Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or
orator; a ranter. (from oed.com).
This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant.
15 years ago today was the announcement of the ceasefire at the end of Gulf War 1.
135 US troops were killed, 35 of them with 'friendly fire'. Of the 16 British soldiers killed 9 were killed by Americans. Iraqi deaths were conservatively put as between 50 and a 100 thousand.
The thing is though, Gulf war 1 never really stopped. The US and UK were bombing Iraq on and off for the whole time between the two wars. A brutal sanctions regime was put in place that the UN claims led to the deaths of at least 500,000 people. Famously Madeleine Albright said that she felt the price was 'worth it'.
Two more UK soldiers today, thousands more Iraqi's in internicine fighting and clashes with the US and UK (and let's not forget the tent, camel and a couple of chef's donated by other countries in the 'Coalition of the willing (TM).'
The people of Iraq have been under assault for years. From Saddam and from the West. In our long years of 'helping' them things have gone from bad to worse to absolutely deplorable.
LEAVE NOW - This is all this boy has ever known. How does this help?
"The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?
Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.
We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the dew in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and man all belong to the same family.
The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each glossy reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father. The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give the rivers the kindness that you would give any brother. If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life that it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also received his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So if we sell our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers. Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.
This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. One thing we know: our God is also your God. The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.
Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? The wild horses tamed? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted with talking wires? Where will the thicket be? Gone! Where will the eagle be? Gone! And what is to say goodbye to the swift pony and then hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival.
When the last red man has vanished with this wilderness, and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forests still be here? Will there be any of the spirit of my people left?
We love this earth as a newborn loves its mother's heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it, as we have cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children, and love it, as God loves us.
As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you.
Ok, this is hardly topical but I felt like saying it anyway.
"That Henry Ford, the famous automobile manufacturer gave money to the National Socialists directly or indirectly has never been disputed" - Konrad Heiden, one of the first biographers of Hitler
In school we hear about the great man who invented assembly line production and paid his workers enough to be able to buy the product they were making thus revolutionising capitalism and the world. We don't hear about how this made almost everyone's job insufferably boring. Or how this meant that workers were now 'as replaceable as piston rods'.
We don't hear about this either...
Ford built tanks for the Nazis And the Nazis used those tanks To kill off lots of soldiers In the U.S. Army ranks Yes, Henry Ford was a fascist And a nasty one was he He'd build tanks for anyone For the proper fee
Henry Ford spoke to his lackeys And he said, "isn't this great? "We'll attack our enemies "And we'll retaliate!" Henry Ford was a fascist And a cunning liar, too A brownshirt with a swastika Draped in red, white and blue
Henry Ford spoke to his workers And he said, "you dare not strike! "You must be patriotic "And take on my Third Reich!" Yes, Henry Ford was a fascist And he had not a care About the dying soldiers That made him a billionaire
Ford built tanks for the Nazis And he built many more To kill off lots of peasants In Peru and Salvador Yes, Henry Ford was a fascist I heard that when he died The last words to leave his lips Was "arbeit macht frei"
The dollar was his icon On whichever shore And Henry's only motto Was "make money and make war" Yes, Henry Ford was a fascist That's all I have to say I will spit on Henry's rotting grave Until my dying day
For the second time in a while something I have done is being deemed 'Unsuitable and Inappropiate'. The second video that was originally on the post below has been taken off www.youtube.com (for any Glaswegians 'youtube' is not a term of abuse in this context).
I have taken it out now and just post the link for download..
I have already posted 2 of these as links but thought I would just stick them straight up. Some of you will have seen them already and some won't. The first two are short little Lord of the Rings remakes and the third one most of you won't have heard of. It is 45 minutes long and one of the funniest things I have ever seen.
Absolutely fantastic. All 3 of them are hilarious. As far as i know they never did a third Lord of the rings one
I really shouldn't post these things. It would be easy for me to go out into the street with a microphone right now and find a whole host of stupid people and edit out any sensible ones I found. It is not just the US.
Nevertheless, it is on one hand very scary to see how little people know about world affairs and on the other hand... it is quite funny.
Stick by the first 15 seconds. It is a sort of Australian 'Daily Show' or 'The Day Today'
Just had to add this. It is about 6 seconds long and it is Nixon explaining Bush administration policy...
I just want to clarify why I posted what I did yesterday. There is a fuller explanation at the end of the comments but in brief...
