Wednesday, 31 October 2007

seeing red

Jenni Russell, writing in the Guardian, thinks the "left" in British politics has ignored immigration for too long, and that they shouldn't be scared of accusations of racism and must address the issue.

Let's say, for the sake of arguement, that immigration is an issue for Britain:
So what? There are issues, and there are problems.

Immigration isn't so bad.

The most recent figures I can find tell me 17% of Britain lives in poverty(or low income, depends on your terminology).
17%!

Jesus Christ! That's (does mental calculation).... a lot of people!

The poorest 50% of the population own 5% of the wealth in Britain.

Perhaps that's a bigger problem than immigration?

In conclusion, let's do INEQUALITY, not immigration.

(reference: UK national statistics online)



I would never recommend Fox News to my worst enemy, but I did enjoy they way they reported the finding of the world's oldest animal (a clam!). Fox News doesn't like science, or scientists, and this is their headline:

"Scientists Find Oldest Living Animal, Then Kill It"

Monday, 29 October 2007

a conversation for grown-ups

David Cameron, erstwhile wobbly chinned leader of the Conswervative party, has called for a "grown up conversation" about immigration. He then vowed to cut immigration and said it was putting "immense" pressure on public services. Very grown up.
The chances of a grown up conversation about immigration with the Conservatives is tiny!
They don't even want a grown up conversation, they want to make immigration an "issue" so the press gets very childish and worked up about it, so we'll end up with Man On Street saying "I'm not racist, but they're comin' over 'ere takin' our jobs" blah blah blah.
When a report has just been released concluding there is a net benefit to the UK from immigration and there's no need for "cuts" to it, calling for cuts to immigration is a bit dim.

If David Cameron wants to be grown up, how about he attacks childish reporting on immigration like this?
And while we're being grown up; David Cameron can fuck off, too.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Gap Kids


Children have been found working in a factory supplying clothes to GAP, who say they are "deeply (upset) and we take this situation very seriously."
Again.
How many times will Gap be "victims" of unscrupulous sub-contractors in India? If their supply chain is so long they don't, finally, know who they're employing, perhaps they should change the system. Having a "policy" on child labour, and paper agreements with factories isn't enough.


Gap Unveils New 'For Kids By Kids' Clothing Line

Friday, 26 October 2007

Food Isn't Working

"Health adviser Professor Julian le Grand, chair of Health England and former adjunct to Tony Blair, has come up with a brainwave: charge smokers £200 a year for the right to smoke"... according to Guardian unlimited. I'm sure it won't get serious consideration, though you never know.
Anyway, in case you miss the point, that's a 200 pound licence to buy cigarettes. Hmmm.

The government seems hell bent on irradicating smoking, so perhaps they ARE considering it.

But, well, they also believe that obesity is going to be a bigger (fatter) problem than climate change, so, how about forcing the overweight to buy a licence to buy cake and pies?

Or we could have calorie rationing; that might work. Anyway, as someone pointed out on the news quiz a couple of weeks ago, the current policy of allowing fat children to be bullied at school clearly isn't working.

Got a licence for that cheeseburger, fatty?

US Government: Stupid.

Iran sanctions offer mixed impact.

Iraq never had the weapons the US accused them of having, so now we're supposed to believe Iran is doing something it repeatedly claims not to be doing.
Well, sorry if this seems lazy, but I am: Fuck America. Fucking idiots.

I've written about Iran before, my arguements haven't changed.. much. No need to repeat myself.

monkey no face

According to the BBC, a Third of primates are 'under threat' .
Are any of those primates members of U2? And if not, what can we do to put them in that third?

Also, the increasingly bizarre Madeleine McCann story just got increasingly bizarrererer... as the parents have released a sketch of the man they believe took their daughter. I might say, "perhaps they might have done this 6 hours and not 6 months after the event", but I won´t, because there´s something even more worrying:

The man who took Madeleine has no face!

The sketch is here.

...Actually, his hair reminds me a little of a certain singer from a certain Irish rock group.... hmmmm

Thursday, 25 October 2007

black mass

John Gray's book, Black Mass, is an attempt to explain the world as one often shaped by apocalyptic religion.


