"They've thrown a giant French spanner in the works of Europe."
BBC diplomatic correspondent on the referendum, BBC Breakfast this morning.
"They've thrown a giant French spanner in the works of Europe."
BBC diplomatic correspondent on the referendum, BBC Breakfast this morning.
We've been looking to buy some classic Soviet era posters to adorn our sitting room, and set a pleasantly heroic and socialist theme (well, I can't do that, so a poster will have to).
Though not Russian, this Cuban poster in support of Palestine has something very fetching about it: a variation on the classic socialist hero theme, replacing the peasant Red Army soldier with the Palestinian freedom fighter.
I have stolen this image without permission from Liberation Graphics, but I only stole it to stop people from using their bandwidth if they link to/view this image. You could say that I have liberated it.
We've been really busy recently, and I haven't really had the time to post any news or rants to the site in a week or so.
I've a new job, starting in a week and a half, writing reviews of mobile software and other IT news stories. Enter the Geek! (just kidding, in case my new bosses read this).
Adam and Raquel have moved into Cerdanyola, helping to establish the fledgling English enclave here.
Spring has sprung into summer, as temperatures soared to over 32 degrees!
And here are some pictures to prove it:
Luke Tomlinson, one of the toffs accused of being involved in an illegal attack on the House of Commons as an attempt to campaign against the hunting ban, has once more proved his absolute disregard for the rule of law. His false excuse for not attending court sums up the superior attitude of many pro-hunt protestors. Polo playing Luke, like his mate (and fellow posh sod), Otis Ferry, were keen to protest the abolition of hunting with dogs, and seem to consider hunting a luxury worth fighting for.
Luckily for them, they'll probably never have to protest at losing their jobs, homes or education. Anyone who considers hunting small dog like creatures as an important right worth fighting for, probably needs to be given more to fight for. They should be allowed to continue fox hunting, but only if they have all their horses, houses, clothes and cars taken away from them first. Maybe then they'd be in a position to see what matters more.
Racist protestors are complaining about Pretoria's name being changed to Tshwane. The name change is part of a programme to re-Africanise South Africa's place names and culture.
The former fascist leader, FW de Klerk claimed that Pretoria was named after a hero who helped overthrow the British colonial power.
While the British empire was not a force for good, it was not as bad as the regime inflicted on South Africa by the Afrikaans people. All citizens had the vote in British South Africa, but under apartheid this right was reserved for whites only.
These lies on the part of Afrikaans people mark the resurgence of a particularly nasty piece of history. It is right and proper that Tshwane be named for togetherness, and not for division.
Stalking Pete Doherty, Channel 4's 10 pm documentary last night was one of the oddest and most disturbing TV shows I've ever seen.Opinion on Popbitch and the C4 messageboard is surprisingly fairly united: Carlish is obviously seriously ill, and even 'junkie scum', grubby handed Kate Moss marrying rock singer Pete Doherty deserves some sympathy for the relentless pursual and harrassment he suffered at the lens of Carlish.
The film was essentially a documentary about the failed documentary that media studies teacher Carlish wanted to make about the Libertines' ex-singer. It focused more on Carlish and his own increasingly disturbing quest to "have [his] moment of fame" than it did on the heavy drug use and erratic behaviour of Doherty. I was pretty shcoked to see footage of Carlish filming himself (this was actually about 50% of the film), shouting his love for Pete – over and over again, having a tantrum when he wasn't allowed backstage with some students he'd brought along, crying and sobbing, dancing in his bedroom at his mum's house to Electric Dreams, asking Pete how it felt to be "more loved than Kurt Cobain" – a highly questionable claim… the man is relentless after the sense of car-crash TV humour died off (about two minutes in), the uneasiness crept in.
I have to say that in retrospect, Carlish obviously needs care and attention, and that in some ways the film should not have been broadcast. Hearing him scream "I know Pete a million times better than you!" at one of Doherty's friends, or doing his "Max – on Pete – in Kate; Max inside Kate – on top of Pete" bit wasn't funny, it was pretty embarrassing and made me feel like I was at a freakshow, and should have known better.
Update: Comments closed on this post. While amusing, they were clearly off topic. Feel free to contact me if you feel you've got something relevant to add to this. Cheers.
George Galloway stood before the US Senate Committee investigating irregularities and corruption in the Iraq oil-for-food programme yesterday, and by most accounts succedeed in bamboozling and overwhelming the staid Committee.
