Friday, 29 January 2010

Throwin’ Out The Trash #2

Late Friday afternoons are traditionally the time that politicians, businesses, celebrities, etc, release bad news to the public in the hope that they won’t see it.  Season 1, episode 13, of The West Wing calls this “Take Out The Trash Day”.  Each week, there are so many fucked up stories and newsy bits and pieces that cross my path in this 24/7 media blitzkrieg that we’re living in, and I simply do not have the time or inclination to write a full-on commentary piece about all of them.  Throwin’ Out The Trash is my chance each week to clear the decks of all these niggling odds and sods without ignoring them completely…


So, today Tony Blair comes before the Chilcot Enquiry.  I am writing this at 11am, before the conclusion of events, but I expect nothing more from this than Blair sticking firmly to his position that he believed in what he did and thought it was the right thing to do for both Iraq and the security of the world.

What else is he going to do?  Admit that he lied; that he’s a war-criminal and a mass-murderer?  That he wilfully started a war that has killed hundreds of soldiers and thousands of civilians in full knowledge that the justification for it was bullshit?

Of course not.

Blair’s testimony is a red herring.  As I’ve said before and I’ll say again now: the evidence that Saddam was not a threat was available to anybody with an internet connection and a library card, and speaks to a much deeper problem within UK and US foreign policy than this one unjust war alone.

We need more than the Chilcot Enquiry – we need a radical change of course.


Obama has announced a pay-freeze, just as, here in the UK, whoever wins the election later this year has promised to make cuts in public spending.  Anyone else troubled that we had billions for the banks, and billions to spend on slaughtering innocent Iraqis and Afghans, and yet no money to pay for schools, hospitals, civil servants or benefits?

Here’s a saving we could make on both sides of the Atlantic ocean immediately: withdraw, right now, without hesitation, from Afghanistan and Iraq, stop picking fights in Pakistan and Yemen, and put all that money you’re pissing away on genocide back into the public coffers.

Oh, and then tax the fucking rich already!


If you think the new Apple iPad is a good idea then you’re an idiot, and probably think HDTV, Blu-Ray and 3D movies are good ideas too.  They’re not, and you’re a gullible mark.


In the Good News Department: the BNP are still in trouble regarding their constitution.  Their ridiculous pseudo-amendments made a few months ago to try and appease the Equality and Human Rights Commission have been laughed out of court, and if they don’t sort it out properly by the end of next month, they’re legally fucked.  As spokesman, Simon Darby said, the ruling forces the party to “emasculate its constitution and drop its policies and principles…This is a deadly serious attempt to put us out of business.”  Good.  I watched This Is England the other night and can’t believe racist idiots like this still exist in 2010.


In the Oh My God It’s Worse Than I Thought Department: A recent poll in America has shown that Fox News is the most trusted news network in the country.  This is the stuff that nightmares are made of.


Revelations continue to come out about Haiti – how the US government sent soldiers instead of aid, and prioritized “securing” the area over giving people food.  Obama already got blood all over his hands by stepping up Bush’s war in Afghanistan and claiming it as his own; now it seems he has left Haitians to die in much the way Bush left the victims of Katrina.  “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”, as The Who might sing.


I wrote about the UK’s repressive Prevention of Terror Act of 2000 about ten years ago for Scanner fanzine.  This was in the heady days before 9/11, and the big concern at the time was that the UK government were using anti-terror legislation to target activists.  Well, now it’s 2010 and, according to The Guardian, the Ministry of Justice’s new “guidance on extremism” has included eco-activists on its terror list, alongside members of al-Qaeda and far-right extremists.

The Lib Dems have called it “a quite astonishing conflation of legitimate protest with terrorism”. 

Haven’t they been paying attention?  The entire war on terror has just been a concerted effort in manipulation designed to quell the anti-capitalism movement that was making such great progress between 1999 and 2001. 

The sad thing is: it has worked.


George Clooney’s new film, Up in the Air, is rubbish.  Unless you enjoy watching a film about the assholes who go into downsizing corporations to professionally “let people go” that in no way deals with the subject of just how fucked up that is.


Finally, I’m pretty sure that Obama’s momentary “tough talk” about banking regulation will die down pretty quickly.  Not only has “Mr Bank Bailout”, Ben Bernake, been given a second term at the Fed (so no change there), but Wall Street have been gearing up an army of lobbyists over the past twelve months (to the tune of $26m) and are planning of unleashing them in opposition to any plans for regulation.  When you combine that, the banking industry’s $78.2m in donations to well-greased federal candidates and party committees, and the recent Supreme Court decision to remove all limits on how much private corporations can spend on political influence, I think you’ll agree: banking regulation in 2010 just doesn’t have a chance.



  1. Questions, questions questions

    1. How does the outcome in Iraq make Blair a mass-murderer? I'm intrigued.
    2. Could you expand on your claim that the evidence that Sadam was not a threat was available to anyone with an internet connection and library card. I always thought this sounded a bit silly when Brian Eno made pretty much the same claim on News Night. (Come on, you nicked it from him didn't you?)
    3. What's wrong with Blue Ray? Blue Ray is well good.

  2. In answer to your questions "anonymous"...

    1. The outcome in Iraq makes Tony Blair a mass murderer because the unjustified and illegal war he wilfully started on a lie has led to the unecessary deaths of hundreds of soldiers and over a hundred thousand Iraqis who wouldn't be dead if he hadn't of done it. The outcome was entirely predictable, entirely avoidable, and thus Blair must be held morally culpable for it.

    2. I've expanded on this claim on several earlier posts on this blog and never heard Brian Eno on Newsnight (though he, like me, is absolutely right if that is what he said). With my library card and internet connection I managed to read both Scott Ritter's and Hans Blix's extensive reports on WMDs in Iraq; both of which said there was no evidence of WMDs in Iraq. I managed to read at least fifteen different books all saying the same thing from a variety of different credible sources - experts on the region, scientists, politicians, weapons inspectors, journalists - and I managed to read Colin Powell's 2001 press briefing in Cairo, where he himself said Saddam "has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction," and that he is "unable to project conventional power against his neighbours". The holes in the government's case were easy to spot, and have since been vindicated by history. Bush andd Blair knew all this but started the war anyway, because it was never about WMDs for them.

    3. Blu-Ray and the entire HD movement is just a way for the entertainment industry to sell our DVD collections to us all over again. Who cares if the thing has a slightly crisper picture? I don't, and you shouldn't either. At least DVDs were trimmer than videos, took up less space, and fit more onto them. There was therefore arguably a legitimate logistical reason to make the transfer, and it revolutionized TV box-sets for the better. The difference between a DVD and Blu-Ray disc, however, is minor, and at the cost it takes to do it, hardly worth the effort.