23 February 2011

23/02/11

The Glorification of Akbar
The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else.
-Umberto Eco

93 comments:

  1. annetan42

    With the possible exception of the 1945 Labour Govt, ALL governments in history have, to a greater or lesser extent oppressed the poor and supported the rich.

    If you want to call this 'cod' Marxism please do - I really couldn't care what you call it. I'm sorry its not complicated enough or intellectual enough for you but the fact remains the present economic system has always supported the freedom of the rich to shaft the poor and the resulting poverty has been responsible over the years for the unnecessary death of millions.


    Let's forget that the greatest beneficiaries of the nationalisation of the mines and the railways, were the former private owners and that the Atlee government fought tooth and nail against any form of workers' control of those industries. But you cannot on the one hand hold capitalism responsible for the continued existence of a minority of the populaton as poor and unemployed, of a varying size and in varying amounts, without at the same time recognising the immense life enhancing material, social and psychological benefits it brought to the vast majority.

    You continue:

    The tolerance of poverty IS an act of violence. Its easier to get away with than the obvious Ghadaffi kind but its just as lethal. Those it does not kill it destroys in other ways by denying the opportunity to live a fulfilling dignified life.

    My parents were poor, so poor that my mother had to apply to the church elders to allow her to return to nursing so that my sister and I had food on the table. But they had both dignity and fulfilled lives in abundance, and in their generation and that of their parents, they weren't by any means alone.

    The advantage of this method to the wealthy is precisely that it can elicit ftom many precisely the response that you and others have demonstrated here.

    And what precisely is "this method" and what is the "response"? That I refuse to accept that David Cameron is the same as Muammar al-Ghadaffi? That all politicians whatever their creed are the same?

    The damage is ultimately as appalling, possibly worse If I had to choose between being shot and starving to death or possibly drowning in my own bodily fluids (which is what i would do if I did not get my medication). I'd take shooting every time frankly it would be kinder.

    What a strange response from someone who stands in the footsteps of Mo Mowlem, Barbara Castle and others whose response to age and sickness was to struggle to the end for justice and reform.

    You talk about "everyone in a community working together for the common good and sharing the good things of this life according to need not according to greed", as if this were unproblematic. If people can achieve that kind of social and psychological outcome, simply by what, ridding themselves of a capitalist class?; then what is it that prevents them seeing the way to overthrowing those who to you are so obviously the very epitome of evil, and cruelty? Could it be that even under socialism there will be massive problems persuading those who create the surplus to share some of it with those whose labour doesn't? Do you think some of the near psychotics who inhabit this place from time to time are suddenly going to become warm hearted philanthropists, dedicated to serving the community?

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  2. Lovely track to start the thread with BTH - thanks.

    I'm currently exploring and enjoying James Blake - Air & Lack Thereof

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  3. @Anyone with access to the spam trap

    My answer to bitey at about 4.30 got ingested.

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  4. Unspammed, Spike. I ought to go to bed, but I'm still a bit wound up by lagrandeflaneuse's comment on Dribbly, in effect saying that my son's and my death and the deaths of ALL of my compatriots would be "no great loss".

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  5. Bitethehand

    And what makes you think that you, I or anyone else posting here would be exempt from the 'power corrupts' syndrome?

    I didn't suggest that I imagined I would be.

    Obviously, I cannot answer for you or anyone else.

    However, the simple fact is that during the five year hiatus between exercising our democratic function of scribbling a cross in a box, we can choose to observe, chronicle and criticise those who won the lottery of election and those who managed to achieve power by other means.

    Part of the argument for many people here has been that power does not only reside in those we elect or the apparatus of the publicly acceptable face of the state.

    Places like this allow people to make points or let of steam in a comparatively small space.

    Mostly, the mainstream media simply do not allow this because they produce slanted and partial articles and the provision for commenting below the line does not actually give your voice the same volume as the publication's own writers. This is quite apart from being deleted or pre-modded or banned.

    I would point everyone to RapidEddie's excellent analysis of what happens to blogs and forums over time, from the end of yesterday evening.

    Some kind of decay and entropy is built into all these things, whether we like it or not, from the moment one direction is taken over another.

    I do not regard this place as exclusively a political discussion blog or forum - or even, perhaps, primarily.

    I don't think many people would bother to spend time here if it was.

    To briefly repeat my old story about the excellent business newsletter which failed. It failed because real business people do not spend their time reading about business. They simply do it.

    By the same reasoning, I don't think politicians are particularly likely to read even the mainstream media with an eye to anything other than how they need to control and manipulate their message.

