Eclectic link dump #8

Yes. Two in a row. Deal with it.

Climate change: Someone’s blowing smoke to hide or compromise the science.

Bush to Putin: “…the Russian government must renew a commitment to democracy and the rule of law.”

Don’t say “Pffft!” yet…. you may want to reserve some of your morning quota for this.

Ever watch those Funny Home Video shows where children are falling over or being mauled by pets, and yet their parents think it’s more important to keep the camera rolling? That’s all I have to say about this.

UK: British soldiers found guilty of abuse
UK: Four face jail after guilty verdicts in Iraqi prisoner abuse court martial
US army conducting 100+ criminal investigations into claims of detainee abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay


Majority halved for Clarke’s terror law
Anti-terror Bill wins second reading after Clarke warns of ‘Madrid attack’

Yes, the threat will be greater during the election campaign. That’s been my opinion for quite some time. But I also believe that the threat is greatly exacerbated when politicians manipulate that threat or the public’s perception of it. It compromises readiness, and it encourages the terrorists. After all, Madrid was a big win for the terrorists, but only because Aznar tried to play games with the atrocity.

(UPDATE – BBC – Election ‘could be terror target’)

Speaking of manipulating the terrorist threat for political gain…

UK govt feared Iraq war illegal

Guardian – Transcripts show No 10’s hand in war legal advice: Transcripts of evidence given in private by the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, to an official inquiry suggest that the crucial advice on the legality of war, presented to parliament in his name, was written for him by two of Tony Blair’s closest allies.

So that’s ‘independent’ intelligence backed up by ‘independent’ legal advice. Well, I feel better.

UPDATE – Chicken Yoghurt: Being a novice at Doublethink I’m struggling somewhat with these two statements from the Attorney General over whether he equivocated over his legal advice with regard to the Iraq war and whether his subsequent summary of that advice given in an answer to a parliamentary question was in fact written by Number 10.

Posted in Inneresting, It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!, The War on Stupid, Tony 'King Blair, UK General Election 2005 | 1 Comment

Eclectic link dump #7

Something to care about:
Global blogger action day called
Committee to Protect Bloggers

Something to wish for:
Doing as a full-time job

Something to not worry too much about:
How to destroy the Earth

Something to get worked up about:
Stephen Green is at it again. We have Scaryduck to thank for this fine Metafilter link and Media Watch Watch caught the report on the Today programme.

(UPDATE – More from this arrogant tosspot here. Cheers BigDaddyMerk.)

(UPDATE – Yet more on Stephen ‘John the Baptist’ Greenhere and here.)

Something to cheer you up:
I’d give it all up to live on a pig farm.

Something to listen to:
Country Phil rocks! (It says so on his website.) How can one not appreciate this level of talent and genius?

Something to watch:
Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn interpreted in sign.

(You’ll like that last link, you really will. The video may hiccup, but show patience and you’ll be rewarded.)

Posted in Inneresting | 2 Comments

Taking away your right to protest

Guardian – Protest as harassment: The measures that the government claims are meant to stop fake butlers breaking into royal palaces and to prevent the lone anti-war protester Brian Haw from camping on the pavement in Parliament Square (125-135) also have the effect of banning any spontaneous protest outside parliament or in Trafalgar Square, and of permitting the home secretary to ban demonstrations in places “designated” by him to be “in the interests of national security”. Which means they will be used to prevent protests at airbases, arms exhibitions, government buildings and anywhere else of symbolic or practical importance.

And the bit that’s supposed to stop animal rights activists from protesting outside the homes of scientists also makes it technically illegal to protest outside Downing St. Which is a residence.

Blair’s attack on May Day was just the start.

Posted in The War on Stupid | Comments Off

Slaps and slappers

This is rather predictable and sad, but it needs to be blogged for the archives…

Today, Page 3 stunna Katie (19, from Liverpool) ‘thinks’ it’s a terrible the Queen won’t be attending Prince Charles’ wedding and ‘reckons’ it is a deliberate snub. She ‘says': “It must be awful to have your mother miss one of the biggest days of your life. And what a slap in the face to Camilla. I know a civil wedding is probably not what the Queen had in mind, but if it’s good enough for the rest of us, why isn’t it good enough for her?”

