Wednesday, 29 July 2009

pint-sized vegan New Yorker beat maker and tea brewer Moby once reassuringly sang "we are all made of stars" and this is right, after the Fall, and then for those exceptional individuals at their summit, before that climb down and sinking into, nameless things and named things.

Then about the meridian of that day we come upon the judge on his rock there in that wilderness by his single self. Aye and there was no rock, just the one. Irving said he'd brung it with him. I said that it was a merestone for to mark him out of nothing at all. He had with him that selfsame rifle you see with him now, all mounted in german silver and the name that he'd give it set with silver wire under the checkpiece in latin: Et In Arcadia Ego. A reference to the lethal in it. Common enough for a man to name his gun. ...When he had done and while there yet was light he returned to a certain stone ledge and sat a while and studied again the work there. Then he rose and with a piece of broken chert he scappled away one of the designs, leaving no trace of it only a raw place on the stone where it had been.

- Blood Meridian Cormac McCarthy

Friday, 24 July 2009


the sight of Quentin Letts on the BBC news trying to argue all equality quangos should be closed down: good grief. what a, relatively speaking, compromised individual this Tory partisan is.

in other - self-indulgent and personally speaking - news, i am haunted by a profound sadness.

it will not leave.

alcohol and one night stands are clearly called for.
Anti-Semitic attacks in the UK doubled in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2008, according to new figures.

The Jewish Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Semitism, says it recorded 609 incidents between January and June - up from 276 last year.

Most incidents were abusive behaviour, but there were also 77 violent acts.

The trust said the rise had been driven by anger over Israel's military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

this man is a war criminal

Saturday, 11 July 2009

copyright Mark Dingemanse
"Abu 'Omar Al-Baghdadi: The U.S. Withdrawal From the Cities Does Not Change the Nature of the Occupation

In a 43-minute audio recording, produced by Al-Furqan, ISI commander Abu 'Omar Al-Baghdadi condemns the Iraqi authorities and those who cooperate with them, says that the American retreat from the cities changes nothing, and calls to wage jihad against the West."

"Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Saturday, 11 July 2009 15:33 UK
Bomb rips through market in Iraq
A car bomb has killed four people and injured 40 at a market on the outskirts of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, police sources told the BBC."

"Friday July 10 2009
Bombs killed nearly 60 people in Iraq yesterday in the worst violence since US combat troops withdrew from urban areas last week" (Irish Independent)

"Posted on Wed, Jul. 08, 2009 04:26 PM

A week after U.S. departure, multiple bombings hit Mosul

McClatchy Newspapers
Just as Americans and Iraqis began to congratulate themselves on a relatively quiet week since U.S. combat troops withdrew from Iraq's major cities, insurgents Wednesday set off six bombs in Mosul, the biggest city in northern Iraq, killing 14 and wounding 44.

Two of the bombs exploded in adjoining neighborhoods, killing 12 and injuring 28 in one blast and wounding seven in the second. Two others, possibly the bomb-makers, died when a homemade bomb exploded in their car."

"Death toll from Iraq's Kirkuk blast rises to 73
Sun Jun 21, 2009 3:35pm EDT
By Mustafa Mahmoud

KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) - The death toll from Iraq's deadliest bombing in more than a year rose to 73, police said on Sunday, a day after a suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives outside a mosque in the north of the country.

More than half of the victims were pulled from the rubble and dust of around 70 clay brick homes that were flattened in the explosion near the northern city of Kirkuk, said Brigadier General Najeh Mohammed, the local head of civil defense.

"We expect that there are still some dead bodies under the rubble. But the chances are less than before," said Mohammed.

A survivor of the powerful explosion, Askar Zaman, said 10 of his relatives were killed, including sons and grandsons. Another, Hussein Azab, said he lost eight members of his family.

Black flags and banners of mourning fluttered from poles all over the Shi'ite Muslim village of Taza and the victims were swiftly buried in the same part of the local cemetery."

