Wednesday, February 28, 2007
So this is somewhat disturbing. I'm no economist but the continued slump of UK markets is bad news to anyone with a mortgage. The overblown housing market is a bubble waiting to burst and a prime example of the failure of free markets. The lack of affordable housing in the UK is shameful. My wiff and I now gross 40k a year but we are still not even considering a mortgage because of all my debts from 6 years of university. I may be fucking clever and well paid on paper (still below the UK average) but I'm also fucking broke. This news is not good for me or anyone else.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
"That’s the immediate consequence of constant threats. Everyone knows that. That’s one of the reasons the reformists, Shirin Ebadi and Akbar Ganji and others, are bitterly complaining about the U.S. threats, that it’s undermining their efforts to reform and democratize Iran. But that’s presumably its purpose. Since it’s an obvious consequence you have to assume it’s the purpose. Just like in law, anticipated consequences are taken as the evidence for intention. And here’s it so obvious you can’t seriously doubt it."
"The efforts to intensify the harshness of the regime show up in many ways. For example, the West absolutely adores Ahmadinejad. Any wild statement that he comes out with immediately gets circulated in headlines and mistranslated. They love him. But anybody who knows anything about Iran, presumably the editorial offices, knows that he doesn’t have anything to do with foreign policy. Foreign policy is in the hands of his superior, the Supreme Leader Khamenei. But they don’t report his statements, particularly when his statements are pretty conciliatory. For example, they love when Ahmadinejad says that Israel shouldn’t exist, but they don’t like it when Khamenei right afterwards says that Iran supports the Arab League position on Israel-Palestine. As far as I’m aware, it never got reported. Actually you could find Khamenei’s more conciliatory positions in the Financial Times, but not here. And it’s repeated by Iranian diplomats but that’s no good. The Arab League proposal calls for normalization of relations with Israel if it accepts the international consensus of the two-state settlement which has been blocked by the United States and Israel for thirty years. And that’s not a good story, so it’s either not mentioned or it’s hidden somewhere.
It’s very hard to predict the Bush administration today because they’re deeply irrational. They were irrational to start with but now they’re desperate. They have created an unimaginable catastrophe in Iraq. This should’ve been one of the easiest military occupations in history and they succeeded in turning it into one of the worst military disasters in history. They can’t control it and it’s almost impossible for them to get out for reasons you can’t discuss in the United States because to discuss the reasons why they can’t get out would be to concede the reasons why they invaded.
We’re supposed to believe that oil had nothing to do with it, that if Iraq were exporting pickles or jelly and the center of world oil production were in the South Pacific that the United States would’ve liberated them anyway. It has nothing to do with the oil, what a crass idea. Anyone with their head screwed on knows that that can’t be true. Allowing an independent and sovereign Iraq could be a nightmare for the United States. It would mean that it would be Shi’ite-dominated, at least if it’s minimally democratic. It would continue to improve relations with Iran, just what the United States doesn’t want to see. And beyond that, right across the border in Saudi Arabia where most of Saudi oil is, there happens to be a large Shi’ite population, probably a majority.
After his purchase of a share in ITV and an avalanche of complaints about his domination of media outlets in the country the government are actually doing something in the interests of the populace! I can hardly believe it!
The virulently conservative Aussie must be seething.
Johann Hari explains one of the reasons I hate Murdoch in detail here.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
"Civilized societies, it is said, adhere to the generally accepted principles of international law, including the laws of war. By their very nature barbarians and ‘savages’ are deemed incapable of abiding by such laws. While terrorists might be capable, they are unwilling to do so. In this respect they are something akin to modern day ‘savages’; at least in terms of their problematic place in the international system and international law."
Adherence to the generally accepted principles of international law, including the laws of war, is exactly what Bush and- to a lesser extent- Blair have not done. Therbey lowering themselves to the level of despots and their respective 'civilisations' to tyrranies.
Friday, February 23, 2007
"Shock and Awe".
More like collective punishment to me.
Such inspecific and pointless exhibitions of military muscle have been proven to be both grotesquely excessive in terms of "collateral damage" and counterproductive as a consequence of that. Far from inducing "shock" and "awe", they harden the resolve of the populace to fight against such tyranny. The Bush administration is out of control and needs to be stopped.
