17-28 November, 2003

This entry was posted on
Monday, November 17th, 2003
at
9:36 am and is filed
under Uncategorized.

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Date
20031117
Feedback
Time
09:36
Most of the negativity is being cast towards the petition. The chaps responsible for the majority of this can be found here. They’ve also got some not-so-secret squirrel plans to DoS the system and foul up the intelligence. Opening volley: the core intelligence address has been signed up to many a free mailing list.

I also got this from an AOL user::

Oh, for goodness sake. How about tracking the Queen or Prince Charles instead? Oh, what’s that? She wasn’t even elected there even under “extremely questionable circumstances”? And the Prince is too busy denying something he isn’t at liberty to explain? You mean chasing Bush is more interesting? Gotcha!

Erm, no. Sorry about that.

And this:

Have you stopped to consider what use the charming folks at the Finsbury Park Mosque may put your information to? This isn’t about dodging protests, it’s about dodging snipers and/or car-bombs. I hope you’ve got a good lawyer on retainer. Most countries dislike having visiting heads of state put at risk by morons with some technical skills. Hope you enjoy your chat with MI5 and the US Secret Service!

If there is a terrorist threat (no doubt organised – as you say – by the chaps down at Finsbury Park Mosque) did Bush stop to consider the terrorist target he was creating by putting him, our PM and the Queen all in one place to help with his upcoming election campaign? No.

This is about dodging protests, and one thing this visit has done (before Bush has even touched down) is greatly increase our awareness of the extent to which civil liberties in the U.S. have been eroded, removed or undermined by the Bush administration.

Some nicer email that may help folks understand that this is not anti-merkinism at work, and that these people need our help. In fact, most emails of support and links for this and Bare Your Bum at Bush have come from America.

Joan:

We Americans living under the rule of religiously insane fascists, appreciate the help.

Rosemary:

Thank you for your work. As a very patriotic American all I can say is I love my country but this moron sitting in our White House brings us shame. Will be watching your news reports to see what’s happening because we sure won’t see much here. We need every bit of help we can get from the world community.

Marjie:

I just wanted to say thank you for what you are doing. We in America are being kept down by a media that is in the pocket of this illegal administration. Also, we are totally disorganized in my opinion and too many are in fear. Of course, don’t forget there is about 50% of our population that support this thug.

Inbound linkage is getting us some serious Blogdex and Popdex action. It was poking around the cosmos that led me to this excellent post by Dave Weeden:

Bush Baby’s visit has everything to do with getting a head start in the next election…. If protesting gets us a different president in 2005, it will be worth it. We will be richer and safer for it. Protest against Bush. Your freedom depends on it.

I also found Simon Brunning in my travels. His dad was a founding member of Fleetwood Mac. I’m not saying that’s his only redeeming feature, I just personally regard that to be rather cool.

I got a nice form letter from The London Met, saying:

We do not plan any traffic exclusion zones, and there are no long-term road closures. We will endeavor (sic) to keep disruption to a minimum. There will be short-term road closures, and some areas where the public will not be able to access, but these will only be in place for the shortest possible time, and to ensure safety, security and to allow others to go about their business.

What a pity, then, that Dubya’s business threatens my safety, security and liberty.

Oh, finally, it looks like we may just have some support from a company willing to help out with limited text alerts. Stay tuned.

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Date
20031117

Time
10:44
When image is everything and timing is important, it’s time to bring out the bold assertions. When you can’t risk saying it overtly, it’s time to leak a memo:

Case closed – The U.S. government’s secret memo detailing cooperation between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

(UPDATE – Here is the best follow-up on this that I’ve seen so far.)

Rupert Murdoch’s Australian also carries this Weekly Standard piece, but at least they have the decency to put ‘proof’ in inverted commas in the headline.

Because, as we all know, this is primarily an anti-war protest (when it’s not an anti-merkin protest) and ‘proving’ a link between Saddam Hussein and those gosh-durned terrorists makes us all look like naive peaceniks.

Bush used the time-honoured technique of using ‘Saddam’ and ‘terror’ in the same sentence as often as possible during his man-of-the-people interview on Breakfast with Frost. What you cannot say, you must infer.

As for outright lies… I did catch what may be one very interesting whopper:

George W. Bush: “Gosh, I remember going to some nice pubs — when I was drinking man in London.”

Bush has said many times that he quit drinking on his 40th birthday in 1986 and has not had a drink since. He had only been abroad three times before becoming President. Which visit is he referring to and when did it occur?

Finally, a statement he has made a number of times during the run-up to this visit:

“Well, freedom is a beautiful thing, I would first say, and it’s, aren’t you lucky to be in a country that encourages people to speak their mind? And I value going to a country where people are free to say anything they want to say.”

What a pity that he never gets to finish this statement with a brutally honest “Because we sure don’t allow that kind of freedom back in the States, nossir!”

