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War Against Recession

This report puts into words what many are thinking.
The RAND Corporation recently presented a shocking proposal to the Pentagon in which it lobbied for a war to be started with a major foreign power in an attempt to stimulate the American economy and prevent a recession.
Now there's a surprise. Massive demand and instant consumption at the same time.
It was only a matter of time. So countless lives will be lost. That is the price of free trade, apparently.
Whatever the RAND corps may or may not have done, anyone with a speck of historical and economic sense can put two and two together in a Depression and come up with 1939.
Colin Powell's bizarre outburst doesn't make things any clearer.

"Colin Powell appeared on Meet The Press and stated
“There’s going to be a crisis which will come along on the 21st, 22nd of January that we don’t even know about right now.”
We don't know what we don't know. article.
Prison Planet
Pakistan Daily


Ross'n'Russ - The BBC and the Charity of Pornographers

The Russ'n'Ross affair is being fought on the grounds of 'offensiveness'. Like rabid muslim fundamentalists, the Immams have proclaimed that 'Middle England' is offended, and so heads must roll. Why is this both familiar and weird at the same time?
The gutter media have been careful to set an agenda which allows them to duck and dive among the indefinable ethical and moral undergrowth, while continually sniping at the BBC. In this case with the new weapon of internet mob rule.
At a time when most people do not get their news by buying a paper but through one of the electronic media, editors are forced to turn their publications into campaign sheets of one sort or another, feeding off a biased interpretation of the news, rather than supplying it. Every story becomes an opportunity for destroying a political enemy. And the British Broadcasting Corporation is one of the great enemies of the tabloid press and their international media barons. And so an internet-turbo-charged resurrection of Mary Whitehouse's 'Viewers and Listeners Association' was only to be expected. But this one with the epic final goal of destroying the BBC as a bastion of socialism - as Rupert Murdoch sees it.
Meanwhile, the fact that the tabloids regularly publish stories and images which are not only offensive, but positively damaging to individuals and groups is conveniently filed in that part of the trained journalistic brain labelled 'Auto-Process', to be ignored for all moral and ethical purposes.
So the surrender by the BBC to this campaign is very bad news indeed. The resignation of producer Lesley Douglas is one thing, but it's a completely different matter to give a craven assurance to obey the non-existent rules of taste, and to agree to be bound by the scrutiny and judgement of pornographers devoted to deciding the political future of this country, and making as much money from it while paying as little tax as possible. To hand the licence-fee over to the pornographers of Wapping and Canary Wharf.

"Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust, announced an overhaul of taste and decency guidelines. All programmes will now be re-assessed to ensure they do not offend 'widespread public opinion'."
So the battle is also about who runs the BBC. But the real battle is one of freedom of thought, the flag which the tabloids have been waving in the War Against Terror since 2001. The tabloids today are crammed with demands for 'decency' and other indefinables. They say it's a reaction of the decent-minded to the orgy of smut sponsored by the BBC at the licence-payers expense. This puts them into direct confrontation with the mass of British people who appreciate spontaneity, not the Wapping-censored trash which the pornographers want to impose on them. Like Andrew Sachs when he says that

'These two performers - I'm a performer - sometimes it goes very wrong and it's up to them to do better.'
they appreciate that improvised performance requires spontaneity, and that spontaneity requires freedom. And the price of that freedom is that occasionally, people will get upset. As the handful of people who were upset by this broadcast were. Everyone else was upset by what the Daily Mail told them to be upset about. They were certainly less upset than Andrew Sachs or his dominatrix granddaughter and her manager Max Clifford. The fact that hardly anyone had even heard of Andrew Sach's grandaughter until a week after the infamous broadcast says it all.
This proposed purge of standards at the BBC takes it a step towards the Stalinist organisation which the gutter press have always accused it of being. And as they set the standards in pre-digested propaganda for the masses, they ought to know.
It also removes a source of competition for a whole range of shite, which is their traditional bread and butter. Perhaps the outraged silent moral majority would like to know about the semi-prostitution and sleaze which buys their cheerleaders their yachts, and the expensive accountants who prevent any of their earnings falling into the hands of the NHS or the education system.
After the Daily Mail's Ministry of Approved Entertainment has finished, broadcasting in Britain will be an eternity of 70's knock-knock jokes sprinkled on a bed of soft porn. And everything which breaches its code of political correctness will be banished to outer darkness. It seems that the Mail still can't decide whether it likes political correctness or not, it all seems to depend on which way it's pointing.
Meanwhile, there is definitely an emerging Russ'n'Ross Anti-backlash Backlash, mainly among the young. This campaign might try taking their grievances to the PCC, only to find that it does not cover 'matters of taste'. The Daily Mail is a bigger hypocrite than ever, without even considering its major stake in GCap, the UK's leading commercial radio group.

By causing and revealing an explosion of diversity which the massive, capital-intensive media corporations cannot hope to cater for, the internet has triggered a corresponding howl for a return to rigid conformity - to an arbitrary set of unwritten standards mostly set by the kind of companies which advertise in the Daily Mail.
If they ever win the battle to castrate the BBC, the next logical target for the monopolistic media barons will be the internet. Australia is already following in China's bound footsteps, and their richest son feels no shame at his pioneering assistance to the Chinese regime. With the BBC destroyed, the way would be clear for him and his like to make more money than even they ever dreamed of.
And series like 'Fawlty Towers' would be a fading memory of a service which briefly treated its audience as adults before being plunged into the gory nightmare of perpetual PinkyBlu TV, brought to you by the good folk at McDonnell Douglas.


Fight For Children's Right To Hate

Apparently, insane parents and assorted blowhards in the backwater ditch of Bogford on Sylt are outraged that their children are being instructed not to take part in the local traditions of Gippo-Baiting and Pikey-Bashing.

