Friday, April 30, 2010

Tony Blair offers cool support to troubled Labour campaign
(Headline in today's Guardian)
Of course he does, Murdoch has backed the Conservatives.

Workers' Memorial Day in Hull.
(Ray Jessop was 53, not 58)
OY GEVALT! I'm just sitting here checking through the blogs when I hear the Missus shout "What are you doing on our roof?" What the hell? I'm off to see what's going on and she's unlocking the back door as I get there (all doors kept locked around here). I'm just in time to see some athletic desperado scrambling over our fence. Of course I shout "Oy, what's going on?" as if he's going to stop and explain. When we reach the back gate he's disappeared but coppers are popping out of every opening. Whatever he's done must have been heavy duty for him to risk life and limb to dodge the consequences, and to have so many muskers on his tail. We could hear car sirens, and a helicopter on its way.
What the missus saw through the window was this young fellow lepping off the fence into our garden, having scrambled over the roof of the bungalow next door. How the hell he managed to get up there without ripping off the guttering has me puzzled.
I'm really wondering what he'd done though.
It's been very quiet round here recently, but the warm weather always brings 'em out.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How many Israelis does it take to change a light bulb?
One - he watches the Palestinian do the job, then beats him up and calls him a lazy Arabushi.

"I'm quite interested in the Middle East, I'm actually studying that Israeli army martial arts. And I know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back." (Frankie Boyle)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tomorrow, 28th April, is Workers' Memorial Day. The following notice is copied from the UCATT site -

"In Hull UCATT official Dave Oglesby will be attending the planting of a remembrance tree at an event along with Lord Mayor and Council Leaders and local business people. Also in attendance will be members of the family of Ray Jessop a local UCATT member who was killed in an accident in December 2009. The event will take place at The Workers Memorial in Queens Gardens at 11.30am."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The right wing "historian", Orlando Figes, has been caught out pseudonymously puffing his own work on Amazon. He impressed himself with a work that he declared to be "beautifully written" and "a rich and deeply moving history, which leaves the reader awed, humbled, yet uplifted ..."
At the same time he was rubbishing the work of other historians (is that 'other' superfluous?) in the same field of Russian historical studies. He found their efforts "awful", "poorly written", "dull", "dense", "pretentious". Clearly the discipline is fortunate to have Professor F. exercising quality control in the Russian quarter of Academia, weeding out material that fails to attain the Figean gold standard.
When his cover was blown the Professor resorted to weapon of choice of wealthy and well connected Britons - he threatened to sue his detractors for libel. When this didn't work he informed the world that it was his wife who wielded the poison pen.
Finally he came clean. "I am a deceitful shit," he said "who is not fit to lick the boots of his academic peers." Oh no! Sorry, that's what he should have said. Instead he put his hand up to "foolish errors" under "intense stress" and went off on sick leave.
I wonder if it is once again safe to blame the Nazis for the genocide of Europe's Jewish population, and not the Communists, as Professor Figes claimed.

Friday, April 23, 2010

9.4 million viewers watched the first party leaders' election debate.
4.1 million viewers watched the second.
I believe there is to be a third. Maybe they intend to keep plugging away until they've bored everybody stiff.
I wonder if anyone mentioned the w*r last night, or is it still Basil Fawlty rules?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I have two maps of the Iberian peninsula of Spanish provenance. The older one dates back to 1967 and the dark days of the monorchid murderer, Franco; the other is dated 1991. One of these shows the location of the ancient city of Gernika (Guernica), the other doesn't acknowledge the city's existence. I needn't bother to say which of the two is the true representation.
I was reminded of this while watching a programme on maps on BBC4. The series on cartography explains how maps were produced for political and propaganda purposes and were used as indicators of status and power. It made me wonder how well Israeli cartographers are coping in mapping a nation whose borders are elastic, and whose land mass includes territory claimed by Israel, but not recognised as Israeli by other nations. "Hold it, lads, here comes an update."
I also thought of all the extant nations that did not exist when I was born. Israel, Pakistan, Bangla Desh, Mali, Burkina Fasso, Vietnam, Taiwan, etc., etc. There are countries that didn't exist when my kids were at school; Eritrea, Moldova, Slovakia, Croatia. I believe Montenegro's a sovereign nation these days, but I'm not certain about that. Then there's the "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", whose name is the product of a Greek nightmare.
When my parents were in their infancy there was no Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan (or Transjordan) Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia. So the cartographers will never be out of work, but how they must be praying for a less disputatious world population.
Countries come and go, and borders shift back and forth. I recall reading in one of Eric Hobsbawm's works that it was possible for an individual living in some district in the Carpathians in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to have been a denizen of five different countries without ever leaving their birthplace. Some borders are just lines on a map. So there was a pub on the border of Northern Ireland and the Republic which straddled the border. As closing time came in one local authority the patrons would move to the other end of the room and carry on drinking legally.
Then there was the bloke whose house straddled the border between Russia and Poland. He was ordered to claim citizenship of one or the other. He chose Poland, and when asked to explain his choice, said he couldn't stand the Russian winters.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I read that saint-in-waiting Lech Kaczyński is to be buried in Wawel Cathedral alongside Poland's heroes, such as Tadeusz Kościuszko. Kościuszko fought against the might of the Russian Empire, and lost. Kaczyński fought against Warsaw's gays, and won. Everybody loves a winner.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Zionist extremists in the UK (and elsewhere) are trying to have opposition to Israeli war crimes and human rights abuses labelled "anti-semitism". Their efforts came to naught in a Scottish court -
Sheriff James Scott ruled that “the comments were clearly directed at the State of Israel, the Israeli Army, and Israeli Army musicians”, and not targeted at “citizens of Israel” per se. “The procurator fiscal’s attempts to squeeze malice and ill will out of the agreed facts were rather strained”, he said.
The Sheriff expressed concern that to continue with the prosecution would have implications for freedom of expression generally: “if persons on a public march designed to protest against and publicise alleged crimes committed by a state and its army are afraid to name that state for fear of being charged with racially aggravated behaviour, it would render worthless their Article 10(1) rights. Presumably their placards would have to read, ‘Genocide in an unspecified state in the Middle East’; ‘Boycott an unspecified state in the Middle East’ etc.