On the newspaper front, Bush’s decision to grant an exclusive interview to tit-tastic tabloid The Sun (also owned by Rupert Murdoch) surprises no-one. That Tony Blair recommended it, even less so.

The content? Well, I hope you have a strong stomach.

The editorial is even worse:

Bush is an intelligent, thoughtful and compassionate man for whom war is the last resort. His enduring love is peace and the freedom it can bring.

Oh, dear God.

(UPDATE – More on this and related Murdoch matters over at the London News Review.)

The truth of the matter? Officials are dreading this trip and damage-control teams are out in force. Looks like Tony picked a bad time to quit spinning.

Most people think the speech to the Houses of Parliament has been called off, but senior MPs have been warned to be ready to ‘clear the decks’ and rally the troops at a moment’s notice. How interesting…

One thing that is set in stone is Bush’s meeting with Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy, the leaders of what pass for opposition parties in this country.

One knee to the groin will drop him, Charles. Just a thought.

UPDATE – Nick wrote in with an intriguing idea. Perhaps all Charles has to do is wave a little fine whiskey in Dubya’s direction. Let him catch the fumes until his pupils dilate and his voice explodes with a dramatic call of: “It begins!!”

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Date
20031117

Time
10:46
Today, I have to:

- Help where I can to sort a solid back-end for interwebnet.org

- Organise the moderators

- Source/brief our trusted intelligence officers

Please excuse me if bloggage suffers and/or I don’t answer your email.

But before I go…

I’ll be attending the Stop The War Coalition’s alternative state procession (South Bank, London SE1 on the 19th day of November at the hour of 11 o’clock).

I thought it might be fun if a few of us helped to form a decent security force.

Here’s what you’ll need to join in:

Dark overcoat

Dark suit

White shirt

Black necktie

Dark sunglasses

One ‘in ear’ headphone

No need to get in touch or organise – just turn up on time, and dressed for the occasion.

UPDATE – Oh, and I want to set an early precedent with images from mobile phone cameras. If anyone lives in or near Heathrow and wants to capture the arrival, please do get in touch.

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Date
20031117

Time
11:49
It’s not too late to call this whole mess off, you know:

- Sign the petition

- Email the poodle

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Date
20031117

Time
11:54
Tonight: Non Violent Direct Action training Workshop, 7pm London Action Resource Centre, 62 Fieldgate St, London E1 1ES. 020 7377 9088. (includes Legal Observer training for the Resist Bush Tea Party on the 19th).

(Via this exhaustive list of publically-known events scheduled for the George Bush visit.)

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Date
20031117

Time
12:06
Margie Schoedinger filed a lawsuit against George W. Bush in December 2002, claiming that she had been raped. All signs point to her being as mad as a shaved otter, and the media largely ignored the story, but that didn’t stop her turning up dead.

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Date
20031117
Bush Trekking
Time
13:50
He’s a man of peace, shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill

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Date
20031118
Bush’s UK Visit
Time
08:36
Let’s put this in very clear terms.

Now is a very important time. This march will be portrayed as simple-minded anti-war sentiment, but in reality it is The Front.

Americans have effectively Lost. The. Right. To. Freedom. Of. Assembly.

Protests have been inhibited by highly questionable methods here, as well. People have been illegally searched and illegally detained. In fact, if it weren’t for the projected doubts of us misguided peaceniks, the ‘security’ needs of the White House on this visit probably wouldn’t have made the news – and therefore would not be an issue, but a reality.

However, that doesn’t mean that Blair’s camp has given up. There is both a charm offensive and a fear offensive.

Charm: Dubya ain’t that bad. He’s a man who loves peace. The police are being jolly decent chaps about the whole thing. Oh, and these people are only marching because they think war is not so nifty.

Fear: But there just happens to be a terror alert. Oh, and terrorists may use the protests as cover (you could get gassed or blowed up). George W. Bush’s security force will have lots and lots of guns. And – leaving the best until last – anarchists are set to run wild in the streets.

The Chasing Bush portal exists only because the government is still in ‘save face’ mode, so will be forced to take the next logical step and restrict the photo-ops George W. Bush wants so badly to safe zones. To achieve safe zones for some of Bush’s wishes (addressing MPs, being seen with Real People who are Happy to see him) some misdirection is going to be called for. It is this misdirection that we seek to subvert.

Already, we’ve been accused of leading terrorists to Bush – when in reality it is Bush himself who has brought the (alleged) terrorist threat here to forward his own ends.

Meanwhile, the administration of both countries continue to use terrorists as an excuse to restrict our right to effective protest.

The Times: Security chiefs are even considering shutting down all mobile phone signals near the President every time he leaves Buckingham Palace in case terrorists try to use a mobile to detonate a bomb

No reference was made to mobile phone blackouts until Chasing Bush was set up. It’s glaringly obvious what’s going on here, but we have to stand strong. Now is not the time to put our fingers in our ears and chant ‘calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean’.

