September 2005

Activism&Corporate&South Asia29 Sep 2005 03:03 pm

India is on strike in protest at its government’s privatisation plans.

Good luck, people. You will need it.

“जीवन का अर्थ ही क्या रह जाएगा यदि हम में सतत प्रयत्न करने का साहस न रहे।”
– विन्सेंट वान गौह

British politics&Middle East27 Sep 2005 05:52 pm

Running the country must be an easy job. Apparently Blair gets so much free time, he can moonlight as a sales executive for BAE, the British arms manufacturer.

To whom was our very own military Avon Lady trying to sell these instruments of mass slaughter?

Why, those brutal fundamentalists – sorry, I mean our dear friends and allies – Saudi Arabia.

In return, the Saudis are allegedly asking for a few favours. They want two asylum seekers returned to them, perhaps to give them a stern talking-to. They want British Airways to forget all that “terrorist threat” silliness and start running flights back through Riyadh.

And they want the investigation into corruption involving the Saudi royal family and BAE to be buried.

So being PM, “bringing democracy to the Middle East” (selectively) and devising draconian domestic anti-privacy laws must all add up to part time employment.

If Tony has any more free time, perhaps he could pop up to Sedgefield and see if his constituents need a hand with anything?

The man has now slipped beyond parody.

Soundtrack to this post: Killing An Arab – The Cure

Random life&Self26 Sep 2005 03:04 pm

I’m supposed to be writing something proper, which inevitably means I am spending all day on the internet, blogging, reading, emailing, phoning people for chats etc.

So as I’m here, please accept with my compliments the lamest joke I have heard for ages:

Donald Rumsfeld is giving George Bush his daily briefing.

He concludes by saying: “And yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing incident in Iraq.”

“OH NO!” exclaims the President. “That’s terrible!”

His staff are stunned at this display of emotion, watching nervously as the president sits with his head in his hands.

Finally, the President looks up and asks:

“How many is a brazillion?”

Add your lame jokes here!

Soundtrack to this post: Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

Environment&Global politics&Random life25 Sep 2005 01:50 pm

Thanks to BlondeButBright for this link:

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement

Their view is that humanity should seek to die out deliberately, in order to restore some balance to the planet. They suggest this long-range goal is accomplished by opting not to reproduce.

A brief snippet:

“After we’ve seen a few hundred TV dramas where the good guy kicks the bad guy’s butt, it’s tempting to look at the real world with this same knee jerk, zero-sum mentality. We might look for an enemy to attack when championing our righteous cause, but in reality our enemy doesn’t have a butt to kick.

In the end, the real “enemies” are human greed, ignorance, and oppression. We can achieve more by promoting generosity, awareness, and freedom than we can by vainly kicking at a buttless foe.

… Each time another one of us decides to not add another one of us to the burgeoning billions already squatting on this ravaged planet, another ray of hope shines through the gloom.”

No kids, for moral reasons.

What do you think about this idea? (Have a browse through their ‘About the Movement’ page if you have a moment to spare.)

EDIT: Do you have children? Do you want children? Tell us that below too.

Soundtrack to this post: Baby Boy – Beyoncé

Activism&Environment&Global politics21 Sep 2005 06:42 pm

Just a reminder that tomorrow is World Car Free Day.

The site I’ve linked to is a European one, but my Canadian Adbusters calendar says “WORLD CAR FREE DAY” on it, and that’s good enough for me.

Anyone who gets the bus tomorrow gets a sugar-free lollipop.

(Oh hang on, that’s not right. That’s anyone under 12 who goes to the dentist.)

OK, you don’t get a lollipop, but you get to feel mildly virtuous for the day, if you’re normally a petrolhead.

Anyway, report back here if you are car-free on Thursday 22 September. That includes those without personal transport or driving licence. If anyone deserves a lollipop, YOU do.

Environment&Global politics&News media21 Sep 2005 02:13 pm

World growth will begin to slow as a result of increased oil prices” squawks the International Monetary Fund’s latest news release.

The IMF mathematical calculation is spot on. However – surprise surprise – the news coverage generated by this is missing three very important points:

1. Oil is finite. Therefore prices are inevitably going to rise as time goes on, because that’s how the free market works.

2. All resources are finite. We have only one planet, for a start. Therefore you can’t have endless economic growth. The idea is nonsensical.