'This is our culture, it was beaten into me by my father, as it was into his, and so on and so forth for hundreds of years, so we will not be brainwashed by the likes of that Russell Brand and that Jonathan Ross with their slick city ways and radio broadcasts which I never heard. It's a proud heritage and we will defend it until we run away.
Everyone knows that if you tell kids not to murder, steal and cheat, that's the first thing they will do. I object to the council turning my kids into thugs by teaching them morality. I was always beaten senseless at school and it did me no harm.
said a maniac.
Speaking on channel 5s The Wright Stuff today, hilarious Tory court jester Short-Arse Specky-Four-Eyes Dirty-Dutch Clogface Holland said.

'Asking children not to bully gyppos is actually incredibly patronising to the dirty thieving tykes, and against the teachings of our lord. They make absolutely no effort to assimilate to our ways, that's their problem. They only have themselves to blame. What we need in schools is more religion and discipline and native British hooligan culture, not this political correctness gone mad. In Italy they know how not to patronise to gypsies. We should take a leaf out of their book. Being a proud, independent race of scroungers, Gypsies don't like to be patronised. It shows a disrespect for their primitive value-system.
'Local Democracy Week' indeed. Did you ever hear of anything so anti-British?' Some of my best friends are tax-evaders.'
So basically, this gang of knuckle-dragging thugs and their media cheerleaders are demanding their children's Right To Bully. What David Cameron has to say about it, we don't yet know.
 Given that a traveller site was planned for the area, the workshop in question was a thoroughly responsible effort to prevent friction between communities. A decent act by one council committee with some forethought. A Conservative council, no less. And this is the thanks they get from the Daily Mail. As the comments from less paedophobic, bigoted, less thug-worshipping cultures on the Mail article show, the rest of the world simply cannot understand why teaching children not to hate is a problem.
Isn't that the point of education, if all else fails? Over to you, David Cameron, with your big talk about 'community'. Let's see if you know what it means.
Dominic Holland is currently available for weddings, bloated corporate banquets, and Monday Club Smokers.


Perfect People

Beavering away in his boffin's basement, (Dr?) Tommer Leyvand has come up with the neatest bit of software for making faces look more profitable. Or for tackling

the challenging problem of enhancing the aesthetic appeal (or the attractiveness) of human faces in frontal photographs (portraits), while maintaining close similarity with the original.
as he puts it. That would mean making manipulated of images even less detectable than they are now, and reality even more skewed towards a pinkyblue paradise, where everything is beautiful at the ballet... He will no doubt be expecting lots of interest from the advertising and plastic surgery fraternities.
Who knows whether this is any less villanous than old style Photoshop manipulation. The dolphin-smooth skin, the over-wide, invitation eyes, the fleshless faces.. A few years ago, one of the recent flush of new magazine targeted at the young asian market couldn't find enough asian glamour models - understandably enough - and so used white models and coloured them in later. The point is that this instant symmetry software not only makes images even less trustworthy, but also raises the standards of perfection to new levels of unattainability, while making them even easier to produce. Thereby making more people, women especially, more unhappy than ever.

The use of ideals of physical perfection as a means of intimidation is not new, of course. The Greeks allowed their gods to set their standards, which left men to gawp in shame at their own decrepitude and allowed them no choice but to believe in the pantheon, and obey those who claimed to be nearest to it - their kings. Likewise Hitler, Stalin, Saddam and every other dictatorship which despised humanity for what it is and sought to control it.

The ideals themselves tend to reflect the requirements of the time. The arses of Praxiteles are those of a leisured class which enherited its power by divine right, and took it for granted.
The ruthless giants of fascism were built for siezing power and history by more power.
The ideals of today's neckless gymnauts are of personal power-worship, but for no particular purpose other than persoanl intimidation and to conform with a certain model of Hollywood super-dope.
They all have the same effect of trapping most of humanity in a cage of unachievable standards, and dividing them between those willing and able to submit to these standards and those not. The rich and the losers, in other words. The Angels and the Slappers. The elite and the dross.
If it were not for these standards and the Peter Pan neurosis they represent, people might be a little less inclined to obey other roles defined for them by society. Women who choose not to have children might not feel so ashamed, for instance. They might not be seen as inferior specimens, as they often are still. And as a woman's humanity is still much more closely defined by her womanhood, a woman who is not a mother is also an inferior human being. Which is why women are judged more harshly for their errors. Why Kerry Katona is reviled for the same offence for which Oliver Reed was lionised.
Likewise, using sport to promote these classical, Superman ideals of perfection is also death to the idea of human effort for its own sake. Of fun. And turns sport into an act of worship to the thug who solves everything with a boot in the groin. And one using deadly combinations of robotising drugs to achieve its illusion.
After all, it seems that not even the universe is perfect.

Photoshop manipulation of history put to a positive use.
Extreme budget photography removed and memories restored.

Prescott Among The Chavs - Working For Cunard!