I am not asking anyone to admire the people who went and fought. That is their own choice, and on the whole I wouldn't admire them. I am not at all into glorifying the military.
It is merely what was said on 1820 before the list....namely...
"Okay - maybe you don't want soldiers in office but the point of hypocrisy is valid enough, and OFTEN those who have been in war are the least likely to start them"
i know - only OFTEN - not always.
ALSO, I don't buy the republican/democrat or tory/labour thing either. I just think it made interesting reading. I have changed the front page cartoon accordingly
ALSO ALSO - I have made a bit of a change to my cost of war counter (just on the right). It has been bugging me for a while so I changed to something a bit more accurate. If anyone else feels the need to do something similar it is very easy.
Since I was talking in the previous posts (please look again there is a bit of an update) about a disproportionate amount of Scots signing up and being killed this little piece piqued my interest regarding the USA.
"Who is fit to lead this country in war?" Okay - maybe you don't want soldiers in office but the point of hypocrisy is valid enough, and often those who have been in war are the least likely to start them...(PS I don't get the Ted Nugent joke either)
* Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71. * David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72. * Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72. * Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade. * Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam. * Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII. * John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star withCombat V Purple Hearts. * Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea. * Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam. * Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53. * Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74. * Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91. * Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and sevencampaign ribbons. * Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars, and Soldier’s Medal. * Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit. * Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart. * Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam;Bronze Star with Combat V. * Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star. * Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57 * Chuck Robb: Vietnam * Howell Heflin: Silver Star * George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII. * Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but received #311. * Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy. * Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953 * John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and Air Medal with 18Clusters. * Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.
* Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage. * Dennis Hastert: did not serve. * Tom Delay: did not serve. * Roy Blunt: did not serve. * Bill Frist: did not serve. * Mitch McConnell: did not serve. * Rick Santorum: did not serve. * Trent Lott: did not serve. * John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business. * Jeb Bush: did not serve. * Karl Rove: did not serve. * Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." The man who attacked Max Cleland's patriotism. * Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve. * Vin Weber: did not serve. * Richard Perle: did not serve. * Douglas Feith: did not serve. * Eliot Abrams: did not serve. * Richard Shelby: did not serve. * Jon Kyl: did not serve. * Tim Hutchison: did not serve. * Christopher Cox: did not serve. * Newt Gingrich: did not serve. * Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor. * George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got assigned to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate; failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from duty. * Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non-combat role making movies. * B-1 Bob Dornan: Consciously enlisted after fighting was over in Korea. * Phil Gramm: did not serve. * John McCain: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, PurpleHeart and Distinguished Flying Cross. * John M. McHugh: did not serve. * JC Watts: did not serve. * Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee problem," although continued in NFL for 8 years. * Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard. * Rudy Giuliani: did not serve. * George Pataki: did not serve. * Spencer Abraham: did not serve. * John Engler: did not serve. * Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer. * Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.
Pundits & Preachers
* Sean Hannity: did not serve. * Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a 'pilonidal cyst.') * Bill O'Reilly: did not serve. * Michael Savage: did not serve. * George Will: did not serve. * Chris Matthews: did not serve. * Paul Gigot: did not serve. * Bill Bennett: did not serve. * Pat Buchanan: did not serve. * John Wayne: did not serve. * Bill Kristol: did not serve. * Kenneth Starr: did not serve. * Antonin Scalia: did not serve. * Clarence Thomas: did not serve. * Ralph Reed: did not serve. * Michael Medved: did not serve. * Charlie Daniels: did not serve. * Ted Nugent: did not serve. (He only shoots at things that don't shoot back.)
As a sort of update to yesterdays post I just wanted to add this fantastic little piece I found that was written in response to an editorial in WW2 that was bemoaning why the war poets weren't encouraging young men to sign up to defend King and country and all that bollocks.
I think it is a real gem...
WHERE ARE ALL THE WAR POETS - Cecil Day Lewis
They who in folly or mere greed Enslaved religion, markets, laws, Borrow our language now and bid Us to speak up in freedom's cause.
It is the logic of our times, No subject for immortal verse - That we who lived by honest dreams Defend the bad against the worse.
I was listening to music on the way up the road today and one of those strange synergistic things happened. There were some military recruiters and as I walked by this tune by The Pogues came on...
