George Bush waves to the crowds photographers from the steps of his London pied-à-terre.
A shameless copy-paste from Armando Ianucci's typically amusing Observer column:
Talking of doubt, last week I had a conversation with a genuine neo-con who didn't have any. He was one of George Bush's former speechwriters and I asked him how he responded to the never-answered complaint from most of us that invading Iraq was senseless, because all the terrorists were in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. His only response was: 'That was then. The question is, what do we do now?' I kept telling him that where we were now was a result of what he did then, but he kept saying: 'No, but what's important is what we do now.' Which is a bit like saying: 'I know I set fire to your house, but can we draw a line under that? What's important now is that I've got a charred hand, so where's the medical care?'
Drawing a line, redefining the issue, re-evaluating the situation in the light of a fresh context; these are all highly sophisticated reverbalisations of: 'I don't know; can we start again?' George W Bush declares progress, even though his definition of progress is to get unbearable violence back to the level it was a year-and-a-half ago. If he goes on redefining phrases to mean around 96 per cent of their opposite, it won't be long before he manages to persuade Americans to think that a 'debacle' is a good thing. Especially if it's an improvement on an outright disaster. Expect soon to have American families celebrate Debacle Day, host Fiasco Barbecues and organise Shambles Carnivals.
Click here to read the original article.
Australian PM, 'little' John Howard (so called because he's a short-arse), has hit out against US presidential candidate, Barack Obama, more or less claiming that a vote for Obama is a vote for Osama. This isn't the first time someone's made this odious ad hominem attack on an opponent of the dreadful war in Iraq. Obama gave as good as he got, however, and retorted pretty strongly:
I think it's flattering that one of George Bush's allies on the other side of the world started attacking me the day after I announced. I would also note that we have close to 140,000 troops on the ground now, and my understanding is Mr Howard has deployed 1,400, so if he is (ready) to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them to Iraq. [BBC News]
Yeah, John. What's the deal with that? Don't you hate terror enough to send more tough Aussie ockers out there? Yer pansy. I'm not sure that the ADF even has 20,000 troops but we'll ignore that for the moment.
I know I'm meant to be worried. Sometimes I do worry. And I'm glad that the news is talking about climate change and pollution again. I do consider it to be a far greater risk to my life than, say, 'international terrorism'.
But when it comes down to it, I'm not planning to do much to help to deal with climate change, CO2 emissions, etc etc. There are a few reasons that I've come to this conclusion and the first is that stupid one I always criticise other people for using: I cannot make any difference so there's no point bothering.
Now, before you say I've lost my mojo, just think. Given that I already conserve energy in a loose, easy sort of way at home, I'd say that my energy consumption is probably average for Spain. The new TV uses a lot of juice but then I never drive. If I managed to reduce that energy use to nil, the resulting effect on the overall consumption of energy in Spain (or in Catalonia or Barcelona, for that matter) would be so infinitesimally useless and pathetic that all I would really have succeeded in achieving would be ruining my quality of life by forcing myself to eat raw vegetables and lentils soaked in (spring) water over night. Never mind the emissions that a diet like that would cause.
A popular statistic around at the moment is that if the UK closed down all their CO2-emitting power stations, it would take China only six months to fill in the gas gap that we'd left behind. What about India and China together?
The problem with climate change is that there is literally nothing any of us can do to help the situation. Why not recycle? Did you know that most of the stuff you recycle ends up in land-fill? Gemma and I recycle religiously… it's something to do, you know? And yet I know that it's a complete waste of time.
When it comes down to it, the single worst thing I ever do to the environment is air travel. I like to fly to places. It's much quicker than taking a canoe or a bullock-cart. It's selfish of me and I know it's not helping but I like to see my parents once a year if I can. How else am I going to do that? If I forswear that I'll no longer fly then I guess they'd eventually fly out to see me here. So what would I have achieved then? I've got two sets of parents (both parents and both step-parents), a brother, a sister, a step-sister and two half-sisters. By my refusing to fly, I'd force them to fly. So there's no point bothering with it.