(here's your soundtrack)

For Gray, linear-historical political theory is the same thing, in fact directly influenced by apocalyptic Christian belief.

So, from Francis Fukuyama to Marx, we are told their theses are essentially the same as Christianity. The idea of Utopia is the same as the Apocalypse.

This thrust of the book I find hard to swallow, and I'm not even sure what the point is. I'm not convinced that Utopian political theories are necessarily a direct descendant of apocalyptic religion - there's no reason why someone couldn't come up with the idea of remaking the world on their own - and I'm also not sure what the point is. If Utopian ideas are descended from religions, so what?

There's a lot of filler in this book, a lot of unnecessary repeating of the run up and execution of the Iraq war, although his criticism of that is fine, and in fact quite similar to mine (though he's not interested in Human costs, apparently). Certainly, it doesn't need to be repeated that Bush and Blair are, among other things, deluded idealogues, whose simplified world view has had extremely bad effects on the world, especially the Middle East.

Gray criticises heavily the idea that liberal democracy can be exported forcefully around the world. I agree.

But the last chapter, "Post Apocalypse", is where, as with his last book, I depart. He is a conservative realist to such an extent he can only treat humanity with pessimism. In Gray's world, history is a never ending cycle of order and anarchy, and any progressive gain humanity might make is countered by a slide towards anarchy somewhere else. Very gloomy.

But he seems to think it's a choice between destructive Utopian political projects, or a world filled with Religious myth... but it's a false dichotomy; there are middle ways. It is not necessary, nor has it always been so, for progressive ideas to be as extreme and Utopian as Stalinism or Neo-conservatism. It's possible for politics to be a gradual and subtle push in a direction that improves the general lot.

There is an implication that Liberalism is Utopian, which is misleading, as progressive is not the same as Utopian at all.
And his solution is "realism".

Realism in International Relations, academically, became unpopular basically because it's a bit crap. There are good points to it, mainly the one about "being realistic", which I would translate at keeping one's feet on the ground and head out of the clouds. But the main problem with it, and incredibly Gray makes no apology for this, is that it believes the world is static, unchanging. In a realist world view, there is no progress, and the world is in a cauldron of hot power-politics from which it will never escape. Realism cannot help.

For realists, self interest and power rule the world. Of course self interest impacts the decisions of nations etc, but OF COURSE that is not the only thing. To say, as realists do, that all decisions are self interested, and the outcomes a result of the relative power of the parties involved, is far too simplistic. Nations, like humans, are more complex than that, and we act for a variety of reasons, not only cold self interest. If that were true there would be no humanitarian movements in the world, no sympathy for the plight of other peoples.

It is realists like Grey that are the simpletons, and the extremists, as they don't accept the complexities and nuances of human existence and international relations. The evidence of genuine human moral progress (I accept not for everyone everywhere) runs counter to the Realist world. The best ethics today are better than those a millenia or more ago, I think we can be sure of that. That there are some whose behaviour comes up short of what we believe to be "good" in the 21st century does not mean we should give up trying to promote them.

I'm not writing a book, so I'm not going to go over point by point what's wrong with Black Mass. In terms of reading enjoyment, it's not as direct and infuriating as it's predecessor "Straw Dogs", but I enjoyed it none the less, as it refreshed my passions against Realist thought.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

beardy wonder

...last week-ish J.K Rowling said that one of her characters in Harry Potter, Dumbledor, is gay. A gay man in a private school?? What a surprise.
Anyway, someone in the Gruaniad thinks she could have said so earlier, or made more of it in the books themselves... because, 'there are literally millions of young Harry Potter readers who will one day realise they are gay.' (I assume not BECAUSE they read Harry Potter.)
I haven't read any of the books, because I was about 20 when the series started, and the thing about being 20 is - YOU'RE NOT A CHILD - and I'm still not. There are still many more books for adults I have to read first... I digress; I haven't read them, but understand they're about a boy called Harry, who's at school. Why would we need to know about the relationships of one of the teachers? That would be a bit weird: It is for kids.
Anyway, although The Onion seems to be dropping in quality at the moment, these "what do you think" comments, on this subject, are pretty spot on :)

Gracias a G por este;



oh, another one, why not. Gracias a yo por este!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Liars and frauds

By the way, I have to say that the "Society of Homeopaths", Europe's largest professional organisation of homeopaths, are a bunch of liars and frauds. They have absolutely no evidence that any of their medicine - or as rational people would say "shit" - works at all.
They are LIARS. Their approach to health nonsense.
The Society of Homeopaths are lying, duplicitous, stupid, fraudulent less than a molecule of cheese eating idiot monkeys. Everything they say is wrong.

