Thursday, June 28, 2007

the Neocon delusion

Neocons are about as delusional as Catholics and Jihadists. But the problem is that they have alot more power.

Johann has noted some of the interesting beliefs and opinions of neocons he encountered on a cruise with some of the readers of the National Review- the neocon's version of New Statesman. These include:

  • that the UN headquarters in New York should be suicide bombed
  • the invasion of Iraq has been an amazing success ("we're doing an excellent job killing them", "there were WMD, and they were shipped to Syria")
  • climate change is not happening
  • Europe (all of it) will shortly become a new caliphate,
  • nobody was tortured in Abu Ghraib or Guantánamo
  • Pinochet is a hero, he saved Chile

Brown is a cockweasel

Peter Tatchell will tell you why. He will also suggest why you- like me- should vote for the Green Party.

I had a good rant in the comments.

"You sass that hoopy, Peter Tatchell? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is!

Antifrank & Commanderkeen:
The rational behind the GP's opposal to new nuclear generation capcity is laid out in detail on their website. Its really not hard to find. For example, if you go to the popular internet search engine Google, and type in the words "green party" and "nuclear power", you will be presented with a list of web pages containing information on the subject.


I can't find any reference to electoral reform on the GP website, which confuses me. I was under the impression that they advocated proportional representation- although I admit I can't remember where I got that from.

Personally I advocate the Single Transferable Vote, as does the Electroal Reform Society of The UK.

You confuse me. You call these policies regressive but suggest no alternatives. You claim that the bogeyman of "climate chaos" is being overhyped as asylum seekrs and Islamic terrorism has but you must admit that there is substantial evidence to demonstrate that climate change is a threat to our way of life that Asylum seekers and terrorism cannot come close to matching.

Ignoring your Greenpeace cheap-shot, why should the use of quotas be regressive? If Labour are already using them then its technically an unchanged position and not regression. This also ignores the fact that the quots advocated by the GP are often binding targets for international agreements on such matters as renewable energy, fish catches, congestion reduction, etc. - all of which are very different from Labour's "targets" for their politicians to be 25% competent at their jobs or 5% honest? ( I should have mentioned exam targets or hospital waiting lists- Adam Curtis has something to say on the latter- but I couldn't resist returning the cheaps-shot).

I don't know what you're talking about on the Investment topic- kindly elaborate.

As for eco-taxes, this is surely a straw man as all taxes are, essentially, eco-taxes. The GP policy involves the direction of tax revenue towards encouraging innovation and development in a field that will become crucial to the wellbeing of our nation in the next fifty years. If you want taxes to be spent supporting our arms exporters, nuclear power stations, paying thebouses of the CEOs of rail service providers, etc. instead of developing our country then you are free to vote for the conservatives at the next election. Many of us, however, feel otherwise.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

the rich get richer

The GUardian ran this story on the above subject. I often hear yanks talking about how philanthropy is far more common in the US than in Europe. This is true but is no justification for the disgustingly skewed economic policy in that country which has seen the middle and working classes left far behind by the fortunes of the most wealthy. If philanthropy represents the rich giving to the poor it is inherently injust as the money goes to whoever the philanthropist considers to deserve it. Often in the states this includes yeehaas, Cristo-fascists and other sky-pixie botherers. What's wrong with taxing the fuckers and letting the government allocate the money on a just and transparent basis. People who argue that laissez-faire economics is just as good at redistributing wealth are either delusional or lying.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

gabbling has become the new polit-speak of the UK

I've just been watching newsnight. Quentin Davies, MP for Grantham and Stamford has defected to Labour. Alan Duncan is debating this decision with him under the watchful eye of Jeremy Paxman and it is a bizarre spectacle! The two politicians are bickering like the irate siblings that they are: Be under no illusion, Quentin Davies is as left-wing as the Arch-Cockweasel, Richard Littlejohn. His only motivation for crossing the floor is the relegation of the Conservative party to a minority within the UK political system. This is simply a rat leaving a sinking ship. Despite the apocalyptic legacy of 10 years of Labour government, the Conservatives have yet to make any sort of political ground out of their ineptitude. Iraq, PFI, the NHS, BAE, Lebanon, Faith Schools, EU Constitution, devolution, Lords' Reform, etc, etc, etc.

  • Question: How can a party in opposition fail to make headway against this role of failure, misconduct and ineptitude.
  • Answer: They are cuntservatives
But here's the real rub: Why does the UK electorate persist in voting for the Labour and Conservative Parties?
Answer: Because they're disenfranchised, ignorant or simply insane.

UK politics has reached an impasse. Not enough people care enough to vote and those who do are often misguided or ignorant. We need a different system. We need the Single Transferable Vote in conjunction with Compulsory Voting.

On a different- and equally pathetic note- Jamie Campbell's following piece on Newsnight about Brown's tactical obstruction of journalists in their attempt to question him or obtain footage of him in public settings on his way to apointments, hustings, etc. is an appalling example of the suppression and denial of press freedom. The poor guy was deliberately prevented from getting close to Brown at every opportunity and even regularly searched under the counter-terrorist legislation in order to distract him from his goal of asking the future Prime Minister questions in a public environment. The guy's a cunt (Brown, not Campbell [oh- and his pet twat, Tony McElroy, is straight out of the same mold]).

counting the cost of climate change

OK, I'm going to jump to a conclusion here without any real depth of understanding.