For reference: BBC – Q&A: Queen’s wedding decision

Just wondering: There must be a release these girls have to sign that covers The Scum, allowing them to put these words into the mouths of their models. I’d love to see a copy.

Also: A lot of what is printed in newspapers is entered into LexisNexis. I bet this isn’t.
(Photograph) – BECKY, 24, from London

BECKY can’t believe the Beckhams have called the latest addition to their family Cruz. She said: “I know David is a footballer but giving your son the Spanish name for cross is ridiculous. On me ‘ead!”

Picture: Allan Strutt Underwear: Daniel Axel”

Posted in Page 3 - News in Briefs | 5 Comments

Backing Blair – getting trucks on the street

I want it - I want it so bad!I want you to help me do this!

I want a truck with big bloody posters on the side to go driving around London. I want it to do laps of Parliament Square. Again and again and again until the driver gets dizzy or the police intervene. I want it to drive past Downing St. I want it to drive past Abingdon Green, where reporters stand to do their to-camera pieces from outside Parliament.

And all the while, I want the in-built PA system to broadcast important messages like:

- The terrorists want to kill you. We *love* you! Please don’t vote for terrorists.
– George W. Bush is your friend! 51% of Americans prefer George W. Bush.
– We are pleased to announce that the Iraq war is within measurable distance of its end.
– Look under more mattresses! 60% of the British population hide contraband under their mattresses!

I know this may mean you having to move your porno stash, but damn it, this has to happen!

And do you know what?

We’re only a couple of hundred squid away from making it happen.

The Backing Blair fund now stands at 831.43 GBP

Public Whip deserves a shout here, as they are our most generous donors. So far.

Our bank account just went live, so we could sign a cheque for a 1/4 page ad right about now… but I don’t want that.

I. Want. This!

This is a glorious photo opportunity. This shows that we have enough support to reach critical mass. This will make everyone who sees it turn their head and go; “WTF?!”

I. Want. This!

I want you to want it.

And I want you to send Backing Blair money to help make it happen.

This is even easier to do than it was before… because Backing Blair now accepts donations by cheque!

Did you catch that bit?

This is even easier to do than it was before… because Backing Blair now accepts donations by cheque!

The cool thing about these trucks is that you can get the posters made and then have them rolled up for re-use. So once we get over this first hurdle, it’s only a matter of raising a few hundred squid each time we want another truck to go out.


I want this! I want this! I want this!

I. Want. This!

And we are so very, very close to making it a reality.

Dig deep. Give until it hurts.

Have you sent the money yet? Why are you reading this when you could be sending money?


OK, here’s what else we need…

1. I’d like a Bloggerheads regular on the truck for a full or partial ride-along. If you have the ability to blog from your mobile, so much the better. Live updates of truck locations and immediate reports of any hassle/reactions we get would be a mighty fine thing indeed.

2. I’d like a few Bloggerheads regulars with digital cameras (video and still) on hand to document the event. If you can take video footage and spit it out as Quicktime or something equally webcastable, so much the better.

I. Want. This!

And by now, I would hope that you want it too.

Cheers all.

(breathes again)

Posted in UK General Election 2005 | 5 Comments

An opposition? Where did that come from all of a sudden?

Independent – Clarke in final bid to win support for house arrest powers: Charles Clarke is to hold fresh talks with Opposition leaders tomorrow in a last-ditch attempt to win support for new powers to place terror suspects under house arrest… A meeting of party leaders to discuss the controversial proposals broke up on Friday with the Tories pledging to oppose the laws. But ministers hope concessions to the Liberal Democrats may help spare the Government a bruising battle on the eve of the expected general election.

1. Congratulations to the Lib-Dems and the Conservatives for actually acting like (*gasp*) The Opposition. But 5 squid says Howard blinks.

BBC – Clarke to reveal anti-terror plan: The home secretary is expected to press ahead with plans to give himself the power to put terror suspects under house arrest, despite wide opposition. Charles Clarke will unveil his proposed control orders, ranging from tagging to house arrest, in a Commons statement. Downing Street says “extreme measures” are needed to protect the UK. The Tories accused ministers of trying to “ram” through the plans. The Lib-Dems say only judges, not politicians, should be able to impose the orders.