As I was walking down the road A feeling fine and larky oh A recruiting sergeant came up to me Says he you'd look fine in khaki oh For the King he is in need of men Come read this proclamation oh A life in Flanders for you then Would be a fine vacation now
That maybe so says I to him But tell me sergeant dearie-oh If I had a pack stuck upon my back Would I look fine and cheerie oh For they'd have you train and drill until They had you one of Frenchies oh It may be warm in Flanders But it's draughty in the trenches oh
The sergeant smiled and winked his eye His smile was most provoking oh He twiddled and twirled his wee moustache Says he I know you're only joking oh For the sandbags are so warm and high The wind you won't feel blowing oh Well I winked at a cailin passing by Says I what if it's snowing oh
Come rain or hail or wind or snow I'm not going out to Flanders oh There's fighting in Dublin to be done Let your Sergeants and your Commanders go Let Englishmen fight English wars It's nearly time they started oh I saluted the Sergeant a very good night And there and then we parted oh
This all jogged my memory. My brother once said to me that about 50% of the SAS was made up of Scots even though Scotland only accounts for about 9% of the British population. I don't know if it is true but he was quite proud of this. He is a supporter of Scottish independence so I asked why he should be so proud of Scotland doing England's dirty work for it. He didn't have a reply.
I decided to look into it a bit more. Not the SAS stuff but the general numbers involved.
As I said, Scots make up about 9% of the UK population but it seems that more Scots as a percentage get killed in almost every war we have been to.
World War 1 - 27% of the Scots that fought were killed as opposed to the 12% total for the UK as a whole .
In World War 2 the Scots accounted for a third of the UK's dead.
In Korea the Scots were one in four of the UK's dead.
In Iraq 14 of the UK's dead have been Scottish, which accounts for about 14%. I haven't been able to find stats for how many of those sent are Scottish as opposed to English. Incidentally, there is often talk here that the British run sections of Iraq better than the Americans but the UK total of just over 100 deaths is consistent with the amount of American casualties when you factor in the numbers of troops sent.
The historical record is even more damning. When the Jacobite rebellion was put down the majority of those killing the rebellious Scots were other Scots fighting for the British Crown. What reward for service and loyalty were these people given? Here is a quote that tells you...
[The Duke of] Cumberland gave orders for "No Quarter Given": in other words 'none shall live'. His army marched on and killed every wounded Highlander left on the field - and then made his way to Inverness to carry on the fight. Raiding homes looking for Jacobites, all were labeled as one and swiftly put either to the end of a musket - bayonet - hangmans rope or burnt alive in their homes. Women, children, old and young, his orders were "No Quarter Given" - and none was. For months his army moved around the Highlands clearing out any threat once and for all that Highlander should ever pick up a Broadsword against England.
The English parliament, in reply to Cumberlands reports, said that "It will be no great mischief if all should fall". The support for Cumberland's ethnic cleansing was total.
Some 500 years before Culloden it is also documented that King Edward (Longshanks) I of England said "The trouble with Scotland is that it is full of Scots". Famous words that were spoken not only by Longshanks, but by every conquering Englishman who set foot on Scottish soil. It was now 1746, and these words were being echoed by these gentlemen, albeit in a different sentence.
The thought occurs - why on earth do we keep doing it?
One possibility is economic conscription - Scotland is a poorer country than England and it is likely that more people go into the military because of lack of opportunities in other areas.
Scotland has always been kept tied to England through a combination of force and bribery. Some people in Scotland have tried to fight this, others have went along with it and played their part in all the empire building and the genocide. Our hands are dirty, no doubt about it, but when Tony Blair goes on about being willing to pay "a blood sacrifice" I just wish the people of Scotland would realise that it is statistically and historically far more likely to be them that is paying it.
Two things here, both fantastic but for different reasons. As the title said, its about looking at things you know well with a new perspective. I just found the second one and the first one has been making me laugh for years...
Some useful info for a time when you may be debating a neocon...
WHO'S A SUBSIDY JUNKIE THEN??
The EU subsidises its farmers to the tune of $62 billion per year, the Japanese $31 billion and the United States around $19 billion. A couple of years back some estimates said that the figures were artificially low and that total western farm subsidies were $350 billion. This is more than the GNP from all sub-Saharan Africa.
The nations of the EU as a combined total of bilateral aid from their own individual initiatives and EU aid transfer just 0.51 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to developing countries per annum. This is done under Official Development Assistance programmes and bilateral programmes between individual nations from within the EU and in bilateral programmes between the EU and other developing nations. This is to be contrasted with a figure of 0.32 percent for Japan and 0.18 percent for the United States.