We trusted in numbers alone on the million-strong march and it got us nowhere. America is watching, and the battle is for effective visibility.

The Independent: Tony Blair – “This is the right moment for us to stand firm with the United States in defeating terrorism wherever it is and delivering us safely from what I genuinely believe to be the security threat of the 21st century.”

Given the large number of Americans who have supported our cause and rejoiced because we can voice what they cannot, I’d actually dare to adopt that quote myself. All that’s required is a slight change to the punctuation and a link or two:

This is the right moment for us to stand firm with the United States in defeating terrorism – wherever it is – and delivering us safely from what I genuinely believe to be the security threat of the 21st century.

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Date
20031118
Dead Blog Holiday
Time
16:18
Things is going to pretty quiet around Bloggerheads for a few days. When I’m not out and about, I’ll be posting or moderating over at interwebnet.org

Cheers all.

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Date
20031120
Just Do It
Time
11:01
I ask very little of you people, but today I’m going to implore those of you who live in and around London to attend the big march today.

If you want to continue to enjoy the right to assembly and freedom of speech, and inspire Americans who have recently lost this right under the Bush administration, then you need to stand up and be counted.

It’s not anti-war. It’s not anti-American. It’s bare-bones self-preservation.

Be there.

14.00: NATIONAL DEMO AGAINST BUSH. Starts outside University of London, Malet Street, London (map). Finishes at Trafalgar Square where a statue of George Bush will be pulled down. This event will continue until 7pm to allow for people coming from work. For more info see Stop the War Coalition.

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Date
20031121
The End Of Democracy
Time
14:16
Ladies and Gentlemen, despite all promises and assurances to the contrary, the one thing we all feared – a ‘Free Speech’ Zone – has been established on British soil.

When it came to the crunch, our government caved to the wrong side. This isn’t over.

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Date
20031124
The End of Democracy
Time
09:13
Jesus H. Christ, they don’t muck about, do they?

The Free Speech Zone in Sedgefield passed without so much as a media blip. Result:

The Independent – Sweeping new emergency laws to counter UK terror:

Fresh measures to deal with terrorist attacks and other emergencies are to be announced by the Government this week, allowing them to over-ride civil liberties in times of crisis.

Sunday Herald – Blair plans new laws to curb civil liberties:

The measures could potentially outlaw participation in a protest march, such as last week’s demonstrations during President Bush’s state visit, making it, in effect, a criminal offence to criticise government policy.

Like, say, if you wish to question the actual source of the attacks. Or the convenience of their timing. Or the effectiveness of government policy on the terrorist threat in general. Or the readiness of our government for such attacks. Or the policy of the government to roll out ‘unspecified’ terrorist alerts every time a major protest is on the horizon, thereby eroding public readiness should an actual threat come our way.

Over the pond, General Tommy Franks has said that if the United States is hit with ‘a weapon of mass destruction’, the Constitution will likely be discarded in favour of a military form of government. Meanwhile the New York Times reports that the F.B.I. has advised local law enforcement officials to report any suspicious activity at anti-war protests to its counterterrorism squads. As an example of possible illegal activities they cite ‘using fake documentation to get into a secured site’ – i.e. trying to bypass the unconstitutional ‘Free Speech Zones’.

Are we still in any doubt about what these draconian measures are meant to control? Sure, the F.B.I. claims such measures are meant to help identify anarchists and ‘extremist elements’ plotting violence, but it’s these new measures that will give birth to such violence. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Bush is already getting away with inferring that the terror/Iraq link must be there, because terrorists are now in Iraq.

Those of us in the UK will want to fight this. Now.

Here’s why:

The terrorist threat is real; but it’s mostly an idea, a tactic. It cannot be fought like a nation.

Taking the wrong nation to task over terrorism – illegally – has only attracted terror attacks to that country and others, and given moral and logistical support to the terrorist cells around the world (that, in may cases, would not have been as widely available had our countries acted with the support of the international community).

Whether the threat is real or not (see: WMDs) it’s wrong for any government to use the fear of that threat to manipulate the public and use it as an excuse to systematically rob us of our freedom.

To all those who would say that such-and-such or so-and-so fought to protect that freedom, and I should be happy to have it; I say ‘right on’. I’d also point out that the time has come for us to fight for those freedoms again. Right fucking now, before it comes to a very unhealthy crisis point.

Last week’s Bush visit – consciously or unconsciously – put the idea into many heads that marching peacefully does little or no good and the only way to get the attention of the international press is to blow shit up. Every sector of society has its extremists, and that worries me some.

The DoS attacks on interwebnet.org and Bloggerheads during the Bush visit were not entirely dissimilar to the practice of book-burning… the forcible removal of material that the far right considers to be ‘dangerous’. Censorship not via direct government intervention, but via the culture of hate and fear that the government has helped to establish.

