A couple of days ago, I read what in retrospect was a fortuitously timed article on CNN.com. After detailing Osama bin Laden’s escape from Tora Bora, Tim Lister ended by noting that OBL probably wasn’t hiding in the ‘tribal’ area on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border at all. He reckoned that the fugitive might be holed-up in the wilds of Kunar, a remote zone that includes places where “no man has set foot”. Lister was, as we know today, only half right. Osama bin Laden was actually hiding near Islamabad in what seems to have been relative comfort. He was shot dead last night by US special forces.
So the era of bin Laden at #1 on the FBI’s most wanted list (he was already there when the September 11th 2001 attacks happened), is over. I can’t help but feel that it makes little difference now. Because America has already accepted mortal head wounds as ‘justice’, permanent internment camps as ‘security’, and permanent war as normality.
Adam Curtis’s film “The Power of Nightmares” dealt with the twin forces of militant Islamism and neo-conservatism that ended up shaping much of the current geopolitical landscape. Together (and they must always be taken together, for they needed each other desperately), they succeeded in causing probably over a million deaths, most of which occurred in the middle-east. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend that you try to get hold of a copy. UPDATE: As Erik points out in the comments below, the film is available to watch or download for free at the Internet Archive.
If all this is making you nostalgic for the days of “Get this!” Iberian Notes, check out this online novel which features a familiar-sounding character. It’s eerie.
More national policy soon. Until then, sleep well: they haven’t invented their new nightmare yet.
An interesting story from America. It seems that the Bank of America, which essentially underwrites the firm in question has decided that its massive bailout ought not to be spent on paying wages.
Last night, as I went to bed, the very first precints were announcing results in the US Presidential election. From small areas of eastern states, after about 12,000 votes had been counted, Obama stood at 48% while McCain had 52%. I went to bed with those numbers in my head, convinced that it was impossible for McCain to win but also allowing myself a few fleeting thoughts of just what it would mean if America rejected change for an old man clearly under the spell of the most divisive elements of a radicalising Republican party.
But I needn’t have worried. Ever since my original endorsement of Mr. Obama, in February 2007, he has achieved good results in the polls. Now, I’m not saying that part of his victory doesn’t come down to the $500m of donations he received, the huge voter registration drive or the support he received from diverse elements of the electorate. But let’s face it: there are different degrees of importance when you look at these matters. And my endorsement was one of the important ones.
Seriously though, for those of you who worry that Obama’s just not far enough from McCain and the Republicans in terms of policy: you may well be right. But the important thing here is that positivity seems to have won out against the politics of fear, which is, if nothing else, a firm rejection of everything that nasty prick Bush (and his foul team of acolytes) stood for.
Bush remains president until late January next year. He’s apparently busy signing anti-environment legislation, destruction of the environment being something close to his heart.
I’m not someone who regularly remembers dreams. On the whole, my only dream memories seem to be packed with Freudian friction and incredibly odd symbolism. Like last night, I dreamt that I pissed on a bush* and then this guy took us to Berry Pomeroy castle (near where I grew up) and they’d built a huge car park in front of it (it was being dismantled)… but the dream didn’t really go anywhere.
A few months back, I had another dream that I woke remembering. I was strolling around a pleasant Mediterranean town (it looked both Catalan and French) when I happened upon a bar with a couple of tables outside. Sat at one of them was George Bush Jr., nursing one of those Spanish brandy glasses with a pitiful measure of rubbish brandy. There were no Secret Service guys around, so I stepped up and immediately recommended Cardinal de Mendoza as a good Spanish brandy.
He was grateful and bought me a glass too, so I sat down and had a chat with him. My main memory of this chat is that Bush was a charming guy, occasionally clipped but mainly talkative. As I smoked a Ducado, I chatted with Bush about Iraq (he admitted he was wrong but that it had happened so there was nothing much to do).
But when we moved on to crime, we disagreed. I said that I thought that America hadn’t dealt with poverty sufficiently under his presidency. He argued that the sort of people I was talking about were mostly criminals. Shortly afterwards, we went our separate ways; I crossed a bridge and saw Bush’s bodyguards come out of the woodwork.
After I woke, I had the dream of Bush, the good ol’ boy, the bon viveur, the OK guy on my mind… and the taste of Cardenal de Mendoza brandy in my mouth. I liked him.
* Yeah, I know
Poor old John McCain. Yes, he of the strange shape. Yes, he of the hilarious “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” song. I’m not writing about the US presidential elections for various reasons, but given that this is a Spain-related story, I couldn’t resist.
Republican presidential candidate, John McCain was being interviewed recently about how he’d manage relations with the various leaders of Latin American countries upon which the US wreaks havoc at will who don’t have great relations with the United States. As if in training for another GenericOff, McCain muttered about standing up to America’s enemies etc…. But when the interviewer asked him about Spanish PM, Zapatero, McCain allegedly went blank and blustered for a bit, clearly clueless about exactly who this Zapatero guy is.
Now there will be some out there who see this as a surefire sign that Zapatero’s a loser who has taken Spain ‘off the world stage’ where it was put by prince Ansar. That’s the wrong tack, I reckon. The truth is that these days, politicians (and especially presidential candidates) have to answer so many questions about so many things that all they can really do is bluster banal generalities, hoping that they don’t mess it up. McCain’s an old man (which makes this sort of thing that much harder) and clearly suffers from some psychological problems, along with cancer, so I think people should just cut the man some slack and leave him be.
Yes, he’s a dangerous fool; yes, he probably will be president (and potentially an even worse one than GWB); yes, he called his own wife a cunt; yes, he will probably die in office, leaving the the “ugliest hottie ever” to manage the world’s only superpower in the style of a hockey mom…. but you know, there are a hell of a lot of things that McCain doesn’t know, many of them far more important than the PM of Spain’s name.
Those of you who visit thebadrash.com regularly might well be aware that I’m from Devon in England. The second biggest county in the country, Devon is the home of cream teas, Buckfast Tonic* Wine, Old Mother Hubbard and the guys who defeated the Spanish Armada. As well as this, Devon played a crucial role in the establishment of America, played host to a captured Napoleon and is the original location of the world famous Widdecombe Fayre.
So it is with great pride that I, a son of this noble, blessed land, can bring to wider attention the news that once again, Devon has shown itself to be superior to those simpering maniacs to our west, the Cornish. For decades, these Celtic rebels have done their best to steal the limelight from once-proud Devon. At long, long last we can confidently claim that we have scored a major victory against our wicked, seditious neighbours.
That’s right, evidence has proven what many of us have long suspected to be true: the so-called ‘Cornish Pasty’, a delicious snack of buttery pastry, minced beef, turnip and potato is in fact the ‘Devon Pasty’ – and much tastier for the name change, too.
But we Devonish folk won’t gloat about this important moment. Not for long, anyway. The Cornish have lost something which they have valued deeply since they stole it from us, and it must hurt very much to know that they now have nothing.
*Use of the word ‘tonic’ does not imply health-giving or medicinal properties.