Sunday, November 19, 2006

I love it! -"The anti-choice movement is genocidal"

A particular gratifying read. Its nice to see someone out there who feels the same way as me (and the opposite way to my nemesis on the forum: Imp.

Cornish waste incinerator PFI could be disastrous for the Westcountry

This looks like another case of New Labour selling the region's future to the highest bidder. Not sure if anyone else caught a program recently aired on a terrestrial channel- (sorry for being vague- I remember it being on in the background)- about schools in the North East that were built by PFIs and then closed down after only a couple of years as they had insufficient pupils to justify keeping it open. The school had been shut for two years and as the PFI ahd a contract for something like the 30 years in this example the council had to keep up their contractual maintenance payments to the PFI for doing nothing!

Anyway, the link gives you all the detail I've got. Could be the subject of another (useless) letter to my MP.

I just signed the Euston Manifesto

Its here. You lovely peeps out there may be interested in reading it and signing it too.

I find it fascinating that my country has no simple constitution or statement of values or a manifesto such as this (the mere idea of Blair accepting its tenets is laughable). The only thing that worries me is that it lacks a profound endorsement of secularity. . . . Hmmmmmmmmm, methinks I will email them to suggest such a 'ting.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

onward rocks Robert Fisk, speaker of truths

Robert savages Blair. Blair rolls over and cries like a baby, pleading for forgiveness for his insane and illegal foreign policy. . . . . I wish!

Robert Fisk: A terrible legacy of hatred and death

This is the hell we have bequeathed to the Arab peoples of Iraq

Published: 18 November 2006

So the Ministry of Fear now has a Dowager of Fear, the good Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller who has discovered in the sanctum of MI5 another 30 "terror plots" to terrify us - and an entire generation of plots before the show is over. And how Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara admires her. "I think she is absolutely right that it will last a generation," he announces. Absolutely, indeed. The favourite Blair adverb, always trotted out when he really, truly and of course absolutely believes he is right; which is not the same at all, of course, as actually being right, which needs a lot more than belief to support it.

What is this trash? Accepting - which Blair can't do, can he? - that the risk to us is caused by his pusillanimous, mendacious policies in the Middle East (and that of his lord and master in Washington) would cut this latest bulletin from the Ministry of Fear down to a mere couple of years' worth of terror instead of a generation.

And note the smarmy way that officials in the Ministry of Fear now try to squeeze in a little bit of truth to take the edge off all those lies. According to Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, the war in Iraq is not to blame for the "terror plots" we are facing. No, "it is now clearly the case that although the Iraq war did not create violent jihad, it has become a convenient excuse for violent jihad". Come again, my good Lord? Now, let me get this right. Iraq has nothing to do with the "terror plots" - this, he says, is "clearly" the case ("clearly" being a notch down the road of lies from "absolutely", which might be pushing Lord Carlile's luck on this occasion). So the threats have nothing to do with Iraq but, er, well, yes, he tells us that they have, because the inventors of the "terror plots" lie to us about the real reasons for their deeds.

Note the deceit in this. We are permitted to link Iraq to the "terror threat", providing we do so on the grounds that the perpetrators are lying to us about Iraq. And so what are the real reasons for the plots? Why - Lord Blair again - the answer is they hate our "values", values which Blair cared nothing about when he illegally invaded Iraq. And sometimes, wading through this drivel, I wonder what the Iraqis think of it, those who are paying - in their tens of thousands of lives - for our folly?

I am thinking of some real terror in Baghdad, the terror that comes through the letter box or is stuck on to walls. Now here are real terror plots for the Dowager of Fear to get her teeth into, plots to massacre and "cleanse" whole communities from their homes and cities on the grounds of their religious sect. And so let's take a look at some really ferocious terror, collected on the streets of Baghdad and from the front doors of those who are indeed facing a generation of threats, many of them scrupulously collected by local UN officials and put together by my Italian colleague, Mario Portanova, of the Milan magazine Diario. They are printed, not handwritten, and they are poisonous.

"To the ignoble rejectionists, who sold their religion and community for worldly rewards," begins one note from a Sunni group about its Shia Muslim countrymen. "It is clear that you must be classified among those who have betrayed the covenant of Allah and his Prophet, and are intellectually and actively involved in fighting against the mujahideen [holy warriors]. Therefore we grant you 24 hours to vacate this righteous [sic] district, otherwise punishment and retribution shall be your fate. Allah is greater. Praise and grace be to Allah [signed] The Islamist Army in Iraq."

It should be noted that many of these terrible notices of intent to murder are preceded by the first words of the Koran: "In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful." Now here's another threat from the "Day of Atonement Brigades", a Shia group: "To the disloyal Palestinians, declared enemies and Saddamist Baathists, specifically those who reside in the al-Shououn district (of Baghdad). This is a warning that you will be liquidated if you do not move completely away from this district within a 10-day period. Let this be a warning to all, without exception."

And here's the literary work of the "Allahu Akbar Brigades", who are probably Sunnis, which specifically targets schoolgirls: "Death, crucifixion, amputation of hands and feet ... will be the retribution against those who defy Allah ... To all lascivious women who due to their mode of dress encourage sexual titillation, beware this will lead to worldly damnation. Bullets and the cudgel will be the punishment for those who have no morals, and those who persist in wearing short, provocative clothes. We are fully aware of what takes place after noontime in the school halls on Museum Road and elsewhere. We know about the ... secret meetings that are taking place. We are present among you and know all there is to know ..."