The most telling snippet from today's Guardian goes some way to confirm Galloway as the wordsmith and slippery snake I thought he was:
"He danced around many of the questions, frequently responding, "I can do better than that" and answering a slightly different question. "
Sounds just like any other politician too, I suppose!
On Saturday, I asked Gemma to marry me, and she agreed. It won't happen for a while, but we're now engaged.
It's a bit scary and very conventional, but it feels right. Now enough of this, and back to the ranting
I've been contacted by one of the students suing Swansea University over attempts to ruin their philosophy degrees. The story is mentioned in greater detail on thebadrash.com here (includes plenty of links and a way to contact Colwyn Williamson, one of the lecturers involved). So hopefully soon, I'll have some more to add to the saga.
David Howowitz really is a deeply unpleasant man. His life and work are dedicated to the production of politico-pornography, whacking material for members of the ultra-conservative front in the US, and the destruction of Islam and socialism.
I first heard of Horowitz when he started spamming me. Out of the blue, my Hotmail account started filling up with missives from his 'Front Page Magazine' – a tabloid style rag full of stories about how the Clintons are evil, how the left wing is dedicated to the end of the world and the murder of Jews, how Musilms hate everything we enjoy in the west and so on.
He is a classic demagogue. He uses a lot of long words and complex arguments to conceal the fact that he is really stupid and that there is no logical argument for what he says. He represents the most terrifying aspect of the right wing: a man who loathes considered argument, critical thought and analytical intelligence, but who pretends to posess and use the very faculties he despises. No one on the far right could ever love intelligence, logic or reason. Adherence to the far right wing cult demands the obliteration of reason and logic because reason and logic categorically oppose far right ideals. This becomes obvious if you're ever unfortunate enough to read one of Horowitz's editorials. Written in crisp journalistic style, not one of them ever contains any substance which stands up to argument. He's one of those people who if you met him in a bar or in the street and tried to discuss things with him, he'd try to remain calm until you used logic on him… I imagine that he'd then physically attack you, or shout 'anti-semite' or plug his ears with his fingers.
So that's David Horowitz. He runs Front Page and he also runs 'discoverthenetwork.org' – a 'guide to the left' composed from the fallacious premise that there is an organised far left wing in America who are 'exerting influence on the larger body politic'. While this is patently untrue, it marks a disturbing shift in focus on the part of the right. Not satisfied with having already shifted much public debate to way beyond right of centre (the 'war on terror' is a classic example of this tactic), they are now stepping up the rhetoric as part of a concerted effort to convince people that opposition to any aspect of the religious-right program for America and the world is evidence of communism, anti-semitism and 'anti-freedom'ism. I need hardly say that not only is this rubbish, but it's dangerous rubbish.
It's rubbish because we on the left do not hate America, democracy or liberty. Indeed, most of us would say that it's our fierce love for these things (led by equality, the most noble of causes) which put us in the left wing in the first place. To claim that socialists oppose liberty when socialists are protesting against the new powers given to the FBI under the USA PATRIOT act is as perverse as claiming environmentalists 'hate America' because they're fighting to prevent America's demise.
It's dangerous because any attempt to paint opposition as lunacy can only push the agenda further to the right. Unchecked, we will reach a time when only the most puritanical, joyless, selfish, anti-intellectual bastards will avoid the violence and oppression which is the only logical end of Horowitz's writings. It is up to any intelligent person who disagrees to make themselves heard. Let's give them a left wing conspiracy which will really give them nightmares. A real one!
One of the things with blogging, right, is that a lot of semi-articulate, malevolent, fascist bastards saw the opportunity to further disseminate their wildly flawed and already unfairly emphasised theories and agenda to the world. The world, incidentally, is the USA.
Maniacs pop up all over the place. When not satisfied with the old chestnut that socialism is ungodly (this is crap – when did Jesus command everyone to go out and profit? it never happened… SOVIET COMMUNISM was pretty anti church but then you've gotta understand that the church had been explaining to peasants for 1500 years that their lot was to be a peasant, just live with it because God wants you poor and God wants the lord to be rich because he loves him more, so it's hardly surprising now, is it?), they bitch on about freedom of slavery and all that crap. Truth is they mean socialism and democracy are unreconcilable, which is a lie. They work from the fallacious claim that we're democratic now! Ha! The cheeky devils. Since when was it a good idea to have the freedom to go around believing whatever you want? I could make up some bizarre system of belief right now and walk around smugly believing it, but it wouldn't be half as tonto as some of the stuff religious right monkeys spurt out on their blogs.