The floods that have wrecked half of Sheffield, killed three people and are threatening to collapse a dam are a direct result of climate change. There I said it.

Unless you're wilfully ignorant you will have heard scientists predicting the first effects of climate change upon our weather systems. They include warm, cold, dry winters and warm, wet summers. Well, warm and wet is what we have right now so here it is, people: Climate change is here now and you can see the financial costs it will incur unless we take drastic steps to limit it. The clean-up bill from the current flooding is going to cost hundreds of million. Flood prevention already takes up two thirds of the Environment Agency's budget, do you want that to increase? Because I'll tell you something for sure- Gordon Brown is not going to increase the Agency's budget without cast-iron evidence of the costs associated with it. Seeing as the Labour government have already shut down the CEH and stole £68 million from Research Council's budget and seeing as that sort of data just doesn't come for free . . . . well, work the rest out for yourself.

Wikipedia on the economic costs of climate change:

"According to a 2005 report from the Association of British Insurers, limiting carbon emissions could avoid 80% of the projected additional annual cost of tropical cyclones by the 2080s.[86] A June 2004 report by the Association of British Insurers declared "Climate change is not a remote issue for future generations to deal with. It is, in various forms, here already, impacting on insurers' businesses now."[87] It noted that weather risks for households and property were already increasing by 2-4 % per year due to changing weather, and that claims for storm and flood damages in the UK had doubled to over £6 billion over the period 1998–2003, compared to the previous five years. The results are rising insurance premiums, and the risk that in some areas flood insurance will become unaffordable for some."


Johann agrees:

"This week's storm-floods follow hard on the floods of 2000 and 2001, which the distinguished meterologist Philip Eden says would have only naturally happened once every 750 years."

Monday, June 25, 2007

the rich-poor divide keeps on growing

I know which side of it I am on.

The Guardian is running a week of CiF posts on this subject and Madeleine Bunting has a great comment article in the paper (I slated her for her religious views but this piece is pretty damn insightful).

I've written a few posts on the subject of fiscal inequality (here and here). I don't like it. If I'm paying taxes then why are these cunts on £10 million a year not? How is that fair? Why is Labour perpetuating the situation. As Madeleine indicates in her piece, this will not be the last you here of this.

Eat The Rich - or just tax them, if you prefer

Motorhead's song title is becoming ever more relevant as Johann Hari makes clear. I haven't read the three articles he links to at the end but I'll do so today and elaborate.

Blair's imminent departure

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAhAHAahAhahAHahaahAhahAHaaaaaaaaaaaaaa cough cough cough, splutter giggle snort giggle

Sunday, June 24, 2007

the end of oil, the Pentagon and the Carter Doctrine

So the whilst the Bush administration are expending billions of dollars and consuming million of barrels of oil trying to control the supplies of the Middle East, the Pentagon's future as an oil consumer has been analysed and found to be grossly flawed. This enforcement of the Carter Doctrine by military force is actually consuming more oil than it is securing- a laughably counter-productive situation considering the lengths to which Bush et al have gone to initiate the hostilities.

nuclear is not the answer to climate change

Everything you ever wanted to know about nuclear generation and its environmental costs.

Brown is no better than Blair when it comes to a just foreign policy

Besides advocating the funding of arms exports with taxpayers money, being wholeheartedly supportive of the continuing assault upon our rights and freedoms as UK citizens and lusting after more nuclear power stations at the taxpayers expense; Brown is just as unconvincing and irrational when it comes to Trident as Blair ever was.

"Challenged in 2006 on this £75bn piece of valueless weaponry, Brown said: 'In an insecure world, we must and we will always have the strength to take all necessary long-term decisions to ensure both stability and security.' A very Brownite cabinet minister let the cat out of the bag when he told me that no Labour party would be elected to government without Trident. So Trident was for the protection of the Labour party rather than the country? No, no, the minister hurriedly corrected himself. Britain faced a global threat from Islamic militants who wanted to recreate the Caliphate from the Indus to the English Channel. At which point, rational discourse simply fails. The idiocy, crassness and cynicism of the Brownite case for Trident is mind-boggling."

This NS article is revealing and includes an insightful comment from Dan Plesh.

He's also got crap plans for dealing with child poverty.


Compare Brown's words 6 years ago to his position now. Slight contrast, ay?

Friday, June 22, 2007

the challenge to those who oppose humanism, secularism and other "-isms" that advocate peace, justice and equality

Yes, yes.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski is a cockweasel

I can't quite believe what this twat came out with during an interview on Polish State Radio. He actually argued that Poland deserved more weight in the EU Treaty- currently being watered down by both his own country's and the UK's delegation in Brussels- on the grounds that his country would have a larger population, and a correspondingly larger vote to wield in Brussels if the German's hadn't killed 6 million Poles during World War II.

How fucking backwards can you get?

That has to be the most obstructionary and outright offensive political statement I can remember hearing. On the grounds of the twat's extreme right-wing history, and that of his identical twin's, I am not actually surprised by this.

Shin Bet - the Israeli Army's torture service

This is harrowing.

Something to note is that the handcuffs that were fastened so tightly around Luwaii Ashqar's wrists that they had to be cut off might well have been manufactured in the UK.

