03 July 2010


Untitled, Dorothea Lange

A man is a god in ruins.
Duke Ellington


  1. Yo deano!

    How are you doing? Thinking of you & Mungo.

    3p4 (last night's post)

    I feel for you. I will be taking the same journey at some point. My dog is almost 15, it's going to be very hard when the time comes.

    Anyways, it's a lovely day here in Yorkshire, and my first tomato is ready for picking :)

  2. Hi Deano - hope you are OK.

    Thinking of you especially this morning as my little cat Tigs is unwell, she has hyperthyroidism and has been sick she also wee'd on the floor by her litter tray this morning - not like her at all. She is very listless and not really interested in whats going on at all.

    By now she is usually nagging me to be fed...

  3. MsChin - enjoy the tomato!

  4. Morning anne.

    I'll have to resist the tomato, I'm afraid. A small visitor to the Chin household has first dibs on it.

    Sorry to hear about your cat. Hope she perks up.

  5. Hope you've checked out princessc's posts on the Marxism thread last night, anne. She sure has a way with words.

  6. Morning chaps!
    Poor Ghana. Mind, they had a lot of chances to finish it off, but...when the (in-time) pen was missed, I just knew...team I'm supporting + penalty shootout, well, that never ends well...
    am i imagining things or did deano post a picture of miss diesel on mungo's blog? now can't find it...anyone able to help?

  7. cheers, mschin - got confused when i couldn't find it on the photy gallery...

  8. morning all

    Isn't the footie over yet? No? Oh well...

  9. Paul yesterday evening to Leni

    Trouble is that we,re entering the 'silly season' when not much seems to happen in the media. However i,m not gonna let this thing with ATOS drop.It,s absolutely scandalous that the Guardian isn,t taking that and fcuk knows how many issues more seriously .Your post was spot on and methinks that if more of us start regularly posting on waddya demanding the Guardian comes off the fence it may stir them into action.But don,t hold your breath!

    Yes, quite.

    The problem is, although we complain about what seems a concerted effort on the part of the spittle-frothers to dominate CiF and despite the fact that we always laughed at Dolly Draper and his Rapid Rebuttal Squad (which never seemed to manage to collectively find itself anywhere near the crime-scene with hymn-sheets at the ready), we never quite manage what you suggest.

    Is that because there are too few of us?

    Is it because we are not very good at getting organised?

    Is it because we subconsciously have admitted that we have already lost?

    For all the rabble-rousing on CiF, it has never perturbed the political classes one iota and it is highly unlikely that anything written there changed a single thing.

    Although, we might soon be treated to the mighty Bracken brain finally telling the world why the Left is wrong.

    At which point, presumably, all that will be left for us to do is go back to our constituencies and prepare for servitude.

  10. I posted on the old thread, not seeing there was a new one. Hope no-one minds me posting this a second time...

    As an MU supporter since 1965 (that's right, I'm a southerner who started following the team at 8 because all my mates at school did, so have regularly had the piss taken all my life, except when we were relegated in 1974), I think I should put a couple of things straight.

    Leni, the supporters never "went along" with anything. The only thing the supporters' groups did wrong was failing to organise supporters to buy a blocking interest in the club when it was still possible some years back.

    The supporters were opposed to the Glazers' leveraged buyout before it even happened. We knew damn well what it meant. Montana has it absolutely right. They went to the banks and said, "We want you to lend us enough money to buy MU. We'll offer the company as collateral and it will service our debt." When you acquire a certain percentage of a company like MU (80%?), you can then force the remaining shareholders to sell and turn it into a privately-owned company.

    So from a company in profit, MU went to a privately-owned company responsible for paying off the money its owners had borrowed to buy it. Welcome to the joys of capitalism.

    The last I heard, the club I've supported for 45 years is now £717m pounds in debt. Ticket prices have rocketed, meaning the fans are expected to pay for the Glazers' buyout. And, as Montana said, the Glazers are taking out millions in personal "loans" from the club.

    The Glazers' core business in the USA is shopping malls. A lot of those shopping malls are empty and suffering from negative equity since the economic crisis. So it's estimated that the Glazers are worth £2bn and have £1.1bn of debts. There was an excellent Panorama on the subject.