08:12 MECCA TIME, 05:12 GMT

Baghdad blast leaves scores dead

Scores of people have been killed by a bomb in Baghdad's Sadr City just days before US combat troops are due to leave Iraq's major cities.

Police said that 72 people were killed and more than 100 people were injured in the blast at the popular Mraidi market on Wednesday.

The explosion, caused by a motorcycle rickshaw loaded with explosives and covered with fruit and vegetables, happened in the north Baghdad district at around 7.30pm (16:30GMT), according to one official.

The attacker got off his vehicle and managed to escape before the bomb went off, the official said, adding that women and children were among the casualties and dozens of market stalls were damaged" (
"FDLR and LRA combatants are responsible for the great majority of killings of civilians documented by Human Rights Watch. Both armed groups are deliberately terrorizing and punishing civilians and attacking their property as a military tactic in retaliation for Congolese government military operations. Those who committed or ordered such attacks are responsible for war crimes.

On May 10, for example, FDLR combatants brutally massacred at least 86 civilians, including 25 children, 23 women, and seven elderly men at Busurungi, in the Waloaloanda area of Walikale territory, North Kivu. Twenty-four others were seriously wounded. Some of the victims were tied up and executed; others were shot or their throats were slit by knives or machetes as they tried to flee. A number of people were burned to death when FDLR combatants deliberately locked them in their homes and torched the village."

Friday, 10 July 2009

Given the track record of the Sri Lankan government, there are very significant grounds to question whether these statements were voluntary

Thursday, 9 July 2009

one thing that i would like is for Paul Rogers (the Bradford uni peace studies professor, not any other Paul Rogers one could infer i am referring to) to tell us what he really thinks.

his staff homepage emphasises his radical assessment and uniquely cogent analysis.

i would like somebody to come along and tell me in a nutshell what he thinks, and the implications of these thoughts. in fact i would like this very much.

i would also like it if Matthew Elliott of the TaxPayers' Alliance would say less.

i would dearly like that.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

what are we doing?
"Navy chiefs say each carrier must have 36 aircraft to run continuous operations"
"A spate of deadly bombings has prompted the United Nations to suspend food distribution to hundreds of thousands of people displaced by fighting in the southern Philippines, a UN official said Wednesday."
"Chinese officials did not give a breakdown of the deaths, and it was unclear how many of them were protesters and how many were other civilians or police officers."

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

thank you

thank you

thank you

truth and sanity in an often ugly, hijacked debate

"The vast majority of people who live in social housing in Britain were born in the UK according to a research study published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission today. The study found that less than two per cent of all social housing residents are people who have moved to Britain in the last five years and that nine out of ten people who live in social housing were born in the UK."
Epoch Times: "According to Xinhua, China's mouthpiece, 156 Uighurs have been killed in the massacre—although no independent source has been able to verify this number.

"Sources at Xinjiang University estimate the number of dead at "nearly 400," including many outside Xinjiang University, Kadeer said, but she cautioned that "we can't confirm" that number," said Rebiya Kadeer, World Uyghur Congress and Uyghur American Association leader, according to Radio Free Asia."
one thing i must clear up is my dislike for the Tory party.

this covers both the British Tories and the Canadian Tories.

thank you.
and, yes, i have said to myself 'why we're the same age'. sad ain't it.

Sunday, 5 July 2009




truth and power and events and interlocking things and words and a cup of coffee that is not good for the body but is for 'the soul'
capitalism, in the raw, fucking with you, and all your community

the fact that this is not an epic fail, in domestic opinion terms and so on, is, of course, an epic FAIL
on the left is independent Pinay-cockney-Englishwoman mechanic baby momma Rosa Isabel Mutya Buena. on the right, the completely adorable Shola Ama

big big love
i should probably add i have long wanted to go to bed with Elastica bassist Annie Holland.

i could have said something more subtle than the previous sentence, couldn't i? something that anybody reading would have instantly understood as meaning the above, but just phrased more lightly, yunno? a bit classier, give the place a bit of a sophisticated vibe.