    They are certainly not going to get weepy-eyed about what people think of them, either below the line on any mainstream media site or in any place at all beyond.

    I would say that at both ends of the political spectrum - at the legislative and power end and the spontaneous demonstration and powerless end - there is quite a happy lack of reading places like this or CiF or The Independent or anywhere else.

    I think that politicians and governments do fear the power of the people and how technology is suddenly allowing rapid global communication which they do not control. Normally, though, they can bring things back under control and under their own thumb and agenda pretty quickly.

    I do not think they consider people who debate and theorise seriously at all.

    Both politicians and people who act have the same practical, pragmatic imperative.

    Talk is cheap and fun but it doesn't mean you are listened to or taken seriously.

    When the real decisions are made, they are made by people who really do not give a flying fuck about you or me or anyone else.

    Let alone what we typed one day on a blog.

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  6. parallaxview, interesting track from James Blake, who's new to me, although not quite my preference. I also listened to "Limit to your love" and "The Wilhelm Scream", the latter with interesting atmospherics, and "Klavierwerke", on headphones, but I'm not convinced he'll be joining my collection, although I will be passing him on for a second opinion.

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  7. Paul said...

    The Chinese Government is clearly worried that events in the ME could act as a spur for the pro democracy movenment in China.And has ordered a clampdown on Chinese media reporting of events in the ME as they unfold.Don't think anyone here will be surprised by that.

    A little research might help with accuracy Paul. Here's Xinhua News, translated from Mandarin courtesy of Google:

    Egyptian civil unrest shake the world

    And here's more:

    Evacuation of the first aircraft in China Libyan personnel charter is expected to take off the afternoon Xinhuanet 2011-02-23 15:27
    (Reporter Hou Lijun) the withdrawal of the Chinese government deployed in China, Libya, the first chartered flights is expected to staff the afternoon off 23. View of the recent Libyan significant changes in the security situation, the State Council, I am very concerned about the safety of personnel in Lee, General Secretary Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao made important instructions, and instructions to the parties concerned ...


    and:

    February 22, in the Libyan capital Tripoli, the road to the airport congestion worse. As the recent unrest in Libya, many airlines canceled flights to Tripoli. Xinhua / AFP

    It is possible that Government's might have been overthrown after 20 years of continuous improvements in living standards, life expectancy, employment, improved international status, "opening up", improved human rights, what else? But you'll need to make a better case than the one you've made so far.

    And you do know that access to google blogs is blocked in China, but I'm here.

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  8. Bitey
    There are (at least) two ways for rulers to keep a population in check.

    Ghadaffi's way brutal and murderous this was the method of choice throughout history. People are intimidated and remain docile through fear of pain, loss of life etc.

    The problem with this method is that its victims begin to find their lives so intolerable that they end up lossing their fear. This, imho, is what is happening in Libya now. As Shelley said "Ye - (in this case the Libyan people) are many, they (Ghadaffi and his supporters) are few".

    Western democracies have chosen to be more subtle but we still tend to find ourselves in the situation where the rich rule and the poor are disadvantaged there is much injustice and lack of opportunity. In western democracies the power of the state is generally comparatively gentle, there is still fear but its fear of destitution, unemployment, ill health (yes everyone fears that but for the poor ill health can bring unemployment and destitution on top).

    It is of course far easier to blame the victims of this situation - the poor deserve it, they are lazy, feckless etc. After all we can all quote examples of people who were very poor and 'by hard work' escaped to riches or at least middle class riches.

    My grandfather was a miner hard work work never brought him riches but this con trick exemplified by the American dream keeps people in their place believing that they are not rich because they didn't work hard enough.

    I maintan that because we have a society based on competition greed and inequality the situations described above are inevitable. The built in 'boom and bust' nature of capitalism does from time to time make matters worse.

    Both methods keep most people in fear the second method allows those who rule us to hide behind a mask of reasonableness, especially when there are nutjobs like Ghadaffi who, by comparison, make them look benign.

    Oh and please explain how I am going to fight back when dying of heart failure. While I have my medication I do what I can.

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  9. "Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with... Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred; because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated, which will always be as long as he abstains from the property of his citizens and subjects and from their women. But when it is necessary for him to proceed against the life of someone, he must do it on proper justification and for manifest cause, but above all things he must keep his hands off the property of others, because men more quickly forget the death of their father than the loss of their patrimony. Besides, pretexts for taking away the property are never wanting; for he who has once begun to live by robbery will always find pretexts for seizing what belongs to others; but reasons for taking life, on the contrary, are more difficult to find and sooner lapse." - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

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  10. Excellent article on the hypocrisy of pushing arms sales in the Arab world by ... Simon Jenkins.

