21 February 2011


The older you get, the stronger the wind gets -- and it's always in your face.
-Pablo Picasso


  1. Morning found this version of Sout Al Houreya on Youtube.


    ts got English subtitles

    This comment appears below

    The Egyptian (en the Tunisian of course) did the unbelievable!!!
    The whole world is proud on you!!! I wish you get your real freedom without any more bloodshed.

    A woman from Israel

    The song reminds of this from William Wordsworth:

    Oh! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
    For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
    Upon our side, we who were strong in love!
    Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
    But to be young was very heaven!
    —Oh! times,
    In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
    Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
    The attraction of a country in romance!
    When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,
    When most intent on making of herself
    A prime Enchantress—to assist the work,
    Which then was going forward in her name!
    Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,
    The beauty wore of promise, that which sets
    (As at some moment might not be unfelt
    Among the bowers of paradise itself)
    The budding rose above the rose full blown.
    What temper at the prospect did not wake
    To happiness unthought of? The inert
    Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!
    They who had fed their childhood upon dreams,
    The playfellows of fancy, who had made
    All powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strength
    Their ministers,—who in lordly wise had stirred
    Among the grandest objects of the sense,
    And dealt with whatsoever they found there
    As if they had within some lurking right
    To wield it;—they, too, who, of gentle mood,
    Had watched all gentle motions, and to these
    Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more mild,
    And in the region of their peaceful selves;—
    Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty
    Did both find, helpers to their heart's desire,
    And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish;
    Were called upon to exercise their skill,
    Not in Utopia, subterranean fields,
    Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
    But in the very world, which is the world
    Of all of us,—the place where in the end
    We find our happiness, or not at all!

  2. If you want to see the shape of your future as citizen-subject hung out to dry by the state, have a look here:


    and here:


    I think the principle is based on:

    "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

    Or was it: "Ich bin ein Hamburger"? (Wasn't it Ich bin ein Big Mac? - Ed)

    Anyway, whatever the origin, the version we are going to get is:

    "The state is handing you over to big business to be squeezed, wrung out, run over and your husk harvested and traded for profit."

    Not quite as catchy as the cunning Big Society, eh? It could be you!

    Thanks to Habib for the theme tune.

    How could I not be honoured? How can I, er, live up to it?

    I'd always seen myself more like this...

  3. "heyhabib said...
    When everybody is asleep, I should post my nonsense.

    A couple of days ago, an idea about theme songs was announced. I couldn't help myself, I looked at the first few posters on yesterday's thread and came up with a few. (sorry

    habib I too am honoured.

    I've awoken after nine hours sleep pissed as a newt. That really was a very enjoyable second birthday party weekend. My thanks to Montana and all and I hope that any offence caused by my silly partying is not too long lasting.

    Time to drink some water and get sober ....but not till I've taken the last glass of vino which I see I left before I slumbered.

    laters (much laters)

    ......hope the Oxford trip is to be down to the Bitterweeds future happiness?

  4. Just one final observation on the thundering liberal establishment silence about Atos's contract to turf people off Incapacity Benefit. Note that, in Atos's own words, "When the DWP outsourced its medical assessment contract to Atos Origin in 1998, it was the largest contract ever awarded in Europe."

    An enterprising blogger stuck in a Freedom of Information request to the DWP and was told that benefit checks cost £100m a year.

    When Atos renewed its original 1998 deal with the New Labour government in 2005, the new contract was reputed to be worth £500m over 7 years.

    I put some numbers on the Atos thing because it's important to realize (a) the sheer size of the push against IB claimants (Atos will have pocketed in the region of £1b all told by the time their 2nd contract is up in 2012) and (b) the unanimity amongst politicians.

    You don't have contracts of that scale unless you believe there's a problem of that scale. Labour shovelled increasingly large amounts of money in Atos's direction presumably because they believed that the problem was massive and endemic.

    Put simply, you don't spend a billion unless you believe you'll get billions back in savings (or unless you're particularly stupid).

    The Tories, unsurprisingly, are tightening up the terms of Atos's reference [if you can breathe, you can work], rather than abandoning it. Miliband is making discreet noises in support of 'welfare reform' generally and not mentioning Atos at all.

    Meanwhile, the Guardian looks the other way. Because for all their wailing about the bastard goatfuckers of the coalition casting people down into abject poverty, on this issue, they agree with Call-Me-David. And Nick. And Ed. Compassion is too valuable a commodity to be wasted on those who don't deserve it. Progressive, my bell-end.

  5. RapidEddie

    Put simply, you don't spend a billion unless you believe you'll get billions back in savings (or unless you're particularly stupid).

    This needs pondering.

    You might be happy to spend billions for ideological reasons and think commercial considerations will have to catch up, put up or shut up, willy-nilly.

    Think of Thatcher and the miners and unions.

    You may also have listened with too much credulousness and too little critical thinking to someone with a nice patter, the offer of another well-paid job in the future, for which you do not need to turn up, and a blizzard of figures which you are too pissed and too bored to actually look at.

    After all, tax money just keeps flooding in and it is certainly not coming out of your back-pocket, so why bother worrying whether it is being well or sensibly spent?

    The Stupidity Factor is one which we are all beguiled into thinking can never apply to our magnificent legislators and their cohorts of clever advisors.

    After all, we were told that Tony Blair had a massive, throbbing brain as soon as he took office by his propaganda machine. Strangely, Gordon Brown had another massive brain, even if it could not actually control his alarming grins and weird jaw-action.

    Now, we are told that Cameron also wields a throbbing organ.

    Aren't we lucky that by pure chance, we always get the cleverest leaders available?

    Never underestimate the stupidity of the political classes or their incompetence in legislating or their clever spotting of any and every chance to make a fast buck.

  6. Yeah, sort of what Atoms just said.

    Value for money, getting what you pay for, etc, etc, these tend to be concepts/concerns that matter and apply to us people what are actually paying for shit with our own money, that we earned and whatnot.

    I think we'd all be a bit more reckless if we could go mental with somebody elses credit card, especially if we got it for five years, no questions asked. And then imagine what it'd be like if we could use that money to buy stuff for all the big, cool kids, so they wouldn't call us names anymore, and then give loads to our friends/brothers/cousins/gerbils 'consulting' firm, on the understanding that when we finally get caught for abusing the card, we'll be guaranteed a job and that there....

    I'm not saying that our politicians don't actually agree with the Atos thing, I think they're nearly all behind it ideologically, but that the whole value for money/get what you pay for thing is so massively removed from reality when it's craven, stealing, careerist, sycophantic, looking for a nice little earner, thick as fucking pigshit politicians doing the sums....