It is also worth noting that it is not purely from humanitarian feelings or needs that this aid is given, the EU recoups $48 of every $100 given in aid through purchases of goods and services from EU members
Food aid is also not entirely a goodwill gesture. It is mainly a product of Common agricultural policy overproduction.
The world's major industrial nations have in fact increased their level of protectionism in recent years by more than 20% according to the United Nations (UN). Even the director of development policy at the WB, Ian Goldin "Poor people cannot escape their level of poverty because of subsidies in the developed world"
In the late 80's and early 90's aid to Eastern Europe rose from 4% to 32.6% of the total budget. For the poorest countries it fell from 68.7% to 43.6%. This was mainly in order to stop an influx of refugees from the East coming into the EU.
The EU is a money trap and politicians LIKE it, nevertheless, there are votes to be won by pretending to defy the EU - this happens in all the EU countries. Politicians will make deals together and then return home and abuse the EU.
Around 60 firms of US and Japanese parentage have set up inside the EU to avoid the difficulties of trading with the EU from outside its confines.
Also, the public are grossly misinformed about the EU as a whole - sometimes deliberately so. In the 1990s a reservoir of jingoistic bile that hadn't been tapped in years was unleashed when the EU apparently tried to enforce a regulation that would only allow the sale of straight bananas. This simply wasn't true. There is no level of bureaucratic nitpicking that would come up with such a policy - there is absolutely no reason for such a policy. The fact of the matter was that the EU wished to buy more of its bananas from the former colonies of the UK and France in the Caribbean. This was to fend off a possible upsurge in unemployment in these areas. The Caribbean bananas are slightly different in size to the Latin American bananas that were being replaced and the anti-EU sections of the media took this story and came up with the 'straight banana theory' as a means of discrediting the EU. And it worked. Most people believed it.
I have put a new thing on under 'Warmonger of the Week'. It is just a series of direct links through to some of my favourite articles and things that really help explain the mess we are in and what we could do about it. I will add to it as I go and am happy to accept suggestions.
When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. The movement becomes headlong - faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thoughts of obstacles and forget that a precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush till it is too late.
Frank Herbert (Dune, P441)
"I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn't do my job."-- President Bush, quoted during a private meeting with an Amish group.
From 'Yes Minister'. It is still true on the whole...
"Humphrey knows nothing about newspapers. He's a civil servant. I'm a politician, I know all about them. I have to. They can make or break me. I know exactly who reads them. The Times is read by the people who run the country. The Daily Mirror is read by the people who think they run the country. The Guardian is read by the people who think they ought to run the country. The Morning Star is read by the people who think the country ought to be run by another country. The Independent is read by people who don't know who is running the country but are sure they are doing it wrong. The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country. The Financial Times is read by the people who own the country. The Daily Express is read by the people who think the country ought to be run as it used to be run. The Daily Telegraph is read by the people who still think it is their country. And the Sun's readers don't care who runs the country providing she has big tits."
It is staggering how much Orwell got right. Change a couple of locations and all of this is more important than ever. The left is often accused of not having alternative plans to what is going on and although this is untrue I think an important point is mentioned in this little quote (and I wouldn't describe myself as a socialist either....thats not the point...
"Socialist thought has to deal in prediction, but only in broad terms. One often has to aim at objectives which one can only very dimly see. At this moment, for instance, the world is at war and wants peace. Yet the world has no experience of peace, and never has had, unless the Noble Savage once existed. The world wants something which it is dimly aware could exist, but cannot accurately define. This Christmas Day, thousands of men will be bleeding to death in the Russian snows, or drowning in icy waters, or blowing one another to pieces on swampy islands of the Pacific; homeless children will be scrabbling for food among the wreckage of German cities. To make that kind of thing impossible is a good objective. But to say in detail what a peaceful world would be like is a different matter.
Nearly all creators of Utopia have resembled the man who has toothache, and therefore thinks happiness consists in not having toothache. They wanted to produce a perfect society by an endless continuation of something that had only been valuable because it was temporary. The wider course would be to say that there are certain lines along which humanity must move, the grand strategy is mapped out, but detailed prophecy is not our business. Whoever tries to imagine perfection simply reveals his own emptiness."
