01-16 October, 2004

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Date
20041001
An American Election
Time
18:54
Ha-ha!

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Date
20041002
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
16:46
Tee-hee.

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Date
20041007
John Howard: 2nd to Fall?
Time
09:57
Everybody hates a spammer.

SMH – Liberal phone spam doesn’t ring true, say unhappy targets: The Liberal Party has been accused of having breached electoral laws, improperly using silent phone numbers and using an overseas call centre in “phone spam” campaigning. The Australian Electoral Commission was considering a complaint from the Labor Party yesterday that recorded “advocacy calls” made to thousands of electors in marginal seats, did not carry proper authorisation. Section 328 of the Electoral Act requires any political advertisement to provide the name and address of the authorising official. The Liberal ads contain no authorisation. Then there is the question of how the Liberals know people’s silent numbers.

The article fails to note, however, that this exciting, new and vote-winning tactic has been copied directly from the Bush campaign in the U.S.

UPDATE – Hear that Gutless Johnny phone-spam in full (link to MP3 on page) and compare it to Bush’s cold-calling technique (direct link to WAV file).

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Date
20041009
John Howard: 2nd to Fall?
Time
12:54
1. Australia, I’m feeling very disappointed with you right now.

2. Howard did his best to avoid the issue of Iraq throughout the election, but you can bet that one day very soon today’s result will be presented as vindication on that front. Almost as if the general election were a referendum on that subject and that subject alone.

Oh, and almost as if being chosen as the lesser of two weevils is a ringing endorsement. (I’m going to leave it there at weevils, because I can’t even bear to think of what life will be like for Australians under that loathsome insect Peter Costello.)

UPDATE – Worth noting and ‘membering.

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Date
20041016
Spam
Time
15:39
Seems like a trustworthy chap…

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Date
20041016
Tolerance
Time
16:04
Blimey!

The Hillsborough reference could have been handled better (or avoided altogether), but the editorial in question makes a valid point. (See BugMeNot.com if my link doesn’t get you through. You do need to actually read the piece before forming an opinion.)

Me, I’d dare to ask where the extreme reaction was to the murder, torture and rape of innocent Iraqis. This may have even been followed up by more than mild interest in an apology from Tony Blair.

Sorry, that’s a bit off-topic, isn’t it? We should all be kicking Boris.

(PS – 10 points go to The Sun if they dare to vilify Boris over this. Can somebody please clip them if they do?)

UPDATE:

1. Isn’t it funny that an editorial on perspective should cause so many people to lose theirs?

2. Credit should go to Boris for taking the flak, as any editor worth their salt should.

3. Please also note how his blog continues to invite comment.

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Date
20041016
An American Election
Time
16:48
This may be of marginal interest. (B-boom tisch!)








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

15-29 September, 2004

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Date
20040915
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
09:11


(Click here for a desktop version of this image.)

Blimey! We almost did it! (And by ‘we’, I mean we as a nation, not we as a bunch of interwebbers.)

Independent – Blair almost quit because of family pressures, says Bragg: Tony Blair considered quitting this year because “family considerations” were pressing and he was under “colossal strain”, Lord Bragg, the television arts presenter and close friend, said last night.

Guardian – Family stress nearly made Blair quit, claims Bragg: The Labour peer, Melvyn Bragg, whose wife, Cate Haste, co-authored Cherie Blair’s new book on Downing Street spouses, made the claim during an interview with ITV News which caught No 10 on the hop.

ITV – Blair mulled quitting over family: Asked whether Mr Blair had considered resigning earlier this year, Lord Bragg said: “I think that he was under tremendous stress. He was being hammered in the press. Perhaps he had doubts about some policies, perhaps not. But in my view, the real stress was personal and family, which matters most to him. And my guess is that the considerations of his family became very pressing and that was what made him think things over very carefully. That is my guess.”

But it was nothing to do with Iraq, nossir. Family pressures.

Cherie wants the kitchen done over because the energy patterns are all wrong. And this comes just after she finally sorted out the flow in the bathroom. Leo’s well past his first word, but it’s a terribly rude one and he just won’t stop saying it. Euan is kicking up a stink because he’s stuck at Bristol University when he really wanted to learn gun-running at Eton. Kathryn’s started taking an interest in boys, but she’s of age. The real problem is with Nicky, who appears to be taking an interest in girls*.

(*None of this is true.)

Damn it, we almost had him. What killed us then was people like John Reid coming out with a story that pretty much runs as follows:

I certainly didn’t ask Mr Blair if he was considering resigning, because it’s simply not an issue. But I got the very clear impression that he wouldn’t. Because it’s simply not an issue. There is no crisis. I’m here to tell you that there is no crisis. Don’t think for a moment that I’ve been wheeled out because there is a crisis, because I just popped in for this interview on my way to make a cup of tea. I like to drink warm, hot cups of tea when nothing of consequence is going on.

And, wouldn’t you know it, Reid was on BBC radio 4 this morning telling this exact same story. Because Downing St couldn’t possibly comment.

Torygraph – Blair ‘nearly quit over family’: According to the spokesman, Mr Blair still stood by his statement in July that he had not considered quitting as Prime Minister. But Downing Street refused to discuss the substance of Lord Bragg’s allegations or the closeness of his relationship with the Blair family.

Damn it, we almost had him. But we let it go because of the power of denial.

Perhaps it’s time to rephrase the question.

No more “Will Blair resign?”; try instead “When will Blair resign?”

You can ignore the pretence that it’s not going to happen.

In fact, you can help to make it inevitable.

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Date
20040915
An American Election
Time
09:15
Reuters – Bush Avoids Issue of Iran, N.Korea on Campaign Trail: As he campaigns on a platform of having made America safer, President Bush usually does not talk about nuclear disputes with North Korea and Iran that show no sign of resolution. Bush did not mention the two countries, once branded by him as part of an “axis of evil,” in his recent Republican Convention address and he has not made them a campaign staple.

Well, he doesn’t want to reveal that he has no plan, obviously. That you’re afraid is enough. Fear over substance; don’t misunderestimate it.

(Link via Codewolf.)

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Date
20040915
Inneresting
Time
09:19
100 photographs that changed the world. (Well, 28 of them at least. You have to buy the book to see them all.)

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Date
20040915
Only Interesting To Bloggers
Time
09:21
I’m terribly sorry, I’ll read that again; Blair considered resigning because of his family weblog.

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Date
20040915
Video
Time
09:23
DNC Video: Fortunate Son (for Windows media and ReallyCrapPlayer – your mileage may vary).

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Date
20040915
Bush: AWOL
Time
09:36
Kevin Drum: I think it’s time for everyone to give up on this. The memos are almost certainly fakes, they’re sucking up media bandwidth that could be better used elsewhere, and Dan Rather is toast. Besides, there was really nothing in them that told us anything new.

Right on. We can’t have the freepers bleating ‘forgery’ all over the place, because it dilutes the effectiveness of actual evidence….

Unreleased document shows Bush failed to fulfil his commitments: A newly discovered document that was withheld by the White House when it released “all the records” shows that Bush promised to serve in the Air National Guard well beyond the termination of his six year Military Service Obligation. In this document, simply labeled “AGREEMENT”, Bush acknowledges that his training will require “the expenditure of extensive public funds” and in exchange for “undergraduate pilot training”, he agreed to serve for at least five years after the completion of that training…. The source of this document was someone with unquestioned access to it, and there is no doubt regarding its authenticity. There is also no question that it has been withheld by the White House.

I’m not sure if this one is a door slamming or a screen door creaking open. Stay tuned.

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Date
20040915
The Grand & Dirty Game
Time
09:51
I love people who continually insist that nothing of the sort would ever happen, we’re being paranoid and so on – and then immediately switch to “Oh do, grow up – everbody does it!” the moment proof comes to light. I say this because I expect to hear from a few of these people today…

April 30, 2003 – Guardian – Storm over alleged bugging transcripts: During today’s prime minister’s question time, Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay asked Mr Blair if the government still subscribed to the Wilson doctrine – that the security forces should not bug MP’s phones. “I reaffirm the Wilson doctrine but will not comment on matters of security,” Mr Blair replied. Earlier, a Downing Street spokeman said: “We have no idea whether this document is genuine and therefore we have no comment to make.”

September 15, 2004 – Sinn Fein to challenge Blair over listening bug: Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader, accused the government of “gross hypocrisy” before tomorrow’s Northern Ireland peace talks after a bugging device was found hidden in the floor of a party office in west Belfast. The device, which was 1 metre 63 cm long (5ft 3in) and disguised as a floor joist, was hidden under carpet tiles in a first-floor office. The party said two live microphones were pointed towards the office and a downstairs conference room where the officials had in the past held meetings with Bill Clinton’s campaign team.

So now Gerry Adams plans to deliver it to Tony Blair. Presumably so he can determine if it’s genuine.

PS – This never happened.

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Date
20040915
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
17:06
1. I always seem to end up in Westminster on unrelated matters just when things get interesting. I think someone is trying to tell me something. (PS – Balders has a word or two on the fox hunting thingie.)

2. Met Boris. Hell of a nice chap. He cottoned on immediately and is Keen. As. Mustard…. you’re in for a treat.

That’s about it for now. Back to the domain issue….

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Date
20040915
The End of Democracy
Time
17:12
Relax. Everything is fine. (Link via ScaryDuck.)

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Date
20040915
Humanity
Time
17:14
It’s an election ploy.

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Date
20040915
Tinfoil Helmets
Time
17:15
The nurses run naked in Portsmouth General. I repeat: The nurses run naked in Portsmouth General.

PS – In 2003, I blogged my plans for May Day. I found police waiting for me. They knew just who I was, which is probably why this happened. Next May Day, I hope to bring a surprise to the table.

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Date
20040915
The War on Stupid
Time
17:22
Scotsman – Al Qaida ‘Duped Allies into Waging War’: One of al Qaida’s aims in its September 11 attacks on the US three years ago was to draw the west into military conflict on Arab soil, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s former envoy to Iraq acknowledged today. Sir Jeremy Greenstock’s comments appeared to give some credence to the argument of critics of the Iraq War that the US and UK played into al Qaida’s hands by launching last year’s invasion.

(Link via Abnu, who is one of those naive peaceniks who sides with terrorists.)

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Date
20040916
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:52
Guardian – Iraq war was illegal and breached UN charter, says Annan: The United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, declared explicitly for the first time last night that the US-led war on Iraq was illegal. Mr Annan said that the invasion was not sanctioned by the UN security council or in accordance with the UN’s founding charter. In an interview with the BBC World Service broadcast last night, he was asked outright if the war was illegal. He replied: “Yes, if you wish.” He then added unequivocally: “I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was illegal.”

BBC – Iraq war illegal, says Annan : He has said from the beginning the invasion did not conform with the UN charter – phrasing that was seen as a diplomatic way of saying the war was illegal. Our correspondent says Mr Annan’s relationship with the US might be made a little uncomfortable for a while following his comments, but both sides are likely to want to play it down. US President George W Bush is due to speak at the UN General Assembly next week.

The reaction? Predictable:

Australian PM rejects Annan’s claims Iraq war ‘illegal’, criticises UN

Patricia Hewitt: Iraq War ‘Lawful and Necessary’

What you have to watch out for here is the Resolution Two-Step.

Blair makes much of the fact that resolution 1441 was passed unanimously; it allows him to suggest that we had international support.

Here he is, side by side with Bush as this favourite claim of his is pushed forward: ” And in respect to Iraq, we should not forget Resolution 1441 that was passed in the United Nations, in which the entire international community accepted the threat that Iraq constituted.”

Here he is, selling it himself in the House of Commons: “We expected – I expected – to find actual usable chemical or biological weapons shortly after we entered Iraq. We even made significant contingency plans in respect of their use against our troops. UN resolution 1441, in November 2002, was passed unanimously by the whole Security Council, including Syria, on the basis that Iraq was a WMD threat.”

However, (skipping quietly over the phantom menace of WMDs) resolution 1441 does not authorise force. It was deliberately worded that way. And it was only this wording that allowed the resolution to be passed unanimously (if at all).

Blair and his cronies will then slip through the next sentence (much like Patricia Hewitt did this morning) stating that “Iraq was indeed lawful and why we believed it was necessary to uphold those UN resolutions” (please note the curiously plural aspect of that last word).

Scotsman – Attorney General Advised Blair War Was Legal – Butler: According to the Attorney General, the existing UN Security Council resolution 1441 – and the earlier resolutions 678 and 687, passed at the time of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait – already contained authorisation for military action in this case, without the need for a fresh resolution specifically triggering war.

And that’s the guts of it, really. But there’s another bluff to it. Blairites are also fond of repeating the mantra that they published the legal advice they received. But this advice has not been published in full and remains an official secret. And one can only wonder why…

Guardian – War chief reveals legal crisis: It emerged last week that an earlier draft of the advice, produced around 7 March , prevaricated on whether an invasion of Iraq was legal without a second United Nations resolution. The Attorney-General was then ‘sitting on the fence’, said a senior Government legal source. He was forced to redraft this advice as the countdown to war continued. The Observer has discovered that Goldsmith flew to Washington in early February for a crisis meeting with his American counterpart, John Ashcroft, to discuss the war’s legality.

Sunday Herald – US told UK Attorney General to alter legal advice on Iraq war: The attorney general initially told Tony Blair that an invasion of Iraq would be illegal without a new resolution from the United Nations and only overturned his advice when Washington ordered Downing Street to find legal advice which would justify the war. The devastating claim will be made by eminent QC and Labour peer Baroness Helena Kennedy in a television interview today.

If the case is sound, sound enough to base a war on, then why not publish the advice in full?

Because… This. War. Was. And. Is. Illegal.

And you can’t wheel out the moral case about Iraq being better off without Saddam and us liberating the poor suffering Iraqis (and here we skip over the minor issue of the detention and torture of soldiers and civilians) because this poor legal standing is one of the major factors in the mess Iraq has become. It also lends terrorists legitimacy in some quarters. This was bad for Iraq and bad for the so-called War on Terror.

Blair wanted a second resolution. Legally, he needed it. But in the end he had to make do with a hodge-podge of decade-old resolutions that had nothing to do with the situation in Iraq as it stood on the eve of war.

And he’s been getting away with this bluff ever since.

Enough from me. Let’s get back to the news…

Independent – Annan declares Iraq war illegal and warns of election credibility: Lord Goldsmith argued that the threat from weapons of mass destruction was one of the reasons for justifying action under UN resolution 1441. However, the Iraq Survey Group is expected to confirm that no evidence of WMD has been found. Elizabeth Wilmshurst, the number two in the Foreign Office legal team, resigned in protest at the case for attacking Iraq in a pre-emptive strike, a week before the war began. It has also been claimed that the Foreign Office fears that its legal justification for the war on Iraq could be open to legal challenge as a result of the ruling in the International Court of Justice against the construction of Israel’s security wall.

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Date
20040916
The Animal Kingdom
Time
10:00
Let’s go snake-hunting!

Let’s tease leopards! (1.5Mb WMV file)

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Date
20040916
Useful
Time
10:03
This Is Broken – “A project to make businesses more aware of their customer experience, and how to fix it.”

(Link via famous and nonfamous strangers.)

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Date
20040916
The Environment
Time
10:06
Pardon my cynicism.

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Date
20040916
The Interweb
Time
10:06
Hooray for Geoff and his shiny new iPod!

Also, Spam is 100 years old.

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Date
20040916
The End of Democracy
Time
10:08
From Steve Garfield’s video blog…. (channels Bee Gees)…. Some-one’s breaking laws… in Massachusetts…

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Date
20040916
Only Interesting To Bloggers
Time
10:18
Belle de Jour calls it a day now the book deal’s in the bag. I think we’ve all been had.

This link comes to you courtesy of ScaryDuck who (brace for fanfare) who – after “fifteen years writing on media news and human rights”, gets his first-ever by-line on an ‘And Finally’ piece on Star Trek. Kahlesste kaase!

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Date
20040916
John Howard: 2nd to Fall?
Time
10:19
Australian politician injured by too much handshaking while campaigning. (Link via Baked Bens.)

I’ll have more on the Australian election later today. Possibly tonight.

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Date
20040916
Useful
Time
10:22
AltWeeklies.com – news and arts reporting from more than 100 alternative newsweeklies.

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Date
20040916
Video
Time
10:29
HoldThemAccountable.com is going into bat, taking on the issue of the Bush administration’s incompetent execution of the war in Iraq. The site features previews of ads that air in Wisconsin and West Virginia on Monday. Go see.

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Date
20040916
Bush: AWOL
Time
10:32
Kevin Drum on why the forgery claims matter not a jot.

Also, an interesting exchange for you (please note the impeccable source):

Q Scott, on the National Guard documents on “60 Minutes,” the First Lady says she believes these are forgeries. The RNC has accused the Democratic Party of being the source of these documents. Knowing then what you know now, would you still have released those documents when you did?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that’s a hypothetical question, John. We received those documents from a major news organization. We had every reason to believe that they were authentic at that time.

Here’s Atrios asking the same question I asked a few days ago: If the basic thrust of the memos was false – if, say, Bush came forward and said “Hey, wait a minute! Those can’t be real! I never disobeyed a direct order…” then why would our dear Scotty say such a thing?

In case you missed it: The Bush AWOL ‘Forgeries': Fonts Do Not Unmake Facts

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Date
20040916
Photoshopping
Time
10:42
A bunch of high-resolution UK roadsigns. Because when I go ‘shopping, I can never find decent versions. But now I can. Yes, this link is mainly for my reference. Deal with it.

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Date
20040916
Proper Gander
Time
10:44
A treat for Australians – a Gutless Johnny poster. You may recognise the basic pic/concept, but when I saw a great source image for Little Johhny Howard last night, its placement was obvious. Just look at the ‘morning after’ regret on the man’s face. Lovely stuff, even if I do say so myself.

You can download an A4-sized poster version here.

I simply didn’t have enough time to get a Flash show together in time for TimeToGoJohn.com, but I hope this will help in some small part.

(Oh, on the subject of Flash shows, I have another in the works and sorted the script, soundtrack, framework and timing last night. The subject? Torture.)

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Date
20040916
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh FFS…
Time
10:53
Guardian – UK officers linked to torture jail: The Ministry of Defence has admitted for the first time that senior British officers were working closely with American commanders at Abu Ghraib, the Baghdad prison where Iraqi prisoners were systematically abused and humiliated. Two intelligence officers, Colonel Chris Terrington and Colonel Campbell James, were “embedded within” the US unit responsible for extracting information from Iraqi prisoners, the armed forces minister, Adam Ingram, disclosed. Col Terrington is said to have joined the intelligence chain of command at Abu Ghraib in November 2003, when many of the most serious abuses occurred. The admission came in a parliamentary answer to Adam Price, the Plaid Cymru MP who has been pursuing the government over what Britain knew about the serious abuse of Iraqi detainees at the jail.

Heads-up via Perfect.co.uk. You can see the relevant entry in Hansard here. (Bugger. Now I may have to alter my script.)

UPDATE – It might be nice if you could find the time to get in touch with Adam Price and congratulate him. I just did.

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Date
20040916
In The News
Time
14:40
What he said. Every word. ‘Defining moment’ my arse.

UPDATE – And here’s a ‘compare and contrast’ moment for you.

UPDATE 2 – And now we have this.

OK, prepare yourselves… I’m going to ask for calm.

Yes, hypocrisy abounds, but don’t forget The Big One.

Just a few short weeks ago new laws were passed to protect some even richer people who torture and kill animals for profit. Because they don’t want their competitors to know what they’re up to (again, for reasons of profit), a lot of the same research is done many times over. Which means many animals suffer and die needlessly. This is just one factor that pisses on their ‘for the good of mankind’ argument.

Blair has effectively protected one elite group and targeted another. Within a month. Over more or less the same goddamn issue. To take your minds off something else.

Now let me see… what would that be….?

Ah, yes:

Torture. Human beings. Watch this space.

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Date
20040917
Proper Gander
Time
09:59
Writing. With you in a jiffy. (That’s about 1 earth hour as the crow flies.)

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Date
20040917
The End of Democracy
Time
11:54
Well, there it is, folks. The last nail in the coffin. Well done, The Sun.

More here.

It will take a strong man to ensure that this doesn’t turn parliament into an island. Is Peter Hain up to it?

Why don’t you get in touch with him and ask?

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Date
20040917
Only Interesting To Bloggers
Time
11:58
It’s another blogging award! You know what to do, folks. Make with the sweet, sweet love.

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Date
20040917
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
12:00
Fight to impeach Blair gains support

The case against the PM

IthinkIcanIthinkIcanIknowIcanIknowIcan…

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Date
20040917
Flash Music Video
Time
12:01
OK, folks – this is it. This is my final shot before the US election. Next week I’m going to have a little lie down, but I hope I leave you with something valuable and useful in the War on Stupid:

Something Funny Happened On The Way To Abu Ghraib

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Date
20040917
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely! It’s Over!
Time
13:54
The War In Iraq Is Now Officially Unwinnable.

The best we can hope for by the end of next year is “tenuous stability.”

I bet us naive peaceniks get the blame.

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Date
20040917
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
15:04
Thanks to a lead from Perfect.co.uk and Guacamoleville, I find myself staring in disbelief at the just-launched website of Iain Wright, the Labour candidate for Hartlepool.

Why doesn’t he open up with a blog? Well, I hate to be big-headed about it, but perhaps – just perhaps – someone somewhere is/was worried how I would react to his little Shop-A-Yob campaign. (That, or they figured that there was no point building a weblog that would only be used for two weeks.)

Fear of terrorism, fear of crime, it all comes from the same barrel of bulldust. Nevertheless, I wish the manchild well in his endeavours.

(UPDATE – Shopping spammers, on the other hand, is perfectly acceptable IMO. I make no excuses for this outright hypocrisy.)

UPDATE 2 – Oh dear. Shane advises me that the site appears to have been withdrawn. Go to the front page now (5:30pm) and you see this default page from the domain provider ‘DomainsRForever’. £1.98 domains with ad-free forwarding? Bargain!

Wait-wait-wait… it gets betterer. The site appears to be provided by a company called Net Efficiency Ltd (who do quite a lot of work for Labour, by the looks of things). Pfft!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040917
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh FFS…
Time
15:16
Soldiers say they were told to re-enlist or face deployment to Iraq

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Date
20040917
RWCs
Time
15:22
Serial Republican Victim complains for the THIRD straight presidential election of being assaulted and has his family assist. Perhaps. Maybe it’s a complete coincidence and people just don’t like him.

Also see Kicking ‘em While They’re Down.

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Date
20040917
Music
Time
16:00
Something you may want to check out before you get that band-shot done.

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Date
20040917
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
16:37
Boris. Monday. Be here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040917
Flash Thingies
Time
18:22
Pwahahahahahahahahahahaha! If you’ve ever contributed to any message board for any period of time, you need to see this. It totally roxorz teh big ONE11111. (Please use headphones if you’re in the office or with the kiddies.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040918
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
09:44
Oooooh… gossip, gossip, gossip, gossip! I particularly like the ‘Miranda’ theory, but if you’re after relatively sensible discussion on Blair’s daughter Kathryn and the (un)reported suicide attempt, you may find some here. (Please note that I did use the words may and some.)

Suicide and the media (a useful link via the all-seeing eye).

Looks like this is about to break out regardless of pressure from Blair and nicey-nicey treatment from the media. Especially now that it’s been reported that no-one’s reporting it (so it’s bound to be Question Of The Week across the interweb). I got a whiff of this in June, but wasn’t really blogging at the time (or paying attention) so it kind of passed me by. (So it’s sheer luck – and luck alone – that sees Kathryn getting off so lightly in this rant from Wednesday.)

My gut tells me to stick to my initial thoughts:

She’s only 15 or 16, for God’s sake! You don’t want to go swinging her around like some kind of weapon.

Blimey. She’s 15 or 16. That’s a very idealistic age. And there’s no escaping school. She must be surrounded by shouty people. That’s got to suck.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040918
The War on Stupid
Time
14:27
To. Be. Read. In. Full.

Ah, me. Those were the days. Remember going out with your Dad to help round up anyone who looked Irish? Remember how we took on the IRA by invading Scotland? Great times.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040918
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s… Uh-oh.
Time
16:41
Into the abyss – the week Iraq’s dream of peace fell apart

Secret papers show Blair ‘warned over Iraq post-war chaos’ (more here)

Iraq had no WMD: the final verdict

(reaches for fork)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely! It’s Over!
Time
09:37
Guardian – Blair: we must win this new conflict: Britain is embroiled in a fresh conflict with Iraq as it battles to quash global terrorism for ever, Tony Blair declared in a stark relabelling of the situation yesterday.

Independent – Optimism in London, carnage in Iraq: Mr Blair said: “Whatever the disagreements about the first conflict in Iraq to remove Saddam, in this conflict now taking place in Iraq, this is the crucible in which the future of this global terrorism will be determined. Either it will succeed and this terrorism will grow, or we will succeed, the Iraqi people will succeed and this global terrorism will be delivered a huge defeat. I do say to people in this new Iraqi conflict, whatever the disagreements about the removal of Saddam, there is only one side for sensible and reasonable people to be on. Now is not the time for the international community to divide or disagree but to come together behind what is happening in Iraq.”

What? Another line drawn under Iraq?

*sigh*

We’re not buying it.

Told you so:

Bloggerheads Sep 17: The best we can hope for (in Iraq) by the end of next year is “tenuous stability.” I bet us naive peaceniks get the blame.

Independent Sep 20: Writing in The Independent today Mr Allawi condemns “sceptics and nay-sayers” and urges “all nations to assist Iraq”.

I love the use of the word ‘crucible’, where ‘hotbed’ would have served just as well.

We did this. We brought terrorism to Iraq (by claiming it was already there). And then we better enabled it by going in without legitimacy.

It’s not a case of “You made this problem; you deal with it.” It’s case of “You are A BIG BLOODY PART OF THIS PROBLEM and we can’t deal with it with you and your bad smell hanging around.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; the only line that can be drawn under Iraq will have Tony Blair (and George W. Bush) on the other side of it.

UPDATE – Mark Steyn lays into us cheese-eating surrender monkeys. I love insurgents, I do. Almost as much as I love Saddam.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
The War on Stupid
Time
09:38
OsamaSweepstakes.com: We all know it’s coming… at some point in the next couple of months, Dubya and his cronies are going to miraculously ‘find’ Osama bin Laden and present him to the American public as if he hasn’t been sitting around for the last year in Guantanamo under close CIA supervision… and next thing you know, it’s another four years of this bunch of crooks.

My bet’s on Oct 23rd. Which means they’ll probably have to start thawing him out sometime around Oct 10th. (Link via Cynical-C.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
Google-Juice
Time
09:44
Eris Bless America

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Date
20040920
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:45
Nick Barlow also notes the ups an downs of manchild Ian Wright’s website. He’s also pointed us in the direction of this comments thread at Jody Dunn’s blog where it’s pointed out that this appeared in the latest Mercury Reader: “If the Lib dem candidate wants to use her website to attack the people of Hartlepool that is her problem, don’t expect Iain Wright to follow suit. He has more sense and more respect for the town.”

(See Sep 10th bloggage re: “drunk, flanked by an angry dog, or undressed” locals if this is new to you.)

So, going one better than Jody Dunn (who has obviously insulted ‘all’ of the people of Hartlepool, Iain Wright appears to be suggesting that they ‘all’ should be locked up.

And if we’re going to get down to insults to the community, let’s take a comparative look at the candidate’s attitudes to the online community…

Jody Dunn – a two-way channel that invites comments (a feature has been openly abused by Labour flunkies).

Iain ‘Manchild’ Wright – a one-way broadcast page that invites comment (hastily thrown together with a £1.98 domain name and free hosting that barely holds together).

UPDATE – FOCI Vs. MT. MT wins.

UPDATE 2 – Dave at Backword says: Um, aren’t Labour the incumbent party? Why did the present MP let these “drug abusers” and “teen gangs” terrorise Hartlepool?

Want to follow? Watch Guacamoleville.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:17
Arrrr, I missed it.

Star Wars Vs. Star Trek – Round #672

Why You Should Ignore The Gallup Poll This Morning – And Maybe Other Gallup Polls As Wellthe Gallup Poll, despite its reputation, assumes that this November 40% of those turning out to vote will be Republicans, and only 33% will be Democrat. You read that correctly.

The Official God FAQ

Macaulay Culkin Drug Bust

Kerry campaign accused of ‘doing a Cheney’ – if so, they’re not helping.

Agent behind fake uranium documents worked for France – if so, they weren’t helping.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
Bush: AWOL
Time
10:18
Washington Post – In Rush to Air, CBS Quashed Memo Worries: An examination of the process that led to the broadcast, based on interviews with the participants and more than 20 independent analysts, shows that CBS rushed the story onto the air while ignoring the advice of its own outside experts, and used as corroborating witnesses people who had no firsthand knowledge of the documents.

Here’s a close look at those documents from the same paper. And here’s George W. Bush saying that questions should be asked about the documents – but not his service record….

New York Times – Bush Says Questions About Guard Memos Used by CBS ‘Need to Be Answered’: President Bush said in an interview published yesterday that there were serious questions about the authenticity of documents featured in a CBS News report suggesting that he received preferential treatment in the Texas National Guard three decades ago. Speaking publicly for the first time about the documents, Mr. Bush told The Manchester Union-Leader, “There are a lot of questions and they need to be answered… I think what needs to happen is people need to take a look at the documents, how they were created, and let the truth come out.” Mr. Bush stopped short of calling the documents forgeries but said: “I met my requirements and was honorably discharged. I’m proud of my service in the Guard.”

UPDATE Salon.com – Bush in the National Guard: A primer: The flap over dubious documents has obscured the real story. Here it is.

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Date
20040920
RWCs
Time
10:27
Via NeoSocListen to some interesting Donald Rumsfeld quotes or enjoy this wonderful overview.

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Date
20040920
The Big Intervention
Time
10:30
Rob has finally got a response from Sarah Teather, which reads: “I think that the British people can serve their judgement on the Prime Minister’s policies – and on [Liberal Democrat] alternatives – through the ballot box at the next election.”

So let’s all sit on our hands until then, OK folks?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
Flash Games
Time
10:36
Bah-pah-bah-pah, bah-bah-pah… bah-pah-bah-pah, bah-bah-bah-bah-pah!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
Inneresting
Time
10:39
Shades of IsThisYou?…. I Found Some Of Your Life.

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Date
20040920
Advertising Genius
Time
10:40
Corporate Websites Suck

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Date
20040920
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:40
Boris. Soon.

We just have to do a whip-round for the 50p in hosting charges….

Meanwhile, something to chew on… If the Libs join up with Lab, can we call them the Labia Party? (No? Not even if Alastair Campbell returns?)

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Date
20040920
Photoshopping
Time
15:58
Hang in there, folks. We have one last hurdle on Boris’s weblog, and I’m sure you can guess what that is.

While you wait… here’s Iain. He’s terribly local. And tough on crime. Crime that got out of control while Labour was in charge. (Erm… did I mention that he was local?)

UPDATE – Another distraction for you… Lego Tetris!

UPDATE – Pahahahahahaha! Life imitates art: Iain MAD!!!!!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040920
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
17:14
The Boris Johnson weblog is now live.

Cheers to Wibbler for bringing the design to life (and for all the back-breaking back-end work) and to Shane for the initial point of contact (he sent an email to all MPs with proxy blogs in an effort to gauge reactions and raise awareness).

Go and see. Make a comment. Have fun. Our first Tory MP is here at last.

UPDATES:

1. Press Release

2. Aw, shucks!

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Date
20040920
Video
Time
18:24
Bush Vs. Jesus, now available in video format: Jesus – Wrong For America

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Date
20040920
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
19:10
British Spin is doing a final wobble before falling to the floor. For a number of reasons that are too complicated to list here (but seem perfectly reasonable to me) the author wishes to attempt a newsletter format in its stead.

I urge you to subscribe to the new newsletter by sending an email to:

britishspin AT hotmail DOT com (tell them Bloggerheads sent you)

Two reasons:

1. I’d like to encourage the author to keep plugging away.

2. If I generate enough responses I get to take control of British Spin, thereby expanding my already-mighty online media empire (actually, I’ll probably hand it off to someone who I think will do it justice).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:29
Wikipedia Reaches One Million Articles.

A “Home Computer” in 2004 (as envisioned in 1954) – funny, but fake.

Google recruiting minions of Gates.

The rest is Bush/Guard/CBS/Memo stuff that I’ll group in a separate post.

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Date
20040921
Compare and Contrast
Time
09:32
Robert Novak – Quick exit from Iraq is likely: Inside the Bush administration policymaking apparatus, there is strong feeling that U.S. troops must leave Iraq next year. This determination is not predicated on success in implanting Iraqi democracy and internal stability. Rather, the officials are saying: Ready or not, here we go.

George Bush April 5, 2004: I just met with Specialist Chris Hill’s family from North Carolina. You know, I told the family how much we appreciated his sacrifice — he was killed in Iraq — and assured him that we would stay the course, that a free Iraq was very important for peace in the world, long-term peace, and that we’re being challenged in Iraq because there are people there that hate freedom.

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Date
20040921
Consume!
Time
09:34
A gripping read, as recommended by The Ultimate Insult.

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Date
20040921
Bush: AWOL
Time
09:35
New York Times – CBS News Concludes It Was Misled on National Guard Memos, Network Officials Say: After days of expressing confidence about the documents used in a “60 Minutes” report that raised new questions about President Bush’s National Guard service, CBS News officials have grave doubts about the authenticity of the material, network officials said last night. The officials, who asked not to be identified, said CBS News would most likely make an announcement as early as today that it had been deceived about the documents’ origins.

CBS News – Dan Rather Statement On Memos: Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where-if I knew then what I know now-I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.

Here’s yet another attempt to link the source and smell to the Kerry campaign, but I still think this whole thing stinks of Rove – especially as it makes Bush innocent in the public eye when – in truth – these documents being fake do nothing to clear Bush. They only serve as a major distraction.

This is still true. Every word.

Here’s a closing thought from The American Prospect: The parallels are obvious when you think about it, and on many levels. I mean, surely, if Rather should resign because “60 Minutes” got snowed by a source and ran a story on documents that turned out to be fraudulent, than Bush should resign after he and his administration made false claims about Saddam Hussein’s weapons program based on documents that turned out to be fraudulent. Right?

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Date
20040921
An American Election
Time
09:37
I’ll let Kevin Drum introduce John Kerry’s speech at New York University.

Also, something to chew on… Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Four Years Ago?

UPDATE – Kerry Speech breakdown.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
Bunch of Stuff
Time
09:40
Two nifty links from the new Guardian Newsblog:

Derelict London – Not the greatest web design ever, but do perservere. The rewards are considerable.

Corante – When will corporate blogging be recognised as a desirable skill?

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Date
20040921
Advertising Genius
Time
09:43
Whore this site and you could win big prizes! Hooray for marketing zombies.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
Activism
Time
09:50
Gentlemen, raise your glasses! (Link via Nick Barlow.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:51
British Spin is doing a final wobble before falling to the floor. For a number of reasons that are too complicated to list here (but seem perfectly reasonable to me) the author wishes to attempt a newsletter format in its stead.

I urge you to subscribe to the new newsletter by sending an email to:

britishspin AT hotmail DOT com (tell them Bloggerheads sent you)

Two reasons:

1. I’d like to encourage the author to keep plugging away.

2. If I generate enough responses I get to take control of British Spin, thereby expanding my already-mighty online media empire (actually, I’ll probably hand it off to someone who I think will do it justice).

Pardon the repeat, but I do have a new thought… this blog would be ever-so-useful as a UK-centric version of FactCheck.org, but whoever did it would have to be pretty neutral politically.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
George W. Bush
Time
09:54
Bush Jr.’s Skeleton Closet

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Date
20040921
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely! And You’re Next!
Time
09:55
Here comes the draft, boys and girls.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:57
An incredible welcome for Boris Johnson last night. You can check out the comments on his first post or enter his URL into Technorati to see what people are saying.

Issues of registration are being discussed. RSS is already there, we just need to provide a link on the front page. Someone has already dug it out and fed it into UK PoliBlogs.

UPDATE – Boris is now equal-26th on Blogdex and climbing. Amongst the linkage detected by Blogdex, I found this intriguing theory. There’s also a lovely plug at the Guardian’s Newsblog.

