Thursday, 30 April 2009

Lucky Old Iraq

From Today´s Guardian:

(British Prime Minister) Brown, who supported predecessor Tony Blair's decision to join the invasion, defended Britain's military mission, saying it had helped to bring new opportunities for Iraq's people.
"Today Iraq is a success story. We owe much of that to the efforts of British troops. Our mission has not always been an easy one, many have said that we would fail," he told reporters.

Many were right, of course. By what possible yardstick can Iraq be considered a success? Yes, it has brought new opportunities for Iraq´s people - opportunities to kill one another by the thousand, to flee the country in vast numbers, to live without water and electricity in holes in the ground.
Oh yes, and the opportunity to be tortured and killed by the Americans and British - also by the thousand.
Lucky old Iraqis!

Monday, 27 April 2009


A couple of ponies I met in Oviedo last week. They say to get on Pioneer of the Nile in the Kentucky Derby this Saturday. But what do they know?

An artist is never ahead of his time but most people are far behind theirs.
Edgard Varese

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Doublethink, Newspeak, both alive and well

No doubt I am preaching to the converted here, but the stuff that is emerging about torture under the Bush regime needs some comment.
First, the categorical statement by George Bush himself, while still in the job: "The United States does not torture."
So, what is happening cannot be torture. It may look like torture, it may smell like torture, and I am bloody sure it feels like torture.
But it cannot be torture, because the United States does not torture.
It must, therefore, be something else, like "Aggressive interrogation." So that´s all right, then.
Another, very different, George - Orwell - would not have been at all surprised. It is a perfect example of totalitarian reasoning. Make the word forbidden, but go on doing the thing. Open a Ministry of Fear and call it the Ministry of Love. Stuff like that.
Now the unspeakable Cheney is whining that we should all tolerate whatever it is we choose to call it - I suggest torture, myself - because, he says, it works.
Apparently it doesn´t even do that. It emerges that the CIA were ordered to extract confessions from Guantanamo prisoners that Al Queda was directly linked to Sadam Hussein. Even waterboarding people dozens of times failed to provide the "evidence" demanded by Head Office.
I could go on, but what´s the bleeding point.
The sun is shining and I will be better off taking the dogs out.

Thursday, 16 April 2009


I normally extract a few paragraphs from news stories to make a point or two. The story below is entire. As an example of the utter, fucking fatuity of Republicans it stands alone.
It clearly needs no comment from me. It will get some none the less.

WASHINGTON – Republicans on Wednesday said a Homeland Security Department intelligence assessment unfairly characterizes military veterans as right-wing extremists. House Republican leader John Boehner described the report as offensive and called on the agency to apologize to veterans.
The agency's intelligence assessment, sent to law enforcement officials last week, warns that right-wing extremists could use the bad state of the U.S. economy and the election of the country's first black president to recruit members.
The assessment also said that returning military veterans who have difficulties assimilating back into their home communities could be susceptible to extremist recruiters or might engage in lone acts of violence.
"To characterize men and women returning home after defending our country as potential terrorists is offensive and unacceptable," said Boehner, R-Ohio.
The commander of the veterans group the American Legion, David Rehbein, wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano expressing concern with the assessment, which made its way into the mainstream press after conservative bloggers got wind of the analysis.
Rehbein called the assessment incomplete and said it lacked statistical evidence. He said the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing by military veteran Timothy McVeigh was one instance of a veteran becoming a domestic terrorist.
"To continue to use McVeigh as an example of the stereotypical 'disgruntled military veteran' is as unfair as using Osama bin Laden as the sole example of Islam," Rehbein said in the April 13 letter.
Napolitano defended the assessment and others issued by the agency.
"Let me be very clear — we monitor the risks of violent extremism taking root here in the United States," Napolitano said in a statement. "We don't have the luxury of focusing our efforts on one group; we must protect the country from terrorism whether foreign or homegrown, and regardless of the ideology that motivates its violence."
Napolitano said the department respects and honors veterans and that she intends to meet with Rehbein next week after she returns from a tour of the U.S.-Mexico border and meetings in Mexico City.
The agency describes these assessments as part of a series published "to facilitate a greater understanding of the phenomenon of violent radicalization in the United States."
In February, the department issued a report to law enforcement that said left-wing extremist groups were likely to use cyber attacks more often in the next 10 years to further their cause.
In September, the agency highlighted how right-wing extremists over the past five years have used the immigration debate as a recruiting tool.
Between September 2008 and Feb. 5, the agency issued at least four reports, obtained by The Associated Press, on individual extremist groups such as the Moors, Vinlanders Social Club, Volksfront and Hammerskin Nation.
But the references to military veterans in the recent report angered conservatives.
"The department is engaging in political and ideological profiling of people who fought to keep our country safe from terrorism, uphold our nation's immigration laws, and protect our constitutional right to keep and bear arms," said Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla.,
Texas Rep. Lamar Smith accused the department of painting "law-abiding Americans, including war veterans, as 'extremists.'"
Indiana Rep. Steve Buyer, the ranking Republican on the House Veterans' Affairs committee, said it was "inconceivable" that the administration would consider military veterans a potential terrorist threat.