  7. @leni, yesterday you wrote re Libya and re Gaddafi's son; 'He was rambling-out of touch with reality, and therefore dangerous', and 'We are fed on propaganda reports about places like Libya-which I ignore-so following these stories and rumours can be difficult'.
    Firstly if Gaddafi's son was rambling and out of touch with reality then he very much takes after his father who has been out of touch with reality for 42 years. They have been siphoning off the countrys wealth for decades,Gaddafi's son flitters away money in Switizerland(thats when he's not assaulting his servants)The reports you speak of and which you choose to ignore are not all 'propaganda' pieces, I have had Libyan friends for many years, some have had family members arrested,dissapeared, and hung.Since 1969 Libya has been a police state, yet the horrific human rights abuses that have occured within that country have not been of overwhelming interest to western leftwing movements or of interest to anyother political group in general.Gaddafi is the Arab worlds longest serving leader, and Libya is unlike anyother country in North Africa,The Middle East,or the world at large,'It has the stamp of it's leader imprinted on every aspect of it's life'.Thousands have been sentanced without trial and still languish in jails after having served their unjust sentances, detainees are executed,tortued and dissapeared.None of this is new, it has been occuring for decades.By the way, wasn't Chavez Gaddafi's recipient for the international human rights prize in 2004

  8. Deano, we must abide by the judgement of our betters. After all, if the combined cleverosity of Blair, Brown, Cameron, Clegg and Miliband decides that there is pandemic malingering amongst the shell-suited classes, it must be true.

    However, being stupid and not having read a book in years, I'm quite willing to offer my own opinion.

    Thatcher concluded that maintaining British heavy industry would mean ever-increasing amounts of money to support ever-decreasing competitiveness. Bad as the jobless figures were under Thatcher (I was in their number at the time), they would have been worse had she not dumped huge numbers of the horny-handed sons of toil onto IB.

    And like many a good wheeze (think PFIs) the new government just kept the policy of the old one. Labour's only new wrinkle was Atos.

    Since - even by Polly's admission - Incapacity Benefit claims have been pretty much static under New Labour, that would suggest that for all the money given to them, Atos haven't been particularly successful. The new Atos contract in 2005 (half a billion quid, remember) suggests that the answer is to put Work Capability Assessments on steroids. Harder, faster, shittier.

    But say the politicos are right. Say our betters - and let's face it, they all went to the same damned impressive universities - are correct in saying that there are plenty of people who could work but don't.

    How do people with generations of back-breaking work under the family belt suddenly turn into sloths? They don't. They end up where government policies place them.

    At the same time as New Labour was attempting to get 50% of all students into degree courses, 1 in 5 young people were leaving school functionally illiterate and innumerate. That's an important statistic, because it points out a fundamental flaw in the policies of successive governments.

    If you build an economy - let's call it a 'knowledge economy' for shits and giggles - then those without, well, knowledge are fucked.

    There will always be people who don't, or can't, achieve academically. Few are going to start their own businesses - illiteracy is a bugger when you're trying to do paperwork - so they're at the mercy of wider policy.

    One government dumps hundreds of thousands of people, used to hard work and long hours, onto IB. The following one continues this and then starts to blame IB claimants for the situation government(s) themselves put them in. It's ludicrous.

    "You're thick and bit shit. We'll put you on Idiot Benefit with a case of severe Not-Good-For-Anything." Wait ten years. "What are you doing on Idiot Benefit? Lazy, idle bastards. In my day...compulsory flogging...etc...etc..."

    You really have to understand the quiet conversations no one will admit to, but seep into every nook and cranny of social policy.

    1. UK heavy industry is shit. We can't compete globally. Close it down. Dump the dirty folk onto IB. We'll think of something to do with them later.

    2. Gosh. Brave new world. Banking. IT. Degrees for everyone.

    3. Heavens. Are they still all in front of the telly? Why haven't they got degrees? Not our fault they're stupid.

    4. Fuck it. Too difficult to re-balance the entire economy to provide manufacturing jobs. I say, too many Johnny Foreigners about these days.

    5. Oh hang on. I think I'm onto something. Replace Johnny Foreigners with IB claimants. Get them to do all the crappy, low-paid, non-unionized, insecure and part-time jobs we've being getting immigrants to do.

    6. Call ATOS and tell them to throw everyone off IB and ESA. Sorted. Is that a new tie, Ed? Why yes it is Dave, thank you for noticing. How's the wife?

    The Guardian will talk in agonized tones of the fates of children and pensioners, trees and libraries. But Incapacity Benefit claimants? It's for their own good, you know.

  9. What's that, Egypt? You've just got rid of your leader, a right old cunt, and you're now, as we say in political circles, sans cunt. Well, fear not good people, you can borrow ours for a few days.....

  10. Back from my drunken stumbling around the fields of E Yorkshire on a grey day................to find

    That was a very fine post Rapid - I found myself in total agreement with every word of it. I'm sorry if I appear fawning or without critical ability but I did like it and it reminded of why I spend so much time reading the daily UT....we really do get some fucking blinders here and there is no bastard who removes or mods 'em.

    Well done sir, I know your not a drinker any more but I will, hopefully with your pleasure, have one on your behalf......I find to my pleasure and surprise that I have a last bottle unopened.

    I shall drink to your (and other notable UT's) erudition and wit

    deano tips hat to RapidEddie et al

  11. Oh this could be a drunken week....good news here.

    No 1 son has just phoned to say he has booked a cottage for the family in Robin Hoods Bay for the coming weekend.

    It really is my favourite place to get ratted in in all the world.

  12. Here's an update on the situation from Libya.Things really are kicking iff in Tripoli!

  13. Picking up on habib's notion of theme tunes & UT's......may I suggest

    That Judy Collins, like leni, is class act. She sings it so much sweeter than old Len.

  14. Deano - I agree, excellent post Rapid!

    As a former basic skills tutors I have seen this situation clearly for years - people at this level of educational attainment are increasingly unemployable. Even street cleaning requires an ability to operate machinery these days.

    Over the last 12 years the assumption has been made that anybody can 'get a qualification' there is sadly a signicant minority of people who simply can't.

    They can learn and if encouraged and supported are capable of doing useful work. But the qualification system is so out of tune with their needs that, in a climate where funding depends on qualifications gained by students, funding for this demographic is shrinking fast.

    Society is not of course designed to meet the needs of all the people in itso this situation, while it makes me angry, does not surprise me.

    Then there are those with illnesses that give them 'good days' and 'bad days', those with depression PTSD etc...

    We need to get people on the streets soon. It won't be done by the TU movement so its up to people on Twitter and facebook I guess - once it starts the TU membership will follow, leaving their leaderships behind.

    Won't be the first time that has happened!

  15. Anne

    Yes, you begin to see why people like Hazel Blears were so worried about what use the filthy people would make of the tools of the internet, once they got their grubby hands on them.


    As international media struggle to cover a story to which they don't have access, Libyans both inside and outside the country are using social media to plead for more visibility. No independent media is tolerated in Libya, and international journalists are being denied entry to the country.