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Date
20040921
Pluggage
Time
11:12
Oi! I said Make with the love!

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Date
20040921
Photoshopping
Time
11:23
Had to be said. He certainly seems to have inherited a lot of problems.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
Pluggage
Time
15:44
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy returns to Radio 4, 6.30pm this evening! If you can’t wait, you may wish to pass the time here.

(HINT – This link may ruin the game for you. Use it only in times of dire peril.)

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Date
20040921
Photoshopping
Time
16:49
I felt something was missing from Bush’s UN speech.

I love Condoleezza Rice’s assertion that “there’s no evidence” that Iraq is falling into a state of civil war. Does this remind you of anyone?

(Heh. I will never forget the day I was sitting there, watching the Iraq war coverage, when I first twigged. It was early days, and Baghdad Bob – aka Comical Ali – had yet to become a legend. But there was no mistaking the intention behind his his politely assuring journalists that they were misinformed about something or other… as he deftly brushed his eyebrow with his middle finger.)

I know you have short attention spans, so here are those core messages again:

Iraq – Ignore all of the evidence; there is no sign of civil war in Iraq.

Election – Ignore all of the evidence; for the next four years, Chimpy McFlightsuit will be a capable and responsible man of compassion.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040921
George W. Bush
Time
17:11
Is there something more to Bush’s ‘innocent’ slip-ups?

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Date
20040921
The War on Stupid
Time
17:23
Special offer: I can train you to use a computer and log onto the internet for only a thousand squid a head.

That’s less than a tenth of the usual price, folks. Call now.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Humanity
Time
10:19
(Note – the following article does not link to the video it mentions.)

CNN – Video shows American hostage beheaded: The United States said no women are in the two jails, Umm Qasr and Abu Ghraib, named by the militants. But it does hold two female “high-value detainees” — former members of Saddam Hussein’s regime — at undisclosed locations. The man who read the statement on the video said women are being held in Iraqi prisoners, despite American denials. “Since you didn’t release our sisters, here’s the first infidel,” the man said. He then pulled out a knife. Armstrong was shoved to the ground and his head severed. The video was posted on a Web site that has been used by insurgents in the past.

I’ve seen the video. You may feel you need to, but I urge you to think before you go looking. It’s brutal. And it has the charming touch of an enhanced soundtrack (someone along the line has added audio of a pig being tortured/slaughtered).

1. American denials

Rumsfeld has already hidden a number of detainees. Why should we believe the US when they claim that no women are being held in Umm Qasr and Abu Ghraib? (Note – In February, there were an estimated 150 Iraqi women in US custody. Many Iraqi women appear to have been detained in order to make their husbands surrender.)

2. But isn’t it interesting who has been wheeled out?

Independent – Iraq ‘to release one woman prisoner’: Ministry spokesman Noori Abdul-Rahim Ibrahim denied the decision was linked to a demand by militants who abducted two Americans and a Briton calling for the release of all female Iraqi prisoners. “The Iraqi authorities have agreed with coalition forces to conditionally release Rihab Rashid Taha on bail,” Ibrahim said. “The decision … has nothing to do with the threat made by the kidnappers.” Taha, a scientist who became known as “Dr Germ” for helping Iraq make weapons out of anthrax, and Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, a biotech researcher known as “Mrs. Anthrax,” are the only two Iraqi women held in American custody, according to the US military.

Though, as yet, we have no confirmation of a release. Perhaps they’re waiting for one of us to dutifully pipe up an ask why such Evil Creators Of WMD should be released (but, as far as I can tell, no-one from the West who sold them the required equipment and technology is in US custody).

There it is, really. Take a close look at what you’ve just seen:

The militants behind these kidnappings and executions did not specify the names of the captors. They demanded the release of “all women in US custody” in Umm Qasr and Abu Ghraib. This reportedly “confused Iraqi officials, who denied women were being held at either place”. (And, as I’ve already pointed out, Rumsfeld has hidden prisoners from the Red Cross. Who’s to say that he’s not hiding some from the Iraqis in these US-run prisons?)

In their place, two women are revealed to be in custody elsewhere. They just happen to be closely tied to the US case for invading Iraq on the basis of the (alleged) existence of weapons of mass destruction (programmes).

While Tony Blair publicly claims to be doing all he can to secure the release of Kenneth Bigley, short of giving in to terrorist demands, it appears that a very dangerous (and indefensible) game is being played in the background.

Again, we come down to questions of legitimacy feeding terrorism.

But there’s more…

3. Using the suffering of the few to terrorise the many.

Trust me on this; view the video of this execution and it will eat away a small part of your humanity. And only one man had to die to have this effect on countless web users. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have died, and this has barely scratched your average conscience. Regardless of what you think about the cause these people support and/or the methods they use, you have to admit that this is a pretty efficient system.

Now take a quick look at what Donald Rumsfeld had to say recently about Abu Ghraib. General Mike Jackson believes that; “the abuse of any individual is to be condemned without qualification.” Donald Rumsfeld does not. But I think there’s something else revealed in this quote…

MSNBC – Rumsfeld defends Pentagon in abuse scandal: Amid allegations he fostered a climate that led to the prison abuse scandal, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Friday that the military’s mistreatment of detainees was not as bad as what terrorists have done. “Does it rank up there with chopping someone’s head off on television?” he asked. “It doesn’t.”

Consider carefully what Rumsfeld has used as a parallel to the instances of torture in Abu Ghraib (where – for reasons that have yet to be fully explained – those tortured were photographed and video-taped).

In one instance, we see a man begging for his life.

In another, we see women begging to be killed.

(See also: Something Funny Happened On The Way To Abu Ghraib.)

UPDATE – My brain still hurts. Please excuse this attempt to cauterise the wound (I couldn’t get ‘dangerous games’ out of my head).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Proper Gander
Time
10:24
Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick! Ick!

I know you’ve probably seen this before. What’s interesting about this link is the bio, which claims that the artist responsible was “offical (sic) artist for the United States Olympic Committee for the Moscow Olympic Games”… which the US boycotted. Too bad the wrong work ended up on the trashpile.

(Link via Greenfairy.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Tolerance
Time
10:30
Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart Threatens To Kill Gays

Just to refresh your memory, Jerry Falwell blamed “the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle” in part for the September 11th atrocities, and I think that has yet to be topped. (Latter link goes to SFW page on NSFW site. Watch your step.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Consume!
Time
10:36
A partial victory for Gareth Davies.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Told You So
Time
10:42
The Sun Does Not Shine Online: UK tabloid newspaper The Sun has decided to scale back the content available on its website, in order to improve the paper’s falling circulation. As reported by newsletter e-consultancy, managers at the newspaper conducted a survey that discovered the paper was losing about 90,000 readers a day to its website, which offers the same content as the paper but for free.

Bloggerheads Thu, March 04, 2004: Oh, the latest Sun Reader Panel survey seems to suggest that the site is in for a bit for trim… starting with Bizarre.

Cheers to ScaryDuck for the heads-up.

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Date
20040922
Photoshopping
Time
10:47
The Crayola President. (Link via Idiomatika. The document Bush was working on in this picture is available for viewing here.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:52
CBS backs off Guard story, McPaper makes rather tenuous link with Kerry camp, what is Bush hiding and more evidence of a Google browser.

Boris has just dropped off the front page, after peaking at equal 14th early this morning.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
John Howard: 2nd to Fall?
Time
10:56
TimeToGoJohn.com is now fully live and populated with all sorts of information about the new film project.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Feedback
Time
10:57
How about that? I’m a “socialist moonbat”.

You’d do well to keep your distance. I could explode with a leftist diatribe at any moment.

(Spotted by Nick Barlow.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Punnage
Time
11:00
Next time, take the Peace Train.

UPDATE – Hahahahahahaha!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Activism
Time
11:04
Photos and Videos From Inside New York’s Pier 57 Detention Center. You’re next, folks. Do try to keep your mouth shut.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
George W. Bush
Time
11:09
Heh. I was waiting for someone to point this out.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Normal People
Time
11:11
What the hell is going on here? (Borders on NSFW.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
12:15
Guardian – The case for impeachment – There is no doubt Blair misled parliament over the war: The attempt to impeach the prime minister for his misconduct over the Iraq war highlights the value of using the history of our democracy as a living instrument to preserve freedom today. The idea – first floated in these pages in January and led by Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price – is now supported by his own party, the SNP, the Green party and 20 individual MPs. Matrix Chambers is today giving us their legal opinion on the initiative. Sceptics sneer that the proposal is unrealistic, but the case for it is growing ever stronger.

Link via: Perfect.co.uk

See also: Impeach Blair

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Consume!
Time
14:42
Oh, man. Media scrutiny. What a downer. Aw, maaannnnhere it comes again. Why are they harshing my buzz? I’m totally not up for dealing with this right now.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040922
Humanity
Time
15:30
Middle east Online – Abu Ghraib’s photos displayed in US museums: The shocking photographs of US soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison have made their way into two US museums, creating controversy over the propriety of exhibiting the damaging pictures. The International Center of Photography in New York and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, cooperated to present an exhibit dubbed “Inconvenient Evidence: Iraqi Prison Photographs from Abu Ghraib.”

From The Warhol’s website: In keeping with The Warhol’s mission to be a “vital forum” for dialogue around contemporary issues, the exhibition will explore and present a diverse range of viewpoints on the meaning and significant of the photographs, the power of images, and the many relevant perspectives surrounding this very contemporary issue.

I wonder how much the prints and t-shirts are selling for…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Consume!
Time
09:13
Hooray for Odeon cinemas, who struggle daily to bring families the latest in wholesome entertainment.

You may remember the chap who saw the official and quite sucky website and – rather than complaining about it – created a more accessible version. You may also remember that Odeon’s reaction was to shut him down and ignore all of his advice.

You may not be aware that Odeon’s film schedules – published weekly in local newspapers countrywide – show a running time under each film that also includes the time it takes to show the advertising without mentioning that advertising. (Typically, this session before the film is 20 minutes long – followed by a 60 second ‘intermission’ – and contains previews, paid ads for fabbo products, and messages from FACT telling us that video piracy funds terrorists.)

Fair enough; at least you know when you can expect to leave the cinema and how much parking your should pay for.

But when the entry says:

Movie Name (U)

187min

…I expect to get 187 minutes of movie for my six-pounds-fifty. And the law is on my side.

The Trade Descriptions Act 1968 (a guide sheet is accessible in PDF format via this page) makes it an offence for a trader to apply, by any means, false or misleading statements. It even specifically defines this kind of thing as a ‘False Trade Description’ in that it misleads the consumer about “the quantity, size or gauge of goods.”

But today I have a new issue to take up with Odeon cinemas…

When we visited my local outlet in Guildford, my children were immediately attracted to the bright, shiny machine you see pictured here. Please note how carefully it is placed right next to the children’s vending machines.

Most folks will be able to spot the mobile phone on offer. What isn’t obvious from this picture is the prizes in the top right-hand corner; a Thunderbirds game for GameBoy and a Harry Potter game for PS2.

I think it should be pretty obvious by now what market this… thing is aimed at. But it’s not a vending machine; it’s a ‘gaming’ machine.

In other words, what you’re looking at here is Odeon cinemas encouraging children to gamble. In return, no doubt, for a juicy cut of the takings.

I’m sure you’ve all seen those hook-and-grab machines that, for a pound, give kids maybe a one-in-ten shot at a toy worth 99p… but this is entirely different kind of rip-off.

The reason high-stakes poker machines are causing such a fuss at the moment is because they (‘tend to’) lead to problem gambling.

I’m sure you’ve witnessed people pumping 20 quid into a machine that pays out a maximum jackpot of 15 quid. Well, you can rest assured that when the stakes go higher, all reason flies out the window.

The government is concerned about this kind of behaviour in adults. I’m sure you’ll agree that children and teenagers are far more vulnerable.

So, there you are; young, keen, and with money in your pocket. That GameBoy game is sitting there, just waiting to be won. How many coins would you pump through the machine before admitting defeat?

On this machine it’s 50p for three spins of the wheel. The number you get on the wheel (which can be positive or negative) takes you up or down the lighthouse. Only a precise hit on ‘win’ gets you a prize. I’d also be willing to bet that this – like many other electronic machines – can have the payout rate adjusted by the manager of the establishment.

Speaking of managers, the one I talked to at Odeon defended the placement of the machine in their cinema with the following statement; “Oh, it does pay out. I’ve seen it do so at least once.”

So there you have it, folks. Gambling for kids of okey-dokey by Odeon. So long as somebody wins from time to time.

The machine is provided by a company called Amuzo Amusements. I failed to check the machine for contact details – and they don’t have a web presence – so let me get back to you on that.

In the meantime, the following contact details may be of use to you:

General Enquiries, Odeon Cinemas Limited – info@odeonuk.com

Alison McCaig, Regional Manager (South-West), Odeon Cinemas Limited – amccaig@odeonuk.com

Luke Vetere, Marketing Director, Odeon Cinemas Limited – lvetere@odeonuk.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Useful
Time
09:17
Tracking the fun in Hartlepool? Try by_elections.blogspot.com, from the peeps what brung you the Geocities site British Parliamentary By Elections Since 1945.

You may also be interested in this post on Labour’s ‘fear of crime’ tactics at Harry’s Place (link via Nick Barlow).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:19
Guardian – After Abu Ghraib: On December 23, the Americans arrested another of Alazawi’s brothers, Ayad, 44. It was at this point that she decided to confront the Americans directly. She marched into the US base in Adhamiya, one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces. “A US captain told me to come back with my two other brothers. He said we could talk after that.” On Christmas Eve she returned with her brothers, Ali and Mu’taz. “I waited for four hours. An American captain finally interrogated me. After 10 minutes he announced that I was under arrest.” Like thousands of other Iraqis detained by the Americans since last year’s invasion, Alazawi was about to experience the reality of the Bush administration’s “war on terror”.

Link via Backword.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Distractions
Time
09:22
Dress-up Johnny Depp

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
SEO
Time
09:23
22 Sep:

Boris Johnson’s site has been live for 3 days.

Thanks to all of those lovely (an unsolicited) inbound links, Google has already picked it up, though it has only (so far) indexed 3 pages: the front page, the press release and the first post by Boris. (Please note how fast Google has indexed these pages and also that it has only – so far – indexed the pages people have linked to. It will dig deeper of its own accord very shortly.)

Currently, the site is:

13th in Google.com for ‘boris johnson’

8th in Google.co.uk for ‘boris johnson’

216th in Google.com for ‘conservative mp’

189th in Google.co.uk for ‘conservative mp’

23 Sep:

The site has been live for 4 days. Google is already digging deeper, and has indexed 30 pages, including the list of Conservative MPs. And we not have new results (erm, as a result) we have better results.

Currently, the site is:

4th in Google.com for ‘boris johnson’

4th in Google.co.uk for ‘boris johnson’

96th in Google.com for ‘conservative mp’

68th in Google.co.uk for ‘conservative mp’

and…

285th in Google.com for ‘conservative mps’

188th in Google.co.uk for ‘conservative mps’

Onwards and upwards. It won’t be too long before the new weblog matches Tom’s results (1st for ‘tom watson’ and ‘labour mp’, 2nd for ‘labour mps’).

From about next week onwards, Boris will be able to post on just about any subject and reach a completely new audience that isn’t even aware of his weblog. Yet.

Welcome to the new chart.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Inneresting
Time
09:25
B3ta has a new FAQ.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
OK, So I’m a Star Wars Geek
Time
09:30
You will fear the naked Wookie.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
The War on Stupid
Time
09:31
Hooray for John Ashcroft, who has helped George W. Bush fight his War on Terror by securing a grand total of zero convictions since 119 (please note correct formatting of date).

Funny, I could have sworn Bush was winning the war on terror and making us all saferer. I could have also sworn that they’d locked a bunch of people up and had proof or something…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Humanity
Time
09:36
What he said.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
An American Election
Time
09:37
Why have so many Vets got it in for John Kerry?

Look out! Incoming Swifties!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh FFS…
Time
09:39
MSNBC – Avoiding attacking suspected terrorist mastermind: “People were more obsessed with developing the coalition to overthrow Saddam than to execute the president’s policy of preemption against terrorists,” according to terrorism expert and former National Security Council member Roger Cressey.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Established Media
Time
09:43
The Onion – Al-Jazeera Introduces ‘Lighter Side Of The News’ Segment

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Conspiracy Theories
Time
09:44
Tinfoil helmets at the ready… the internet is about to be closed down. Please try to save as much as you can to your hard-drive now.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:20
If America were Iraq, what would it be like? – speaks for itself.

Pentagon blocks site for voters outside U.S. – as does this.

PongMechanik – retro hardware gives me a full-on robot chubby.

MarsEdit 1.0 Beta – new tools like this, not so much.

Dear Content Producers and Owners: We lied to you – we did it so you would finance the things we really wanted to build, not the things that you wanted to be built.

Newsweek – The Story That Didn’t Run – they rushed to air with fraudulent documents used against Bush, but what didn’t go to air was a report about… fraudulent documents used by Bush

ABCNews – Kerry: Draft Likely to Return Under Bush – but you and I already knew that.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
The War on Stupid
Time
10:23
Being a member of, or supporting any of the following may result in your being detained indefinitely without trial in this country if you’re not a British citizen. But this list, and the list of terrorist groups banned by the EU, is worth a closer look.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
12:40
The documentary Do You Still Believe In Tony? airs on BBC2 this Saturday at 7:25pm – it invites a bunch of (often former) Blairites to air their current views of our beloved leader.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
14:15
SMH – US sets ‘sovereign’ Iraq straight on Dr Germ: Just one sentence demonstrated Wednesday where the real power lies in Baghdad: not with the internationally recognised “sovereign” Iraqi government, but with the American “embassy”.

Hey, go easy. There’s a gosh-darned ‘trick’ word in there. Let’s go to the video tape!

While you’re feeling video-happy, check out Bush lying his ass off about what John Kerry said regarding Saddam Hussein.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Inneresting
Time
14:26
You’re a web user. What do you think ideal e-enabled public services should look like?

How dare they ask such a silly question? I want to start spending money now!!!!

(See this post at Perfect.co.uk for more linky goodness.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
Diversions
Time
14:41
Name that kitten! Name it hard!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040923
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely! And You’re Next!
Time
17:30
Aaaaand…. cue the theme from Jaws.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040924
Dead Blog Holiday
Time
10:12
It’s been 3 years since I last went on a proper holiday. Sorry the timing sucks, but I’m off as of today.

Bloggerheads.com will return to normal service on November 1st.

I hope the following links and resources will prove useful in the weeks to come:

For news, links and opinion from a UK perspective:

The UK Today | Perfect.co.uk | Europhobia | howlingspoons

For news, links and opinion from a US perspective:

Atrios | DailyKos | Washington Monthly

The Australian General Election

People thinking of supporting ‘Honest’ John Howard at the upcoming general election in Australia probably haven’t been paying attention.

You can help them.

Start with JohnHowardLies.com and be prepared to call others on any bullshit that may spew forth.

Be prepared to wipe many a chin.

Download your ‘Gutless Johnny’ poster here and display it at any location that you consider to be suitable.

See the new film Time To Go John with others or buy a copy on DVD… and show it to others.

The Hartlepool By-Election

This is more important than it may seem at first. With any luck, it will result in another strong message to Blair.

The Labour candidate Ian Wright (pictured here on the lap of his predecessor) was interviewed by the BBC today. He was asked what his stance was on foundation hospitals, tuition fees and Iraq. He dismissed the Iraq question as “irrelevant” and answered all three questions by repeating exactly the same statement. Three times over: “I’m campaigning on a basis of crime and anti-social behaviour.”

This single-issue candidate knows of what he speaks. Shouty Labour flunkies posing as protestors have been harassing staff at Lib-Dem headquarters for weeks – remarkably suggesting that the Lib-Dems are somehow to blame for the problem while being part of the problem themselves (assuming, of course, that there is a pronounced crime problem in the area – Wright’s ‘fear of crime’ platform seems awfully close to the Bush’s ‘fear of terror’ platform to me). But Ian ‘Car Crash’ Wright is a Labour candidate aiming to replace… a Labour MP. Surely if there is a crime problem in Hartlepool, the fault rests with Labour?

Check out By-Elections, Guacamoleville and Jody Dunn’s weblog for the latest information.

The poll to choose the successor of the former cabinet minister Peter Mandelson will be held on the last day of Labour’s conference.

For blogged news from that conference, this post at Voxpolitics should set you in the right direction.

Tony ‘King Blair

Boris Johnson said it best; nailing Blair is like trying to pin jelly to a wall.

But considering what’s at stake, we have to continue to try.

Here’s 11 Reasons Why Tony Blair Must Go

Here’s some people trying to make it so: Impeach Blair

BBC – ‘Impeach Blair’ wins legal backing

In the next few weeks, it might also be fun to count the number of times Blair tries to draw a new line under Iraq and/or goes with his usual bluff of letting people decide “at the polls.”

The American Election

Oh God, where to start…..

OK, here’s a thousand reasons to get you started and a top ten if you’re short on time. But you can focus on any one of these and still come back to Bush’s failsafe platform… the war on terror.

You must fear the terrorists. They want to hurt you. We will protect you. You must not question us, because this helps the terrorists. Who want to hurt you. We will protect you. And so on and so forth until you think you could puke blood.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again now; the threat of terrorism is real – the War on Terror is a lie.

And Iraq was the biggest lie of all. There was no connection between Iraq and terror until Bush invaded that country illegally with a very poor game-plan, thereby creating a playground for terrorists and further material to justify their cause.

George W. Bush and his cohorts have manipulated (and enhanced) the terrorist threat to excuse every mistake, to dodge every responsibility, and to ensure that their supporters profit as everybody else scrambles for cover (or fails to speak out for fear of being accused of… manipulating and enhancing the terrorist threat).

And he gets way with it because of his extraordinary control over the media. Those not right in Bush’s pocket are – for the most part – completely whipped. That’s how the Swift Boat Liars can get so much media coverage attacking Kerry and have the outright exposure of their lies pass most people by. That’s how questions regarding one document could be used to ‘disprove’ claims that he dodged service in Vietnam (and then dodged the service he took to dodge service in Vietnam).

Now everybody has backed off on this issue for fear that it will prove distracting – but me, I think it gets down to the core of Bush’s nature.

Bush is no great hero. He’s a moron. He’s nothing. Given the advantages he has been given in life and the complete balls-up he has made of everything that has come his way, I would even argue that he’s less than nothing. But an impenetrable facade has been built around him that hides these failures and stops people from even asking about them.

After all, to attack the president is to support the terrorists.

The George W. Bush Gallery – feed your eyes and follow the lies.

The Bush AWOL ‘Forgeries': Fonts Do Not Unmake Facts – read, learn and share.

George W. Bush: a coward and a liar – watch the video, follow the links, and pass it on.

OK, here’s the big one…

Bush has made an amazing number of flip-flops, one of the biggest ones being the pursuit of Osama bin Laden:

“There’s an old poster out West that says, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.’ . . . The most important thing is to find Osama bin Laden. It’s our Number One priority. We will not rest until we have found him.” George W. Bush – Sep 13 and 16, 2001

“I don’t know where he is. I have no idea and I really don’t care. It’s not that important.” – George W. Bush – Mar 13, 2002

Of course, it’s a real issue now, for reasons that should be obvious.

But beyond this (and one reason why bin Laden was not a priority for some time) is the miraculous mission creep (actually, it was more of a switch) that saw Iraq invaded as part of the War on Terror.

As I pointed out, this actually made the threat of terrorism worse… but it goes beyond even that.

Something Funny Happened On The Way To Abu Ghraib – watch the video and read the article, then pass it around.

It clearly shows that the US has not only encouraged terrorism in Iraq and around the world by their actions, but also brought their own brand of terrorism to that country.

They used torture and terror against people who were not even terrorists themselves (not that even this could be used as an argument for either tactic).

They have held many people hostage, and it could even be argued that they currently hold that whole country hostage.

You cannot fight fire with fire, and you certainly should never use it against custard.

The Bush administration is chock-full of corporate criminals and war criminals. And liars.

They. Must. Be. Stopped.

Never mind democracy that may or may not be coming to Iraq.

Pray instead for democracy in America.

Pray – above all – for reason.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040929
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
16:31
Want more blogging MPs? Then go speak your mind.








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

The Bush AWOL Forgeries: Fonts Do Not Unmake Facts

[See also: George W. Bush: a coward and a liar]

FACT: George W. Bush somehow jumped a 12-18 month waiting list to join the Air National Guard. This allowed him to avoid service in Vietnam.

By a month. Despite lower-than-average test results, Bush was somehow given priority over others and accepted into the Guard a month before he became eligible for the draft. The records (eventually) released by the White House clearly show they he opted out of service overseas. You don’t have to dig any further, or consider and more of the information below to conclude that George W. Bush did his best to avoid service in Vietnam. His best defence for this action is as follows:

“I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment, nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes.” – President George W. Bush – 1990

Please note that in this quote he makes no excuses for wanting to avoid service in Vietnam.

FACT: George W. Bush cannot fully account for his time served following his transfer to Alabama.

Even when you ignore questions about why he was transferred, and that the only witness they could dig up ‘proving’ that he served didn’t actually see him do so, you are left with the following; despite this being a major issue and the armed forces having a fetish for record-keeping, no records have been produced that conclusively proved that he fulfilled his obligations.

FACT: George W. Bush never saw combat

Whether you accept the version that he was AWOL or that he was on approved leave, the fact remains that Bush was absent from his units in Alabama and Houston at precisely the same time these units were assigned active home-defence duty.

FACT: George W. Bush lied about seeing combat.

“I’ve been to war. I’ve raised twins. I’d rather go to war.” – President George W. Bush – 2002

‘Nuff said. (Oh, but there’s another lie about the amount of time he served here).

FACT: The White House has – at the very least – been less than forthcoming with pertinent documents.

The White House has claimed to have released ‘all’ of the records relating to Bush’s military service. On the three occasions that they have released varying sets of records. That’s three times they’ve released ‘everything’, folks. This is suspicious on its own. Even more suspicious is their claim that the records that (theoretically) could prove Bush served his time in the Guard were ‘inadvertently’ destroyed.

FACT: The White House also released their own versions of the allegedly faked documents.

The documents that currently have interwebbers bickering about typefaces, proportional fonts and superscript do not prove any of the above. Nor does their being fake disprove any of the above. All they suggest is that Bush used his political influence (which was considerable even at that time) to dodge service and have the record “sugar coated” in order to hide this. That they were also released by the White House – without challenge – following their release by CBS suggests one of two things.

1. That they somehow knew the documents were fake, but wanted to see CBS discredited on this matter.
2. That they did not inspect or challenge the documents because they considered their version of events to be entirely plausible.

The documents – even though they have yet to be conclusively debunked – are already being used as ‘proof’ that George W. Bush was not AWOL. It is already being asserted – without proof – that they originated from the Kerry camp. This particular aspect of one very big distraction is particularly telling because…

FACT: Republicans supported the Swift Boat attack on John Kerry.

Knowing full well how dodgy Bush’s service record was, the Republicans did not discourage the Swifites. Far from it. The Swift Boat Veterans for the ‘Truth’ were funded by high-level Republican donors and even enjoyed legal advice from a lawyer working for George W. Bush’s election campaign.

Media outlets that were friendly to the Bush administration helped to enhance their profile and sell their story. This story was based on a pack of lies and has been debunked on a number of fronts (as opposed to just one debunking – possibly – in the case of questions about George W. Bush’s military record), but the impression of doubt remains due to the way the story was sold by a willing media.

As incredible as it may seem, this system works. And the Bush administration is very bold about using it.

John Kerry’s outstanding service record is a problem.
Solution: cast doubt, use media muscle.

George W. Bush’s less-than-exemplary service record is a problem.
Solution: cast doubt, use media muscle.

Bush - the cowardly liar

Take a close look at the outright lies used to distort some facts and the doubt used to cloud others, then consider the following….

Why is this important?

It shows George W. Bush was a liar, a cheat, a coward, a scoundrel, and a poor servant to the people of the United States.

It suggests heavily that George W. Bush is a liar, a cheat, a coward, a scoundrel, and a poor servant to the people of the United States.

Iraq, the economy, health, the environment, and the so-called War on Terror; all of these issues and more are presented by the Bush administration using the same outright lies, the same clouding and the same use of media muscle.

Even bigger lies – or concepts, if you will – (adjusts glasses, taps pipe) are used to hide these lies from their people…

Liberal Media – You may see some differing opinions in print, but rarely on television. And television is what counts. Yet we are assured that the liberal media is all-powerful, and hides a frightening agenda. The lie of the liberal media makes people afraid of biased influence, when in truth it is the accusers who show bias bordering on the criminal. Those who do not work to feed Bush’s lies directly to the public are actually crippled by this lie, for fear of being seen as biased. Please note the multi-faceted use of fear, when you also consider…

The War on Terror – If the war is against terror, why does the Bush administration use terror against its own people? Here comes another lie; those who question the War on Terror don’t believe in the terrorist threat or are on the terrorist’s side. Sometimes both. I’m here to tell you that the threat of terrorism is real, but the War on Terror is a lie. And George W. Bush is the living embodiment of this lie.

George W. Bush Will Protect You – No he won’t. It’s an illusion. A lie. George W. Bush himself is an illusion. He lives, breathes and survives on lies. He is the creation of a man that most Americans have never heard of and/or do not pay nearly enough attention to; Karl Rove.

You Cannot Trust Bush-Haters – My personal favourite. There are people who ‘hate’ Bush, and therefore lack perspective. They are not to be trusted, as they have an agenda. Their hate blinds them to the truth.

I’ve seen the truth, but it’s the lies that are blinding.

I refuse to be crippled by the claim that I am an unreasonable person guided by hate.

I refuse to accept the charge that I am putting people at greater risk by questioning the Bush administration.

I’m also realistic enough to know that the defeat of Bush is the just the start.

Even a complete unmasking and humiliation of this idiot will only serve to partially weaken the machine behind him. But that’s where the war against this machine starts.

Question what you see and hear, by all means – but don’t allow yourself to be distracted by a battle – a feint – over proportional fonts. Especially when:
1. It is almost certainly another lie.
2. Even if it does turn out to be true, it does nothing to prove that Bush served his country honourably – and even raises questions about where such a useful distraction originated.

[See also: Bush: AWOL – TANG Forgery Source Revealed]








Posted in George W. Bush | 1 Comment

Bush: AWOL – TANG Forgery Source Revealed

[See also: George W. Bush: a coward and a liar]

The source of the forged TANG documents has been revealed to be George W. Bush’s housekeeper, Alice. Independent investigators tracked the forgeries to her desktop via the discovery of a pattern of dropped W’s.

When questioned by journalists, she immediately admitted to creating the forgeries saying; “I only wanted to help young George. It’s not easy being the eldest child, with so much responsibility in the war on terror and such.”

The documents were created on a 1971 IBM typewriter, and an attempt was made to emulate Microsoft Word as closely as possible in order to throw people off the scent.

“It was simple plan,” said Alice, “All we had to do was get people questioning the validity of some documents, and that would make people doubt the entire story.

“So now – even though I’ve been caught red-handed – as far as anybody is concerned, George served his entire time in the Texas Air National Guard – and there aren’t even any pesky questions about him jumping the queue to get in, dodging service in Vietnam and all of that nonsense.”

This method worked very well in the UK recently. When fake images of abuse of Iraqi prisoners dominated the news and swamped the information stream, genuine cases of abuse, mistreatment, government neglect, or outright murder passed by with barely a ripple.

(UPDATE – It gets betterer and betterer – but try to ignore this, as it’s not real, because one set of pictures was faked; MoD faces more than 40 cases of abuse and killings in Iraq.)

Alice has been the trusted housekeeper of the Bush clan since Dubya was a tot. Much has been made of how well she has aged, but she puts this down to “… clean living, hard work and a regular supply of virgin’s blood from our family butcher, Mr Rove.”

When asked about Bush’s whereabouts in the early seventies, Alice only had this to say:

“George is a good boy, so I’m sure he did his duty. Mind you, he seemed to spend a lot of time in my kitchen in late 1972. For some reason, he just couldn’t get enough of my meatloaf cookies.”

A further document also released by the White House this week has yet to be discredited, but several internet sites question the use of colours, with one claiming that “crayons of the navy blue variety were not used by the Air Force as a matter of principle.”

[See also: The Bush AWOL ‘Forgeries': Fonts Do Not Unmake Facts]








Posted in George W. Bush | Comments Off

01-14 September, 2004

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040901
An American Election
Time
10:22
Watching the protests? Check out Indymedia, or Truth Out and hold your ground.

Following the RNC? Check out Atrios or Washington Monthly and follow your nose. (Oh, and as Europhobia notes, MPs have yet to return to action, so the Republican convention is available to view on BBC Parliament.)

Need the meat? Read the speeches in full and try to hang on to your lunch.

Yes folks, it’s the All New, All Moderate and Always Friendly Republican Show. This shift is a permanent one. You should place your trust in it. And vote for it. (PS – Don’t forget to vote early! Don’t know how? No sweat! One of our salesmen will call you.)

PS – We need to see more of Jenna and Barbara. They’re on our side. (They just don’t know it yet.)

UPDATE – Some people are having trouble believing the whole ‘Bush cold call’ thing – so here’s a WAV recording of the call to help convince you of its reality.

UPDATE 2 – Scaryduck advises you to stick around until the very end to hear a special message from Dr Hannibal Lecter.

UPDATE 3 – Remember before the DNC, how Rove had his media bum-chums all over the air declaring that it was all going to be a load of Bush-bashing? So the Demycrats were ever so careful to prove them wrong and not bash Bush. Speeches were carefully vetted. Now the RNC is on, it’s open season on Kerry. And ‘girlie men’….

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Date
20040901
John Howard: 2nd to Fall?
Time
10:46
My, my – isn’t this a familiar tactic?

Ha ha ha, let’s all mock the Greens. They certainly have some w-w-wacky ideas. So try to ignore anything odd they may choose to bring up in the next few weeks.

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Date
20040901
How To Think Like An Evil Bastard
Time
12:04
Karl Rove and his dream of a nation under one party.

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Date
20040901
Useful
Time
12:05
Holy cow! Read actual scans of newspapers from around the world.

You won’t find every edition of every paper, but what they’ve managed to put online is pretty damn impressive when you consider the man-hours and the bandwidth involved.

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Date
20040901
The War on Terror
Time
12:36
Guardian – Prisoner ‘A': no charge, no trial, no conviction and no release date. Welcome to Britain’s war on terror: He is charged with no offence by a British police officer, convicted of no crime by a jury, but judged such a risk to the public by MI5, the security service, that he can be detained until Blunkett judges the ‘war on terror’ is over. No hard evidence has to be produced to back the intelligence service claims.

(Link via Balders, who comments on this and the de-arrest of Abu Hamza.)

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Date
20040901
Predictions
Time
15:13
I think we can expect a crackdown on animal rights activists in the US sometime soon.

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Date
20040901
The War on Terror
Time
15:37
The charitable side of me wants to think that Putin was careful about making claims of terrorism following the recent plane crashes because he didn’t want to do an Aznar, but I think what we’re really looking at here is: “Keep calm (*bang*) everything (*boom*) is under (*kapow*) control!”

BBC – Attackers storm Russian school: An armed gang is holding up to 150 people hostage after seizing a school in southern Russia…. The attackers are said to be demanding the withdrawal of Russia troops from neighbouring Chechnya.

UPDATE – A good site for updates. (Oh, and the Jo Moore inside me says today is a good day to finally leak the images of child torture in Abu Ghraib. If we can sell an Al Qaeda link, we’ll have a perfect goose/gander argument.)

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Date
20040901
The (Now Reluctant) War President
Time
16:50
Greg Palast – Still Unreported: The Pay-off in Bush Air Guard Fix: Here’s what happened. Just after Bush’s election, Barnes’ client GTech Corp., due to allegations of corruption, was about to lose its license to print money: its contract to run the Texas state lottery. Barnes, says the Justice Department document, made a call to the newly elected governor’s office and saved GTech’s state contract. The letter said, “Governor Bush … made a deal with Ben Barnes not to rebid [the GTech lottery contract] because Barnes could confirm that Bush had lied during the ’94 campaign.”

I can’t help but wonder who was paid what to make the relevant records disappear.