2. Protect the UK. Yes, that’s the priority. And Blair takes it all very seriously.

Does anyone recall when this country was it its highest level of terror alert ever?

10 points if you guessed correctly…

BBC – UK on second highest terror alert: Britain’s security services have been put on their second highest state of alert amid intelligence of a possible al-Qaeda attack, the BBC has learned. The internal “severe general” alert is said to be unconnected to US President Bush’s forthcoming UK visit.

Yup, totally unconnected. Sheer coincidence. Like those tanks that rolled into Heathrow on the eve of this country’s largest-ever protest and rolled right out again once that protest was over.

But Bush’s visit to the UK wasn’t some vital high-level strategic summit, it was a state visit. An unprecedented honour that he appeared to grant himself.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think one single journalist actually dared to dig into the ‘Who invited him?’ question.

At that stage, blame/credit for the invite went from Downing St to the palace to some nameless quango. And the trail stopped dead there.

So please excuse me for continuing to suspect that Bush invited himself and Blair caved and/or heartily agreed… thereby placing Britons at risk. All for the sake of a photo-opportunity.

And those of us who dared to protest were told that we were causing an unnecessary security risk.

That’s how seriously Blair takes the terror threat. It’s not something to be fought; it’s something to be exploited.

But, of course, me pointing this out means that I deny the threat exists. A handy polar device that also turns those who opposed the illegal invasion of Iraq into out-and-out supporters of Saddam Hussein.

This isn’t about security; it’s about power. And placing these kinds of powers in the hands of any government is a bloody dangerous thing to do, no matter how infrequently they promise to use it.

See also:
Day is night and night is day
Blair: winning hearts and minds *and* the War on Terror
We’re all going to die. No, really!
The ‘protection’ of our liberties via indefinite detention based on ‘reasonable suspicion’
Detention without charge or trial: it stops you getting blowed up. For true.

Also happening:
Never knowingly undersold
Knee-jerk hatred
Catchy political slogan – says it all
A better approach to slogans here: They’re not Tory, and they’re not Tony
Bloggers4Labour – all pro-Labour sites welcome. Unless you object to Tony Blair strongly enough to make that the focus of your site.
Daily Show covers Jeff Gannon (6.8Mb Quicktime)

On Hunter Thompson… I feel I must raise my hand and admit to only watching FALILV because I’m a Terry Gilliam Fan.

UPDATE – I lose 5 squid! Take a look at what happens when we have an effective opposition in this country for the first time in 3+ years!

Guardian – Clarke announces anti-terror laws concession: The home secretary, Charles Clarke, today announced compromises to controversial proposals to put British terrorism suspects under de facto house arrest in the hope of winning support for their swift passage through parliament. Under the concession, individuals ordered by the home secretary to stay in their homes would receive an automatic judicial review of their case within seven days. Those subject to lesser controls such as limits on internet communication could challenge the decision in the high court.

As Little Red Blogger points out, this isn’t over yet… but it’s the most promising development in a very long time.

UPDATE – Independent – Clarke retreats on house arrest powers: The two parties, which have also protested that the measure is being rushed through Parliament, are planning to vote against the proposals in the Commons today, and may win the support of between 20 and 30 Labour MPs. The Government is at serious risk of the Bill being defeated in the Lords.

BBC – Fast law, bad law?: Home Secretary Charles Clarke is facing opposition to his latest anti-terror laws on many fronts – not least the fact he is attempting to rush them through parliament in a matter of days.

Posted in The War on Stupid | 1 Comment

Vote for me

Or I will eat your children.


Posted in Teh Interwebs | 6 Comments

Speaking of potential…

BritBlog Roundup proposed. Kind of like a semi-manual UK-specific Blogdex, perhaps? Test-run of sorts here. has a bunch of new features as well. Go see.

Posted in The Political Weblog Movement | Comments Off

Blogs: reality, illusion and potential

Iain Duncan Smith – Bloggers will rescue the right: …Britain hasn’t yet had much experience of electronic campaigning. But the blogosphere will become a force in Britain, and it could ignite many new forces of conservatism. The internet’s automatic level playing field gives conservatives opportunities that mainstream media have often denied them.