This is but one indication that matters are way out of control in the U.S. – and our government is guilty of outright appeasement. They think we can influence the Bush administration. We cannot. They fear that the U.S. will become isolated. It already is.

The actions of our government in response to the terrorist threat and the wishes of the White House are both subservient and misguided.

Let’s take the official government line just once, to try and reach its rabid supporters and make them see sense:

OK, so the terror attacks are coming from a shadowy cabal that wish to spread disorder and chaos; what better way to do so than to manipulate us in a way that leads to civil unrest and eventually, violent confrontation? The claim of convenient timing does not necessarily point the finger of blame at our government, but it does pose serious questions regarding overall responsibility.

A terror attack on British soil that just happens to precede the release of the results of the Hutton Inquiry? On American soil (or near enough to freak people out) just before the presidential elections in the U.S.?

How many of you would ask yourselves whether it was convenient at this stage for the government to let one slip through the net? Given the timing, how many of us would take seriously assertions that our freedoms were being taken from us for our own protection? How many, in such circumstances, would see their only option to be an outright fight for those freedoms?

Even if the government succeeded in a complete clampdown, there would be many who would continue to fight from the shadows.

If such a scenario did come about, it wouldn’t matter who was behind the attack and who did the bulk of the manipulating; the result would still be exactly what Bush claims to be trying to prevent – ‘a chaotic world ruled by force’.

Due to the absence of permalinks and a comments feature on Bloggerheads, a mirror of this post is also available at: http://www.interwebnet.org/post.cfm/post=111

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Date
20031124

Time
09:46
Browsing through The Guardian, I see that it’s going to be an interesting week in print media, but what really excites me is that I may finally get my windmill. While I’m in a spending mood, I may just splurge on some cow magnets, too.

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Date
20031124
Photoshopping
Time
10:49
Wednesday is the first anniversary of The Star Wars Photoshopping Project (the first image of its type was posted here at B3ta). I’ll try to remember to celebrate. In the meantime, here’s a knockout submission from Michael Weidenbach.

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Date
20031124
Bush’s UK Visit
Time
11:08
The Sunday MirrorThe Queen is furious with President George W. Bush after his state visit caused thousands of pounds of damage to her gardens at Buckingham Palace.

Multiple helicopter take-offs and landings churned up the lawns, trees and shrubs ‘that had survived since Queen Victoria’s reign’ were trashed by the rotors, and ‘clod-hopping’ security personnel tromped all over what was left.

Sorry your plants got trampled on, Madge. Perhaps you can spare a thought for our rights…

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Date
20031124

Time
14:01
Michael Jackson launches dedicated news site.

It’s here. Pretend to care.

UPDATE – The timing of the raid and subsequent arrest warrant is still bugging me. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that Bush’s next perpetual war is against pornographers and pee-doh-philes, but they’ve been forming the basis of this case for months. Why issue the warrant when Jackson is off in Vegas? He’s got significant resources, and is therefore a flight risk.

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Date
20031124
Photoshopping
Time
14:19
See the official White House photo essay covering Dubya’s visit to the UK.

You’ll love this one of Bush and Blair waving to an imaginary crowd of well-wishers.

This photo from the pub is my favourite. Tony is such a rascal….

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Date
20031124

Time
16:37
Comment spotted at Salon.com:

“The American flag lapel pin is the new swastika armband.”

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Date
20031124

Time
17:27
A fabulous exclusive from The Memory Hole: see a copy of the pamphlet you receive when you apply for a position at your local draft board.

Start warmin’ up the poor, we is a-goin’ to war!

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Date
20031125
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:20
Michael Howard had better start learning how to use this channel more efficiently – and fast!

Take a look at which site – and what post – is top search result for ‘michael howard mp’.

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Date
20031125
The End of Democracy
Time
09:22
Fingers in ears, people…. lalalalalalalalalalalala!

WiredCongress approved a bill on Friday that expands the reach of the Patriot Act, reduces oversight of the FBI and intelligence agencies and, according to critics, shifts the balance of power away from the legislature and the courts.

Of course, we can read about this because we don’t rely entirely on mainstream media – which is what Bush’s upcoming war on pornography is all about controlling.

He wants to double funding for ‘undercover chat room investigations’ (from $6.5m per year to $12.5m per year). Of course, this budget will be spent entirely on chasing pee-doh-files in chat rooms.

On the subject of pornography… methinks he doth protest too much:

Vice chairman of Louisville anti-pornography group arrested Saturday night on prostitution charge.

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Date
20031125
Photoshopping
Time
09:31
Bush pardons Thanksgiving turkey.

And here’s a picture, boys and girls…

UPDATE – Mad Guerilla Brigade: After assembling a Congressional Investigative Committee and spending over $25 million in “exploratory” funds to be certain that the turkey contained absolutely no oil or petrolium by-products Bush could see no reason for killing the innocent turkey.