I don't see that anyone really benefits from the freedom to self delude. And I hate their pornographic blogs popping up on my screen, full of lurid quotes hinting at all the nasty stuff you get to know if you only join. And when this dude makes his HA HA so funny little dinner joke about Kyoto being 'the shakedown of the west' we're getting into familiar territory – this is the freedom of selfishness, freedom to leave you to rot, freedom to arm myself, fence myself in, teach my kids lies, ignore the truth, adopt fad diets, believe the government, wear my smug face zone. And that's a bad place to be.
I guess also that smug as the right wing are, they have more nightmares. Good, cos I'm on the left and I was woken the other night by OWLS and last night by Gemma's hairdryer falling on the ground and switching itself on. But never by nightmares (oh and that isn't because I don't care about stuff… it's so obviously nazis who don't care). I sleep the sweet, soft sleep of the honest worker. Except when those christian right owls hoot and torment me in the night.
Going off topic a bit there.
George "Respect only me" Galloway is finding it hard to shake off allegations that he has been less than transparent in his dealings with the regime of Saddam Hussein. The US Senate has published a report in which it says it has found 'significant evidence' that millions of barrels of oil were allocated to Galloway, and that he concealed payments by using a childrens' chairty as a front.
Galloway's response was predictable… and correct. He's right that just because the Senate is repeating rumours about him, it doesn't make the story true. And looking at the timing of this report's publication, is it simply a coincidence that the Blair-friendly Bush Senate is releasing information about an enemy of Labour, days after he thrashed them in a safe seat?
Maybe, but the fact is that the story isn't going away. It would really be something if the cigar toting victim were to have the smug grin wiped off his face. Also there's something worryingly sophistic about the way he answers questions by answering a completely different question.
After 8 long weeks in the desert that is a lack of data connection, I finally managed to connect to the internet again from home last night. If you don't already know the saga of the sudden (overnight) disappearance of our ADSL connection, you're in for a real treat….
What happened was: one night, before Easter, before the temperature hit 30, before getting up at 6, our internet vanished. I had left it where I normally leave it (in the phone line), but when I woke up in the morning, the internet was gone. This never usually happened unless I had been fiddling with the internet somehow (which really pisses it off), but I hadn't changed anything.
To cut a long story short, YA.COM did everything they could to lay the blame at our door. Now, I'm aware that this is standard behaviour for a Spanish firm, but YA.COM is owned by German masters or organisation T-Systems. Ya said that my router was broken, the cables were bad, Telefonica had broken the line, I had changed the settings, blah blah blah. After quite a wait, they ended by breaking their promise to move us to a new service, and lying about having called us (they never did). YA.COM are a bunch of useless arseholes.
I signed up with another firm and have successfully connected using the same router, cables, telepjone line and computer which YA.COM claimed were at fault. And now they owe me 80 EUR.
On a side note, what's the deal with Blogger's spell check? I've become lazy and accustomed to having my typos corrected by a machine.
Blogger are finally putting their weight behind the idea of Moblogging with a new service launched on Friday. The problem is that the new service only works for US mobile networks (even though they only discovered 'cell phones' about two years ago). So we Europeans have to continue using the Mail-to-Blogger (M2B) service which isn't very good.
What's wrong with M2B is maybe nothing to do with Blogger so much as it is to do with Vodafone EspaÃ±a. When I send a picture message via email from my handset to my M2B address, Vodafone helpfully adds a wad of code and images to brand the email with Vodafone styling.
Unfortunately, the code is either badly written or incompatible with Blogger (a bit of both, I reckon) and so I end up with the picture I sent, a couple of Vodafone border images and a load of html which helpfully includes my telephone number and, unless I'm mistaken, my M2B address (which ought to remain secret otherwise any loon could just come along and post to my site).
This wasn't always the way. I'm pretty sure I remember a time when Vodafone didn't do this. It seems to be of of those friendly 'services' that companies sometimes add 'for your benefit' – which always means 'for our own reasons' (- see also the abysmal Vodafone Spain website… impossble to use, laden with stupid script, lacking power).
Of course I could edit out any sensitive information from the Blogger site, but that ruins the point of blogging with photos from my mobile phone. Hopefully, Blogger Mobile will be extended to Europe before too long… but will it make any difference if Vodafone insist on editing all MMS/emails sent from one of their numbers? It's unlikely.