    And Chekhov, I hope you were being tongue in cheek when you talked about a "splinter group". Now over 160,000 of us are members of the MU Supporters Trust, with our green and gold scarves (the colours of the original club over a hundred years ago).

    The Supporters Trust is in talks with a group of high-powered capitalist MU supporters called the Red Knights. We're hoping they may be able to buy the club and at least be better for it than the Glazers (although I'm not over the moon that our main hope of salvation is a group led by Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O'Neill).

    Liverpool supporters are in a comparable position and in the coming season, we're hoping to organise boycotts of our matches together at Old Trafford and Anfield, and demonstrate side by side together outside the grounds. That would be a powerful symbol indeed (we're age-old "enemies" for anyone that doesn't know). If that happens, I'll try and get to at least one.

    So all you supporters of clubs that haven't (yet) been acquired by vultures who see you as a plump cash cow, I hope it never happens to you.

  11. Sike post that as often as you like. I'm no football supporter but that story makes me spitting mad!

    The people's game? yeah right! Anything that makes money is certain to fall victim to this sort of Arrogance Ignorance and Greed.

    Playing this song all the time at the moment - its as if I have to keep reminding myself of the origin of the crisis!

  12. OMG Spike that is awful! Can't think of anything else to say.

  13. Fucking hell, that is barbaric, Spike.

    And we know that Ahmadinejad doesn't give a flying fuck about international opinion.

    It is difficult to know what to do, aside from writing to the Iranian Embassy and expressing our disgust.

    In some cases - as Amnesty Int'l have proved - writing enough letters can have an effect. I really don't know what else we can do...

    Anyhoo. The address is here:

    Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
    16 Prince´s Gate
    London SW7 1PT

    The current ambassador is His Excellency (!) Rasoul Movahedian

  14. spike - good piece on ManU - David Conn has been doing some good stuff on it, I just can't believe the financing behind the Glazer deal. it's basically a buy-to-let mortgage, far as i can tell...

  15. Liverpool supporters are in a comparable position

    And, if memory serves me, Liverpool are also owned by Americans, no?

  16. @Montana

    Yeah, George Gillett and Tom Hicks. Who are at each others' throats these days, apparently. So "interesting times" too for Liverpool.

    What we need is legislation giving supporters' groups some degree of control over their clubs and the right to buy shares. I can't see Cameron and Clegg in a hurry over that, though. Labour promised legislation if they were elected, but since they weren't, we'll never know. Perhaps next time round.

    * * *

    I searched for a petition for the Iranian woman, but the only one I could find was from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, who I'm a bit cautious about. Anyone know anything about them?

  17. Spike

    Thanks for that explanation - It does seem like a buy to let mortgage. I, like Anne, don't follow football but I am angry about MU and L'Pool. Football is important to millions - once it stops being accessible to the majority it will founder.

    Iran - What to say ? I will write to the Embassy.
    Real life is often more horrific than any horror story.

  18. You're welcome, Leni. Thanks, Phil.

  19. Radio Free Europe was a CIA front in the cold war years. Dunno if that is still the case, Spike. According to wiki, they are still funded by US Congress. Not that that is, by default, a bad thing. But it might mean that the Iranians will give it as much attention as the US governmnent would give to an Iranian one i.e. none at all....

  20. Thanks BB.

    I always like to know who's driving a bandwagon before I climb on it. Of course, Radio Free Europe, I should have remembered! A senior moment. The good old days of the Cold War are slipping away...

  21. Paul

    Had a look at waddya - support for the idea judging by number of recs. but no reply from Bella thingy. We'll just have to keep on asking .


    Too few of us perhaps and yes there is a certain amount of resignation. Like the Green movement in Iran we have no representation in gvt. - the weight of authority is strengthened by those who couldn't give a damn or who are profiting by current system.

    Many are closing their eyes to reality for the sake of a designer t-shirt and a pair of shoes - they call it lifestyle. Things may change when many of them join the ranks of the unemployed - lacking understanding and any alternative they will just be a confused crowd wondering bleakly where it all went wrong.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Ticket prices at United went up by about 50% between the Glazers' takeover and last season. So Joe Ramsden from Salford is paying for an empty shopping mall in Dead Coon County, Arkansas*.