    Over the weekend, while television networks in the United States featured experts opining on why the Libyan government would be able to quickly quell the protests, activists were circulating rough videos of assaults on heavily fortified military establishments in eastern Libya. By late Sunday, thousands of tweets were claiming that large areas of Benghazi and several smaller cities had been "freed" by democracy activists, who were busy organizing a new administration.

    Libyans on the ground also said the protests had spread to the capital, Tripoli, and that they believed elements of the security forces would come to their side as fighting intensified. Overnight, activists reported that police stations and other government installations were under attack. A group of ethnic leaders warned that they would block oil exports if the government refuses to back down.

    Despite periodic shut-down of the Internet over recent days, pro-democracy activists have been using mobile phones to call, send photos and video and updates via Twitter to contacts in Europe and North America. In response to a plea from activists in Benghazi, the port city where government installations were under siege by protesters all weekend, supporters rallied in London, Washington and other world capitals.

    Reports by eyewitnesses via social media have been consistently ahead of established news media in documenting the spread of anti-government rebellion across Libya. In reporting on numbers of casualties, the heavy armaments being deployed by government forces, the use of imported mercenaries to attack demonstrators and the extent of the unrest, the international media has lagged significantly behind the news on the blogosphere and social media.


    Meanwhile, in mainstream media news, Madonna has ordered another black baby with matching accessories and Alan Rubbishbringer is negotiating a two-for-one swap with his current Eritrean housekeeper for an Egyptian butler and a Libyan general factotum, under the new Big Society "no need to pay wages" agreement.

  16. Good post Rapid and I also agree with comments from Anne. As we have discussed before though, the way there is no such thing as 'society' everyman/women for themselves, those that get left behind 'deserve it' etc etc. PCC was writing on another blog about the culture in sales where everything is debased to simple monetary terms. Oh yes and another thing, don't assume that it is only low skilled jobs that are being dumped, even those with degrees and so called highly skilled are having their work kicked away by the never ending outsourcing trend (banks are at the forefrontof this - no surprise there then). A lot of IT shops now consist wholly of South Asian staff, brought in on the cheap via various scams that avoid taxes.

  17. Atoms, exactly! I think (and hope) that the establishment will be caught with their trousers down. They appear to be behind the curve (to borrow a phrase beloved by management folk).

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  19. "Atoms, exactly! I think (and hope) that the establishment will be caught with their trousers down. They appear to be behind the curve (to borrow a phrase beloved by management folk)."

    I agree with Ian

  20. James when you say...

    "I'm not saying that our politicians don't actually agree with the Atos thing, I think they're nearly all behind it ideologically, but that the whole value for money/get what you pay for thing is so massively removed from reality when it's craven, stealing, careerist, sycophantic, looking for a nice little earner, thick as fucking pigshit politicians doing the sums...."

    ....you touch upon a chord. That "value for money" thing is an idea with mileage.

    It's about thirty years since I sat in a meeting-room ....with a profession of professional twats talking about nothing of significance...,all on a sunny February day, and found mesen unable to get me head round the notion of whether or not what I was doing added to my quality of life.

    I sometime later decided it didn't. It took a decade or two to sort ........but then life for me finally became more coherent.

    At the setting of the sun.......we need to think about the quality of our lives ......and the value that our money gives us.

    regards ...looking forward to our meeting later in the year.

  21. Meanwhile, for those who still want to get their news from unimpeachable - but, alas, unattributable - sources from the dizzily high echelons of the World Government, we have this:

    I should perhaps point out that only a few months ago I was talking over lunch to a Belgian ex-paratrooper commander who had done several years’ stint in the Congo when it was still a Belgian colony (he’s getting on in years now), plus a Belgian lawyer who in his time had dealt with Congolese selling diamonds in Belgium and the Netherlands (at the time perfectly legal). Their conversation was an eye-opener even to me. I can't go into greater detail for legal reasons.

    I won’t even go into all the Belgians I’ve known since childhood who lived in the Congo and were forced to leave during the various uprisings or the successive Belgian governments who kept Mobutu in power for decades.

    And of course there are many Congolese dissidents in Brussels, some of whom I’ve had very interesting conversations with.

    Many African countries are exploited for their natural resources and have been since colonial times. That is a fact.

    MAM - give it up - I doubt you would know the difference between a blood diamond and a pebble on the beach.


    It seems our very own political analyst with her ear to the ground (nailed?) and her finger on the pulse has moved on from the Ladybird series, skimmed through the Kellogg's Cornflakes back-panel catalogue and gone straight to The Eagle's Luck of the Legion.

    We can thank the internet for insights such as this:

    Many African countries are exploited for their natural resources and have been since colonial times. That is a fact.

    How could we have known? Why were we never told this before?

    Now, though, it is indubitably a fact, stamped with the seal of approval which only a true political mastermind can give.


  22. Yeah, Deano - you really couldn't make up Brusselsexparatrooper, could you?

    Luckily, there's no need.

    She does it all herself.

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  24. I think I'll revise that to....

    Before and at the setting of the Sun

  25. Their conversation was an eye-opener even to me. I can't go into greater detail for legal reasons.

    Gosh! If it was shocking even to the jaded and world-weary MizSeenitAll, then it must have been truly jaw-dropping stuff! Perhaps it was the casual wearing of silk cravats in the Officers' Club after 9 o'clock on a Thursday.

    Or perhaps considering the 'commander' who served in the Congo prior to 1960 must be about a hundred now, she's just making stuff up

  26. African countries are being exploited for their natural resources? Why wasn't I told?!!!

    I demand an inquiry. A Nato mission. A pre-emptive strike. Oh and a white coffee and a couple of slices of Battenburg. Ta luv.

  27. If Major Bracken was in the top-level diplomacy loop, he'd know what needs to be done.

  28. Fuck off Rapid ..I was just about to slumber....LOL

  29. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/02/2011221133557377576.html

    More than 60 people have been reported dead after more violence in the Libyan capital as angry protests against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's 40-year rule escalate across the country.

    At least 61 people were killed in clashes in Tripoli on Monday, witnesses told Al Jazeera. The protests appeared to be gathering momentum, with demonstrators saying they had taken control of several key towns in the country.

    News of the spreading violence came as a privately run Libyan newspaper reported that the country's justice minister had resigned over the deadly force used against protesters.

    Ahmad Jibreel, a Libyan diplomat, spoke to Al Jazeera on Monday and confirmed that the minister had sided with the protesters.

    "I was speaking to the minister of justice just a few minutes ago... he told me personally, he told me he had joined the supporters. He is trying to organise good things in all cities," he said.

    Jibreel also told Al Jazeera that key cities near Libya's border with Egypt were now in the hands of protesters, which he said would enable foreign media to now enter the country.

    "Gaddafi's guards started shooting people in the second day and they shot two people only. We had on that day in Al Bayda city only 300 protesters. When they killed two people, we had more than 5,000 at their funeral, and when they killed 15 people the next day, we had more than 50,000 the following day.