There is plenty more evidence that Luwaii's case is far from exceptional.

Kucinich for President

The rest are all scum. Kucinich may be a politician but he also professes human values, unlike Clinton and Obama's unabashed commercialism.

UK has the world's highest inflation of food prices

Znet carried this article, written by Alan Simpson, a Labour MP.

Gee, thanks Tony! Whilst you've been engaging in a little genocide and sucking Bush's cock the rest of the country have been facing spiralling energy, housing and food prices. Nice job running the country, mate!

Blair to convert to Catholicism - Proof of His Insanity

Yes, in a final, masterful demonstration of his unsuitability for public office, Tony Blair is engaging in talks with Pope Fuckhead XVAIVX to discuss his conversion. Tony's skill at spin and dissembling fact make him theperfect candidate for high office in the Vatican. One he is eminently better qualified for than Middle East envoy.

fundamentalists are stupid

The parents of some 16 year old bint are taking her single-sex comprehensive school in West Sussex to the High Court for banning her "Purity Ring". The ring is a symbol of one of the derivative of the "fear-based" US fundamentalist movements, such as True Love Waits, where kids profess to abstain from sex before marriage. Irrelevant of the absurdity of trying to convince kids to forego sexual experiences (I had intimate fumblings with various bible-bashing girls when I was young and although they wouldn't go the whole way they were far from abstinent) the school has a very reasonable argument in that the ring is not "an integral part of the Christian Faith and contravenes its uniform policy".

Q: Why do fundamentalists think that they are not bound by rules that others wilfully accept?
A: Because they imagine that they are accountable to a "Higher Power"- the sky pixie.

For example, the father: The twat who is ultimately responsible for abusing this child's innocence to the point where she is convinced that there exists some Orwellian sky pixie judging her every action, enough to contort the most robust juvenile imagination into fits of neurosis and irrationality. He defends his actions in taking the case to the High Court with this statement:

"I think an important principle is at stake here, I think Christians should be respected for their views and beliefs."

Need I say more?

I think not.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday humour

the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

This is so cool and made me so happy that I just ran around the room shrieking and waving my hands over my head. Like a bonobo on angel dust.

AC Grayling rocks!

The Guardian caught regurgitating Pentagon propaganda again?

In light of Media Lens' crusade against the appallingly 1-sided reporting of the situation in Iraq by the mass media, I was somewhat angered to find this on The Guardian today. I already posted on their last attempt at this- where their front page was given to an almost verbatim regurgitation of a Pentagon mouthpiece's lambastation of Iran- without the slightest hint of substantiation.

I will write to the fuckers to complain.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

the Cristo-fascist delusion

So I posted about the disgraceful Israeli air strikes that destroyed two Lebanese Red Cross ambulances last year, detailing how this crime against humanity had become twisted into some sort of insane, pro-Israeli propaganda piece by the right-wing extremists in the US. They actually tried to claim that it was a hoax. A fix-up. A piece of theatre by the barbarian Lebanese in an attempt to curry sympathy with the liberal Euopeans and UN-lovers and to incite hatred of the freedom-loving and non-aggressive Israelis.

That was all last year but apparently some internet goons out there are still banging away at this because one of them just posted a comment on the post (Hi Alex!) suggesting that I return to the originating site to view his "updated analysis". So here's my response:

Suck my balls you assmaster.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

this is cool

Vertical farms will be sited in cities in the future, eliminating the geographical gap between producer and consumer.

I love ideas like this but they're hardly new. Architects and progressive minds amongst the city planners have long advocated the preservation and extension of green spaces into structures and concrete jungles as well as the use of sustainable building materials. Unfortunately such advocates rarely get a chance to build anything because of the extra expense of these features. Recently opened in Plymouth is one of the most disgusting pieces of architecture I have ever seen; the very antithesis of aesthetic urban planning.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Monbiot interviewed about his book, Heat

This is a great interview with George (its 1 of 4 - the others aren't hard to find). He lands a few crushing body blows on the UK's climate change policy. The line about the government's chief scientist is simultaneously hilarious and appalling.

meditation on the term "humanism"

So, I'm a humanist by most defintions. However I object to this term on the grounds that humanism is not practised by the majority of humans. Therefore it is a misnomer as an objective sentience would consider "humanism" to be that practised by the majority of humans, which is the definition of the term "stupidity".

Surely the enlightenment values currently referred to as "humanism" should be more appropriately termed "transhumanism", in recognition of the fact that those who respect such values and regard them as the architecture of civilisation have transcended the animal motivations of the rest of humankind and embraced rationalism and human egality.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

How the nuclear lobby stopped the development of wave power in Britain

This old Ecologist article was a hand out in my ocean science lectures at uni. I thought I'd posted them here before but I can't seem to find them so heeeeeeeeeeeere's Johnny!

As you can see, not much has changed in 30 years. The conventional lobbies- nuclear, oil and coal- are still doing everything they can to sabotage the growth of renewable technologies.

Newsflash! - UK Government squanders more intellectual wealth

This time its not hovercrafts or computers but carbon capture and sequestration technology. We've already thrown away our world beating lead in wind turbine technology and now we're letting CCS projects lapse for lack of government investment. The same almost happened to wave power technology 30 years ago.