My other reason for not helping any more than I already am is skepticism. I've got a sneaking suspicion that things aren't quite as bad as Al "I couldn't even beat George Bush in an election I'd won" Gore would have us believe. The initial warnings on climate change, emissions and environmental damage which came out thirty years ago warned about very similar consequences and that it would be too late by 2006. Well, we haven't done a single thing about it and now we're being told we've got more time, even though the picture being painted is that things are even worse than we thought they were.
My point is: either we're already screwed, or the science isn't completely right. If the science is right, we're already too late to do anything. While this doubtless smacks of lazy refusal to do more to combat climate change, it's something I've struggled with for a long time. I was a real environmentalist a few years back and I'm still pissed off that Bush didn't ratify Kyoto. So what's changed? I got so sick of the religiosity behind the environmentalist movement that I started to question it. My central belief when it comes to politics has become: whatever people keep saying over and over again, mistrust it.
So that's it. I'll keep up with the useless recycling, the energy saving light-bulbs, the public transport and the support for green alternatives to burning coal for electricity production. But I'm going to keep up with my air travel, my expensive, energy hungry gadgets, the coal fire at home in Devon in the winter, putting the heater on, using the tumble-dryer etc etc etc. I make no apologies. I'm just sick of the whole business.
An excellent piece in The Nation's September 11 2006 issue criticises the misuse of the term 'fascism' in today's political dialogue, as well as the nonsense of a concept of 'Islamic-fascism' (or 'Islamo-fascism).
"Islamo-fascism" enrages to no purpose the dwindling number of Muslims who don't already hate us. At the same time, it clouds with ideology a range of situations–Lebanon, Palestine, airplane and subway bombings, Afghanistan, Iraq–we need to see clearly and distinctly and deal with in a focused way. No wonder the people who brought us the disaster in Iraq are so fond of it.
Crystalising perfectly my feelings about this silly term, Katha Pollitt only hints at what I've said before about who precisely is closer to fascism if one compares Osama bin Laden and George Bush, Jr. At least I can be sure of one thing: some people out there continue to care about the meaning of words.
Oh, and while I'm here, I've a nice article in the works about Melanie Phillips, the sour-mouthed darling of the right-wing blogging world.
It can't have escaped anyone who spends all their time watching the news or browsing the internet that Ducados have changed their packaging. By including more white on their packet, they might be trying to trick people into thinking that their cigarettes are in some way a 'light' option. Even I, on buying a pack today, thought I had been tricked into some kind of commie plot to get me to smoke blonde tobacco. Thankfully, this was not the case.
Meanwhile, George Bush's new chief of staff has sacked the president's press secretary and Karl Rove! Well, maybe not Karl Rove, as he seems to have been promoted in some way. There are two or three members of Bush's inner circle who the public would like to be sacked: Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney. Well, apart from Don (who's obviously on the way out), the public are just going to have to wait until these hated men either die or the Republicans are voted out of office.
To those right-wingers out there who fancy a go, let me warn you: I have recently started going to a gym. I am now ready to deal with your surprise attacks. Bring it on!
George Bush has finally come clean about why he took the decision to invade Iraq. According to a Palestinian politician, Mr Bush said that he was commanded by God to invade Afghanistan and Iraq – and that God had also charged him with finding a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. In many ways, Mr Bush's claims are something of a relief. I find it a relief because it means that either Mr Bush has startlingly poor judgement, which really just vindicates everything I thought about him; or it illustrates that he is a callous liar who holds nothing sacred when it comes to achieving his personal goals – something I also believed about him.
Politically, Mr Bush has made a mistake. he seems to have strayed onto territory that his advisors have done well to keep him away from. The evangelical claptrap may well work on middle-America (and I'm not even sure of that…) – but it will cut less ice abroad. It also puts further pressure on his allies. I.E Tony Blair.