    I believe that's what they call "globalisation".

    * © William Burroughs Jr.

  24. "[We] hear today a politician or an ideologist offering us a choice between liberal freedom and fundamentalist oppression...The problem is that such a simplistic liberal universalism long ago lost its innocence. This is why, for a true Leftist, the conflict between liberal permissiveness and fundamentalism is ultimately a false conflict – a vicious cycle of two poles generating and presupposing each other...Liberals have long ago lost their right to judge."

    This is Zizek at his deluded, tendentious best. No wonder Callinicos salutes him.

  25. So, it starts.....Minister considers plan to hand food vouchers to the jobless


    That report from Iran is horrific - but injustice and cruelty like that are pretty routine there and we only hear about them if friends and family can get up a campaign.

    We've had to fight tooth and nail to prevent particularly gay Iranians being sent back to similar fates. The UKBA says if they are 'discreet' they'll be ok. Can you believe it?? Absolutely drives me bonkers.

  26. @Sheff

    Absolutely. And it'd be nice to get more reports on similar stuff happening under our glorious allies, the Saudi despots.

  27. That is link is horrific Sheff, so it starts indeed.

    It is the idea that you can give people food parcels and that is ok makes me sick, it is reducing those in need to the level of animals.

    Nobody asks animals what they do or don't like to eat we just give them enough to survive on.

    It may sound like a daft thing to worry about but it is the thinking behind it that is scary, the idea that you are getting enough to live on and so should be grateful and not complain if it not to your tastes.

    Eat that gruel peasants. :(

  28. @Spike and Sheff

    Here's a link to what was the save Mehdi Kazemi site and is now LGBT Asylum news.


    So many frightening cases on here. The new laws to bring back stoning in Aceh are especially disturbing.

    Incidentally, there doesn't seem to be very much coverage at all on Amnesty's site for the Iranian woman in the Guardian article.

  29. @ Peter B. That line from Zizek actually, by one reading, chimes with your thinking in many respects though: you could very well take that as a rejection of a false binary politics prevalent today between relativist liberalism and despotic tyranny, both of which I believe you oppose.Liberals, by which I take him as meaning the relativists, by dint of lacking any solid core (as all things are relative) don't have a position from which they can pass judgement.
    He's a bugger to pin down, because of his wilful provocative nature, and his deliberate rejection of consensus, even with those who'd agree with him, as he prefers to upset each and every apple-cart: his worth isn't in what he ever proposes but in the stirring up and the questioning of others' certainties.

  30. and on the food banks...

    just how much more short sighted nonsense is this administration going to come out with?

    Are they going to give the charities more money to support the increased need for food banks?

    or are they going to refine the ridiculous benefits application process so it doesn't take so bloody long to get the financial support that people are entitled too.

    I'm getting very sick of the government fobbing off its responsibilities onto charities, at the same time as cutting their funding and not dealing with the root causes of why charitable services such as food banks exist in the first place.

  31. Food vouchers , charitable food banks.

    The politics of contempt but also an outright admission that the benefits system is failing.

  32. Peter

    Liberalism is the freedom of capital to exploit labour its what bourgeois revolutions were all about. Not sure what he means by 'fundamentalism'.

    Briefly we have the vote but do not have ecconomic freedom (access to a decent minimum standard of living)neither do we currently have a credible party to vote for. Liberal democracy is a sham. Marxists should reject anything that does not offer true poliyical and ecconomic freedom to all.

    This means of course that Stalinism, Maoism etc is about as Marxist as Liberal democracy is democratic.

  33. Alisdair - what worries me about modern academic Marxists is their ability to be confusing.

    Marxism is actually quiye simple. You don't have to be a full time academic to understand it. In fact I can think of a few working class Marxists who could make mincemeat of people like that!

  34. Fucking hell: it's the year 2010 and some cretins in Westminster are talking about friggin food vouchers.
    I despair, I really do.FFS.
    Good job I don't have a web cam. I'd probably get locked up for "facecrime"!