Why does this happen? Are our leaders and rulers so utterly fucking ignorant of the process of investment and return and this big climate change hootenanny that they are prepared to let an opportunity such as that described my Robin McKie slip by? Didn't The Stern Report make the point, clearly and concisely, that combatting climate change is actually an economic opportunity and not a threat? Why does the fucking government spend millions on researching white papers and then completely ignore them!!!!


Friday, June 15, 2007

the future of renewable generation is secure

I just discovered the technology of flow batteries in this New Scientist article. Wikipedia has more.

This is simply beautiful. For all those renewable critics out there who maintain that the intermittent nature of wind, wave and solar power cripples the technology before it is installed- here's the solution. I had previously maintained that long range DC current lines and hydroelectric storage systems could circumvent this severe limitation of renewables but this is sooooo much better. I am fucking chuffed to bits!

The technology is too bulky at present to be considered for powering vehicles and its main potential can be realised through storing the excess capacity of renewable systems when they are at peak production but demand is low. However, a neat aspect of the technology is its use of a fluid medium to store energy as redox potential. A new, more dense electrolyte could allow electric car drivers to charge their vehicles by draining their exhausted electrolyte tanks and refilling with charged fluid.

Fucking radical dude!

everything you ever wanted to know about energy generation, fuels and renewables

New Scientist has a special report on this lot here. All concerned citizens should take note.

Religion and Child Abuse

Dawkins pointed out that the enforced indoctrination of children into their parent's archaic rituals is a form of child abuse. This theme is expanded on in this article from Free Inquiry by Innaiah Narisetti.

Being an antitheist I support this argument wholeheartedly. However, I cannot agree with her accusations of unwillingness on the part of the UN to face up to this problem. The UN is only as good as its member states and when these include Muslim nations and the Vatican- both specifically criticised in the article for obstructing UN attempts to legislate against, or even criticise, religion on behalf of children- then you cannot point the finger of blame at the body of the UN.

Bush's Demagoguery

Online Journal is usually a bit too ranty and neurotic for my liking but it ran a great article slating Bush's complete inability to engage in rational, lucid, public discourse. Of particular note is his abuse of the term "evil". This, of course, applies to a great many intangible terms that appear far too frequently in our rulers' vocabulary- "terror" is a good one, or "threat" or "intelligence" . . . how about "insurgency"? All of these words are bandied about by politicians without any attempt to elaborate on their meaning.

I think Blair is worse because at least he is aware of what he's saying. Bush can barely read an autocue, let alone comprehend the meaning of the words he's parroting.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Oh the ignominy! America leads the way in BAE corruption investigation

Yes, the US is showing that it does actually have a vaguely functioning and independent judiciary by opening an investigation into the £1bn of payments to Prince Bandar. Take note Lord Goldsmith: This is how justice is done!

Overpopulation, Immigration and Sustainable Development

This CiF thread made me soooo angry that I'm going to be late for work now because I had to stay here and rant about it.


I did intend to expand this post but all you have to do is read the comments as Brendan O'Neill is getting universally panned.


child obesity = child abuse

The BBC reported today that many paediatricians now consider grossly overweight children to represent abuse and neglect of that child's well being by its parents. Too fucking right. Young children are totally dependent upon their parents to make lifestyle choices for them and if you have fat, ugly, stupid, lazy parents you are more than likely to end up with a fat, ugly, stupid, lazy child. This need not happen. Fat people have demonstrated that they are irresponsible enough to neglect their own well being and therefore not suitable to be responsible for anyone else's and should be banned from having children until they can demonstrate sensible life-choices. I may have a pot-belly and eat too meny dark chocolate digestives but my BMI is squarely in the middle of the healthy range and I exercise regularly, ride my bike to work (sometimes) and generally look after the vehicle for my soul that is my body. If you can't be trusted to do this then you are rejecting the human values that society is built upon, not to mention using my taxes to support your fat, flabby existence every time your knees collapse on you or you need treatment for gout, sleep apnoiea or any of a dozen other obesity-related illnesses that are easily avoidable if you just laid off the pies, fatty!

Monday, June 11, 2007

a very Monbiotic tirade

George does not pull any punches in his damning recital of the combined iniquities of BAE and successive British governments.

"Close down DESO. Reopen the investigation. Sack the attorney-general and the senior civil servants at the Ministry of Defence. Open a public inquiry to determine what Blair knew. Wage war on tax havens and secret offshore accounts. Hold BAE to account. And then lecture the rest of the world on good governance."

Yes, Tony. He's talking about you, you cockweasel! And the rest of your weasellious council of fools (Goldsmith et al).

Basking Sharks!!!

There were a dozen or so basking sharks off Sennen on Saturday and I was lucky enough to be out there snorkelling with them. I was gobsmacked to be in the water with a five metre long fish. I cannot describe how beautiful this enormous black fish was with its gaping white mouth, swimming behind it I could see right through its gill slits and see clear water on the other side. My grateful thanks to the very nice young lady who let me and my friends borrow her canoe so that we could paddle out to see them.

On Sunday we were at Porthcurno and there was another one (or one of same ones) cruising around. I managed to scramble up onto the rocky shoulder on the left of the main beach just as the shark swept in shore, past the gawping surfers and followed by a couple of chaps on sea kayaks who couldn't believe their luck. You can see that the shark is roughly twice the length of the kayaks!