3. Economic “growth” is simply a sly way of saying “increasing the gap between rich and poor”, surely? For every extra buck made by a shareholder, the world loses a little of its natural resources, or space, or air quality. And usually the parts of the world which are most impoverished financially are the parts which suffer the most degraded quality of life as well. Why do journalists paid by huge media conglomerates write about “growth” as though it’s an unequivocally good thing? (Oh wait, the clue’s in the question. Arf.)

Might I respectfully suggest that instead of firing off hysterical news releases, the IMF put their public relations staff to work promoting a new economic model based on something slightly more grown up than wishful thinking, elitism and greed?

Soundtrack to this post: Dirty Cash – The Adventures of Stevie V

News media&Self&The art of blog18 Sep 2005 08:04 pm

I haven’t forgotten about my forthcoming post. It is on its way.

Lately I’ve been even more wildly enraged than usual whenever I come into contact with the corporate news media. I think perhaps the best way to deal with the onslaught of lazy propaganda is to offer a response, by way of counterbalance. And there’s plenty of scope for it. In fact, my only problem would be knowing what to leave out.

In summary: Blogger’s block is so five minutes ago.

And to think I was considering closing this blog on its anniversary!

Welcome to the new Fox season, starting soon, right here.

Soundtrack to this post: Bombonyall – Quannum

American politics&Corporate&Human rights09 Sep 2005 10:58 am

I initially wrote this as a comment to the post below but, having finally realised (with help from Mr Swiss) that it is crazy to bury long rants in comments and later plead blogger’s block, I am posting it here instead.

Pat commented that the article quoted in the post below is very harsh.

Well yes, it is harsh. I agree. As I said, I doubt I would’ve put it quite like that.

Nonetheless, I share the sentiment behind it.

The idea that a shoot-to-kill policy was put in force in New Orleans to stop looting – to protect property over human life, in other words – is just staggering.

I know there are some fairly effective attempts by officials to excuse this, such as the “We’re just protecting law-abiding citizens from rapists and crack addicts” excuse, but the bottom line is exactly what that article says: “one item of our property is worth more than your life”. Initially, it was admitted in the international media that the shoot-to-kill approach was intended to protect property, presumably to reassure those who have some. That cry seems to have turned to a whisper, in the face of international disapproval, but it doesn’t change the motive.

This is capitalism at its rawest, without the usual sweeteners which make it palatable.

In modern life, money rules. You will be killed if you attempt to come between capital and the rich. That’s true for everyone, everywhere. The police protect those with property; those who have power, influence, things. The life of a poor person is worth less than a single dollar to the rich. You need only look at the local droughts around Coca-Cola’s bottling plants, or the sweatshop labour of Asia, to see that. It’s not news to any of us. We know what makes the world go round.

Again, it doesn’t really shock any of us that poor, disenfranchised people are not considered worthy of much official effort when it comes to saving lives. They do not constitute an important market, and they are not sufficiently shackled to the labour market, for various reasons, to affect the economy. So what use are they? (See also: most of Africa.)

So what’s most chilling of all about the New Orleans situation is that it is not an anomaly. It is merely the hideous face of modern capitalism without its make-up on.

American politics&Corporate&Human rights&Race08 Sep 2005 07:43 pm

I didn’t write this. I found it on this Indymedia post and thought it said all the things I’d been wanting to write in response to recent discussions, only more succinctly. And more aggressively than I would’ve said it, to be honest, but it still saves me a job. (Lazy, moi?) So here it is.

Priorities of Empire

The American ruling class couldn’t give a shit about the largely poor and black population of New Orleans. To these corporate oligarchs the poor are just so much expendable trash, to be confined in prisons or sent to die in colonial wars.

The truth is revealed: America is neither a nation nor a community – it’s a rich man’s racket, a con imposed on the majority of the population. As a political entity it has ceased to exist for the majority of the population who are left out of the social contract. The sadistic oratory of the governer says it all: if you are starving we will shoot you, we will shoot to kill… The czar of Russia couldn’t have put it more crudely. We are your rulers, you are scum, one item of our property is worth more than your life, and the life of your family. Challenge one iota of our wealth and power and we will destroy you like an insect.

America wake up…refuse to fight, refuse to kill, take your country back from the slime that claim to rule in your name.

‘Dr Strangelove’

American politics&Pop culture08 Sep 2005 12:35 pm

Someone terminate this idiot’s political career. Preferably with the big fat sex scandal which has been brewing for some time.

Soundtrack to this post: Gett Off – Prince

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