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Date
20031125

Time
09:34
Sure to spawn countless ‘By The Time I Get To..’ headlines:

Glen Campbell arrested in Phoenix

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Date
20031125

Time
09:36
There’s this old poem that goes;

‘I shot a bullet in the air… it didn’t come down at quite the same velocity as when it was fired due to inhibiting factor of air resistance, but it was still going fast enough to punch a hold in my skull…’

It’s not a very catchy poem, but it is worth remembering:

Participant at KKK initiation wounded after shots fired into sky

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Date
20031125

Time
09:41
Serial horse rapist makes narrow escape. He left his boots and a bottle of hand lotion behind.

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Date
20031125

Time
09:42
Time magazine – Americans adore Bush or loathe him – how we became a nation divided.

Also in Time this month; 25 years of the graphic novel.

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Date
20031125
Flash Games
Time
09:50
Boing! Boing! Boing! Boing! Boing! Boing! Boing!

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Date
20031125

Time
09:55
Here’s today’s special lunchtime treat.

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Date
20031125
Yet Another Lame Quiz
Time
10:09
Huzzah! Which member of the Bush Administration are you? Colin Powell, right here.

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Date
20031125
It’s War! On a ‘Need To Know’ Basis!
Time
11:14
Memory Hole: Defense Department Deletes Notice About Draft Boards.

Nothing to see here. Go about your business…

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Date
20031125

Time
11:40
Here’s a fantastic rundown of hate mail sent to Expats Against Bush.

3. “Why didn’t you march against terrorism/Osama/Saddam?”

As soon as Queen Elizabeth II extends the offer of a State Visit to Osama or Saddam, I will definitely participate in the protests against them.

Also, GreenFairy has posted some thoughts on what she has learned about the ‘varying concept of free speech’.

And this picture I quickly captioned for interwebnet.org yesterday to explain how Free Speech Zones work appears to be bouncing all over the place.

Share it with someone you love today.

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Date
20031125
11/9 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
12:26
Here’s some meat and potatoes for conspiracy theorists. Do try to stay calm. Nobody likes a shouter.

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Date
20031125

Time
14:08
The first ‘re-elect Bush’ TV ad is ready to roll, reports the New York Times. (This article is a few days old, so the ad may have already made it to air. Please do let me know if it’s as bad as it sounds.)

The 30-second spot makes a connection between protestors and terror attacks (‘some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists!’) and urges viewers to support Bush’s policy of ‘pre-emptive self defense’.

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Date
20031125
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
15:04
Smittens: mittens for people who like to walk and hold hands. In cold weather. While others point and laugh at them. The site claims the fabric is ‘machine washable and will last for years of enjoyment’, but I’m willing to bet that vomit stains will prove to be remarkably persistant.

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Date
20031125

Time
15:36
BBC – An American woman has been left with a British accent after having a stroke. Oh, I say

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Date
20031126
Appeasing Bush
Time
09:08
Want to be true leader of a western democracy? Then prepare to bend over and take it like a man!

Joy of joys, the families of two Australians being held illegally at Guantanamo Bay will be allowed to watch as they get railroaded by a U.S. military tribunal. Someday.

When Bush visited the UK, we were assured that important matters such as this would be discussed. Actually, I’d be happier if I lived in a democracy that took Bush to task over the illegal detention and ongoing softly-softly torture of all detainees, but the least we should have expected was some kind of agreement on the nine British citizens being held. We didn’t get it.

We also didn’t get any kind of deal on the steel tariffs.

What did we get? A Bush-driven Free Speech Zone and the announcement of our very own version of the Patriot Act.

Guantanamo Bay is the next issue that will be dealt with over at interwebnet.org – the aim will be to allow you and everyone else to protest this deplorable state of affairs without being cordoned off and/or intimidated by the authorities.

Watch this space.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031126
The War on Porn
Time
09:24
Want to destroy a man with little or no proof? Then you need an indelible stain, buddy!

Welcome to the future, boys and girls, where porn is the new communism! (Are you now or have you ever been a downloader….?)

As part of the smooth transition from the war on terror to the war on porn, the Muslim chaplain accused of taking classified material from Guantanamo Bay is now being charged with adultery and storing pornography on a government computer.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031126

Time
09:33
Vietnamese drug addicts have kidnapped a mute teenager, bundled him in a sack and sold him to a dog-meat eatery as a stray canine, according to the Gia Dinh Xa Hoi (Family and Society) newspaper. China Daily and the BBC have picked up the story.

On a semi-related note, a veterinary surgeon has operated on a five-legged dog. Now it has three legs. I know the numbers look a little off, but it’s all for the best. Trust me.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031126

Time
09:50
Good news, people! Now PBS is ‘fair and balanced’.

