a polite people we none of us wish to draw attention to Ali's record of violent crime.
Is he a fit and proper person to own an English football club? Of course he is, he's filthy rich.
Tony Blair, the Middle East Peace (sic) Envoy is taking a million dollar bribe from a Zionist organisation. A "pretty straight sort of Guy" would refuse such a sweetener, but Tone ...

A Faith Foundation washes dirty money clean. Hallelujah!
STS Bulletin no.17
Witness B was asked by Dinah Rose QC, for Mohamed: "Was it your understanding that it was lawful for Mr Mohamed to be transferred to the US authorities in this way?" Witness B replied: "I consider that to be a matter for the security service top management and for government."

Translation: "I was just obeying orders."
The old Nuremberg defence
How many descendants of Sigmund Freud are there in this country? How many of them are in positions of influence? How many of them are right wing shits?
I was just wondering.
I hate the paintings of Lucian Freud.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I owe Baruch Obama an apology. I'm sure he's waiting for one since reading my last posting about him (February 4th).
It seems that the gagging of the Britsh judges over torture at Guantánamo was not his idea. He made the demand in response to a request from our Foreign Secretary, Popeye Miliband. The reasoning goes like this: everybody knows that the Americans are torturers; most Britons aren't aware that we handed people over for torture and got access to the information they gave up (subcontracting the dirty work); so if our government's involvement comes out in court the press will have to reveal what they've been suppressing for years, that our secret police are torturers by proxy.
Up steps nice President Obama to cover Blair/Brown/Straw/Miliband's collective fundament.

The Special Relationship doesn't just exist in the British ruling class's imagination after all. That's an eye-opener for me.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"But what a feeder club the City has been, with Labour having given 23 bankers honours since 1997. Four of them scored life peerages, and seven were knighted. Three were made government ministers, two appointed to senior posts within Downing Street, 10 have been placed on eminent councils, seven on agencies and quangos, while just the 37 have been drafted in to head up taskforces, or sit on commissions and advisory bodies."
(Marina Hyde)
Now they all have to be weeded out before they cause further damage.

This gives me cause for concern -
"Goodwin headed up taskforces examining both the New Deal and credit unions."

Does this mean that the credit unions are doomed?

Friday, February 13, 2009

"No officers to face charges in De Menezes case

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Monsignor Ravasi said Darwin's theories had never been formally condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, pointing to comments more than 50 years ago, when Pope Pius XII described evolution as a valid scientific approach to the development of humans."
(from yesterday's Telegraph)

I was attending a catholic school nearly sixty years ago, and we were taught then that evolution was the only sensible explanation of life on Earth. We were also taught that God created the universe, so I suppose the deity just sort of let things develop independently after opening the proceedings.

Another thing we were taught was that blaming the Jews for the death of Christ was a load of cobblers. The Messiah died for the sins of all mankind, so wherever he was born he was going to be topped. He chose to be born among Jews because, I suppose, he was a traditionalist, chosen people and all that.
Anyway, imagine my surprise when a Pope pops up sometime in the 1970s and declares that the Catholic Church no longer blamed the Jews for killing Jerusalem Slim. What could it mean? Had my teachers been filling our heads with heretical thoughts? Should I have been shouting "Deicide!" at Joe Hyam the barber?
I wonder if the Vatican has trouble keeping up with the rest of the Church Militant.

Over time I've developed my own ideas about where we come from and where we're going, and what we should be doing in the meantime. They don't involve much of that stuff we got at school, but you have to start somewhere.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tony Blair’s failed attempts to secure peace in the Middle East have cost British taxpayers at least half a million pounds.
Middle East expert and author Avi Shlaim said: “No one takes him seriously. He said he’d reduce the number of Israeli checkpoints, but since he’s been there, it’s risen.”
Mr Blair is believed to have made £15million since leaving office, including book deals and speaking tours. Last night, he was unavailable for comment.
I've been trawling through my old postings (backblog?) for details of a poacher turned FSA gamekeeper demanding that the government put right the things that he'd done wrong. It was all their fault really for appointing such a useless, dishonest lump as himself (subtextual, of course).
It wasn't Crosby, so the FSA must be stuffed with such creatures.
Anyway, I didn't find it, but I came across this gem, and had to give it another airing -

Labour should celebrate "huge salaries in Britain" not question their morality, the business and enterprise secretary, John Hutton, will say tomorrow.