A quick marine biological point to mention: Even though I came within a couple of meters of one of the sharks it is actually an offence to "recklessly disturb a place of rest or shelter of a protected animal or a nest site. In the case of cetacea (whales, dolphins) and the basking shark, intentional or reckless disturbance anywhere will be an offence". Whilst I respect conservation legislation I don't respect the government's weak attempt at it at all and I was also confident that I was not disturbing the animal in question. The sharks are large and very powerful and have incredibly rough and abrasive skin which will take you own off if they come into contact so it is wise to not try and cuddle them if you find yourself in the position I was in. Although people on canoes and surfboards present little threat to these creatures people in power boats definitely represent an "intentional or reckless disturbance" and are likely to disturb their feeding and scare them away, ruining the experience for others.

debunking the bogeyman of Islamic terrorism

Some Swedish bloke called Kristoffer Larsson reports on the substantiality behind the spectre of Islamic terrorism.

I am minded to agree with him if it wasn't for the small matter of 2oo odd dead Spaniards and 50 odd dead Britons. Whilst I agree that Islamic terrorism is profoundly overblown by the media I don't think that relying upon the statistics collected in 1 year brings anything overly profound to this debate. You can debate the threat posed by ETA all you want but the fact remains that ETA are a localised organisation, like the IRA, without a global support base and the funds available to many Islamists, as well as being based in Europe and having to plan their attacks under the noses of Europe's reasonably-organised police services. I am wholly supportive of increased funding of pre-2001 anti-terrorism activities but many of the programs and legislation introduced since that fateful year involve flagrant breaches of human rights that contribute nothing to our security and often exacerbate the situation by antagonising those moderate parties who would otherwise be behind the forces of justice.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

punkscience goes to the beach . . . .

It is very evry very sunny so I am going to the beach and I'm probly going to sleep there tonight. No more insight, analysis or swearing until tomorrow night kids.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Guardian gets busted regurgitating Pentagon Propaganda

Media Lens have done a thorough takedown on this Guardian front page spread by some goon called Simon Tisdall, slating it for its uncritical regurgitation of an unnamed US official's words. I would like to say that this is uncharacteristic of The Guardian but I really wouldn't know, not being a Professor of Journalism or anything.

Its simulaneously encouraging and alarming when shit like this makes its way into my world as at one stroke I am greatly pleased to see someone monitoring the abuse of the press whilst at the same time being terrified that media outlets that I regularly read might be functioning as outlets of evill. I didn't encounter this article personally but if I did I can assure you that I would have been one of the many people who wrote to the Guardian Editor in horror at this sort of uncritical reporting making its way onto the front page of this paper.

This comment from a CiF thread was particularly frank:

"What the original article conspicuously avoids, and what this miserable excuse for a justification also ignores, is that there is without any doubt a propaganda campaign from the United States regime to justify a military attack on Iran, an attack which the US has repeatedly threatened despite its overt criminality. In that context, a journalist who willingly fires the propaganda missiles of the aggressive US regime is worse than just servile, they will actually share some of the guilt of the crime if the aggression against Iran does eventuate."

more pseudo-government from Labour: DoT and Ruth Kelly contrive to torpedo their own MPs attempts to set sustainability targets

Monbiot does the business.

I'm always amused when my title is longer than my post :)

Fantasy is what people want but reality is what they need.

I was listening to Lauryn Hill Unplugged and surfing when I cam across this site, linked from True Cost Economics. The site on GDP vs GPI made for emotional reading and just as I finished Lauryn came out with the title of this post and I had one of those 'moments' of clarity where you think "Right! This is what people need to understand. This is what they need to appreciate for their own good! This is an incentive to change the world for the better of everyone!"

BAE: The Scum of The Earth - part 3 - Blair's response

"Its all ok, I stopped the investigation because it would have been a very naughty thing to do to all those just and humane rulers of Saudi Arabia who have helped us so much in funding radical Islamic preachers who are currently preaching hatred and intolerance in the very same country that this ruling was alleged to protect (the great Blairtish Empire). Instead of worrying about good old BAE you should be more worried about the evil Iraqis who want their country back, imagine what would happen if we went home and let them rebuild their civilisation again without our guiding influence! Surely those naughty Iranian people would try and seize control of all of Saddam's WMD that he hid all over Iraq so that they could nuke Hounslow high street and kill all the sweet little children who are roaming the streets instead of being in school because their education has been shorn of significance and relevance to real-world issues like poverty and power politics and climate change and all those things which I have perpetuated throughout my reign."

He's a cunt.

BAE: The Scum of the Earth - part 2

This time the scum are really going down.

""Your approach is in common with that of the least responsible elements of the media - that is to assume BAE Systems' guilt in complete ignorance of the facts." Its spokesman, John Neilson, added: "We have little doubt that among the reasons the attorney general considered the case was doomed was the fact that we acted in accordance with ... the relevant contracts, with the approval of the government of Saudi Arabia, together with, where relevant, that of the UK MoD.""

So says John Neilson, the arms dealer's spokesperson to the Guardian when they were researching the story, released today, that BAE put £30 million every 3 months into the account of a Saudi Prince, allegedly for "marketing services".