For those that think that the media in the U.S. is biased towards the right, Jonah Goldberg offers a trade. That’s might generous of him. Do we get our own team of lunatic extremists as part of the deal?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031126
Flash Thingies
Time
09:50
Surf the web blind. (Speakers on, people. Spider-senses at the ready…)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031126

Time
09:51
Naked man claiming to be Jesus Christ bites a policeman’s finger.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031126

Time
09:52
Hooray for Pink Steel – ‘gay heavy metal at it’s hardest’.

While you’ve got your hair up and your gear on, you may wish to find out what your Glam Rock superstar name is so the boys will know what name to scream out when they’re hanging around backstage.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031126
Escape from the Free Speech Zone
Time
09:57
Oh, I love this. Why leave all the action to the Herbalife street spammers when you can take control of this channel yourself?

Behold the Freeway Blogger:

‘When you put a sign on the freeway people will read it until someone takes it down. Depending on its size, content and placement it can be seen by hundreds of thousands of people.’

We definitely have to get something like this going here in the UK.

Subversive Cross-Stitching? Pah! Useful only if you invite 100,000 people around to your house every day.

We need signage on the streets, people.

I’m starting this evening.

UPDATE – I’ve seen street spam here that’s stayed in place for weeks-stroke-months. What’s the bet that anything subversive gets removed much, much faster?

Perhaps I can be a clever chap and mix messages a bit…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031126
Spam
Time
10:08
Cyberwar wages between Dutch bloggers and spammers. I’m not a big fan of DoS attacks. I like to take my grudges offline.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031126
Telemarketers
Time
10:12
Texas sues telemarketers for violating do-not-call laws.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031126
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
14:05
Meet Mohammad Ali Abtah. He’s the vice president of Iran – and a blogger. Take a look at the link cosmos to get an idea not only of how many people are interested in this, but also how many weblogs are based in (and/or interested in) this part of the world.

Pretty cool, huh?

Wait, it gets better…

The site is written almost entirely in Persian, but if you click on the ‘English’ button, you’ll see the following plea (as a graphic, bottom left):

‘Let me be myself – Mohammad Ali Abtahi – in this website; without my political and legal responsibilities.’

Whether or not that will be allowed when he insists on taking secret-squirrel images of meetings and publishing them on his blog remains to be seen.

Iranfilter has more.

If it’s a hoax, it’s a bloody good one.

Keep telling yourselves, folks: it’sjustafadit’sjustafadit’sjustafadit’sjustafadit’sjustafad….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031126
Photoshopping
Time
16:25
No, I didn’t forget. How could I possibly forget?

Here’s a special picture to celebrate the 1st birthday of The Star Wars Photoshopping Project.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031126
Search Engine Optimisation
Time
16:41
After tripping over this fabbo search engine relationship decoder at searchengineblog.com this also caught my eye:

Barry Lloyd and his theories on the latest changes to Google’s algorithm.

Upshot in a nutshell; it’s better to earn those links than buy them.

No big disasters on the client front so far, but at least one of them is going to have to take a natural link generation proposal I made a few months ago much more seriously.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031127
Does What It Says On The Tin
Time
09:06
Nomarriage.com warns American men off making lifelong partnerships. Unless they want kids, or are smart enough to invest in imported goods. And I quote:

‘A huge percentage of American women are selfish, flighty, insecure, needy and psychotic, and quite capable of concealing those traits during the dating phase.’

Someone has issues…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031127
McDonald’s
Time
09:11
Hahahahahaha! McDonald’s has been criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority for claiming their fries are made purely of potatoes. The ad campaign in question shows a simple potato in a McDonald’s fries box but, just like ‘The Potato Story’ on their website, there’s no mention of the sugar solution added during preparation (why, this is just a ‘naturally occurring low-concentrate dextrose solution’) or the salt that’s added before serving (but customers ‘can request to have their chips served without salt if they want’).

The beef tallow issue was brought up again, but McDonald’s pointed out that ‘beef tallow had not been used in the UK since 1993′.

*ahem*

After switching to ‘100% vegetable oil’ in the early 90’s, Mcdonald’s failed to disclose that a beef extract was still being added as part of the preparation process and paid the price… but we can trust them now, right?

Incidentally, if an employee chose to spit phlegm in your burger, this could still – technically – be described as a ‘naturally occurring substance’.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031127

Time
09:29
Bush mispronounces ‘Nevada’ in first presidential visit to that state.

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Date
20031127

Time
09:33
Family throws out winning lottery ticket worth $10.5 million. A happy ending resulted from a long-running garbage-collector’s strike.

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Date
20031127

Time
09:35
Photoshopper who has unhealthy obsession with one image of Pelé discovers photoshopper who has unhealthy obsession with one image from Star Wars. Erm, me.

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Date
20031127
The End of Democracy
Time
09:41
Suspicious Republican connections or not, surely we can trust Diebold with the technical side of e-voting?

The Register – Nachi worm infected Diebold ATMs

There’s a nice comment on the issue and a link to a related New Scientist article over at this post at the LNR Journal.

