The Human Centipede Model For Leadership In A Hung Parliament

Human Centipede is a schlock horror movie whereby a mad doctor who specialises in separating conjoined twins creates a… The clue’s in the title, he surgically attaches three hapless victims together, anus to mouth, to form an organism with one digestive tract, biologically implausible as that may be. Nevertheless such high concept body horror meets torture porn hijinks is doing its job causing sensation and gasps of horror which should translate into a healthy profit for the producers. It’s not called Showart, it’s Showbusiness people! Here below is the mad doctor with a helpful diagram for victims and viewers on his overhead projector (this immediately sets off alarm bells as to his competence, it’s 2010, Keynote, Powerpoint? Hello?)-

I say Cameron for the -worst- middle position, after all he already has that shit-eating grin…Clegg for front and Brown bringing up the rear, with Miliband following with the bucket & spade and a Look, you’ve punished us enough about Iraq, all right? So don’t start punishing yourself.’ T-shirt.

The question then arises for the consensus state, could this creature be mated with a suitable female host to produce a new super race of neoliberal politician? Or are plans already afoot?

An antidote to such horror.

Posted in Establishment, Media, Politics. Tags: , . Comments Off on The Human Centipede Model For Leadership In A Hung Parliament

An Iran Quiz

Via Juan Cole, this Iran Quiz by Jeffrey Rudolph is a counterpoint to the pro-attack narrative for a broad (US) audience but it’s worth a spin wherever you are. As our leaders use Iran as a prop to measure their military and foreign policy election race  particulars it is relevant here -what Washington wants Washington gets- and anyway our ruling class has form when it comes to Persia. I have rejigged the original format so each answer appears after the question, however to maintain a challenging air of mystery the answers are in white, so to see them you have to highlight the text (anyone remember the teletext reveal button?). So, just a bit of fun as they say

Iran Quiz by Jeffrey Rudolph

What can possibly justify the relentless U.S. diplomatic (and mainstream media) assault on Iran ?

It cannot be argued that Iran is an aggressive state that is dangerous to its neighbors, as facts do not support this claim. It cannot be relevant that Iran adheres to Islamic fundamentalism, has a flawed democracy and denies women full western-style civil rights, as Saudi Arabia is more fundamentalist, far less democratic and more oppressive of women, yet it is a U.S. ally. It cannot be relevant that Iran has, over the years, had a nuclear research program, and is most likely pursuing the capacity to develop nuclear weapons, as Pakistan, India, Israel and other states are nuclear powers yet remain U.S. allies—indeed, Israel deceived the U.S. while developing its nuclear program.

The answer to the above-posed question is fairly obvious: Iran must be punished for leaving the orbit of U.S. control. Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, when the Shah was removed, Iran, unlike, say, Saudi Arabia, acts independently and thus compromises U.S. power in two ways: i) Defiance of U.S. dictates affects the U.S.’s attainment of goals linked to Iran; and, ii) Defiance of U.S. dictates establishes a “bad” example for other countries that may wish to pursue an independent course. The Shah could commit any number of abuses—widespread torture, for example—yet his loyalty to the U.S. exempted him from American condemnation—yet not from the condemnation of the bulk of Iranians who brought him down.

The following quiz is an attempt to introduce more balance into the mainstream discussion of Iran.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Imperialism, Iran, Media. Tags: . 1 Comment »

Great Moments In Online Polling

An Online YouGov oracle survey today:-

Posted in Media. Tags: . 2 Comments »