I cannot describe how happy I am that this wart on our national conscience is finally getting its come-uppance. To truly understand what a momentous moment this is you have to understand that BAE have not only a direct line to the Prime Minister but also that they dictate our foreign policy to an astounding degree. For further information I prescribe one dose of Mark Thomas's book "As Used on The Great Nelson Mandela".

Seeing as this deal was originally signed by Hesseltine back in '84 I think this is a good moment to repeat my belief that there needs to be personal accountability in government and that ministers ought to be accountable for their actions even after they leave office.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A day of celebration for British nationalism is absurd because . . .

-most British people I know are in no way jingoistic or proud of our nation's heritage. Quite the contrary- most of them are disgusted by one or more aspect of our nation's collective culture and history (particular the more recent events). Consequently an appropriate act on the proposed day of celebration might be to offer 2 for 1 deals on WMD to your authoritarian regime of choice, perhaps a perhaps we could offer to facilitate extraordinary renditions with in-flight cake and party poppers? How about sabotaging the human rights act whilst wearing union jack underpants? Maybe we could pick on select foreign nationals and make crude and stereotypical jokes about them in public, German people could have towels waved at them or people could loudly whisper to each other "don't mention the war!" intheir presence. Filthy cheese-eating surrender monkeys could be pelted with garlic and onions and those jungle bunnies could be rounded up and forced to do our manual labour for the day.

Besides being a masochistic religious fundamentalist, Ruth Kelly is a fucking idiot.

estimating the withdrawal symptoms of the masses' opiate

I am greatly pleased and entertained by Tom Flynn's comparison of religion and heroin.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Zia Haider Rahman is a religious apologist

This bloke rants about how religion is an innate human condition. So what? Does that mean its ok to burn witches and mutilate women's genitals?

The twat also perpetuates the myth that "Evolution itself is utterly bereft of design, purpose and meaning; its engine is undirected, random mutation."

This is, of course, bullshit. Evolution is anything but random. The fact that this moron makes such an elemental mistake confirms the impression gained from reading the rest of the article- that he is, in fact, an ignorant.

I wrote this in the comments:

Zia: "The antitheist paints a dismal world"

Where are you getting this twoddle from? Dawkins speaks at great length about his passion for life, discovery and the pursuit of truth. A dismal world is one where you are forever resigned to perpetual fear of an omnipotent and omniscient deity. Psychological trauma of Catholic children is widespread enough for numerous support groups to have emerged in recent years. Mysogyny and hatred abound in many religions and dehumanisation, oppression and subjugation of unbelievers endemic.

Humans are religious because compartmentalisation of their minds allows them to concentrate on issues which are presented by religious authorities as being of greater importance (to avoid the innocent perceiving the iniquities and lies of religion). The rejection of rational thought processes and objective assessment processes are essential when memorising the entirety of the Koran or in repressing sexual urges for the duration of your life (often unsuccessfully, as many Catholic children have discovered).

Your apology for human weakness excuses the actions of those persons and institutions that prey (pray?) on such weakness.

bathing daily is bad for your skin!

Take note bints and clean-freaks! You are doing yourself harm by obssessively scrubbing yourself daily. Society does not dictate that daily ablutions include full-body washes so why do you bother? I blame the cosmetic companies for instilling hygiene neurosies in the population from a young age.

free Alan Johnson

Please sign the BBC petition calling for his release.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Ngaire Woods rocks

Her CiF piece today and her Oxford High-Level Taskforce on UK Energy Security, Climate Change and Development Assistance (Mouthful and a 'narf) seem impressive. Its very true that no-one in government has bothered to try to link the blatantly conflicting interests of UK climate policy, UK economic stability and UK energy security. Just as Sir Nicholas Stern pointed out that combating climate change should be seen as an opportunity and not a threat, the OHLTUKESCCDA's report- Energy, Politics and Poverty- points out that this state of conflict between vital issues of national security need not be so. The report's introduction (its late and I can't be arsed to read it all now) observes that many of these policy holes result from an inconsistent Europe-wide strategy on issues such as gas prices and dealings with Russia. Russia's divide-and-conquer strategy within Europe is sowing the seeds of financial dependence and unless steps are taken soon we will at risk of having our gas supplies being held to ransom, as the Belarussians, Ukrainians and Georgians are experiencing.

Blackwater: 20,000 mercenaries, loyal to the Bush administration

Johann Hari led me to this little factual bomb- a bunch of mercenaries running around Iraq killing anyone they want.


I mean really fucking WOW!

George and Dick must be so proud of what they've achieved. A private army that can be deployed and expanded without impinging on their soon-to-be-cut military budgetary constraints. No accountability, no law and no ethics apply to the actions of these people.

Oh, and the creme-de-la-creme: The founder and owner of Blackwater, Erik Prince, is a Christian-supremacist and longtime bankroller of conservative administrations. Nice. I wonder what his views on the rapture are?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Meditations on the phenomenon of the suicide bomber

David Edwards raises himself ever higher in my esteem with this piece.

"Although it has almost never been reported, there had never been a suicide bomb attack in Iraq before the 2003 invasion. The UN's IRIN news network reported on March 8 that a 41 year-old Iraqi woman, Um Abdallah, was learning how to turn herself into a suicide bomber. Revulsion, horror, incomprehension - isn't her decision the epitome of the 'alienness' of foreign culture to many Britons? And yet IRIN fills in some of the background:

"Um Abdallah is one of thousands of Iraqis who have lost their relatives in the past four years. Her two boys and one girl were killed during a US military attack in her neighbourhood.