And now the big news:

Diebold looks to be withdrawing its legal threats against those who dared to publish the internal memos showing flaws and irregularities in their e-voting system.

I found this nice rundown of the memos in my travels today. The EFF also have an archive of relevant documents. Have fun.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031127
Michael Jackson
Time
10:01
They sure seem to be going out of their way to keep us informed…

They made a point of announcing where everyone could download a copy of the booking photo on live television and now they’re holding off on official charges until a special information website can be created.

I’m sure he’ll get a fair trial once the sideshow is over – if they pick a jury made up entirely of religious hermits and Japanese holdouts.

I’m sure you’ve all seen Michael Jackson’s official press website. Here’s the unofficial one.

UPDATE: Reporter arrested for sneaking on board the Jackson’s private jet and Snedden apologises for unprofessional comments during press conference. It’s nothing personal.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031127
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:09
Snopes.com – The County of Los Angeles has requested that equipment vendors avoid using the industry term “Master/Slave” in product descriptions and labelling.

Male/female plugs will be out next, I’m sure.

UPDATE – More on this from CNN. Cheers, Adam.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031127

Time
10:18
Cheers, Dubya: Muggings soar while police put on Bush duty. Oh well. At least he got his pictures, and that’s what counts.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031127
Spam
Time
10:20
‘Herbal’ Viagra only works becase it has traces of Viagra in it. But it’s still completely natural, and completely legal. I mean, if you can’t trust a spammer, who can you trust?

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Date
20031127

Time
10:22
Happy Thanksgiving Day! You do have a lot to be thankful for. Look, these statistics prove it! Also, you have turkey and gravy flavoured soda and we don’t.

OK, so maybe life isn’t all beer and skittles, but there are financial opportunities if you know where to look.

UPDATE – More turkey giblets

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Date
20031127

Time
10:25
The UN’s special envoy for human rights warns us that anti-terrorism legislation is typically so broad that ‘when abused, these instruments can themselves be used as tools of state terror.’

Worried? Here’s your handy guide to new anti-terrorism laws around the world. I’m sure you’ll find that everything’s in order.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031127

Time
10:30
This is such a cynical move it makes me want to puke. Less than a week after the ‘lalalalalalalalala I’m not listening’ president leaves town, Tony assures us that he wants to engage voters in a “conversation with the nation”.

Speaking as someone who used to get his bloody email and spent over 11 months just trying to get his attention, I’m appalled and insulted by this empty gesture.

(calmblueoceancalmblueoceancalmblueoceancalmblueoceancalmblueocean)

OK, let’s give Tony the benefit of the doubt.

Let’s assume just for a moment that he’s sincere about wanting a conversation.

If you think he might benefit from a short chat with little old me, then drop him a line and tell him so.

I’m sure that, as a result, I’ll be invited for lunch at Downing St within a week.

UPDATE – The Queen’s Speech: The Guardian gives equal time to two bloggers. Oh, and here are some pictures.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031127

Time
12:38
Reality TV given heady dose of reality: Woman is offered drink, blacks out and wakes in the guest bedroom on the set of MTV’s Real World. When she awoke, she was disoriented, had trouble talking, and realised that ‘someone had had sex with her while she was unconscious’.

I’m sure her face was a picture, which is why we’re all glad that an MTV camera crew was there to capture the moment. This one’s going to be messy, folks…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031127
Photoshopping
Time
12:58
Star Wars activity is peaking again over at B3ta. Check out this and this. Both deliver quality chuckles.

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Date
20031127

Time
13:34
Don’t forget! Tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day!

But don’t think that just doing nothing will help the cause. You should also get off your arse and distribute a poster or two.

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Date
20031127
Video
Time
15:53
Let’s go ice fishing! (926Kb MPEG)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031127
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
16:22
Heh. Someone just sent this ‘get well’ greeting card to the PM.

1. Wrong address, sorry.

2. A bit late, isn’t it?

Also, this short but sweet message arrived in Tony’s Inbox the day after Bush left town. It’s from an angry young chap by the name of David Blastok :

IM GONNA KILL YOU YOU WANKA SO WATCH YOUR BACK BASTARD.

What do you think; should I forward that one?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031127
Tony Blair’s Big Conversation
Time
17:31
Oh. Dear. God!

Found via Tom, who appears to have put the right idea in the wrong head.

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Date
20031128
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
10:06
Bush flies in to Baghdad to take part in top-secret whirlwind photo-op.

I’ll leave the comments about upcoming elections and the questionable priority of this high-risk teary-eyed ‘Thanksgiving soup-kitchen for the troops’ photo-opportunity for others (here’s a long thread at Fark.com to get you started).

What I want to focus on is the quote that mysteriously came and went at the USA Today version of this article, but is still live elsewhere.

George W. Bush to the troops: “You are defeating the terrorists here in Iraq so we don’t have to face them in our own country.”

Ex-squeeze me?