What costs billions of pounds and is completely useless against "rogue" states and terrorists? (Apart from Trident and its potential replacement, that is.)
Yes, its the US's ballistic missile defence system that has so far proved utterly useless at doing the job it was intended for. So far the system has only managed a meer handful of "successful" intercepts out of dozens of test launches against a drone target missile. The cost of the system has been $8bn so far and is looking to hit several tens if the Shrubbery keep puring money into it.
- How much would US and UK society be improved if the budget currently allocated to violating nuclear proliferation treaties, defending against the consequences of our grossly offensive foreign policies, subsidising our own arms industries and "faith"- (read "ignorance") -based initiatives was invested in social projects, renewable technologies, education and aid projects?
I know utopia is just a concept but compared to our current society I don't think its an exaggeration.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Johann Hari is the latest comentator to call for politicians' religious beliefs to be scrutinised whenever they influence their political details. I can't think of a more straightforward way to better democracy than to cease excluding religious beliefs from rational political debate. Johann makes some penetrating comments about how these nutters- who are meant to be representing the majority- occupy a platform from which to prosetylise their beliefs.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
bright and early this morning, I'm off to collect the traps I put out at Bantham last night. Its a beautiful morning too!
I spent yesterday afternoon digging these beauties out of the mud at Torpoint too . . . .
This picture's crap- I'll get some better ones from work today.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
I am having a good old ding-dong with my arch-nemesies over at Little Green Soccer Balls. I am SDM (SonicDeathMonkey).
For some reason they won't let you post with the word "monkey" in your name. Some irrational fear of primates methinks, eg. other human beings. This is clearly evident from their utter lack of any human values.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
A couple of interesting points here.
- That the Israelis demand that the Palestinians recognise their nation-state but make no such concession to the Palestinians.
- (And I am aware that this is highly contentious but, with respect to the continuing domination of the Knesset by parties that promote exceptionalism for Jews I will include it here). That recognising Israel's "right" to exist condones the concept of a Jewish state and not just another secular nation i.e. an exceptionalist state where everyone but Jews are untermenschen.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Yeah, its all there. There's so much of this stuff out there at the moment from a variety of highly respected independent thinktanks that I really can't see this getting pushed through by Brown's new Labour government. Thank fuck.
Google "Trident replacement" for millions more.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Interesting site. I will read more.
Good analysis of the US's policy of accusing Iran of "supporting" terrorism.
"What is interesting about the framework for discussion of Iranian support for attacks on US troops in Iraq is the underlying assumption that it would be most heinous for Iran to involve itself with its next-door neighbor. The US, on the other hand, has every right to interfere, politically and militarily, in the affairs of the Mesopotamian country on the other side of the world. This declared right for the US to use violence to meet political ends (which, incidentally, meets the definition of terrorism) is never questioned in Washington or the corporate media, while the conjecture about Iranian involvement in Iraq rages on. An alternative framework for discussion is possible. It could be assumed that the same standards must apply to the US as to Iran. But that would be unthinkable. The US is instead absurdly portrayed as the defender of Iraq, struggling to keep other parties from destabilizing the country. Iraq is preposterously “the front line” in the “war on terrorism” as a result of waging a “war on terrorism” against Iraq."
"Governments rotting from within often show it in trivial ways. They grow sloppy in their patronage. They spend money on their friends. They degrade the public realm in ways that are irretrievable by later generations. Cursed with a mayor blind to architectural quality, London has been doubly cursed by philistine ministers. It has had to accept trashy advertising covering black taxis and red buses and the use of roundabouts and Thames-side buildings for advertisements. These were all once banned as unsightly."
This alludes to one of the most sociopathic flaws of the current administration: The sale of communally owned space by bodies that are meant to act in the communities best interests.
2 hours of playing with conc sulphuric and water baths later I found out that the standard curve I had meticulously serial diluted was 3 orders of magnitude under the desired concentration because the fucking wankstain (Frings et al, 1972) had quoted his concs in mg per decilitre!
What the fuck is a decilitre????
(Its a rhetorical question!)
But really, who uses a stupid unit like a decilitre!?!?!?!?
It really bugs the shit out of me when people can't use sensible fucking units.
1000mg/dl = 10g/l
Why the fuck didn't the little twat quote his concs in fucking grams per litre!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Scary goes to bed before his head explodes.)