And now for the work of an al-Qa'ida affiliate, directed at Shia: "In view of the sectarian criminal acts which are being perpetrated by the so-called infamous Mehdi Army and the deceitful Badr Forces, including killing, abduction, deportation and displacement of the Sunni community in Mahmudiyah, Rashidiya, al-Shaab, al-Shattah and al-Hurriyah ... this formation has decided to respond twofold to each attack ... an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth ... accordingly it has been decreed that you (Shias) must leave the Sunni community areas, including al-Ghaziyah, within 24 hours, otherwise we will chop off your heads as the militias have been doing to the sons of the Sunni community."

There are many other pages. One calls on Shias to "leave their burrows" in Baghdad within two days or "taste the fire". Another warns Shias not to visit their local mosque. "To those who pray at al-Sajad mosque, a horrendous death shall be your fate should you come within close proximity of this mosque ... Cursed are the agents of the occupiers."

This, of course, is the hell we have bequeathed to all the Arab peoples of Iraq, this nightmare of genocidal threat and murder. All for non-existent weapons of mass destruction. And yet there is the Dowager of Fear trying to frighten us. That there may be "plots" I don't doubt. But given the hell-disaster we have helped to unleash in Iraq, is it any surprise?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bligh & Dyer

I spent 2 hours tonight putting my lipid quantification data into excel and the result? -BULLPOOP!


Bollocks to this assay.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Palestinian apartheid degenerates into a simple slaughter


This shit makes me ANGRY!

What can I do? I might as well rub my own shit on my face as write to my MP about this.

I fucking hate the UK's political system.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

machismo and peace keeping

Interesting article from openDemocracy regarding the prevalence of machismo in international diplomatic forums.

I can't help but think that testosterone incites the majority of diplomatic breakdowns. I remember a conversation I had with my MRes supervisor about endocrine disruption and whether or not the prevalence of xenoestrogens in the environment could benefit society by changing patterns of male behaviour. Certainly in societies with a patriarchal culture the unassailability of the male ego can simply halt the application of common sense to many of the challenges of peace-keeping.

Another interesting anecdote came from a family friend who was posted to Bosnia with the RAF. As an air-traffic director she had to liaise between the different local and international forces to manage access to the contested airspace, not to mention tiptoe around the variety of inflated male egos that inevitably dominate such conflicts with their petty territorial squabblings. I remember her recounting how she was deployed in many deadlocked situations as a conflict breaker as in the Balkan culture it is inconceivable that a women is superior in any way to a man. In such situations she was introduced to negotiations and then authorised to offer minor concessions to the opposing delegation- whose egos would not let them be outdone by a mere woman- and who would promptly attempt to outdo these concessions and subsequently engage in an escalation to the point where she could get them to dance naked on a table if she was so inclined!

Another example comes from my own country where it appears that the job of bailiff is being taken by more and more women (I think it was a BBC article but I can't find it, grrrr). It appears that many tense situations are dealt with in a far more diplomatic and less aggressive manner by the fairer sex, possibly because they come across as less threatening (?).


I am continually enraged by some people's ability to condemn my entire progressive philosophy with a single syllable. "Left" or "Right". Such absurd polarisations do nothing for any debate on politics as I am convinced that such generalisations lost any real meaning at the end of the Cold War. Is it not clear that modern policy requires elements of both these political paradigms? Does not the European social democracy model occupy the high moral ground that should be the goal of every progressive civilisation that does not aspire to mediaeval moral standards or environmental holocaust? On the other hand I believe that our democracy, in the UK at least, is fatally flawed. President Blair was elected by less than a fifth of the population! How this degenerate little toerag can drag our nation's credibility through the pile of excrement that is Iraq and still retain his position of leader of our nation eludes me. Substantial reform along the lines of compulsory voting policy is essential if the substantial socially and culturally deprived section of the white lower classes are to be made to participate in the democracy in which they live. I believe that everyone has a responsibility to engage with their society. What, if not that, does the word society mean?

Friday, November 03, 2006

3 posts in a day You lucky, lucky peeps, you!

I just wanted to get my hattrick in by linking to Johann Hari's most recent article. Its a nice piece of insight into the subtleties of American politics. I like Johann's writing- he's good at picking out important detail such as this.

This week I have been mostly discovering . . . Sam Harris!

He's a fascinating chap if ever I've heard of one, and a good, upstanding antitheist. Apparently-

"At age 19, he and a college friend tried MDMA, better known as ecstasy, and the experience altered his view of the role that love could play in the world. ("I realized that it was possible to be a human being who wished others well all the time, reflexively.")"

Well, that just goes to show the power of ecstasy really. If anyone is under any misapprehensions regarding my stance on the issue I have consumed ecstasy recreationally for many years and can enthusisatically corroborate Sam's experience. There is little less harmful than consuming ecstasy recreationally (a respected neurologist once commented that it was "safer than aspirin"- much to the fury of the conservative press). Anyway, with MDMA you don't have to inhale smoke, you don't have to burn anything, you don't get angry, woozey, trippy, anxious, depressed or nervous- you just feel amazing and wonderfully empathic. Its like having a mental link with all of your friends. The come down is a little low but compared to a hangover its nothing! Rather like being a little forgetful and a littl etimid. There's little to criticise about the experience.

Well, I've just got Sam's 1st book and I'm going to have a little read and let you know what its like. I just finished Dawkins' "The God Delusion" and it was marvellous so although this may be a bit like reading the same material again I'm attracted to the subtleties that might differentiate the 2 works.

the legacy of "President Blair"

More Blair-bashing today, kids! John Pilger does stirling work outlining the incredible damage that Blair has done to our country.

In case you are thinking that I focus too much on Blair's wrongs and not enough on his rights, I am happy to admit that certain aspects of our government are improved under New Labour. The SureStart program provides a much-needed helping hand in life to many of our countries poorest families and without it our estates would be a good deal grimmer than they are.

. . . . .Erm . . . . That's all I can say about that really. One 'good' against a hundred 'bads'. Not a very good account of yourself there, Tony.