(Link via Perfect.co.uk.)

UPDATE – Salon.com – Ben Barnes to break silence on “60 Minutes”: The Republican campaign gets ready for shock waves, as the former Texas official who says he pulled strings to get George W. Bush into the Air National Guard finally goes public.

UPDATE – Guardian – George W Bush’s missing year: Allison’s account corroborates a Washington Post investigation in February that found no credible witnesses to the service in the Alabama National Guard that Bush maintains he performed, despite a lack of documentary evidence. Asked if she’d ever seen Bush in a uniform, Allison said: “Good lord, no. I had no idea that the National Guard was involved in his life in any way.” Allison also confirmed previously published accounts that Bush often showed up in the Blount campaign offices around noon, boasting about how much alcohol he had consumed the night before.

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Date
20040902
Updates
Time
09:02
Shhhh! I’m building….

UPDATE – Oh, OK then….

1. Mars, bitches! The Sun reports on – and the Page 3 girl gets terribly excited about – Signal Candidate SHGb02+14a.

2. Thankfully, I am invulnerable to the strong smell of plastic.

3. This is how the Underground should look (link via Simon).

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Date
20040902
An American Election
Time
12:17
Two juicy RNC links for you:

http://www.rion.nu/

http://www.watchblog.com/

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Date
20040902
Consume!
Time
12:33
Some fruity sweet wrappers for you to enjoy (link via Greasy Chip Butty).

UPDATE – Cheers to Wordlab for letting us in on the gag. This ‘complaint’ was a prank by German students.

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Date
20040902
Ewwww!
Time
12:37
Kerchunk!

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Date
20040902
Music
Time
12:50
Hooray for Mandonna, the all-male tribute act, and AC/DShe, the female tribute band. (Links via The Ultimate Insult.)

Had a two-minute ponder last night and it occured that my personal music project (10 years on the back burner and counting) may be able to come to life via a subversive form of boy band. Pipe dream or possible reality? Well, maybe it’s worth advertising for auditions in order to find out…

Back to the building….

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Date
20040902
We’re Not At Home To Mr Cock-Up
Time
13:03
Bwahahahahahahaha!

Third photo down. Look closely.

Also… She is Miss Universe. You will worship her.

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Date
20040902
Pluggage
Time
13:08
SAVE THE DAY

SUDAN BENEFIT

THU 09.09.2004 : 9pm – 2am

PO NA NA, 75-79 EAST ST, BRIGHTON

Martin & Mike aka Casbah Rockers

Andy & Piers – Wild Combination

Bobby & Chris – Soft Rocks

Papa Freak – White Rhino

Balearic, Disco, Boogie, Italo classics old and new

TIX £10 ADV : MORE INFO – 07832167458 or liza@trainee.me.uk

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Date
20040902
119 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
14:16
Damn. I wanted to work well into the night tonight, but I can’t.

The Hamburg Cell is on tonight (Thursday), Channel 4, 9pm.

I urge you to make time to see it yourself.

“Some thrillers grip. This one had me in an SAS chokehold. If there is a more important, more urgent story to be told than this, I can’t think of it.”Peter Bradsaw

More at The Scotsman and the Torygraph. According to this NPR report (audio) , the producers are seeking a US outlet and have talked with a couple of U.S. TV networks.

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Date
20040903
Video
Time
05:57
Can’t sleep. Building.

Here’s something special that started my morning off with a bang:

George W. Bush: The Alternative Campaign Film

(6Mb Quicktime – Link via Taint.org)

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Date
20040903
Flash Music Video
Time
09:33
Almost finished. Building host page. Hang in there.

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Date
20040903
Flash Music Video
Time
10:23
OK, we’re good to go:

George W. Bush: a coward and a liar (450Kb Flash show)

I know you’ll love this one. It’s short, snappy, and downright nifty.

UPDATE:

1. Well said, that man!

2. Michael Moore – Deserters Delight: First of all, thank you for pointing out to all of us that Mr. Kerry was never struck by a bullet. It was only shrapnel that entered his body! I did not know that! Hell, what’s the big deal about a bunch of large, sharp, metal shards ripping open your flesh? That happens to all of us! In my opinion, if you want a purple heart, you’d better be hit by a bullet – with your name on it!

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Date
20040903
Pluggage
Time
12:37
Larry Grant is back on deck. Make with the love.

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Date
20040903
An American Election
Time
12:42
Argh!! The eyes won’t stop following me!

Independent – Bush by numbers: Four years of double standards

I have a short summary of Bush’s speech to hand. It goes: “Follow me if you want to live.” Washington Monthly has more.

Meanwhile, outside in the real world…

IndyMedia – S3 Wrap Up: Hostage Crisis: A State Supreme Court judge today ordered the city to release hundreds of people who had spent as many as 48 hours or more in jail (why so long?) and found the city in contempt of court after it failed to comply. All the detainees had passed through the ad hoc detention center at pier 57 where they had to sleep on a floor slick with motor oil and other toxic residue. Numerous detainees complained of infections, rashes, and chemical burns.

Full text of Bush’s 2004 acceptance speech is here. Also, you might want to spend some time reading his 2000 acceptance speech.

And spare a thought for poor old Zell, who got one rant off his chest and is now out in the cold. Poor darling. (Read some reactions.)

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Date
20040903
Newsflash
Time
13:16
Who’da thunk it?

BBC – Bloody end to Russia school siege

CNN – Death and horror at siege school

Yahoo – Siege School Stormed

Reuters – Comments on Russian school siege

Of interest: Here’s how the BBC is reporting this story to children and here are some comforting thoughts to help them sleep.

Right now, Karl Rove is probably thinking what a nice backdrop this makes for George Bush’s speech.

UPDATE – Public reactions via the BBC website.

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Date
20040903
Video
Time
14:03
I figure you could do with some small amount of cheer. Here’s something reliable from the archives:

David Hasslehoff sings Hooked On a Feeling

Also, this might be of use: How to fold a T-shirt Japanese-style.

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Date
20040903
Inneresting
Time
14:47
How did salt and pepper become the standard table spices?

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Date
20040903
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
14:52
Washington Monthly – Zell Miller Round-Up: At times like this, I wish more people watched the conventions. If more of the country had seen Miller’s ranting, cowardly attack last night, the election would probably be as good as over.

Andrew Sullivan – The Miller Moment: The man’s speech was not merely crude; it added whole universes to the word crude.

Slate.com – Imperial President Opposing Bush becomes unpatriotic: The 2004 election is becoming a referendum on your right to hold the president accountable. That’s the upshot of tonight’s speeches by Vice President Dick Cheney and Zell Miller, the Republican National Convention’s keynote speaker.

Andrew Sullivan – Bush – A Superb Speech: That’s why, despite my deep admiration for some of what this president has done to defeat terror, and my affection for him as a human being, I cannot support his candidacy. Not only would I be abandoning the small government conservatism I hold dear, and the hope of freedom at home as well as abroad, I would be betraying the people I love. And that I won’t do.

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Date
20040903
Dead Blog Holiday
Time
16:07
Farewell, Bykersink, hello Our Man In Hanoi.

PS – Aw, shucks! (looks at floor)

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Date
20040903
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
17:10
Please welcome to the stage the proxy blog for Paddy Tipping and the proxy blog for Paul Keetch. Both have been added to the navbar and the How To Run a ‘Proxy’ Weblog on Behalf of Your MP page.

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Date
20040903
Newsflash
Time
17:34
Aaaand cue endless lame comments about (giggle) strokes (and – quite possibly – claims that he was watching Zell Miller when the chest pains started).

Clinton To Undergo Emergency Heart Surgery.

Here’s the Republicans’ big chance to go heavy on the compassion; but that joke about bleeding heart liberals must be pretty hard to resist.

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Date
20040906
The War on Stupid
Time
09:54
If Beslan is Russia’s 119 (please note correct formatting of date), then we can expect the next casualty to be common sense.

At the core of this is the blinding effect an atrocity has. And – more often than you may care to admit – a government’s wish to exploit this heartlessly… while labelling those who try to highlight this as heartless.

For some reason, to focus too much on what causes an atrocity somehow affiliates you with it – and suggests you have no feelings for the victims (when blind rage is the only ‘suitable’ response).

There are even those that would be so incensed that they would actually accuse you of supporting the evil-doers and/or having the capacity to undertake an atrocity or two yourself.

So please do excuse me for being a heartless, child-murdering bastard…

Belfast Telegraph – Beslan: The unanswered questions

Observer – Women at heart of the terror cells: Almost all of the more than 12 attacks on Russia in the past year have involved women – ‘black widows’, avenging the deaths of family members in Russia’s conflict in Chechnya. The survivors of the three-day Dubrovka theatre siege in October 2002, where 18 of the 50 terrorists were women, are among those who have suffered at the hands of the black widows.

Slate.com – Chechnya – What drives the separatists to commit such terrible outrages?: As many as 600 people, many of them children, are dead, and hundreds more are injured. The two-day hostage crisis that ended in an 11-hour gunfight is the most horrific in a harrowing chain of terrorist attacks in Russia. Russian officials are saying al-Qaida did it. But the truth is far more complicated.

UPDATE – Oooh, look. I’ve got links to Al Qaida:

Al-Qaida (Wikipedia)

Yahoo! Directory Middle East – Political Groups – Al Qaeda

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Date
20040906
An American Election
Time
10:18
Kevin Drum thinks a liberal sense of fair play is being used against us. Professor Bainbridge begs to differ. Leading Democrats think Kerry should be fighting back. Poll figures like this and talk of Kerry being behind compound the pressure. Several weekend leaders here in the UK pondered on the possibilities of dealing with Bush for the next four years.

Fiction and fear is winning over fact. Is it too early to cry?

ABCNews – Bush Glosses Over Complex Facts in Speech: President Bush glossed over some complicating realities in Iraq, Afghanistan and the home front in arguing the case Americans are safer and his opponent cannot deliver.

New York Times – How Kerry Became a Girlie-Man: Only in an election year ruled by fiction could a sissy who used Daddy’s connections to escape Vietnam turn an actual war hero into a girlie-man. As we leave the scripted conventions behind us, that is the uber-scenario that has locked into place, brilliantly engineered by the president of the United States, with more than a little unwitting assistance from his opponent. It’s a marvel, really. Even a $10,000 reward offered this year by Garry Trudeau couldn’t smoke out a credible eyewitness to support George W. Bush’s contention that he showed up to defend Alabama against the Viet Cong in 1972. Yet John F. Kerry, who without doubt shed his own blood and others’ in the vicinity of the Mekong, not the Mississippi, is now the deserter and the wimp.

George W. Bush: a coward and a liar is a weapon. Use it.

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Date
20040906
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
10:28
By all means, let’s crack down on animal activists. Pay no attention to the large corporations making a killing in the background. They are of no concern to you.

Instead, you should focus on the heartless elite who kill and torture animals.

Torygraph – Blair to force through Bill to ban hunting: Tony Blair will make hunting the “nuclear issue” of the next election by using it to embarrass the Tories and push through fundamental reform of the Lords, it was disclosed yesterday.

With only One Big Issue that can realistically be brought into play before the next general election, Blair has chosen fox hunting. Think about that. And also have a quiet think about what’s been dropped…

The UK Today – Corporate Killing: So the government has decided to shelve its revised legislation on corporate killing until after the next election. Which wouldn’t be too shocking were it not for the fact that Labour have been banging on about this legislation for at least 10 years. And during that 10 year period campaigners reckon that 3,000 workers and 1,000 members of the public have died in work-related incidents yet only 11 companies have been convicted and just 2 directors jailed.

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Date
20040906
The War on Terror
Time
10:30
Miami Herald – Graham book: Inquiry into 9/11, Saudi ties blocked: Two of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers had a support network in the United States that included agents of the Saudi government, and the Bush administration and FBI blocked a congressional investigation into that relationship, Sen. Bob Graham wrote in a book to be released Tuesday.

Also, in case you haven’t seen it yet, SpadeMusic.com has set up a mirror for the Pentagon Strike flash video.

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Date
20040906
Flash Thingies
Time
10:32
Jaws in 30 seconds… with bunnies.

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Date
20040906
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:33
Stalker builds better mousetrap.

The cat’s on the roof.

Woof!

Ben Hammersly – The emerging two cultures of the internet: The challenge for the internet community, and especially anyone who wants to make money online, is to make the internet a less evil place. Not in content, but in the struggle to get anywhere at all. Meanwhile, people who can’t filter spam, or block pop-ups, or prevent viruses from spreading, are themselves responsible for these things. There are two cultures growing – those who can filter, and those who can’t – and it may well be up to us who can to help those who can’t to join the modern world, lest they drag everyone back with them.

UPDATE – I will reluctantly include this link for those who may have missed the joke-type thing above.

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Date
20040906
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:47
Boris will be live sometime later this week or early next. Hang in there.

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Date
20040906
The Tories
Time
10:48
The votes are in and the winner of Tories in Turmoil, the man you chose to be the next leader of the Tory Party, is… David Blunkett!

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Date
20040906
Pluggage
Time
10:56
You have until this Friday to get an entry in for the Swiss Army Short Story Competition II. If you have a weblog, it’s the closest thing to an outright giveaway there is.

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Date
20040906
The War on Terror
Time
10:58
On Crisis Command last night, there was a perfect example of how Blair’s actions over Iraq have crippled our ability to deal with actual threats against the nation. The tanks-into-Heathrow stunt was actually mentioned specifically when the players were discussing the mobilisation of the army. In the circumstances, this was the right thing to to, but they felt unable to do it because of potentially bad PR.

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Date
20040906
Photoshopping
Time
12:56
Hooray for Dr Bunsen Honeydew and able assistant, Beaker!

I was so inspired, I made this.

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Date
20040906
The (Now Reluctant) War President
Time
15:17
Oh joy. Because John Kerry listed his citations on his campaign website and someone filed the correct paperwork, we have this sideshow to deal with…

SMH – Pentagon to check Kerry war record: In a fresh blow to John Kerry’s flagging presidential campaign, the Pentagon has ordered an official investigation into the awarding of the Democratic senator’s five Vietnam War decorations. News of the inquiry came as two of the first polls released since last week’s Republican convention said President George Bush had opened an 11-point lead over his rival – the widest margin since serious campaigning began. The inquiry is to be carried out by the Inspector-General’s office of the US Navy, for which Senator Kerry served as a Swift Boat captain for four months in 1968, making two tours of duty. He was wounded in action and subsequently awarded three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and a Bronze Star. But, for the past month, the details of Senator Kerry’s military service in Vietnam have become shrouded in a controversy that the navy now feels warrants a full-blown search for the truth.

Boston.com – Vietnam duality challenges Kerry: The attacks on Kerry by the swift boat group, however, have stunned many in the camp and left Kerry frustrated that the media have not dismissed the charges as unsubstantiated. “What has surprised me is the voracity with which they have tried to attack his heroism,” McKean said. “I have never seen people lie so egregiously and get away with it. This is as close to McCarthyism as you can get in a campaign. The print press has worked hard to discredit it, but television just replays the charges over and over.”

And now this inquiry gives them something else to masticate on. (Cue leap of logic in countless editorials: an inquiry is happening, therefore *something* must dodgy.)

Meanwhile, the Cowardly Liar swaggers on unhindered.

Associated Press – Bush’s National Guard File Missing Records: Documents that should have been written to explain gaps in President Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service are missing from the military records released about his service in 1972 and 1973, according to regulations and outside experts.

This isn’t the pay records that were ‘inadvertantly destroyed’ we’re talking about here, but documents that were supposed to be amongst those released. But weren’t. But don’t go expecting an inquiry into that anytime soon.

UPDATE – Judicial Watch is essentially a tool of Richard Mellon Scaife, who provides almost all its funding.

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Date
20040906
RWCs
Time
15:22
Young Republican Kicks Female Protester – guess which one was arrested….

Also, from the Independent’s RNC diary: At one prayer breakfast I was handed a leaflet advertising RatOutAChurch.org, an organisation which places moles inside liberal churches to monitor the preacher’s comments for any hint of political endorsements.

I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of Bush’s attempt to recruit supporters from 1,600 religious congregations in Pennsylvania.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040906
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely! It’s Over!
Time
16:37
Car Bomb Near Fallujah Kills 7 Marines

US warplanes pound Najaf

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Date
20040906
George W. Bush
Time
17:45
George W. Bush struggles to define tribal sovereignty. (Quicktime format. Blogged before as an MP3, but it’s much more fun on video.)

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Date
20040907
How To Think Like An Evil Bastard
Time
09:57
There’s lots of pondering, debating and hand-wringing going on in the liberal camp in the US at the moment. Rove is playing the dirtiest of games, and many people are asking if the time hasn’t come to take the gloves off.

In this very long Fark thread, the words of m00 caught my eye: It’s interesting that the party who is criticizing Bush for trying to win the war on terror even if it violates the founding principles of this country, is suddenly calling for Kerry to win the election even if it violates the founding principles of this country. Winning the election/war isn’t the most important thing. Keeping our values are. If we have to compromise those values to win either, what’s the point? … If Kerry has to become Bush to beat Bush, that’s just as bad as giving up all our freedoms to save them from terrorists.

Meanwhile, here in the UK, some people have decided that the birth of something very promising should be hammered at immediately in order to score a few quick points. Guy nails it with this post:

Para Ingles Ver – Asking for a halt: While I supported Bloggerheads’ call to arms to encourage our elected representatives to take blogging up, it now seems to have spawned out of control. ‘Stalking’ an MP by setting up a blog in their name was a good idea, if only to emphasise to the individual in question that there was a space out there with their name on it – literally. And in some cases they provide a service by informing logged-on people what their MP is up to. But what about when an MP or prospective MP takes up the challenge? Should they be left to get on with it? Take the blog of Lib Dem candidate Jody Dunn in Hartlepool. She’s doing one while there is another which claims to shadow what’s she’s doing but is clearly against what she stands for. Similarly there are the campaigning blogs like Labour Watch and Lib Dem Watch who are scrutinising the parties, from a biased starting point.

I think I should take responsibility for the whole ‘stalking’ thing. I didn’t set a good example with Tim Yeo and I started the proxy-blog project when I was feeling more than a little pissed off. The proxy-bloggers have, by and large, been very good about maintaining/adopting a positive/balanced tone, but along the way I’ve taught folks the power of taking politicians to task via weblogs. And some people are now doing this with a hidden – if obvious – agenda (though – thankfully – many of these folks appear to have missed a few important technical or cultural points, and so are doing their shouting from a very quiet corner on teh Interweb).

Take this attack from DunnIn for example, which is not only as vacuous and offensive as calling John Kerry ‘French’… but also pretty hypocritical when you consider that we know nothing about the person doing this level of digging.

Stay with me here, because this isn’t a defence of what I’ve been up to myself, but an attempt to let you know where my head is at…

I’d like to think that I’ve been pretty open with the blogging community. I have political and professional agendas, but they’re clearly stated. There are also a few lines that I won’t cross.

Tim Yeo and the issue of adultery/paternity is one of them.

George W. Bush and the issue of the abortion rumours was another.

Please note the use of the word ‘was’…

A dirty game is being played and Kerry’s hands are tied. Plus, the stakes are pretty damn high.

Perhaps it’s time for someone else to call Bush on this and at least try to extract a denial.

Not purely for reasons of strategy, but because he makes an issue of it.

Common Dreams – For Bush, Abortion Gag Rule is Only the Beginning: One of George W. Bush’s first acts as president — literally on his first full day in office — was to delight conservative supporters by reinstating the Global Gag Rule. The rule prohibits U.S. foreign aid money from flowing to overseas family planning organizations that provide abortion services or even talk favourably about abortion to their patients or the public.

White House – President Bush Signs Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003

Also, the abortion rumour may be an important factor in Bush’s time in the Guard. (If it’s true, the timing suggests that this is why he was rushed off to Alabama.)

Does the end justify the means?

Does this argument even have to made in this case?

How will this impact on the campaign for political weblogging and necessary calls for moderation here in the UK?

My head hurts.

UPDATE – Here’s some background for you. Also, the tone’s a bit rough, but this post is worth noting for its claim that Flynt’s appearance is the only transcript that has ever been erased entirely from the CNN site.

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Date
20040907
Established Media
Time
10:00
Brand Republic – Russian editor fired over use of Beslan hostage photos: The editor of one of Russia’s oldest newspapers, Izvestia, has been fired over publication of pictures of wounded and dead children from the three-day school hostage drama in Beslan. According to sources in the Russian media, the firing of respected editor Raf Shakirov was initiated by the Kremlin, which was infuriated by newspaper coverage of the Beslan hostage drama…. Izvestia published some of the most thorough, probing accounts of the crisis, and it was one of the earliest Russian media outlets to doubt the government’s estimate that about 350 hostages were being held captive in the school… During the crisis, state-owned Russian media tried to ignore what was going on. On Friday, when the drama was coming to an end, two of the main state-owned Russian TV channels did not interrupt their regular programming.

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Date
20040907
Compare and Contrast
Time
10:02
George W. Bush: a coward and a liar

Idiot Son of an Asshole

Dress-Up Dubya

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Date
20040907
Inneresting
Time
10:05
“6079 Smith W! Yes, you! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You’re not trying. Lower, please! That’s better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me.

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Date
20040907
Photoshopping
Time
10:07
Being a partial study of a man who lacks courage, a brain, and a heart….

(Large version posted to B3ta.)

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Date
20040907
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
10:12
Well, Beslan managed to keep boobs of Page 3 for two whole editions, but The Sun tries to make up for it today with three young ladies in a poolside page three-some. They also lead on the front page with Andrew Smith, and take full credit for his resignation based on their hard-hitting report into his staff downloading pornography (and not of the state-approved kind).

The Sun – PM resigns (No, not Tony but the Porn Minister): The man heading the “Ministry of Porn” quit last night, sparking a Cabinet reshuffle and a Downing Street power struggle. Work and Pensions Secretary Andrew Smith resigned 12 days after The Sun told how staff had called up two million pages of internet filth, including child abuse sites, on work PCs. Mr Smith, 53, jumped before he was pushed by Tony Blair.

So there you have it. It was The Sun wot done it. And now they’ve got Brown “under siege”.

Daily Record – Smith is ‘Pushed Out’ for Reshuffle: But insiders said he was forced out to make room in the Cabinet for a reshuffle to enhance the PM’s authority. Blair is determined to signal how serious he is about staying in his job with the reshuffle, expected today. And Smith’s departure has cost Chancellor Gordon Brown a close ally. He failed to make a major impact at the DWP – one of the key portfolios in a run-up to a general election. Hewas seen as a ‘safe pair of hands’ but criticised for a lack of flair and his failure to deal with sensitive issues. Then came the embarrassment of the DWP being branded the Ministry of Porn after thousands of staff were caught looking at indecent sites on office PCs.

You can just smell it, can’t you?

Andrew Smith’s resignation letter and Tony Blair’s reply.

So, here we are, finally heading for a reshuffle. The last time this was due, all we got was a new joker slipped into the pack.

Now we have reports that Alan Milburn is on his way back into the cabinet.

For news and updates, you could do far worse than the proxy blog for Alan Milburn, but I have the feeling I may be keeping an eye on this too…

Guardian – Former Labour allies round on Blair (August 9): Some of Tony Blair’s oldest and closest ideological allies in the Labour party abandon their support for his leadership today, saying he is endangering the viability of the party, eroding trust in politics and embracing a market ideology largely indistinguishable from the Conservatives’…. There are three former cabinet ministers on the board: Alan Milburn, Robin Cook and Clare Short.

Guardian – One Blairite who could yet be Labour’s next leader: Alan Milburn’s prospective return to government, if it happens, would be an event of great and intriguing importance. It might even help to define the shape of British politics for a decade to come. Here’s why. After seven and a half years, Labour clearly does not yet face an overwhelming external challenger. The Liberal Democrats can win almost any by-election that comes their way; Hartlepool, it appears, is currently theirs to lose. But neither the Lib Dems nor the Conservatives have a serious hope of forming the next government, and perhaps not even the one after that. Labour’s chief current challenge, therefore, does not come from without but from within – and could even be called existential. This internal challenge does not mean that Tony Blair’s leadership is under immediate threat, though some would like it to be… Milburn is potentially a big political figure in his own right and Labour has surprisingly few of them. He was a good minister, he talks well and he comes across as a normal human being, as well as someone with a life. He would be one of the few members of the government – Peter Hain is another – who seem instinctively at ease with the scale, diversity and force of the changes that have taken place in British life over the past 20 years.

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Date
20040907
An American Election
Time
10:13
Via BigDaddyMerk, we find a Republican who was turned by the convention. Go and say something encouraging, by all means.

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Date
20040907
Established Media
Time
10:16
Daily Howler – We’re close to having a state-run media: Bush can deceive you as much as he likes. A conquering man sits atop a white horse, and as we saw in the wake of Zell’s speech, your “press” lets him say what he pleases.

The Top 25 Censored Media Stories of 2003-2004

Save the latter for lunchtime.

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Date
20040907
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:41
Washington Post – Political Victory: From Here to Maternity:What’s the difference between the protesters outside the Republican convention and the delegates inside? There are many, of course, but one will ultimately skew American politics and the culture wars in the Republicans’ favor, regardless of who has God or reason on her side. It’s the divide between who is having children and who isn’t. (reg reqd.)

Heh. And a totally unrelated link that’s also charting well for some strange reason… Indiana University study: having children significantly lowers parents’ IQs.

New book claims that Bush took cocaine at Camp David

Clinton tells Kerry to shut up about Vietnam

Netflix and TiVo to announce partnership, offer downloadable movies

A Girl’s Guide to Geek Guys

Beslan – a well-written view from the right (sparked by recent comments from Art Spiegelman)

Help Beslan children

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Date
20040907
George W. Bush
Time
10:43
Heh. Nosemonkey notes that Le Monde have started referring to Bush as the ‘outgoing’ President.

Compare this with FOXNews, who are busy declaring the race to be won a little earlier than last time (currently aided as they are by Bush’s alleged 10 point bounce).

UPDATE – Rising Hegemon – Enjoy Your Bounce, ’cause it Ain’t Lasting

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Date
20040907
RWCs
Time
10:58
Be warned that you may need to enable your satire-detector. This one dances very close to the truth…

Linwood Barclay – Latest smear alleges Kerry was AWOL with Bush

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Date
20040907
John Howard: 2nd to Fall?
Time
12:00
Call for Film Submissions for Time to Go John : Real Eviction: an online site for short films, and cinema release feature made up of a series of quality political films, some sad, some funny, some downright shocking. A comedian in front of a live studio audience will contextualise the films and provide links.

The campaign is being run in association with Spinach7 magazine. Heads-up via Anthea.

Now all I needs is a chat with someone who knows about exporting Flash for broadcast…

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Date
20040907
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
14:51
BBC – Blair to reshuffle ‘by weekend’: Tony Blair has said there will be a Cabinet reshuffle by the end of the week – but not on Tuesday as some in Westminster have been speculating.

Keep an eye on the proxy blog for Alan Milburn for updates. Mike’s been on the case since the day before yesterday.

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Date
20040907
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely! It’s Over!
Time
15:18
Back to Iraq – 1,000… almost: Another grim milestone in the Iraq war is imminent. Iraq Coalition Casualties reports there are 998 U.S. casualties as of Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. GMT +0300. By the time you read this, there may be 1,000 or more U.S. dead in Iraq.

Meanwhile…

Guardian – Chalabi nephew loses Saddam trial role: Salem Chalabi, the man organising the trial of Saddam Hussein, has been sacked from his job after allegedly failing to return from Britain to face a murder charge in Iraq…. In an email to the Guardian, he said he had been appointed to the “independent tribunal” overseeing Saddam’s trial for a period of three years – and that its status had been enshrined in Iraq’s transitional administrative law. Without changing that status it was impossible for him to be sacked, he said.

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Date
20040908
Flash Games
Time
09:53
Cow Marathon – instructions are in a foreign language, but you’ll work it out. Worth doing for at least one level if only to see the udder-jigging dance.

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Date
20040908
The War on Terror
Time
09:54
LNR – The cost of (not) running al-Qaeda: A new report suggests that Bin Laden is not in fact the main money-man behind al-Qaeda. But he’s still a very naughty boy.

Speaking of al Qaida, there sure are lots of ways to spell it (see ‘Notes on Naming’). You’d think with all that funding, they could at least sort their branding out.

(Incidentally, there are many ways to spell Al Qaeda, but only one way to pronounce ‘Abu Ghraib’…)

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Date
20040908
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh FFS…
Time
09:57
Troops need your help to stop Halliburton from getting them killed in order to save a few bob.

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Date
20040908
Activism
Time
09:59
AlterNet – First They Came for the Protesters: In a country that engages in preemptive war against a small nation that had neither the intention nor the ability to attack us, preemptive suppression of dissent is the next logical step…. At the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, 420 people were arrested – more than 75 of whom were locked up for sleeping in a large space used for making puppets. It wasn’t until April 2004, almost four years later, that the final arrestees stood trial and were acquitted on all charges.

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Date
20040908
Consume!
Time
10:01
From UK Bright Life, the people who brought you the plastic typewriter that could save you £1000.00 ‘on the cost of buying a computer’ (scroll down to see) and the local version of the ‘marketing breakthrough’ that is the GFX-100 indoor TV dish antenna comes what is probably the most useful product ever.

Care for your loved ones long after they’re gone with all-new Monument Cleaner! (It also allows you to show an equal amount of respect and love for your garden ornaments.)

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Date
20040908
119 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
10:06
The New York Review of Books – Pinning the Blame: The administration fought the commission at nearly every turn – at first denying it sufficient funds, then opposing an extension of time, refusing it documents, trying to prevent Condoleezza Rice from testifying in public. The White House, in a pre-emptive move, told the commission that Bush would not testify under oath, and insisted that he appear along with Vice President Cheney. The main partisan division within the commission, I was told, was over how hard to press the White House for information that it was holding back. In its effort to achieve a unanimous, bipartisan report, the commission decided not to assign “individual blame” and avoided overt criticism of the President himself. Still, the report is a powerful indictment of the Bush administration for its behavior before and after the attacks of September 11.

UPDATE – See also SummerOfTruth.org, which is promoting a series of events to expose 911 failures, lies, and cover-ups.

And yet even more… Newsweek – A Case Not Yet Closed: In the summer of 2002, congressional investigators probing the September 11 terror attacks made a startling discovery. A college professor and longtime FBI informant in San Diego had dealt extensively with two of the 9/11 hijackers. The informant became close to the future terrorists after he’d rented them rooms in his house. The connection raised plenty of questions: What did the informant know about the activities of his housemates? And why hadn’t the FBI said anything about the connection? The discovery led to a closed-door confrontation between the FBI and Florida Sen. Bob Graham, co-chair of the joint House-Senate panel investigating 9/11. Convinced that the bureau was stonewalling, Graham tried to slap the FBI’s chief counsel with a subpoena to produce the informant. “With the subpoena still in hand, I approached him, holding it inches from his chest,” Graham writes in his new book, “Intelligence Matters,” which deals with his efforts to get to the bottom of the 9/11 attacks. “He leaned back from the subpoena as it if were radioactive.” The FBI counsel asked for extra time to see if something could be worked out. In the end, the FBI refused to allow Graham and his colleagues to question a crucial witness.

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Date
20040908
The (Now Reluctant) War President
Time
10:06
TexansForTruth.com are trying to get a ‘Where was Bush?’ ad to air and need your help. You can download a copy of the ad if you like, but the site is very popular today, so your mileage may vary.

UPDATE – Bandwidth exceeded. And then some. New location is here.

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Date
20040908
John Howard: 2nd to Fall?
Time
10:08
Perfect.couk have an excellent overview of the upcoming general election in Australia.

They also point us to faux-blogs for John Howard and Mark Latham.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040908
An American Election
Time
10:13
ABCNews – Cheney Says ‘Wrong Choice’ of Kerry Risks Terrorist Attack: Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday warned Americans about voting for Democratic Sen. John Kerry, saying that if the nation makes the wrong choice on Election Day it faces the threat of another terrorist attack. The Kerry-Edwards campaign immediately rejected those comments as “scare tactics” that crossed the line.

Read some comments on this from this post at Atrios.

NBC5.com – Republican candidate says Christ would not vote for his Democrat rival: Keyes, who has focused his campaign on abortion, said that his statement about whom Jesus would vote for was based on Obama’s pro-choice votes in the Illinois Senate. (So, yes, there is a kind of demented logic behind it.)

Oh, and ScaryDuck wishes to bring to our attention this prophetic artcile from the Onion, dated 18 Jan 2001:

The Onion – Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040908
Christianity Watch
Time
10:15
Jesus appears out of nowhere to watch over an urban tree trunk in Wake County, Carolina.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040908
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
10:18
The UK Today has a few thoughts (and many links) on the upcoming reshuffle.

Also, there’s this… Guardian – Labour chairman rounds on critics: Ian McCartney, the Labour chairman dogged by speculation that he is about to be sidelined, yesterday hit back at his “unacceptable” anonymous critics and insisted he was still the man for the job.

Oh, and something else at The UK Today erm… today…

This month government ministers will be given the power to duck any awkward questions they may be asked as all unanswered parliamentary questions will be dumped by the end of the October session.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040908
Consume!
Time
10:24
Wind From Hurricane Frances for Sale on eBay

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040908
Established Media
Time
10:28
Nosemonkey has an excellent post here on the Russian government’s blatant attempts to manipulate and restrict coverage of the Beslan hostage tragedy.

Heres’ an old link for you to chew on…

How Democracy Was Subverted in Peru: “What they found was a stunningly bold and effective effort to circumvent three institutions key to maintaining democracy in Peru: the judiciary, the legislature, and the media. ‘Montesinos and Fujimori maintained the façade of democracy—the citizens voted, judges decided, the media reported—but they drained its substance,’ McMillan and Zoido wrote. What’s more, by analyzing the size of the bribes, they demonstrate that the media, or more specifically, television, has become the most forceful of the checks and balances that underpin constitutional government.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040908
George ‘Wibble’ Bush
Time
10:34
Another new headline. Should come in handy….

Reuters – Bush: OB-GYNs kept from ‘practicing their love’: .S. President George W. Bush offered an unexpected reason on Monday for cracking down on frivolous medical lawsuits: “Too many OB-GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country.”

Flip-flopping… pah! What about flib-flubbing? FFS… this guy is a total moron and hopeless without Rove pulling his strings.

You can see and hear this gaffe in this 508Kb WMV file.

This latest slip of the tongue reminds me of the old joke about a gynaecologist who says to his patient: “Ah, yes. I can see the problem. Easy to fix, but would you like me to numb you first? Yes? OK, then. Num-num-num-num-num…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040908
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:28
First off, a welcome for Emma, who just went live and appears to be planning a final year dissertation based in part on political blogging.

Second, a ‘thank you’ to John Dixon from Adamsdown. He knows why.

Finally, some news. I spent most of last night entering back-dated articles, press releases and parliamentary appearances into the near-to-complete Boris Johnson weblog. Once we sort out the domain/DNS issue, all that remains is to prime the main engine – Boris himself.

The site will go live before this happens (perhaps Friday, with any luck) with a fun activity to keep folks busy while we co-ordinate the whole Westminster/education thing.

UPDATE – Here’s a little something to set you salivating: Boris Johnson – So what’s wrong with clubbing seals?

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Date
20040908
How To Think Like An Evil Bastard
Time
11:49
I’m constantly amazed at the number of people who don’t know the answer to this question: Who is Karl Rove? More here. If the name is new to you, I advise you to Google away and follow your nose.

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Date
20040908
Compare and Contrast
Time
11:58
Two scenes from York Road, Hartlepool:

Police warn Labour activists over street disorder outside the Liberal Democrat HQ.

Charles Kennedy and Jody Dunn accused of making an illegal right-turn.

Also of interest is this article from the last election.

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Date
20040908
The (Now Reluctant) War President
Time
13:40
AP – More Bush Guard Records Released: The Pentagon and Bush’s campaign have claimed for months that all records detailing his fighter pilot career have been made public, but defense officials acknowledged Tuesday they had found two dozen new records detailing his training and flight logs after the AP sued and submitted new requests under the public records law…. The newly released records do not include any from five categories of documents Bush’s commanders had been required to keep in response to the gaps in Bush’s training in 1972 and 1973.