John Prescott's examination of 'class' looks like being a real dog, and will only really attract the attention of the BBC bashers railing at the license fee being lavished on the 'personal prejudices' of a politician they hate. Same lame old dog. By the same token, why is anyone paid to present any Tv programme? It's a nonsense.
The real issue is how much of a dog's breakfast Prescott will make of presenting the simple realities of class, which are the same now as they have been since Arkwright's first mill started rolling.
The less power you have over your destiny, the more working class you are. As the excellent 'Coal House' recently illustrated, a collier owned his mandrill, and that was about it. That was the extent of his capital, and did little to protect him and his family from the vagaries of the global marketplace, and offered as little hope of escape to more security.
The grocer of the small business class who supplied his family with food would have had to borrow some money to set up, and therefore be more 'capitalised', and therefore be a little more secure, but not much. His wholesale suppliers would have been proportionately more in control of their own destinies, and those of others, and so on until you reach the Rothschilds and Murdochs of this world.
It's not rocket surgery, John. Nothing to do with how many designer labels anyone wears, or what they sound like, or how much land their great-grandparents owned. Simple a matter of knowing where the next meal would come from. Or to update it a little, how to pay the mortgage or hang on to your pension.
 Leaving aside the inconvenient fact that John Prescott's politics are about as genuinely radical as a tea cosy in Tunbridge Wells, the fact is that any genuine examination of class realities and political truth is probably only to be found in the more obscure depths of Open University modules. The BBC as such steers well clear of questioning the prevailing assumptions of consumerist politics. Of course, things may have to change now that we know what a lie they were.
 It will be interesting to find out if Prescott knows the story of George Orwell's experience on the liner bringing him home on leave from the Imperial Burmese Police Force. Orwell recounts how he was ashamed to see a steward or midshipman making off guiltily with the remains of a pudding from the table of the first class passengers, like a shifty child. The fact that this skilled craftsman, with the lives of many in his care had been reduced to this indignity helped Orwell to make the decision to resign from his imperial post while on leave, and become a writer. If he does know this story, how would Prescott relate to the steward? Especially as he has hardly retained much dignity himself in the last ten years.
What becomes clear very soon in this programme is that class is almost completely defined in terms of manners, appearance and habit. His visit to a country house gent concentrates entirely on the indefinable refinements of privilege, the phoney modesty of what is known as 'taste'. Prescott earns a ticking off for the "fucking great chip on your shoulder" from his lordhip, who declares his irritation at people who 'make it more important than it really is. And another from Simon Hoggart who accused him of being 'classless' and 'not comfortable in his own skin.' Both leaning entirely on the essentially pre-industrial definition of class, the one favoured still by those furthest up it. The one which states that 'class' is irrelevant. That everything is simply a matter of 'being considerate to others' and other variations of 'playing the game', and the fact that a merchant banker is worth a thousand sewer mechanics is nothing to get 'a chip on your shoulder' over.
Manners don't matter, class represents an injustice, and is therefore very important to those at the sharp end. Those uncertain of their futures. To them, their class is something to escape from, not try to refine out of existence. The problem is that when they get as far away from it as possible, their definition of class changes to defend their new role as beneficiaries of the same injustice they once hated. It again becomes about culture and
'identity', not economic role. Something completely 'complex, subjective, and non-sensical' as the idiot-narrator informed us.
Prescott proved something by apparently not having heard the term 'chav' (or pickey'). And when enlightened proved even more by being instantly and thoroughly disgusted ("arrogance beyond belief"). When introduced to three working-class teenage girls, he asked them what it meant. They threw together some words - 'Burberry' - 'labels', but were clear that class was 'not about how much money you've got, but what you're doing.' They hadn't heard of Gordon Brown, or know what Parliament loked like;
thought teachers were 'posh people' and been expelled from school for fighting with them. They sounded a bit like voices from Mayhew's rookeries, but after a free dinner reflected that 'it was really nice to socialise... And I hope that if he takes away one thing, it's that there's no such thing as the Chav Class.'
Suddenly, they knew the word socialisation'. And knew what they were missing. They obviously know what 'alienation' means, even if they've never heard the word. But what Prescott showed was that it doesn't take a PPP contract to break it down, just human contact.
In spite of these little glimpses of reality, the general prospects for rest of the series aren't good. The direction is clear, use the antiquated, subjective, middle-class definition of class, and all will be well. It creates the 'complexity' which TV film makers love, which means they can justify a longer series, and do more location shoots to illustrate the endless parade of paper cut-out cartoons masquerading as 'issues'. And if one of the cartoons happens to be a labour politician from working class 'roots', so much the better.
Anyone wanting a clear illustration of class should go straight to 'Coal House' and avoid this soap opera about the death of Blairism.
This will be no more enlightening about class than the BBC's pathetic recent defence of racism was about race or class.

Fell-Runners Dimming Down

After a test this weekend, hard evidence has emerged that people who get pleasure from running up and down mountains in the freezing rain are becoming less intelligent.
The 'high-level thinking' skills of fell runners are now on a par with those of 12-year-olds in 1976, when no massive military operations had to be mounted to save the lives of thousands of them. It has been found that then, most of them chose instead to stay at home or go to the pub on the worst weekend of the winter so far.
Various explanations have been offered for these findings, including computer games, and the SATs regime brought in by the government, which has tended to create a generation only capable of dealing with the test itself, and less able to make any spontaneous, intelligent choices. A generation of students who will pass the exam with flying colours, but cannot be trusted to put on their trousers or come in out of the rain, or not to put their hand in the fire. A generation
so confused about pain and pleasure by the demand to win-win-WIN! and whose brains are robbed of 'self-control, inhibition and attention' that they are prepared to risk their lives in order to try to retain a scrap of individual identity and status as defined by our current sado-masochistic, no-pain-no-gain hero-culture.
Confused? Who wouldn't be?


John Charles de Menezes

The inquest into the killing of John Charles de Menezes heard today heard the account of one officer who fired a fatal shot.
It is perfectly natural to grant some sympathy to a person who it is assumed is acting to protect human life. Imagining the situation, it is hard to do otherwise.
But that begs the question of whether the same sympathy can be extended in other cases. The murder of Blair Peach, for instance, where the killers were acting out of revenge and political paranoia. And hopefully, the verdict of the Menezes inquest will not repeat the shameful 'misadventure' of the Peach inquest.

Economic Growth is Not Progress

The absurd god of infinite economic growth has to be renounced.
Another tranche of scientists provide evidence that consumerism is madness. That makes a long list including the environmentalists, the chaos mathematicians and economics Nobel Prizewinners.
What more do the politicians need? Except maybe a good kicking in the polls.
 Alongside this anti-growth heresy, there is another theory that the electronic economy is working towards a reversal of the old corporate/consumer power relationship, not to be confused with old style 'consumer power'. The general idea being that the growing ability to create micro-economic systems can undermine the C20th dinosaurs and make them the servants. After all, we seem to actually own many of them already.