What a difference a year makes.
Personally I hope that Netanyahu gets the gig. The Palestinian situation cannot get any worse whoever is raining fire and brimstone on them. Anyway, they reckon it's the IDF, not the politicians, who are in control of genocide policy now, needing to make up for the Lebanese humiliation.
No, the Yahoo can't make things worse for the Palestinians, but he can make things a damned sight worse for the Israelis. He's a dyed in the wool neo-con. Benefit cuts, privatisation - let's hope he makes that war loving nation feel the pinch. And I hope he takes the Nazi Lieberman on board. Nail your colours to the mast, O Israel, organise some Nuremberg style rallies: learn to goose-step.
I read that the Israelis charge something like £100 on every wagon-load of humanitarian aid passing through their checkpoints. It sounds credible, considering that they are trying to starve the people of Gaza to death, but I'd like to find some support for the claim.
"I was there when the secretary and the chairman of the Federal Reserve came those days and talked to members of Congress about what was going on... Here's the facts. We don't even talk about these things.
On Thursday, at about 11 o'clock in the morning, the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous drawdown of money market accounts in the United States to a tune of $550 billion being drawn out in a matter of an hour or two.
The Treasury opened up its window to help. They pumped $105 billion into the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks.
They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts, and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there wouldn't be further panic and there. And that's what actually happened.
If they had not done that their estimation was that by two o'clock that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the United States, would have collapsed the entire economy of the United States, and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed.
Now we talked at that time about what would have happened if that happened. It would have been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it."
US Congressman Paul Kanjorski (emphasis added)

One day someone will switch off the life support.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Crying all the way to the bank is not sound policy in these troubled times, so I imagine Mr. Scolari will be crying all the way to a safety deposit after Abramovich has bought back his three year contract.
Eventually Roman Arkadievich is going to cotton on, keep his manager, and sack the whole Chelsea squad - treacherous, self-serving malcontents.
So which mass murderer will be trying to form a government in Tel Aviv? And what ragbag of religious freaks, trigger-happy land grabbers and Judaeo-fascists will be taking over?
If ever there was a convincing argument against proportional representation it's Israeli government - tail wags dog.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

I try to avoid mentioning products and services, unless adversely, on these pages, but I have to sing the praises of Aleksandr Orlov. He is a star. On rare occasions advertising people manage to amuse and not to annoy.
Phil Brown, Hull City manager, on the transfer window -
"It is a destabilising period that creates a false market and allows non-footballing people to run the game."
He further calls it "a farce", and who but the parasitical agents and febrile hacks will disagree? I still don't know what was going on with the Arshavin business, only that he's now an Arsenal player.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

(John Pilger)

"On 31 January, unaware he was being filmed, Israel's ambassador in Australia described the massacres in Gaza as a 'pre-introduction' – dress rehearsal – for an attack on Iran."

"For Netanyahu, the reassuring news is that Obama's administration is the most Zionist in living memory – a truth that has struggled to be told from beneath the soggy layers of Obama-love."
Listening to the News Quiz today I heard something disturbing. A survey has revealed that one third of people in this country believe that God created the world less than 10,000 years ago, while less than a quarter believe in evolution.
I know that stupidity and gullibility are on the rise here, a result of an education system designed to produce unquestioning consumers rather than well rounded citizens, but I didn't realise that the rot had penetrated so deeply.
My only consolation is that I don't place much faith in surveys or in the people who conduct them, you pay your money and they produce your result. It's important to know on whose behalf the survey was conducted, but those figures ...

Friday, February 06, 2009

Another edgy* BBC "personality" has made a stand for bigotry in broadcasting. He's offended the disabled, he's offended the people of Scotland. If the idiots have taken offense then his show's ratings will plummet.

I now read that the gobshite has apologised, though it's not clear who to; the Prime Minister, the disabled, the Scots, the idiots?
The Guardian is running a poll asking if the gobshite should be sacked. Of course he should, along with everyone responsible for foisting the prat on the public - but he's safe.

* BBCspeak for gobshite.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"Everyone knows that there are things that you just do not say about the host newspaper, the owner, the editor, the advertisers, the government, the government’s allies. BBC journalists know what they should and should not say about Israel."
"Consider, for example, that it is an unwritten rule of corporate reporting that very ugly motives cannot be imputed to our government or its leading allies. They may err and blunder, but it is unthinkable that they would kill thousands, or millions, of people because it was in the best interests of elite power. It is unthinkable that they would deliberately kill the poor to terrorise other poor people to accept poverty. It is unthinkable that they would actively seek to promote violent conflicts because they have a monopoly on violence. It is unthinkable that they would seek to create enemies because doing so has multiple benefits in pacifying the domestic population, justifying arms budgets, and providing a rationale for attacking poor people overseas".