Due to a series of cartoons and a desperate attempt with Ted Danson, Gulliver's Travels has been ruined for a lot of people.
It is most vehemently NOT a childrens book. It is one of the most biting satires you are ever likely to read. If you haven't read it, put aside the rubbish versions and get to the real thing.
Jonathan Swift was not enamoured with the way in which the society (political, social and economic) of his time was organised. In Gullivers Travels he is attacking the basis of European society in the eighteenth century and its norms (or its aberrations that had come to be seen as norms). There are many instances in the novel where Gulliver finds himself explaining the foundations of government and society in Britain and Europe at that time. As his speeches about the beauties of a certain system are related to the various people Gulliver encounters in the novel he speaks in such a way that the complexities are decipherable to people with no preconceived ideas about what they are hearing. This means that we too find that we are hearing about ourselves in a different light.
These highly satirical passages include a wonderful lampooning of the legal profession,
"There was a society of men among us, bred up from their youth in the art of proving by words multiplied for the purpose, that white is black and black is white, according as they are paid. To this society all the rest are slaves."
Later, when cross-examined by the Brobdingnagian King (Lilliput is the small people place Brobdingnagians are the giants) he finds himself wishing...
"for the tongue of Demosthenes or Cicero, that might have enabled me to celebrate the praise of my own dear native country in a style equal to its merits and felicity."
Gulliver wants to prove the beauty of the Western systems to the King. After several eulogies about such things the King can only say that the system of government, which Gulliver believes encourages virtue (not Machiavellian Virtu), is in fact a filthy vice-ridden conglomerate where
"laws are best explained, interpreted, and applied by those whose interests and abilities lie in perverting, confounding and eluding them." This resolves itself with the most memorable "I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of odious little vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth."
Strong stuff for the time. Read this book, it is one of the best satires you will ever read and despites its misanthropy it is still right on the mark today.
These people who are saying they are supporting the soldiers are at the pinnacle of ignorance because our soldiers are walking along contaminated ground...We dropped depleted uranium over there and its radiological and we have 160,000 of us that get a cheque every month for $201 for undiagnosed illnesses because if they diagnosed it that means that they would have to admit that they used radiological fucking weapons over there.
- Depleted and non-depleted uranium conventional weapons used by the USA, the UK and Canada have put more nuclear material in the environment than all of the nuclear weapons testing programmes put together
- Although some people classify these weapons as battlefield weapons the UN classifies them as weapons of indiscriminate effect because they remain in the environment for so long that they obviously affect civilians
- There is no instruction in any medical school anywhere in the western world researching into the effects of uranium contamination and its effects. This is because it is not allowed to be taught in any universities anywhere
- Troops are misinformed (or not informed enough) about the possible harmful effects of these weapons. The military does not acknowledge the full dangers of these weapons so why, on its terms, should it warn them?
- The methodologies used in the government testing and decontamination programmes are "not accurate, they are not correct, they are improper and they don't use the right chemistry and the right physics therefore they cannot say one way or the other whether the people they have allegedly examined have been exposed or not. It is just not possible"
- The normal masks given out do not protect against 'aerosoled' DU
- The private research groups have got in line with the governments to say that there is not that much of a problem
- One of the odd properties of uranium is that it begins to replace the calcium in your bones. From there it is released back into the blood and begins destroying other cells somewhere else in your body until more cells are eliminated or mutated. This cycle continues to your death
- There has been a clampdown on any reporting of Gulf war syndrome
- The official quantities are about the DU fired from a few different military vehicles. This does not account for the Uranium used in the bunker busters and the high altitude bombs. He estimates around 2000 tonnes of uranium was used in operation Iraqi freedom. This is four times the amount used in Gulf war 1
- There could be quadrillions of particles loose in the bombed areas and beyond (they get lifted and moved by the wind). These particles can remain airborne for months
He also says that even if you have no objection to any of this on environmental or humanitarian grounds then you should consider that the bill will have to be picked up somewhere by those who have been dropping these weapons. The media's coverage of the use of DU has been deplorable. Danny Schechter's excellent film 'Weapons of Mass Deception' shows a UK army office and on the board behind the soldier is a list of subjects they are not to mention in the media. One of them was DU. It also shows an exceptional piece of footage where a German reporter is standing next to a tank with a Geiger counter which is buzzing away merrily. When he questions the US soldier the soldier point blank denies the information in front of him and keeps saying "this tank is not radioactive" before walking away. Make an attempt to see this film.