  35. Bloody hell I missed the German goal, that will teach me to go to the shops before the match starts.

    Was it good?

  36. Christ. Food vouchers? Food banks?

    You know, what that does is to put well-meaning people in a really impossible position. Do they donate their time and money to the charities to help the poor, thus shoring up a despicable policy? Or do they refuse to do so and use their energy and resources to protest against it?

    What a bloody vile suggestion. And nothing like publicly humiliating the poor and needy with soup kitchens, eh?

    Perhaps we could set up an organisation that would buy food vouchers off people, so they don't have the public humiliation meted out to asylum seekers on the same system.

  37. Spike
    As I read your MU/Glazer post I was thinking of a boycott. And then you said it was planned --that's a lot of supporters. Good .

    FYI the commercial property market in the US is crumbling fast, so if the Glazers have to sell they should be right stuffed. The next prob is -- who buys next MU, and so it goes on.

    On the Shiner thread ( BB busy )MAM's last post was at 10.18, and reactions to it still pouring in ...

    off to work, bon apres midi à tous

  38. Food voucners? food banks? This is the politics of fear We have to oppose this!

    Class lines are being drawn even more clearly than in the 80's.

    Trouble is until they are faced with this in reality many of the working poor will support it as they have been taught to view all the unemployed as feckless and lazy.

  39. Perhaps we should give MPs and ministers expenses vouchers, clearly marked "Taxpayer Money".

  40. BB

    perhaps Food cooperatives which pool vouchers , increase their purchasing power and give back some of the stolen iniative and dignity to the members ?

    I think it should be opposed frankly but in the meantime people have to eat so interim measures are needed.

  41. As of September, a record of more than 37 million people were enrolled for the government benefit, federal officials told Reuters, an increase of nearly 35 percent since the U.S. slid into recession at the end of 2007.

    An estimated one in eight Americans depends on the benefit to buy food. With the nation's unemployment in double digits, more people are expected to enroll. By some government estimates, up to 16 million people who are not receiving food stamps today could qualify.

    Food stamps in USA

    Hi BB

  42. That's a generous reading of Zizek, Alisdair. And a tad stretched (to say the least) to encompass my take on politics with it.

    I don't know what you mean by 'relativist liberalism'. Relativism amounts to a disabling of judgment, and that's as far from my ragbag of views that you can get! The relativism is Zizek's alone, in his weasel-like refusal to distinguish between the flawed merits of liberal democracies and their theocratic, fundamentalist counterparts.

    annetan42: I don't think liberalism is synonymous with capitalism, even if it supports it. And liberal democracies certainly are democratic, even if they are not pristine exemplars of democracy.

  43. In NY soup kitchens - run as cafes - were set up to help specifically, UO Jewish families.

    One young woman complained that her widowed mother , being too ashamed to be seen taking charity, sent her along to collect food and bring it home. THe charity refused saying all food must be eaten on premises. The woman and her mother went without food.

    This is about public humiliation of the poor and hungry.

  44. @ all on the food banks.

    There are schemes where people can exchange government issued food vouchers for cash already. There are also schemes where you exchange your voucher at the charity for a box of food, rather than suffer the indignity of going to the supermarket with it.

    it's still appalling and I know a few people who've had to use it, including 40/50 yr olds who having been made redundant are forced to hop on and off the dole whilst they carry out short term contracts. The in-between 6 weeks to re-process benefits mean there are constant shortage times, especially if you have a mortgage, kids etc. Yet, the job centre insists on people taking short term jobs, or they withdraw benefits. this, at the same time as housing and welfare benefit claims taking an extraordinary amount of time to process due to the high levels of un-employment and the recruitment freezes (and redundancies) in the DWP.

  45. LOL

    We are invited to a wedding reception tonight - I am quite excited because it is a hindu one, and I've not been to one before.

    Anyhoo, we are friends of the bride's mum, and she has sent a "joining instructions" email, which includes the line

    "Don't give Bharat any alcohol because it makes him dance funny..."