Boston.com – Bush fell short on duty at Guard: The reexamination of Bush’s records by the Globe, along with interviews with military specialists who have reviewed regulations from that era, show that Bush’s attendance at required training drills was so irregular that his superiors could have disciplined him or ordered him to active duty in 1972, 1973, or 1974. But they did neither. In fact, Bush’s unit certified in late 1973 that his service had been ”satisfactory” — just four months after Bush’s commanding officer wrote that Bush had not been seen at his unit for the previous 12 months.

New York Times – Missing in Action: The sheer volume of missing documents, and missing recollections, strongly suggests to me that Mr. Bush blew off his Guard obligations. It’s not fair to say Mr. Bush deserted. My sense is that he (like some others at the time) neglected his National Guard obligations, did the bare minimum to avoid serious trouble and was finally let off by commanders who considered him a headache but felt it wasn’t worth the hassle to punish him. “The record clearly and convincingly proves he did not fulfill the obligations he incurred when he enlisted in the Air National Guard,” writes Gerald Lechliter, a retired Army colonel who has made the most meticulous examination I’ve seen of Mr. Bush’s records (I’ve posted the full 32-page analysis here – 100Kb PDF). Mr. Lechliter adds that Mr. Bush received unauthorized or fraudulent payments that breached National Guard rules, according to the documents that the White House itself released.

The reponse from the White House is an interesting bluff. They assert that Bush would not have been honorably discharged if he had not ”met all his requirements”…

And he wouldn’t have jumped the year-plus waiting list to get in if he hadn’t been exceptionally worthy, I suppose…

Cheers to Mirjam for the heads-up. This ain’t over yet. Then again, maybe it is. A lot counts on whether this makes it to TV screens. That’s another advantage the Swifties had. Warm bodies.

Bush’s AWOL Scandal: Let’s Break Through the Media Barrier

UPDATE – TexansForTruth exceeded their bandwidth. The site can now be accessed here.

You will want to download, print and read the PDF document mentioned above! Below are some extracts from the conclusions:

“Bush’s commander, who according to Bush’s biography was a friend, probably thought Bush lost interest in flying, wanted out of the ANG prior to fulfilling his commitment, and did not press the issue. It is likely that he knew pursuing any corrective action would have brought him much aggravation and been damaging to his own career because Bush was politically well connected in Texas.”

“In the final analysis, the record clearly and convincingly proves he did not fulfill the obligation he incurred when he enlisted in the Air National Guard and completed his pilot training, despite his honorable discharge.”

And I think that’s being rather charitable. As the AP story notes, the new records show his unit joined a “24-hour active alert mission to safeguard against surprise attack” just after he bunked out. I would argue that this is the kind of thing a politically well-connected person would have advance knowledge of.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040908
Flash Music Video
Time
14:07
It’s a lie.

What’s AWOL?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040908
Bush: AWOL
Time
16:40
Here’s Kevin Drum’s round-up, just in case you don’t like mine.

US readers: Ben Barnes. 60 Minutes. Tonight. 8 pm ET/PT Watch it. Tell your friends. (And tonight is… ladies night… on CBS)

Would someone mind taping it for me and sending it by post? PAL would be great, but I can handle NTSC in a pinch. Drop me a line if you can help, and we’ll talk about postage.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040908
An American Election
Time
16:46
John Kerry’s Cincinatti speech and related resources: But then, George W. Bush made the wrong choices. He himself now admits he miscalculated in Iraq. In truth, his miscalculation was ignoring the advice that was given to him, including the best advice of America’s own military. When he didn’t like what he was hearing, he even fired the Army Chief of Staff. His miscalculation was going to war without taking every precaution and without giving the inspectors time. His miscalculation was going to war without planning carefully and without the allies we should have had.

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Date
20040908
Rebekah ‘Red Mist’ Wade
Time
17:29
It’s official: reading The Sun makes you thick! (Spotted by ScaryDuck.)

The fake story also got a generous airing on FOXNews, which is quite shocking when you consider how careful both outlets are with their facts.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040908
Photoshopping
Time
17:46
Top notch Bush ‘shop.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040909
Diversions
Time
09:29
Play Spot the Virgin. I got 47%. I suck. (I guess that makes me a technical virgin).

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Date
20040909
Inneresting
Time
09:32
Comparing the signatures of statesmen past and present. Surprisingly, Dubya doesn’t use an ‘X’. Perhaps he finds it hard to spell.

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Date
20040909
We’re Not At Home To Mr Cock-Up
Time
09:34
Monroe County Coroner shoots himself while trying to demonstrate gun safety.

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Date
20040909
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:51
Al Gore continues to find his voice – drink deep; soak it up.

Police discover secret-society cinema in Paris – probably a hardline cell of Jerry Lewis fans.

How people read the news – please note the importance of the headline and the poor attention paid to piffling things like details and conclusions.

Media View Kitty Kelley’s Bush Book With Caution – and the Swifties get prime-time. Interesting, no?

Some Ken Jennings news – if you don’t want your Jeopardy viewing ruined, look away now.

Log Cabin Republicans Vote to Withhold Endorsement from President Bush – and I’m sure you can guess why.

Make a pare aeroplane with flapping wings – it beats work.

Should I rip this? – a helpful shart for those lacking a moral compass.

Thunk!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040909
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
10:04
Independent – Milburn agrees election role as Blair faces down Brown: The countdown to a general election began as both Mr Blair and Michael Howard reshuffled their frontbench packs in an attempt to sharpen their parties’ performance. Mr Milburn was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster after Mr Blair persuaded him to return to frontline politics less than 15 months after resigning his position as Health Secretary to spend more time with his family. Blair aides said Mr Milburn would be Labour’s “policy supremo” in the run-up to the election expected next May. The move threatens to create tensions with the Chancellor Gordon Brown, who is due to take overall charge of the party’s election effort.

Guardian – Familar tantrums – but Blair-Brown political marriage is not over yet: Plenty of Labour MPs would like to see Mr Blair driven from office – for domestic revisionism and foreign adventurism – even if its costs the party 50 Commons seats. Preferably they would like him out before the election, but (on one count) have only 62 signatures, 20 too few to trigger a ballot. He will not walk until he decides he has become a liability. No polling evidence points convincingly to that and Mr Brown has always hesitated to attempt the coup that just might succeed but split the party in doing so. Cowardice or loyalty? MPs disagree.

-

From: Tim Ireland

To: milburna@parliament.uk

Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2004 10:02 AM

Subject: Your campaign strategy

Dear Alan,

Congratulations on your appointment. I can only assume that you stand by the editorial from a recent issue of Renewal that suggests the best way forward for Labour is without a Tory at the helm:

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labour/story/0,9061,1279153,00.html

http://www.expat.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2004/08/11/do1102.xml

If not… well, let’s just say that I hope we can still be friends after the general election.

Cheers

Tim Ireland

www.bloggerheads.com

-

UPDATE – The future of Brown – today!

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Date
20040909
Consume!
Time
10:10
As blogged in March: You know those anti-piracy trailers at the start of home videos? The new one over here at Airstrip One by FACT: The Federation Against Copyright Theft (which has also been running in cinemas since February) has a well-evil demon chappie with a maniacal grin processing his pirate videos in a foundry (as you do) and stamping his illegal copies with a big branding iron in the shape of an ‘X’ (as you would expect). The voice-over boldly warns us that “video piracy funds terrorism”…

Guardian – Terrorism, Actually: This is a grave charge – far graver, for example, than one previous anti-counterfeiting cinema ad, which warned that if you bought your videos from the dodgy bloke down the market, he might not give you a refund when the picture quality turned out bad. A sceptic might accuse Fact, which is funded by distributors and cinema chains, of scaremongering to protect industry profits.

The new campaign is even bolder – and has Jonathon Woss onside to help fight the scourge of piracy (which funds terrorism and kills little baby ducklings). Oh, and their photoshopping is crap. Read more here. Have a jolly good laugh here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040909
Bush: AWOL
Time
11:03
CBS have released fur new documents following their interview with Ben Barnes, the man who helped Bush jump the waiting list and dodge Vietnam in the Air National Guard. Which Bush bunked out of both times his unit was about to see action. (The beaky clucker.)

1. This prime-time report almost got shoved into a graveyard slot on two regional arms of the network.

2. The simplest approach would be to attack Barnes, and you can see this part of the game begin to unfold here and here at Talking Points Memo. They’ve called up the digital brownshirts and they come right out with a full attack on the GOP wesbite. Interestingly, they appear to trying to cast him as a perjurer. But he’s only a perjurer if he did indeed lie to protect their man. It’s partisan politics (not that the Swifites were funded by the Repulicans or anything). And his sudden discovery of a conscience is a flip-flop. It’s pathetic.

Here’s Bush lying his ass off about his departure being above board and here he is claiming that maybe Vietnam would have turned out better if he had been sent.

Here’s Atrios, giving credit where credit is due and here’s Salon doing the same thing.

Lukasiak Study Proves Bush Was Legally AWOL

Now to the guts of it all:

Washington Monthly – National Guard Smoking Gun?: This story is a perfect demonstration of the difference between the Swift Boat controversy and the National Guard controversy. Both are tales from long ago and both are related to Vietnam, but the documentary evidence in the two cases is like night and day. In the Swift Boat case, practically every new piece of documentary evidence indicates that Kerry’s accusers are lying. Conversely, in the National Guard case, practically every new piece of documentary evidence provides additional confirmation that the charges against Bush are true.

Washington Monthly – What Else is the White House Hiding?: The real question now is: what other documents does the White House have? Obviously they’ve had these sitting around for a while, and just as obviously they’ve held them back even though they claimed in February that they had made available every known document related to Bush’s National Guard record.

AMERICAblog – White House Cover Up?: The White House claimed they had released ALL the documents, now tonight, conveniently after 60 Minutes shows the NEW documents on TV, the White House somehow releases the very documents it said it never had? Where did the documents come from, and why didn’t the White House release them BEFORE 60 Minutes exposed their existence? And finally, what else is the White House hiding?

So bang goes the ‘past history’ defence. This story isn’t just about Bush failing to carry out a direct order from his superior in 1972 or the sugar-coating that followed. It’s also about lies, cover-ups and obfuscation. Right now. From the man asking America to trust him on everything from the economy to the war on terror. In places, there are actions that appear to be downright illegal.

I have a busy day today, so please allow me to close with an excellent roundup of this and other issues by Nosemonkey.

Interesting that Bush would want to duck out of debates, isn’t it? Rove obviously knows this is a key weakness. An unscripted Bush is a disaster waiting to happen. (But I’m sure he’s been boning up on tribal sovereignty – just in case.)

For updates, watch:

Atrios

Daily Kos

Talking Points Memo

Washington Monthly

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Date
20040909
The War on Terror
Time
11:54
Buzzflash – Hey, Dick, We Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists: “If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we’ll get hit again,” Dick Cheney said on September 7th, threatening the American public that if we elect Kerry and Edwards rather than Bush and Cheney, we’ll be attacked by “terrorists.” But that statement was unambiguously intended to influence our votes by terrifying us. Cheney wants us to vote for him for fear that otherwise we and our loved ones will be subjected to random attacks. By the usual definition of terrorism, Cheney has joined the terrorists.

Also see this inspired photoshop.

So, what’s it to be? Thawing Osama out in October or letting one slip through the net in November?

UPDATE – Boston.com – Bush laments loss of life in Iraq; says United States making progress there: Bush refused to answer questions from reporters. He simply stared at a reporter who asked if he agreed with Vice President Dick Cheney’s assertion that if Democrat John Kerry is elected, “the danger is that we’ll get hit again” by terrorists.

So, are we talking a nasty stare, a pointed stare, or a vacant stare?

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Date
20040909
An American Election
Time
11:56
New York Times – Book Unflattering to Bush Draws His Campaign’s Fire: Anticipating a barrage of unflattering accusations and innuendo about President Bush’s personal life in a soon-to-be-published book by the celebrity biographer Kitty Kelley, the Bush campaign has opened a wave of advance counterstrikes intended to undermine her credibility. A representative of the White House recently called Neal Shapiro, president of NBC News, to discourage that network from broadcasting interviews with Ms. Kelley about the book on its “Today” program and on its MSNBC cable program “Hardball With Chris Matthews,” a network executive said.

Bush: a lying cokehead surrounded by liars who don’t want you to know about his cokeheadedness.

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Date
20040909
Music
Time
12:02
Commander and Thief – a nifty MP3 made up of cleverly edited Bush soundbites.

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Date
20040909
Updates
Time
12:41
Europhobia has been added to the main navbar (but not site-wide, as this is a headache with the site in its present state).

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Date
20040909
SEO
Time
12:44
iPod World is live. Brand new site, with very little scaling on the Generic Keyword Strategy. A lot will count on good directory listings and link popularity. The former is going to be a tad problematic, especially in the ODP, as this category has no editor (usually means long delays) and this category is already full of ‘podders (dilutes effectiveness of listing).

UPDATE – Also of interest; New Google Toolbar Brings Browse By Name.

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Date
20040909
Anyone But George
Time
12:52
World Wants Bush Out of the White House: Poll (The filthy liberals at the BBC are carrying it, too.)

George Bush, This is Your Life

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Date
20040909
John Howard: 2nd to Fall?
Time
13:19
Perfect.co.uk – Bombing in Jakarta influences Australian election campaign.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040909
Photoshopping
Time
13:22
Quite possibly the best Bush: AWOL ‘shop to date (link via Matt).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040909
An American Election
Time
14:42
Bush faces pressure over drugs and draft

dailyKos on what’s rumoured to be in Kitty Kelley’s book on the Bush Family

Book Unflattering to Bush Draws His Campaign’s Fire

Kitty Smells a Rat at CNN

Amazing how these people can attack and run and hide at the same time isn’t it?

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Date
20040909
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
14:49
Bush: AWOL is all over the place, but there is no mention of George W. Bush in today’s Sun. At all. Instead, they choose to inform us that Madonna’s son Rocco just took his first bike-ride without training wheels. No surprises there, but please also note that Bush:AWOL has been big news online for two days now and Fark has yet to run it on the front page. They do, however, find room for the Madonna story. I’m glad I removed Fark from the navbar. The bias is so obvious, it’s painful.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040909
Christianity Watch
Time
14:54
Catholic Voters Given Leeway on Abortion Rights Issue – OMG! Is the Pope French?

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Date
20040909
Sudan
Time
16:13
Heads-up via Toby… tharrrr she blows!

BBC – Powell declares genocide in Sudan

A cynic would question the timing, but you know I’m not like that.

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Date
20040909
Updates
Time
17:52
Don’t expect a Boris preview tomorrow. The domain process won’t be complete until mid-weekend. Think Monday.

Early meeting and then work-work-workity-work tomorrow, so bloggage may be light.

Until then, here’s a copy of the latest document to be released by the White House. The implications should be clear. (Sorry the fonts are a bit dodgy.)

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Date
20040910
In The News
Time
10:00
The ‘And Finally…’ war continues to escalate – dog shoots man.

Not only, but also… miracle dog walks in way likely to scare most sensible people (2Mb WMV file).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040910
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
10:02
MAS – Few Detainees Given Hearing at Guantanamo Bay: The Pentagon has admitted for the first time that at least one of the nearly 600 prisoners currently held by the U.S. government at Guantanamo Bay was incorrectly determined to be an “enemy combatant” the Navy Secretary announced on Wednesday.

New York Times – Army Says C.I.A. Hid More Iraqis Than It Claimed: Army jailers in Iraq, acting at the Central Intelligence Agency’s request, kept dozens of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and other detention facilities off official rosters to hide them from Red Cross inspectors, two senior Army generals said Thursday. The total is far more than had been previously reported.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040910
The War on Terror
Time
10:06
This seems to suggest that the War on Terror isn’t as important as embarrasing Putin….

Guardian – The Chechens’ American friends: The Washington neocons’ commitment to the war on terror evaporates in Chechnya, whose cause they have made their own.

Also, via cheeky monkey Nick Barlow, we have this from Rum and MonkeyThere Is No Pressing Need To Panic!

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Date
20040910
Bush: AWOL
Time
10:48
Are some of latest Bush documents forged?

If so, then was the fraud perpetrated by CBS, or this just a smoke-screen? Were the documents fed to CBS as a deliberate attempt to create a smoke-screen? In other words, have CBC been Morganed?

After all, these documents being fakes do not add up to a vindication of Bush, only a very big distraction.

LGF (wingnut central) – Bush Guard Documents: Forged: There is absolutely no way that this document was typed on any machine that was available in 1973.

DailyKos – TANG Typewriter Follies; Wingnuts Wrong: Against my own better judgment, but because I believe that the more rapidly charges are countered, the better, I spend a goodly portion of the last day researching — shudder — typewriters of the ’60s and ’70s. As everyone on the planet no doubt knows by now, the hard-right of the freeper contingent — specifically, LittleGreenFootballs, a site which frequently is cited for eliminationist rhetoric and veiled racism, and PowerLine, a site linked to with admiration by such luminaries as Michelle Malkin and Hugh Hewitt — discovered that if you used the same typeface, you could make documents that looked almost — but not exactly — like the TANG documents discovered by CBS News. This qualifies as big news, of course, so from those two sites, the story has spread into the mainstream media through the usual channels, most notably Drudge, NRO, etc. I do not believe there is any truly “new” information here, but I hope to condense it in one easy-to-digest reference. So here are some point-by-point findings re: the “forgeries”….

ABCNews – Son of Late Officer Questions Bush Memos: “I am upset because I think it is a mixture of truth and fiction here,” said Gary Killian, son of Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who died in 1984. Gary Killian, who served in the Guard with his father and retired as a captain in 1991, said one of the memos, signed by his father, appeared legitimate. But he doubted his father would have written another, unsigned memo which said there was pressure to “sugar coat” Bush’s performance review.

ABCNews have also dug up a quote from Killian’s widow. We can only assume that they’ll draw the line on digging up Killian. (Boy, they sure move fast when they want to, don’t they?)

Drudge also springs into action alerting the world to the CBS internal investigation. (And if there’s an investigation, then something *must* be dodgy, etc. It’s all about *focus*, baby.)

Take a mo. Cleanse your palate with some satire and then some hard questions about the crayons used by TANG in 1973. Right. Back we go….

Pacetown – But Why?: Why someone would attempt to bring attention to Bush’s service record at this point of the game? That’s the easy question. But why create a forgery (and let’s assume that’s what they are) if it’s going to be such a bad one?

Washington Monthly – Evening Update: At this point, there are enough legitimate questions about these memos that I really think CBS is going to have to provide additional information if they want them to be taken seriously.

CBSNews – New Scrutiny Of Bush’s Service: CBS stood by its reporting. “As is standard practice at CBS News, the documents in the 60 Minutes report were thoroughly examined and their authenticity vouched for by independent experts,” CBS News said in a statement. “As importantly, 60 Minutes also interviewed close associates of Colonel Jerry Killian. They confirm that the documents reflect his opinions and actions at the time.” The White House distributed the four memos from 1972 and 1973 after obtaining them from CBS News. The White House did not question their accuracy.

But why didn’t they question their accuracy? The documents suggest that Bush used his influence to skip service and have his records diddled. Did the White House not question the authenticity of the documents because this sounded so entirely plausible or was this a set-up? You have to wonder…

Washington Post – Some Question Authenticity of Papers on Bush: A senior CBS official, who asked not to be named because CBS managers did not want to go beyond their official statement, named one of the network’s sources as retired Maj. Gen. Bobby W. Hodges, the immediate superior of the documents’ alleged author, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian. He said a CBS reporter read the documents to Hodges over the phone and Hodges replied that “these are the things that Killian had expressed to me at the time. These documents represent what Killian not only was putting in memoranda, but was telling other people,” the CBS News official said. “Journalistically, we’ve gone several extra miles.” The official said the network regarded Hodges’s comments as “the trump card” on the question of authenticity, as he is a Republican who acknowledged that he did not want to hurt Bush. Hodges, who declined to grant an on-camera interview to CBS, did not respond to messages left on his home answering machine in Texas.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040910
Viral Marketing
Time
10:53
Create your own mariachi song.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040910
Consume!
Time
10:56
Psst! Wanna buy a watch?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040910
Europe
Time
10:57
Europhobia – Robert Kilroy Silk: Twat: Having gone to Brussels as an MEP (yep, voters are stupid), announced he’s going to “wreck” Europe (prompting incoming Commission president Jose Manuel Durao Barroso to laugh out loud), “get our country back” and all sort of other headline-grabbing populist crap, he’s now said that he aims to “change the face of British politics forever”. Well, that’s nice and patriotic, isn’t it, you fake tanned buffoon?

(*sniff* – you had me at ‘twat’…..)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040910
George W. Bush
Time
11:01
One. Simple. Question. But who will get there first?

(If that 2nd question seems familiar, here’s why.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040910
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:03
Now, we’re getting down to business….

Alan Milburn’s staff post on the proxy-blog about how busy they’ve been lately. Go and say something nice.

Do bloggers need to fear the whips? Well, that question may be answered sooner rather than later. Tom Watson, the first blogging MP, is now a whip himself (scroll down to bottom).

The preview of the Boris Johnson blog should be live on Monday. Some tweaking will be required once the domain is assigned (it’s an MT back-end thing) so perhaps Tuesday. Do hang in there.

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Date
20040910
Photoshopping
Time
11:09
Did you catch Alastair Campbell on They Think It’s All Over last night?

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Date
20040910
An American Election
Time
11:18
LNR – Cheney and Bush: using NLP to hoodwink America: Basically, in boiling down their message to this single point of fear, and constantly associating this fear with the flimsiness of the flip-flop, the Republicans are using simple Neuro Linguistic Programming techniques to baffle and control a nation. NLP is all about implanting ideas through suggestion, through patterns of speech – anchoring emotions and forcing thoughts. Bush and Cheney are not trying to reason with the electorate, they are programming them using fear, using keywords, repetition, reinforcement, and threats.

Funnily enough, I agree. From Bloggerheads Fri, August 06, 2004: Blair was very careful not to lie outright about the Iraq/terror connection (that didn’t exist), but he used the word ‘terror’ and Iraq’ or ‘terror’ and ‘Saddam’ or ‘terror’ and ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in the same sentence more times that I can count. This careful and deliberately proximal use of key phrases and concepts painted a false – and useful – picture.

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Date
20040910
Flash Games
Time
11:24
Save the kittens! (Link via The Ultimate Insult.)

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Date
20040910
Bush: AWOL
Time
13:39
TANG Forgery Source Revealed!

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Date
20040910
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
13:59
OK, now I’m angry… from today’s Independent (Pandora – not online, sorry): The race to succeed Peter Mandelson as the MP for Hartlepool later this month is turning into a dirty tricks campaign that would make even the Prince of Darkness blush. Labour’s first piece of election literature – to be formally released at the weekend – was printed yesterday, and duly leaked to Pandora. It is devoted to a character assassination of the Lib Dem candidate, Jody Dunn. Headlined “outrage at Lib Dem candidate’s insult to town”, the leaflet repeats an entry in Dunn’s internet diary in which she is supposedly rude about Hartlepool. Describing an afternoon campaigning with Simon Hughes, Dunn noted: “Everyone we met was either drunk, flanked by an angry dog, or undressed.” Labour now claims that “the Lib Dem from Darlington has insulted the people of Hartlepool”. Dunn, for her part, is livid at being targeted by a negative campaign. “This leaflet is sad and ridiculous. The weblog reflects what happens on the campaign trail”, said a spokesman yesterday.

You can see the relevant entry on Jody’s blog here.

This attempt to run a campaign on xenophobia alone is bad enough, but I find the exploitation of a weblog in this way to be particularly irksome.

I’m also not a big fan of the anonymous dipwits who are trying to overwhelm Jody’s blog in the comments. Who are probably the same people.

Here’s a lesson for you Jack: You cannot come charging in on someone’s personal webspace and/or into an online community and deliberately try to disrupt it, intimidate visitors, stifle discussion and spread discord – and then defend that with bleatings about your right to free speech.

I’ve been trying to stay out of Hartlepool, but I’m sorely tempted to get involved at this stage.

(Cheers to Peter for the heads-up.)

UPDATE – Meanwhile, Ros Taylor channels Comical Tommy – or does he?

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Date
20040910
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
15:19
Scotsman – Lord Butler says weapons evidence ‘very thin’ : In his first public comments since publishing the results of his inquiry in July, Lord Butler said the weakness of a government dossier on the threat posed by Iraq had “come home to roost” as no such weapons had been found. Lord Butler told the House of Lords that he and his inquiry team had not doubted that Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, had acted in “good faith in concluding that Saddam Hussein had concealed stocks of chemical and biological weapons.” He pointed out that most other countries and Hans Blix, the former chief UN weapons inspector had shared that view…. “How grave a fault that was in the context of the lead up to the war is a matter on which people will and should reach their own conclusions,” Lord Butler added.

There you go. See? It’s up to us. Now if only we had a choice in the next general election, we could sort this out for ourselves…

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Date
20040910
Anyone But George
Time
16:37
“What if Bush wins?”

No, really. What if Bush wins?

Secret-service agents used to stop reporters talking to anti-Bush protestors

Bush Vs. Jesus

More on the Font Follies

Chew on some numbers.

And, just in case you missed it; someone, somewhere must ask George W. Bush this one simple question. Link, donate, and dare to dream.

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Date
20040910
Only Interesting To Bloggers
Time
17:22
Uh-oh.

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Date
20040911
119 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
09:50
Happy anniversary.

Independent – We should not have allowed 19 murderers to change our world. (Requires subscription. Use BugMeNot or check out robert-fisk.com, where it should appear sooner or later.)

UPDATE – Yup, there you go.

Today, you should spare a thought for the victims. All of them.

By my reckoning, there’s about 90,000 dead (and a few million besides ‘merely’ suffering) because of the way this unique mix of tragedy and spectacle has been ruthlessly exploited by the Bush administration in the pursuit of power and profit.

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Date
20040913
The Bush Administration
Time
10:55
(deep breath)

OK, here we go…

UPDATE – This post now available on a permanent page for linkiness.

FACT: George W. Bush somehow jumped a 12-18 month waiting list to join the Air National Guard. This allowed him to avoid service in Vietnam.

By a month. Despite lower-than-average test results, Bush was somehow given priority over others and accepted into the Guard a month before he became eligible for the draft. The records (eventually) released by the White House clearly show they he opted out of service overseas. You don’t have to dig any further, or consider and more of the information below to conclude that George W. Bush did his best to avoid service in Vietnam. His best defence for this action is as follows:

“I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment, nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes.” – President George W. Bush – 1990

Please note that in this quote he makes no excuses for wanting to avoid service in Vietnam.

FACT: George W. Bush cannot fully account for his time served following his transfer to Alabama.

Even when you ignore questions about why he was transferred, and that the only witness they could dig up ‘proving’ that he served didn’t actually see him do so, you are left with the following; despite this being a major issue and the armed forces having a fetish for record-keeping, no records have been produced that conclusively proved that he fulfilled his obligations.

FACT: George W. Bush never saw combat

Whether you accept the version that he was AWOL or that he was on approved leave, the fact remains that Bush was absent from his units in Alabama and Houston at precisely the same time these units were assigned active home-defence duty.

FACT: George W. Bush lied about seeing combat.

“I’ve been to war. I’ve raised twins. I’d rather go to war.” – President George W. Bush – 2002

‘Nuff said. (Oh, but there’s another lie about the amount of time he served here.)

FACT: The White House has – at the very least – been less than forthcoming with pertinent documents.

The White House has claimed to have released ‘all’ of the records relating to Bush’s military service. On the three occasions that they have released varying sets of records. That’s three times they’ve released ‘everything’, folks. This is suspicious on its own. Even more suspicious is their claim that the records that (theoretically) could prove Bush served his time in the Guard were ‘inadvertently’ destroyed.

FACT: The White House also released their own versions of the allegedly faked documents.

The documents that currently have interwebbers bickering about typefaces, proportional fonts and superscript do not prove any of the above. Nor does their being fake disprove any of the above. All they suggest is that Bush used his political influence (which was considerable even at that time) to dodge service and have the record “sugar coated” in order to hide this. That they were also released by the White House – without challenge – following their release by CBS suggests one of two things.

1. That they somehow knew the documents were fake, but wanted to see CBS discredited on this matter.

2. That they did not inspect challenge the documents because they considered their version of events to be entirely plausible.

The documents – even though they have yet to be conclusively debunked – are already being used as ‘proof’ that George W. Bush was not AWOL. It is already being asserted – without proof – that they originated from the Kerry camp. This particular aspect of one very big distraction is particularly telling because…

FACT: Republicans supported the Swift Boat attack on John Kerry.

Knowing full well how dodgy Bush’s service record was, the Republicans did not discourage the Swifites. Far from it. The Swift Boat Veterans for the ‘Truth’ were funded by high-level Republican donors and even enjoyed legal advice from a lawyer working for George W. Bush’s election campaign.

Media outlets that were friendly to the Bush administration helped to enhance their profile and sell their story. This story was based on a pack of lies and has been debunked on a number of fronts (as opposed to just one debunking – possibly – in the case of questions about George W. Bush’s military record), but the impression of doubt remains due to the way the story was sold by a willing media.

As incredible as it may seem, this system works.

John Kerry’s outstanding service record is a problem.

Solution: cast doubt, use media muscle.

George W. Bush’s less-than-exemplary service record is a problem.

Solution: cast doubt, use media muscle.

Take a close look at the outright lies used to distort some facts and the doubt used to cloud others, then consider the following….

Why is this important?

It shows George W. Bush was a liar, a cheat, a coward, a scoundrel, and a poor servant to the people of the United States.

It suggests heavily that George W. Bush is a liar, a cheat, a coward, a scoundrel, and a poor servant to the people of the United States.

Iraq, the economy, health, the environment, and the so-called War on Terror; all of these issues and more are presented by the Bush administration using the same outright lies, the same clouding and the same use of media muscle.

Even bigger lies – or concepts, if you will – (adjusts glasses, taps pipe) are used to hide these lies from their people…

Liberal Media – You may see some differing opinions in print, but rarely on television. And television is what counts. Yet we are assured that the liberal media is all-powerful, and hides a frightening agenda. The lie of the liberal media makes people afraid of biased influence, when in truth it is the accusers who show bias bordering on the criminal. Those who do not work to feed Bush’s lies directly to the public are actually crippled by this lie, for fear of being seen as biased. Please note the multi-faceted use of fear, when you also consider…

The War on Terror – If the war is against terror, why does the Bush administration use terror against its own people? Here comes another lie; those who question the War on Terror don’t believe in the terrorist threat or are on the terrorist’s side. Sometimes both. I’m here to tell you that the threat of terrorism is real, but the War on Terror is a lie. And George W. Bush is the living embodiment of this lie.

George W. Bush Will Protect You – No he won’t. It’s an illusion. A lie. George W. Bush himself is an illusion. He lives, breathes and survives on lies. He is the creation of a man that most Americans have never heard of and/or do not pay nearly enough attention to; Karl Rove.

You Cannot Trust Bush-Haters – My personal favourite. There are people who ‘hate’ Bush, and therefore lack perspective. They are not to be trusted, as they have an agenda. Their hate blinds them to the truth.

I’ve seen the truth, but it’s the lies that are blinding.

I refuse to be crippled by the claim that I am an unreasonable person guided by hate.

I refuse to accept the charge that I am putting people at greater risk by questioning the Bush administration.

I’m also realistic enough to know that the defeat of Bush is the just the start.

Even a complete unmasking and humiliation of this idiot will only serve to partially weaken the machine behind him. But that’s where the war against this machine starts.

Question what you see and hear, by all means – but don’t allow yourself to be distracted by a battle – a feint – over proportional fonts.

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Date
20040913
An American Election
Time
11:01
Running Scared – It’s Good to Be King: Because then, the rules don’t apply to you. Or at least it would seem so in Florida. The St. Petersburg Times reports that, against all probability, George W. Bush missed the filing deadline to get on the ballot in Florida. The deadline was Sept. 1, but because that’s when the RNC was, they didn’t file the papers until Sept. 2. This apparently won’t stop the GOP though, and the Democrats are already folding under.

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Date
20040913
The Interweb
Time
11:02
Goatse appears on front cover of Time.

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Date
20040913
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
11:03
There you go… y’see? It was all a happy accident… oh, and somehow more defensible because they only authorised torture (lite) for one or two prisoners (who were no doubt really, really bad men) and this isn’t quite as bad as chopping someone’s head off….

MSNBC – Rumsfeld defends Pentagon in abuse scandal: Amid allegations he fostered a climate that led to the prison abuse scandal, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Friday that the military’s mistreatment of detainees was not as bad as what terrorists have done. “Does it rank up there with chopping someone’s head off on television?” he asked. “It doesn’t.” Rumsfeld acknowledged once again that he had approved harsher interrogation methods for suspects captured in the global war on terrorism, but said the rules were meant only for the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facility for terrorist suspects and had nothing to do with Iraq, where the prison scandal first emerged.

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Date
20040913
RWCs
Time
11:09
Swifties come right out and say it; they wanted to go public with “one version of the truth”….

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Date
20040913
Guantanamo Bay
Time
11:11
Air Force Spy Trial to Proceed Despite Modified Evidence.

Keep up the facade, at all costs.

Guardian – Rumsfeld’s dirty war on terror: The CIA analyst had been sent there to find out what was going wrong. He was fluent in Arabic and familiar with the Islamic world. He was held in high respect within the agency, and was capable of reporting directly, if he chose, to George Tenet, the CIA director. The analyst did more than just visit and inspect. He interviewed at least 30 prisoners to find out who they were and how they ended up in Guantánamo. Some of his findings, he later confided to a former CIA colleague, were devastating.

(I’m amazed they’re not strapping the detainees to roofs as Hurricane Ivan passes over. That’d settle the question of guilt and the ‘their God, our God’ matter once and for all.)

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Date
20040913
RWCs
Time
11:19
Another poor soul, blinded by hate.

Evil Sheep also has some issues.

There’s only one language these people understand.

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Date
20040913
South West Trains
Time
11:32
South West Trains have finally admitted that they can’t cope with passenger levels. A new timetable is on the way; prepare to suffer.

UPDATE – Same again from the BBC. This issue has a lot of people hitting the search engines; traffic on my South West Trains page is heavy. Almost (dare I say it) congested.

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Date
20040913
George W. Bush
Time
11:38
Does he not know where his heart is, or is putting your hand over your liver an even greater sign of respect shown only by alcoholics?

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Date
20040913
Sillyvision
Time
12:00
Happy Days To Return! Further proof (if you need it) that all is right with the world.

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Date
20040913
Updates
Time
13:14
This morning’s post on the AWOL ‘forgeries’ now has its own page.

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Date
20040913
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
13:29
Please ignore this. It can’t possibly be true, because these images are fake.

Independent – MoD faces more than 40 cases of abuse and killings in Iraq: British lawyers are now taking court action over more than 40 cases of alleged abuses and killings by British troops in Iraq – including fresh claims that unarmed civilians were murdered, tortured or recklessly shot.

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Date
20040913
An American Election
Time
14:53
Bush visits Swift Boat donor. Thanks, buddy.

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Date
20040913
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
15:43
Washington Post – Key General Criticizes April Attack In Fallujah

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Date
20040913
The Bush Administration
Time
16:42
Guardian – Colin Powell in four-letter neo-con ‘crazies’ row: A furious row has broken out over claims in a new book by BBC broadcaster James Naughtie that US Secretary of State Colin Powell described neo-conservatives in the Bush administration as ‘fucking crazies’ during the build-up to war in Iraq.

Boston.com – Powell targets terror comment: Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday he believes Senator John F. Kerry would, if elected president, respond to terrorism “in a robust way,” challenging a comment made last week by Vice President Dick Cheney.

If Powell’s not careful, he’s going to miss out on his pardon…

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Date
20040913
He Speaks French, You Know…
Time
17:00
Mr. Cheney, answer the question!: Dick Cheney and George Bush have tried to mislead the American people about a direct link between Iraq and September 11th. They are playing the politics of fear to cover up their failed policies on the economy and Iraq. Yesterday, Secretary Powell said he sees no direct link between Saddam Hussein and what happened on September 11th. Dick Cheney needs to answer the question: Who’s telling the truth – you or Colin Powell?

Moulton woman says she lost job for sporting Kerry sticker on car.