There is a wonderful short about it called Your tax dollars at work but be warned, it is not for those with a weak stomach.
Although they are widely despised, not many people know the true ins and outs of how the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs - The IMF, the World Bank) actually work.
Here is the first of a few posts that should help you to be able to win a few arguments. It's sort of a techincal piece with only a little abuse thrown in.
In the first of these posts (which I will do once a week or so if they seem to be popular) I want to begin by looking at what THEY say they do...
The IMF charter states it wishes,
"To promote international monetary cooperation through a permanent institution which provides the machinery for consultation and collaboration on international monetary problems"
The "permanent institution" (it is not in fact permanent - it can be unmade just as easily as it was made) that we now have in place does provide a framework for consultation but it is all too one-way. A poor country in trouble is likely to be forced to consult with the IMF as to whether or not it may borrow. This is because although the IMF and World Bank only have limited amounts of money with which to lend themselves in the form of direct loans, structural funds or special drawing rights (SDRs), the IMF and World Trade Organisation (WTO) will recommend to the major banks and companies whether or not a country is suitable to lend to. This is top-down management. The facts are presented to the IMF by a nation seeking to borrow. The IMF then "consults and collaborates" with the World Bank and any other agencies or banks who may be wishing to lend and finally, stringent conditions are placed upon the country in question in return for a loan. These are likely to include the privatisation of public services such as health or water. Any natural resources are likely to be forced into the hands of the multinational corporations. The Second article of the IMF charter is -
"To facilitate the expansion and balanced growth of international trade, and to contribute thereby to the promotion and maintenance of high levels of employment and real income and to the development of the productive resources of all members as primary objectives of economic policy."
What then has happened? 55 years on we have a situation whereby if ninety percent of the debts of the 12 poorest countries on Earth were cancelled, they would still not be able to service even the interest on 10 percent of their debts? This is clearly not "balanced growth". Also roughly 80% of the wealth in the world is tied up with 20% of the population. The World Bank itself admits that real incomes have failed to rise for the last 20 years. Not only this, but at current growth rates it would take the rest of the world the nearly a millennium to catch up with the wealthiest parts.
Item 3 on the charter is,
"To promote exchange stability, to maintain orderly exchange arrangements among members, and to avoid competitive exchange deprecation."
The IMF encourages the fixing of "exchange arrangements" when it feels its the best thing to do. Fixing currencies to the dollar being the favourite technique. It did no discernible good for countries such as Argentina.
For now I will skip to part 6...
"In accordance with the above, to shorten the duration and lessen the degree of disequilibrium in the international balances of payments of members."
This is clearly failing. In the worlds 12 poorest countries if 90 percent of the debts were cancelled even the interest on the remaining 10 percent would still be unserviceable. The role of the IMF is to cut the trade and fiscal deficit of a nation to a few percent of its GDP. It manages this sometimes, but it manages by beating a nations economy into submission by slashing the amount of trade the country is doing both internally and externally, not by stimulating growth.
Large corporations look after their major shareholders. The major shareholders of the IMF and World Bank are the rich countries. This is because the amount of votes a country gets is tied to the size of its economy. Calls for a population based rather than economy based voting system have been ignored. It is important to remember that the IMF and World Bank have met some of their own objectives - it's just that for some time it has been obvious that the objectives of the IMF and World Bank are not the same objectives as many of the worlds poorest countries have. The plan of most governments in poor countries is to raise standards of living in the long term through better housing health and education, to try to avoid food and water shortages and the like. The plan of the IMF is to even out a nations accounts and make it able to pay its debts in order that the international financial system may run smoother - hopefully in the short term. These two aims are mutually exclusive. The current state of affairs for most of the poorest countries on earth means that it is simply not feasible to accomplish both these aims simultaneously.
If you haven't already, then make a serious point of going and renting THE CORPORATION
We have a new warmonger of the week (down the right hand side).
There is a new opinion poll too.
The results of the previous poll are.....drum roll please....
Tony Blair is George Bush's ?
Poodle - 24%
Bitch - 47%
Pimp - 7%
Stooge - 20%
Attack Dog - 2%
I have a confession to make. The 'Attack Dog' bit was there to see how many of you would get it. After WW2 the British Government rather huffily conceded that they would be reduced to the 'junior partner' in UK plc. and USA Inc. attempts to dominate the globe. The US government preferred that the UK take the role of 'attack dog'. That is of course in the diplomatic sense. With the British trumpeting the US position the USA does not look isolated in its dealings with the rest of the world. They then have the cheek to call themselves 'The international Community'.