but, frankly, i thought, sod that.
i should probably add the likes of bits of Suede and much of the Divine Comedy are esteemed greatly by loads of folk, and fair enough that is too
as anyone knows Simon has it right with calling Britpop how he sees it, especially wrt the mainstream journalism coverage at the time ignoring (at least relatively speaking) other then-fabulous currents in British popular song. but given how Blur played apparently corking shows last week (my brother and a mutual mate were raving about their Hyde Park set-up), this got me nostalgic. (and i personally know about nine million people who enjoyed Oasis gigs in Sunderland or Manchester earlier in the year.)

so, search and destroy Britpop? keeping it to the first list here.

the Elastica debut and Elastica gigs: saw them once and live they are as sweaty and sexy and hot as their best tunes suggested. (oh also quite a fun Fall-inspired 6 track EP was a laugh.) though heck! this is a bit random.

lots of Pulp.

lots of Blur.

the Oasis song 'Cigarettes & Alcohol'. (tbf to Oasis, they are sort of a classic rock band now, almost, growing into the songwriter thing. Noel Gallagher has got a bit of a brain too.)

oh Supergrass were lively.

there, that's not a bad line-up.

the person who has put the below YouTube up on their channel writes "Elastica perform Waking Up on Top Of The Pops in 1995, accompanied by Damon Albarn on keyboards and some rather scantily clad men".

"The contemporary liberal-left is much more drawn towards some of these than to others for its condemnation and protest - the actions of Israel, the US and other Western democracies come to mind -"


very true
the final sentence from Geras there that i link to, is such good sense. it is outrageous how Benn is a national treasure these days given the amount of gratuitous, absurdly woeful and idiotic drivel he spouts. i know people correctly appreciate his diaries and adore him for his general grand-fatherly qualities but when he opens his mouth it is very often, sadly, an opportunity for people to take him less seriously.

and they would be right to do so.
Norman Geras rightly critiques an exquisitely brainless statement from Tony Benn
"It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that a soldier from 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment and a soldier from The Light Dragoons were killed in separate incidents in Afghanistan yesterday, Saturday 4 July 2009.

The first soldier was killed by a rocket propelled grenade attack and the second soldier by a contact explosion. Both incidents took place whilst the soldiers on a deliberate operation near Gereshk, central Helmand Province yesterday evening."

Scientists have announced that well known stupid horrible laughable homophobic buffoon Dr Michael Nazir-Ali remains a "stupid horrible laughable homophobic buffoon of the worst order and should probably be sacked for being a bit of a wally".

Nazir-Ali was unavailable for comment, though supporters pointed out that regrettable homophobes crowd the Church and that, oddly enough, nobody at the Guardian courts them (although Muslim anti-gay bigots are fair play, one wag piped up as he sank into his next gin).
Terry Glavin makes an incredibly, incredibly wise and important point about an extremely malign Iranian influence in Afghanistan

But while everybody's chasing down ludicrous "it's all about oil" conspiracies, all the real plotting and sedition goes largely unreported.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Joyeux anniversaire!

¡Feliz cumpleaƱos!
At Long's Bar, it's a crush of short skirts and spaghetti straps - alcohol is illegal if you're a local, and practically a social obligation if you're not. ...It's four days before I hear any actual Arabic. Most remarkably of all the remarkable things about Dubai is that it's occupied almost entirely by foreigners: native Emiratis make up barely 20 per cent of the population. They're a minority in their own country. When I meet Sultan Al-Qassemi, a businessman and journalist, he points out that the Emiratis are handling this rather better than the British would. 'Can you imagine? It's the equivalent of there being 55m foreigners in Britain, and just 5m of you. It's a unique case, and I think we deserve extra credit for the way we are handling it. The country is completely open. It is a utopia! Anyone can come here! We are one of the most tolerant countries in the world. And all this has happened in a single generation. Thirty years ago, it was desert.' ...It's quite a story. He's only been out two weeks, but he's still managing just about to smile. But not even the judges are Emiratis: they're on short-stay visas like everyone else, and the only thing he had going in his favour, he says, is that he wasn't Asian. 'Tons of them are in for practically nothing: jaywalking or owing £10.'

from an Observer article by Carole Cadwalladr on 'Dubai's dark side'

Friday, 3 July 2009

Joan Didion
take me up

take me up

c'mon take me up

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Dear V V Brown,

How to smell manure from a mile away

Press TV is a Tehran-based English language news service.