One of the most bizarre developments of the internet is the use of personal publishing by those of a particular mindset to attack personal publishing itself. A classic nest of this sect being at Guardian United Talk, of all places. This hilarious thread showcases a cacophany of codgers blowing in the wind.
They simply don't seem to understand that t
he world of personal publishing exists and every blog, website, networking account, flickr account, 2nd Life account, Youtube account and even messageboard thread are all basically the same. All different versions of online publishing, and will go on until someone pulls the plug. And everything they published will be as different as the people who publish it. What is the point of objecting to others using the same medium they use to object with? They could criticise each post or issure or opinion on its own merits if they were as high-minded and sophisticated as they claim, but they don't, so they're not.
The comments function is there to prove me wrong.
There is a segment who merely rail against the general existence of blogs and all personal publishing, and the temerity oiks to publish whatever they want. Which is a bit like an old man getting annoyed at the vitality of the young.
And on messageboards, they constantly use their mean-spirited puritan negativity to try to distract the dialogue away from any constructive purpose. Like trying to dam a river by throwing a shopping trolley into it. Sadly, they are just classic reactionaries, and the louder they squeal, the more likely it is that universal publishing is working. The biggest joke is that they don't understand is that they are part of the process which offends them. Perhaps they feel they are the elite of global personal publishing. And that their opinions matter more, for some reason. Let's leave them content with that.
The simple lesson is, if you don't like it, don't read it. It's not costing you a penny, so while you still have your unexercised right to criticise, you don't have any right to complain.
Occasionally they will concede that 'a good writer will probably make a good blogger' - as if blogging was about writing, and as if the main point was to write 'well'.
The earth-shattering message behind the moth-eaten 'expertise' is that interesting words are interesting. That some people's opinions are more worth reading than others. The same head-banging platitude applies in print or anywhere else. With one proviso, anyone publishing in any media will get better at it. If they are denied access, as all but a few are in print, they won't. So overall the effect of personal publishing is to increase the general level of communications skills. Where this will lead, who knows, but some people are obviously feeling very worried about it - otherwise there wouldn't be such a level of hysteria at the word 'blog'.
When cornered, a few will eventually begin to talk about the validity of the individual opinions on blogs, as opposed to the medium itself, and parade their own unverifiable credentials while still being unable to ever find or quote what most offends them or say why. That is obviously not a condemnation of the medium, and is an implicit admission that without weblogs, those opinions wouldn't be available for criticism in the first place. The simple fact is that a blog is the sum of its content, it is possible to take exception to issues a post raises or opinions the writer expresses, but not with the medium, or even the 'blog' itself, unless every post is saying the same thing, which I've never seen.
As for the purely snooty charge of triviality, it not only betrays a deep contempt for the lives ordinary people lead, and the honest fun they get from expressing it in words or images and publishing the result, but also for the motives of the historian looking for the letters home of soldiers in the Crimea. Or modern journalists looking to find the truth past the barrier of 'embedded' reporting in Iraq or Afghanistan. Most of all, it is as suspicious of diversity and promiscuity as a Victorian beadle. The implication being that the internet is far too full of people above their station, who don't know their place, and who have no regard for the sensitivities of their betters. They refuse to be significant enough, and therefore all blogging is rubbish. That is pretty much the line.
This is dangerously close to a lurch back into primitive superstition. You see a black cat on the same day you fall off your horse - black cats are bad luck. The fact you were drunk has nothing to do with it. The devil in the shape of the cat is to blame.
I suppose this is a natural reaction in the face of such powerful medicine as the internet.
But great Sitting Bull must understand that the days of his people's mastery over the great lands of the buffalo are over. The great Iron Horse is here. And will bring with it many settlers who will share the land with Sitting bull and his people, or else.


Up Yours, God

GOD POSTER1 - Photo Hosted at Buzznet

At last a counter to the massive, constant technicolor advertising campaign waged on behalf of the dozens of bronze age cosmologies competing for our 'souls'. A little debate on a rather despised corner of a website, with a clear idea which only needed a small donation from enough people to give it legs. Or in this case, wheels on the also much-despised London Bendy Bus.
At present, the 'Atheist Bus Campaign' is relatively mild-mannered. Should further action be necessary, the next stage should be a full scale multi-blasphemous cartoon, or Photoshop composite, of Jehovah, Christ and Mohammed leering from an open grave, talons and fangs drawn, wailing
'We want to drink your blood!'
It is probably too late now to do much to make up the ground lost when Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding, but this campaign is a start, and another sign that the internet can be used for sane causes.

The point of atheism is not to 'prove' that god doesn't exist but to avoid getting sucked into a pointless row about something nobody can ever prove - by its very nature. And then to use all that time and effort for something useful and beautiful. Life, for instance. Atheism is not a belief in anything, but an absence of a specific belief. Until a reason to believe comes along.
Religion and its accompanying pantomime exchange is the Grand Historical Diversionary Tactic of all time. It is not a debate, as there are no facts or certainties other than those resulting from 'faith', or fantasy, as it should be called. At best it is a hobby for those who see themselves above the challenges of this life and would rather be dead, or as close as they can get to it without a PhD.
At worst, the time wasted is alone a constant act of bloody sabotage against civilisation. Without even counting the wars.



The world which made debt into a commodity to be bought and sold at a profit was one which efectively brought to life the wish of King Midas. Everything he touched turned to gold - the dream of every desperate American Blue-collar worker trying to put at least one of his kids through college, pay for health insurance for all the family, and be true to the American Dream he had voted for. The magic formula for wealth and happiness had apparently been discovered.
But the lesson of the Midas parable is that golden food and drink are poisonous. The commodification of debt turned the tables on the global capitalist system just as surely as Dionysus tricked the mad king.
Cityphobia: John Lanchester



'I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass' - The Bullingdon Club Boys' Brigade

Five meetings for drinks with a fabulously wealthy exotic Russian patriarch Oleg Oligarski. With Peter Mandelson in tow, and millionaire playboy Nat Rothschild, and even with 'Sir Brian Bender' at the ready.. eh? eh?. Surely that proves George has nothing to hide, and who cares nowadays anyway? We're not in the Dark Ages anymore.
Who cares what he may or may not have got up on the poop-deck, with the moon dancing over the med, and the champagne flutes tinkling while the perfectly-manicured staff served the cold pheasant and champingons. With just a few leaves of sorrel, perhaps.
Can't the media leave adults to lead their own lives and express their identities in their own way? Homophobia is so gay. And who cares who tried to solicit what from who, or channel what through whose car company anyway? Even if the country is trembling at the prospect of the forthcoming recession. The main thing is that the integrity of the shadow chancellor is preserved. Nothing happened except a discussion about how a donation which wasn't made might be made. Although it's not clear how this lives up to the noble motto of the Bullingdon Club: "I like the sound of breaking glass" sounds more like the boy George's credibility at the moment.
If the fragrant Rothschild is lying, George isn't, and the empire is safe. But why would Rothschild commit such a huge public lie? Monstrous vain pique at a breach of society etiquette, and nothing more? If so, then Osbourne & Pals become an even more despicable crew of adolescent back-stabbing vermin than we ever imagined, and their constant scrutiny and celebration become a grim but socially essential duty in the run-up to a general election.

