Doubly Annoyed

First WordPress goes wobbly and I lose wysiwyg and some dashboard items, then John Reid gets to force through a vote on privatising the probation service. And I have to do all this in HTML, aaarrrggghhhhh!
Because privatised water, railways, electricity, phones, prisons all worked so well, oh wait a minute, NO THEY FUCKING DIDN’T.

This is what privatisation really does:-
Another layer of people who they can pass responsibility for fuckups onto.

Loadsa-money for them and their corporate chums, redistributing public funds upwards to the boardrooms.

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HAL’s Sit-Rep

HAL smallI have been asked to inform you that the ADSL modem Router is being replaced. Normal service should be resumed in a short time, if you find it hard to wait I would recommend taking a stress pill Dave.

UPDATE: WordPress has gone weird, lost posting buttons, no new posts until this is sorted out.

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The Taliban Fails To Introduce Dick Cheney To A Shrapnel Rich Diet

Dick is finding increasingly odd places in which to avoid questions about his role in outing a CIA agent that his best bud Scooter Libbey is on trial for. So it was to Afghanistan that he went, and the Taliban planned their welcome:-

A suicide attack at an Afghan air base where US vice-president Dick Cheney was staying shows that the Taliban and al-Qaeda have penetrated local intelligence agencies, analysts and officials said.

The blast early on Tuesday at Bagram air base near Kabul also highlights the increasing sophistication of the extremist outfits as they prepare for a feared spring offensive against Western troops

Cheney’s visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan were unannounced and shrouded in even tighter secrecy than when US President George W Bush travelled to the two countries in March 2006. “They must have had information (a) few days before that the US vice-president would be in town and stay at Bagram. This is not something you can plan with 12 hours notice.”-

And Laura Bush says everything is fine and the media are exaggerating the one bomb that goes off a day, so clearly she is as mad as her fuckwit husband (who is banging Condi anyway) and not very sympathetic to Dick (which may be the reason George went off with…oh nevermind).

They, Robot

I wrote a while back about the New York Police’s obedience to the Republicans when they held their shindig there in 2004. But court cases are now compelling the release of the secret planning documents that describe the operation code named Overlord II.

The Unapologetic Mexican has the full rundown of this appalling imposition of de facto martial law where protest was met with arrest but no process or release. As Nezua (who was one of the arrested) wryly points out:-

“Operation Overlord II.” Interesting analogy they set up with that name. Interesting that they didn’t mind being the Nazis in that metaphor.-

The obedient police and military followed orders which were clearly a breach of the law and bill of rights, so who stands in the way of further abuses? Not them, they have abdicated their own moral agency to the comfort of routine obedience. So I ask it again- What stands in the way of more abuse? The court cases may come later, but when it is happening to you right here, right now that is not much consolation, and if it is torture as in Gitmo you are injured and disabled forever. What Nezua is exploring is the people who do this, the low-level order following grunts who seem happy to be patriotic robots. That this role is eulogised and heralded as desirable means you have the foot soldiers of fascism in a culture that is ready to succumb. That the poverty, created by the American capitalist excess provides eager recruits for these patriotic death cults is no accident. The depression of the thirties created a pool of poverty that Italian and German fascists successfully exploited to seize power, corporatism does the same without the need for an economic downturn.

The military has been used in Iraq to progress a corporate agenda and the only troops that have good equipment and better life expectancy are the Blackwater and other private firms mercenaries. The private military are using the poverty drafted regular army as cannon fodder. What is supreme is extreme right wing ideologues and their corporate power bases.

The poor deluded souls who think they are fighting for God and Country are brutalized and if they survive can be ploughed back into the domestic roles of police and prison guards where their damaged minds push brutality on their fellow citizens. The ones who excel and pass the ideological tests join Blackwater etc. to become the corporate elites hired muscle. When law and order broke down post Katrina in New Orleans it was mercenary crews that patrolled the streets (because the National Guard were all used up in Iraq- taxpayer funded yet advancing a agenda of most benefit only to corporate elites, the public commons being plundered by the govt. which is loyal not to the people or country but their corporate selves), largely unanswerable to the (few) controls police have they roamed with impunity. Many of them were fresh (ie. within days) from Iraq and many went back afterward, they stole from the survivors , confiscated theirs guns (where was the NRA then? Seems they don’t care about Brown people’s gun rights) and basically treated the locals like they treated the Iraqi’s. Thus domestic repression was successfully tested which brings me back to- What stands in the way of the next putsch?

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I Heard The News Today, Oh Boy!

Actually the most important thing I’ve seen/heard/read is Sy Hersh’s New Yorker article about the Bush mob’s exciting new ideas to completely fuck the whole world up. Basically it boils down to ‘let’s incite another Islamic civil war and we’ll back the Sunnis’ so just an old style divide and conquer scam. What was horrific reading through the article is the utterly immoral realpolitik that Bush/Cheney practice. As Sam Seder noted it should set off alarm bells when John ‘Honduran death squad’ Negroponte (and implementer of death squads in Iraq under the moniker the Salvador Option) wants out of the dark deeds the neo-cons are involved in. What the hell they are doing to disgust a perennial scumfuck like Negroponte is alarming, not a single legal or ethical or moral line exists for these people. They used the Iraq ‘reconstruction’ to funnel billions of dollars in cash into Iraq, which they then disappeared to fund their completely illegal activities. Iran-contra looks like a fairytale compared to what they are doing now,

In clear bullet points-

The US Govt. is secretly funding terrorists (nothing new there).

The Republican administration is avoiding congressional oversight because it knows what it is doing is illegal (nothing new there).