These quotes are from a piece on Mick Hall's blog (link), ex Medialens.
"We are intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich." (Mr. Peter Mandelson, 1998)

"Business Secretary Lord Mandelson today told the Royal Bank of Scotland it risked alienating the public by offering 'exorbitant' bonuses to its traders and senior bankers." (Independent, 5th February 2009)

... and the bankers said "We'd love to help you Mandy, but we're too busy helping ourselves. We hope you didn't deposit your £1 million payoff from the EU in one of our banks (snigger, snigger)."

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Three days in office Obama approves a bombing of targets in Pakistan that kills 20 people. The president is blooded, he's the right stuff.
Since then he's ordered the CIA to continue delivering prisoners to foreign countries for torture and execution.
Now he's ordered the British government to gag judges who are likely to refer to the US torturing Guanánamo prisoners.

Oh yes, CHANGE.
Plus ça change plus c'est la même chose.
I have to quote Ehud Olmert's put-down of a political opponent, "When did he ever shoot anyone?"
I've just learned that yesterday was the centenary of the birth of Simone Weil - a strange lady, but one whose heart was in the right place, and whose loyalties were always to the poor and the disadvantaged.
There are some catholics who propose her for canonisation, but she was never a catholic. Adolf Hitler, on the other hand, was baptised a catholic, so he has more chance of becoming a saint than poor Simone.
On the same subject, Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker Movement has also been proposed for canonisation. Dorothy, who spent her adult life helping the poor and opposing war and injustice, may have been a catholic but she's definitely not going to make it into the communion of saints - unlike Jose Escrivá, friend of Franco and founder of Opus Dei; or Maximilian Kolbe the anti-semite.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Demands of Lindsay Oil Refinery workers, as passed at yesterday's meeting -

No victimisation of workers taking solidarity action.
All workers in UK to be covered by NAECI Agreement.
Union controlled registering of unemployed and locally skilled union members, with nominating rights as work becomes available.
Government and employer investment in proper training / apprenticeships for new generation of construction workers - fight for a future for young people.
All Immigrant labour to be unionised.
Trade Union assistance for immigrant workers - including interpreters - and access to Trade Union advice - to promote active integrated Trade Union Members.
Build links with construction trade unions on the continent.

Xenophobia my arse!

(Via Organised Rage)
Mandy ratchets up the blackguardry -

"We should keep our sights set firmly not on the politics of xenophobia but on the economics of this recession," (Lord Mandelson of the good ship Queen K)

The spirit of Julius Streicher lives on.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The working class
can kiss my arse
I'm only interested in the filthy rich.
(Lord Mandelson of that-awfully-common-place-in-the-North-East-of-England-whose vulgar-denizens-used-to-vote-for-me-ha-ha)

No British jobs for British workers.
David William Donald Cameron, PC, titular Lord Snooty)

Well at least they're being honest about it.
A letter from the Greek Socialist MP, Theodoros Pangalos, to the Israeli ambassador to Greece -

Dear Mr. Ambassador,
Thank you for the 3 bottles of wine that you sent me as season’s greetings. I wish to you, your family and everybody in the Embassy a happy new year. Good health and progress to you all.
Unhappily I noticed that the wine you have sent me has been produced in the Golan Heights. I have been taught since I was very young not to steal and not to accept products of theft. So I can not possibly accept this gift and I must return it back to you.
As you know, your country occupies illegally the Golan Heights which belong to Syria, according to the International Law and numerous decisions of the International Community.
I take the opportunity to express my hope that Israel will find security inside its internationally recognized borders and the terrorist activities against Israel territory by Hamas or anybody else will be contained and made impossible, but I also hope that your government will cease practicing the policy of collective punishment which was applied on a mass scale by Hitler and his armies.
Actions such as those of these days of the Israel military in Gaza remind the greek people of holocausts such as in Kalavrita or Doxato or Distomo and certainly in the ghetto of Warsaw.
With these thoughts allow me to express to you my best wishes for you, the Israeli people and all the people of our region of the world.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The backlash is gathering momentum -
"that's not the right thing to do and it's not defensible." Gordon Brown
"Strikes are never the way forward." William Hague; not for the employers he speaks for anyway.
Mandelson says "Get on your bikes!" Or on a ferry to the Continent.
On Sky News a hack was asking a union rep if the protest had been taken over by the BNP. That looks like the official line. "You are dupes of the far right" (media speak for neo-nazis).
Meanwhile, somebody named Pat McFadden has called in ACAS. So the cheap labour importers are going to sit round the table with union bureaucrats, and in a few months time they'll tell the men outside the gates what they've decided. I predict that their agreement will be something of a damp squib, but what the hell! The protests will have petered out, so - mission accomplished.