"'My husband was killed four months ago by Iraqi forces. Killed alongside him were my son-in-law and his two children. I cannot even remember how many bullets the children had in their bodies,' she said.

"She does not know exactly when she is going to detonate herself but she is sure she will be ready whenever she is asked." (IRIN, 'Killings drive women to become suicide bombers,' March 8, 2007)

Is Um Abdallah really such an alien being? She has lost her sons and daughter, her husband, and other loved ones besides. She has lost everything. Is her response really so impossible to comprehend? Is not our response to wish we could somehow do something to relieve her suffering and protect her from her own plan precisely because her suffering is so comprehensible? And yet, if our media are to be believed, our reaction should simply be one of loathing for this 'alien' product of an 'alien' culture.

So much of what we are taught to hate is actually the product of suffering - real, comprehensible and very human - rather than of some weird, mystical phenomenon called 'evil'. And far too much of that suffering originates with our own lack of compassion, our own system of domination and exploitation preaching hate. As Nietzsche said so well:

"Mistrust all in whom the urge to punish is strong!""

Saturday, June 02, 2007

David Edwards discusses journalistic objectivity

This is very, very illuminating and quashes the idea that any journalism is, or should be objective.

John Pilger is a very interesting chap

"A venerable cliché is that truth is the first casualty in wartime. I disagree. Journalism is the first casualty. The first American war I reported was Vietnam. I went there from 1966 to the last day. When it was all over, the magazine Encounter published an article by Robert Elegant, another correspondent who covered Vietnam. “For the first time in modern history,” he wrote, “the outcome of a war was determined not on the battlefield but on the printed page and, above all, on the television screen.” He was accusing journalists of losing the war by opposing it in their work.

Robert Elegant's view became the received wisdom in America and still is. This official truth has determined how every American war since Vietnam has been reported. In Iraq, the “embedded” reporter was invented because the generals believed the Robert Elegant thesis: that critical reporting had “lost” Vietnam. How wrong they are.

On my first day as a young reporter in Saigon, I called on the bureaus of the main newspapers and TV companies. I noticed most of them had a gruesome photo gallery pinned on the wall -- pictures of the bodies of Vietnamese and American soldiers holding up severed ears and testicles. In one office was a photograph of a man being tortured. Above the torturer's head was a stick-on comic strip balloon with the words: “That'll teach you to talk to the press.”

None of these pictures had ever been published, or even put on the wire.

I asked why. The response was that "New York" would reject them, because the readers would never accept them. Anyway, to publish them would be to “sensationalise”; it would not be "objective" or "impartial". At first, I accepted the apparent logic of this: that atrocities surely were aberrations by definition. I, too, had grown up on John Wayne movies of the "good war" against Germany and Japan, an ethical bath that had left us westerners pure of soul and altruistic towards our fellow man and heroic. We did not torture. We did not kill women and children. We were the permanent good guys.

However, this did not explain the so-called “free fire zones” that turned entire provinces into places of slaughter: provinces like Quang Ngai, where the My Lai massacre was only one of a number of unreported massacres. It did not explain the helicopter “turkey shoots”. It did not explain people dragged along dirt roads, roped from neck to neck, by jeeps filled with doped and laughing GIs and why they kept human skulls enscribed with the words, “One down, one million to go.”

The atrocities were not aberrations. The war itself was an atrocity. That was the “big story” and it was seldom news. Yes, the tactics and effectiveness of the military were questioned by reporters, but the word "invasion" was almost never used. The fiction of a well-intentioned, blundering giant, stuck in an Asian quagmire, was promoted by most journalists, incessantly. It was left to whistleblowers at home to tell the subversive truth -- those like Daniel Ellsberg, and mavericks like Seymour Hersh with his extraordinary scoop of the My Lai massacre. There were 649 reporters in Vietnam at the time of My Lai on March 16, 1968. Not one of them reported it."

VERY interesting.

Victor Jara

Come on over here
where the sun is nice and warm.
Yes, you, who have the habit
of jumping from one side to the other...
[Over there] you’re nothing at all,
Neither fish nor fowl,
You’re too busy fondling...
Your own self-esteem.

Diego Garcia - will the people ever get their island back?

So, the UK evicted 2000 people and gave the island to the yanks to use to launch bombing missions to developing countries. The locals have appealed against the eviction and are close to being allowed to return. I can't wait.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Nuclear or no nuclear? The future of generation in the UK

I read this article on oD and was struck by how unpolemical it was. Most articles on this issue are stridently calling for 50 new nuclear power stations by yesterday or predicting orders of magnitude increases in incidences of cancer as a resuolt of such policies. I've rarely found such a balanced rebuttal of the idea.