    "This means that the more Gaddafi kills people, the more people go into the streets."

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  31. @atomboy' Ahmad Jibreel. a Libyan diplomat spoke to Al Jazeera on Monday and confirmed the Minister had sided with the protestors'.

    A few days ago a Tunisian news source was reporting that Gaddafi himself would be joining the protestors... nothing would suprise me with that lunatic.

  32. Evening from Edinburgh - this is Sheff posting from her Bro's gaff....

    Lovely misty drive up the A1 - who would have thought that would be an enjoyable experience - but it was. City looking elegant and graceful in the muted winter tones.

    Its a relief to spend some time out of the news loop - even if its only a few hours. Driving on up north tomorrow into the beautiful Perthshire hills.

    Am being taken to some event this evening by my brother and his wife - there will be bankers!! God help me to behave myself (not!)

    Thank you for the tune Habib - Hard headed woman will do fine!

  33. Didn't some British arsehole from the coalition was complaining that we no longer feared God, authority or teachers? Heard it on R4 as I was waking!

    On Al jazeera they have been saying that the Libiyans have 'lost their fear'.

    fear, of naked ruling class power or of destitution has always been an important part of the mechanism for keeping us in our place.

    When we have nothing to loose but our chains we loose our fear more easily.

  34. Tune for Happy Hour !


  35. Classic Totty


  36. Sheff
    I always like that trip up the A1 from Newcastle to Edinburgh..

  37. Totty pour les femmes (d'un certain âge)...


  38. BW - hehe, that is my aunt's favourite piece of totty - or at least it was when she were a lass!

  39. Could swear I saw a choon from Paul ... aha, there it is in the spam bin, around with another from the 1300 hour.

  40. Like Muse AB!

    @Thauma, my mum's also !

    Time for a Gin, see youse later.

  41. See ya Bitterweed. Hope all is well.

  42. All is fine cheers. "Magic" about the fantasia, by the way.

  43. Ooops!

    Been told I've got to get ready for Coronation Street.

    I think I have to look smart in case a memory of Brenda still lingers on the cobbles and she spots me through the television slumped and dissolute on the sofa, like a pasha on a palanquin.

    Perhaps later...

  44. Thanks Bitterweed and all.

    Hope to see you later.

  45. Hi everyone - Sheff here calling in from Edinburgh....after long and rather lovely drive through winter mists.

    I seem to have been spammed - not that I had much to say.

    Thauma - Can you rescue me if you have a mo.

    Beeb is reporting that Gadaffi may have done a runner to Venezuela - we can only hope....

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  47. Hi Sheff - nowt in spam bin, and I still see your post as "Anthony" above?

    Venezuela is denying that Ghadaffi is there, or on his way there.

  48. Never thought I'd see the Gaddafi regime fall. Obviously the man would be expected age and retire, but the family dynasty collapsing. EVen Ronald Regans bombing campaign failed to topple him. Can we expect to see the Castro dynasty wobble over the edge soon?

    Anyway, off to Ingerland tomorrow to see my dad for a week.

  49. I'd be very disappointed if Venezuela gave asylum to Gaddafi. Sounds like black propaganda to me.

  50. I have just been reading Wiki and found out that half of the people in Libya are teenage age or younger. Egypt has a similar figure. Tunisia less so.

    Half of the causes of the unrest in these countires is chronic poverty and unemployment, coinciding with high global food supplies.

    Any of these "post dictatorship" states will have to adress these issues in the long term once the dust has settled.

  51. An interesting future side-effect of recent events will be the future role of Al Jazeera and its impact on the new 'democracies'. The station is already sending on more satellite channels, and are becoming more available in the USA (Bill O'Reilly must be fucking furious). But they've been jammed in Libya, Iran etc

    As it seems to have been practically the only news network which has covered these crises adequately, and has the few reporters/analysts who have even vaguely had a finger on the pulse of the Arab world and credible contacts in the conflict zones, perhaps they will soon supplant the likes of Murdoch and the BBC.

    They will certainly be an increasingly important media force in years to come. Hopefully for the better of all people involved.

  52. Evening all


    I was aware of the brutality of the Libyan regime - this was not the propaganda I was referring to.

    I should have been clearer. It was the T Blair eulogies about the 'change' in Libya as he rushed to secure lucrative business contracts in Libya. T Blair has much to answer for - he sees only money and his own advantage - mere people simply don't register on his radar.


    I begin to suspect the mad son has taken control. Where is Gaddafi senior ?

  53. Scherf, maybe it's wishful thinking, but perhaps in the long run Al Jazeera, social media and all the rest of it may lead to the realization that people everywhere have much the same aspirations and, often, much the same problems.

    It's a bit difficult to demonize ordinary people when they're talking about making ends meet, looking for education and healthcare for their kids etc. That's not to fall into the trap of thinking that everyone yearns for a western-style liberal democracy. But people want better lives for themselves, their families and their communities, that much is universal. How they get there and what form the vehicle for improvement takes is up for grabs.

    If anything, western support for dictators and their cronies has undermined the cause of liberal democracy. Fox News may watch Middle Eastern regimes crumble and shout "They lurve our freedoms!" but don't be surprised if in many Arab people's minds Mubarak = US = shitty deal for the vast majority of people.

  54. UC 35 if anyone's playing.

  55. @scherfig

    I wonder how much pressure is being piled on Qatar to rein in Al Jazeera. Quite a lot, I should think. I'm a bit pessimistic, but I hope I'm wrong and you're right.

  56. Deano, you lucky, lucky bugger!
    "No 1 son has just phoned to say he has booked a cottage for the family in Robin Hoods Bay for the coming weekend.
    It really is my favourite place to get ratted in in all the world."

    Mine too. There and Marsden Rock in South Shields.

    Nice happy hour music, people. David Essex... hee hee! Sis covered an entire wall of her room with posters of him, when we were kids.

  57. Eddie - exactly. The US spooks and government must be shitting their collective pants at what would appear to be genuinely popular uprising throughout N Africa and nearby.

    Bahrain: centre of US navy in the Gulf, where they are able to control the flow of oil.

    Libya: "friendly" dictator *spit* who also controls a lot of oil.

    Egypt: ditto on friendly dictator, and friend in making sure Palestinians are kept down.

    What are the chances of the Saudi people taking note of revolutionary fervour, do you think?

    Me, I have no idea. Just watching events unfold and lost in admiration of the people who are braving military attacks on an unarmed populace.

  58. Leni, according to BBC radio news, the Libyan ambassador to the UN has called for foreign intervention to quell the strife. The first greedy bastard steps up to the plate.

  59. Yeah, eddie, hope you're right. I might argue that Al Jazeera has already made a huge difference in the Arab world - eg about 60% of Palestinians get their news from it, most of the ME etc. And all this in little more than a decade.

    Of course Al Jazeera has never been a cheerleader for 'western liberal democracy', and has been equally detested on as many occasions by the west (eg the UK's complaints about its Afghanistan coverage) as it is reviled by the Arab regimes who ban it and jam it.