Thursday, February 15, 2007
. . . . these two reports today from The Independent.
1st: Analysis of an OECD report that much of Europe is still lagging behind the US in terms of economic growth.
2nd: A response to yesterday's UNICEF report that the UK has the worst environment amongst 21 developed countries for children to live in. The authors of the article in The Independent categorically state that Britain's drive to emulate US economic success is to blame for the conditions in the UNICEF report.
I have long believed that chasing economic growth as the sole index of national success is an excuse to line the pockets of the wealthy by creating an environment where they can continue to prosper from the manipulation of the less well-off. It is no coincidence that the European states with the highest scores in a study on social justice and wellbeing are those with the least penchant for laissez-faire capitalism. When will an evidence-based approach to geovernment finally allow us to shuck off this absurd and sociopathic pursuit of economic growth? Any ten year old will tell you that infinite growth within a finite space is impossible.
Don't get me wrong- I am not anti-nuclear power as I am minded to agree with Prof. James Lovelock's insistence that only nuclear generation- which is a very mature technology- can save us from the worst effects of climate change. However I am no expert on the economics and practicalities of renewable generation and cannot claim to support that or nuclear generation without a lot more reading. My impression is that nuclear may be flawed but has overwhelming advantage of being relatively carbon neutral. It would also have the benefit of loosening the noose of Russian bully-boy tactics over their stranglehold on gas supplies to Europe.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
Sooooo . . . that's their idea of damning evidence, hey? An 'official'-'unofficial' briefing by people who won't even be named, presenting circumstantial evidence that is impossible to verify independently (and that's the real issue here- US Military Intelligence has become a byword for obfustication and if they want to be taken seriously they will have to have verifiable evidence). No evidence was supplied that might indicate that the weapons had made their way into the hands of the militia by anything other than illicit means. Selling weapons to anyone with the money is one thing (hello BAE Systems!) but covertly supplying them to insurgents to help further their cause is quite another and the Bush administration is blatantly trying to pass the former off as the latter. One is tempted to observe that the US are- as usual- trying to get people to do as the say, not as they do. The number of incidences of the US covertly supporting insurrections against regimes they object to are beyond count (that is not an attempt to support or defend any Iranian involvment). As has been observed previously, the Shrubbery's hypocrisy knows no bounds.
More in The Guardian.
"Iran will dismiss the claims, saying it is hardly surprising there are Iranian weapons in Iraq given that the two countries fought between 1980 and 1988, and that Tehran had armed militia groups fighting Saddam Hussein."
Pretty hard for the US to argue against, methinks. If they have harder evidence they will have to present it to congress. They haven't so they haven't.
Iran has countered the accusations.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
The UN has evolved from a group of military victors into a truly global organisation, under whose auspices there have been tremendous steps forward towards forging a rule-based global society. While the organisation has provided the framework for those developments, it is the member-states with their adherence to the conventions and treaties that have made the difference.
Despite the worst conservative fears, and the naïve hopes of some internationalists, the UN is not, and never will be a world government. Indeed no one who has seen it in operation close up would want it to be. But it is a crucial part of a cooperative world."
I can't believe what happened to the TG boys in Alabama. Imagine if you drove through Moss Side in cars daubed in similarly provocative material? ("Man love rules OK" is still appropriate and if you replaced Country&Western with 'Hip Hop' you'd get the same response but any political references would be lost so you'd have to resort to insulting prominent Manchester United footballers instead). I don't imagine you would get pelted with rocks or chased out of town. Head somewhere as rural as the place they were in and you'd just get laughed at. No wonder Bush behaves as if he is god.
When as conservative publication as The Economist makes a stand against Bush's apocalyptic aspirations, you know its time to take action. (I know this is a few weeks old but I've been sitting on it in my drafts box.)
Interestingly The Economist- unlike Jacques Chirac- considers a benuked Iran to be a threat. There are several opinions to be found on this matter but I find Chirac's the most rational. This position is backed up by the North Korean situation: If a despot as insane and callous about their own populace's welfare as Kim Jong Il won't start shooting off nukes for fear of reprisals then Iranians certainly won't. On the other hand, the chances of Israel or the US using nuclear weapons are far, far higher.