You can vote for as many options as you like in the poll.
Blogger has been acting strangely for a couple of days. I have the comments you all posted in email and as soon as it sorts itself out I will repost them and put your names on them (unless it was anonymous).
I know a few others have been having problems. Is it fixed now?
I am going out celebrating and am too excited to concentrate on writing anything - see previous post.
Also, now that I have more readers I can repost some of the earlier stuff that no one will have looked at. What with the BNP stuff this week, I think its time to repost this one...
All through the story the immigrants came The Gael and the Pict, the Angle and Dane From Pakistan, England and from the Ukraine We're all Scotland's story and we're all worth the same (From 'Scotland's Story' by the Proclaimers)
Some of the KKK propaganda cites Scotland as having the 'racial purity' that they long for. Some websites suggest that some of the founding members of the KKK were Scots who had emigrated to the US. Whether this is true or not is beside the point. You can find a few mindless, moronic bigots in any country, or any race or religion. The myth of Scotland being a 'racially pure' country is one I would like to explode if I can.
"The Scottish Nation is generally acknowledged to have come together between the sixth and fourteenth centuries, absorbing several races in the process of creating what certain individuals like to think of as the pure Scot. In fact, there is no such being. The early Scots were a post-Roman Gaelic-speaking people who invaded and settled the west coast, known then as Dalriada, having travelled over the sea from Ireland, and before that, it is fancifully suggested, although not as yet proven, the Middle East."[i]
The proponents of this middle-east link point to the similarities between traditional Scottish and middle-eastern music and instrumentation as evidence. If this is true, and you claim your link to Scottish heritage, then YOU ARE AN ARAB. The possibility of a middle-east link doesn't upset me at all, but if you are a KKK type then you should start thinking. Ha ha.
The burning cross symbol is another thing that various racist groups have tried to attribute to the Scots...
The "Fiery Cross," as KKK groups call it, is vaguely linked to an apparently real Scottish practice immortalized by Sir Walter Scott in his 1810 poem "The Lady of the Lake." But really, the Klan picked it up from the movies.
In Scott's poem, a small, handheld wooden cross is carried from village to village to announce a meeting of the clans for war. The cross was fiery only at first; it was extinguished with the blood of a sacrificial animal before making the rounds as a charred object. (Most likely it was the X-shaped cross of St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland.)
Scott's story was copied by Thomas Dixon for his bizarre 1905 novel "The Clansman," a highly romanticized tale of the original, pre-Civil War KKK. Obsessed with the incorrect notion that the KKK had been founded by secret Scottish group, Dixon had them carrying the Fiery Cross around.[ii]
I don't know if this is true. Maybe it was used as a way for the clans to meet for war. If it was, there is still a difference between that and a group of cowardly thugs using it to intimidate an innocent person.
In the 19th century there was another wave of Irish immigration and in the earlier part of the 20th there were many new waves of immigration from Poland (to get away from Hitler), Italy (to get away from Mussolini) and Lithuania (for all sorts of reasons). Most of the Lithuanians changed their names to make them more Scottish.
After WW2 new groups arrived from India, Pakistan, China and surrounding countries and the Caribbean. In the later part of the 20th century there have been more people coming from Africa. They are all welcome.
Apparently 'Braveheart' is required viewing at some of the KKK meetings. I would like to spoil the fun by pointing out that the majority of it is not true.
Now I am more of flag-burner than a flag-waver but I also see that the Scottish flag is being used by these people...
ONE of the fastest-growing white supremacist groups in the United States has hijacked the Saltire [the Scottish flag) to symbolise its struggle for a political system run by Celtic "kith and kin".
Scottish tourists visiting Florida and the southern states on holiday have been warned that displaying Scotland's national flag on their clothes now runs the risk of association with the extremist followers of the League of the South.
Kate Smith, who is researching nationalism at Glasgow University, said: "I think the league's hijacking of the Saltire could cause the average American citizen to confuse our nation's flag with right-wing extremism."[iii]
This seems to be a parallel with what happened to the Swastika, which, before Hitler hijacked it was an Indian symbol promoting good luck.