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  11. From the article:

    Downing Street is clearly embarrassed by Egypt, Bahrain and Libya having had the impertinence to rebel just as David Cameron was embarking on an important arms-sales trip to the Gulf, not an area much addicted to democracy. Fifty British arms makers were present at last year's sickening Libyan arms fair, while the resulting weapons are reportedly prominent in gunning down this week's rioters. Cameron reads from the Foreign Office script, claiming that all guns, tanks, armoured vehicles, stun grenades, tear gas and riot-control equipment are "covered by assurances that they would not be used in human rights repression". He must know this is absurd.

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  12. PeterJ, excellently picked out and very relevant quote. And from half a millennium ago... makes you despair, doesn't it?

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  13. thauma

    Yes, it is also the disconnection between the rigid framework of moral principles to which we are told to abide and how they seem incredibly flexible or completely dispensable when operated by governments and business which causes gasping disbelief, outrage and hatred from the people towards their commercial and political overlords.

    We elect politicians to do our dirty-work and hate it when they are seen to perform that function with reckless, ruthless, thoughtless efficiency.

    We still cling to the idea that global businesses are run by bumbling, paternalistic and fundamentally benevolent people, like a local shopkeeper from the 1950s, rather than psychopaths.

    We hate to see the gulf between the public proclamations of politicians and the seedy and savage operations which these PR exercises seek to conceal.

    Because part of yesterday's and today's thread has been about how we describe and compare politicians and countries, how we see connections and trends, how we skid skittishly from one end of the spectrum to the other, it is worth remembering that most of what this is all about is simply propaganda.

    We need to remember that we have completely lost on that battleground.

    Whoever has controlled the media and their messages, it has not been us.

    Politicians can forever challenge us and call for a debate, knowing that they have the megaphone and we can only blow a penny-whistle.

    If Twitter and YouTube and Facebook can swing things in the media power-game, it is not through debate but propaganda.

    If people want to achieve change, endless discussions will not be the way until the mainstream media are undermined or toppled and people take control of what is being discussed.

    CiF pretends to allow that, but always exercises the option to simply say: "You want to have articles on the dismantling of the NHS? Sorry, we'll have one about shoes instead."

    The problem is that we are still looking to be told what to do and think by the usual suspects.

    Eventually, of course, we become them.

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  14. Bitey

    Normally i'd defer to your greater knowledge of all things Chinese but i notice you made no mention of the link i provided to support the point i was making.So here is the link once again. Perhaps you could therefore explain to me why i shouldn't have taken the contents of this link at face value.

    Right i need some shut eye so i'll catch you all later.

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  15. Could someone rescue my binned comment please.Cheers!

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  16. Just reading the 'glass ceiling' thread and, as usual, the BTL responses are a sight more interesting than the actual article (funny how the Graun seems more worried about not enough women at the top and less worried about too many women at the bottom. Perhaps they don't want to talk themselves out of good cleaning ladies.)

    BTL, is Hanman suggesting a de facto quota system at play on CiF? Fine if that's what floats her boat, but is there a similar quota/keep-an-eye-on-balance for other groups? If not, why not?

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  17. Quick! Run! Hide!

    Stop posting, everyone!

    Disconnect and burn your computers, move house, move abroad, become a refugee and just run, run, run!

    EnglishTurnip is going to grass us up to Sergey Brin and Larry Page for being horrid!

    englishhermit

    23 February 2011 9:52AM

    Bru

    I take your point and it's a fair one. It's a bit like the other place which is mainly populated by decent, well meaning people who have sat back and allowed a few posters there to wage war on Cif without criticism (to be fair meerkatjie had a go at them) while their administration does nothing although it is in clear breach of the Google/Blogger directives on making abusive comments.

    Brusselsexpats

    23 February 2011 10:03AM

    EnglishHermit
    ____________

    Yes I would agree you with you there.

    ...........

    Montana - just save yourself and Joe and Cinnamon.

    Don't even pack your bags! Just go!

    Remember last time EnglishHelmet got a bee in his bonnet about people abusing the recommend button?

    He was going to bring the full wrath of the law down on them and have them shipped off to a secret prison as terrrrrrists!

    Oh, the humanity!

    (You have used up this year's allocation of exclamation marks in one post - Ed).

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  18. PJ - I was actually thinking of Machiavelli - your quote was excellent. The old boy put it exactly right didn't he.Should have googled it saved me a lot of time! My excuse is that I hadn't had my coffee

    Heyhabib = yes it is depressing that we are still effectively being ruled in the same way after 500 years

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  19. Funny how you never see EnglishHelmet and Jacob Bard-Rosencunt in the same room at the same time. And Rosencunt has a Viking helmet as well. Are they both equally pointless? I think we should be told.