Iain Duncan Smith may appear to be talking out of his arse in this piece, but this is an illusion caused by him speaking (some) sense with his head firmly planted in said orifice.

1. The right doesn’t need much rescuing, especially as Murdoch controls so much of what people see and hear and his favourite puppy-dog Tony Blair has co-opted so many right-wing policies and put a smiley face on them.

2. Speaking of co-opting, Karl Rove knows very well that the ‘empowerment’ of blogs ‘shown’ by Rathergate is total bull. Right-wing blogs were used in this case – possibly by Rove himself – and people in the U.S. were completely had as a result. One small document (an obvious fraud of uncertain origin) was proved to be false and the interpretation fed to the mainstream audience was that this disproved everything that had ever been said or proved about Bush’s service record. (See The Bush AWOL Forgeries: Fonts Do Not Unmake Facts)

3. IDS does not have a weblog (or even his own website, by the looks of things). Do pardon me while I sneer in his general direction like a netropolitian elitist.

The Book Club Blog has a round-up of reactions, and two come from immediate orbit. Here’s Robin’s short take, and here’s Nosemonkey’s optimistic take.

(And now we also have the road to to consider.)

My view:

Reality is what sends me to bed each night; there is only so much you can achieve in one day before falling over. But potential is what gets me out of bed each morning.

Now, weblogs have enormous potential to bypass mainstream media. It has been proven that they can subvert mainstream media, but only when a weakness is shown or (puts on tinfoil beanie) orchestrated. However, this ability relies greatly upon the reputation/network of any given blog or group of blogs. MPs, writers and activists should be very aware that this kind of reputation or network requires them to communicate; but this communication should not be seen purely as a means to an end.

On that note, it needs to be said that Backing Blair is a bit of a departure for Bloggerheads, in that I have to bring a very large percentage of you around to my way of thinking (i.e. this project is not borne entirely of what we as a group – most likely – may think and/or be concerned about, but what I think will address a problem most of us have in common).

I’m risking a lot of what I’ve built up over these past 3 years because I think my solution is the best way forward. And here’s something from the same paper (if a different edition) that I hope will help to make my case…

Guardian – We cannot vote Labour: This has transformed Labour from an imperfect conduit of progressive change to an active obstacle to it. To vote for it is to abandon any hope that such change will ever come. It is to hand over responsibility for a leftwing agenda to those who have shown nothing but contempt for liberal-left policies and for the people who hold them dear. Nowhere is this more evident than on Iraq.

I tossed and turned for a bit last night over a common barb sent BB’s way; ‘democracy is choice’ says site that tells you how to vote

But right now you have no choice (simplethink illusions used only to clarify statement):
– Vote Labour and cement Blair’s control over the party
– Vote Tory and invite Howard to ‘bring back Thatcherism’
– Vote Lib-Dem, SNP, anti-war etc. and ‘waste your vote’

If Backing Blair develops as a strong enough movement, it will provide you with a (pardon the term) Fourth Way:
Vote against Labour under a single banner that can be seen clearly by those within Labour who are in a position to unseat Blair.

In short; keep Labour, lose Blair.

Last year’s by-elections involved a heartfelt (but scattered) protest vote that almost sparked a leadership challenge.

Wake up to the potential.


Posted in UK General Election 2005 | 2 Comments

Former ambassador to go head-to-head with Straw

Independent – A UK diplomat says Britain is part of a worldwide torture plot. Is he telling the truth?: Craig Murray is a very undiplomatic diplomat. Former ambassadors are supposed to be tending their flowers in Home Counties gardens, but this one is not. He is, instead, making extraordinary allegations, the most damaging of which is that Britain is using information obtained from torture to imprison people indefinitely. So convinced is he of the truth of this and other claims that he plans to stand against his former employer, the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, at the general election. “We have abandoned the notion of a foreign policy based on the rule of international law, in favour of one which says might is right, that there is one superpower and we’ll be its best friend,” he says. “I want to put these issues in front of the voters.”

More here.

Methinks I sniff a special project/exception…

Posted in The War on Stupid | 2 Comments