    What AJ has succeeded in doing is providing information to people who are systematically denied it by their governments (both in East and West). It is no coincidence that these regimes are now toppling one by one - they can see what is possible on the television. (And I'm not downplaying Facebook or twitter, but those media are only a few years old, and are largely unavailable to the people on the streets.)

    Anyway, I'm pretty sure that the arab nations will find their own political way, and they won't be taking any lessons from Blair or Obama or Berlusconi.

  60. spike, yeah but Al Jazeera has been under constant pressure from all sides since its birth, and I think now that it's gotten far too big to be reined in.

    btw, what price Iran in about 6 months time?

  61. Another hand-to-forehead moment.

    I'm so secretive that no one in real life knows I even blog. I never ever mention it. If I were to keel over there would be no one to inform the website. I shall probably have to do something about that I suppose.

    Who's gonna tell her that posting comments isn't exactly 'blogging'? And that pretty much no-one would miss her if she disappeared?

    I think of CiF as my secret vice - like munching chocolates at midnight only not so tasty.

    Who the fuck munches chocs at midnight? Sad.

    Must sign off now - been nice "talking to you" and those music blogs sound great. I would like to find one on art.

    Yeah, cos it's incredibly difficult to find blogs on subjects that interest you.

    Fucking hell.

  62. Please don't do that, thauma. It makes me laugh but it also really depresses me. :o(

    Anyway, the fucking muppet is "so secretive" that she has filed about 16,000 braindead posts on Cif detailing every fabulous moment of her hectic social life and every delicious bite of lunch she has ever shared with retired aristocratic Paraguayan millionaire ranchers.

    Luckily she can rest assured that posting such bollocks on an international website virtually guarantees her anonymity - because nobody ever fucking reads it.

  63. Sorry, Scherf. I'll try not to do it again. (Until the next time.)

    Did you catch the Van-fest yesterday?

  64. @thaum

    Who the fuck munches chocs at midnight? Sad.

    Ahem. Excluding carnal knowledge, my idea of heaven is going to bed with a new Iain M. Banks, a bottle of Armagnac, a packet of Gitanes and a box of Black Magic.

    The doctor says I'm still allowed the book.


    Fuck, if Iran went secular and democratic...

    Enabling us to forget the heartbreak 30 years ago when it fought off the murderous corruption of the Shit of Persia and fell into the clutches of the lethal psychosis of Khomeini and co.

  65. Spike - haven't actually read any Banks, but I'm down with the Armagnac and Gitanes, and the general concept of book in bed.

    Perhaps it's that I'm very rarely still awake anywhere near midnight. Prejudice on my part.

    Although taking chocs to bed sounds messy.

  66. Of course the last thing the US (and Israel) wants is for any of the revolting countries to go secular and democratic.

    They like their puppets puppety.

  67. Van-fest? Sounds like our old mate MuhadirInTripoli getting his pals round to help him load up the Ford Transit with his guitars and courtesans prior to seeking asylum in Malta.

    Spike, a strange comparison between the Iranian revolution of '79 and today's events is that now the arabs have television and t'internet, while the Iranians only had cassette tapes of the Ayatollah's speeches, smuggled in from Paris and copied and distributed. Both sources of information eventually managed to circumvent the state police and provoke historic events.

    Isn't the world a strange and wonderful place?

  68. Although taking chocs to bed sounds messy.

    Not necessarily, if the dog was tempted to scoff them all then it's likely there would be no evidence of chocolate remaining.

  69. Scherfif - *tsk* - not a white van, obviously!

    The fighter jets landing in Malta is interesting. Are they carrying any cargo we don't yet know about?

  70. Good point, MsChin, except for the superfluous "if"!

  71. @thaum

    taking chocs to bed sounds messy

    I won't even ask.


    It is indeed. And never ceases to surprise us.

  72. *Scherfif* - erm, think it's time for bed. NN all.

  73. thauma

    Sorry, Scherf. I'll try not to do it again. (Until the next time.)

    Don't worry unduly for the moment. I'm quite happy to do it for you.

    See if you can spot the me, me, me brainlessness in this one:

    The Victorians of course were great ones for keeping mementos of the dead, even to closing up a room where a loved-one had died and letting nothing be changed.

    This is understandable for those left behind and grieving but I can't imagine myself bothering after I'm gone.

    So, she cannot imagine herself making a little shrine of her bedsit after she is, er, dead.

    Ah, fuck it!

    Just leave it for three days and you can run a duster over everything during your second coming.

  74. Meanwhile, over in Libya, there are rumours that Gaddafi will speak very shortly.

  75. Atoms

    Three days? That's way too soon, imho. You can leave dust for a lot longer than that.

  76. MsChin

    What was it Quentin Crisp said about why there was no point in doing the hoovering?

    Something like: "After four years, it doesn't get any worse."

  77. Thauma

    I reckon the line between Brussels and Athens will be so red hot by now it will explode at any time:-)

    @On a serious note i'm sure everyone's aware the ME protests have now spread to Morocco.5 reported dead there so far.I know it's not comparing like with like but whether it be protesters shot down in the ME or the sick and disabled being driven to premature deaths by the ConDems and ATOS it's still sickening that decent people often have to pay the ultimate price in any fight to bring about change for the better.

    @That shitcunt Blair is now being rightly condemned for cosying up to Gadaffi in the past.And sanctioning arms deals, the results of which have been turned in recent days on the Libyan people.I hate that bastard and i hope he rots in hell.And having him as a Middle East Envoy or whatever the fuck he calls himself now is an insult to the peoples of that region .

  78. @Thauma;
    "Of course the last thing the US (and Israel) wants is for any of the revolting countries to go secular and democratic."

    Well, quite. The plan for the "NWO" is unravelling fast isn't?

    The stench of the "Bildergers" crapping their pants is almost palpable!

  79. Ooops "Bilderbergers" well you knew what I meant I'm sure!

  80. Atoms

    I do believe you are right, but sloven that I am, Mr Chin does the dusting more frequently than 4 yearly.


    His Blairness is the US ME Peace Envoy. Or something. Vile man, whatever the title.

  81. @leni' It was the Tony Blair eulogies about the 'change ' in Libya'.