Easy

Go on, press the button, it’s easy. You’ve been trained in such a way that makes it very easy, that directs your libido into desiring the kill, to ‘Get Some’. And don’t worry, the acculturation in the Homeland is such that whatever you do you will be the Good Guy. And thus the cycle continues, mass murderers become respected and get the next bit of mass murder going. The counter narrative is already launched, that’s if it is even still on the news agenda and anyway they are censoring it for the sensitive folks back home. What then of the other side, when they’ve mown down your friends, family, given themselves medals and treat you like shit, gonna do something? You’ll have to realise that your act won’t reach the people in the Homeland, they won’t understand you as a human being who made a stand, who couldn’t take anymore who couldn’t live with the anger, grief and the need stop the pain in your head, you’ll be an insurgent, a terrorist, a fundamentalist. Heroes use $16 million gunships (that’s a stimulus to the economy, saving jobs, providing careers in science, engineering and psychology), when you improvise whatever you can get your hands on, that’s terrorism. And that act will stiffen the resolve of the righteous forces of freedom, they are protecting the folks back home from your violence. They’ll be parades for them, at your funeral a drone will Hellfire all your friends and family, I mean who else would go to the funeral of a terrorist than other terrorists? Get Some. And best of all, best of all even the caring sharing reasonable liberal journalists will deny the holocaust of deaths (especially the half a million starved children even before the WMD lies did their work), Lancet & Orb are verboten, because the Good Guys don’t do that even as they wring their hands. So war has not changed, it is series of unfolding atrocities and people who want a nice life will not get in too much of the way of that, it’s just not polite. Do your duty, don’t think too hard, value nice things that a nice salary will buy you and one day maybe when you hear rotors overhead, hope that your gang, your tribe are in the cockpit, so don’t go to protests, don’t pray to the wrong god, don’t resist an occupation that murders and tortures your friends and family. When they say they are Good Guys believe them and serve them, whatever they do to you, maybe they foreclose your home, or bulldoze your home, deny you medicine in a letter or at a checkpoint, because that’s freedom. Find the most powerful gang and join it and hope your life is not at the other end of a button push.

collateralmurder.com

Standing at the window
A farmer’s wife in Oxford shire
Glances at the clock; it’s nearly time for tea
She doesn’t see
The phantom in the hedgerow dip its wings
Doesn’t hear the engine sing
But in the cockpit’s techno glow
Behind the Ray Ban shine
The kid from Cleveland
In the comfort of routine
Scans his dials and smiles
Secure in the beauty of military life
There is no right or wrong
Only tin cans and cordite and white cliffs
And blue skies and flight flight flight
The beauty of military life
No questions only orders and flight, only flight
What a beautiful sight in his wild blue dream
The eternal child leafs through his war magazine
And his kind Uncle Sam feeds ten trillion in change
Into the total entertainment combat video game
And up here in the stands
The fans are going wild
The cheerleaders flip
When you wiggle your hip
And we all like the bit when you take
The jeans from the refrigerator and
Then the bad guy gets hit
And were you struck by the satisfying way
The swimsuit sticks to her skin
Like BB gun days
When knives pierce autumn leaves
But that’s okay see the children bleed
It’ll look great on the TV
And in Tripoli another ordinary wife
Stares at the dripping her old man hadn’t
Time to fix
Too busy mixing politics and rhythm
In the street below

John McDonnell’s Letter To The Guardian Re: RMT Ballot

The media treatment of RMT and Bob Crow over the last 48 hours over the Network Rail strike ballot has been the worst example of a concerted campaign of media bias against a trade union that we have seen since the 1980s miners’ strike. John Humphrys’s interview of Bob Crow, with his references to ballot-rigging, and the BBC’s subsequent headline of “RMT’s Bob Crow denies ballot rigging”, was that disgusting classic of the old hack lawyer’s tactic of asking the defendant: “When did you stop beating your wife?”

Even the Guardian’s editorial (2 March) ignorantly weighed in with “No union that conducts its ballots properly according to the reasonable requirements of the law … would be in danger of being injuncted.” This reference to “reasonable requirements of the law” is patent rubbish. To hold a ballot the union must construct and supply the employer with a detailed and complex matrix of information setting out which members it is balloting, their job titles, grades, departments and work locations. The employer is under no obligation to co-operate with the union to ensure this is accurate. If there is the slightest inaccuracy, even where it did not affect the result, the ballot is open to being challenged by the employer and quashed by the courts.

There can be no question of the union ballot-rigging or interfering in the balloting process because it is undertaken by an independent scrutineer, usually the Electoral Reform Society, and all ballot papers are sent by post to the homes of the members being balloted, and returned to the ERS for counting. The union at no time handles the ballot papers.

On at least four occasions in the last three years I have tried in parliament on behalf of RMT and other TUC-affiliated unions to amend employment law to require employers to co-operate with unions in the balloting process so these problems can be overcome. Employers’ organisations, the Conservatives and the government have all opposed this reform.