    I don't know why EH and Bruppet don't just let rip on Dribbly in spectacular and apocalyptic fashion against the forces of darkness here in The Other Place. Let's face it, it'd be a welcome relief from the Dribbly drip-drip of shit puns, mindless minutiae and life-sapping injokes.

    Bring it on sugar tits. We got all day.

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  20. Oh Atomboy, I really don't want to go over there again, but what the fuck, it is a slow day and I'm very pissed off about other shit. Why not take it out on that nob end?

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  21. Paul

    Sorry I completely missed your link first time - it's a colour deficiency thing, and while I don't disagree with the Japanese report, the link I gave to Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency shows that events in Egypt and Libya are being reported. Of course there's still a great deal of emnity between Japan and China which needs to be taken in account.

    Then anyone living under a regime that routinely censors the media knows how to read between the lines, and with English being the second language in China millions will have access via the internet to most of the western media.

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  22. Annetan42

    Oh and please explain how I am going to fight back when dying of heart failure. While I have my medication I do what I can.

    I didn't suggest you had to fight back, although you seem to be doing a pretty good job here and on CiF. And to respond to Atomboy's post, there is an American president in the White House, who whatever you might think of him, owes his presence there largely to the internet campaign that supported him and defeated his opponent.

    But I think Anne Tan you have a far too deterministic view of the world, firstly in the idea that if people are sufficiently crushed, they will revolt. Sadly the evidence points to the opposite. And likewise while the "American Dream" never guaranteed everyone a rags to riches pathway, it has and still does offer sufficient examples for many people to strive for something better in their and their children's lives. If they succeed it confirms their belief in the dream and if they fail, they find all kinds of reasons to rationalise, of which not working hard enough is but one.

    You claim, without a shred of evidence that "Both methods keep most people in fear".

    As someone who's lived half the past eight years in the social democratic UK and the other half in a totalitarian dictatorship, I can assure you that in neither have I met any who are living permanently in fear of the state and its organs of power.

    So let's have some evidence?

    I googled "are people living in fear" and the first forty entries listed things from the Black Death to the EDL demos, but not one mention of the capitalist state.

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  23. Bitey

    there are many people here in UK living in fear of the consequences of gvt. policies.

    If the gvt. represents the state then we can say the state is threatening them.

    Sometimes the fear is engendered by raising the spectre of the external enemy. Thisalone can make people very responsive to gvt. decisions - even when they harm people.

    Fear does not have to be rooted in the dread of physical attack or state imprisonment.

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  24. Reading Annetan's 08.59 post I was thinking of that passage in The Prince , and Peter posts it . Continuing the ITALIAN CONNECTION --

    Berlusconi's Cut

    "A very senior diplomatic source told me yesterday that Berlusconi is frantic lest Gadaffi falls and the channels are revealed by which Berlusconi gets a cut on the huge amounts of Libyan oil and gas lifted to Italy. Just at the moment that would be too much even for Berlusconi to survive.

    This morning I see the Italian foreign minister is warning 300.000 Libyan refugees will fly to Europe if Gadaffi falls - as though there will be none if he stays. I have checked with other diplomatic sources, and they confirm that Italy is using the refugee warning to argue that Europe should back Gadaffi, and not impose sanctions. That point is not coming over in the mainstream media.

    This blog will be back up completely revamped next week. But I thought this snippet was important. If someone wants to repost it somewhere comments are possible..."

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2011/02/berlusconis_cut.html#comments

    On yesterday's BBC World Service there was a bit on the Libyan recent shareholding in the giant UniCredit bank which is taking hits for many reasons .... details around at GolemXIV.

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  25. kizbot

    I had a mental picture of the UT massive all sat round staring quizzically at pencils they were holding and wondering whether they should put them up their bums or not...

    I'm free on Friday night, how about the rest of you?

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  26. Bitethehand

    And to respond to Atomboy's post, there is an American president in the White House, who whatever you might think of him, owes his presence there largely to the internet campaign that supported him and defeated his opponent.

    I'm not entirely sure what you mean by this, in terms of how it responds to me.

    Obama certainly used the tools at his disposal to run an efficient campaign, with both fundraising and getting the word spread happening on a type of peer-to-peer basis, rather than simply relying on conventional mainstream mass media.

    I wasn't denying that this can be done, nor saying that things like Twitter and YouTube are not good at harvesting followers to a sudden meme.

    I was saying that ordinary people cannot win propaganda wars by using established media because those media still want to effectively exclude people.