If Rothschild is telling the truth, then naturally Osbourne has to go, and unless Diddy David Cameron cuts the old school ties pretty sharpish, old boy, he will be dragged even further down with him.
The entire question of political funding has been raised by this squalid vision up the endoscope of wealth and power, and the tories are now wishing they hadn't kicked the legs from under a cross-party agreement being put together earlier this year by a committee of MPs.
The usual unanswerable dilemma is rolled out. Namely, How can a democratic state subsidise its direct political enemies and retain any credibility among the electorate and taxpayers? Or to paraphrase the Powellites, Would You Let Your Taxes Fund The BNP?
After this week's revelations, plus the accumulation of generations of ostentatious corruption, the ladder out of that dead end is quite clear.
Extremist politics may benefit briefly from initial state subsidy, but they have benefited far more from the constant flush of grand corruption which constantly undermines public trust in democracy. A system which strictly budgeted and structured the amount and degree of party political campaigning, putting the Budgerigar Nationalisation Party on the same electoral footing as the Tories would, it's true, be subsidising lunacy and hatred from the public purse. But it would also be a great encouragement to a wider range of people to take part in the political process, something which the major political parties have been moaning about for decades as the number of people voting at elections fell and fell, and support for fascism grew and grew.
If taking part in a general election were as simple and relatively cheap as, say, planning a wedding reception, perhaps more people would begin to appreciate politics. That it can be noble and true rather than universally squalid, exclusive and destructive.
Recessions cause a growth in support for fascism, and we are in a recession now, says the Governor of the Bank of England. Maybe it would concentrate the minds of The Fancy if they were forced off their yachts and onto rainy doorsteps in Barnsley alongside the Workers Independence Party and the Yorkshire Freedom Alliance. And maybe we'd think a little more of them if they showed they had learned anything from the experience. All George Osbourne seems to have learned is not to put his hand in the fire. That doesn't make him a potential chancellor of the exchequer. It makes him the mental equivalent of a 2 year-old.


Brown to Blame For Armageddon, Says Cameron.

Alone all among world leaders who trusted the markets and their disciples in the last ten years, Gordon Brown is the sole villain in the calamitous collapse of global capitalism, Diddy David Cameron proclaimed this morning at 8am. Without him, we would not be in this mess, in spite of the fact that there are no democratic states untouched by this crisis.
After massaging some feeling back into its aching ribs, the country is simply left to reflect on just how the tories would have sold property and personal debt in the same period, especially considering the vested interests of both the party and leading tories in making money from it.
The opinion polls today showed Brown & Darling leading Cameron & Osbourne in financial competence. Tory columnists are circling Osbourne, like vultures over an exhausted goat. But what is he supposed to do? He cannot rewrite history, and can't convince anyone that he would have done anything different to Brown. Nevertheless, Cameron still tried to condemn the decision to give independence to the Bank Of England, which, at the time, the tories had harrumphed loudest in favour of.
Meanwhile, Ken Livingstone finds another way of looking at it.

"I would have waited for the banks to fail and then nationalised them for nothing."
And seeing as they are still on strike, even after their demands have been met, he does have a point. If this was war, they could be tried as traitors, surely?
And if they had been miners in Tonypandy, Winston Churchill would have brought the troops in. bank strike crash08



The red mist rises again the markets fall and the banks and their shareholders read the small print in their rescue deals. No more divi 'till the bill is paid. 3484 our divi number used to be with the co-op when I were a lad in the Hovis-brown days of yesteryear.
But happily the interback lending rate is still going down. Unhappily, so are shares in mining, shipping, and materials. Next year's French Grand Prix at Magny Cours has already been cancelled.
 The free-market delusions of the Thatcher Era got us into this mess, and the long-depised state now has to save us. The lessons are stark and simple, don't ever again relinquish power to unelected lunatics crazed with greed. Profit isn't king. The Market Knows Worst. Greed Is Good is very bad. There IS such a thing as society, and the sooner we remember it the better. Co-operation is more important (and natural ) than competition.



The Anthropomorphism of Messageboards!

You enter your favourite forum.
Below are some marks in the shape of an inviting hollow box on your screen.

You are invited to put some words in it, in any order you want, to make any point you want.
These boxes are not little people screaming at you, or flattering you, or insulting you. They are boxes of words from the internet. The words people put in them are not the same they would use to you face to face, and to merely 'be yourself' in them is to abuse the nature of the medium, and fail to exploit it at the same time.
To be assumed to be 'being yourself' is an even deeper lapse into a squalid world where the petty grievances of real life can be vented against any available target.
Turning forum posts into people, who can be attacked without provocation or redress, is a deep failure of imagination, and a huge self-indulgence.
The guidelines on most forums advise that posters should address the issue not the author.
Ultimately, that is the only regulation needed for a happy dialogue.

Daily Mail Censorship

After posting the advice below on the Daily Mail's website ('ARE WE GETTING A FAIR DEAL FROM OUR NEW STATE-OWNED BANKS? - have your say') I discovered to my surprise that I had my opinions had been banned. You can say anything you like on the Mail, as long as it's harmless pap. Whereas its attack dog columnists can stir up as much hate as they want, and put real people's lives in danger and be paid a fortune to do so.
The Mail has nothing to say about this crisis, being one of the main causes of it.
Its rampant promotion of the property debt over the last ten years has made it a fortune, the miles of advertising for thousands of get-rich-quick property scams probably kept it on the newsstands in the face of overall falling sales.
It is part of the problem, with no advice to offer. Anything it has to say, other than a grovelling apology, is simply more evidence of its staggering hypocrisy, and its shameless deception of the British people.
While the scum at the Mail and Sun and other shitrags can continue making millions from lies, the job begun by the collapse of the banks cannot be finished. After all, the media were as much to blame for this fine mess as the banks and the debt-traders. They were the propaganda ministry for the new 1,000 year Property Reich, without their constant lies and manipulation of democracy, the property fetish would still have been seen by most for the sad perversion it is.