Another interesting point about the Economist article is their conviction regarding "Iran's apparent determination to build nuclear weapons". Now, I really dislike groundless speculation and I think that the press should not be repeating Bush's propaganda without any real evidence, which of course, there isn't. I believe that Iran has probably looked at the possibilities of 'going nuclear' but it would be pretty obvious to them that they are under intense scrutiny from foreign intelligence agencies and they wouldn't be able to conduct a serious secret weapons program for long. Instead I reckon they are bluffing in an attempt to utilise the spectacularly immoral deception of the Iraqi intelligence debacle to their own ends by using the ignorance and bigotry of the Neo-Cons to draw sympathy in the international forum. Canny and wise, no doubt as the neocons have blatantly fallen for it and are on a war footing. The Iranians have no weapons program. I am sure of it. They might have some documents that roughly describe how to make hemispheres of enriched uranium that can only be used to construct nuclear warheads but these are actually more likely to be US fabrications. Ultimately, if the US or Israel are stupid enough to rise to the Iranian bait and launch some pre-emptive strike then the Iranian cause will unite the- currently split- nation and most likely the rest of the middle east too in a concerted opposition to US imperialism. And rightly so.
This sounded like a really good idea when I first read about it. There's a Wikipedia article on it which states Al Gore's 5 strategic goals "to save the global environment". Unfortunately I am vastly sceptical that the first of his goals is at all achievable before the global environment is permanently damaged. Yes, I'm back onto overpopulation again.
People discussing overpopulation generally make assume that if global population can be stabilised civilisation will follow suit and we will skip merrily into utopia. Before any discussion of the benefits of ending runaway population growth, and even depopulation (anyone care to point out the difference to society between a global population of 6 billion and one of 1 billion?) you must first address the likelihood of achieving such a goal, otherwise you are just wasting hot air. Compare this to a discussion on the best way to expend 3 wishes.
My points are:
- The global economy is driven by the cheap labour produced by high birth rates in developing countries
- Virtually all religion abhors the concept of antinatalism
- The same high birth rates that keep the economy functioning allow more repressive cultures to demographically assault more liberal ones via "the wombs of our women".
The obvious answer would be to adopt an ethical foreign policy a la Robin Cook that might allow immigrants to respect the UK and Europe as a Nation. A brief review of the various policies of the past half-dozen governments of this country shows how unlikely this is. So, if a passive policy has no chance of success one must begin to consider active policies which might encourage immigrants to embrace the enlightenment ideals of our society in preference for their own misogynist, racist and religious values.
Unfortunately I cannot begin to imagine a way of doing this that does no betray the very philosophy it seeks to promote.
This is a very interestng article on how small developing countries should avoid competing drectly with larger, Westernised institutions and governments and, instead, engge in symbiotic relationships emphasising their natural territorial and cultural assets. It seems sensible to me that developing countries should spare themselves the social and environmental trauma of industrialisation, a la China / The Philippines / Nigeria, and move straight into the service- and knowledge- economies in which they might compete on a level footing with the West.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
People, this is some scary shit. Bush seems committed to attempting to repeat his earlier crimes. The world cannot stand by and let this happen again. How can this Cristo-fascist moron still be dictating American military policy?! Do the yanks just not care about the security of the rest of the world?
"the naval forces now gathering in the region include two carrier battle-groups and two expeditionary strike groups, with the possibility of yet another carrier battle-group, centred on the USS Ronald Reagan, being barely ten days away"
This means there are 3 carriers, several guided missile boats and more than 4000 marines as well as an attack submarine in the Persian Gulf. With Iraq's civil war continuing to rage and Afghanistan becoming a harder and harder operation to remain positive about, just what is Bush expecting to achieve by opening a 3rd front against a virtually unassailable enemy? The only way that Israel or the US can seriously expect to damage Iran's nuclear program is through the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons and if they cross that line then its goodnight to any chance of building world peace for a decade. Russia and China will not stand by and let Ameria bully their main oil supplier, and neither possess any better suited ideology for policing the world than the US.
Friday, February 09, 2007
I might have mentioned this opinion of mine previously but I was so impressed by John Kampfner's measured critique of the twat's work that I wanted to draw attention to it. The man is a neo-con apologist (Cohen- not Kampfner) and needs to poked with sharp sticks until he recants his sociopathic beliefs. A comprehensive twat.