    Also, those engaged in endless debate are still talking when events have happened around them - because those who actually propel those events are simply not listening to the blabber.

    You may also find that Obama won because there was also a huge wish to be shot of Bush and his party.

    Here, we were told for several years that New Labour would be utterly vapourised at the polls.

    It didn't happen, strangely.

    We always seem to want what we don't have, but in the ConDems, we seem to have what we don't want.

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  27. thauma

    OK, I'm in, but I'm going to have to check on the old pencil-bum etiquette first.

    I am going out on a limb here, but I take it we are not talking about sharpened end first.

    I'm a bit worried about pencils with rubbers on the end and those metal ferrules as well.

    Would you be able to show me or let me practice on you first?

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  28. thaumaturge, to which the only reply could be
    "It would still come out sharper than that gang of slack-jaws"

    ;-)

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  29. afternoon all

    New computer blues and assorted gremlins prevented me from posting since the start of the second birthday party: meh.

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  30. Atoms - so sorry, I am washing my hair between now and then. Perhaps kizbot would like to assist?

    BW - :-D

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  31. thauma

    Yeah, on reflection, I think I'll just stick to the old pen and ink...

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  32. Watcha Medve! I'm just getting ready to unleash a few more theme songs I thought about at the birthday party. You carry on.

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  33. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
    After three months away, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz promised his subjects benefits worth $10.7 billion as he returned home today to a region roiled by revolt.

    The measures, which come as other leaders across the Middle East scurry to appease discontented citizens, included a 15 percent raise for state employees, funds to curb inflation, and more money for housing loans and studying abroad, according to a royal decree read on Saudi television.

    ------------- Worried perhaps ? It certainly won't be prompted by compassion. Seems to be buying loyalty of middle classes - no mention of the really poor.

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  34. Atomboy - is that cockney rhyming slang?

    Er ... I have it! DRINK.

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  35. thauma

    Yes, that's right!

    Er, but only when it's been filtered through Fr Jack Hackett.

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  36. I'm going to have to google that.

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  37. Sorry, I knew about your lack of television but thought Father Jack might have entered the wider world.

    To quote Google's extract from Wikipedia:

    Father Jack Hackett, played by Frank Kelly, is an elderly, decrepit, foul-mouthed, lecherous alcoholic priest who frequently lapses into violent behaviour, ...

    Pretty much who I want to be when I grow up.

    Oh, he's a character in Father Ted, the television programme.

    The other cockerney meaning for pen and ink was a poor joke I was vaguely setting up with the bum and pencil thing.

    Obviously, like most of my jokes, it didn't quite come off - mainly because I had failed to think of the punchline.

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  38. Sounds like a fine role model indeed. Can you still buy priesthoods?

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  39. I would think so.

    Tony Blair would probably be your man for that.

    He hovers and shimmers halfway between the Pope and God, so he should be able to see you right.

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  40. afternoon everyone

    Stuck in a comms blackspot up here in Perthshire. Have managed to get connected by crouching in a corner of the bar - don't know if it'll last (didn't work at all last night) and its hell on the knees.

    Read that Jenkins article Thauma - pity he and other pundits weren't saying similar a long time ago....as for that toad Blair he's been surprisingly quiet over Libya. Can't imagine why.

    Apparently Berlusconi said he did not want to "disturb" his long-time friend with appeals for restraint.

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  41. Someone take a pic of Sheff and post it on the gallery, quick!

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  42. Bitey

    I do not at present have terminal heart failure. It's only stage one with the medication I take which is OK thanks.

    If at some future date I faced a health service that starts charging me the NHS levy for these meds I might not be able to afford it. Terminal heart failure would follow. Its NOT a nice way to go and I would prefer a bullet. I do actually fear this situation. (is this not understandable even to you.

    Got it now?

    As Leni says there are many people who are fearful of the consequences of this govts policies. The situation in China is harder to judge. I imagine just saying you are fearful would land you behind bars no?

    Its strange that you fell that oppresssed people (like the Libyans) will remain fearful indefinitely. This doesn't seem to be the case. Many commentators are suggesting that they have 'lost their fear'.

    People do if they begin to get angry.

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  43. This might explain why all the Libyan eye-witnesses on TV say that the war Qadhafi has waged against his people is just like what Israel did in Gaza! according to some in the Arab world.

    In Arabic with French subtitles

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  44. Alisdair Cameron: song about being a new dad

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  45. PeterJ
    Wise, realistic and a bit debonair.

    That's all for now. I hope none take offence, all meant with respect.

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  46. @habib

    I can certainly live with that. Thanks, my friend.