Monday, April 12, 2010

(Steve Punt)
TV gradually took over politics. It reduced political speeches to short, easily digestible slogans; it favoured younger faces over old; it made people's haircuts, choice of tie or sweaty armpits more important than what they were saying. America led the way every time, exporting all the familiar terms of modern politics - not just "soundbite" and "spin doctor" but the fact that we now have a Ministry of Justice and a Supreme Court. All we need is a Minister of Transportation and the right to bear firearms and we're done. Or as we used to say in this country, "we've finished."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

So farewell then, President Kaczyński. Who will be blamed for your death? Communists, Liberals, Jews, queers? Now you are a great statesman instead of a nasty little bigot. If only you had predeceased John Paul II, then you would have been canonised within a couple of years. Jaka szkoda!
"For me, Malc was always entertaining. Above all else, he was an entertainer." (John Lydon).
Haven't you left something out, Lydon? "Evil"? Still, nil de mortis ... eh? (Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth these days.)
I came upon this in a discussion of the forms anarchism takes in the USA. It was by someone using the name "Perdonaris". I thought I'd copy it to see if anyone's interested in the subject.

The reason I think Proudhon, Bakunin, and Emma Goldman would find Ayn Rand's company obnoxious is that Ayn Rand and libertarian capitalists are not opposed to government or even big government. They are afraid of levelling and government programs that help the disadvantaged at the expense of wealth and profit. In America (and other countries) there is an immense bureaucracy to protect private property and the freedom of the well off. Without this immense bureaucracy and big government the wealthy would not be able to hold on to their property. If someone steals your computer who do you call? The police. If the police do not help you can try to get a private detective to help you. The average person cannot afford a P.I. to monitor their spouses let alone track down a computer but the wealthy can. This is the libertarian socialist critique of Ayn Rand "anarchism". The rich and powerful need a big state to control their wealth. It does not matter whether it is a private dick (Magnum P.I) or a public dick (the police station) who does your bidding. Just ask a Wobbly about the Pinks. In fact this is what signifies authoritarianism or statism. The Bolsheviks said they had destroyed the State, it was the movement or the revolution that acts. Pinochet got advice from Milton Friedman on how to organize the Chilean economy according to libertarian capitalism. The police in Chile were just as prominent there however as they were in the Soviet Union or North Korea. Your average Chilean was as miserable and living on subsistence wages as your Soviet peasant. There was a wealthy elite ruling both countries. In Chile it was the generals and in the U.S.S.R. it was the politburo. In America it is Wall Street. It is impossible to separate Goldman Sachs and Ayn Rand. Both need the State for support and bailing out when they screw up. They need the State to prevent laid off workers smashing down the factories they once worked in and keeping the same people from stealing bread from the elite's stores when they are hungry. That Wall Street financiers and CEOs live in special gated communities and shop in special stores for themselves where they do not have to observe any poverty...well that was the U.S.S.R. In the U.S.S.R. you could get bread or vodka if you knew somebody that was high up (kind of like mafia connections). The most galling thing about the U.S.S.R. was that the Party which ran everything never took the blame for the mess they created (a new Five Year Plan will fix the old Five Year Plan). It was like being CEO but instead IBM or a consortium like OPEC and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce you were CEO of the entire country with the full weight of the forces of the Pentagon and the CIA. The Party lived in special places and shopped in special stores. The media was protected from interference by the Soviet citizens by massive armies around the radio and T.V. stations. The irony of the U.S.S.R. was that it was a paradise for politburo members and misery for the majority of society. If you had connections you could get pretty much anything you wanted just like in America. Without connections, like being related to a Party member or a general you had to wait in line like any other schlub. Walmart for the proletariat and Wegmann's for the Party. In America we have a great deal of freedom because of elections and choice, not capitalism, not competition. The object of competition is dominance, or controlling the market. If you cannot control the market what is the point of competition? Walmart was a small business that has come to dominate America economically and politically through competition. This is the same story with health insurance companies that resolve the problem of competition by demarcating territory to another company while that company respects your territory--kind of like two organized crime syndicates in New York: Italians run this and Irish run that (this by the way is how I would define nations, nationalism etc.--Great Britain has this land and Germany has this land. Don't go into my territory Hitler or we will wipe you out said Churchill to Hitler--2 gangsters planning a war). If the U.S. Chamber of Commerce were given the right to veto legislation then what we would have in America (whether the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is called the Department of Commerce or an independent entity) is the U.S.S.R.