TRICK QUESTION! They're both as bad as each other!
Alarming report from Johann Hari about Wahhabi Islam here.
Equally disturbing study of Cristo-fascism here.
And because I do not want to show bias towards any particular bunch of religious sociopaths here is an alarming study of Judaism's genocidal, expansionist drive- backed by the Shrub Administration- to create a Greater Israel.
The common theme throughout all of these movements is a warped interpretation of religion that justifies the inherent racism or exceptionalism of each movement. This is why people of declared religious beliefs should be prohibited from public office; they cannot be relied upon to treat all people equally. Although it is a human construct, religion is profoundly inhuman in nature.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
I engaged with the oiks over at Harry's Place for a while, having read that it was a hothouse of left-wing intelligentsia. I am unclear about my political alignment within the conventional spectrum, veering widely between centre-right and left wings. Frankly, I find anyone who puts me into a predesigned political 'box' by deriding me as 'left' or 'right' wing tends to be losing the debate at hand and resorting to ad hominem attacks. I believe that there is only one 'right' form of government and that is whatever is best for the people in question. This leads me to stances that are entirely communist at a local 'community' level to opinions which are derided by people even I consider 'conservative' as being 'conservative'. For example my stance on overpopulation: Its bad and needs to be addressed- the UN predicts our population will grow to 9 billion by 2050 whilst Paul Roberts predicts peak oil will occur between 2015 to 2020 after which cheap oil will never return and prices will start to rise, never to fall again and climate change will cause sea levels to rise by anything from 15 to 95 cm by 2050. Anyone who has seen Al Gore's remarkably well presented film (I was very skeptical until I actually watched it) has been horrified by the enormous tracts of land that will be submerged by a 'worst-case-scenario' (eg. Ground Zero on Manhattan Island will be underwater).
Anyway, back to the lefties and Bush and all that. I engaged with the inhabitants of Harry's Place via the comments pages with the intention of getting on my antitheist-humanist horse and having a bit of banter with all of these impressive intellects, only to find that they were- almost to a man- unquestioning supporters of the Bush, Olmert, et al. I was disillusioned, to say the least, and lost interest shortly afterwards. In fact I was so struck with my experiences that I decided to disengage with the rest of Blogdom in an active capacity and concentrate on my own product due to my repeated failure to develop an argument within reasonable grounds, once I posted an opinion that contradicted the prevailing dogma of the blog I was often mobbed and prevented from developing a rational argument by insulting posts and blanking of my responses.
Anyhow, to return from yet another lengthy elaboration, I still check the comments at HP now and then just to confirm my suspicion that they are populated mostly by genocide-loving islamophobes, fascists and apartheid-freaks and I was rewarded. The post I have linked to is a typical one from HP- emphasis on the evils of the 'Mullahocracy' and no criticism whatsoever of Britain's absurd endorsement of the oxymoronic 'war on terror', Israeli chest-beating or Bush's offensive and grossly inappropriate rhetoric. Now while I am not stupid enough to consider Iran's nuclear ambitions to be wholly benign I am also the last person who would ever endorse any sort of military action against the feckin' eejits unless there was considerable evidence that they actually had the bomb, the delivery system and an excuse to use it. However, I was under the impression that jingoism, fundamental religion and lust for laissez-faire capitalism were all anathema to any proud Leftie, but over at HP you can routinely find people cooing in admiration for Bush's attempts to pacify the middle east or shouting support for his insane troop 'surge'.
Please be aware that I am not including the authors of HP here, although I find their posts to focus overwhelmingly upon Islam with barely a mention of the absurdities and iniquities of other creeds and cultures (heaven forbid- their own!), I do occasionally find links to moving and insightful articles (and equally I find links or posts that contain utter twatism). Essentially they are too busy telling Muslims how to bring their religion into line with enlightenment ideals to stop and consider their own culture's failings.
But the prime target of my ire is the creatures which lurk within their comments pages, who brook no criticism of their own culture or its allies. Irrespective of my opening faux pas, some of the responding comments were utter xenophobic polemic and much of it was outrageous scaremongering. Commenters of note to look out for are morgoth, s.o.muffin, modernity, johan, montaq, toady
This has to be the creme de la creme, though. Posted by Morgoth:
"And pray tell "hoW" are the "Bush regime" and the "neocons" corrupt?"