Did I mention they are liars, and that they eat babies?

Monday, 22 October 2007

Bardzo dobrzy

Opposition triumph in Polish election.
Which is nice.
There's nothing else to talk about.

I am reading "Black Mass" by philosopher John Gray, who's previous book "Straw Dogs" was excellent, in the sense that I disagreed with everything he wrote. But it was an enjoyable intellectual debate. I am already starting to see holes in this book too, but I'll wait till I've finished.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

llamatron

Is he an idiot? Is he misguided? Or is he GUIDED by God?

Am I asking about religious nut-job GW Bush? No, I'm asking about the "Bono of religion"; the Dalai Lama.

What did he hope to achieve by accepting a "Congressional Gold Medal" from the war-mongering "leader of the free world"? Actually, what DOES the DL do, anyway? He highlights the plight of Tibet, and otherwise swans around the globe giving speeches to legions of nu-hippy gullible western gitwits who'll believe anything if it's from the gob of an orange-robed shaven-headed grin-box. How does grinning next to GW Bush help his people's plight?


I'm all in favour of "free Tibet", or whatever, but sod Buddhism; it's rubbish. It allows you to fell good about yourself, apparently, by "feeling good about yourself" and "doing things with love". Like that makes any difference. It's another silly religion, perhaps a more innocent one than Catholicism, but that don't make it right.

In fact, the experience of the "free Tibet" movement is instructive about awareness. I think we're all aware of Tibet's plight. Unfortunately, noone told anyone to actually do anything about it (especially as that would upset China, and we need their poor people to make our clothes and little luxuries of modern capitalism cheap for us).

"Awareness" and it's ugly cousin "celebrity endorsement" doesn't achieve anything now. The "Free Mandela" concert may have helped, but only as a small addition to broad international financial sanctions against South Africa.
Being aware of Tibet, without pushing it's oppressor is inneffectual.

Does the Dalai Lama say stuff like that? I don't know, as I can't be bothered to listen to him.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

detox patches

Either "Migrants are a boon to UK economy", or, "Government finally admits: Immigration IS placing huge strain on Britain".

The first story is from The Guardian, and the second from The Daily-written-for-small-minded-shits-Mail.

In story one, immigrants add 6 billion pounds to the UK economy, in story two, "dirty stinking 'comin over 'ere and takin' our jobs immigrants" cost the economy 8.8 billion pounds.

Well, it's not because I'm a woolly liberal that I tend to think the first story is probably more correct than the second.

It's because The Daily Mail story is disgusting, little England xenophobic scare-mongering. The Daily Mail filters readers comments quite heavily, from what I've seen, so that they allow the following probably means they agree. Deep breath:

"Great! After 10 years, the absolutely blinking obvious has suddenly dawned on this Government. Now all we have to do is shut the borders and round up the 7 or 8 Million people that they've let in illegally, and ship them out. Piece of cake!"

Said Paul Y, from Stockport.

Is this really the 21st Century? Or are we in 1930s Germany?

Personally, I'd have lazy, shock-tactic, scaremongering journalists rounded up and shipped out, and then shot, just for good measure. Even the worst immigrant (an Australian, probably) is a million times more useful and humane than a Daily Mail journalist.

huff.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

call to arms.