Friday, April 09, 2010

I copied this from the 'Virtual Linguist' website, couldn't resist it -

Teabonics is the name given to the misspellings and odd English phrases that have appeared on protesters' banners in the United States, such as 'Say No to Socilism' and 'Dump the Polititians' (selection here). The word comes from the Tea Party movement, a US protest movement that is opposed to Obama's reforms. The modern name Tea Party is a reference to the 1773 Boston Tea Party, when American colonists protested against taxes imposed by the British. The -bonics part of the word is a reference to Ebonics, the name for African American slang.
From Today's Irish Independent -
"SO, Bono is one of the 10 greatest Irish people ever. And so is Stephen Gately, and so is Phil Lynott. Either we're a joke, or the joke is on us."
And somebody called Adi Roche (who?).

We all know that Nobo is full of it, but I wasn't aware that his condition was infectious. Now it seems that a substantial chunk of the population of the 26 counties has come down with it. As the cartoon points out, no O'Connell. Parnell, Joyce, Yeats.
By a coincidence, this afternoon I bought a copy of Marina Hyde's "Celebrity: how entertainers took over the world and why we need an exit strategy". Quod erat demonstrandum, Ms. Hyde.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Now that the election is set for May 6th*, and the lies, false promises and black propaganda begin to pile up like horse manure at Newmarket, I intend to forswear television news till it's all over.
I'm reminded of a little verse in Evan Hunter's "Blackboard Jungle" -

The wind blew
And the shit flew
And for weeks the vision was blurred.

*Or it might be May 5th, I'm not interested enough to find out.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


Americans put up with a lot before they get mad….. is it finally happening?

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.

You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war.

You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn’t get mad that the government spends 3 Billion dollars a year to support an oppressive apartheid regime in Israel.

You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.

You didn’t get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich.

You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.

You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans…oh hell no.

From desertpeace via Angry Arab's comments.

(OK, fleming, time for a sermon.)

Friday, April 02, 2010


"I admire the fortitude of its people. I remember attending Independence Day at Mount Herzl. I met a young man. Five of his family had been killed in a terrorist attack. He had been blinded. But there he was standing tall and strong and proud to be carrying one of the 12 torches of the tribes of Israel."
(Oh, those poor Israeli victims - better not mention the thousands of Palestinian victims)

"PM Netanyahu and Defence Minister Barak, with whom I work closely, deserve credit for the steps taken in response."
(I can't believe I said that.)

"Two years ago I could not have gone to Jenin. Now I go freely."
(I couldn't go to Jenin because my Israeli minders wouldn't let me)

"Sometimes people say to me: “Hey you used to be Prime Minister of a great nation, and now you spend your time examining earth mounds in obscure parts of Palestine, arguing why hospital workers should be able to travel into East Jerusalem, getting electricity and water to small villages outside Qualqilya.” They think I’ve gone down in the world; feel sorry for me."
(Actually nobody ever said that to me, but it sounds good. It's a bit like the 'Mondeo Man' bullshit. It's not my biggest lie after all)

"Iran’s regime is the biggest de-stabilising influence in the region."
(Bibi put that bit in. It goes down well here even if nobody else believes it)

"We will lift the scourge of extremism and bring hope to the world."
(I hope people don't think that means I'm surrendering myself for trial for war crimes)

The full emesis can be studied here.