Will Tony Blair claim that he too was visited by God? I don't believe that Mr Blair has much faith in anything except himself, but now it seems that he too was simply doing God's bidding. The thing is that Mr Bush may be able to stand up and say hogwash like 'God made me do it', but Tony Blair can't. This isn't because we don't respect religious belief in England. It's because a man should always be personally responsible for his own actions, and that he should control his urges, rather than his urges controlling him. Also, we don't traditionally like evangelical pomposity very much. Which is probably why we're better at doing business and winning wars than the Americans… but I digress.
This guy puts it better than me:
"History is littered with examples of people doing the most bizarre and sometimes wicked things on this basis," said Andrew Blackstock, director of the British-based Christian Socialist Movement. "If Bush really wants to obey God during his time as president he should start with what is blindingly obvious from the Bible rather than perceived supernatural messages.
"That would lead him to the rather less glamorous business of prioritising the needs of the poor, the downtrodden and the marginalised in his own country and abroad.
"When we see more policies reflecting that, it might be easier to believe he has God on his side. And more likely that God might speak to him."
Amen to that.
A court case opened on Monday which at last promises to challenge the decision of the Dover Area School Board to force teachers to present 'Intelligent Design' as a viable alternative to evolutionary theory.
The case is being brought by a group of eleven parents unhappy that the school board seems to be promoting a form of Biblical myth as 'another theory' which has as much place in Biology lessons as Darwin's theory of the origins of species. Many Christian supporters of the school board argue that evolution is 'just a theory' and that so called Intelligent Design deserves the right to be taught in Biology classes because some people believe in it.
Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne wrote an article published on September the 1st explaining that while it may seem reasonable to give equal place to two competing theories, that is not the case with Intelligent Design. The crux of the matter is that no scientists support his theory, no scientific data or investigation backs it up, and that you can't allow religious beliefs to be taught as reasonable science simply because some people believe them. This links in nicely with what I've written here before about religion. I think it's important to understand that just because someone has a religious belief in something, it doesn't follow that their belief deserves challenge-free acceptance from everybody else. It would be easy for me to claim that I believed anything at all, but I should never have the right to see those beliefs unquestioned. In this way, evolutionary theory must be questioned as part of normal scientific debate.
Conversely, it is absolutely right that scientists dismiss Intelligent Design for what it is: a rebadged version of creationism. It has no place in a biology classroom because it is not based on any scientific investigation or genuine theory. Next thing they'll be asking to teach that George Bush invented flying. Or drinking.
Photo of the year! And it's genuine!
George Bush has been pictured writing a note to Condoleezza Rice at the UN's 60th General Assembly. The note reads "I think I MAY NEED A BATHROOM break? Is this possible…".
Apart from the obvious point that it could be construed as 'asking' Ms Rice for permission to go to the bathroom, Mr Bush's writing style is quite telling. The floating question mark, for example, as well as the STRANGE use of UPPERCASE lettering.
Amusing page here about the capabilities of Mike Brown (head of the USA's Federal Emergency Management Agency), and his suitability for the job given to him by George Bush.
If you didn't know, his last job was President of the Arabian Horse Association.
***this message will be repeated from time to time before the Nov 20 elections***
understand this: we Europeans are not trying to subvert your democracy… Bush did that for you well enough. All we want is that you all make a wise, informed decision: go with lies for another four years, or opt for a change.
Americans – Please do not vote for George Bush.
This election affects everyone, but unfortunately only US citizens can vote. Therefore, if you are an American citizen, I urge you to use your vote.
But PLEASE do not vote for George Bush!
Pete Townshend of The Who refused to allow Michael Moore to use one of his songs in Fahrenheit 9/11. He explains that he is not sure about Mr Moore's "credentials" and compares his "nature" to that of George Bush.
An excellent point, Pete. The thing is, you're hardly the guy to lecture on credentials or judgement, now are you? Read the Guardian story here: http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,12589,1261143,00.html