    A bit like the gushing eulogies referring to a'change'in the Libyian regime that Human Rights Watch Director for North Africa(Sarah Leah Whitson) made a few years ago..Of course all of a sudden HRW are now insisting governments should demand an end to the unlawful killings that are happening now to the protestors in Libya, like everyone else, they seem to prefer 'lawful killings' to 'unlawful killings', 'mere people dont register on their radar',.
    meanwhile in Cif land that well known expert on North Africa and the Middle East,Arec Balrin had this to offer'What i liked best about Saif Gaddafi's bluffing last night was his claim that Libya was 'not like Tunisia or Egypt', as if Egypt or Tunisia are like eachother,and that Libya is a land of tribes and sectarian groups,meaning rebellion could only mean civil war because Tunisia and Egypt were not lands of tribes and sectarian groups like most of the Mid East either of course'.
    Libya is not like Tunisia or egypt, it is unlike any country in North Africa,the Middle East or the world at large, Gaddafi is the Arab worlds longest serving paranoid lunatic dictator, Libya also has the worlds largest oil reserves, and as such, Gaddafi has always instilled a 'very special repressive system', and Saif Gaddafi wasn't 'bluffing'

  82. There is going to be mass movement of people from n Africa. Not sure hoe EU will respond to this. Some will be villains escaping vengeance but others will be the refugees already trapped there.


    The power struggle in Libya will bring lots of nasties crawling out from beneath their stones.

  83. Speaking of vileness & PMs, lightacandle just posted this over on Waddya:

    And as for Cameron's good intentions on his trip - commenter Lesbiches highlighted the following eslewhere from a Guardian article which says it all really.......

    "David Cameron's efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East by becoming the first foreign leader to visit Cairo were overshadowed as it emerged that he will spend the next three days touring undemocratic Gulf states with eight of Britain's leading defence manufacturers."

  84. Having Tony Blair as a middle east peace envoy is so sickenly ironic that I gone done thunk it was a joke when I first read about it!!

    If ever there was an indication how little of a shit we actually give about having anything other than fear, desperation and despair in the ME, it's that, right there!!

    It's like Ronald fucking McDonald being appointed as an ambassador for animal fucking welfare!!

    I, like Paul, hope that he rots in hell!!

    Because Tony Blair is a fucking cunt....

  85. smtx

    Sai gaddaffi was certainly not bluffing - his meandering address - with no ranting - was very chilling. His threats against the people were obvious.

    Very much a statement of " If we go down we'll take as many of you sown with us as we can "

    I would have been less alarmed by a rant. There was something very detached and inhuman about him. Mind - imagine being raised by Gadaffi ! It would be impossible to develop a understanding of reality. He was raised in a fantasy world sustained by violence. He's not alone in that.

  86. Listening to Al Jazeera live coverage, it is nice to hear that countries like the UK and Italy are being subtly condemned for arming and doing business with regimes like Libya.

    Of course, the world's Cunt in Chief, Tony Blair, is being painted for what he is.

    Nothing concrete at the moment, but it seems that his political infrastructure is simply falling apart.

    Anyway, following the lead of Brusselsexparatrooper, I have a lovely, hectic, cosmopolitan day off tomorrow and Atomgirl and our heir are off for the day.

    I am also informed that the cutting-edge, game-changing software I have been waiting for has now been released to an exclusive and rigorously selected few chosen ones.

    Obviously, I am one of those.

    So, perhaps you could pass a message on to all the rioters and revolutionaries scattered across the Middle East:

    Have a rest. Have a cup of tea or a glass of Pimms and some Ferrero Rocher or Rice Krispies congealed with honey. Have a facial and a manicure and get one of your gay friends to do your hair and accompany you to a little boutique, where you can treat yourself to some chic new clothes. Then go the ballet.

    You see, there is no point in carrying on your revolutions because I will not be watching.

    I will send instructions when you are to start again.

    Because unless I am watching, nothing is happening.


  87. MissCin

    Cameron is as much a lying tripehound as Blair.

    Their smug assumption of occupying the moral high ground is sickening.

    His trip to Egypt is a blatant attempt to 'get in first' in order to try to maintain influence.

  88. @paul 'That shitcunt is Blair is now being rightly condemned for cosying up to Gaddafi in the past'.
    Pity George Galloway isnt rightly condemned for cosying up to Sadam Hussein and Gaddafi in the past.. it's a topsy turvy sick world eh

  89. Is it too much to hope that Blair will fall along with all his bosom buddy merciless dictators ?

  90. No, Leni, I think we can hope for His Blairness to fall from his pedestal with a resounding crash sometime soon. He's pretty much off the meeja horizon already and doesn't seem to be inundated with requests from them for comments on the ME situation ... we can definitely live in hope.

  91. Brilliant!

    Douglas Alexander is explaining on Newsnight that Tony Blair had to deal with Gaddafi because the colonel was developing ballistic missiles and WMD.

    Next up: Blair didn't support measures to limit global warming because the Maldives were developing ballistic missiles and WMD.

    Later: Myra Hindley was refused bail because she was developing ballistic missiles and WMD.

    Breaking news: Blair encouraged faith schools because comprehensives were developing ballistic missiles and WMD.

  92. @smtx

    So what's your position on Israel burning children to death with white phosphorus now?

    Like Israel, Gaddafi has had lots of unarmed human rights protestors slaughtered, but he still hasn't sunk as low as the Tel Aviv regime, has he?

  93. Hi MsChin

    UN ME Peace Envoy? And yet he has the blood of how many thousands of Iraqis on his hands?It's a joke albeit a very sick one.


    I'm not a fan of George Galloway although he can be a great orator.And other than pretending to be a cat for the benefit of Rula Lenska no-one to my knowledge has accused him of being complicit in any crimes against humanity .

  94. No, Paul, the US as in US of A, not the UN, ME Peace Envoy!

  95. Paul

    Blair misunderstood his role as Peace Envoy.
    He thinks it means his getting involved in arms deals, repression of populations and the manipulation of international agreements for a large piece of the profits.

  96. As George Galloway said, he met Saddam as many times as Donald Rumsfeld, but the difference was that he wasn't supplying him with weapons.

  97. No sign of Gaddafi's much-anticipated speech, so I will have to wait until tomorrow morning to see what transpires overnight.

    Night all.

  98. Sorry to be all anal and that, but I think Tony fucking Blair was the middle east envoy 'working on behalf o'f the US, UN, EU and Russia!!

    Which makes it even more of a disgrace!!

  99. Spike UC 35?
    UC 18 :-(

    What with that and talk of Iain M Banks, I really miss Turminder...

  100. MsChin/Leni

    I'm ashamed to say i genuinely didn't know Blair was the US ME Peace Envoy.I assumed he was either working on behalf of the UN or the EU.I took it as red he wouldn't represent his own country given he rarely did when he was PM.And there's me thinking the bastard couldn't sink any lower in my estimation.

  101. @habib

    I got all the childhood photos of American presidents. :-)

    Yeah, Turm's making himself scarce these days, more's the pity.

  102. Habib

    I was also wondering how Turminder was getting on in his new job.


    Just in case you were wondering Philipa's fine she's just a bit snowed under at the moment.We exchanged posts a few days on waddya.

  103. Right, I'm off to bed to watch some Mark Lamarr vintage Buzzocks on the laptop. Goodnight all!

  104. Yeah, cheers Paul, I meant to say thanks for the update you posted before. Was starting to get a bit worried!!

    Tell her I said 'hi' if she pops up again soon!!

