Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Return of the Strong State

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Greece’s newest government minister, carrying an axe

The most important article I read this week:

Austerity & Fascism In Greece: The Real 1% Doctrine - Exiled Online
Mark Ames - Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Here is a stream-of-angry-consciousness passage I wrote about it.

Just in case it wasn't clear:

One of the 'technocrats' installed in the new Greek government is a card-carrying, Jew-hating, leftist-bashing fascist in the classic style. The occasion of the near-collapse of the Greek state is the opportunity they've been dreaming of since the fall of the Colonels.

Another Papandreou driven from power, by no means guilt-less, but at least he tried. This one, unlike his father, remembered to fire the army leadership before stepping down. Greece remains second only to Turkey in Europe for deep-state and army skullduggery, with a side of ethnic-identity fascism.

I know this isn't as interesting to most people as the nice pictures of babies and how they look 20 years later, but it's important to realise that the 'austerity' is a Trojan horse for the kind of hard-right politics that has been in the doldrums for 20 years.
The Strong State is back, and it's going to fuck you again.

Burning books requires much time and commitment

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

In the last few days, we've seen Obama trying to reason with Pastor Terry Jones, an obscure preacher from Gainesville, Florida, over the television and protest rallies sweeping across Afghanistan. Why? Because Jones announced that he was going to burn some copies of the Qu'ran to coincide with the anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center.

Image courtesy of Getty Images

Pastor Terry Jones in Motion

Jones strikes an unusual figure, with his handle-bar moustache suit and 70s-coloured tie. He seems like a figure from a National Lampoon film, but right now he is being taken very seriously. He's called off his protest because the voices in his head told him to.

Back in July, Jones's colleague Sapp posted a YouTube video about their plans, and there was some brief interest, a few news articles. The story has steadily grown, as affiliate television stations have passed on the scandal. The BBC covers its growth in this article.

Burning books has always attracted controversy throughout history, symbolising a destruction of a civilisation and abandonment of intellectual society. It is taboo.

Non-Aryan literature burnt in Berlin's Opernplatz in May, 1933

The burning of books by the Nazis in the 1930s is probably the most familiar example, gleeful SA men piling academic papers and Jewish books onto the funeral pyres of civil society. Heine's quote "Those who begin by burning books will end by burning people" is on the lips of every secondary school History student. See the transcription of Goebbels' speech and the description of the scene.

The burning of the remaining books at the dwindling Library of Alexandria by the Saracens contributed to centuries of disdain in the West for ostensibly uncivilised and anti-intellectual Muslims.

ROSER 2, Nazi_Student_SA_Book_Burning_May_1933-01EXLG.jpg

SA Nazis and students burning books in May 1933

Since the act is taboo, most people have never tried burning books. Perhaps they imagine happy flames devouring the words and knowledge. See how happy everyone is above, glad to be rid of complicated ideas. Even the students themselves are joining in.

The reality is less exciting. Allow me to present a personal anecdote about burning books... (more...)

Two wheels good, and all that

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Click to enlarge.

Why are we so scared of swine flu?

Friday, October 30th, 2009

I was linked to this graph earlier today.

Swine Flu Conspiracy

Click to enlarge.

Ask yourself why we hear so much about a disease with such a relatively small death-toll.

Ask yourself why we don't hear about all the other much more important diseases.

Ask yourself why we countenance motor vehicles but not war.

Ask yourself why we're so bad at judging risk.

Ask your local pharmacist how much money he's made in the last 300 days on face-masks, hand-wash, Tamiflu and so on.

Britain takes another step towards the literal nanny-state

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

playground1_large

Making comparisons between modern-day Britain and 1984 or Brave New world is becoming rather trite at this stage, so I won't bother.

BoingBoing posts about Council bans parents from play areas. Watford Borough Council is banning parents from public playgrounds, since they cannot be trusted around other children, perhaps even their own children.

Sadly, in today's climate, you can't have adults walking around unchecked in a children's playground and the adventure playground is not a meeting place for adults.

What is "today's climate"?
Is the ambient air temperature particularly conducive to the creation of paedophiles?

Pervert Paranoia!

Sunday, September 6th, 2009
IS THIS MAN A PAEDOPHILE/TERRORIST?

IS THIS MAN A PAEDOPHILE/TERRORIST?

An article here from the London Evening Standard:
Father-of-three branded a 'pervert' - for photographing his own children in public park

Yes, it's another story about someone being stopped from taking photos in a public place. There will be more posts on this topic...

When Gary Crutchley started taking pictures of his children playing on an inflatable slide he thought they would be happy reminders of a family day out.
But the innocent snaps of seven-year-old Cory, and Miles, five, led to him being called a ‘pervert’.

You can read the article to see the usual moral-panic reactions from the "twitching-curtain biddies" (thanks Hugh!).

The most interesting points raised come from the end of the article and the comments:

Mr Gwinnett, 58, a LibDem councillor in Wolverhampton, said: ‘Our policy is to ask people taking photos whether they have children on the slide. If they do, then that is fine.

Here we see appeasement of the reactionary element, denying simple rights on the basis of perceived threat. I don't see why it shouldn't be legal to photograph any child. The assumption that anyone doing so (only men, of course) must be a paedophile or pervert of some type is sickening. Children provide very subjects for photography, with their innocence of and curiosity towards the world.

Even more worrying is that the more expensive your equipment, the more harassed you are likely to be. Despite 5Mpixel tiny camera phones, and high resolution cheap point and shoots, snapping away everywhere, if you spend over a grand on your equipment, you are suddenly a terrorist/pervert.