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  47. Habib - hehe, particularly like the Tim/Meerkatjie one!

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  48. Ahmadinejad saying on AJ that Gadaffi should heed the demands of his people. Hmmm...something doesn't quite compute there...what could that be I wonder?

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  49. Of course, Habib conveniently forgets to include his own theme song.

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  50. Montana - ha, I was trying to think of one!

    (I've always wondered - what the fuck is a 'pompatus', or am I mis-hearing lyrics as usual?)

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  51. Thaumaturge...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pompatus

    Apparently. I am no clearer having read it.

    I think he basically made it up.

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  52. No, thauma, you're not mis-hearing. It is "pompatus". Uncle Cecil explains, if you really want to know.

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  53. Thanks, Hel and Montana - that clears it up (not)!

    At least I am not doing one of my classic lyric mis-hearings.

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  54. 'ello peeples!

    I simply can't compete with the wit and jokes on here... suffice to say, I am reading with a smile :-)

    That Kizbot, she's a roight card int she?

    I wonder if the 'pencil up the rectum' idea came to her in one of her flashes of inspiration? Perhaps she was speaking from personal experience....

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  55. pome fer yez all.....

    Loving the rituals that keep men close,
    Nature created means for friends apart:

    pen, paper, ink, the alphabet,
    signs for the distant and disconsolate heart


    Palladas 4thC A.D.

    translated by Tony Harrison

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  56. Very good link !

    Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?

    "Financial crooks brought down the world's economy — but the feds are doing more to protect them than to prosecute them"

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  57. Evening all

    Leni/Princess

    Did you see the front page of today's Guardian?It carried an article no less expressing concerns about ATOS and the Work Capability Assessments.And in G2 there was a full feature about the people who've been wrongly declared to be 'fit for work' including some who have died as a result.And a few days ago LaToynbee was expressing her concerns about the consequences the Welfare Reforms would have on the vulnerable.

    Am i pleased with this? No i'm fuckin' not.I,m actually spittin' nails.For in 5 days time the 3 year migration of existing IB claimants onto ESA will begin with an even more stringent WCA.And we can only speculate as to the amount of human suffering that will cause.Yet even though they've known about this for over a year at Guardian Towers it's only now deemed newsworthy of serious press coverage outside the confines of CIF.And for some of the sick and disabled it's already too late.

    In some respects the attitude of the Guardian towards the sick and disabled is actually worse than that of the tabloids.For at least with the latter they've been totally upfront in branding those on disability benefits as being workshy etc.However by remaining silent for all this time the Guardian has actually been complicit in this.Which makes their extremely late in the day 'concern' harder to stomach.

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  58. Constipated accountants work it out with pencils...

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  59. Just caught the song you put up for me habib. Thanks! (Got the wee man in a sling on me, while at the keyboard: he seems to quite like the clattering of keys)
    @ Paul the hypocrisy is that they were told of the issue time and time again, but when it was on NewLab's watch, they ignored it, in case it hurt the prospects of their 'darlings' like shitdribble Purnell. No concept of doing the right and decent thing and exposing it.
    Likewise, when they do pick up on it late in the day, it's solely to attack the Tories, not out of genuine concern. Don't get me wrong the Tories do ned attacking, but the about-turn strikes me as about as sincere as that of the Western Govts now condemning Gadaffi, when they were ever so accepting for as long was politically/economically convenient.

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  60. Ministers will be embarrassed by the committee's intervention, disclosed the day after the Guardian reported that one of the architects of the new sickness benefit regime had declared its fitness-for-work test "a complete mess".

    --

    Froggie

    I am spitting mad. The above from the Guardian piece. Last summer on waddya i pointed out the Prof. Greg had criticised his own creation - the Work test - saying it was not ready to be rolled out. He described it then as a disaster.

    It wasn't ' news' apparently. the G has been lamentably slow on this - people are already suffering and more are lined up ready for the chop.

    The G is very much going with the bandwaggon. waste of time.

    the media no longer hold authority to account.

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  61. Paul Paul Paul

    My last was to you.

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  62. Froggie

    This one is to you.

    More and more people are questioning criminality in high places.

    How can these people continue to be above the law ?

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  63. Hello everyone; in case you were wondering why I have been absent for a couple of days, I had to go to A&E to have a pencil retrieved from my arse (Staedtler 2H of the red and black variety) if that's relevant!

    This is a nice choon:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JzuZW-Lcns

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  64. Hi chekhov

    Are you sitting comfortably ?

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  65. @Paul; I thought the Duke debunked the myth that The Guardian had any interest in sticking up for the working class and the under priveleged.
    It's nothing more than a bandwagon jumper which pretends to be socially concerned whilst looking out for it's bottom line profits.