  105. Semi-interesting piece on the “Orange Book” tonight on R4; yet the catch-all assumption that Lib Dems have had to constantly choose between "left" and "right" is astonishing; it's about right and further right as ani fule no, and for any serious R4 journalist this failing should be a blot on their future career. Especially if it is Ed Stourton.

    Another assumption made constantly on R4 - throughout the discussion around Libya - is the assumption regarding "Lockerbie bomber" Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.

    Newsflash - he didn't do it. Libya didn't "do it". As very well evidenced by Paul Foot in Private Eye. While I have no doubt whatsoever Gaddafi is a syphilitic autocratic nut-job who has ruled via a very strange and nasty concoction of off the peg Marxism and his own personal quest for eternity, that ‘plane was not brought down by his government, nor its lieutenants.

    As for smtx01’s conflation of that orange-skinned onanist and general useles fucker Galloway with that preening, priggish, and utterly sanctimonious cunt Blair – he/she is in great danger of making a category error, or at least a tremendously basic lack of grip on power relationships.

  106. Paul

    When Blair was picked as EU rep in ME I knew it meant disaster.

    He is a keen supporter of an 'economic peace' in WB. I am all for increasing proosperity in WB, job creation etc but it is used as a substitute for a genuine peace agreement and is not helping the people.

    Blair is like a sniffer dog where money is concerned. He and Cherie must be among the greediest people on the planet.

    Someone once said a dog could smell cheese on the moon if we were not seperated by a vacuum. Blair can smell money in the stench of death.

  107. Leni

    Sorry i'm confused.Is Blair EU ME Peace Envoy?Was MsChin being ironic when she said US?


    Go say hi yourself man!The Pipster won't bite :-)

  108. Leni

    He's Middle East envoy working on behalf of the USA,Russia,the UN and EU. So i supose Ms Chin's right.The USA will be pulling his strings like they always did.

    Really need to get up to speed with this stuff!

  109. Paul,

    It's not the pipster I'm afraid of, it's the venue. Waddya's off limits for me because I'm barely clinging to my sanity as it is!!!

    (And Tony Blair was, I believe MEPE for the US, UN, EU and Russia...)

  110. Leni -- being another of the oldies here, perhaps you remember that Labour Cabinet Minister dismissing the massacres of 500,000 supposed commies in Indonesia 1960's as " a little local bloodletting" ?

    As someone pointed out recently here, we didn't hear very much about immensely larger deathtolls in the Congo.

    The whole idea of Tony Blair being fucking anybody's Peace Envoy in the ME is so risible that
    .... words failed me when it was announced.

    We now see the Swiss taking overdue (hehe) action on bank accounts, William Hague mouthing 'democratic' platitudes, Cameron ; the usual suspects going through the motions.

    The frog2 initiative for areas still under Gadaffi's control, with his 'African' mercenaries shooting anyfucker on sight , would be to 'BOMB'. Not like the last time though.

    The Allies armed the French Resistance? So parachute in arms for the people. Drop so many that some will be picked up and used. Those mercenaries will swiftly find it ain't worth it any more.

    Not a bad idea?

  111. @dave from france
    The same initiative could have been used in Kosovo in 98-99... instead we bombed the living shit out of Belgrade. So what, realistically are the chances, ever ?...

  112. @spike 'Whats your position on Israel burning children to death with white phosphrous now?. Like Israel Gaddafi has had lots of unarmed human rights protestors slaughtered,but he still hasnt sunk as low as the Tel Aviv regime has he'.

    Are you maintaining that Israel deliberately targeted children during Cast lead? and that the 'Tel Aviv Regime' goes around slaughtering unarmed human rights protestors, just like Gadaffi,or Saddam and his Baathist henchmen?, 1300 people died during cast lead, all of those deaths are awful,tragic,regrettable and sad, but in war death usaully occurs. Something I would imagine you know very little about,Im also guessing you were never very vocal over the hundreds of Thousands of Muslims and Arabs who have been brutally killed by brute paranoid Arab leaders,ancestral dynasties and lunatic single power holders,So many innocents killed in wars and civil wars, so many extra judicial killings,so many arrested,tortued and dissapeared, the silence of 'left' wing groups in the west and the disinterest of Arabs in the diaspora to the plight of their brothers has been staggering..it seems some of you are finally waking up a little now and rubbing the sleep from half closed eyes.Anyway feel free to carry on defending the suicide bombers who have only ever targeted Israeli civilians, and carry on having wet dreams about peace 'Hamas style', and keep on keeping on being anti Israel, instead of being pro Palestinian,pro Israeli,pro Peace and pro Two states.
    @Thaumaturge 'Of course the last thing the US (and Israel) wants is for any of the revolting countries to go secular and democratic',
    Yea Israel just loves instability..those Iraqi skud missiles were a right giggle.
    @checkov' 'The plan for the 'NWO' is unravelling fast,the stench of the 'Bilderbergs' crapping their pants is almost palpable'
    The Bilderbergs... is that a Dutch hotel or a far right conspiracy theory... did you used to read spotlight?.

    Well.. I wish Libya every success in ousting The paranoid lunatic killer Gaddafi, a tyrant who has brutally oppressed the Libyian people for decades. I fear it will be a bloody battle.

  113. This comment has been removed by the author.

  114. Damn, meant to post this one


  115. James

    Waddya's off limits for me because I'm barely clinging to my sanity as it is!!!

    My policy as far as waddya is concerned is to try and be more selective when i post there.And to ignore the clique of ex UT posters who have an axe to grind with this place.Easier said than done but i'm getting better at it.

    Know that feeling of just about holding things together so hope things aren't too tough for you in Brazil.

  116. Gadaffi's said his bit: he's in in Tripoli - intends to stay there and mingle with the crowds (!.) Apparently, in his parallel universe, all reports of carnage are from lying TV reporting dogs.

    The guy's a nutter.

  117. Bitterweed 00.02 said...@dave from france

    "The same initiative could have been used in Kosovo in 98-99... instead we bombed the living shit out of Belgrade. So what, realistically are the chances, ever ?..."

    Hi BW, I've spent a great deal of time researching that idea that Kosovo/ Yugoslavia 1999 was a 'Good War',which has since been always given as an example of a 'good' intervention by those intent on the next one.

    I can't prove it was a 'set-up' job with associated links, re the 'Raçak massacre' etc and the fact that the international forensic pathologists found bugger-all and left in disgust, but I'm sure , or at least I hope, you'll look into it yourself .

  118. Paul

    I can't complain too much, to be fair, just been a long couple of months. And waddya tends to press all the wrong buttons for me, so it's just easier, and safer, for me to avoid it completely. Actually, I don't think I've even looked at it since Jess insisted on completely ignoring yours and Leni's repeated requests for some serious stuff on ATOS and A4E etc!!

  119. @smtx

    Are you maintaining that Israel deliberately targeted children during Cast lead?