On the other hand I've rarely felt as overwhelmed by Green Party propaganda as this item- part of a distinctly polemical Green Party email bulletin- made me feel:

1 Electricity Produced by Nuclear Power (NP) is not CO2 free
"The use of nuclear power causes, at the end of the road and under the
most favourable conditions, approximately one-third as much CO2-emission as gas-fired electricity production. The rich uranium ores required to achieve this reduction are, however, so limited that if the entire present world electricity demand were to be provided by nuclear power, these ores would be
exhausted within four years. Use of the remaining poorer ores in nuclear reactors would produce more CO2 emission than burning fossil fuels directly." - ref:

2 Conventional NP offers an insignificant contribution to world energy needs
Uranium reserves are so limited that a fourfold expansion of the world's nuclear fleet would exhaust the known global reserves of uranium. It would produce maybe 5% (maybe less) of the world's energy needs for some thirty years, then that would be it.

Breeder technology would offer a more significant amount, but. Breeder technology means uncontrollable nuclear weapons
proliferation. The plutonium-driven fast breeder reactors could make a more significant contribution, but this would mean kissing goodbye to any notion of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to rogue states and terrorists, because there would be so much plutonium around, there is no way we could keep it from falling into the hands of terrorists.

4 NP possession now implies Nuclear War later
No country has developed nuclear weapons without first having a nuclear power programme. That is what the fuss is about in Iran and North Korea. If we have weapons, we will inevitably use them at some time in the future, because no human system is perfect. America has already used them once, on the Japanese. US presidents have considered using them many times since Hiroshima. Next time they use them, there is a risk that everyone else will join in, producing a nuclear holocaust. The only way to avoid this is to get rid of nuclear weapons, which means we must get rid of nuclear power.

5 Nuclear Power is Not Insured
UK NP stations carry ?140 million of public liability insurance, and the Government would contribute an equal amount, but after that - tough luck if there is an MCA. Ironically, the planning Inspector ruled that we could not have a wind farm near Hinkley point NPS because a blade might break off... and damage the NPS.

6 Routine discharges of radioactive materials cause cancer
There is a vast amount of writing on this subject, but it is not necessary to develop it here, since it could be argued that a few local cancers are a small price to pay if nuclear power saves us from the catastrophe of global warming, and the relatives of the cancer victims could be compensated. The low level Radiation Campaign is a useful site for this information:

7 Nuclear Power Stations are vulnerable to terrorist attack
9/11 demonstrated the acute vulnerability of the structures of western civilisation to attack from terrorists motivated by suicidal religious convictions. We cannot hope that humane and rational considerations would
inhibit terrorists from using the same technique on one or more NPS. It would be consistent with the modus operandi of Al-Qaeda to do this kind of high profile action. It is a moot point whether a jumbo jet would breach containment, but it would certainly disrupt the coolant circuits sufficiently to cause releases, and a critical incident (major meltdown) cannot be ruled out

8 The waste problem is not solved - and not solvable
Some nuclear wastes have radioactivity that remains dangerous to human and animal health for 250,000 years. What ethical right do we have to dump that problem on our descendants for the sake of a few years worth of electricity?

9 NP stations (NPS) are vulnerable to changes brought about by Global Warming
They are mostly built near the sea, for cooling and waste discharge purposes. Sea level rise due to global warming will add a huge amount to the decommissioning costs. If a new wave of NPS are built, they will have to be higher up, inland, which means they will have to take their coolant water from rivers. In hot summers recently, European NPS have been forced to close due to lack of cool river water, and in the warmer, drier future, the same could happen to UK NPS.

10 NP would suck funding away from the real long term solutions which are energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Nuclear power was developed through massive state subsidies as part of the nuclear weapons development programme. These R+D costs are not included in conventional nuclear power costings. In the UK, these expenses were hidden from parliamentary inspection in the post-war public accounts as "Repairs to
Public Buildings". NP was a spin-off of the nuclear weapons effort.

The NP programme died off in the 90s, ironically not so much through the
activities of the green lobby as through the policies of Mrs Thatcher, who
although a staunch supporter of NP, insisted on privatising it. When the
City took a look at the books, they did not like what they saw, and decided
not to buy into it.

There is a finite amount of money available to meet the costs of Global
Warming. Energy Conservation is at least 7 times as effective in reducing
CO2 emissions than NP. PV cladding on every house in Britain would produce
more electricity than NP at a fraction of the cost.

Up until todayish I have been a supporter of new nuclear power stations after reading that they were economical, cheap and could be made carbon-neutral. Now I am not so sure.

For sure articles like the polemic I have posted here do not help me make up my mind. Claims that cheaply extractable global uranium reserves will be consumed in as little as 4 years if a 5-fold increase in nuclear generation becomes reality sound like bollocks but I don't know who to believe. The website of the global nuke industry say that there are 70 years of cheap uranium left so if you include a 5-fold increase then you have a mere 14 years left. I know its very different from 4 years but still, nuclear doesn't really sound like the long-term generation technology that we need. Far better to invest in renewable technology and a greatly uprated national grid to transport the enormous generation capcaity of remote regions to urban centres where they will be needed. Or we could just get TREC on the case. . . .

The UK government's policies are all fatally short-sighted

Peter Wilby describes how Labour's approach to climate change, among other policies, is flawed due to their focus on short-term outcomes and paybacks and a refusal to account for the longer term.

I think this is a product of the lack of accountability in our political system. If an government enacts legislation that may harm people twenty years down the line then the ex-cabinet ministers responsible should be criminally accountable for that harm. Its like corporate responsibility but with politicians instead of directors.