Yes, he actually posed that question as if it were a mystery.
Seems I'm not the only one who's offended by the pro-Bush, pro-Iraq invasion, pro-Israel bent of the denizens of Harry's Place (including- as the critique shows- Harry himself).
"Harry doesn't want to protect and maintain an open and honest debate. He wants to shape something that *appears* to be an open and honest debate into a validation/confirmation of his own personal views."
New Scientist rocks onwards in the scientific world. Fascinating piece here on the above subject and the technical challenges that must be overcome in order to master our runaway energy budget. I am pleased to see someone leading the way in stating the obvious with regard to the fundamental changes needed in our society in order to perpetuate our way of life.
There is bound to be far more detail in the special edition of Science (vol 315, p 781) which the article is reviewing. Unfortunately Science is not included in my university's online subscriptions so I cannot digitise it to you, my adornig fans, for which I apologise on their shoddy behalf.
The whole debacle of Iraq and the Coalition Provisional Authority has been such an elegant demonstration of how the collective manipulation of national fear can be used to wage an illegal war and engage in nepotism, corruption and outright imperialism that I am not in the least surprised that Bush appears to be considering expanding the scope of the operation to include their new, favourite bogeyman- Iran. This is why the Shrubbery and their cronies (that includes you, Tony, you simpering fuckwit) cannot be allowed to get away with it.
"There is one corruption scandal that is so drenched in blood and tragedy that it is easy to forget that it is actually a story of corruption. I’m talking, of course, about the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Ex-CIA agent Philip Giraldi writing in The American Conservative – not a natural enemy of the Bush Administration or the war – sets it out it plainly:‘The American-dominated Coalition Provisional Authority could well prove to be the most corrupt administration in history... At least $20 billion that belonged to the Iraqi people has been wasted, together with hundreds of millions of US taxpayer dollars. Exactly how many billions of additional dollars were squandered, stolen, given away, or simply lost will never be known because of the deliberate decision by the CPA not to meter oil exports...’"
"You have to ask the question: who is trying to teach whom about governance? From where does Paul Wolfowitz – who in his former US Defense Department job championed fraudster Ahmed Chalabi and was a prime architect of the Iraqi invasion – glean his authority to lecture Indonesians about corruption? What can Gordon Brown say to Africans on the subject after he supported and continues to support this most corrupt adventure in recent history?
Perhaps such hypocrites can be held to account more easily for having spoken out on corruption. But equally when they use the language of anti-corruption it risks creating a climate of cynicism in which corruption can only continue to flourish.
There’s a piece of advice that Kenyan anti-graft activist John Githongo gives anyone who wants to try and combat corruption: ‘Start with your own people.’"
That last sentence is the essence of my philosophy. There is so much wrong with our modern lives that it is immoral to start criticising others whilst we continue to pollute the erst of the world, repress the other inhabitants and still continue trying to tell everyone else how to live their lives. We didn't even come up with the moral structure of our current society- we are all living by the philosophical standards suggested by people who died 2 centuries ago (the enlightenment, dumbass!). I will dwell on this further.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
I am decidedly pro-european and I like the tone of this article. Europe has the potential to challenge the American supremacy but only if the continent's countries cooperate together. I am a mixture of localist and internationalist with a little national pride here and there for good measure. It seems clear to me that the solution to the challenges to efficient government presented by national boundaries can be solved- as with most problems-not by an exclusive resort to the extremes of devolution or centralism but through a measured blend of the two. Certain politics are better handled at local level and others on far larger scales.
I hate the conceit and ignorance of jingoism, so prevalent in modern British society.
I was reading this article on CiF and recalling reading my father's memoirs about his experiences flying Harrier GR1s in the Falklands War. In particular I was considering the enormous gap in civilisation between deploying such multi-million killing pound technology against a well armed, trained and equipped foe such as the Argentinian junta and deploying such technology against guerilla fighters such as the majority of those targetted in Iraq. Although I cannot deny that there do exist well trained and equipped fighters in that country they are the minute minority and the overwhelming majority of targets are young men with little or no tactical warfare training, armed with small arms and nothing more. The deployment of the most advanced ground attack aircraft on the planet against such targets is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut and, as the article describes, grossly counterproductive to the intended achievement of a peaceful solution to the conflict.