    Hehehehe. I think I am going to be lining up the double scotches for him on the bar... :o)

  46. Peter, loads of soi-disant liberals are dismally relativist, and I think that's one of the categories of folk with whom you and Zizek take issue: you call 'em the deluded left (those say, who will ally with Islamists because they feel sympathy for Palestinians: their compass has lost its bearings and they are lost in a relativist fog, unable to see the lines you shouldn't cross), he calls them liberals, but you are attacking the same people, just under different names.His line is that too many 'liberals' hand-wring and fail to draw lines.He's not talking of 'liberal democracies', where the term liberal has a different, more constitutional type of meaning
    The point about Zizek isn't that he isn't any category at all. Best way of thinking about him is to regard him as the Mark E.Smith of philosophy: contrary,self-contradictory,curmudgeonly. Impossible to wholly like, but also impossible to wholly dislike. You might not be fond of him, or like much of his output, but you're still kind of glad he exists.

  47. Historically Liberalism came from the ideas of the parliamentarians who removed the monarchy (for a while). It did not develop fully until later but the ideas were all there.

    When people like George Bush talk of 'Freedom and democracy' they do not mean what I mean they mean freedom for them not for the poor

    To me this country does not feel very democratic - sure no-one has locked me up for my views (yet!) but its been a long time since I felt I had a government that really cared about me and mine.

    To talk of democracy when the gap between rich and poor is widening year on year is a farce. You cannot have 'freedom' if you don't know where your next meal is coming from and can see no way to improving your situation, this has been reality for too many of our citizens for too long now.

  48. Alisdair: I can only judge Zizek on his output. And he writes that "for a true Leftist, the conflict between liberal permissiveness and fundamentalism is ultimately a false conflict."

    But it's not. It's a central conflict. Anyhow, i'm taking him to task in my next piece, assuming Ms Reed approves it.

    If she does, as I've warned her, it'll get nasty....

  49. BB

    My longer comment two above the one you followed on has been moderated. I will repost with no fucks. there wereonly two.........;

  50. Frog2

    I have no idea why they would have modded that. Unless someone reported it. We do seem to have the work-experience mods on the weekends, don't we?

  51. I reposted with asterisks, saw it go up, now its vanished .

  52. Well it was originally done at 1 in a hurry, so not perfick, but here it is

    I see that a lot of suckers have fallen into the MAM-trap and gone down side-alleys.The MAM knows **** all about the Army and most of the rest of its subjects too. Anyone who has been in one of the Arms will have met people you wouldn't trust with a prisoner. I remember those were exactly my thoughts 44 years ago about one particular L.Bdr RHA. They were definite enough for me still to remember clearly today.

    The under-strength Queens Lancashire Regiment was the worst possible one to be responsible for the city of Basra. SIB ( branch of RMP) reported widespread drug-use and lousy discipline way back. Enough thugs to weaken the whole structure. Imagine then, those guys being given instructions to soften up suspects before interrogation, and of course there were not enough interrogators, so it went on and on. They were not even trying to get information , the worst elements were having fun.

    In a decent battalion or regiment there is still I'm sure a culture that is maintained by good officers and NCO's. I wonder what proportion of the Army they are now ..

    Reading the link above to the RMP major, it is obvious that the RMP, particularly the SIB, has been in serious decline, with good people escaping. (There is other evidence around, not just one man.) The senior ranks of the Army have gone along with this, and the MoD is morally deficient as always. Remember it took the MoD fifty whole ******* years to pay compensation to the family of the LAC killed by Sarin experiments at Porton Down.

  53. anne

    To talk of democracy when the gap between rich and poor is widening year on year is a farce.

    Agree Anne. We've got a tory government, willingly abetted by sell out Lib Dems that the people didn't vote for. That's forcing through draconian cuts that will have dramatic and deleterious effects on the lives of millions - whilst merely smacking the hands of the banks who are largely responsible for the mess.

    What the fuck is democratic about that?

  54. Fucking hell, Germany were good this afternoon.

  55. I'd always wondered why Rangers fans were called 'The Huns' until today that is.

    Fat and pasty provincials and Glasgow overspill slime shipped in to spread their racist bile through the streets of Glasgow.- Most of them clearly were not from Glasgow, as I had not seen so many of them before in the city.