Matthew Richardson - who is described by the British Broadcasting Corporation World Service as the legal advisor for Press TV's UK operations - says that Iran is "a young democracy" and "a rising democracy" (further to these gems, you can also hear in his same awful World Service interview the judgment that the recent protests in Iran were “started irresponsibly"*; the interviewer sounds like Nick Higham, although i am not sure).

the man himself, in this BBC television interview, says he is someone from Press TV Ltd, an independent UK-based company.

if you are unable to watch the above BBC TV Newsnight conversation between Richardson, another guest, and anchorman Jeremy Paxman for technical reasons, suffice to say Richardson gives a real car-crash of an interview, not least when confronted with basic facts from Paxman about Press TV's website being a bit, shall we say, lacking in coverage of recent events from Iran. (when it is not lacking - and that is a kind word - it is downright dishonest, of course. consider what the other guest, journalist Martin Bright, notes about Press TV's take on the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, for example.)

Bright also raises some good points, correctly criticising Richardson's absurd, pathetic, and wholly redundant bluster about the separateness of the Press TV website, and Press TV Ltd's television channel (which happens to broadcast unhindered on a major British independent commercial station).

incidentally, someone should tell Richardson of the basic fact - given he is so insufferably pompous about facts in the above Newsnight television interview - that the BBC is paid for by the British public, thanks to a tax referred to as the licence fee. (note that the somewhat different BBC World Service is state-funded, through a Parliamentary Grant-in-Aid administered by the British Foreign Office. The BBC, like Press TV, claims to be impartial from its national government, by the way.)

it is not the case that the BBC is directly funded by the British state, as Richardson casually - and unforgivably - remarks on the telly: although Press TV is directly funded by the Iranian state.


would an Iranian parliamentarian be allowed - by the theocracy, that is - to have a regular gig with the BBC, as a correspondent?
Press TV pundit George Galloway is, after all, the current representative for an east London constituency.

this should not need stating, but i will: one must have a pretty awry moral compass if you're willing to do the job Matthew Richardson does for Press TV Ltd, in the first place.



LONDON (Reuters) - Iran should release an ailing reformist detained during last month's protests or move him to specialist care as harsh prison conditions are putting his life at risk, a U.S. human rights group said Wednesday.

Human Rights Watch said prominent reformist journalist and politician Saeed Hajjarian, who was detained on June 15, was severely disabled and required constant medical care.

"It's bad enough that the authorities would detain a man as ill as Saeed Hajjarian in their crackdown in the protests," HRW Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said in a statement.

"But the conditions, harsh treatment, and intense pressure to make a false confession are putting his life at risk."

*he's got a great - not at all politically illiterate, totally worthless and ethically bankrupt, oh no - line about all countries having their own media rules and regulations.

why, i bet he's got loads of reports from RSF in his loo.

It should be pointed out that while there is de jure discrimination against non-nationals and non-Arabs in the UAE’s 1980 Federal Law on the Regulation of Labour Relations, it is the more serious issue of the de facto discrimination suffered by unskilled south Asian migrants which is the primary area of concern. ...There is strong evidence to suggest that debt bondage is widespread in the United Arab Emirates and that the government is failing to meet its obligations...It is important to stress that the line between the private and public sector is so muddied as to render it non-existent. ...It is shameful in a state of untold wealth that the most basic rights are not granted to migrant workers.

Mafiwasta .pdf

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

the reluctant greengrocer