    The "Indy" is a better example of a socially aware newspaper. It's not perfect but it made a good stab at shaking things up, which is why it might possibly be the first to go belly up!

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  66. Meanwhile in Libya the killings continue,but as it's not Egypt or Tunisia no one seems to give a shit. Did anyone read Brian Whitakers pathetic piece on Cif?, whitakers take is that,well, yes gaddafi's speech might have been a bit quirky, a tad eccentic, but 'There was a method in that madness',no mention in his fawning adulation of the 42 years of horrific human rights abuses,no mention of the arrests of political opponents,of the dissapearances and killings,why, not even a word about the thousands of Palestinians gaddafi expelled.
    Meanwhile tonight Libya continues to bury its dead and Gaddafi threatens to bomb protestors, any word from Galloway on the protests? Chavez is remaining fairly mute too.
    Will a popular uprising be enough to oust Gaddafi? How can they stop Gaddafis paid mercenaries,? still I guess Libya isnt a top western tourist holiday spot like Tunisia or Egypt.

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  67. BTW; does anyone have any stats on how the circulation figures changed since the broadsheets went for the tabloid option?
    And what is the name for The Guardian's format which is halfway between the two?

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  68. chekhov

    I think you will find it is called a "Berliner" format.

    Taken from John F Kennedy's speech, perhaps, in which he declared: "Ich bin ein Cheeseburger."

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  69. 'Tomorrows (organically sourced, hand reared, soy fed) fish wrapper'??

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  70. Fuck it. With "jokes" getting that bad, I shall do the internet a favour and go to bed.

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  71. Oh, as always, what Atoms said!!

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  72. Just came back to say I meant my own "joke" - not James's.

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  73. Haha,

    Works for mine too, perhaps more so, to be fair!!

    It's been a long day....

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  74. And my other post should read 'or, as always...'

    (just in case anyone on the interweb should care!!)

    Night Atoms!!

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  75. Paul, let's be clear what Toynbee was objecting to. She didn't like the characterization of there being legions of long-termed unemployed (which is true, because Maggie and New Labour dumped them all onto IB).

    She didn't like it being suggested that IB had risen under New Labour - which it also true, it remained broadly static at two and half million.

    What she didn't do is mention the word 'Atos' once. In fact, the nearest she came to it was a passing acknowledgement that the chavs needed a boot up the arse: "True, numbers on some disability benefits grew: Labour had started to tighten the screw."

    What she also doesn't say is that Atos is wrong in how it sets about its work and that there simply aren't the numbers of false benefit claimants to justify giving a private company the guts of a billion pounds to wheedle slackers out. She believes it's necessary and that view is broadly shared by most New New Labourites and Guardianistas.

    There's a really contemptible undercurrent to much of the Guardian/New New Labour attitude to the out-of-work. New Labour, more than anyone, cemented the policy that a couple of million people were unemployable and not worth bothering about. It was New Labour indolence that created families with no prospects of jobs and, over time, no work habits. They're doing an about face now, with the new Big Consensus. They'll roll their eyes and say "Yes, there are some people going to be wrongly turfed off benefits, but these measures are necessary." After all, it's not as though they're going to actually know any of the people on sink estates who lose everything, is it.

    The only situation in which I can see Pol taking up the cause of someone incorrectly booted off IB or ESA is as a stick to beat the Tories with. And she's unlikely to do even that, as Ed will whisper in her ear that most people like the scrounger-bashing. You can't make an omelette without breaking plebs.

    In an article in 2008 on Purnell's Welfare Reform, Pol stated what all this boiled down: "There is no doubt from my emails that some Guardian readers forget how toxic to Labour's chances it can be when the party is seen as soft on welfare cheats."

    That brief moment of uncharacteristic candour from a time when Islington was the capital of the world says it all. It's popular to rip into IB and ESA claimants and in pursuit of the Big Prize they're not going to stand up against Atos. Miliband wants to be Prime Minister and Polly wants to have the Prime Minister over for dinner parties. If you're dying or chronically ill and losing benefits, you can go fuck yourself.