    Well, of course not. I mean, when you explode white phosphorus shells over residential areas, who could possibly imagine they might burn children to death? Here's an idea: ask the Israeli armed forces to explode one or two over Tel Aviv to show their good faith. That can't hurt, can it?

    and that the 'Tel Aviv Regime' goes around slaughtering unarmed human rights protestors

    Now why would I think that? Naturally, the Israeli troops only fire warning shots straight up and the Palestinians deliberately leap a few hundred feet into the air and stop the bullets with their heads just to discredit the poor misunderstood Tsahal gunmen.

  120. @dave from france the idea that the 1999 illegal attack by Nato against the people of Yugoslavia was a 'humanitarian' intervention was swallowed hook line and sinker by more than those 'intent on the next war', the majority of the left in the west brought the lies they were sold, the dotty academics and proffesors swallowed the one sided biased media reporting,the pullitzer prize winning jounos suddenly became'balkan experts'and all of them were content to churn out their liberal doses of anti serbian bile with great enthuasim and particular venom, every broadsheet and tabloid towed the party line,hardly any letters of dissent would make it past the editors desk and the media began an orchestrated campaign of demonisation against the entire serbian people.

  121. dave from france
    Hi, I spent a great deal of time researching the serial wars in the Balkans, throughought the nineties. Any putative action finally undertaken to "protect" the people of those countries is sorely underscored by sour complacency accross the Brussels (the political edifices and NATO), Whitehall, Paris, Bonn (as was) and Washington. It was a truly filthy time. "Just war" my ass. Who can act, by bombing news organisations in Belgrade, four years after Srebrenica, and call it just ? A vile performance by all our governments.

  122. Frooggie

    I remember many incidents when 'bits of bloodletting ' were dismissed - as inevitable, necessary, regrettable - depending upon the buzz word of the day and whichever ideology the gvt. were supporting at the time or where 'British ' interests ' lay.

    Not much changes in geopolitics - just the blood being shed.

  123. Worked Hard All My Life


  124. smtx01
    "1300 people died during cast lead, all of those deaths are awful,tragic,regrettable and sad, but in war death usaully occurs. Something I would imagine you know very little about"

    What a thoroughly vile human being you are.

  125. Regarding the ongoing events in Libya on google you can tap in 'mapping violence against pro-democracy protests in Libya'. It's a pretty amazing map about conditions on the ground

  126. Leni
    For European "legitimacy" the real tragedy was Helmut Kohl's trade-off with John Major - literally, the UK conceded recognition of Croatia for Germany's support on our Social Charter opt-out. Provable, loathsome fact. Tudjman and, a short while later, Milosevic were, in effect, just waiting for our go-ahead to acheive their personal aims; Tudjamns being blatantly neo-nazi. The initial blame for the decade long bloodbath rests right at the heart of European politics, not just that of individual UK, (let alone US) pursuit of interests. In reality, it's as much about the spastic, and dishonest euphoria that surrounded a re-unified Germany that could neither justify parity with the Ost-Mark, nor reconcile its empty promises to former East Germans as anything else. The only thing it could do was expand its income streams and business interests... which included assuming ownership of a chunk of the Balkans - Croatia.

  127. @habib 'What a thouroughly vile human being you are'.

    what bit of what I wrote did you disagree with then? the bit about all deaths in war being awful,tragic,regrettable and sad, or the bit about deaths occuring during wars and conflicts?

  128. As things heat up in the Middle East the amount of wheeling and dealing behind the scenes will increase amongst the world's leaders.And all sorts of unsavoury deals will be made .It will also provide an 'opportunity' for politicians to try and bury bad news on the home front whilst people are distracted by what's happening abroad.So people,imo, should remain vigilante as to what's going down closer to home.For instance here in the UK there must be no let up in the fight against welfare reform no matter how bad the news is from overseas.All politicians are unscrupulous shits and there's no saying what they'll try and push through if they think peoples attention is elsewhere.

  129. smtx01
    "what bit of what I wrote did you disagree with then?"

    Hmm, let me think...

    "Are you maintaining that Israel deliberately targeted children during Cast lead? and that the 'Tel Aviv Regime' goes around slaughtering unarmed human rights protestors, just like Gadaffi,or Saddam and his Baathist henchmen?"

    Brian Avery, Rachel Corrie, Tristan Anderson, Tom Hurndall... and oh yeah, one or a hundred children died of gunshot wounds to the head. No other injuries.

  130. "so many arrested,tortued and dissapeared, the silence of 'left' wing groups in the west and the disinterest of Arabs in the diaspora to the plight of their brothers has been staggering..it seems some of you are finally waking up a little now and rubbing the sleep from half closed eyes."

    Or alternatively, many have been shouting about it for years and now you use your ignorance as a stick to beat them over the head. Just because you were blind and deaf to the protests, doesn't mean they didn't happen.

  131. "Anyway feel free to carry on defending the suicide bombers who have only ever targeted Israeli civilians"
    I think you'll find more Iraqis, Pakistanis and Afghans have died from that treatment than Israelis.

  132. Leni

    Dunno if you're still around but i thought you'd be interested in reading this article. It's quite pessimistic about the prospects for change in the Middle East.Will be interested to hear your take.

  133. "the media began an orchestrated campaign of demonisation against the entire serbian people."

    I think the actions of many Serbs might have had something to do with it.

    Will that do you for now, smtx01?

  134. Paul, loved the Natalie Cole, earlier.

  135. Paul

    i can't read the article - it tells me I have to register.

  136. Habib

    A few years ago Kyle Eastwood(son of Clint) and Joni Mitchell did an album together which ,imo, had some tracks that were pure class.Sadly not on YouTube at present but when it is you'll be in for a treat.Although you'll get to hear it only after it's done a stint in the spam folder where all my posts with links go these days.C'est la vie!

  137. Leni

    Sorry about that.Not sure what's happened but if you cut'n'paste what's below it should give you the article.


  138. copy'n'paste even! I've tried it Leni and it works when you do it that way.

  139. Paul, I have a vague recollection of listening to Eastwood jnr on radio 2, boy's got talent. His dad is a damn fine piano player.

  140. Your search - http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/676e0f42-3df5-11e0-99ac-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1EeJ2BGUx - did not match any documents.

    Paul - it give me this. I will look for FT.

  141. @Leni-The article is-

    ''Arab Spring Will Not See An Economic Boom''

    by Arvind Subramanian

    When i first cut'n' pasted it worked but when i tried it again it had that register free thing which you got.No idea what the problem is.You might have better luck typing in the above title and author but there no guarantees.I'm sure there'll be plenty more articles if you can't get to see that one.


    The album i was going on about by Kyle Eastwood featuring Joni Mitchell is called 'From There To Here'.The title has a sort of Eastwood flavour to it doesn't it?

    @I've got to sign off now for a while so i'll say goodnight to you both just in case you're not here when i get back.