The most disturbing aspect of this article is the fact that the British forces in Afghanistan appear to have adopted similar tactics in their fight against the Pashtun-Taliban militias. Although I find it distressing to hear reports of American forces deploying military force to gross excesses, the reports of the RAF following suit is, frankly, shocking. I appear to have been labouring under the misapprehension that our forces were trained to fight with honour. Aparrently I have been mislead. When such regressive tactics are deployed it is little wonder that the resistance simply strengthen their resolve to continue the fight against these imperialist invaders with the super-advanced technology and their well equipped soldiers.
It can only be concluded that the people ordering the use of such tactics do not want to end the conflict, but are in fact bent upon aggravating and prolonging it.
Monday, February 05, 2007
The Online Journal picked up on the story and added some trimmings to it in their own inimitable style. I'm not so sure that their predictions of an imminent American totalitarian theocracy are that true. The Christian fuckwit squad in the US might be a deciding force in an election but the real extremists, such as those engaging in the horrendous child-abuse chronicled in the film Jesus Camp, are still a definite minority. I remain confident that their attempts to re-write the American Constitution will fail and that liberal, educated America will prevail over these apocalyptic-porn-merchants. If the Democrats win the next election, that is. Otherwise I'll start to get scared.
One interesting aspect of the rhetoric that frequents such anti-theocratic articles as these are the bald statements that secular humanism is allowing itself to be the framework within which the Cristo-fascist movement can grow. We are told that these people have no respect for the tenets of the enlightenment but are prepared to work the system until they achieve positions of authority from which they can start to impose their god-bothering philosophy upon others. This is far more worrying to me- read some of the quotes in Hedges' article and check over his description of George Bush's "ascendancy to the first regent". (!)
Required reading for those who aren't keen on perpetuating the oxymoronic "war on terror":
- "For many people it is déjá vu: the present situation is reminiscent of the days leading to the Iraqi war, with exaggerated statements about Iran’s imminent danger, supported by orchestrated media campaigns preparing the public for sanctions culminating in an assault."
- "The prospect of a nuclear Iran causes acute concern not only in the United States and Israel, but also in Europe, the Middle East and most of the rest of the world. This report does not seek to quantify the likelihood of military action against Iran. It argues that the consequences of any possible future military action could be wholly counterproductive as well as highly dangerous. Diplomatic solutions to the Iranian nuclear issue must be pursued resolutely."
Over at Comment is Free there is going to be a week of debate about Israel's foreign policy in an attempt to produce a consensus view from the Jewish community. I will be following this with interest as I am particularly interested in Israel's attempts to defend its policy of apartheid and illegal expansion the occupied territories. I have not previously encountered any satisfying defence for such flagrant breaches of international law.
On a similar note the paper that started a considerable furor amongst the Jewish community will certainly be discussed and referenced here so its time to read it again and brush up on your semitic knowledge.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Friday, February 02, 2007
Having spent much of last night with my newly revitalised HPLC system fractionating the different peaks in my crab urine I have now managed to put them to good use and have got preliminary IDs on a couple of the compounds. And . . . . one of them wasn't at all what I thought it was! There's a surprise for jah.
I had to whack 200ul at a time through my precious column but it worked out in the end and I've spent all day cleaning it with methanol to say sorry for subjecting it to such abuse. More data will be presented soon but for now you can see my pretty chromatogram.
His point about the British and French nuclear arsenals is particularly poignant in light of Tony's unilateral push to spend billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction instead of advancing world peace or real solutions to climate change. I hate that little weasel.
More Guardian-stylee reporting (you know- that thing where you get presented with interesting facts and analysis) can be found here with a fascinating resume of the secret talks held between Israel and Syria that were- predictably- scuppered by the Shrubbery. Dick Cheney, in particular, seems to be the culprit here- there appear to be no depths to the man's inhumanity.
Worse still is her gushing enthusiasm for the state of the British Economy:
"Britain got its economic act together just as globalisation was accelerating, in the late 1980s. It has managed to catch and ride the current wave successfully, selling the world financial and business services where once it sold cotton textiles and machines."
I believe that a more accurate statement would be "selling brutal dictatorships advanced jet fighters, military trucks and stun batons to be used on defenceless civilians whilst paying the customer's representatives fat bribes for the privilege".