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Date
20040914
Bush: AWOL
Time
09:55
Blogdex is today saturated with links to articles or posts from right-wing bloggers who are either backslapping each other for the ‘good’ they’ve done and the credit they’ve received for it, bitching about the media not crediting them (and/or (*gasp*) denigrating them as “right-wing nuts”), or desperately trying to track down the source – all the while operating with a blind spot that means they won’t even consider Karl Rove as a suspect.

For the record: I don’t care if they’re bloggers or journalists or both. The primary sources are ultra-right-wing and cannot be trusted to carry out anything close to an independent investigation. Not that this is what is going on here. What we’re really looking at is one big cloud of smoke.

Here’s a bunch of links; mainly collected here for my reference. At the top is the only link worthy of headline inclusion, because this headline Says. It. All.

Memos debate eclipses content

http://www.opinionjournal.com/diary/?id=110005611

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/13/opinion/13safire.html

http://powerlineblog.com/archives/007814.php

http://wizbangblog.com/archives/003652.php

http://timblair.spleenville.com/archives/007454.php

http://beldar.blogs.com/beldarblog/2004/09/some_credential.html

http://instapundit.com/archives/017736.php

And now, a quick word from the ultra-left:

Take names – the memos are not forgeries: Now, I think it’s time for us to take names. Hold the people that are pushing this dishonest diatribe accountable. Not just the bloggers and Drudge, but also those within the mainstream media who chose to run with the forgery angle before all of the facts were in.

(Thread also contains the following true – if rather defeatist – statement: “the Bush corporate media has done its job and the word FORGERY is firmly planted in the minds of the sheep”)

The final word I leave to Counterspin Central: The next phase of “Memogate” will be to pin it all on the Democrats, particularly on John Kerry. (In fact, it’s already started.) If you want to know why this issue matters, and why you have to keep e-mailing all the stories that debunk the “forgery” theory to your local press with angry defiance, that’s it. Remember, whether the memos themselves were typed versions of Killian’s own handwritten notes, or forgeries, is irrelevant. (Worth reading in full, this one. Click and consider.)

UPDATE – An excellent and detailed overview of the ‘forgery’ sideshow from Ornicus: Rather hilariously, all of these critics are doing themselves exactly what they’re accusing CBS of doing: Running with “facts” and “analysis” that are materially false and ultimately bogus, and rushing them out without double-checking them.

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Date
20040914
Flash Games
Time
09:57
Play all the Yeti games in one amazing round of snowbound sports; it’s the Ylympics!

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Date
20040914
RWCs
Time
09:58
A nifty link from Shane (who has also given me some thoughts to ponder): Who in your family or community has donated to Kerry or Bush?

Should keep the violence ticking over. Let me know how you get on.

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Date
20040914
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely! It’s Over!
Time
10:06
Newsweek – It’s Worse Than You Think: As Americans debate Vietnam, the U.S. death toll tops 1,000 in Iraq. And the insurgents are still getting stronger

Time – Mission Still Not Accomplished: The Bush Administration would prefer to avoid any bloody showdowns until after the U.S. presidential election in November, but it faces hard decisions now. The crisis on the ground imperils prospects for Iraq’s national elections in January, the results of which could determine how quickly the U.S. can draw down its troop levels. For a legitimate vote to go forward, U.S. and Iraqi forces must soon wrest back control of the country. But there are no easy ways to do that.

Back To Iraq – It’s Worse Than You Think… :And in the midst of all this violence, most of the Iraqi Interim Government is out of town. Security Advisors, heads of important ministries and the chief of the new Mukhabarat are all mysteriously absent. The Iraqi security forces are a joke, with the much talked about Fallujah Brigade disbanded for being feckless and – worse – riddled with insurgents who were being paid and trained by the U.S. Marines. Thousands of Iraqis are desperate to get a new passport and flee the country. These are often the most educated Iraqis – the have the money to get new passports and travel – so the brain-drain will accelerate. The poor and the disenfranchised are finding their leaders in the populist and fundamentalist Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr or in the radical Islam of the jihadis, who are casting a long shadow on this formerly secular country. Iraq has its own home-grown Wahhabists now, something it didn’t have 18 months ago. In the context of all this, reporting on a half-assed refurbished school or two seems a bit childish and naive, the equivalent of telling a happy story to comfort a scared child. Anyone who asks me to tell the “real” story of Iraq – implying all the bad things are just media hype – should refer to this post. I just told you the real story: What was once a hell wrought by Saddam is now one of America’s making.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040914
In The News
Time
10:27
Fathers 4 Justice have struck again, with nationwide television coverage last night and the front page of every newspaper this morning:

The only problem? Apart from the occasional paragraph, and maybe this BBC piece, coverage is limited almost entirely to the security implications. The same result they got from their Commons protest.

One of the main problems is those damn costumes.

The thing about comic books is that the artists don’t have to deal with things like the reality of sagging spandex. Even when huge budgets are thrown and creating ‘real’ versions of those costumes for movies, mileage can vary. (Take a look at the closing scene of Batman Forever. Batman and Robin run toward the camera in slow motion, dramatically backlit and shrouded in mist. But the whole illusion is shattered by Batman’s rubber ears bouncing around like a pair of rubber penises.)

If you’ve ever dressed up in one of these costumes for any period of time (or seen anyone dressed up in one of these costumes for any period of time) you will know that even the ones with enhanced muscle tone do very little to sell a convincing illusion. You don’t end up looking like a superhero; you end up looking like a goofball in a costume.

That’s one of the main reasons why the media aren’t grabbing onto the responsible-but-hard-done-by father angle. This story is over the moment one of these guys is pictured atop any structure in tights. Because they look like an irresponsible goofball in a costume.

(The other reason is that the media simply don’t like attention seekers. Particularly successful ones. Dammit, they worked hard to get where they are and they’ll be damned if they’re going to give a voice to a jumped up, self-styled…)

Another thing I noted from the BBC coverage is that they really seem whipped these days. Not only did the Very Real Threat of Terrorism get woven in throughout the story, the BBC also noted how reasonable the police were being by giving the intruder glasses of water.

Clue-by-Four: The police kept giving him water because they knew that sooner or later he would have to expel the excess fluid.

*sigh*

But I will close by saying something about security issues, myself:

Fathers 4 Justice do have something in common with terrorists, in that very few people are asking why they do what they do.

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Date
20040914
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:28
Gnnnnnnnnn*

Shouting about it isn’t going to do any good; it just has to be dealt with.

There will be no preview of Boris today. The domain thing has proved to be a more complicated issue than it first appeared. Even if I can (finally) get people moving on it today – which I probably can’t – it won’t propagate through the system until well into tomorrow.

Still, that does mean that during the education process tomorrow we can post anything we like, as the blog is still only visible in the temporary staging area.

So that’s a lemon for you, some slightly tart lemonade for me. Sorry about that.

UPDATE – If you wish to keep yourself busy, drop by and say hello to Jody Dunn. Sensible people are finally starting to outnumber the shouty Labour flunkies (who actually appear to be one person operating out of his – possibly taxpayer funded – webshed).

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Date
20040914
Photoshopping
Time
10:36
A Batman bandwagon is already rolling on the B3ta messageboard. It may prove distracting.

UPDATE – Couldn’t help it. Sorry. (Posted to B3ta.)

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Date
20040914
Consume!
Time
10:38
What a great vehicle. It not only chews through the gas, it gives you no choice but to drive and park like a selfish bastard.

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Date
20040914
The War on Stupid
Time
11:52
Putin exploits terrorism threat in grab for power. Sound familiar?

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Date
20040914
Music
Time
14:04
Go, Mrs Miller, GO! (Poke around Frank’s Vinyl Museum as much as you please, but do *not* leave Mrs Miller’s page without checking out Downtown.)

UPDATE – I know it requires ReallyCrapPlayer, but some things transcend personal format issues. (Oh, do take the time to discover The Beatle Barkers, too.)

UPDATE 2 – I’m spoiling you today. Here’s a bunch of classic TV theme tunes.

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Date
20040914
Activism
Time
15:36
Brian Haw to appear before magistrates today.

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Date
20040914
An American Election
Time
16:45
Houston Chronicle – Guns for votes: It’s truly a dark day: White House watches law sunset and waits for endorsement of NRA.

New York Times – Kerry Faults Bush for Failing to Press Weapons Ban: Mr. Bush said during the 2000 campaign that he supported the ban on 19 types of semiautomatic weapons passed in 1994, and he has repeatedly pledged to sign an extension if it reaches his desk. But the National Rifle Association – which backs his re-election – was eager to let the ban lapse, and Mr. Bush did nothing to push Republican leaders in Congress on the issue.

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Date
20040914
Christianity Watch
Time
16:59
Hooray! The pill is a ‘chemical abortion’! (The first person to use the word ‘pre-emptive’ gets a slap.)

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Date
20040914
South West Trains
Time
17:06
ITV – South West Trains’ drivers to strike: The union said the dispute flared over the attempted imposition of new working rotas without agreement.

It doesn’t say that this has anything to do with the new magic timetables, but you can bet that it does.

Cheers to BigDaddyMerk for the heads-up.

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Date
20040914
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
17:12
Tony Blair draws another line under Iraq and suck up to the unions at the same time: “Even if I’ve never been away, it’s time to show I’m back.”

Pfft!

(I leave any further comment to Perfect.co.uk)

UPDATE – No I don’t. Please note how gracefully he refuses to apologise for Iraq and links it to 911. Again. Full text of his speech (minus the uncomfortable silences) here.

Balders is sure to have something to say about this sooner or later. Keep an eye out.

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Date
20040914
The End of Democracy
Time
17:18
One for Simon, because he once asked for details that I was unable to give at the time…

The Raw Story – Instant election replay: Suppressing minority voters: In 2000 , an estimated four million Americans were disenfranchised. Those citizens were disproportionately impoverished or from minority racial groups. An improperly conducted purge of voter rolls in Florida caused thousands of legal voters to be turned away at the polls. Police officers set up checkpoints near polling places, stopped African-American drivers, and forced them to step out of the vehicle and show I.D. Non-English speaking and handicapped voters were denied assistance in filling out their ballots. First-time Haitian American voters were denied the right to place their vote. Minority voters were told that they could not vote without photo I.D. in violation of the law. These and many other illegal and unethical acts, particularly in the state of Florida, changed the results of the presidential election and the course of our nation.

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Date
20040914
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
20:10
Guardian – “He’s just sleeping, I kept telling myself”: On Sunday, 13 Iraqis were killed and dozens injured in Baghdad when US helicopters fired on a crowd of unarmed civilians. G2 columnist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, who was injured in the attack, describes the scene of carnage – and reveals just how lucky he was to walk away.

WARNING – This is a disturbing account, complete with a disturbing image. In other words, you won’t be able to draw a line under it in a hurry.

More here at Metafilter and a detailed report here. (But remember, if you read these and look at the pictures or videos linked therein, you’re only helping the terrorists.)

Independent – US missile attack kills 13 civilians in Iraq: “The helicopter fired on the Bradley to destroy it after it had been hit earlier and it was on fire,” said Major Phil Smith of the 1st Cavalry Division. “It was for the safety of the people around it.”…. The US military said that a Kiowa, a light reconnaissance and attack helicopter, fired rockets at the Bradley to destroy weapons and ammunition on board. But it is evident from the al-Arabiya video that the rockets landed among people standing or walking far away from the Bradley.

PS – It’s 12 points for an ambulance. Can you say “Whoa, Dude!”?

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Date
20040914
Updates
Time
20:13
A bit of general housekeeping and the shift of Washington Monthly to the nav-bar. As part of the update, the nav-bar link to Europhobia is now site-wide.

I’ve provided some extra bloggage this afternoon and evening because there probably won’t be much tomorrow.

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Date
20040914
SEO
Time
21:37
Page 3 – Model Propaganda is now getting a bunch of quality search results for everything from ‘page 3′ (UK only) through to ‘page 3 girls’ to ‘sun page 3′ (internationally)… and the more you link to it, the better these results get. Cheers all.








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

16-31 August, 2004

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Date
20040816
In The News
Time
11:09
Barring general fuck-ups, the rule is as follows:

If you have a well-kept secret, it won’t hit the news unless someone in your inner circle breaks rank.

If you have an ‘open secret’ that’s pretty much common knowledge, it won’t hit the news unless a newspaper journalist/editor/owner breaks rank.

So the Blunkett Has Affair With Married Woman story is a very curious beastie indeed.

My first thought when the news hit BBC radio on Saturday afternoon (but wasn’t repeated for the rest of the day, mind) was that Blunkett had finally gone too far for someone’s taste and the knives were out.

The next day, the only newspaper to give it serious coverage was the Murdoch newspaper (curiouser and curiouser) News of the World.

News Of The World – They’re both madly in love: Cabinet Minister David Blunkett and his secret married lover met on Wednesday of this week as their three-year affair reached crisis point. Since they were introduced in 2001, the woman —who is in her 40s and has one child—has been the great, passionate love of his life. They meet discreetly in London and, during his rare breaks from a huge workload as Home Secretary, have found time for romantic getaways at his Derbyshire cottage. But she has a family to care for and divorced Mr Blunkett, who famously reads his papers in Braille after he was born blind, is committed to long hours at his job.

And so it goes on. Apart from one or two rather detached references to the as-yet-unnamed husband, the story focuses almost entirely on a true love that will not be denied. There are further references to how hard Mr Blunkett works, the couple’s “huge reservoir of love and affection,” how Mr Blunkett “has fought adversity all his life” and the huge challenges the couple have had to face especially when you consider how hard Mr Blunkett works.

An associated editorial entitled ‘A very human face of power’ assures us that “the Home Secretary’s love affair with a married woman cannot be condoned – but neither is it a matter for resignation.” It goes on to describe David Blunkett as a “human and vulnerable figure.”

Were the story ‘in the open’ and covered by every other newspaper, you could easily classify this beyond-soft coverage as damage control – but there was barely a mention in any other newspaper. Yesterday or today.

So was this a spectacular own-goal… or something else?

Most of today’s coverage reports on the NOTW report and throws in reactions from Blunkett and Blair. We’ll take a look at those in a moment. First of all, you may want to take a quick peak at the only (minor) expansion of the story outside of the Murdoch group, which appears to be suggesting that this was very close to an ‘open secret,’ and/or that the “human and vulnerable” Blunkett is actually about to have a serious breakdown…

The Mirror – Blunkett’s Secret Love: Friends believe the strain on the Home Secretary over his three-year relationship with a married mother in her 40s is beginning to tell. Mr Blunkett’s “irritable and tetchy” moods have alarmed party colleagues for nearly two years. They talk of him “hitting the roof” at the slightest problem. And they worry that he is not recovering properly from a serious operation 20 months ago. One said: “It would make sense that he was also struggling to cope with a very intense but problematic relationship at the same time. “Goodness knows, that is difficult enough for the ordinary man or woman in the street but if you are a public figure and you are trying to keep things private it must impose the most awful strain.”

This article closes (after many a statement from unnamed friends) with a quote from Mr Blunkett that says: “Anyone purporting to speak about my private life does so without knowledge or authority.”

You can read more of that statement here, but you certainly won’t read that snippet about people speaking about this private life “without knowledge or authority” in today’s Scum (scroll down to the bottom of the article linked below and note what parts of this statement they do and don’t use just before we move on).

The Sun – I told him I was tall and blonde: One insider said: “The future of the relationship is unresolved. They are torn. It’s a far from perfect situation but there’s a deep love. They’re finding it terribly hard to deal with. Neither of them knows what the future will hold. It’s actually a very, very sad situation for all concerned. The relationship isn’t going any further forward — but neither is it over. Like any affair it’s an extremely complicated situation. Other people’s lives are affected”…. Another source said: “The meetings have always been at his place, normally in London and very occasionally, Derbyshire. He has one of the busiest diaries in Government but when time allows there are romantic moments. None of this rests easily with David. He has a deep conscience. But this is no casual fling. He’s totally in love with her.”

There it is again…

A deep and profound love. Two people, struggling against hardship. One of them a hard-working civil servant (and, just in case you’re in any doubt, Blunkett’s picture caption mixes his hardships and his hardworkliness; “Dedicated … hard-working Home Secretary Mr Blunkett with guide dog Sadie”). The only difference is that this time the husband is not mentioned at all.

This story is coming from the Murdoch group, but it’s more than soft. In fact, it’s beyond fawning.

At this stage, you may wish to cast your mind back a week or so and consider these thoughts on painted pictures.

While we’re in the past, let’s also consider that last week was a very bad one for Blunkett, what with us finding out that evidence obtained under torture is admissible in our courts and Blunkett’s none-too-popular proposals that including making every offence and arrestable one.

And, if you search for news relating to Mr Blunkett in a real newspaper today, you’ll find (still) no mention of the affair, but heavy focus on the following…

UK ‘sleepwalking into Stasi state’

BBC – Watchdog attacks ID card scheme

But both of these originate from a story in The Times – yet another Murdoch newspaper.

Times – Beware rise of Big Brother state, warns data watchdog

If your head is starting to hurt, soothe it with the knowledge that the report would be public knowledge anyway, but for reasons that have yet to become clear, this dog chose to drop the stick in front of The Times first.

But the affair… ah, yes, the tragic tale of true love beset by hardship… was this also about to come out? Had someone threatened to blow the whistle?

Perhaps the as-yet-to-be-mentioned-beyond-the-abstract husband was foolish enough to signal his intentions. We shall see.

However, unless something like this turns up, we’re left with a rather uncomfortable possibility… that this is some kind of bizarre self-outing. A David Mellor moment – but instead of a family portrait by the gate, David Blunkett and his mistress are the photo opportunity. And the purpose of it all is to convince us that David Blunkett is human.

UPDATE – Pondlife – How blind is love? Oh, and did you notice that I got through all of the above without a single cheap shot about privacy issues…? No, I didn’t think so. All that effort and nobody cares… mutter, grumble… Oh well. Speaking of cheap shots….

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Date
20040816
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
11:30
Inside Al-Qaeda’s Hard Drive! Sorry, no porn.

We The Media – O’Reilly’s blog begins to take shape.

Electoral Vote Predictor 2004: Kerry 327 Bush 211 – hope springs eternal.

John Perry Barlow 2.0 – The Thomas Jefferson of cyberspace reinvents his body — and his politics: We have to re-engage in the political process we have. Democracy actually works. You could make the argument that it’s working too well in America — people are really getting exactly the government that they want. That is to say, the people who bother to engage themselves in the really tedious work of being a political activist — having meetings in church basements and putting signs on people’s lawns. I have grave misgivings about John Kerry, but I certainly don’t have misgivings about Kerry that equal the terror I have about another four years of Bush. What he’s done to aspects of the Constitution that are there to assure individual rights is breathtakingly bad.

I wouldn’t describe them as grave, but I also have some misgivings about Kerry. A fair amount of indifference sometimes, too. In fact, his value to me can be summed up in one simple picture.

Call it simplistic if you like, but I prefer mild concern to abject horror.

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Date
20040816
Inneresting
Time
11:54
I just checked out the claim by The Scum that; “Kimberly (Fortier) sat next to Mr Blunkett… at a Buckingham Palace state banquet for President Bush in November 2003.”

A look at the seating plan for the banquet not only confirms this… it also shows that Charles Kennedy was seated directly opposite Karl Rove of all people.

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Date
20040816
Activism
Time
12:04
Guardian/Observer – New York ready to unleash fury on Republicans : (Anti-Republican protestors) run a ‘snitch line’ where people involved in the convention can leak details of events and where delegates have been staying. The protesters are widely believed to have infiltrated several people into working at the convention who will smuggle information out. Moran’s plan is to send out teams of activists to disrupt as many events as possible.

Heh. Ring any bells?

UPDATE – The site mentioned in this article can be found at rncnotwelcome.org – good luck to everybody dodging the Permit Police.

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Date
20040816
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
12:12
1 – The background thing I was working on? Didn’t work out. I’ll give more details (but not too many) later.

2 – Please welcome the proxy-blog for Gordon Brown!

3 – The next Tory target for the ‘free MT weblog with the works’ offer is going to be… Boris Johnson. I need to dig through some scraps of info that have already been coming in about this later today. Fun should begin tomorrow. Cheers all.

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Date
20040816
Photoshopping
Time
17:09
“Romeo, Romeo! Oh, wherefore art thou Romeo?”

(Couldn’t be helped. Posted to B3ta.)

Also, some cutting satire for you and a short-but-sweet news update…

PA News – ‘Blunkett Affair’ Woman Appeals to Media (I bet she does, I bet she *does*): In a brief statement, issued through her solicitors, she warned that she “will not hesitate to take action in respect of intrusive media coverage of her private life”.

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Date
20040816
The War on Stupid
Time
17:48
Michael Howard evicted from Tory House of Turmoil! (This includes what may very well be the best political photoshop ever.)

It’s rather convenient, then, that the far superior and more enlightened version of Tories in Turmoil offers you a chance to pick his replacement. (Actually, it’s nothing to do with covenience. Or coincidence. It’s just genius at work, is all.)

Go visit (and pretend that your vote actually counts for something).

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Date
20040817
In The News
Time
08:06
Telegraph – Blunkett ‘affair’ woman threatens to take legal action: The woman who is alleged to be having an affair with David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, threatened yesterday to take legal action against newspapers which intruded into her privacy.

Yes, well… best of luck with all of that…

From Bloggerheads Mon, August 16, 2004: But the affair… ah, yes, the tragic tale of true love beset by hardship… was this also about to come out? Had someone threatened to blow the whistle? Perhaps the as-yet-to-be-mentioned-beyond-the-abstract husband was foolish enough to signal his intentions. We shall see. However, unless something like this turns up, we’re left with a rather uncomfortable possibility… that this is some kind of bizarre self-outing. A David Mellor moment – but instead of a family portrait by the gate, David Blunkett and his mistress are the photo opportunity. And the purpose of it all is to convince us that David Blunkett is human.

Hmm, this’d probably do it….



The Sun – Blunkett lover in baby turmoil: David Blunkett’s secret lover is five months pregnant, according to friends. Married Kimberly Fortier, 43, has been telling pals for weeks about the unplanned baby. American Kimberly is due to give birth at the end of the year. Friends say she is now in an “emotional state”. It is not known whether she will stay with husband Stephen Quinn, 60, or devote herself to the 57-year-old Home Secretary.

Assuming it’s all true, of course.

Let’s play Spot The Denial: Last night a Downing Street spokeswoman refused to discuss news of the pregnancy. She insisted: “This is a private matter. We have nothing to add.” But it was reported that Mr Blunkett would “stand by” Kimberly. He has told aides he feels confused after his secret relationship has become public.

Nope, can’t see a denial in there – but that last bit is amusing. Perhaps the confusion stems from a formerly-held conviction that they controlled Murdoch and not the other way around. Perhaps not. A look at the Sun’s editorial today takes us to interesting places. Just give me mo and we’ll return to that. After this…

Yesterday The Mirror parroted most of the Sun/NOTW material, but didn’t have anything new to add apart from this hard-hitting investigation into Blunkett’s first kiss. Today, they appear to be credited with the pregnancy revelation. This is backed by Sky, but the online chappies are a bit slack with the updates. I’ll bring you the link when she goes live.

UPDATE – Yup, here it is. Times two…

Mirror – Blunkett’s Lover Pregnant: Mr Blunkett suspects news of the affair was leaked by an enemy within the Labour party. He is said to be “bewildered” as to how it got out.

If it was leaked by an enemy, how come everybody who has been talking to the newspapers is described as a ‘friend’…? Oh well, no matter. Let’s hear from some more of them and hope some sense will come of it…

Mirror – Home Secretary’s Agony: I Will Stand By Her: Home Secretary David Blunkett will put his career on the line to stay with pregnant lover Kimberly Fortier, friends said last night. The 57-year-old pledged to stand by the American, despite the damage an affair with a married woman could have on his political future. One source said: “He’s so deeply in love that he wants nothing to come between him and Kimberly, even a child.”

And so on and so forth, until we get to this wonderful passage: He has always had a reputation in Whitehall as a workaholic but one insider said: “It is as if he feels there is not much time left in his job and he is rushing to get everything done. It’s very hyper.”

There you go, folks – that’s it in a nutshell. Blunkett has been working to crush civil liberties with all speed so he can get the nursery done in time. Or something.

Back to that Sun editorial, because what really piqued my interest in the Sun/NOTW reportage was how heavily they laid on the ‘hardworking yet vulnerable human being who has struggled through adversity’ muck, especially considering all the inhuman and inhumane stuff Blunkett has been tolerating, proposing and accepting lately.

(Yes folks, we’re straying away from gossip and towards actual news!)

Scotsman – Increase in state databases ‘a threat to civil liberties’: Hazel Blears, a Home Office minister, who yesterday revealed plans for the systematic tracking of the children of criminals in England and Wales, rejected criticism of the government’s approach. “What we are trying to do is put in place some very practical measures to make sure that we have got identity cards so that people are using the right identity. “We know that there are some pretty serious and organised criminals out there who use false identities to traffic people, to launder money, to do drug smuggling,” she said on Sky News.

Take a look at the government line and which broadcaster is helping to feed it to the public. Then take a look at today’s editorial in The Sun (quoted in full below):

The age of the real Big Brother (NOT the TV series) is arriving later than George Orwell envisaged. But there is no stopping it now. In his novel 1984 Orwell predicted an all-powerful snooper state which knew everything about everyone. Soon a mass of cross-checking databases and ID cards will give the Government and big business details about us all. But it is not all bad news. The tax-dodgers will be exposed. The money launderers nailed. Uninsured drivers tracked down. And illegal immigrants exposed. The advance of information technology cannot be turned back. But we’re still an open democracy. And it is up to all of us to make sure we watch the snoopers … just like they are watching us. You can be sure The Sun will be on guard.

NOT the TV series. Glad they cleared that up before telling me I had nothing to fear. Otherwise I may have ended up not-fearing Endemol or something.

Anyway, it’s all being done for a jolly good reason. Page 3 girl Melanie (22, from Watford) even pre-empted this assurance by saying yesterday that she wanted the government to get tough on benefits cheats. She said: “I am staggered how they are ripping off the country. The government should come down very hard on anyone making fraudulent claims.”

So, what are we left after all of that?

Blunkett – Going through some difficulty, but he’s a jolly good chap who struggles through adversity. He’s also hard-working and vulnerable. But virile, byt the looks of things. Did we wention that he had struggled through adversity?

ID cards and Information Databases – Bit scary, but needed to target dole-cheating scum. Besides, that nice Mr Blunkett is in charge. It’s a tough job, but if anyone can struggle through adversity…

The Sun – There to protect us should the government ever step out of line. As it has always done in the past.

UPDATE – Anthony Wells digs up two early media references to Blunkett and Fortier.

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Date
20040817
The End of Democracy
Time
08:12
Washington Post – Chavez Defeats Recall Attempt: Leaders of the coalition against Chavez, who has governed the country since 1999, summoned followers to the streets to protest what they said was vote fraud. But former president Jimmy Carter and a team of international monitors said the voting appeared fair and accurate.

LNR – Pity Venezuela: if Chavez had to pick a private company, why was it SmartMatic?: Any politician worth their salt now knows it’s probably worth a punt to say that an electronic election went wrong somehow. And when they do, we need an answer. This won’t come if you use private companies, whose technology will be a commercial secret. It’s especially iffy when the company is a donor to one or more political parties, as we’ve seen in America.

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Date
20040817
Weblog Marketing
Time
08:17
This all seems desperately familiar….

New York Times – Warner’s Tryst With Bloggers Hits Sour Note: But as is sometimes the case when marketers try to insinuate themselves into online communities, the company’s approach did not go as planned. Warner – which was part of the Time Warner media empire until February, when it was sold to a group of investors led by Edgar Bronfman Jr. – ran into a culture clash with the small world of MP3 blogs, annoying some of the very people it wanted to win over, especially after one or more people at Warner apparently posted anonymous messages to make it appear that ordinary music fans were defending the label.

Be honest. Be transparent. Have something to offer. Or don’t bother. It really is as simple as that.

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Date
20040817
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
08:23
Top link today is this ‘next blog’ link – a new web-ring-thingie feature from Blogger that has link-magically also given participants a rare (if randomised) shot at the top spot on Blogdex.

Then it’s Kerry-probing, Conservative-bashing, more Kerry-probing… Ah, here we go – this is almost enough to make me care about sport…

1 – Free tickets on offer to stop near-empty stadiums being shown on television

2 – Great big gobs of greasy grimy gopher’s guts

Also, there’s the Moonie Times refusing to give up on those WMDs and yet more good nes on the democracy front…

New York Times – Suppress the Vote?: State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd “investigation” that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November.

Investigating voter fraud in order to commit electoral fraud? Only Bush would be so bold. (Or am I thinking of Darth Vader…?)

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Date
20040817
The War on Stupid
Time
08:51
Pandagon – Annie’s Got A Gun: Annie Jacobsen, discredited paranoid and the white woman who actually made herself seem like more of a terrorist than the 14 Arabic men she says were acting suspiciously, is back, desperately trying to prove her point. She interviews Billie Jo Rodriguez, apparently also a passenger on the flight, and the results are hilarious.

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Date
20040817
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh FFS…
Time
08:53
Independent – Blair faces Labour conference walkout over invitation to Iraqi Prime Minister: Tony Blair was warned by a member of Labour’s ruling national executive he would face a walkout protest if he goes ahead with plans to invite Iyad Allawi, the leader of the interim Iraqi government, to the Labour Party conference.

Meanwhile…

Independent – Najaf, city of defiance

Back to Iraq 3.0 – A Chat with Iyad Allawi

Oh, and Bush is finally bringing some troops home… from Europe and Asia. Ah, what’s the diff? Troops is troops.

Did anybody else watch this election/policy speech? He damn near took credit for winning WWII, the Korean War, and the Cold War.

He also kept the Iraq/terror/911 link/lie ticking over: “Before September the 11th, the ruler of Iraq was a sworn enemy of America. He was defying the world, firing weapons at American pilots who were enforcing the world’s sanctions. He had pursued and he had used weapons of mass destruction. He had harbored terrorists; he invaded his neighbors; and he subsidized the families of suicide bombers. He murdered tens of thousands of his own citizens. He was a source of great instability in the world’s most volatile region. He was a threat.”

But what was most interesting was what he said just before this…

“Today, because America and our allies have sent a strong and easy to understand message — (laughter) — the leader of Libya has abandoned his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and America and the world are safer.” – George W. Bush, August 16, 2004

Gadaffi spies gave ‘terror cash’ out in Britain *during* peace talks with Blair – Guardian, August 15, 2004

State Department retracts terrorism assertion – Corrected report to show ‘sharp increase’ – CNN, June 10, 2004

I know, I know – he doesn’t read the papers. Still, you’d think his scriptwriter would pick up a clue or two…

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Date
20040817
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:52
OK, same deal as before. There’s a full MT weblog up for grabs (with free installation, design and consultation) if the right Tory MP chooses to reach out and grab it. This week’s target is Boris Johnson – but we’re going to try a slightly different tack with Boris, for a number of reasons:

A – Boris is a busy man

B – Boris has been known to get flustered when put on the spot

C – Boris is also caught up in this whole Blunkett/Fortier affair

So dropping a bunch of ‘hassle’ emails on the man is unlikely to do any good. Especially this week. We also have to consider the rather short reply from his staff, received by Shane McCracken following this email, which was sent to all the MPs who had proxy blogs in early August…

I am sure you are aware of the weblog that has been set up for you at the address below:

http://www.wibbler.com/boriswatch/

I have a strong interest in democracy and in particular e-Democracy and I was very interested to know your views on the site and what if any plans you had regarding it. I was hoping you could answer the following questions that have also been put to the other seven MPs who similarly have “proxy” weblogs.

1. Were you aware of the site before this email?

2. Were you aware of the concept of weblogs or blogs before the site had been set up for you?

3. Do you have any immediate plans (within the next 3 months) to set up your own weblog?

4. Would you consider asking the author to close down the site?

5. Do you feel the benefits of the weblog (transparency of your policies, feedback from constituents, unmediated communication) would make it worthwhile your time writing one (15 minutes per day on average)?

I hope you can help on this short informal piece of research.

And here’s the reply…

We are setting up our own site for Boris

Melissa Crawshay-Williams

Boris Johnson’s Office

So, here’s what I’d like you to do…

(SNIP)

UPDATE – Stand down! Stand down! I’ve been in touch about this and Melissa is keen. Boris is (reportedly) keen. Hosting issues are being discussed. This looks very, very promising….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040817
Useful
Time
11:06
Gray’s Anatomy – browsable by thumbnail. If you want to save time, most of the rude pictures are here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040817
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
15:17
Cheers to Anthony for yet another dynamite heads-up today…

Take a look at the poll they’ve got running on the front page of Conservatives.com:

Poll: What would you most like to see from conservatives.com in the future?

- more local news

- new video content

- extra news from Parliament

- blogging

- more campaign support

We’re finally getting through. Now they (almost) know that they want it. But do they know what it is?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040818
In The News
Time
09:42
Finally, someone spares a thought for the husband! According to The Sun he was delighted to discover his partner had become pregnant. But somehow they neglected to put the emphasis on was

The Sun – Blunkett rival ‘over moon’: The husband of David Blunkett’s lover told friends of his delight when he found she was pregnant, it emerged last night. The Sun revealed how American Kimberly Fortier, 43, has been having a three-year affair with the Home Secretary. But news she is five months pregnant has thrown their relationship into turmoil. Her husband Stephen Quinn, 60, spoke to pals about the baby before the affair became publicly known. A former colleague of Mr Quinn said: “Stephen told lots of people that Kimberly was expecting another baby and he was naturally thrilled. He was over the moon that she managed to get pregnant again.”

What I love about this – what really, really pumps my nads – is that this story is (supposedly) about the husband, but The Sun seems more concerned with the effect the baby is going to have on the relationship between Ms Fortier and our beloved Home Secretary. They don’t even speculate on what the husband’s (ahem) revised opinion might be.

Speaking of opinions, let’s take a quick detour through some thoughts from the now-emerging columnists…

Sympathy vote for ‘so-in-love’ Blunkett on adultery policy – where the writer in confused about a general lack of frothing at the mouth from the champions of family values. Oh, and a final thought is spared for the husband and child.

Double standards? – where the ‘If he were a Tory…’ point is raised and it is pointed out that; “if someone proves themselves to be incapable of resistance and capable of deceiving some poor husband for three years, it does show something about their character.”

And now, back to the meat…

So far, it’s all sources, pals, friends, close aides and insiders. The only statements we can put a name to have come from Kimberley Fortier and David Blunkett. It’s Mr Blunkett’s that I want to take a closer look a right now, because it make a clear reference to all of those pals, friends, close aides and insiders:

“Anyone purporting to speak about my private life does so without knowledge or authority.” – David Blunkett (from a statement released on Sunday).

But the story was broken – in the most forgiving and fawning way possible – by News of The World, a known ally of (and unofficial distributor of information for) Downing St. This established a very forgiving tone that has held quite well to date.

Theory One – The small matter of pregnancy made this long-standing affair impossible to hide, so the story is being deliberately leaked and managed by David Blunkett, and/or with his full knowledge and authority. So if we return to his quote with this in mind, it has a certain smack of denial about it….

“Anyone purporting to speak about my private life does so without knowledge or authority”….. really. For True.

And now, a quick word from someone purporting to speak about his professional life…

“( A source/friend said that) Mr Blunkett suspects news of the affair was leaked by an enemy within the Labour party. He is said to be “bewildered” as to how it got out.” – Mirror, Aug 17

Please pardon me for treading over old ground again. I am going somewhere with this. In fact, this time I’ve added some extra italics to help you along…

But the story was broken – in the most forgiving and fawning way possible – by News of The World, a known ally of (and unofficial distributor of information for) Downing St

Theory Two – The small matter of pregnancy made this long-standing affair impossible to hide, so the story is being deliberately leaked and managed by Downing Street, without David Blunkett’s full knowledge and authority.

Perhaps it’s even a little bit of One and Two (i.e. Blunkett is reluctantly being compelled by Downing St to run with the spin – as opposed to thinking with his penis).

The only other explanation that remains at this stage is that the editor of News of the World and/or Rupert Murdoch decided that the scoop was too good to ignore, but they should go really, really easy on poor old Mr Blunkett, who only committed the sin of following his heart. And destroying a marriage. And compromising his integrity. And allowing his personal life to interfere with his work.