Whilst this nation has its problems with racism just like anywhere else, some of us are trying to deal with them. One of the steps in this is to explode the myth of Scotland as a pure-white country and a haven for racists. It isn't. We don't want your false history, false propaganda, displaced anger and vile attitudes foisted onto us. This country is, has been and always will be a country of immigrants. We like it that way.
Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through. Jonathan Swift
Laws are written in such a way that the average person finds it very difficult to decipher them. This is not a technical necessity, it is a ploy. If the public do not understand their rights fully, how can they fight to defend them?
Ordinary people are forced to rely on a set of trained lawyers who are highly paid and for the most part unlikely to be in the position of having to defend themselves against the laws they interpret on behalf of their clients. In effect it is a cartel between lawyers and bureaucrats who draft and interpret the law in a way that guarantees that their services are always required. Unsurprisingly, this happy relationship tends to produce a situation where more and more power ends up in the hands of the bureaucrats and the lawyers. The establishment does not like people who defend themselves in court because it cuts out the trained middle-man and brings people closer to understanding their rights.
If the laws were written in clear and plain language the power of these groups would be drastically reduced.
The 'Campaign for Plain English' is "an independent pressure group fighting for public information to be written in plain English." It has more than 10,000 registered supporters in 80 countries. It is not a plea for standardising English, far from it, "'Plain English' is language that the intended audience can understand and act upon from a single reading."
Here are some quotes from their website that they have translated into simple English...
Before - High-quality learning environments are a necessary precondition for facilitation and enhancement of the ongoing learning process.
After - Children need good schools if they are to learn properly.
Before - If there are any points on which you require explanation or further particulars we shall be glad to furnish such additional details as may be required by telephone.
After - If you have any questions, please ring.
There is also this from the 'Golden Bull' award, which is given to the most baffling use of English that the campaign could find...
Australian Taxations Office for its Goods and Services legislation
'For the purpose of making a declaration under this Subdivision, the Commissioner may: a) treat a particular event that actually happened as not having happened; and b) treat a particular event that did not actually happen as having happened and, if appropriate, treat the event as:
i) having happened at a particular time; and ii) having involved particular action by a particular entity; and
c) treat a particular event that actually happened as: i) having happened at a time different from the time it actually happened; or ii) having involved particular action by a particular entity (whether or not the event actually involved any action by that entity).'
As you can see from the before and after sections, there is no need for this sort of nonsense. If people understand their rights more then they can stand up for them in a much more effective way.
I can decipher legalese, but I learned more about the law from a couple of Bertolt Brecht lines than I did from a whole load of textbooks. Take this example from 'The Threepenny Opera' which is itself an update of John Gay's 'The Beggars Opera' - both of which I cannot recommend highly enough.
Peachum - "the law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don't understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it. And anyone who wants a crumb of this exploitation for himself must obey the law strictly"
Brown - "I see, then you believe our judges are corruptible"
Peachum - "not at all, sir, not at all. our judges are absolutely incorruptible: its more than money can do to make them give a fair verdict."
Please join the campaign. This is not something like a fussy schoolteacher correcting you on your grammar, this is about knowing what your rights are and then fighting to preserve them. If you don't know you have something, you won't notice when it is gone.
Chris Morris is about the only truly biting satirist around mainstream TV at the moment. He is the only one pushing the boundaries. Programmes like 'BrassEye', 'The Day Today' and 'Nathan Barley' have all pushed the borders back. It's only real satire if it is dangerous.
I therefore present his alternative State of The Union address which I think was done in 2003...
Here is a different one by the same guy...
Search www.youtube.com for 'Chris Morris' to see plenty more.
Name: michael the tubthumper Home: Glasgow, Scotland About Me: Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant.
28 years old, I write and research for a couple of websites and also do my own stuff. See my complete profile
Thumping The Tub Video
I have made a few short movies. Here are links to free downloads for them all in the order that I made them (as far as I can remember). Please feel free to use, distribute, disagree with, shout at etc etc
The inaugural 'Arse of the month' award goes to our very own Scottish First Minister Jack (Joke) McConnell. He seems to spend a lot of his time sucking up to english politicians and yet it appears they don't even know his name. Follow the link to see..
If you like this site and think it is time to start getting informed here are a few real favourites of mine that will help you blow away the corporate and government propaganda you are constantly bombarded with. It is added to every so often.