Please do not get me confused with some balaclava'd anti-globalisation thug smashing the window of a McDonalds. I am very aware that seedy capitalism is the dominant economic paradigm in the Western world and there is little chance to change this with 75% of the money inthe world in the hands of those who profit from such a situation. However democracy is still the dominant political paradigm and it has the power to bring such corrupt and nefarious dealings to account. See my links to voting reform, compulsory voting, Fair Trade and environmental economics. Only Tony stands in the way.
I find it frustrating to have to awake every day to a nation dominated by people who either aren't aware of their own potential to change the world, or- worse still- don't care.
This article in the Economist gets it right. Merril Stevenson actually links to it in her article as if, in associating herself with a well balanced and written article, her own waffle might somehow be better received. Flippin' scoggin.
AC Grayling just got another body blow in on a god-bothering apologist. This idiot claimed that Christianity had done wonders for science. AC Grayling disagreed profoundly.
I was distracted by his concluding broadside to the bint:
"It happens that we have the technology to make everyone "happy", as if this were by itself the great aim of things: put Prozac in the public water supply. One reason for not doing so is that norms of fulfilment and flourishing in human life rest on such richer possibilities now than when the sun went round the earth and you could be burned to death for not believing that it did."
And I recall the quality of life surveys you read about how people were happier 30 years ago than they were now. I am also brought back to a point I have frequently considered which is: "What is the goal of civilisation?"
Is it the happiness of its citizens?
Maybe it is the pursuit of knowledge.
I will ponder this awhile.
An SSRI like Prozac is not a very good drug for "making everyone happy". I advocate ecstasy.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Alarming stuff I know in this day and age but the story he relates is shocking and appalling. I will be wasting my time tonight writing to Alison Seabeck MP with regard to this .
The name of Austin Mitchell is one I will be keeping an ear and an eye out for. I approve.
I would like to relate, briefly, a story told to me by a police officer I know that seems pertinent.
A local rang police from Plympton and told them that there were a bunch of African-looking types washing in a puddle across the road from his house. Surely enough when the police turned up they apprehended 3 illegal immigrants who were fresh out of the back of a lorry that had come off the ferry. Upon enquiring return to Charles Cross police station the officers contacted The Immigration and Nationality Directorate to ask what to do with them. The answer?
"Take their details, give them the phone number of this case officer and tell them they will have to be in court in London in a couple of weeks to have their case heard. Then let them go."
Do I have to point out the likelihood of these guys actually appearing at the court house to defend their case? Do I have to mention the humanitarian considerations for 3 people in a strange country, without a place to stay, without any local knowledge? It seems that policing the borders of our nation, nay our continent, is the only acceptable way of ensuring national integrity. If we prevent any old rabble from storming across our boundaries then we prevent any further illegitimate immigration. If they can't get into our country then they aren't legitimate asylum seekers! There is a process in place for determining the legitimacy of asylum applications but it is bogged down amidst the thousands of false applications. Offering asylum is a noble aspect of our civilisation that must not be threatened by the inability of the government to police our borders. The deportation of families such as the Bokharis does little to improve our battered reputation as a nation. If we are to regain the moral high ground and fight a war against brutality, corruption and religion then we need to preserve our humanitarianism.
I cannot wait for this book. I have loved reading the whole series and I am anxious to find out how it is all wrapped up. I am having no truck with the talk of killing Harry off at the end of the series. I don't understand why anyone would want a fairy tale to have anything but a fairy tale ending. I am also worried about the million sof hcildren who have followed this story through to its conclusion only to be faced with the death of the main character. Call me a romantic fool, but I was of the impression that children would really appreciate a happy ending to which they could relate in this sordid little shit storm of a world we live in.
Long live Harry!
So, I am not the only one to be thinking that a nuclear Iran would be little or no threat to the wider world. I am a convinced anti-proliferationist but the US responses to Iran's nuclear program are disproportionate, bullying and hypocritical. Iran has a right to engage in nuclear generation according to the NPT- which the US has torn up and stomped all over. If only they would start playing ball with the IAEA then the US would have no excuses to go raging about their Axis of Eeeeeeevil. 6 of one and half a dozen of the other, pride is a terrible excuse for drawing the ME into another war of aggression.