UPDATE – Then again, perhaps this is why most media-peeps are going so easy on Mr Blunkett… but Vijay Dutt is in for a surprise if he thinks this latest affair has involved anything close to typical tabloid behaviour.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040818
Normal People
Time
09:48
Meet the people of Malmesbury. I trekked as far as Belinda Sherwood & the Sherston Girls, but went no further. Perhaps your courage will be greater.

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Date
20040818
Flash Games
Time
09:53
Simple things please even those of us who are out of our tiny minds. (Link via FunJUnkie.)

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Date
20040818
Diversions
Time
09:55
Tiscali takes a look at some odd and unusual road signs.

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Date
20040818
The Grand & Dirty Game
Time
09:57
Some Hartlepool links for you:

- Tories seem to give up without a fight in Mandelson by-election

- Swivel-Eyed Loon Update

- A special ‘focus on’ page from The Guardian

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040818
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:03
Hmmm, there seems to be a fair degree of self-interest today… and a modicum of self-abuse.

Bruce Sterling – When Blobjects Rule the Earth – the future is already here, it’s just not everywhere… yet.

Wired – ‘Internet’ loses its capitalised status – sadly, this isn’t because we’ve managed to chase off the capitalists.

Washington Post – Blog Interrupted: When Jessica Cutler put her dirty secrets on the Web, she lost her job, signed a book deal, posed for Playboy — and raised a ton of questions about where America is headed.

And finally (as they say), we bring you the good news that a little porn is good for you.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040818
The Bush Administration
Time
10:11
Dick Cheney and the falsified flip-flop: Last week, the dissembling veep kept telling voters that Kerry recommended “sensitivity” toward terrorists. Everyone knows that this claim is pure bunk, but pundits hid beneath their desks, too afraid to challenge Cheney’s fake statement. Result? By Saturday, the veep was playing the rubes extra hard….

This comes to us via Atrios, as does this wonderful linkage about the Bush doctrine at work and news of a little girl who had her first Communion declared invalid, because she has a rare digestive disorder and so requested a wheat-free wafer. And by that, I mean one that wouldn’t kill her (or test her faith, depending on how you look at it).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040818
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:27
Boris news will head you way as soon as it comes in. Please chill. Meantime…

Rob reports on his meeting with Sarah Teather: On Monday afternoon I met with Sarah Teather in her constituency office on Willesden Lane. We spoke about a number of things: blogging (needless to say), engaging with constituents, getting voice for unreported activities, technology as a barrier (for BELD!) and as an enabler (for local people) and also a little project I’ve been working on.

Rob regrets to inform us that the ‘MPs and Blogs’ presentation didn’t get an airing, because Sarah appears to have already made up her mind about weblogs. A shame, really. To be so young and so set in your ways…

Anyway, Rob also brings us a graph showing whose got the most influence online. The high placement of Instapundit surprises me not at all, but it’s heartening to see the filthy liberal propagandists dominating the top ten.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040818
119 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
10:40
Via BykerSink comes today’s must-read…

The Coincidence Theorist’s Guide to 9/11

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Date
20040818
Compare and Contrast
Time
11:09
Not that Tony Hawks. This Tony only displays dexterity of the mind.

Not that PETA. In fact, they sell knives.

Not Prince William. At all.

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Date
20040818
Normal People
Time
11:15
Eep!

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Date
20040818
The War on Terror
Time
11:20
Bombs Found on Blair Island: Two explosive devices were found in Porto Rotondo on the Sardinian coast today, just hours after Tony Blair ended a visit to the nearby villa of his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi, news reports said.

Please note that the caller who allegedly provided the tip-off claimed to be from “Proletarian Combatant Groups,” but The Sun ignores this bit, and instead takes this same, short PA release and manages to squeeze in a link to Al Qaeda.

Oh, and am I the only one who hears ‘Blair Island’ and immediately thinks of a hollowed-out volcano?

UPDATE – More details from The Guardian, who describe the town of Porto Rotondo as being “1km from Mr Berlusconi’s Villa Certosa.”

Do correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that the nearest town to the villa was Porto Cervo – which would place it at least 30km away by road from Porto Rotondo and perhaps 20km by boat. Not that I would split hairs when our Dear Leader’s life is clearly at stake.

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Date
20040818
Consume!
Time
13:44
Cafe for cats opens in New York’s Fifth Avenue. It’s summer, so this story should be in your chosen newspaper tomorrow (complete with a pun-tastic headline).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040818
Established Media
Time
15:15
I should have known that Sue Carroll wouldn’t be able to keep her big mouth shut about this Blunkett business (here’s a direct link to the relevant entry for the benefit of the archives).

Please keep in mind that this thoughtful and insightful piece closes with the following: “* I DO feel the newspaper headline I spotted at the weekend – David Blunkett has been seeing married woman for three years – could have been worded better.”

1 – The only article on this subject that was published this weekend was in Sunday’s News of the World. I have a copy right here. Until next Sunday, you’ll be able to check out the online version for yourself. This phrase does not appear anywhere in Sunday’s edition. So there’s no way she could have spotted this ‘at the weekend’ – or at any other time…

2 – Because this ‘poorly worded’ phrase did not appear in any of Monday’s or Tuesday’s or today’s newspapers, either.

3 – In fact, according to Google, the only place it appears anywhere on the web, in Usenet or in the news, is in her own damn column!

In fact, I think we can be pretty sure that Sue Carroll made this up in order to get away with a joke that’s in poor taste without compromising her sanctimonious demeanour. And I’m calling her on it…

To: s DOT carroll AT mirror DOT co DOT uk

From: manic AT bloggerheads DOT com

Subject: Seeing is believing

Dear Sue,

I have been following and documenting media interest in the Blunkett/Fortier affair since the story first broke, but must admit to being confused about the following from your most recent column:

“* I DO feel the newspaper headline I spotted at the weekend – David Blunkett has been seeing married woman for three years – could have been worded better.”

As far as I can recall, the only newspaper to run with this story ‘at the weekend’ was News of the World – and my copy does not carry the headline you mention. Perhaps you have a slightly different copy. Could you perhaps provide me with a scan of the headline you mention and the page it appeared on? I would hate to think that my scrapbook was in any way incomplete.

Regards,

Tim Ireland

www.bloggerheads.com

UPDATE – Anthony sure is making himself useful lately. He just informed me that this headline did appear over the weekend. It was on page 10 of Sunday’s…. Mirror.

It doesn’t appear in the online version of the article, but it does still appear on the front page of that sister-paper’s website.

Happily, no follow-up email is required. All we have to do with sit back and wait to see if Sue points this out. Then perhaps we can ask why she didn’t mention the source in the first place.

UPDATE 2 – Happily II, the Mirror is not alone in gaffeland. In this Daily Mail article, David Blunkett gains sight and loses his voice.

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Date
20040818
Photoshopping
Time
17:16
Oh dear!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
09:16
For those who came in late: Have a quick peek at this and be advised that Pete Broderick has been emailing and/or CC’ing ‘Tony Blair’ for well over two years now. There are times when I suspect (or, to be honest, hope) that this is all some kind of grand and glorious joke – but chances are these messages are genuine and sincere.

Today, Pete reveals the secret behind Moktada al Sadr’s rise to power…

From: Pete Broderick

To: vice-president@whitehouse.gov, tony-blair@prime-ministerco.uk, president@kremlin.ru, president@whitehouse.gov, marrena.marren@fco.gov.uk, kay.sweet@fco.gov.uk, inquiries@un.org, gerhard.schroeder@bundestag.de, ctc@un.org, clu@fco.gov.uk

Subject: Moktada al-Sadr

Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2004 09:58:01 +0100 (BST)

Hi,

In the first instance, it seems that the young islamic cleric using the name Moktada al Sadr, is in fact a Scientologist, not just any Scientologist, but a senior figure in the HCO Protocol, the Security wing, Colin wayne Jones (born U.k. d.o.b. January fourth 1970). He was responsible for the murder of a pensioner Rosella Middleton, in Birchfield Tower, Birchfield Road, Birmingham, in 1994. He confessed it to me, in 1998. I reported it to Ladywood Police Station in 1998, both through crimestoppers 0800 number. This was while Edward Crew, was Chief Constable, Crew of course was one of the most corrupt Chief Constables the U.K. has ever known, due to his obsession with Verwood, of S.A. A Mentally ill IC3 was framed for the murder by the tail end of 1999. I presume this was soon after Jones came in contact with him, at HMP Birmingham, possibly under an a.k.a.

The conviction came “surprisingly” quick, after I approached the Police in comparison to when the crime was committed.

This of course also prevented, myself receiving the financial reward, of five thousand pounds.

In addition, Paul VI, is still alive, he is in fact JORGE ILES, of [address censored by Manic] B’HAM

He faked his death in 1978, due to his pontifical reign covering the opening of the terrorism that erupted globally, in the knowledge that the both sides of the Cold War, did not originate the Drug Wars, only the corrupt elements Crux Orientalis had running through the three superpowers, and their allies. It is vital for C/O to have him in B’ham, as B’ham is the seat of the existentialist council, they regularly used the underground offices of the local authority, that were used by Churchill, etc during WWII, thatis the main reason that 8 Ethel St, the Scientology base, and Italian Consulate named the Building they are in Winston Churchill House.

Where PIP, is Patrick Fitzpatrick – d.o.b. 18.3.1968 – nominated by Margaret Thatcher, and the HRE thru the Knights of St Columba, and due to him being a spiritual protege of J.Edgar Hoover, Paul Weller a.k.a KEITH BISHOP(RO ring) – d.o.b. 25.5.1958 – is the modern day OTTO, as Cardinal Basil Hume, was considered unsuitable. The present day Cardinal of Westminster is attempting to regain, the Controoler reins of OTTO. Weller is NEO-Nazi, and an archictect of Militant Tendency, hence his invlvement in RED WEDGE. WELLER, was also instrumental in the Union bashing of the 1980’s, and is leading the onslaught against the Firefighters, as a parallel project to that of Startfor.com, that manifested itself most strongly with the veiled attack on Queens, in October 2001. WELLER, as BISHOP, personally led the advance of Cocaine into UK Public Houses, referring intrested parties to the Church of Scientology (RAISE). Such negative innovation by well has led him to inherit Denis Thatchers corporate Empire, as well as drawing him to the attention of Dominic Du Vallon Lohan, and the Riveria Gigolo(Alistair Campbell), and in more recent times Xenia DU VALLON LOHAN, (SKY media/20th Century Fox), who is keen to invest her wealth, that i tied up in the Church of Scientology with Weller. The Wellers Anne, John (a.k.a. Danny fron Ravenscourt park, who lived with temp at the tail end of 1995, onset of 1996, before moving to Cricklewood to share with Matt Mendell),a nd Paul, all agreed to put Nicola Weller, in the Northfield Convent, in order to turn her into a drug addict. This was at the same time that Weller was advancing Cocaine in Birmingham, between 1984-1989. Another avenue was through FOOTBALL Casuals.

One of the reasons Weller returned to Woking in 1999, was his occult beliefs, and Linda Broderick’s/Burnett’s foul up at the Home Office (catering).

While in Birmingham Bishop/Weller became affiliated with Samantha Louise Winn/Bloxham (they met at The Lodge P/H & CoS St Mary’s Row, Moseley), and Colin wayne Jones (Maypole P/h & CoS Moseley).

Weller is the Policy Director Co-ordinator of the Fifth Columnists in the Uk. His financial interests are in prostitution, narcotics, and pornography.

With Respect,

Pete Broderick

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
In The News
Time
09:46
The Sun – Blunkett DNA test – with a quick mention of the husband, primary focus on Blunkett’s anguish at not knowing whose baby it is, and a report from some bloke who says he met Blunkett and Fortier while on holiday.

Of course, Murdoch’s papers are handling this with kid gloves (even though it was a Murdoch paper that broke the story), but not every paper is being as gentle. Ex-Blair-pal and pornographer Richard Desmond has been laying the boot in via the Express, and the Evening Standard has – in this less-than-flattering profile of Kimberly Fortier – made a point of focusing on the spin…

Seducing the power brokers : These anonymous sources spoke of how sad and heart-rending it was for two adults to find themselves in the midst of such a complex love affair. “None of this rests easily with David,” claims one source. “He has a deep conscience. But this is no casual fling. He’s totally in love with her.” The “spun” story, it appears, is that marriages do break up, that falling in love can hurt innocents involved. But according to friends of Fortier’s husband, there is another, less sympathetic side to the story. “Of course, people have affairs, but we have to remember that the Home Secretary appears to have engaged in some kind of affair with a married woman who had just had a child,” says one friend.

There’s also this little snippet that found its way online: DAVID Blunkett has asserted his affair with Kimberly Fortier ‘has never compromised my jobs as an MP and Cabinet Minister’. However, the affair does shed a new light on his comments in the foreword to last year’s White Paper on Anti-Social Behaviour. ‘As a society, our rights as individuals are based upon the sense of responsibility we have towards others and to our families and communities,’ wrote the Home Secretary. ‘This responsibility starts in the family, where parents are accountable for the actions of their children and set the standards they are to live by.’ The paper recommends courses to help parents ‘set limits: they have to make sure their children understand the difference between right and wrong.’ It’s not as easy as it sounds, is it, Mr Blunkett?

But the coverage and the tone is still dominated by Team Murdoch. Take a look at this profile from yesterday’s magazine section of The Times to see them in full-tilt…

Times – Lothario, no: but he is a romantic: (After much fawning and some rather interesting theories)…All this makes it easier to understand why now, in his late fifties, Blunkett cannot resist the coup de foudre of first love, with its promise of the fun and vivacity that he missed out on in his youth. His social conservatism must have disapproved — along with half of the population — of having an affair with a married woman with a young child, but in the struggle with his romantic yearning for a deep relationship, love seems to have won out.

Matters are helped by the Independent and Guardian all but shunning the story (with the exception of this hand-wringing moment, of course) but – here and there – the treatment of the story gets close-to-serious focus. Which is a good thing, because that *is* the bloody story. I’m increasingly convinced that this has been a carefully-managed release by (or on behalf of) the happy couple themselves.

Torygraph – The publisher, the politician, and a question of public interest: Certainly, the Sun and NoW peppered their respective stories with sympathetic quotes from apparently well-informed insiders who attested to the strong bond between the pair and the difficulties that they now face. And Mr Blunkett is particularly admired by Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail (the Home Secretary was guest of honour at a party celebrating the Dacre reign). Not surprisingly, the paper – which could normally be expected to take a high moral tone over married people having affairs, has down-played the story.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:48
It’s the Organizr! It’s DropCash! Two news and exciting tools to help *you* improve your… ahh, who am I kidding?

The Hall of Technical Documentation Weirdness should keep you amused until the boss drops by your desk.

Yahoo is selling child-size ‘Pimp and Ho’ costumes. Can someone please alert the Daily Mail?

And Freedom Of Music Choice is back in the charts. I can’t be bothered finding out why.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
An American Election
Time
09:54
New York Times – Just Keep It Peaceful, Protesters; New York Is Offering Discounts: In a transparently mercantile bid to keep protesters from disrupting the Republican National Convention later this month, the Bloomberg administration will offer “peaceful political activists” discounts at select hotels, museums, stores and restaurants around town during convention week, which begins Aug. 29.

Yes, us filthy liberals are known for our violent ways. But get some chicken inside us and it’s all gravy. Or something.

Weirder than that, take a look at The John Kerry Scrapbook, a site that has popped up out of nowhere but has suddenly found a link-audience and is even enjoying (what appears to be) some genuine sharing via Usenet with a day or two of launch.

1 – For a Harvard graduate, she don’t write too good

2 – Sure, there’s no dirt, and the intention appears benign – but it makes Kerry look like an ass

The same question is coming from the left and the right: where did it come from and what is it for?

UPDATE – Atrios of the latest Swift-boat swifties.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Normal People
Time
10:08
A former middle school teacher has admitted raping a 12-year-old student in social studies class and homeroom. Her defence team points out that she feels remorse (deep, deep remorse) and bring forth a medical expert who claims that she ‘lost her perspective’….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Viral Marketing
Time
10:15
Today, The Ultimate Insult points us in the direction of K-Tel Classics.

I’ve seen this before, and:

1 – K-Tel must have miles of this kind of material in their archives (including some of the classic television commercials). It amazes me that they’re not using it to push their current offer to the music consumer.

2 – I bet you didn’t know that K-Tel now sells drugs. (Hey, it’s all part of being in the music industry.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Inneresting
Time
10:22
And folks wonder what us geeks see in Science Fiction. Women in the future wear spandex, people. Or, failing that, metal panties and nipple guards….

(Please note that this collection also features trash, drug-oriented and gay fiction. Yes, that’s the kind of thing Sci-Fi can lead to.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Here Comes The Science
Time
10:44
How to render the Segway Human Transporter obsolete.

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Date
20040819
Flash Games
Time
12:07
Moody and tricky – scare the crows to stay alive.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Consume!
Time
13:02
Doom 3 – Take a peek under ‘related items’…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
An American Election
Time
15:33
A-men! Go, tell it on the mountain! (Cheers to known billionaire Y. Bee for the heads-up on this one. I hope the New York RNC – the first on this site in 150 years for some unknown reason – proves to be as great an embarrassment for Bush as his London visit.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Normal People
Time
15:58
Meet Jerry Querrard. Jerry has found Atlantis, and will reveal the location to the first person who coughs up 8 million big ones.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040819
Humanity
Time
16:03
Florida man tries to pass barrier to reach his home. Police use reasonable force to stop him.

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Date
20040820
Spam
Time
09:58
Spammers are sub-human scum. That goes for email spammers, Usenet spammers and comment spammers. They have no respect for your privacy, community, bandwidth or site integrity. And there are days when I wish they would all develop a horrible, painful, disfiguring, inoperable form of cancer and die. Slowly. Then I can send them a bunch of ragweed wrapped up in a lovely bow, with a card that reads: “Want to live? We offer cheap rates on generic anti-cancer drugs that work better than the real thing! Lose weight *and* fight cancer while you sleep!”

(Calms down. Reads Comment Spam Manifesto. Makes further plans to spam-proof upcoming comments at Bloggerheads.)

UPDATE – This week’s B3ta challenge: take the subject lines from your spam email and illustrate them.

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Date
20040820
RWCs
Time
10:05
Independent – Ann Coulter: The blonde assassin: Does Ann Coulter really believe the outrageous things she says? To the pin-up pundit of the American right, liberals are fascists – and all terrorists are Muslims.

OK, let’s be fair and balanced about this. Here’s a postive spin on Ann Coulter by a Christian libertarian. (Hmm. That totally rad hair-do makes me wonder what Mr T thinks.)

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Date
20040820
An American Election
Time
10:08
Chapel Perilous shows us the glory of the subtle rewrite:

“The Oval Office is a powerful place. It’s the kind of place where my mother walks in and feels so overwhelmed, she won’t tell me what to do.”

President Bush, August 10th, Niceville Florida

audience:hehehehehmmmhmm

“The Oval Office is a powerful place. It’s — you know, people walk in and just get overwhelmed by the majesty of this shrine to democracy. I do, on a daily basis. And the only person I know that didn’t was my mother, who walked in and continued to tell me what to do.”

President Bush, August 12th, Las Vegas, Nevada

audience: ahahahahahaha!

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Date
20040820
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:10
Bear drinks 36 beers and passes out in campground. Yes, but did it manage to sing?

The Yahoo team now has a blog. The comments are… open!

A new twist to Kerry probing. Who knew that a right-wring group that had ‘truth’ in its name would actually tell lies?

Washington Post – Records Counter a Critic of Kerry: Newly obtained military records of one of Sen. John F. Kerry’s most vocal critics, who has accused the Democratic presidential candidate of lying about his wartime record to win medals, contradict his own version of events.

Finally, another big hit from Bad Gas. That’s two chart-toppers in two weeks, folks. (I’d best start sucking up to these guys. They are the future.)

Bad Gas – Doing a Lynndie

- You will laugh out loud.

- You will lose all control of your body as you find yourself pointing and gently flexing your elbows.

- You will smirk.

- You will find it comfortable and continue to smirk.

- You will call a friend who owns a camera.

- They will smirk.

- You will go out looking for trouble.

- You will do all of the above without even asking yourself why.

(Please note that BadGas is getting a hammering today. If the page loads as text-only and/or you have trouble downloading any/all of the image collection, bookmark the page and try again later.)

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Date
20040820
Follow-Up
Time
10:27
Lucky – the rabbit what almost got blowed up – now has a new home. In fact, hundreds of people offered to adopt him. Awwww…..

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Date
20040820
In The News
Time
10:33
Right. Blunkett….

The Times lectures us on ethics.

Meanwhile, there’s no mention of Mr Blunkett in today’s edition of The Sun. At all. Perhaps they’ve run out of nice things to say. Or perhaps today is a good day to try and move on…

Evening Standard – Blunkett helped ‘lover’ over passport: David Blunkett helped the woman alleged to be his lover obtain a US passport for her son, it emerged today. The suggestion that the Home Secretary used his position to help married publisher Kimberly Fortier could put him under political pressure for the first time over their relationship. Home Office aides confirmed claims in The Times that he telephoned a senior official at the American embassy to ask for the name of someone she could contact to rush through a passport application. Mr Blunkett then passed the name to Ms Fortier, publisher of the Tory-backing Spectator magazine, with whom he is alleged to have had a secret relationship. There is no suggestion that Mr Blunkett asked for her to be given special treatment but aides today acknowledged that the US officials may have prioritised her case because of the minister’s interest in it.

Here’s a word or two on hypocrisy from The Scotsman, the view from The Friday Thing and some opinions from Mirror readers. At least one of the latter will raise an eyebrow (I also hope that the uniquely vulnerable Mr Blunkett will be able to disentangle himself from this evil temptress).

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Date
20040820
Christianity Watch
Time
10:54
ScaryDuck advises us that the rapture is nigh.

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Date
20040820
Flash Games
Time
10:58
The Invisibility Game! How well will you manage when you can’t see your cursor?

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Date
20040820
Normal People
Time
11:01
Ahahahahahahahaha! One can only wonder what happened here.

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Date
20040820
An American Election
Time
11:02
I managed to stuff this link up late yesterday, so here it is again:

NYC to GOP: Drop Dead: Well aware that it is barren soil for their party’s anti-urban, anti-immigrant, anti-feminist, overtly racist ideology, Republican leaders have wisely avoided New York City as a convention site for the past 150 years…. But White House strategist Karl Rove sees the continued exploitation of 9/11 for partisan political gain as Bush’s key to victory in November. That means bringing the big bash three miles north of the hole where the Twin Towers used to stand, where most of the victims of 9/11 were burned, suffocated, impaled and pulverized.

And that’s the guts of it, boys and girls. Bush is still exploiting that nation’s greatest tragedy, and New Yorker’s simply aren’t going to stand for it. Unlike what we saw at the Democratic convention, few of the protests will be partisan… and if they squeeze too tight on where/when protests are allowed, even fewer of them with be peaceful.

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Date
20040820
Art
Time
11:09
Stop Motion Studies should help focus that blank stare that kicks in around lunchtime.

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Date
20040820
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
11:18
Guardian – Abu Ghraib doctors knew of torture, says Lancet report : Army doctors at the Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad falsified medical records to cover up torture and human rights abuses perpetrated on Iraqi detainees, the British medical journal the Lancet reported today.

The following may also be of interest…

Washington Post – Abu Ghraib Probe Points to Top Brass: An Army investigation into the role of military intelligence personnel in the abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison reports that the scandal was not just caused by a small circle of rogue military police soldiers but resulted from failures of leadership rising to the highest levels of the U.S. command in Iraq, senior defense officials said… Officials also said that the report implicates five civilian contractors in the abuse, and that Army officials plan to recommend that their cases be sent to the Justice Department for possible prosecution in civilian courts.

And here’s the icing on the cake…

New Standard – Abu Ghraib contractor sees profits soar despite torture probe: Virginia-based homeland security services contractor CACI International, whose private interrogators have been linked to torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, said its bottom line increased 42 percent over the last year. From June 2003 to June 2004, which marks CACI’s fiscal year, net income rose to $63.7 million.

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Date
20040820
Photoshopping
Time
13:25
A topical variation on Preparing For Emergencies.

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Date
20040823
In The News
Time
09:50
Mirror: Blunkett suffers from whispers! Blunkett is ditched! Blunkett takes holiday! (Well, who can blame him after a weekend like that?)

As with Friday’s edition, there is no mention – no mention – of David Blunkett in today’s Sun. Interesting, no?

This story reminds me of something

An interesting level of support from the Torygraph: Poor Mr Blunkett, the romantic who has struggled against adversity. Somebody is obviously out to get him.

Iain Macwhirter thinks the story is about tabloid justice aiding democracy (when, in truth, the past week has actually showed us how adept this government is at controlling those same tabloids).

Antony Barnett, Martin Bright and David Smith edge closer with a look at Blunkett’s intimate courtship with the media, but it’s Peter Preston who’s closest to the target after a week of media gameplay….

Guardian – Today’s news is not the end of the affair: It was all what the former Sun editor, David Yelland, called ‘a good old-fashioned Fleet Street barnstormer’ in his Evening Standard column. Except, of course, that Fleet Street has ceased to exist in any good old-fashioned sense – and that this tale was full of bad, new-fangled, evasions. Who was dishing lurid and intimate dirt to the News of the World, Sun and Mirror on eerily orchestrated rent-a-quote basis? The NoW had a ‘source’ who reported the star-crossed couple as ‘deeply in love – though neither know what the future may hold’. The Sun had ‘a pal’ who informed us that, ‘like all affairs, it’s extremely complicated’. The Mirror had ‘a source’ with a hotline to Blunkett’s heart and a ‘well-informed source’ who did the DNA testing bit. Four or five separate sources? Or one, ubiquitous ‘pal’ picking up a different phone to a different editor’s office every day?

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Date
20040823
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:55
Aww, wookit all the cute widdle monkeys. Aww, wookit all the cute widdle cewebwities

I’ve dumped Internet Explorer. So have these people.

BugMeNot.com returns! (Neo-Nazi diversions are also explained here…)

Everything else is Kerry/Bush and the wonders of war, which I’m saving for other posts so I can add a little context…

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Date
20040823
An American Election
Time
10:44
A week? Pfft! Three days is a long time in politics…

Independent – ‘Veterans for Truth’ or Republican reptiles? Kerry senses hand of Bush in attacks on his war record: Mr Kerry has filed a complaint with government regulators alleging that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth “illegally co-ordinated with the Bush- Cheney presidential campaign”.

Independent – Veterans prepare new attack on Kerry: Undaunted by accusations that they were spreading lies on behalf of President George Bush’s re-election campaign, a group of Republican veterans of the Vietnam War were preparing yesterday to launch a new television advert accusing John Kerry of cowardice, disloyalty, and worse, during his time in uniform.

And the new TVC contains a surprise guest…

CNN – Bush adviser quits after appearing in swift boat ad: A volunteer adviser has quit President Bush’s re-election campaign after appearing in a veterans group’s television commercial blasting Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry’s involvement in the Vietnam-era antiwar movement.

New York Times – Kerry TV Ad Pins Veterans’ Attack Firmly on Bush: Senator John Kerry released a television advertisement yesterday blaming President Bush for a campaign by a “front group” of veterans that Mr. Kerry said had smeared his Vietnam record, as he intensified his drive to gain control in a fight that some Democrats said could undermine his campaign for the presidency. … hold your breath, good bit coming up…) Mr. Bush’s campaign denied any involvement with the effort by the veterans challenging crucial parts of Mr. Kerry’s war record and sent a letter to television station managers calling the new Kerry advertisement libelous.

This article also says that; Mr. Bush’s advisers said Mr. Kerry’s campaign was engaged in an exercise of six degrees of separation and said they had no connections to the group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Well, perhaps you’d care to judge for yourself via this article or this handy wall-chart.

The response from the digital brownshirts? They’ve made a chart, too.

This is the classic “See? Your guy is as bad as our guy, therefore our guy comes out looking good!” defence. Expect to see more of it in the coming months.

Quick diversion; let’s see Bush accentuating the positive…

Sports Illustrated – Iraqi soccer players angered by Bush campaign ads “Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign,” Sadir told SI.com through a translator, speaking calmly and directly. “He can find another way to advertise himself.” (The article includes a link to offending ad. You’ll love the bit about freedom spreading across the world like a sunrise.)

Meanwhile, back in the main tent, check out this filthy liberal rag putting on a show of presenting both sides.

Washington Post – Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete: Establishing the facts is complicated not merely by fading memories and sometimes ambiguous archival evidence, but also by the bitterly partisan nature of the presidential campaign. An investigation by The Washington Post into what happened that day suggests that both sides have withheld information from the public record and provided an incomplete, and sometimes inaccurate, picture of what took place. But although Kerry’s accusers have succeeded in raising doubts about his war record, they have failed to come up with sufficient evidence to prove him a liar.

Makes you sick, doesn’t it? Why aren’t they burning Kerry at the stake, dammit?

Curse the inaction of the liberal media. Why, if they investigated this properly, I bet they’d find destroyed service records and all manner of suspicious shenanigans.

The final word on this goes to Atrios.

UPDATE – If you want to see the Kerry ads, start with ‘Old Tricks’ before you move on to ‘Issues’.

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Date
20040823
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh s**t!
Time
11:17
Hooray for the Bush doctrine!

Yahoo – Iran warns of preemptive strike to prevent attack on nuclear sites: Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani warned that Iran might launch a preemptive strike against US forces in the region to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities. “We will not sit (with arms folded) to wait for what others will do to us. Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly,” Shamkhani told Al-Jazeera TV when asked if Iran would respond to an American attack on its nuclear facilities.

That’s one thing that can’t be undone. Here are over a thousand others.

Mind you, these are just numbers. People seem to be forgetting the greatest casualty of this war; Tony Blair’s hurt feelings. Some people even seem determined to take advantage of his good nature…

Guardian – Mother of dead soldier to sue: The mother of a young British solider killed in Iraq plans to sue the Ministry of Defence, claiming officials breached their duty of care to her son. If the case goes ahead, it will be the first time the government has been sued over the death of a soldier in combat…. She wants to go to court because she believes her son’s death could have been avoided if his patrol had been equipped with an electronic signal jamming device which would have stopped the bomb being detonated.

For a full brain-tickle, take a look at this bloggage from January that tracks similar concerns of another war widow and then consider what that same widow has to say now.

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Date
20040823
Activism
Time
11:17
Independent – Bush is ‘exploiting 9/11 for re-election’: With only a week to go, the city is in a stand-off with an activist group called United for Peace and Justice that expects as many as 250,000 people to turn out for an anti-Bush rally next Sunday. The group is suing for the right to hold the march in Central Park. The city is refusing, citing probable grass damage…. Last week, a director of the FBI’s anti-terrorism division acknowledged that the agency expects some of the protests to become violent. The FBI has sent out agents to infiltrate some of the political groups coming to New York to try to uncover their strategies. But no actual plot to cause violence has yet been found.

The ‘keep off the grass’ gambit may remind you of something, but don’t expect Bush to roll tanks into JFK. It’s far more efficient to generate an imaginary terrorist threat from amongst the protestors themselves.

In the public mind, the people protesting a government placing them in danger *becomes* the danger (as part of the anti-terrorism budget is being spent policing the people who are – by and large – protesting the Bush administration’s exploitation/manipulation of the terrorist threat). Hell, it may even turn out that way in reality. Turning the screws in the name of preventing violence often seems to provoke violence. I’m going to be a self-important know-it-all now and quote myself: Take a sweet little kitten and squeeze it. Watch what happens.

UPDATE – FBI precautions for convention worry area activists and New York braced for protests at Republican rally

UPDATE 2 – A Protester’s Guide to NYC! Version 2.0

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Date
20040823
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
11:34
Big-Brother place-getter Shell Jubin appears with her cha-chas out on Page 3 of today’s Sun and says: “Those who sneer at Page 3 lack intelligence.”

Well, that’s me told.

Turns out it’s art. And empowering art, at that: “It’s beautifully-shot and tastefully pioneered the celebration of the female form. In many ways it emancipated women, letting them exploit their assets, earn cash and keep control. I see it as a modern art form.”

So, ladies, if you want to exploit your assets, earn cash and keep control, I suggest you get in touch with The Sun, let them photograph you topless, and then provide and associated ‘News in Briefs’ editorial that focuses on the evils of concentrated media ownership. See how far you get.

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Date
20040823
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:42
First of all, it’s worth noting the nature of this curious blogbeast. Today, poor old Tom takes a beating for pointing out that his comments function can take a beating.

Oh, and there’s this small item…. a bit of housekeeping, as it were….

We are GO for Boris Johnson. I repeat; we are GO for Boris Johnson.

Screen Pages are being very cool about providing the development, but I thought there might be a few interested parties that would want to chip in on the initial design.

The brief is as follows:

- Submit (as a GIF or JPEG) a design concept/template for Boris Johnson’s site.

- Please include the standard weblog functions/aspects (as would appear on a Movable Type platform) in your design, as well as links/navigation for the following static pages – Home, About Boris, Constituency, News, Press Releases, Speeches, Photo Gallery, Conservative MPs Online.

- If you need permission-granted source images of Boris, you have but to ask (but feel free to submit a concept with any available images).

- You have 48 hours from…. NOW!

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Date
20040823
Educational
Time
12:32
What happens if I…

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Date
20040823
An American Election
Time
16:12
Factcheck.org – because sometimes even one dungbeetle can make a difference.

Oh, and this column has some news on hedgefundmistress.com, and an interesting little story about Google and bushhouseofcards.com

Also worth seeing is this comparative study of the two main campaign sites. One focuses mainly on John Kerry, and the other… focuses mainly on John Kerry. A dirty game is the only game they have left. (Latter link via Brian Arner, who also has some thoughts on “freedom spreading throughout the world like a sunrise”. Bush will be claiming to have invented the helicopter next. And the turlet.)

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Date
20040824
The War on Terror
Time
09:45
The Sun – Airport security scandal exposed: An undercover Sun reporter has exposed chilling security blunders — by smuggling a fake bomb on to a jet carrying more than 220 British holidaymakers…. “Had I been one of Osama Bin Laden’s terrorists, I could have wiped out more than 220 British passengers on the Thomas Cook flight to Majorca — and thousands more on the ground below.”

And – had he been John Carter, warrior of Barsoom – he could have wiped out millions of rebel Tharks and turned Mars into a cold and sterile wasteland.

(Oh my God! Mars *is* a cold and sterile wasteland. That must mean that John Carter is *real*!!! OMG! OMG! OMG! Tell your friends! Close the airports! The Tharks are coming!)

The editorial asks the tough questions (i.e. Why aren’t we plugging every hole, watching every citizen, and electronically tagging every child? Why aren’t citizens fulfilling their responsibility to believe every word that comes out of Tony Blair’s mouth?): Within days, our reporter found himself alone and able to do what he liked in the hold of a holiday jet. He smuggled materials into the airport hidden behind the toecaps of his boots. They could have been the ingredients for a bomb. Yet Birmingham Airport was described in a police terrorism probe as being a potential al-Qaeda target. Surely anyone applying for a job with access to planes should face exhaustive screening? Security checks on passengers are not much use if it is easy for terrorists to infiltrate planes through the back door.

Presumably, this didn’t happen in Heathrow because security there detected this ‘terrorist’ (or should that be ‘journalist’?) and gave him his marching orders. But we have no time to quibble over details, because we have this urgent editorial coming in from Page 3…

Today, Krystle (21, from Manchester) is disgusted at the lax security. She says: “With the massive terror threat hanging over this country, it is incredible that this could happen.”

Yes, incredible. In that it is so implausible that it defies belief. (If that is her thought, she should hang on to it…. she’s almost there.)

Keywords: “Terror.. airport.. threat… real…” Why?

UPDATE – Yet another blood-chilling expose for you to ponder on.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040824
The Bush Administration
Time
10:00
Washington Post – Goss Backed ’95 Bill To Slash Intelligence: President Bush’s nominee to be the director of central intelligence, Rep. Porter J. Goss, sponsored legislation that would have cut intelligence personnel by 20 percent in the late 1990s.