On second thoughts, if readers can´t see the mindless vicious idiocy of the remarks by this bunch of pricks for themselves, I might as well turn it in.

So on to Obama´s latest slap in the face for Decent White America. He has deliberately bought a dog, more black than white, and a FOREIGN dog at that. Portugese, no less. What do we know of this dog´s past? How did he get through Immigration? Is it "inconceivable" that Bo might not be a suicide dog? Trained to kill by his foreign taskmasters? The Portugese are not generally recognised as fanatical Muslims, but many are undoubtedly swarthy.
Reach for your AK-47´s, patriotic Americans!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Fear and Loathing in Pittsburgh

Re my previous day´s blog, "Paradox".

PITTSBURGH - Internet rantings found on a white supremacist Web site indicate Poplawski was preoccupied with the idea that President Barack Obama was going to overturn the Second Amendment and that Jews were secretly running the country.
He posted a shirtless picture of himself showing off a large tattoo of a spread-winged eagle below his collarbone.
Postings made by others on the extremist Web site after the Pittsburgh shooting encourage people to buy assault rifles because they suspect the arms will be banned after a string of mass shootings in the past month, including one in Oakland, Calif., where four officers were killed and another in Binghamton, N.Y., on Friday when a gunman killed 13 people before killing himself.

I didn´t know any of this for sure when I wrote yesterday´s entry. It is little comfort to be proved right.

Monday, 6 April 2009


PITTSBURGH – A 911 call that brought two police officers to a home where they were ambushed, and where a third was also later killed during a four-hour siege, was precipitated by a fight between the gunman and his mother over a dog urinating in the house.
When officers Paul Sciullo II and Stephen Mayhle arrived, Margaret Poplawski opened the door and told them to come in and take her 23-year-old son, apparently unaware he was standing behind her with a rifle, the affidavit said. Hearing gunshots, she spun around to see her son with the gun and ran to the basement.
"What the hell have you done?" she shouted.
The mother told police her son had been stockpiling guns and ammunition "because he believed that as a result of economic collapse, the police were no longer able to protect society."

This story seems to me to be a perfect allegory of the American Nightmare.
Not the shootings themselves - they are two a penny - but the reasoning (if that is the mot juste) of the perp.
I believe the killer´s fears were that Obama and his fellow Commies were going to grab his beloved stockpile of guns, and that the police, so enervated by arresting Bernie Madoff, would no longer have the energy to keep gangs of black crack dealers from murdering decent white Pittsburghers in their beds.
The deed of Poplawski (it would be crass to make jokes about his name) is an example of that scary bogeyman beloved of religious fundamentalists - the self-fulfilling prophecy. You predict something - like the End Of The World - then set about making sure it Comes To Pass.
And Poplawski was proved right. The police, would not have been able to protect society from a determined maniac - in this case himself - and could not even protect themselves.
One of the oddest justifications for mass murder ever purported. Try as I might, I cannot get my head around the paradox.
It would be nice to think the other part of Poplawski´s prophecy will also come true - that Obama will seize the citizenry´s guns.
Dream on.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Guns and Horses

The following couple of paragraphs from the story of the Pittsburgh police shootings caught my eye.
The idea of killing other people because you are worried that the government might take your guns away is curious, to say the least - even in America.
And, why should one expect such happenings in California and not Pittsburgh? Sunnier weather?

Police Chief Nate Harper said the motive for the shooting isn't clear, but friends said the gunman recently had been upset about losing his job and feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns.
The shooting occurred just two weeks after four police officers were fatally shot in Oakland, Calif., in the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001. The officers were the first Pittsburgh city officers to die in the line of duty in 18 years.
"This is a solemn day and it's a very sad day in the city of Pittsburgh," Harper said. "We've seen this kind of violence happen in California. We never would think this kind of violence would happen in the city of Pittsburgh."

The Grand National. I would have lost money betting on it as a 100-1 shot won. But the online betting site was so clogged up with mugs trying to get on that I saved my money. For another day.
Good picture from The Guardian.

P.S. Kathy, I read your note. Many thanks. I am thinking about it now.