..I don't read many blogs, just mine and another, because, perhaps like mine, they all suck.
But not only do they all suck, they all look SHIT too. Don't like my "design"? At least I have one! I'm going to be a bitch, and list some "popular" blogs which are poo, are un-inventive in content and have no sense of style:
flyingrodent
A Big Stick and a Small Carrot
stumblingandmumbling
agoraphilia
really horrid!
and it goes on and on and on. I can barely be bothered to skim them. Ugly blogs, man. What's the point? If I want to see ugly, I'll go on the metro.
But it reminds me of the pointlessness of Web 2.0. It's too busy, there's too much, and no-one has time to read every individual's rambles (like mine). Some of them are terribly self important... I still get embarrassed if I discover someone has read mine, and I hope I'll continue to be.
Bah. I'm feeling anti-media in general today.
And, I'm really not making any claims myself, but the poorness of blogging in general makes me angry; it's just crrraaaap. Not much of a revelation, I know, but I'll try harder myself, in future. And perhaps after people stop writing shit, they'll sort out their god-awful ugly designs.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

What about the baby?

In England, or Britain or whatever it is, Gordon Brown, the PM, is apparently having a bad time... but, I've been following politics for a while, and to be quite honest, all this CRISIS!! DISASTER!! stuff is pretty much invented by the media. They speculate; fuel the speculation,; then watch their unreal "political drama" unfold.

It's boring, and I don't give a shit. Neither should anyone else.

You could watch music cartoons at eyebrowy.com instead.
"The bloke out of Keane" is funny, and I really like the Mike Skinner "easiest way to make a hard album", in part three of which you see "the Mitchell brothers" from Eastenders rapping...

"Where you goin? AAAAHHHT"

Friday, 12 October 2007

just how it works



...I've always been a bit indifferent about the Beatles, and I noticed yesterday, walking through the Metro, that they're not improved when played on one of those keyboard things you blow through. A little internet research has been fruitless, so if you don't know what I mean, you don't know.
Anyway, as I turned the corner, the busker started another track, "every breath you take", by the Police: both band and track I actively dislike.
I can honestly say, though, that said track is improved when interpreted by a bad busker on a keyboard thingy you blow through.

Talking of Bonafied Lovin', this video is just wonderful:

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Girl, you're stupid

Oh, I love advertising. So it's lucky I'm not a woman, because advertisers, some of whom may actually be women, think women are idiots.
I've met a woman before, and I must say I found her to be very much like a normal human, and not an idiot at all.
The advertisers who not only think women are stupid, but actively hate them too, are those in the cosmetics industry.
Nivea are a good(bad) example with their brain-draining "oxygen cream", here's a link, and they even hate men too (in Polish!).
So, you really would have to be an idiot to buy oxygen power from these evil people, but not all advertisers are so upfront.
Some of them are sneaky buggers, and try to seem "good". Scratch underneath the surface, however, and the evil bubbles through.

So, on to the provocation for today's blog, DOVE. Here's a "Dove film":




Do I have to spell out the hypocrisy?

Yes.

YOU SELL "BEAUTY PRODUCTS", DOVE, YOU UTTER BASTARDS.

And it gets worse (and possibly worse again, but I dared go no further), if you visit the website you will find a "girls only interactive self-esteem zone", which bizarrely seems not to mention the fact they think your soap needs 1/3 moisturiser in it or you'll turn into a social outcast troll monster thing.
Dreadful, shameless people, these advertising types.
They can't ALWAYS have been like this, in fact one of the funniest thing I can remember is this powdered mashed potato advert, but perhaps I'm easily amused.



Look what I achieved!
I'm so happy!

Friday, 5 October 2007

nice things

It would be a Belgian, I suppose.. But anyway, here's the best thing anyone has said about nationalism, or identity in general:

Rik Torfs, professor of church law at Leuven University, said,

"Why should you be proud of your own identity? I am a man, and I'm not proud of it; I am a Belgian, and I'm not proud of it. It can give you a very nice feeling."

The world would be a much better place filled with people like this, instead of men who are proud of their "identities". You could be proud of something you did, but not what you are; that's egotistical crap. It's childish.

So, let's all be Belgian - apparently it means very little, which is the best kind of identity I can think of.

work

My favourite painter, Pablo Palazuelo, has died, just before his 91st birthday.





It may be obvious to some people why I like his work so much.