The result is not fewer strikes but a deteriorating industrial relations climate as people become increasingly angry that their democratic wishes are frustrated by one-sided anti-trade-union laws.

John McDonnell MP

Also see SU

Posted in Human Rights, Labour rights, Media. Tags: , . Comments Off on John McDonnell’s Letter To The Guardian Re: RMT Ballot

7 Years Since Aafia Siddiqui Was First Abducted

Supporters have named this Aafia Siddiqui Day, Andy Worthington has a good post and asks these pertinent questions-

  • Was she indeed kidnapped with her three children in Karachi on March 28, 2003, and subsequently rendered to a secret prison, where she was raped and tortured for five years? Binyam Mohamed, the British resident who was released from Guantánamo in February 2009, has stated that he saw Aafia Siddiqui in Bagram, and other former prisoners have spoken about “The Grey Lady of Bagram,” Prisoner 650, who they believed was Aafia.
  • Where are her children?
  • If Aafia Siddiqui was indeed held in secret US custody for over five years, was the story of the attempted shooting of the US soldiers in July 2008 a cynical set-up, designed to ensure that she could be transferred to the US and tried, convicted and imprisoned without the true story coming to light?

There is a new website justiceforaafia.org

Posted in Human Rights, Media. Tags: . Comments Off on 7 Years Since Aafia Siddiqui Was First Abducted

In Speaking, To Listen

Or- Too Long for Twitter again. So to this absolute must read, and I mean that, you must read it, there will be a written test and all those failing will be barred from the interwebs for a week! Yes, I have that power… A progressive left blog from Pakistan who say this about themselves-

We call for a Pakistan grounded in principles of justice and fairness which includes a commitment to federalism and respect for the rights of provinces, and of minorities as equal citizens of the state. This requires that there be no discrimination on the basis of sex/gender, class, province/ethnicity, religion/sect, or sexual orientation. This is only possible if and when there is a clear separation between religion and state, when there are strong independent democratic institutions such as the judiciary and media , when the army’s role is confined to defence and when it is under the complete control of a civilian government which truly represents the people of Pakistan, and when there is a genuine effort to improve people’s quality of life through the provision of universal adult literacy, universal healthcare, and people-centered development.

Writes on the Sahgal/Amnesty affair, an excerpt but again, this is a must read!-

The larger issue, however, is this: why do our so-called allies constantly demand that we articulate our disavowal of the Taliban? Do they perhaps believe that in some deep dark religious corner of our lefty Pakistani hearts, we nurture a secret love for the ruthless brutish bearded circus called the Taliban?  Why are we being constantly asked to prove our bona fides as secularists and as humanists (in the sense that we believe in the dignity of *all* humanity)?  And that too by those who appear to have little qualms about retracting dignity from a man whose words and appearance unsettle us but who has done nothing – in terms of his actions – but run a girls’ school in Afghanistan and, now, defend the rights of precisely those that the American empire has reduced to ‘bare life.’ [1]  Does the problem lie in the fact that he “has championed the rights of jailed Al-Qaeda members and hate preachers…” as the Sunday Times puts it? But isn’t the selective granting of rights precisely what the Left is critical of in general?  Or is it that he stated in his memoirs that the Taliban were “better than anything Afghanistan has had in the past twenty-five years.” Yes, these views are abhorrent, but by no means unique. I heard much the same thing from the Afghans I met when I traveled to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border town of Chaman (in Balochistan) over a month ago.  These were Afghans who all hated the Taliban now (among them were ex-Taliban fighters).  To them, the Taliban had seemed like an answer to the corruption, chaos and random murders that had afflicted Afghanistan for decades when they first rose to power. They left when they realized that this was not the case or that the price they were being asked to pay was too high.

MORE

It’s ok, I’ll wait until you’ve clicked over and read it all, tum ti tum, doobie doo, ooh is that a cobweb in that corner….hmmm…mmmm…mmmm, um chocolate croissant…mm…hmuph….mm, ggr…. slurp, crumbs….nice glass of water…ahhh. Ok good, excellent wasn’t it? Now in what you might call related affairs-

Daily Beast Female Elites Denounce Global Human Rights Violations While Ignoring U.S. Crimes- Promising solutions for international women’s rights problems, the Daily Beast’s ‘Women in the World’ conference ended up supporting the status quo for US foreign policy.