In the public interest, there must be a law regulating the ratio of advertising to content in all media, restricting it to a reasonable level of influence. Additionally, there must be a balance of advertising similar to the balance required by serious journalism. The reliance on one source of revenue will inevitably influence the editorial position, making it ever more profitable to tell lies to the reader. If this means that journalism as we know it dies in the collapse of the media dinosaurs of Grub Street, so much the better. It is no less deserving of the stocks than the rabid banking system. In London they even share a bed in Canary Wharf.



Weeks ago, when the Archbishop of Canterbury was citing Marx, Gordon Brown was still seen as pathetic flop. Today, as Marx seems to be truer than ever, the international right wing are hailing him as their Saviour and singing his praises. If Gordon Brown were to ride down Wall Street, he would get a ticker-tape reception, which is exactly what his policies did get yesterday when the market started buying again. Is there life left in the old dog of politics yet? What would Marx be drinking if he were alive today?
As Orwell also foresaw, revolutions are not all coloured shirts, rubber truncheons and barricades. They can be as mundane and natural as childbirth, or as a buckled bicycle wheel breaking under strain of too many sacks of spuds, which is essentially what has happened to capitalism under the strain of its new and untested internet load, as Marx predicted without even knowing about the internet - or global warming.
The free-market dogma was essentially based on a wilful misinterpretation of Chaos Theory. Not for the first time, science was used to justify political ambition and greed, and the inherent instability and unpredictability of capitalism was smothered under a blanket of propaganda, strategic risk assessment systems analysis and the other mumbo-jumbo which hit the fan last week. In spite of the mathematical impossibility of predicting a vast ands complex global economic system, the myth was pursued and believed in with religious fervour, even to the extent of beliving that a finite system could grow forever. Fuelling the system with the internet only made it more unstable and its collapse more sudden.
Ever since the Big Bang on October 27th 1986, and before, the free market freaks were warned of their lunatic error by the environmentalists, historians, socialists and mathematicians. Now reality has proved them wrong. But since when did the proof that tobacco is poison stop people smoking?

While on his tour to secure an Obama presidency, Gordon Brown could perhaps do some groundwork for the new Channel 5 reality show 'Homes In The $un'. Doris and Frank from Widnes are looking for a retirement home in Florida, Gordon. Any suggestions? crash08

'When The Lights Go On Again - All Over The World...'

bombed cathedral
The day after Gordon Brown saved the world - according to Nobel Economics Prizewinner - Paul Krugman, the first local councils have decided to save money by turning off their streetlights, and the Daily Mail is solemnly warning Gordon Brown not to turn into Josef Stalin. This is the hiss of a tory snake with its head in a forked stick.
While nobody knows what is going to happen next, it does seem that the fever has passed, and the patient is taking nourishment. The excitement of the most exciting month since 1968 is over, and now the long hard job of creating a different world begins.
Some smartalecs on the New York Times came up with a graphthis week tracking the use of key words during the Crash Crisis of 2008. 'Recession' 'depression' 'inflation' etc. The one word noticeably absent was 'co-operation', which I've been seeing a lot of lately, in one sense or another.
On the grand diplomatic scale there has been the usual predictable assurances of co-operation between banks to release credit, co-operation between nations to set the 'level playing field', and between leaders to play the game.. But it has also come nearer to real people in the debate over the crash in building society credibility, and the whole problem of 'de-mutualisation'. Various academics are now being given fresh space to put forward their angle on the simple agenda that at this stage in our history we need to co-operate more than compete. We have nothing to compete for other than an excess of luxury which we can't enjoy, knowing that any day it may be snatched away by another global crisis of capitalism. Calls for 'People's Banks' cannot be far off. And the internet does make such a thing a possibility, just as it helped secrete the virus of toxic debt into the remotest lymph nodes of global capitalism.
The Credit Unions could see a massive boost from this, as could all kinds of de-globalising projects which would return services and production to a more local, sustainable market. As all sane commentators were demanding all along.



Merry Monday.

After a weekend's frantic international dealing and shinanegans, and a £35 billion buyout of key British banks, the stock market breathed a sigh of relief and recorded gains.
 People are naturally angry that their money is being spent on rescuing the banks, but the more businesses go bust, the cheaper they will be when the government buys them. So the choice facing capitalism is stop sulking and get back to work, or risk being an ex-company in a planned economy, bought at the global bargain basement bankruptcy sale. When the going gets tough, the rich go shopping. And at times of extreme crisis, only the nation state is rich enough. Any renounciation of power, any return to the days of the poisonous free market experiment, will then be seen as an act of charity which the electorates of most countries will not allow their governments to indulge in.
 Politics has a chance to redeem itself and get back to the job its voters want it do: provide them with security and the conditions to make a life worth living; not force them onto a lifelong hamster-wheel of debt, consumption, promotion-backstabbing, training, bonding, image-building, networking, property-worship and suspicion of everyone except their nearest family, while they last.
 And as the worst is far from over, any failure of the political classes we choose to take the reins from the money-men and give them back to the people will end up with us all carrying guns to the soup-kitchens. So we have to elect the right politicians.


Crash of the Day.

There's a new reality TV show in this.
Incorporating the Fall of the Month competition.

A candidate for yesterday's record fall is RBS with a full 13% scorcher.

This comes on top of its fantastic performance two days before. A firm on truly dire form.


Jonny Wilkinson. Victim of Accountant Rugby.