Slate – Dick Nixed It – Is this why Bush’s intelligence-czar plan is so half-hearted?: President Bush has only tepidly endorsed the 9/11 commission’s proposal for a new centralized director of national intelligence, and now we have an explanation for his half-heartedness. It seems that back in 1992, when he was secretary of defense, Dick Cheney virulently opposed an uncannily similar notion…. The letter – unearthed by Open Source Solution and reprinted this week on Steven Aftergood’s invaluable Secrecy News Web site – makes for particularly poignant reading. If Cheney hadn’t successfully blocked the measure (his letter moved Aspin to drop it), one of the 9/11 commission’s most urgently advanced proposals might have been in place for over a decade before the terrorist attacks.

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Date
20040824
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
10:44
Let’s begin with a few reminders of what this story is really about…

The Gray Zone

The Roots of Torture

Locked in Abu Ghraib

Then move on to today’s openers…

Independent – Soldier will admit role in Abu Ghraib abuse: “I will be pleading guilty to certain charges because I have concluded that what I did was a violation of law,” said (Staff Sergeant Ivan ‘Chip’ Frederick). “I am hopeful that all those within the army who contributed to or participated in the chaos that was Abu Ghraib will also come forward and accept responsibility.”

*clap*clap*clap*clap*

Also worth noting is this Reuters story, which says that; In his statement, (Frederick) said he had no bad feelings toward Army Spec. Joseph Darby, who informed the military chain of command about the abuse, saying Darby did the right thing.

Why does this matter? Well, there are some people for whom the sky refuses to be blue. The type of people who would attack John Kerry for objecting to what was wrong about the conflict in Vietnam.

Reuters – Family of Iraq Abuse Whistleblower Threatened: Relatives of the U.S. soldier who sounded the alarm about abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison said on Monday the family was living in protective custody because of death threats against them. In testimony this month at a hearing for one of the soldiers accused of abusing prisoners, Darby said he struggled with the decision to turn over the photos because he was friendly with one of the accused. What he saw on the CDs containing the photos, he said, “violated everything I personally believed in and everything I had been taught about the rules of war.”

Also happening is this…

Scotsman – Judge threatens to drop Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse case : Colonel James Pohl issued a 10 September target for the government to complete three reports so that they can be used as evidence in army hearings of soldiers charged with abuse at the prison. Col Pohl expressed particular displeasure after being told that only one army criminal investigator had been assigned to review thousands of pages of records on a secret computer server at Abu Ghraib.

A seemingly deliberate go-slow? On something as important as this? Gosh, I wonder what that’s all about…

OK, enough appetisers. The main meal is on its way. Try not to fill up on rolls before it gets here…

MSNBC/Newsweek – A Battle Over Blame: In mid-August, the commission that Schlesinger chairs—handpicked by Rumsfeld from members of his own Defense Policy Board—is expected to issue its final report on abuses by U.S. interrogators stemming from the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal. Newsweek has learned the Schlesinger panel is leaning toward the view that failures of command and control at the Pentagon helped create the climate in which the abuses occurred.

But don’t hold your breath for anything special.

DailyKos – General Fay’s Report On Abu Ghraib Due Any Day Now: The investigation is not being broadened because the investigators ultimately report to people who would themselves be implicated by the investigation. If there ever was a case that cried out for an independent counsel, this is it. Unfortunately, however, it looks like the White House and Defense Department have once again put itself above the law.

Washington Post – Iraqi Teens Abused at Abu Ghraib, Report Finds – Officials Say Inquiry Also Confirms Prisoners Were Hidden From Aid Groups: Speaking on the condition of anonymity because the report has not been released, other officials at the Pentagon said the investigation also acknowledges that military intelligence soldiers kept multiple detainees off the record books and hid them from international humanitarian organizations. The report also mentions substantiated claims that at least one male detainee was sodomized by one of his captors at Abu Ghraib, sources said. “The report will show that these actions were bad, illegal, unauthorized, and some of it was sadistic,” said one Defense Department official. “But it will show that they were the actions of a few, actions that went unnoticed because of leadership failures.”

Yep, there’s your Keep Out Of Jail Free card right there. Leadership failures. Groupthink. All a bit unfortunate, but no actual leaders to blame.

Torygraph – Rumsfeld escapes blame in ‘whitewash’ Abu Ghraib report: “This is a whitewash – a carefully orchestrated one,” said a lawyer who has liaised with military officials involved in the case. “People in the Pentagon have been coming to me in a fury because of the way this has been handled. By naming military intelligence officials as well as the seven military police who have been charged, it will look like action has been taken. But basically it’s still the same storyline of just a few bad apples, way down the food chain.”

This kind of (kind of?) reminds me of the findings of the Butler Report. Blair desperately needed to make a case for invading Iraq with or without the UN, and – via the magic of serendipity – deep-rooted failures in the system somehow magically deliver a flawed (if not fraudulent) document that suited his needs.

Bush and Rumsfeld desperately needed a win in Iraq. One might even be charitable enough to imagine that they actually believed there were WMDs yet to be found. Better intelligence was needed. A decision was made to ‘get tough’. At one stage, they had a memo in circulation that pondered the use of torture, but torture was never authorised. It just so happened that flaws in the system resulted in torture happening by accident.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040824
Humanity
Time
10:52
Independent – Human rights: the case for the defence: The Conservative Party launched a campaign yesterday to ‘curb the rights culture’. But can all their charges be taken at face value?

I’m less worried by the house-of-cardiness than I am by the idea that the Tories have been pushed so far to the right that they’ve begun an attack on, erm, rights…

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Date
20040824
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:56
Taking a closer look at the War Medals of George W. Bush. Hooray for this. It reminded me of an idea for a site that was almost lost in the ether. Idea recalled. Email sent. Iron in fire.

OK, what else is there? A Godchecker, a rather (ahem) spectacular arrest in China (with a surpise ending, no less) and some Plame rumours.

There’s also this, which reminds me of this.

Pretty light on the Kerry-bashing content this morning, isn’t it? Apart from maybe yet another ‘Your Guy is As Bad As Our Guy’ moment. Perhaps I can compensate by throwing this in…

Slate – Holiday in Cambodia – The “Christmas Eve” attack on Kerry is cheap and almost certainly wrong.

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Date
20040824
Distractions
Time
11:08
Track how far your cursor travels. As if it matters.

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Date
20040824
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:11
Dare you submit a design for Boris Johnson’s weblog? You now have about 24 hours left to conceive, cobble and submit.

(Note – Please do not expect results to be posted publicly. Oh, and I have a function tonight. This may result in a hangover tomorrow. Bloggage may be light.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040824
Inneresting
Time
13:48
Lunchtime!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040824
Photoshopping
Time
15:38
Just had a crack at the Boris job myself. It’s a tad impractical, but it has charm…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040824
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
15:54
Meet Kevin Davis, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Kingston & Surbiton.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040824
Flash Games
Time
16:22
Ready… aim… fire!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040824
Consume!
Time
16:24
Who could possibly say no to a DVD rewinder?

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Date
20040824
Inneresting
Time
16:42
The Happy Poster Project is still doing its job.

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Date
20040825
The War on Terror
Time
09:31
(we assume)

Sent in at 5:30am by a reader who wishes to remain a nonny mouse due to a rather backwards corporate policy regarding Doing Things That Are Not Work…

Mad shit’s been going down overnight. Don’t know if you’ve been up, or heard about this already, but I thought you might like some tasty links.

Right. So reports come in that one Russian airliner has crashed – ‘exploded in mid air’ – and another one is missing. Reports since have confirmed that the second has crashed as well.

The first was *possibly* shot down as it was *possibly* going to *possibly* crash into the *possibly* scarily-named ‘Instrument Design Bureau’ in the town of Tula which *possibly* manufactures *possible* nuclear weapons… though you’d have to be a conspiracy nut to suggest such a thing.

But I digress…

First up, initial reports from the Associated Press jackhammered an Iranian link into our skulls – an example of which is still up on the web here: Both planes were Tupolev Tu-154 jets, the standard medium-range airliner on domestic flights in Russia, other former Soviet states, *Iran* and parts of eastern Europe, according to the Web site Airliners.net.

Later reports removed the reference to Iran – though why it was there in the first place, I don’t know. Turns out that a simple google search for ‘Tupolev Tu-154 + Iran’ throws up Airliners.net as the third link, and the AP monkey has copied and pasted the text. Get where I’m going with this? Like, someone’s received information of a possible terrorist attack over the wires and tried searching for the airplane model involved alongside terms like ‘Iraq’, ‘Al Qaeda’, ‘IRAN’ etc, found a favourable mention and included it.

So why was it taken out? Look a little further through google’s results and you’ll find references to Iran Air Tours, the carrier which owns some Russian-built planes. Then take that, and do a google search on ‘Iran Air Tours + Tupolev Tu-154′. You’ll see that Iran Air Tours in fact owns a newer model called the Tu-154M’ – note the extra ‘m’ on the end – which were manufactured in 1992 and are 20 years newer than the planes which blew up over Russia.

To summarise: two Russian air lines owns some planes which were blown up by terrorists. An Iranian air line owns some completely different planes. Obviously there’s a connection there.

Now shovel that crap down the wires so it gets repeated over and over, read time and time again and broadcast all over the world.

Still, to someone who isn’t an aviation expert it’s a simple mistake to make, and easily ignored when you’re desperate to get a namecheck for Iran into a major story about terrorism.

Still, there’s more, and this is probably bigger:

A Russian virus expert speaking at a Russian information agency conference in Russia reckons ‘e-jihad’ terrorists will try to disable the internet within the next 24 hours (here’s one link and here’s another). Normally I’d laugh at this, but due to this plane crash business, who knows?

Rumour-mongering! I love it!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040825
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:43
Blogger is 5 years old, plus Adsense has been opened up for hosted bloggers. They ask you very nicely not to pee in their pool, but at the same time allow you to drink from their toilet. Or something. I’ll let John explain the rest.

Remeber it was a Kerry-light chart yesterday? Check this lot out! *Ding*… round three: 1, 2, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 (BugMeNot is back up if you run into any registration walls along the way).

Now, the inneresting stuff…

Tricks of the Trade – I can confirm the proof-reading trick. It can also extend into the display of copy. I once knew a nightclub promoter who insisted on a certain percentage of posters being displayed upside-down at random intervals. It forced people to decode them (i.e read them).

Please excuse the Doc Brown impersonation… Sixty-one-point-eight megabytes!!!) Nevertheless, if you’ve got Quicktime and a pipe that can deal with the download, you’ll want to check this one out. (You maniacs! You blew it up! God damn you! God damn you all to hell!” And so on.)

Man finds digital camera in spooky woods, displays pictures online. Fog descends. Ghost of owner fails to take bloody revenge.

George Takei travels back to the U.S. internment camp where he and his family were imprisoned during World War II. Even on this profound and deeply personal pilgrimage, he *still* has to dodge geeks.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040825
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:44
Guardian – Guantanamo Britons to be visited by lawyers. For the first time in two years. Man, I can’t wait to wake up from this nightmare, so can get back to the simple things in life. Like having pride in my country and a modicum of trust in my leaders.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040825
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
09:52
Today, Natasha (21, from Torquay) gets her funbags out in a completely tasteful and artistic way as she ‘slams’ soccer star Wayne Rooney over his “seedy vice girl romps which have pushed fiance Coleen to the brink of a breakdown” She says: I feel so sorry for her. She’s been a tower of strength and doesn’t deserve to suffer like this. I just hope she will overcome this terrible strain.

No doubt the thoughts of the Sun family are also with Stephen Quinn. Perhaps they’ve limited their coverage of Mr Blunkett to this unrelated and fleeting mention today as a mark of respect. Or perhaps they had to make room for this guide to brothels in Newcastle and Manchester.

UPDATE – From The Scum’s recent Hillsborough ‘apology’ : If they want to hate The Sun, then that is their right. We are hardly in a position to blame them. What we find impossible to take, though, is the way some of Liverpool is turning its anger on one of the greatest footballing talents the city has ever seen. Wayne Rooney is one of Liverpool’s finest sons. On Merseyside, his name should be the toast of every pub, street and school. Instead, he is being vilified by some Liverpool and Everton fans…. One view on a Liverpool website is that by telling his life story in The Sun, Wayne has “signed his soul away to the devil.” Another is that he has “accepted 30 pieces of silver.” For goodness sake, give the lad a chance.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040825
Flash Thingies
Time
09:57
Wow, that’s one busy tree.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040825
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:58
Thank you all for your lovely designs for Boris. I’ll be showing them off today. And taking all of the credit.

(You still have an hour or so if you want to send something in yourself.)

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Date
20040825
Campaigns
Time
10:01
I urge you all to get behind Poons on his Rizla campaign. You can contact Rizla via this form or rizla AT rizla DOT co DOT uk

(Factoid: Where I come from, Orchy bottles are of enormous use to lorry drivers.)

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Date
20040825
Personal Massages
Time
10:31
Oh, hooray for UKNM, hooray for last night and ‘hello’ to everyone I met.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040825
Newsflash
Time
12:07
Latest on the Russian jet crashes from AP : Witnesses said they heard what sounded like three explosions before the first plane crashed and suspicions of terrorist involvement were compounded when officials said the Sibir airlines Tu-154 had issued a signal indicating the plane was being seized.

BBC: An FSB spokesman said searches had revealed no signs of terrorism but sabotage had not been ruled out.

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Date
20040825
Foreign Affairs
Time
12:34
Well, it’s not like it runs in the family or anything…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040825
An American Election
Time
13:38
Filthiest. Election. Ever.

1. A top lawyer for the Bush/Cheney re(?)election campaign has also been advising the Swift Boat Smear Team.

2. Swiftian caught dead-to-rights in outright lie.

Is it too early to stick a fork in this?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040825
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
13:48
From the filthy liberals at the BBC:

Extracts from the Schlesinger report.

The full report (5.7Mb PDF).

A report on the report.

A comment on the report, including a mention of those who would cast Rumsfeld as a hero in this affair.

I’ll leave you alone with your stunned silence.

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Date
20040825
Pluggage
Time
14:00
There’s an excellent, fresh crop of posts over at The UK Today. Go see. (Oh, and don’t forget to vote.)

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Date
20040825
Normal People
Time
15:58
Meet Steve Webber. He’s a walking, talking (and totally convincing) Tony Blair lookalike. ‘Tony’ appears to be marginally more convincing, but somewhat delusional. Neither of them would get past my front door, never mind anywhere near my chequebook.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040825
George W. Bush
Time
17:31
The Dress-Up pResident was photographed wearing a ribbon he did not earn.

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Date
20040826
Established Media
Time
08:55
Spin Buster – Ambush!: Why was the press complicit in keeping afloat a story so easily debunked? There have been dozens of press failures during this presidential campaign. But this one, even given the Times’ and the Post’s belated efforts to get to the bottom of things, has to rank as a low point. In the end, the whole ball of wax certainly did nothing to help the mainstream press’ credibility with what is an increasingly dubious audience.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
Photoshopping
Time
08:58
They’re on a mission from God.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
NSFW
Time
09:01
Totally and completely not safe for work (in fact, I’d even avoid it over lunch if I were you), but this really is a most excellent cautionary tale.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Educational!
Time
09:05
Current Events teacher punished for using Abu Ghraib images in class : ”I expected the principal to protect me as a teacher from individual parents who are upset over one thing or another,” he said. ”The class was called Current Events, and it [the prison abuse scandal] was the number one current event at the time. The photos were being displayed everywhere, on television news programs, in newspapers. I was doing my duty as a teacher. At least that’s what I thought.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
In The News
Time
09:18
Bob Piper has made an interesting comment on Mark Thatcher’s arrest. Daniel Brett has produced a flow chart showing all the people and organisations linked to the alleged March 2004 coup plot. The Sun is more worried about how Maggie is taking it. Today, their Page 3 girl (Michelle, 21, from Oldham) says: “It’s a big blow for Maggie coming so soon after the death of her husband, Denis. The allegations against her son are very serious. I only hope this doesn’t cause Maggie’s health to take a turn for the worse.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
Iraq
Time
09:31
Independent – Sistani mobilises his ‘believers’ to march on Najaf in peace bid: The most venerated Shia cleric in Iraq made a sudden intervention in the Najaf crisis yesterday by returning to the country and calling on his supporters to march to the embattled holy city.

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Date
20040826
Tony Blair
Time
09:51
Faith in democracy… rising.

Hope… returrning.

impeachBlair.org: A group of MPs will shortly publish a report which calls on Parliament to impeach the Prime Minister for misleading the people and Parliament over the Iraq war. There will be a press conference at 2pm Thursday 26 August in the Attlee Suite, Portcullis House, The House of Commons.

Updates will follow, of that you can be sure. At this stage, the best I can suggest is that constituents be ready to approach their MP and see where they stand on this issue.

Guardian – MPs plan to impeach Blair over Iraq war record: MPs are planning to impeach Tony Blair for “high crimes and misdemeanours” in taking Britain to war against Iraq, reviving an ancient practice last used against Lord Palmerston more than 150 years ago…. A number of Labour backbenchers are considering whether to back the motion, though it could mean expulsion from the party.

BBC – Blair impeachment campaign starts: In the UK, the power was last used in 1806 and Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price wants to revive it. He is unveiling a report from academics but many experts believe it has no realistic chance of success.

Reuters – British Lawmakers Plan to Impeach Blair: Although it has almost no chance of success and is likely to be seen as little more than a publicity stunt, the plan will throw the spotlight back on the reasons Blair gave the country for going to war, the newspapers said… In 1967 a parliamentary committee recommended the right to impeach should be abandoned as “the circumstances in which impeachment has taken place are now so remote from the present that the procedure may be considered obsolete.” However, the right was never repealed.

Yes, but today, the requirement for the right to impeach seems far from remote. Let’s take a quick break to consider these thoughts from Robin Cook (link via The UK Today)….

Scotsman – Cook berates ‘gutless’ Cabinet for backing war: Speaking in Edinburgh, Mr Cook said that the majority opinion in the Cabinet was against the war in Iraq but ministers failed to speak up for their beliefs. He also claimed that Britain would never have been involved in the war had the Prime Minister held a closed vote of his ministers to find out their views.

And now, let’s get back to the meat in the pudding – the report that’s due for release this afternoon.

Torygraph – Isn’t it time to impeach Blair over Iraq?: They have culled each top-spun, souped-up, over-egged quotation, and set it side by side with what the Prime Minister was actually being told about those WMD. You are left at the end feeling angry and bewildered that Blair should take us all for such mugs. It is not so much that he lied (though many of his statements were at odds with reality): it is rather that he used all his lawyerly arts, and all the trust that is naturally reposed in his office, to communicate to the public a vast untruth.

Hmmm. Sounds like a long-overdue document. And it brings to mind the ever-useful Claims vs. Facts Database.

Scotsman – PM has a case to answer: This report not only details the Prime Minister’s misdemeanours over Iraq but also points to a parliamentary mechanism that could finally hold him to account over the abuse of his office in launching the war.

While we wait for the report, here’s some familiar ground to tread over. Get your blood up. Dare to dream that jelly can be nailed to a wall.

(Incidentally, that quote comes from Boris Johnson – who is also backing this report and the motion to impeach. It’s a funny old world, isn’t it?)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:31
Meet Jody Dunn, Lib-dem candidate for the (maybe) Hartlepool by-election.

This is a new ship launched in rough waters, so will result in a fair amount of nail-biting from me.

1. Will blogs be misinterpreted as a campaign tool only?

2. Labour enjoy a healthy margin. If the Lib-ems fail to tackle it, will the blog be grouped with this failure (or maybe even blamed for it)?

3. Tom’s record as a blogger and his role in this by-election further complicates matters.

4. I’m not pointing any fingers, but the Birmingham fight got downright personal and dirty at some stages. God forbid that shoutiness should overwhelm either or both blogs. (See 2)

UPDATE – Here’s what The Guardian had to say about it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
Normal People
Time
11:20
‘Fiona’ sure likes those wedding dresses. (Note – I found this when making this lovely picture of Tony Blair in Peach.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
A Blog is Born
Time
12:32
Decide for yourselves.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
The Interweb
Time
12:34
Everybody still here? Good. Carry on.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
Flash Thingies
Time
12:39
OK, everybody – stop what you’re doing. It’s time for a quick lunchtime quiz.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
Distractions
Time
13:24
1. Print this.

2. Leave the sign blank.

3. Put it up on a wall.

4. Wait.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
The Interweb
Time
13:30
What do we want? Wider pipes! When do we want them? Last Tuesday!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
Copyright
Time
13:35
This Song Belongs to You and Me: EFF has just announced that the JibJab suit has been settled. The resolution was a complete victory for JibJab, which will be entitled to continue distributing the “This Land” animation without further interference from Ludlow.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
Activism
Time
14:03
It’s official; Bush protestors will no be allowed to walk on the grass. (Cheers to ScaryDuck for the heads-up.)

I think from this point on, we can pretty much take violence as a given. Well done to the Republicans for getting just what they wanted.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
Tony Blair
Time
15:12
ImpeachBlair.org is now live. The report is available in PDF format.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
16:18
BBC – US admits ‘bounty hunter’ contact: The US Department of Defense has admitted having contact with a former US soldier, Jonathan Idema, charged in Afghanistan with torturing civilians.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040826
In The News
Time
17:21
Kathryn Cramer: Somewhat to my surprise, I find the answer to the timing of the Mark Thatcher arrest: he was getting ready to move to the US where presumably his attempts to liberate the oil of Equatorial Guinea from oppression would be more appreciated.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040827
Bunch of Stuff
Time
10:13
I’m building a modest but important page at the moment. Research is required. Also, there’s Work to be done. A long weekend looms and clients have to be reached and nailed on certain bits and bobs before they take off early to brave the motorways.

In the meantime, please enjoy this excellent post on 527s and the difference between a ‘flip flop’ and a ‘change of heart’.

Also, you may want to consider this curious development brought to our attention by Wibbler

Guardian – Booth’s chambers will help impeach Blair over Iraq war: Cherie Booth’s chambers, Matrix, are to draw up the document to impeach her husband, Tony Blair, for “high crimes and misdemeanours” in the run up to the war against Iraq, it was disclosed yesterday… Yesterday Elfyn Llwyd, leader of Plaid Cymru, a lawyer and one of the MPs bringing the impeachment, said: “Matrix will not be doing this work on a pro bono basis, they will receive a full fee. Cherie Booth will of course will be ruled out as it would be a conflict of interest.”

Check out ImpeachBlair.org is you haven’t already, and please be patient with the PDF download, as demand is heavy and error messages are common. (BTW, this document could just as easily have been distributed as an RTF with a much lower file size… and there really should be a HTML version as well. I’ve scanned it already, but a full read won’t take place until this weekend.)

Contact your local MP. Find out where they stand. If you have a blog, publish their response and get them on record. (See Underblog, who has already made a start.) When this is all over (Blair’s premiership, I mean, not this small but exciting chapter of it) there’ll be lots of Labour MPs who will claim that they weren’t really behind the war blah-blah-blah. I for one would like to be able to identify the ones who actually took a stand when they had the chance.

Oh, Jody Dunn enjoyed a warm welcome yesterday, with 22 comments in all, but as Tom H notes: “It seems that Labour have already drafted in a few people to moan about any old thing – even if it has nothing to do with the issues in Hartlepool!”

If you’re not a big fan of digital brownshirts, perhaps you’d care to wander over that way today and make nice or offer the odd voice of reason.

More? You want more? Oh, go on then…

Enjoy a lesbian and gay summer camp in the Rockies, where you can stay in comfortable condos and “hold hands with whomever you want”. You’ll especially enjoy the section on rock-climbing. It has a photo that (I assume) shows the appropriate level of gratitude you should display when your partner catches you on the backup rope.

Man, that’s a lot of effort to find a girl you almost met. But true love works that way sometimes, I suppose.

Speaking of true love (and the trouble it can get you into)…

The Western Mail – Critical promise of British troops given in Sept 2002: These commitments given by the Prime Minister to the US President were not revealed to his Cabinet, to Parliament or to the public. In fact, the Prime Minister repeatedly said that no decisions had yet been taken.

PS – The best reports coming out of Najaf are coming via Back to Iraq. Some heady stuff.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040827
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
13:12
Someone has decided that Tom Watson needs a slap, launched Comical Tommy and been rewarded with coverage.

My thoughts on Team Comical Tommy? Well, one thing that strikes me is that they either don’t get the Teens page or they’re determined to use it against Tom in the hope that others won’t either:

“Tom is very sensitive about people suggesting that his “laff riot” web page Teens! should be taken seriously.”

(says the man swinging his handbag)

“Despite the website appearing to make it look like he is an out of touch, middle-aged loser, he would like it to be made clear that he is being ironic and in reality is very much down with the kids. Only for real. Not a joke.”

(I’ll explain it again, just in case there are newbies around: The Teens page was not meant to appeal to teens. It was not meant to be funny to teens. It was meant to be funny to people who communicate online on a regular basis.)

Given the issue/s that prompted disquiet in Tom’s comments, I think it’s pretty clear what quarter this site originates from. Some may even argue that Tom asked for it, after the Lib-Dem bashing that has taken place on his blog and during the recent by-election (you can track some of the disquiet relating to the latter via this post).

Wait… back up…

Also possible is that:

- This is someone from another party or interest group, trying stir things up

- This is someone with no political affiliation, just pure outrage

- This is someone just wanting to start a fight for the sheer hell of it

- This is someone deliberately trying to disrupt the development of political weblogs

(Yeah, I know that last one is pretty unlikely. I just wanted to cover as many bases as possible because I love being right.)

Point. Back. On. Here we go…

What we’re looking at here is a potential catfight that will almost certainly spread to Jody Dunn’s new weblog and others. And everybody who hasn’t taken a side will most likely abandon ship. But not before the newspapers catch on and decide to aid their circulation by cheering or sneering from the sidelines.

This is not healthy behaviour. This is not helpful behaviour. And what matters most right now isn’t who’s behind it or who started it… but who’s going to finish it.

Peace be with you.

(Yes, I know I don’t have a comments feature. Please feel free to empty your chambers in alt.irony, on your own blog or via email.)

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Date
20040827
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
14:57
OK, here you go… the best of the Page 3 editorials all in one place. Link away and share it with an audience you love. Please. (With any luck, I’ll be in the Top Ten for ‘page 3′ this time next week.)

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Date
20040827
Updates
Time
15:05
I’ve added a ‘Register To Vote’ button from DeclareYourself.com. You may also wish to have a peek at this page from GWB’s campaign site. (Tch! Somebody forgot to add the words “Vote Often!”)

Hey, while we’re on the subject, here’s an image I cooked up last night that shows the miracle of punctuation.

Oh, and if you can’t make it to NYC next week, perhaps you’d care to attend a party in your local area.

UPDATE – Also of interest…

What if the whole world could vote in the U.S. presidential election?

BBC – Bush admits Iraq ‘miscalculation’: US President George W Bush has acknowledged for the first time that he made a “miscalculation” of what conditions would be in post-war Iraq. Mr Bush told The New York Times that the error was by by-product of a “swift victory” in the initial conflict.

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Date
20040827
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
16:42
The new proxy-blog for Steve Pound has been added to the nav-bar, and the Blog Your MP page. Go and say ‘hello’ by all means.

The following candidates have also been added to the nav-bar, but I can see this becoming very crowded very soon. I may have to launch a directory instead:

Conservative Candidate Iain Dale

Conservative Candidate Kevin Davis

Lib-Dem Candidate Jody Dunn

Speaking of directories, I’ve also added TheyWorkForYou.com more or less as a ‘the rest’ link and a couple of Official Plugs for the new directory Near.co.uk.

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Date
20040827
119 (please note correct formatting of date)
Time
17:38
Toy In Candy Bag Appears To Depict 9/11 Attack (Link via Catch.)

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Date
20040827
Flash Games
Time
17:50
Battleship, anyone?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040831
Tony Blair
Time
09:34
BBC – Blair returns to hectic schedule: Tony Blair will start his first day back at his desk after his summer break promoting Labour’s efforts to tackle anti-social behaviour. In his first official engagement he will try to seize the initiative on the government’s domestic agenda. The prime minister’s busy in-tray includes a set of potentially highly-charged political issues. They include new Northern Ireland peace talks, a possible ban on fox hunting, Labour’s conference and a by-election.

OK, so there is an anniversary to be exploited (so long as nobody uses the word ‘terror’), but yobs and foxes again? I thought these guys were supposed to me magicians of spin.

Oh, wait – there is spark of life there after all…

Independent – Howard fury over White House ban: Mr Howard hit back after it emerged that his calls for Mr Blair to stand down over the Iraq war have enraged the US President. The simmering feud was laid bare yesterday as it emerged that Karl Rove, Mr Bush’s most powerful official, told the Tory leader that he “could forget about meeting the President”…. Some Tories suspect a Downing Street dirty tricks operation to embarrass Mr Howard on the eve of the Republican Convention in New York. “You have to wonder how this got out when it did,” said one.

You have to wonder? You have to wonder? FFS, it broke on page 2 of Saturday’s Sun in yet another ‘exclusive’ from Trevor Kavanagh. The man behind the leak behind the leak. And you have to wonder?

From ‘subtle’ spin to pure muscle… What the bloody hell does Tony Blair think he’s doing putting this kind of pressure on the BBC?

Independent – Dyke unleashes ‘avenging fury’ on Blair Hutton, Campbell and the BBC governors: But it is Mr Dyke’s account of his relationship with Mr Blair that will attract most attention. A former Labour donor who even financially supported Mr Blair’s leadership bid, Mr Dyke reveals the Prime Minister sought to change BBC coverage on Iraq even before Gilligan’s fateful broadcast. He reveals that the Prime Minister sent personal letters to both himself and Gavyn Davies, the former BBC chairman, complaining about the corporation’s coverage. “It seems to me that there has been a real breakdown of the separation of news and comment,” Mr Blair wrote.

Jaw. Floor. Especially when you consider which news provider has the biggest problem with the separation of news and comment.

More…

Dyke: Blair ‘Unleashed Dogs on BBC’ over Iraq

No 10’s ‘vindictive pressure’

Dyke: How Blair betrayed me – and the BBC

Downing Street remains silent after Dyke accuses ‘bully’ Blair of interfering with BBC

That silence you hear is Mr Blair’s wish for privacy (hey, it worked for Blunkett last week) but I think we can look forward to some heady indignation and “He’s just plugging his book!” noises sometime this afternoon.

Related…

I read the report from ImpeachBlair.org over the weekend. Today, I’m going to email the organisers and ask why it’s not available in HTML format.

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Date
20040831
George W. Bush
Time
09:36
Oooh, look – Bush wearing a ribbon he didn’t earn finally made the news. In one foreign newspaper…

Torygraph – Kerry campaign attacks President over ‘war honour he did not earn’

But – oh dear – linking it directly to the Kerry campaign in the headline? MoveOn.com?

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Date
20040831
John Howard: 2nd to Fall?
Time
09:45
ABC – PM calls Oct 9 poll: “This election, ladies and gentlemen, will be about trust,” Mr Howard told a press conference. “Who do you trust to keep the economy strong and protect family living standards? Who do you trust to keep interest rates low? Who do you trust to lead the fight on Australia’s behalf against international terrorism?”

Absent or not, I may have to take part in this. Could all Australian readers please check in by email? Cheers.

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Date
20040831
A Blog is Born
Time
09:49
Nosemonkey launches Europhobia – “the musings of a one-time Eurosceptic turned pro-European”. You’ll like Nosemonkey. He owns one of those sense of humour thingies. Keeps it in a box. Even feeds it from time to time.

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Date
20040831
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
09:54
Memory Hole – Justice Department Censors Supreme Court Quote: Anybody who has read many official documents – including those making headlines in the last year or more – has seen plenty of redactions (those portions that are blacked out or otherwise made unreadable). This, we’re told, is for legitimate reasons, such as “national security” or “protecting intelligence sources and methods.” But now we have absolute, incontrovertible proof that the government also censors completely innocuous material simply because they don’t like it.

Plus…

Kerry’s daughters booed at MTV awards – the picture of the Bush twins on the giant screen behind them had nothing to do with it.

Who’s blogging at the RNC?

We’re Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore: How did the Party of Lincoln and Liberty transmogrify into the party of Newt Gingrich’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk?

Blogger sacked for blogging… by ‘Friend’ster. Bloggers take action.

Lots more on the RNC. This will be grouped in a dedicated post. Later.

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Date
20040831
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
10:02
Page 3 – Model Propaganda reached over 8,000 people this weekend, thanks in no small part to this feature at BoingBoing submitted by Rod.

You can backtrack full linkage via Technorati if you’ve got the knowin’, but the two biggest tickles for me this morning include this cracking of the language barrier and this (ahem) impassioned response.

Incidentally, I was (finally) motivated to put the collection together after watching Outfoxed. There’s an NTSC VHS sitting on my shelf if anybody wishes to borrow it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040831
George W. Bush
Time
10:15
I saw a clip of this hard-hitting Q&A sesssion last night. The transcript doesn’t do it justice, so the following (actual) quote has been edited to give you a better idea of the timing…

AUDIENCE MEMBER: God bless you, Mr. Presi…

THE PRESIDENT: He has, thank you.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: …dent.

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Date
20040831
The War on Terror
Time
10:20
How Long Can the Country Stay Scared?: The DHS’s threat warnings have been vague, indeterminate, and unspecific. The threat index goes from yellow to orange and back again, although no one is entirely sure what either level means. We’ve been warned that the terrorists might use helicopters, scuba gear, even cheap prescription drugs from Canada. New York and Washington, D.C., were put on high alert one day, and the next day told that the alert was based on information years old. The careful wording of these alerts allows them not to require any sound, confirmed, accurate intelligence information, while at the same time guaranteeing hysterical media coverage. This headline-grabbing stuff might make for good movie plots, but it doesn’t make us safer.

And now, a totally unrelated link that should make you feel even saferer.

And, finally, Bush admits war on terror is unwinnable. Especially the way he plays it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040831
Flash Games
Time
10:24
Rooftop is secure. Oxygen supply looks good. Target in view… and we are GO for launch!

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Date
20040831
Activism
Time
10:26
New York Times – Vast Anti-Bush Rally Greets Republicans in New York: A roaring two-mile river of demonstrators surged through the canyons of Manhattan yesterday in the city’s largest political protest in decades, a raucous but peaceful spectacle that pilloried George W. Bush and demanded regime change in Washington.

But, of course, if you rely on Murdoch for news, all you’ll see is the inside of Madison Square Garden. Until there’s violence. Or at least some goofball getting shouty. So I’m sure you can guess what this crackdown nonsense is all about…

CNN – 264 arrested in NYC bicycle protest

A blog entry detailing these arrests, from a guy who took pictures of the cops arresting protestors… and got arrested himself.

Activist bike creator Joshua Kinberg arrested

Bikes Against Bush thwarted

Update on arrest of Joshua Kinberg, Bikes Against Bush

Speaking of goofballs, the Protest Warriors are also on the loose in NYC, which can only help. Here’s a blog entry from of these clever clogs who has trouble understanding some of the harsher reactions. It may have something to do with his assumption that everybody opposed to Bush is a liberal peacenik. More here and a video here. You’ll love watching them defend their attempts to disrupt the march and generally cause trouble with cries for ‘free speech’. I’m not at all surprised that Instapundit find them plugworthy.

*sigh*

Moving right along…

You may also be interested to know that there was at least one geek in attendance.

For more RNC protest coverage, check out Indymedia. While you can…

Secret Service Attempts Subpoena For Indymedia Logs as Part of Harassment Campaign: As was reported in today’s New York Times, the Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation and is demanding records concerning anti-RNC deleagte posts to this website. Specifically, the DOJ is seeking information on lists of 2,200 RNC delegate names posted to our Open Newswire.

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Date
20040831
RWCs
Time
10:48
On taking ownership of God… God is Not a Republican. Or a Democrat.

On taking ownership of 119… Mayor kicks off RNC with a flub.

On inadvertently speaking scraps of truth… Bush Calls Iraq a “Catastrophic Success”

And if you need a jolly good lunchtime ponder, juancole.com awaits.

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Date
20040831
The War on Stupid
Time
13:10
This week is your last chance to vote for the next leader of the Tory party. Blair and Blunkett are neck and neck.

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Date
20040831
Richard Desmond the Pornographer
Time
14:44
Scaryduck has a go at Richard Desmond for having a go at the BBC.