    Dear 'Dutch' Duke, plenty of King billy flags and KNVB football strips out in force for the Orange march. I wonder how the modern secular Dutch would take these nutters waving Dutch iconography around.

    It's sad that people live lives like this, but it is their choice. If their idiotic tribalism is what gives them kicks, so be it, but of course they have to inflict their misery on the rest of us.

  56. This from today's Telegraph:

    Crisis warning on sick note reforms

    A national crisis is looming if a new benefits system to end the sick-note culture is not radically altered and postponed, the academic who created it has warned.

    A system to move 2.5 million incapacity benefit claimants to the new employment and support allowance (ESA) contains serious problems, Paul Gregg, professor of economics at the University of Bristol has claimed.

    He warned that vulnerable people suffering from terminal cancer, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis and other diseases were having applications rejected and being told to look for work.

    "To goi ahead with these problems is not just ridiculous, it is, in fact, scary", he said.

    The new strategy is intended to cut the amount spent on incapacity benefit and encourage people to work if they can.

    All well and good and nice to see Shitdribble is not the only one who now thinks they got it wrong.

    However, the above quote is from the real-life, hold-in-your-hands Telegraph newspaper.

    Go to the same article online and all you get is a tale of misery and woe about how much the feckless poor are costing the country and why they should be herded into soup-kitchen ghettos.

    So why do we get two versions of events?

    Is the internet just seen as the rabble-rousing arm of the news industry?

  57. Nap

    I remember the July orange march from when I lived in Glasgow. I lived just round the corner from Queens Park station and the march would come up Victoria Road and they'd all gather in the park where speakers would rant their nonsense.

    Trying to cross the road ( 'breaking' the march) as they were going past was verboten. They'd give you a kicking. Ditto if you turned your back on it.

  58. Hi All

    Alisdair--Absolutely. Germany were excellent and could have had more than 4.

    Ref has done it again! That disallowed goal by Paraguay should stand. Have heard it said that it's difficult to explain the offside rules to women. Well it's pretty fucking obvious that FIFA's officials don't get it either.

  59. Well, it's all gone a bit daft now......

  60. Wow James, has it ever, and Paraguay should have gotten a rekick. Fine saves by both keepers though.

  61. Yeah, they probably should have. But then Spain should have probably been awarded a second penalty. Or do I mean third? Jesus, I've lost count now to be honest!

  62. And now it's 'count the posts' time!!

    So far, this has been one of the more bizarre 45 minutes of the world cup...

  63. Now that must have hurt.

    I don't know what I will do with myself when the football is over, I can't remember what I used to watch.

  64. Jen,

    Yeah, I know. I was dreading actually having to do something tomorrow, but then I remembered about the tennis, so I'm ok again now....

  65. By how much have sales of beer and take away meals increased over the period of the world cup?

    Any guesses?

  66. Hi All

    Leni--I'll go for 15%, but that's with an (out of control)unscientific study group of my own acquaintances. I like to use the Andrew Brown (non) method for these things.

    Back later, must be out with the hound. It's a pisscutter here.

  67. If I had any, my money would be on Germany to win this World Cup. All the teams tend to "stutter and fart" in the early stages and the Germans were no exception to that rule but they seem to be the team that has got their act together and worked out their tactics better than most.

  68. Just clocked the Observer's CiF columns for the day. And they wonder why the paper's been in freefall? Fucking hell, their columnists are on particularly bad form today,either wittering about already well-aired issues in a vague way or writing utter tripe (Barbara Ellen particularly bad):hint, if trying satire, you must be sharp and witty, if trying analysis, a grasp of the facts is handy, if trying comment don't say "we" when nobody else can be so dim as to share such asinine opinions.

  69. Don't usually read B Ellen but Alisdair's cooment made me do it.

    What a load of badly written guff. Couldn't really understand the point she as trying to make - if there was one.

  70. Hi Leni and Alisdair

    Just had a butchers down cif way.Seems most of the journos there don,t live in the real world.Most blogs are a disapponting shower of shite.Could do much better methinks!

  71. Paul

    If you were to write for Cif what would you write about ?