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  76. "Meanwhile in Libya the killings continue,but as it's not Egypt or Tunisia no one seems to give a shit. Did anyone read Brian Whitakers pathetic piece on Cif?, whitakers take is that,well, yes gaddafi's speech might have been a bit quirky, a tad eccentic, but 'There was a method in that madness',no mention in his fawning adulation of the 42 years of horrific human rights abuses,no mention of the arrests of political opponents,of the dissapearances and killings,why, not even a word about the thousands of Palestinians gaddafi expelled.
    Meanwhile tonight Libya continues to bury its dead and Gaddafi threatens to bomb protestors, any word from Galloway on the protests? Chavez is remaining fairly mute too.
    Will a popular uprising be enough to oust Gaddafi? How can they stop Gaddafis paid mercenaries,? still I guess Libya isnt a top western tourist holiday spot like Tunisia or Egypt. "

    Err, people have been banging on about this shit for years and not just on here. The fact of the matter is they have been totally ignored and so have the links they posted. Just check the archive!There's plenty of stuff there, if you could be bothered to read it!

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  77. Leni-- I'll stick another word into your question ...

    "How long can these people continue to be above the law ?"

    Well unless the rest of human history is going to be some nightmare dystopia, we'll see a redressing of that balance. I heard Fergal Keane on R4 describing how just a very few years ago he'd land in Ireland and his old friends thought he was mad not to be speculating like they were! NY taxi-drivers on the dot-com bubble, black tulips, those are cases where nearly 'everyone' was doing it, but the crime we're on about is restricted to a few (well several!) thousands.

    The collective madness of either doing it, or allowing it to happen. Well, I'm a little heartened by knowing that there are more honest people than frauds, and they're not ALL asleep!

    NN-- I'm doing some dishes and housework etc now. Withdrawal symptoms from the tobacco weed, got to keep busy! XX

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  78. Now this is interesting. Obviously there is a (right-wing) campaign spearheaded by Guido Fawkes to expose the Guardian's hypocrisy. This doesn't mean that the paper and its business arrangements aren't hypocritical in the extreme.
    Hidden away on the paper's website is Alan Rusbridger's explanation, which falls very far short of being a denial, and to the cynical reads like, "Every other media business ducks tax, and plays the markets,using destructive hedge fund tactics, so why can't we?".
    How principled.

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  79. @checkov im not interested in your 'Err 'archives', the protests are happening now

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  80. @chekhov 'people have been banging on about this shit for years', what the hell are you talking about? Heeloo protests, Libya... madman killing his people... Feb 2011

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  81. Heard this on R4 this evening:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00yqvk4/Four_Thought_Episode_4/

    gyptian author Ahdaf Soueif describes how the anti-Mubarak protests have allowed Egyptians to reconnect with thousands of years of history and regain their sense of self

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  82. smtx01=

    I think he was referring to the nature of the Libyan regime, which has I think been around for some time.

    As he said go and look at the archive.

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  83. I agree that that article was shite but tbh most of us on here don't expect anything else of the graun.

    I suppose because Galloway and Chavez have said nothing this proves that 'all socialists are of similar ilk.

    Sadly there are some socialists and Galloway is certainly one of them, who will ally himself to any individual or group that he sees as anti capitalist or anti-American. Most of us don't think that the enemy of our enemy is necessarily our friend.

    Chavez isn't really a socialist he's a left populist
    if he's anything but his rule (and remember he has been elected - more than once) has benefited the poor. Of course the rich don't like him.

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  84. @annetan,'I think he was referring to the nature of the Libyan regime,which I think has been around for some time, as I said go and look at the archive'.

    Im getting lost here, what bloody archive?,,an archive on what? the recent protests and killings in Libya?,the archives on Gaddafi threaterning to bomb the Libyan people yesterday? an archive about his blood curdling tv speech in which he demanded people hand over protestors to the security forces or they'l live to regret it?. you write 'most of us here don't expect anything else of the graun', to be honest im not really interested in what anyone 'here' or 'there' expects,I have no expectations of anyone. my point was that there was a whole load of wailing and knashing of teeth over Egypt and Tunisia, but hardly any angst about Libya, .. I dont recall much outrage over decades of Baathist brutality either.'die hard revolutionarys eh

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  85. @smtx01; well don't look at the bloody archive if you choose not to, it's all there in black and white. This shit has been discussed plenty of times on this site if you'd care to scroll back and find out why and how.

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  86. Hi All

    smtx01-Hi, I've emailed my MP, read as much as I can on Al Jaz, Haaretz, Antiwar.com, as well as checking out the bland leading the blind mainstream media. I feel for the people of Libya and any other oppressed people in the middle east and elsewhere. What would you have me do next? Genuine question and I mean no slight to you. Many here are concerned about 'hotspots' around the world but feel powerless to do anything worthwhile to help. Your suggestions would be?

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  87. @Boudican

    Your suggestions would be?

    From her past form, I think smtx would like you to say, "Oh aren't these Arab regimes barbaric and terrible and isn't Israel a beacon of enlightenment and democracy?"

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