Many commentators on rugby have been agonising over their pints about this for decades. And the admirable but plodding blindside flanker that is poor old Eddie Butler misses the wood for the trees again.
He bemoans how the game is being stifled into physical uniformity at the expense of traditional skills and diversity, and a monstrous injury toll created by massive dependence on the contact game and upper body power. He arrives at the conclusion
"Space is the name of the new game. The aim of the 'protocol', the instruction to referees to be strict at the ruck, was to make everybody think afresh about that discipline: not so much the 'how' but the 'why' in the first place.
Teams that are thinking space before contact - Harlequins, Bath, London Irish - are prospering. Newcastle, incidentally, are as open-minded as any of those, but Jonny, who had to be physically removed from rucks by his own England team-mates in 2003, is injured again."
The post-war history of rugby has been one of desperate legal tinkerings to try to create more space and fluidity in the game in the face of a successive generations of larger, fitter post NHS players. All of which amounts to simply trying to put a quart into a pint pot. Has it never crossed the minds of Eddie Butler and his fellow experts, or that of the legislators, that maybe the best course would be to stop trying to make the pitch legally bigger and simply make it bigger? Move the corner flags a couple of yards. Is this bit of lateral thinking beyond them?

The extra width would make a significant difference, and exploit the new fitness of players with their fixed reaction times to create a sport in which the incentive is to pass, not go to ground, and our star players would play a bit more often, and wings could still be small and locks enormous, and everything in between. Shane Williams would double his try-count.
But the COST! The accountants who bring such joy to the world are squealing already. Like all accountants of their generation they are remarkably short-sighted, and cannot understand that the two rows lost at the front are merely two of the fifteen empty rows at the back at most matches. So as the more open game will mean that the stands are fuller more of the time, even the accountants would be happy if only they could learn basic short division.
On a pitch 100 metres long by 70 metres wide, each of the 30 players on the pitch has 233.333333 square metres to avoid thumping. 23x13, which seems a lot, but apparently is still not enough to have saved the career of England's most talented outside half since Richard Sharpe. Given that human reaction time is relatively fixed, as is the eventual top speed of a running man, the only answer to a race of ever bigger, ever faster players, is to give them all more room to play in. The athletics authorities manipulated the javelin when its advances threatened the future of the sport. It is time for the rugby authorities to alter the one law which as stayed the same since Twickenham was a cabbage patch and the the average adult man was much smaller, punier and slower than today - the size of the pitch.

The result will be fewer injuries, easier refereeing and more clarity and simplicity in a game becoming a legal monster, more incentive to pass, less incentive to bulk up - with all the drug abuse that implies..etc etc.. All good, nothing bad.
Alan Watkins, poet of rugby commentators, once demanded with pride:

The playing area should be 100 metres by 70, with no latitude allowed.
But little has been heard of his plea for space. Or of the research undertaken into pitch sizes by Dick Best during the early stages of professionalisation.
APPENDIX. 15/10/08
Evidence that the effect of pitch width is widely recognised within the sport at the highest level.
Australia coach Eddie Jones made an official complaint to the International Rugby Board following his side's 31-14 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield. Jones said pitch width had been reduced overnight to suit Scotland in the face of the Wallabies' firepower out wide..
Strategic pitch-narrowing to choke play must have been standard practice for years, whatever the cost in spectacle and cartilege. It therefore follows that widening the pitch would have the opposite effect, and that as players get even larger and faster and nastier, and the differences between traditional positions disappear, the question of play space becomes even more urgent, and the price paid for the hidebound attitude to the size of the pitch even greater in human terms, and to the sport as a spectacle.
When many games are now decided by almost random decisions taken by hopeful referees about unseen activities at the bottom of rucks and mauls, that sport is in trouble. Commentators and spectators are left bemused at both the decisions and the laws which dictate that players are penalised for not taking actions which are physically impossible (rolling away from a tackle when under a pile of players) or are rewarded for taking actions which are completely unintuitive (not competing for a ball on the ground when arriving first at the breakdown). An extra incentive to move the ball wide and free would begin to undo some of this insanity and preserve some of the essential diversity of the game, which is now being flattened to cater for the ever-increasing need for sheer firepower.


Your Country Needs

The first Crash War has broken out. Britain financially invaded Iceland yesterday in response to the treatment of the British financial enclave by the brutal Icelandic authorities. Financial nuns have been savaged on financial tables.
Key British assets have been destroyed by the bankruptcy of this new financial rogue state, and so we have retaliated against Icelandic assets in Britain to defend our national interest. War with suits and ethernet cards.
If the collapse of Lehman's was the shot in Sarajevo, this is something like the invasion of Gallant Little Belgium. If Iceland, like Serbia, decides to seek support from Russia - what larks! Across europe, nations will be fighting like rats for the last scraps of credit-credibility. Does this mean we now have to invent an insulting nickname for Icelanders? As I write, hundreds of ex-human beings at The Sun are trying to kill the English language in the hunt for the popular new hate-name. I bet.
The point is that giving bankers unrestricted access to the internet - the Big Bang - was like giving a three year old a candyfloss machine - or a machine gun.
After a decade of gluttony, the result is a diabetic, inert, obscenely bloated, lazy, corrupt teenager, now desperately trying to cope with the collapse of its health. Not unlike the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as was. The only difference we can hope for is that whereas the Imperial structure which collapsed in 1914 was suffering from geriatric problems, the problems of the new digital democracy are merely adolescent growing pains, self indulgence and tantrums.
The only benefit of war is absurdity.
Meanwhile the walls are running red with panic. Shares prices collapsing this morning along with shipping rates, commodity prices, even copper - which a few weeks ago gave us the urban legend of the penny in your pocket being worth more than its face value. Today, every copper penny in your pocket counts. Everyone is digging a financial bunker.
The Tehran stock market, however is apparently doing just fine. Which is nice for them. Buy Iranian preferred now to avoid disappointment - would seem to be the message. Or abandon the abominable hedonism of of usury. The Invisible Hand of the market writes; and, having writ, moves on indeed. The Market works in wondrous ways its good work to perform. It may look crazy to us, but trust them, the financial high priests know best, they will get us all out of this terrible mess if we let them. Exactly as they always have.