This one is rather difficult to explain. Why is a more professional tool seen as a threat? Is it because an SLR (for example) looks more like a camera than a point-and-shoot camera? Perhaps the mere effort of purchasing the right tool for the job is anathema to the undiscriminating prosumer. Or perhaps I have lapsed into flippancy.

We did not have this much fear in the 80s when the IRA were exploding bombs in London. Why is there so much fear today?

Not directly related to the topic at hand, but I digress.
Al-Qaeda and friends pose, in my relatively uninformed estimation, far less of a risk than the Provisional IRA did during the 1980s and 90s when they were bombing on the UK mainland. At that time, people tried not to let the terrorist campaign affect them. Bins were removed from train stations, but not a huge amount changed otherwise. Some attacks were perpetrated, some people died. Life continued.

Look at Britain now, cowering in fear of a few hundred potential terrorists, who might choose to attack at some stage. The attacks on the London transport system were surely horrible, but consider this:
Terrorists aim to force people to change their lives by violence. Since the attacks on New York on the 11th of September 2001, our legal, transport and surveillance systems have changed enormously, perhaps irreversibly. Our cultures and societies have been wholly infected by paranoia and mistrust.

We let the terrorists win.

Glenn Beck is a cretin, in video form

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

First, watch this video. Watch the letters. See what he did there?

Yes, that's right, he got it all wrong. Anti-intellectualism disguised as false intellectualism, and spelt wrong to boot. I wish this man was joking.

At the same time, James Murdoch from News Corporation (who proudly own Fox News) has been attacking the BBC for being too "dominant", saying that it threatens journalism.

I know which I'd rather have.

CIA extraordinary rendition plane crashes in Mexico, filled with cocaine

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

A very strange story from The Daily Kos blog... There's more info in their story:
CIA Torture Jet wrecks with 4 Tons of COCAINE

This Florida based Gulfstream II jet aircraft # N987SA crash landed on September 24, 2007 after it ran out of fuel over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula it had a cargo of several tons of Cocaine on board now documents have turned up on both sides of the Atlantic that link this Cocaine Smuggling Gulfstream II jet aircraft # N987SA that crashed in Mexico to the CIA who used it on at least 3 rendition flights from Europe and the USA to Guantanamo's infamous torture chambers between 2003 to 2005.

The whole thing smacks of the Contra affair of the 1980s. I guess as a sort of "black" airplane, this plane would have been as useful to the drug dealers as to the CIA, slipping under the radar, as it were, of security forces. Or perhaps there's more to it than that...

Wreckage from one-time CIA rendition plane

Wreckage from one-time CIA rendition plane

Arrested for asking a policeman for his badge number

Monday, June 22nd, 2009
FIT Watch campaigner Emily Apple assaulted by police

FIT Watch campaigner Emily Apple assaulted by police

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2009/jun/21/fit-watch-kingsnorth-arrests

You must watch this video.

Another extremely worrying video from The Guardian showing the British police acting like the fascist thugs they are.

The two women are campaigners with FIT Watch, who undertake 'sousveillance' of the British police teams who monitor and record campaigners at marches and other events. The FIT Watch campaigners photograph and catalogue the police who are cataloguing and photographing them. They watch the watchers.

They are assaulted, restrained at the arms and legs, arrested and thrown into the back of police vans and held without bail for 3 days for nothing more than asking a police officer who has removed his badge numbers to identify himself.

This is Britain today.

Footage from clashes in Iran

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

More and more the regime in Iran seems to ape the reactions of the Shah's regime to the popular uprising. If they continue to ignore the will of the people, and the people remain as united as they seem to be, the days of the ayatollah and the dual political system in Iran could be numbered.

I urge everyone to watch this video and see the increasingly desperate and violent efforts of the Iranian state to put down its people.

Video from Iran of clashes between riot police and protesters

Riot police on motorbikes in Iran

Riot police on motorbikes in Iran

Live updates about the Iran situation

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2009/jun/17/iran-uprising

The Guardian, one of the last decent newspapers, has an excellent website. Much time I have spent perusing it. Today, I found this link to a live-updating page about the Iran situation.

Two things struck me in particular:

11am:
The man who leaked the real election results from the Interior Ministry - the ones showing Ahmadinejad coming third - was killed in a suspicious car accident, according to unconfirmed reports

11.20am:
A key Iranian figure, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who has remained invisible since the election, has called an emergency meeting of the Assembly of Experts, according to the US-based Iran expert Reza Aslan.
"If true, this is a bombshell," says Nico Pitney on his excellent live blog of the crisis on the Huffington Post.

There is also a gruesome picture of a young man killed yesterday but I will not re-link that. It is on that page if you care to look. I hope this will not be another Tiananmen, but the senses of hope and danger are the same.

My own relatively uninformed opinion is that the anger initially directed towards Ahmadinejad has now crossed over and that the "other half" of the Iranian dual political system is now feeling the heat.

For a good summary of the co-existing systems of democracy and tyranny in Iran, visit this BBC link: How Iran is ruled

This picture really affected me:

Iran protest yesterday

Iran protest yesterday

Jaded Isle is now online!

Monday, June 15th, 2009

I made a decision in setting up this blog that all posts about Irish politics or related matters would be made to another blog, the "Jaded Isle" that my friends have heard about for so long.

It is now online at http://jadedisle.ie

The wry meaning behind the name should hopefully be clear (a play on Emerald Isle).
The reasoning behind a separate blog for this material is not quite so obvious.
Essentially, the reasons are three-fold:

  • to collect all political material in one place that it might eventually have some identity and "brand recognition" in and of itself
  • to isolate the vitriol from the rest of the content here
  • that others might contribute to the site, which would be rather strange on a site bearing my name directly.