The Bush Cheney gang is saying they don’t want war while planning to attack a Middle Eastern country (nothing new there).

They’re being really ambitious this time, they want no less than an Islamic civil war between Sunni and Shia where they are backing the Sunni and a few pet Shia. This isn’t because they like the Sunni’s they just see it as a useful tool to kill lot’s of people who are in the way of their sick empire.

What might be new is this; They are making very sure that they are creating conflicts that whoever the next administration is will have no other choice but to continue and escalate. Thus their agenda will only be partially upset by a change in govt. (Dem or Repub). This is the neo-cons contempt for democracy becoming clear, the empire will not be derailed by cosmetic changes of govt. Given that it is now estimated that it will take a minimum of $200 million to run for president and war makes a profit for the military -industrial-congressional complex (that is the full Eisenhower quote, they often leave off the congress bit at the end) and capitalism needing constant growth to work (if it can be said to work) as a system, plus the finite resources causing conflict for control of them. The 21st century is shaping up to be as dystopian as you like.

Rejoice! It’s Iran Blogapalooza! Meet- inside Iran

Hooray! It is here, TenPercent is excited, proud and honoured to announce this new feature.

What is it?

I am searching out the creme de la creme of Iranian Blogs which I then review, publicise, link to and generally say Yeay go read it and get to know some Iranian blog peeps.

Why?

Because you may have heard that some loony politician types would quite like to have a war which I think would be a very bad thing (profound ain’t I?). So in an effort to help prevent this I am hoping that by linking up with Iranain bloggers we can communicate and get to know and like one another so that such war mongering stupidity will be stopped.

Do I have to learn Farsi?

No, but feel free to do so if you wish.

So debuting as the inaugural Iran Blogapalooza entry it’s (drum roll please)

inside Iran

Jadi is the proprietor of this blog and this is what he says about himself:-

I’m Jadi. A 27 years old from Tehran / Iran. I blogged for years at my farsi weblog (www.jadi.net) but these days I’m FILTERED in my own country so I have to write here in english. It’s shame but it is the situation !
I am keeping an eye on freedom of expression, censorship, internet filtering and …

jadi.jpg

And this is him modeling the kind of flag that sane people love but seems to send some religious types round the bend. One of the reasons I chose inside Iran to begin this experiment in net-internationalism is because Jadi has a few Q&A posts where he answers some of the more obvious questions about life in Iran which help to get across a good introductory picture of the people and the place (he’s also strangely obsessed with taxis).

This first Q&A gives the lowdown on his blogging.

This Q&A talks about the role of women in Iran.

His archive of Q&A’s is here.

Further reading of his blog reveals he is married to Leila a communications engineer for Nokia and they both dig the Tandor (just near 7tir square, apparently) which is a good Indian hotel and restaurant. Which makes it even more important that no bombs are dropped on Iran, you absolutely cannot be risking losing good restaurants.

Jadi emailed me and was very nice about this whole idea so I hope Dear Reader that you do go and check out his blog and click some links, not least because then even more interesting things can happen: You too can annoy Jadi with comments and questions and you can explore his blogroll of Iranian Blogs which you could link to or tell me about for the Iran Blogapalooza. Jadi’s blog is also quite succesful so from a purely selfish perspective it helps increase my visibility, but as I haven’t seen anyone else doing this (there may well be, please let me know, I just haven’t seen them) I though I should get on and do it.

If you have a blog of your own that you would like to recommend for Iran Blogapalooza just let me know either in comments or email to askHAL at gmail, or if you would like to share the Iran Blogapalooza goodness then please link, steal my ideas, link up to your own favourite Iranian blog, anything let’s spread it around. But bottom line, we are all just people, we have different tastes and ideas but one thing we can all agree on is that we don’t like being bombed, so let’s not do that, Okay?

Now go to inside Iran, NOW!

The New Holocaust Denial

There are two polls that show up some terrible truths about US culture, the first finds that while Americans are aware of the numbers of US soldiers killed in action they state the Iraqi figures so low that it seems akin to holocaust denial. The best count of Iraqi dead is the Lancet survey it uses peer reviewed scientific sampling to find that by now 3/4 million people have been killed by the invasion. US respondents put the figure at 10,000 and add that it is an unfortunate side effect of war (hmm, where does Richard Wolffe get his ideas?):-

“You have to look at who’s doing the killing,” said Neal Crawford, a restaurant manager in Suttons Bay, Mich., who guessed that about 10,000 Iraqis had been killed. “If these people are dying because a roadside bomb goes off or if there’s an insurgent attack in a marketplace, it’s an unfortunate circumstance of war – people die.”

Neal you’re a friggin’ idiot, overall this level of ignorance is clearly deliberate they know the US figure but are choosing not to know the Iraq figures, their craptastic corporate media helps. The other poll (h/t Lenin’s Tomb) shows that acceptance of killing innocents particularly in terrorist attacks is higher in the US than in predominantly Muslim countries:-

The survey, conducted in December 2006 by the University of Maryland’s prestigious Program on International Public Attitudes, shows that only 46 percent of Americans think that “bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians” are “never justified,” while 24 percent believe these attacks are “often or sometimes justified.”

Contrast those numbers with 2006 polling results from the world’s most-populous Muslim countries – Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. Terror Free Tomorrow, the organization I lead, found that 74 percent of respondents in Indonesia agreed that terrorist attacks are “never justified”; in Pakistan, that figure was 86 percent; in Bangladesh, 81 percent. –

As a Vietnam veteran once famously remarked, ‘This shit is fucked’.

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