Eikenberry was not the only spouse of a major player in current U.S. military misadventures to speak at the conference. “Morning Joe” host Mike Brezenski interviewed Cherie Blair, “Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women,” who also happens to be married to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, our great ally in invading Iraq on false pretenses. (Another infamous Iraq war cheerleader, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, was a featured lunchtime speaker.)

Taken as a whole, the Women in the World conference was itself, ironically, a microcosm of the systemic reasons women are in dire straights across the globe. Just as its most high-profile featured speakers have been inextricably linked to war crimes and deadly foreign policy, its corporate sponsors have been inextricably linked to the suffering of women — from the victimization of women in oil-rich nations (sponsored by Exxon), predatory lenders and families losing their homes (sponsored by Bank of America) and the ever-widening gap between rich and poor, even as corporate bonuses are doled out (sponsored by Goldman Sachs). The aggressively pro-market message of much of the weekend — empowering women through entrepreneurship — made it clear that the “solutions” for women in the world are more neo-liberal economic policies and unchallenged U.S. military dominance.

Another good read that requires thinking about the entitlements and privileges of the Anglosphere elite (ht’s2 Earwicga who also is now contributing to Pickled Politics). A shiny world view that is helped by ignoring the domestic abuses-

A group of detainees who claim they suffered ‘inhumane and degrading treatment’ while at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre are suing the Home Office. The 11 women have employed Leigh Day & Co solicitors to seek damages from the government and Serco, the private security company which runs the Clapham detention centre. The women, who are still detained and are on hunger strike, allege that their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and their rights not to be tortured, suffer inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment were all breached by employees of Serco.

Medialens continues the exposure of the execution of men, women & child civilians by NATO forces. Another role of media is to not report the successes of citizen direct action against the war machinery, lest the masses get ideas to do take our responsibility for war crimes (our tax money, our govts, our families feeding the recruiters targets) and reject it with activism-

Three activists from Swords into Ploughshares have been found NOT GUILTY of all charges laid against them in a New Zealand court for their action breaking into the Waihopai spybase in Blenheim in April 2008, and deflating one of the two domes covering the satellite dishes which capture intelligence data.

The jury heard that the Waihopai Echelon spy base is New Zealand’s largest contribution to the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. The ongoing war has resulted in horrific war crimes, including more than one million dead Iraqi civilians, torture, and permanent poisoning of parts of Iraq by the use of depleted uranium munitions.

The jury also heard evidence from a former British Echelon intelligence analyst, Katherine Gunn. She blew the whistle on secret Echelon spying operations when she was instructed by the US National Security Agency to spy on United Nations Security Council members leading up to the US invasion in 2003.

“Evidence presented in the court confirmed that the ongoing war in Iraq is illegal, and causing massive human suffering”, said Adrian. “As an outcome of this trial, we hope that New Zealanders will insist on an enquiry into the activities of the spy base and its links to US-led illegal wars”.

Father Peter, Sam and Adrian expressed gratitude for all the support they have received from family, friends and the New Zealand public.

Anniversaries – Happy St. Pat’s especially to all LGBTQ people (I’d like to think I’m saucy enough to figure in there somewhere), fuck bigots who make parades their private reich. Bad anniversaries- 1000 Days of the siege of Gaza, and a story about the difficulties and resourcefulness needed to get a laptop into Gaza. Andy Worthington on Vindictive judge gives Muslims prison sentences for Gaza protest.

Also the Swiss Banks, y’know those secretive Nazi moolah hiding, global tax evading troughs of evil are so sure of banks supremacy (and to be honest, they are probably right on that) they propose a global flat tax at rates they will set! Also at the excellent Richard Murphy’s blog- How Lehman fiddled the books and a great new acronym-

Prem Sikka– Accountants disarm journalists, critics, regulators and the general public by claiming that the accounts are fairly presented in accordance with some generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), but the Lehman report shows that they are based in carefully rejigged accounting practices (CRAP).

And finally this great meme, the theme for your blog, as I am also slowly getting the stuff together for Ten Percent to go to its own hosts and thus be free of accidental or otherwise WordPress bans this could be an ongoing process to find the definitive theme together with votes and prizes possibly. More on that soon…