Red Wall Fever. History - LIve! Stuff Their Mouths With Gold

DSCF2896 01 - Photo Hosted at Buzznet
Nobody in the world knows what is happening or what will happen next.
Expert after expert is offering the expert opinion that 'Your guess is as good as mine.' And they're right. As the Virtual Digital War rages on the red walls of the exchanges, and the traders clutch their heads in both hands, everyone knows the basic truth that the bombs will fall in the High Streets first, and hit hardest those least able to defend themselves.
So we happen to be living during a rare moment of history; a microscopic sliver of universal democracy in the space-time continuum. Shaw's common dustman is at least as original as any of the experts who sold us this bear trap as a waterbed.
Today's British part-nationalisation of the banks is working one minute, failing the next. Yesterday's meeting between the banks' shop stewards and Britain UK directors happened to a chorus of demands to Do Something!! There was the distinct impression that something was up. And as the most popular request was for a cut in interest rates, that seemed the likeliest outcome. Then this very un-Brown stunt. Buy the banks when they were cheap. Or, in someone else's words, "Stuff Their Mouths With Gold." Or, 'Management gave in to the demands of the workers.'
The market hated it first thing in the morning, but now seems to be coming to terms? Who knows? Stock markets everywhere plunging. Banks dropping like London teenagers. Iceland bankrupt - the country, not the frozen fish shop. None of the sticking plasters seem to be working. Everyone still hanging on for grim death and making a note of where the cushions are. Half percent cut in interest rates. The bankforce will call off its strike action and man the credit-pumps again. Phew. Or so we're told. But what does anyone KNOW?
Whether this is all too little too late or too much too soon nobody can say. Nobody's ever done it before. Which either makes Brown & Darling bold pioneers or desperate spivs on the run at the taxpayers expense.
Brown at the dispatch box. 'The risk of excessive risk-taking is that it risks putting the economy at risk.' Brilliant.
Cameron trying to look tough and significant by demanding that all executive bonuses be capped for all banks in the scheme.
Brown can't really lose. As the polls will show.
Meanwhile in America, Anorak & Chips are still battling fiercely to prove which is the greyest, dullest drabbest and most awful. They look like the finalists of a reality TV contest to win the post of night watchman at a lap-dancing club.
The only hope is that the Obama administration is stuffed to the gills with first class advisors. After last night's gruesome parade of the undead, Nashville is now a colder sadder place. 
crash08 bank strike


171 Bus Boy

DSCF2187X -
Sleeping it off on the back seat of the 171 - hopefully. Who was to know whether this was just a casualty of too much good times, or something else? And what response would an offer of help or concern get? According to the general wisdom, anyone can be an enemy. And young people carry knives. So don't get involved. If someone wants to die on the back seat of a bus, what business is it of ours?
So the entire bus from Peckham to Catford simply turned away and hoped for the best.
Assuming again that this was innocent enough, and ignoring any larger condemnations of society for the time being, the more mundane fact is that this spectacle is only possible on the unsocial, greasy ghetto of the top deck of one of Batty Boris Johnson's beloved routemasters.
Downstairs, or on a Bendy Bus, instant peer pressure, facial contact and a diverse passenger list creates a far more social environment, and people tend not to disgrace themselves.
Shame Boris can't learn the same lesson somewhere.

Bojo Blair Cop Out

With the banks already on strike, we discover now that Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has also been on strike since his election in May, refusing to liaise with his police commissioner. Or perhaps he was sulking, or both.
Either way, he has forced Sir Ian Blair into an impossible position, and he has resigned. This blatantly political move is also a major concession to the tabloid campaign to remove Blair. And will also influence the policing of the rest of Britain.
The Daily Mail and The Standard and the other sheets which detest Blair's multi-racial, inclusive recruitment policies, have got on their moral high horses about the death of Jean Charles de Menenzes. But these are exactly the same outlets which hailed as a triumph for democracy the murder of Blair Peach by the racist Special Patrol Group.
There were no demands by them for Commissioner David McNee to be removed. And no backing for the many demands for a public enquiry.
Likewise, if they are willing to condemn Blair because of the unproven charges of racism, which are still under examination, why were they so quick to support the blatantly racist Stop and Search policies which caused Brixton to burn?
By hijacking the post of Police Commissioner, Boris Johnson has guaranteed that the standard of the applicants will be lowered. Already top candidate Norman Bettison of the West Yorkshire force has stated that he is not prepared to be compromised in this way,
"The dislodging of Ian Blair is a demonstration of political will. Along this road lies danger. I am therefore staying put.”

and former Chief, Sir John Stevens has also warned of the dangers of politicising the post.

So whatever Sir Ian Blair's failings turn out to be, Boris Johnson has made policing London, and britain in general, more difficult, and compromised the post for the foreseeable future.
The only obvious solution to the political dilemma of allowing a Tory mayor to determine policing for the nation is to divide the post into two, creating a commissioner for London, and one for mainland security.
Or wait until Boris self-destructs, and find someone sane.


Paddy Power

Calls for concerted european approach to bank crisis. Otherwise:

Step 1. Ireland guarantees all deposits in major banks.
Step 2. Nervous money flows into Irish banks courtesy of the internet. Grand.
Step 3. Other countries have to do the same or risk a drain on deposits when the banks need them most.
Step 4. Countries now in full competition for nervous money.

And so it begins.
At the conference, Ireland argues that its' need is the greater, being in a deeper property recession than most. Spain supports it.
Germany argues that Ireland should have thought of that before getting involved. It wasn't as if they hadn't been warned etc etc.
Result, lengthy impotent bickering in the style of the League of Nations instead of the decisive co-operation which is needed.

Meanwhile, the class war continues in America. Wall Street is now paying a nice visit to America saying

'This is a nice society you have here. It would cause us much distress to learn that it had been destroyed by an economic depression or whatnot. And when you consider that for a reasonable trillion dollars to our welfare fund, you will have complete peace and mind for yourself and your family. We are sure you will make the responsible decision.
We will be back on friday for our donation. We are not used to disappointment.'
It's the American way.