The terrorist threat in Iraq did not exist until after the illegal invasion (in the name of a threat that did not exist, while inferring a terror/Iraq link that has still yet to be proved). Now the justification has switched to the liberation of the Iraqi people and establishing stability in the region.

But Bush, by his own admission, has deliberately brought the terrorist threat to Iraq in order to protect the folks at home – and innocent Iraqi civilians bear the brunt of that risk.

Am I the only one who thinks that such an action is impossibly evil?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031128
Only Interesting to Bloggers
Time
10:08
Movable Type – spam vulnerability in ‘send to a friend’ feature.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031128
Lunchtime Links
Time
10:11
Tropical maggots want to eat your spicy brains.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031128
21st Century Christmas
Time
10:12
Children banned from sitting on Santa’s knee at weekend market. Instead, ‘elf chairs’ will be provided so children may still talk to Santa, but from a safe distance.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031128
In The News
Time
10:15
Teacher suspended for being drunk on duty drives drunk to collect his paycheck.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031128
The End of Democracy
Time
10:16
The Guardian – America’s enemy within.

It began with the claim that those who dared question the state supported the terrorists. Now, they *are* terrorists. They must be, otherwise, how could the Bush administration justify spending $8.5m of Bush’s $87bn bung on policing the FTAA Summit in such a way?

Media are deliberately kept at a distance, so they see no cause, only effect. Media representatives who dare to get the real story are hauled away and charged.

This is madness.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031128
The Big Conversation
Time
11:19
Tony Blair’s Big Abortion is a pointless gimmick. FFS, I wouldn’t even be generous enough to say that it’s a wrong-footed step in the right direction.

1. Tony Blair Does Not Listen

Having spent 11 long months just getting Tony Blair to make good on a years-old promise of a publicly accessible email facility (and then having my specifications for the proposed service ripped off without so much as a ‘thank you’), I’m sure you’ll pardon me for being less than charitable on this point.

2. The Timing Is Cynical and Insulting

Do note that this ‘we’re listening’ exercise has been launched less than a week after Blair played the obedient host to George ‘What Protestors?’ Bush, deliberately inhibited protests despite all promises to the contrary, and even established a Bush-esque Free Speech Zonein his own constituency – in order to provide this would-be president with a vital photo-opportunity.

3. Labour is E-blind

The Labour government by and large hasn’t the first clue about IT. In fact, they seem overly reliant on a small group of largely inept companies like Crapita.

4. Outdated Tools Produce Ineffective Websites

The Web In a Box system could just have easily included (or been based on) a weblog format, thereby enabling MPs and Labour Party members with a truly conversational tool. It doesn’t.

5. Hard Questions Will Not Pass The Filters

The feature that ‘allows’ to to put the questions to the politicians (gawrsh, thankyouverymuch) promises to filter out ‘irrelevant’ questions and put those that are ‘most popular’ at the head of the list. I’m sure you can guess what kind of behind-the-scenes bod makes these tough decisions. Cue: ‘Mr Twigg, why does Mr Blair’s campaign have the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why is he so popular?’

6. This Is Not a Conversation

This a selection of carefully moderated vox-pops. A propaganda exercise to show that they’re dealing with the ‘tough issues’ and actually ‘listening’ for a change. They’re not. Try it for yourself. Ask a tough question or ‘publish your priorities’. If they don’t put it live, I suggest you publish it on your own site and begin to ask why (or, if you don’t have a website, share it with me).

7. This Public Forum Lacks… A Forum!

This is not the way to run an interactive manifesto. For a conversation to take place, initial submission needs to be followed by discussion. Otherwise you’re just speaking into a box that samples your opinion at its convenience. I may have been taking the mickey a bit when I started the first interactive manifesto back in 2001 but, as with the publicity stunt involving Tony Blair’s email, a serious point lay behind the exercise.

I challenge Labour’s e-team to set up a moderated forum as part of this site. In fact, you can do the same. Get in touch with David Triesman, the General Secretary of the Labour Party, via info@new.labour.org.uk and ask why this basic conversational format has been ignored.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031128
Conspiracy Watch
Time
11:30
Ahahahahahahaha! George Bush visited Baghdad yesterday… or did he?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031128
Activism
Time
13:31
Are you enjoying Buy Nothing Day? I am.

Oh, and you’ll be happy to know that my own signage along these lines has survived for two whole nights and days. I’ll get some pictures up as soon as I fix my camera.

Samantha wrote in with some very interesting throughts regarding passive resistance and perishable goods. I’m having a quiet think about that.

Finally, thanks to Martyn, I can also share the following with you:

Prepare to change the world… next Wednesday is Wear a Hat Day!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20031128
Everybody Loves George
Time
15:04
I say, it’s a jolly good thing George W. Bush is cracking down on the international sex trade.

Just imagine for a moment how the ‘liberal’ media would have reacted were this chap a Clinton…








About Tim Ireland

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