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Date
20040831
RWCs
Time
16:55
What a nice lady. What a clever campaign.

I think we can assume that this is part of the whole ‘Support the Troops!’ thing. And that the other band-aid fell off the gaping wound under her nose.

UPDATE – CNN has a report. Yahoo is carrying the picture. See other people comment on this here, here and here.

UPDATE – Angry enought to want details? OK, I’ve got you covered. Try here, here and here.

UPDATE 2 – Well said, that man.

UPDATE 3 – And again. Never misunderestimate a wingnut’s ability to enrage and inspire.

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Date
20040831
An American Election
Time
17:50
Micahel Moore: The GOP doesn’t reflect America. Or acknowledge reality.

UPDATE – This just in; CNN has spotted an Hispanic woman at the RNC! (This isn’t likely to stay on the front page for long, so I saved you a screengrab.)

Oh, and here’s a whole bunch of pictures from the NYC protests. Poke around here and elsewhere at NYC Indymedia and you’ll see a whole lot more.

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Date
20040831
The (Now Reluctant) War President
Time
18:22
Salon.com – “I’m very ashamed”: The former Texas official who got George Bush into the National Guard apologizes for making sure that young men with important “family names” did not have to fight in Vietnam.

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Date
20040831
RWCs
Time
19:01
This Salon article pretty much says it all about the Protest Warriors. Please note that their input resulted in the only violent incident of the day: Protest Warriors, a Texas-based, right-wing group whose members have crashed lefty demonstrations carrying mocking signs like “Communism has only killed 100 million people. Let’s Give it Another Chance,” sent a contingent to march into the crowd. “We’re about to have some fun,” said Sergio Kadinsky, a 20-year-old Protest Warrior from City College of New York. At first, to their evident frustration, they were ignored or indulged. “They have the right to be here, but they’re jerks,” shrugged McCormick. Soon enough, though, a group of outraged anarchists saw what was going on, tied their bandanas around their faces, and charged, yelling, “Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit!” A brief fistfight ensued, during which several of the Protest Warriors’ signs were broken. That was pretty much the extent of the day’s violence.

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Date
20040831
Updates
Time
20:42
Working on getting Bloggerheads II together (at last). Click here for some test logos. Email me with a preference if you like.

Bloggage may be light tomorrow morning. Be warned.

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Date
20040831
Tony ‘King Blair
Time
21:19
Do you like my new headline? It’s dual purpose.

The Herald – Labour peer attacks Blair’s alliance with ‘lunatic’ US: BARONESS Kennedy, the leading human rights lawyer and Labour peer, last night declared that Tony Blair had sold out Britain and lost his moral authority by aligning himself with the “lunatic” government of the United States.

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Date
20040831
George W. Bush
Time
21:29
Heh. That idea I was pondering on last Tuesday was Champagne Unit Veterans For The Truth. The ‘ideal’ proponents didn’t take it on, but no matter – the idea had already occured elsewhere and there’s already a willing team or two on the case:

Cheerleaders for Truth

Pleasure Boat Captains for Truth

I wonder if they’ll get equal airtime….








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

02-13 August, 2004

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Date
20040802
Updates
Time
09:20
You may have missed this quick bit o’ bloggage on Saturday. I’m seriously considering writing a page specifically for lazy journalists who can’t be bothered to look at more than one page of a website before writing it up.

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Date
20040802
The General Election
Time
09:23
The election draws near, and here’s the first sign of silly money…

Tories in Turmoil: After another bout of infighting and jockeying for position Tory panic is rising and the knives are out. The big question on everyone’s minds is what will happen next in the Tory House of Turmoil? Now’s your chance to vote on which Tory you would send packing from the house.

As Irritant notes: Tactically this anti-Tory page is not a clever idea as it’s almost begging someone like Tim Ireland or B3ta to knock out a Labour version fairly sharpish.

Indeed it is, only this time the main weapon won’t be domain hijacking but search engine dominance. Here’s the target.

I’m sure a few ideas will be bounced around today, but in the meantime I want to share last night’s dream with you…

I opened the newspaper to see a two-page ad plugging Labour. Strangely, it wasn’t red in theme, but more of a More Than green and blue. For an ad that took up so much space, it had very little to say; the message was; ‘Expect us to last!’

I went outside and the first thing I saw was a billboard with exactly the same message. And another. And another. Labour had started their campaign before announcing the election; and boy, had they started strong. Every inch of available billboard space had been booked and used.

Already there were little protest posters going up on the billboards complaining that Labour hadn’t left any billboards for the other parties. Other billboards had been altered so they said; ‘Expect the least!’

I was looking at one of these when I was invited to lunch by some friends. At first glance the place looking like an automated funeral parlour (food for the wake was in vending machines, a body was lying in state in something that looked like a glass-fronted cigarette machine) but we were led through this to a more restaurant-like arrangement in the back and asked to sit at a large table in the middle of a concrete balcony. Some building work was going on and things were quite noisy, so I declined the offer of lunch. Besides, I was still wearing my pyjamas.

I walked down some dodgy stairs beside the restaurant and saw that the concrete balcony was only being held aloft by some rickety scaffolding. I went for a walk by the river and had many adventures.

Weird, huh?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040802
Inneresting
Time
09:25
Send an Elvis e-card! (Found via Myrtledene.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040802
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
09:33
Clive Soley on being incorrectly labelled a Lib-Dem: After 26 years service in the House of Commons and one of the first blogging MP’s and proud owner of a blog entitled “Labour MP for Ealing, Acton and Shepherds Bush” they have called ME a Liberal Democrat MP! OH MY GOD! THE SHAME! Can I live with it?

The Jim Cousins Blog has also hit a minor snag or two with coverage in a local paper: Apart from a few minor inaccuracies, like extending my offer of a few months technical support to a year (Which I’ll honour Jim – it get’s better and better.), the now obligatory ‘web logger’ reference, saying I update daily (I wish I had the time – that’s where Jim comes in I hope), the fact I may reveal my true identity and the omission of my explicit statement that computer programming has nothing to do with it and is in no way required to write a blog the journalist did at least do a bit of background on the reason for doing it including a mention for Tim at Bloggerheads and the Alan Milburn proxy blog, just down the road from here at Darlington.

That mention of moi, BTW, repeats the erroneous description of me as an ‘Australian-born programmer’… when in truth I’m lucky if I can set my alarm clock correctly. Ho-hum.

BTW, sometime today or tomorrow we move on from encouraging William Hague and hit a new Tory target in his stead. Same offer; same technique.

UPDATE – Mike of the Alan Milburn blog also feels a tad misrepresented.

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Date
20040802
A Blog is Born
Time
09:44
UK Future has been launched by Brazilian-born horse-trader James Malcolm in an attempt to ‘provoke informal political debate’ and fight voter apathy.

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Date
20040802
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:47
Independent – Officers vetoed inquiries into 23 deaths: Army officers blocked police investigations into the deaths of more than 20 Iraqis during incidents involving British troops, raising concerns about the Army’s right to stop inquiries into fatal shootings. Investigations by The Independent on Sunday have revealed that British Army commanders in Iraq routinely used their powers to stop the Royal Military Police and detectives in the Special Investigations Branch from looking into fatal shootings.

Independent – Fair price for a life? Army pays Iraqi family £390 after shooting girl dead: Hanan Saleh Matrud died in an alleyway near her home in northern Basra after a British soldier with the King’s Regiment opened fire nearby. The ricocheting bullet left a deep wound across her stomach, and she later died in hospital. The soldiers claim they fired a warning shot in the air after being targeted by “heavy stone-throwing” by mobs. Local eyewitnesses dispute the claim, and allege that only children were in the streets. The Army admitted the shot “possibly” caused her injury and paid her parents $700, but without admitting responsibility for her death.

That name may seem familiar to regular readers; here’s why.

These two articles were part of a large feature in the Independent on Sunday, the centrepiece was this article by Martian-born ferret-handler Robert Fisk…

Robert Fisk – ‘Can’t Blair see that this country is about to explode? Can’t Bush?’: The stage management of this catastrophe in Iraq was all too evident at Saddam Hussein’s “trial”. Not only did the US military censor the tapes of the event. Not only did they effectively delete all sound of the 11 other defendants. But the Americans led Saddam Hussein to believe – until he reached the courtroom – that he was on his way to his execution. Indeed, when he entered the room he believed that the judge was there to condemn him to death. This, after all, was the way Saddam ran his own state security courts. No wonder he initially looked “disorientated” – CNN’s helpful description – because, of course, he was meant to look that way…. But don’t think we’re going to learn much more about Saddam’s future court appearances. Salem Chalabi, the brother of convicted fraudster Ahmad and the man entrusted by the Americans with the tribunal, told the Iraqi press two weeks ago that all media would be excluded from future court hearings.

Meanwhile: Drive that wedge, baby – drive it!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040802
Useful
Time
09:58
Rent a peasant.

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Date
20040802
An American Election
Time
10:02
I smell desperation… or more Drudge bulldust; Republicans planning to eliminate IRS. It sounds great… but only if you don’t think about it too much. In other words, your average Bush-supporter will eat it up. Along with their tinned beans and hog’s anus. More at Atrios.

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Date
20040802
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
10:11
Washington Monthly are cooking something up on the Iraq/Uranium/Nigeria lie.

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Date
20040802
The War on Terror
Time
10:19
Be afraid! Stay alert! Go on with your lives! Be happy in your work!

Also, Poons has a bloody good point here. I’m not a big fan of animal rights activists, either – but if we’re not careful we’ll soon find that police will be armed with a whole new set of laws designed to stifle all forms of protest as and when is ‘necessary’… this issue also blurs the line between terrorists and protestors; a line that is already pretty blurred abroad and at home.

(Incidentally, does that ban on protesting outside people’s homes extend to people marching on Downing Street?)

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Date
20040802
We’re Not At Home To Mr Cock-Up
Time
11:33
Curious name for a computer desk, wouldn’t you say?

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Date
20040802
Normal People
Time
12:51
Found Photos should keep you busy and well-freaked for the rest of the afternoon.

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Date
20040802
The War on Stupid
Time
15:23
epolitix – Labour website mocks ‘Tory turmoil’

Scotsman – Labour’s Big Brother Jibe at Tories

That second article lets us know that this clevery-clogs campaign does have a domain: www.toriesinturmoil.co.uk

Mind you, this currently redirects to the main page of labour.org.uk…. perhaps because the page at www.labour.org.uk/toriesinturmoil has been withdrawn for some unknown reason. (Best guess: the site’s database fell over about 3 hours ago, so it’s probably just being retooled or something.)

UPDATE – Someone must have pressed ‘reset’ – the whole site went down at 5:15pm… now, at 5:30pm, Tories in Turmoil lives and breathes once more.

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Date
20040802
Opportunities
Time
16:20
Party in London this Friday night. Email me for details.

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Date
20040802
Sudan
Time
19:19
Like many, when I think about Sudan, I always end up wondering how it will impact on poor Mr Blair.

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Date
20040802
Photoshopping
Time
20:44
Animation genius. That is all.

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Date
20040803
The War on Terror
Time
09:51
But this time it’s different; it’s not just chatter. We have clear intelligence of a specific threat! Right?

New York Times – Reports That Led to Terror Alert Were Years Old, Officials Say: Much of the information that led the authorities to raise the terror alert at several large financial institutions in the New York City and Washington areas was three or four years old, intelligence and law enforcement officials said on Monday. They reported that they had not yet found concrete evidence that a terrorist plot or preparatory surveillance operations were still under way.

Washington Post – Pre-9/11 Acts Led To Alerts: Most of the al Qaeda surveillance of five financial institutions that led to a new terrorism alert Sunday was conducted before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and authorities are not sure whether the casing of the buildings has continued, numerous intelligence and law enforcement officials said yesterday.

Independent – A nation in danger. Or a president in peril?: The former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean highlighted the concerns of many without access to the information. “It’s hard to know what to make [of it]. None of us outside the administration have access to the intelligence which led to this determination,” he said. “I am concerned that every time something happens that’s not good for President Bush, he plays this trump card, which is terrorism,” he told CNN. “His whole campaign is based on the notion that ‘I can keep you safe, therefore, at times of difficulty for America, stick with me’ and then out comes Tom Ridge. It’s just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics, and I suspect there’s some of both in it.”

Howard dean? Isn’t he that crazy shouty person? Should we really be listening to him? (Read some discussion on this and related matters here.)

Anyway, as I was saying; this time it’s different. It’s not just chatter. We have clear intelligence of a specific threat! Something to do with American banks and financial institutions, if I’m not mistaken. And we have a few of them here in the UK, so – though the threat in our case is rather vague and unspecific – it does result from clear intelligence of a specific threat. With me so far?

Some less responsible people have told Blair to put up or shut up, but today the Daily Mail takes the more prudent step of assuming the worst. They’ve chosen to go with the powerful headline; AL QAEDA’S CHILLING PLOT TO TARGET BRITAIN

Dammit! Now I’m in an advanced state of fear and anxiety (some call it “heightened readiness”) and I’m worried about what effect this is going to have on the value of my house. I simply don’t have room for my brain for this, which just happens to be going on at the same time…

Guardian – Military Hearing Set for Lynndie England: A military hearing was set to start Tuesday that will begin gathering evidence to see if Pfc. Lynndie England should be court-martialed for her actions. The Article 32 hearing is the military equivalent of a grand jury in civilian court. The hearing will be the first chance in court for the 21-year-old Army reservist’s attorneys to make their case that she was following orders from higher-ups when she was photographed mocking naked detainees at Abu Ghraib.

But, if I did, something in the back of my mind would assure me that – because Iraqis are terrorists – these measures that weren’t authorised at the highest level would be justified even if they were – which they weren’t – because we have to do everything we can to fight the War on Terror.

And not only is mental torture marginally more acceptable than physical torture, it’s also more economically viable. (Now, stay with me here, because we are talking about the War on Terror and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These people are animals, and they deserve everything they get. Erm, and we needed answers to important questions like “Where are the WMDs?”)

Even with a large contingent of willing troops (or, if you prefer, ‘bad apples’) and a continuous supply of Viagra, it simply wouldn’t be possible to sodomise all 8000 detainees. (Or was it 10-15,000? It’s hard to tell with some people being left off the books and so many hostages coming and going.)

No, it’s far more efficient to simply sodomise their children, tape these events, and then use the tapes on the other prisoners.

Alternatively, if sodomy isn’t on the cards (let’s face it, some days you’re just not in the mood), there’s always this method to fall back on: A military intelligence analyst who recently completed duty at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq said Wednesday that the 16-year-old son of a detainee there was abused by U.S. soldiers in order to break his father’s resistance to interrogators. The analyst said the teenager was stripped naked, thrown in the back of an open truck, driven around in the cold night air, splattered with mud and then presented to his father at Abu Ghraib, the prison at the center of the ongoing scandal over abuse of Iraqi detainees. Upon seeing his frail and frightened son, the prisoner broke down and cried and told interrogators he would tell them whatever they wanted, the analyst said.

Admittedly that’s rather labour-intensive, but it only took a few hours and saved days of beatings. Besides, I hear that – while being physically demanding – such activity can be rather fun…

Rolling Stone – The Secret File of Abu Ghraib – New classified documents implicate U.S. forces in rape and sodomy of Iraqi prisoners (be warned that this is a very graphic read).

Anyway, where were we? Oh, yes…

This time it’s different; it’s not just chatter. We have clear intelligence of a specific threat!

Go In. Stay In. Tune Out.

Comments – Comments, permalinks and all that jazz are planned, but they’ll take time and cash – two things in very short supply at the moment. In the meantime, perhaps we can squeeze in a few manual entries (or maybe just take control of the Usenet group alt.irony). Today, I have this comment emailed in by Andrew H:

I could not agree more that the terror threat in the US yesterday is blatant electioneering. This was the first thing I thought when I saw the news yesterday. There are only so many times that the Bush team can cry “Wolf!” before people catch on. My prediction will be that he is saving his last call of “Wolf!” for late October. Despite the threat I am going to the bank to get some cash out. If you don’t hear from me in the next few days….

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Date
20040803
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:08
How to be creative. I have my own tip here; try not to clench your brain. Give it room to move. And go easy on the stimulants.

From the peeps what brung you Subservient ChickenSubservient President! (Hint: ask him to curl up and die.)

Operation Give is getting screwed by Atlas Lines.

Sorry, I don’t feel like playing today.

Bush staff demand to know race of photographer before permission to photograph Dick Cheney is granted. I don’t see the big problem here. One, we know what a terrorist looks like, so what harm can it do to check for towel-headedness? Two, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a camera and a rocket launcher.

A message from White House West: Americans must be able to trust the facts in political ads. Every voter has the right to truthful advertising. Free speech is no defense to massive, purposeful fraud.

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Date
20040803
Compare and Contrast
Time
10:11
We must crack down on Al Qaeda!

We must stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction!

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Date
20040803
Flash Thingies
Time
10:15
Here you go; this should keep you busy for a while.

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Date
20040803
Scam Alerts
Time
10:17
ZDNet – Criminal gangs blackmail Web users with porn threat: While criminal gangs are more widely associated with threatening denial of service attacks unless they get a kickback of thousands of pounds, it seems some are taking a more small-scale approach to extortion: now average PC users are being targeted. Instead of £50,000, the criminals are making demands by email of a mere £50. Unless they’re paid off, they threaten to tell the police about the child pornography they’ve installed on your machine.

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Date
20040803
OK, So I’m a Star Wars Geek
Time
10:32
Star Wars Art by Ralph McQuarrie (link va Cynical-C Blog.)

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Date
20040803
Is Richard Desmond a Pornographer?
Time
12:02
Richard Desmond is feeling cheeky. Normally he does his best to avoid letting OK! readers in on his seedier side, but now he’s entering the Lad’s Mag race with a new title… KO!

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Date
20040803
RWCs
Time
13:02
1. How can you possibly argue with inspired lyrics like these?

2. James Broadwater has been duped by Ali G, and he’s not happy about it. There’s an excellent post at onegoodmove.org with everything you need to know, so there’s no need to repeat it all here. (Oh, but you may also wish to read this interview with the great man.)

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Date
20040803
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
13:41
Some exciting developments over at the Alan Milburn blog. Go, Mike, go!

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Date
20040804
South West Trains
Time
09:45
I must be cursed or blessed or something…

16:00 – Depart office for 6pm meeting in Westminster. Departure time gives me close to an hour’s grace.

16:17 – Guildford to Waterloo service delayed at the station due to reported “flooding in Earlsfield.”

16:25 – Train leaves station

17:15 – After nearly and hour of stop-start-stop-stop-stop-start, the train terminates at an unscheduled stop at Surbiton. The guard has to walk along the train to tell us to get out, because the tannoy is broken. (Obviously, this was not connected to the reported flooding at Earlsfield; it was just one of those crappy trains built in 1968 or so that SWT still relies on for regular services.)

17:20 – Station manager refuses to issue me with more than one complaint form, so I walk up and down the platform with it telling people in groups what it is and why they should use it.

17:25 – Depart Surbiton on hot and crowded all-stops service with no toilets. One passenger with a young child found this out the hard way.

17:35 – Stop-start-stop-stop-stop-stop-stop-stop-start. Driver very vague about cause of delay, which is now being reported as “a localised electrical disturbance.” He states that from Wimbledon onwards it will take a minimum of 30 mins just to reach Clapham Junction. It’s pretty obvious from what’s going on that it would take an extra 20 minutes minimum to reach Waterloo, but this isn’t mentioned. That the London Underground will honour SWT tickets is, but the actual option of proceeding to Waterloo or your chosen destination in London via the Underground is not specified as such. A few passengers and I get together and start talking out loud about our options and decide that the best idea would be to abandon ship at Wimbledon.

17:45 – Heat unbearable by now. Not feeling well at all.

17:55 – Arrive Wimbledon. A mass exodus for the Underground service ensues.

18:35 – Arrive Westminster via the District Line – announcements are being made that Waterloo Underground is closed.

18:36 – Jubilee Line entrances being closed off just to stop anybody getting any bright ideas. It is suggested that passengers continue their journey “above ground” (i.e. – walk).

18:37 – Departing Westminster station, all hell breaks loose. A loud alarm is sounding; an announcer tells us to leave the station immediately. Signs with flashing lights read: Emergency – Do Not Enter. We’re in a state of heightened readiness, so somebody had to say it; “Oh my God, is there a gas attack?”

18:50 – Almost an hour late, but counting myself lucky that I made Westminster at all, I attend my meeting.

19:50 – Meeting ends.

20:00 – Jubilee Line only just returning to service. Signs state that next train is due in a 1 minute; it takes 10.

20:10 – Waterloo is a mess. I have no desire to get on one of the few very crowded trains leaving for Guildford and get back on the stop-start ride of a lifetime, so I chill for an hour.

21:20 – Depart Waterloo for Portsmouth ‘express’ service.

21:40 – Arrive Clapham Junction (normally about 5 mins from Waterloo on a bad day).

22:00 – It is reported over the (working) tannoy of our (modern) train that the two rear toilets are out of order, but the two forward toilets are in working order. A passenger next to me attempts to take advantage of this good fortune – and returns to report that the forward toilets – and the sinks – are overflowing with sewage.

22:30 – Guildford. Home at last. Somewhat comforted by the robot voice apologising for the delays, but felling very rough indeed.

Thank you, South West Trains, for yet another pleasant journey and the usual effort put into serving and advising passengers during times of difficulty.

UPDATE – Ride a bike? Use the trains? Then you’ll be interested in this leaked SWT document.

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Date
20040804
The War on Terror
Time
09:50
Independent – Terror alert: how four-year-old information was transformed into clear and present danger: The Bush administration was forced into the embarrassing admission yesterday that “new” intelligence about al-Qa’ida’s plans to attack US financial institutions – information that led to an official alert and a slew of fresh security measures – was up to four years old and predated the 11 September attacks.

Still, we’re busy making hay while the sun shines over here in the UK…

Independent – Police seize 13 men in terror raids across UK: Scotland Yard said the arrests formed part of “inquiries by security services into alleged international terrorism” and that they were part of a “pre-planned, intelligence-led operation”. It is understood the intelligence came from MI5. The timing of the raids was brought forward in the wake of the publicity over the perceived threat to US financial institutions, although the arrests were not connected with that threat.

Guardian – Home Office draws up tighter terrorism laws: The overhaul of the the anti-terror laws is being considered as American banks in London step up security after the discovery of detailed but dated plans for al-Qaida attacks in the US and Britain. The Home Office said no specific threat had emerged about Britain, adding: “We are maintaining a state of heightened readiness in the UK.” The new counter-terror package is expected to spark sharp criticism from civil liberties groups, who will be dismayed that Mr Blunkett has not used the opportunity to replace his emergency executive detention powers with realistic alternatives.

UPDATE – More on this latest round of arrests from The UK Today.

Oh, and if you’re new to Bloggerheads, you may have missed yesterday’s bloggage on the subject of terror and torture.

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Date
20040804
The Bush Administration
Time
09:54
“I want, and every President must have, the best, unbiased, unvarnished assessment of America’s intelligence professionals.” – George W. Bush, August 2, 2004

It’s a bit ‘king late for that isn’t it? Not that they’re going to get it or anything…

Independent – Bush agrees to independent US spy chief: Many specialists have warned that if the post were part of the White House bureaucracy, it would only increase the risk of intelligence being politicised ­ precisely what critics say happened in the debacle of Iraq and its non-existent weapons of mass destruction… Although the new director will technically not have cabinet rank, he will be named by the President and be subject to approval by the Senate.

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Date
20040804
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
10:01
Monday, August 2 – Nikkala (22, from Middlesex) gets her cha-chas out and expresses her shock over seaside resorts reportedly having the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the country. She says: “No one loves a wild party on the beach more than me, but these figures show youngsters must think twice before they put away too much booze.”

Wednesday, August 4 – Nicola T (22, from London) is excited about a new book giving tips on sex in the office. She says: “This book should go down a treat as us Brits love to spice up our work life. Everyone flirts at some stage and no one can deny it brightens up the day. I can’t see anything wrong with a quick nookie break.”

Read more about brightening up the day for others in your place of work.

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Date
20040804
Video
Time
10:05
Team America is headed your way. Matt Drudge has a few calm words to say about it.

The producers (who you may well be familiar with) have said: “We dont want people thinking we are in on the Fahrenheit 9/11 bandwagon. Everyone should be afraid of this movie.”

But it seems to me that some people have more to worry about than others

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Date
20040804
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:12
Mike is getting closer to an actual meeting with his chosen MP, Alan Milburn. You can help by going to his site and making a comment on any post. Show them how feedback works, people.

Rob has reported similar progress with Sarah Teather. I’ve armed him with an amended version of the PowerPoint presentation on MPs, Weblogs and Search Engines that I presented to a group of Labour MPs a few months back. (Incidentally, that presentation had to be rushed because of the good people at South West Trains. One has to wonder if there isn’t some kind of massive conspiracy going on…)

And today we have a new proxy-blog for Frank Dobson.

I’m going to tone down the whole ‘stalking’ thing so this healthy trend continues. (Yup, here it is. Many thanks to Rob D and Shane for their valuable input.)

I’m also working on something pretty significant in the background. I’ll tell you what I can, when I can.

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Date
20040804
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:23
Wow. Thank you. I’m touched. (But it was only harmless flirting. Really brightened my day.)

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Date
20040804
The War on Stupid
Time
12:49
All Iraqis are terrorists! That’s why we had to fight to save them from terror, or start a new front on the War on Terror in Iraq, or, erm… No, I’m sorry – I’ll need some help on this one.

(Found via Atrios. You may want to make time to skim through the related comments thread. Oh, and here’s a treat for those who ‘know what a terrorist looks like’…)

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Date
20040804
An American Election
Time
14:47
Yeeeeeee-hah! Cheers to Mirjam for the following heads-up…

Bands gather to stump against Bush: In an unprecedented series of concerts in nine swing states, more than 20 musical acts – including Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and the Dixie Chicks – will perform fund-raising concerts one month before the Nov. 2 election in an effort to unseat President Bush.

Latest news and a full statement can be seen at the Bruce Spingsteen website and the official Act For Change website.

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Date
20040804
Needs Salt
Time
15:11
OMG! Thatcher’s dead! (Click here only if you find yourself in difficulty.)

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Date
20040804
Matters Political
Time
15:34
Bwahahahahahaha! And now, a message from the UK Independence Party (NSFW).

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Date
20040804
The Interweb
Time
16:24
I refer you to this bloggage from Fri, June 18, 2004: Fark.com has been removed from the ‘follow me’ links. This removal should not be taken lightly, as fark.com was one of the earliest inclusions and I cut my photoshopping teeth there. The reason it’s been removed? Let’s just say that I’m not happy with the way they choose their articles for the front page. The omissions are subtle, but deliberate. And The Sun gets plugged in a ha-ha-jolly way every other day. Goodbye, Fark. No more traffic from me.

Now we have this…

Fark.com sells their editorial, and the loyalty of their users: After trying to figure out a deal they told me that I could just buy the editorial. The cost? Like $300 to $400 for a story. I was shocked…. all this time I’ve been reading Fark.com it turns out that some percentage of the stories are paid for. Looking back on it I’m now sure the adult links are all paid for, as are the ifilm.com links. I feel like I can never trust Fark again. The stupid part about all this is that Fark.com could easily just put “Advertisement” by the stories and their readers would click them 2x as much just to support Fark. It is so dumb.

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Date
20040804
Only Interesting To Bloggers
Time
16:29
The Onion trundles on… CIA Asks Bush To Discontinue Blog

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Date
20040804
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
16:30
Credit card numbers, anyone?

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Date
20040804
Love Me, Love My Clients
Time
17:26
With so many new visitors today, I’d be a fool not to plug Giltsharp’s new and renewed short story competition. String a few words together about a Swiss Army Knife; win a Swiss Army Knife. Dead simple, really…

Here, let me start you off:

It was a dark and stormy night. I wasn’t looking forward to this emergency tracheotomy, because I had a splinter in my thumb and sesame seeds in my teeth…

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Date
20040804
The War on Stupid
Time
17:30
You may remember this laff-riot from the Labour camp that offers the public the chance to vote their favourite Tory out of a house or something like that.

The official Interweb response comes from The UK Today. (Yes, I did help out just a little bit, but Balders – who did the bulk of the research for Labour: I See Red – deserves full credit. And the harsh tax audit that’s headed his way.)

Tories in Turmoil – who would you vote for as the next leader of the Conservative Party?

I’m sure you’ll love the list of choices….

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Date
20040805
The War on Terror
Time
09:37
On Tuesday we were told by Scotland Yard that the arrests in Britain were not connected with the intelligence garnered from Pakistan that pre-dated 11/9 (please note correct formatting of date).

Today, Murdoch’s Times newspaper assures us that they were connected – and that the intelligence coming from Pakistan and the arrests have brought to light more information on the much-plugged ‘Heathrow terror plot’…

We also have the Bush administration assuring us that new intelligence was the reason for the latest round of alerts. We’re also told that this years-old information had recently been ‘revisited and recompiled’ as little as a year ago (which predates Blair’s ‘tanks into Heathrow’ stunt, but that’s by-the-by).

I’m inclined to agree with Balders, who said recently that: History has shown too many times that little faith should be placed in these announcements, and reality usually rears its head within a week or so.

But while other more responsible newspapers are sifting through this often vague and nearly always third-hand information before passing judgement, Murdoch’s Times (linked above) jumps straight into ‘foiled terror plot’ mode just as the whole country is recovering from a bout of healthy scepticism and facing a report from the all-party Joint Committee on Human Rights:

Scotsman – Scrap Jail-Without-Trial Terror Law, Blunkett Urged

Guardian – Blunkett faces revolt on internment

The Herald – Blunkett urged to abandon terror legislation

My advice? If you want an idea of what Blair’s trying to pull, turn first to The Sun, where the strings are there for all to see. Today, they report that “a terror suspect held in UK swoops was finalising plans to bomb Heathrow” and in case you’re in any doubt about this real-genuine-and-current threat, you need look no further than the front page where – in black and white – the reality we’re expected to see is outlined in three simple words – HEATHROW BOMB PLOT.

It brings to mind another front page from The Scum that resulted from vague intelligence and bold assertions when the government was in some difficulty and needed to sell their version of reality. It read; 45 MINS FROM DOOM!

Here’s the guts of it for me…

Most (if not all) of this information appears to be coming from the Pakistani government, who recently have been under pressure from the Bush administration to come up with the goods on Al Qaeda for reasons of political convenience

And the most useful thing they can provide for the Brits? Information suggesting that the threat to Heathrow is/was real.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s a very big and very dirty story lurking behind all this Heathrow business… and Blair is more worried about it than he lets on.

UPDATE – An image for your consideration.

UPDATE – I’m terribly sorry, I appear to have been wrong. Pakistan has not been helping Blair out by feeding him politically useful intelligence (well, at least they deny it) – and Blair’s team hasn’t been making shit up and briefing journalists on it (well, at least they deny knowledge of any actual threat). Both of Mr Murdoch’s newspapers just happen to have taken it upon themselves today to paint a picture of a real and current threat and connect it with this ‘fresh’ intelligence from Pakistan….

BBC – Doubt over airport ‘terror plot’: Confusion surrounds claims that an al-Qaeda plan to attack Heathrow airport was foiled by British police… The Times newspaper said an attack was in its “final stages” but had been averted after UK police acted on Pakistani intelligence. But government officials in Pakistan deny any details were passed to the UK…. The Home Office said it would not comment on the details of intelligence, but confirmed that there had not been a specific threat.

But – and this is how the magic time machine works – if I bring up the subject of the Heathrow stunt in 6 months time, the answer from any ardent supporter of the government will be; “Of course the threat on Heathrow was real – they arrested 13 people and found all sorts of plans and photos on a laptop!”

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Date
20040805
Inneresting
Time
09:41
“What do I have to do? Draw you a bloody diagram?” (Link via Ultimate Insult.)

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Date
20040805
An American Election
Time
09:44
Bruce Springsteen – Chords For Change: I don’t think John Kerry and John Edwards have all the answers. I do believe they are sincerely interested in asking the right questions and working their way toward honest solutions. They understand that we need an administration that places a priority on fairness, curiosity, openness, humility, concern for all America’s citizens, courage and faith. People have different notions of these values, and they live them out in different ways. I’ve tried to sing about some of them in my songs. But I have my own ideas about what they mean, too. That is why I plan to join with many fellow artists, including the Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., the Dixie Chicks, Jurassic 5, James Taylor and Jackson Browne, in touring the country this October. We will be performing under the umbrella of a new group called Vote for Change. Our goal is to change the direction of the government and change the current administration come November.

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Date
20040805
Humanity
Time
10:05
Boy, all of this ‘current and specific’ terror intelligence has come at a good time, hasn’t it?

Another thing it does is that is eases the minds of those who may just worry about piffling matter like human rights…

Independent – Father demands release of his British son after claims of torture at Guantanamo Bay: A 115-page dossier, Detention in Afghanistan and Guantanamo, produced by the lawyers of three of the recently released British men, said inmates had been shackled, punched, kicked, hooded and deprived of sleep. Amnesty International condemned the treatment, which drew comparisons with Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison where inmates were ritually humiliated. British Government agencies were accused of complicity.

Torygraph – Foreign Office denies ignoring complaints: The Government has denied ignoring complaints by three British former Guantanamo Bay detainees who claim that they were beaten and abused at the prison camp.

Yes. Our government and the military do everything it can to act responsibly in such matters.

The same goes for the US, who assure us that they’re also (finally) taking ‘appropriate’ action regarding detainees in Guantanamo, but lets us know that these are really, really bad people without pausing for ‘king breath.

Oh, and Abu Ghraib? It was all a bit of fun and Lynndie England was a bad apple is the picture being painted by Murdoch’s New York Post. Please note that this article makes no mention of the response by the defence (in other words, they report some things, and you decide on the basis of that information and that information alone)….

Scotsman – Lynndie Made Illicit Visits to Prison Abuse Block: The prosecution’s case has been aimed at rebutting a defence claim that England was acting on orders from higher-ups to break down prisoners for questioning…Defence lawyer Rick Hernandez contends the government is trying to shift its responsibility to a lowly private for a scandal that has stirred outrage in the Arab world. But the prosecution’s case is flawed, he said, because investigators didn’t look into allegations “at other camps where my client has never been. … All the information out there indicates it is a systematic problem.”

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Date
20040805
Updates
Time
10:05
More later. Meetings. Bleh. In the meantime, do consider giving Tories in Turmoil a plug. I’d like it to to be the top search result come Monday.

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Date
20040805
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:57
Things are really rolling now… today we have a proxy blog for David Lepper and a proxy blog for Keith Vaz. I urge you to visit both (and make an encouraging comment if you’re so inclined). Both blogs have now been added to the front-page navbar and to the How To Run a ‘Proxy’ Weblog on Behalf of Your MP page.

For proxy bloggers due to meet with their chosen MPs… it may pay to point out that they can if they wish – though this is bare bones design and not quite as integrated as it could be – integrate a (free) Blogger weblog into their current website like Lynne Featherstone has done.

UPDATE – Don’t forget that the new proxy blog for Frank Dobson still needs your love-juices. There were some extremely useful comments made at the Alan Milburn blog, so thanks for that. Oh, and the plan to attend David Lepper’s next surgery (this Friday) shows a glorious level of commitment. This is all very encouraging.

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Date
20040805
Advertising Genius
Time
12:08
Best. Product. Name. Ever. (Link via ScaryDuck.)

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Date
20040805
Photoshopping
Time
13:00
This is top banana and most woo-some.

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Date
20040805
Consume!
Time
13:28
Not up to this or this? Can’t even handle something as simple as this?

Then you need this!

(Haven’t lost my touch as a copywriter, have I?)

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Date
20040805
Photoshopping
Time
13:50
A treat for photoshoppers – a huge collection of movie posters.

UPDATE – Heh. Couldn’t stop myself. It’s a bit choppy, but only because I have another bloody meeting to go to. (Posted to B3ta.)

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Date
20040805
Normal People
Time
14:33
Tch. I’m so childish. (Please note the care he has taken in formatting his email address. Link via ScaryDuck.)

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Date
20040805
Established Media
Time
14:54
Pfft! Bygones….

The Register – Victim not killer owned ‘murder manual’ game: The copy of the computer game Manhunt that was discovered during the investigation into the murder of a 14-year-old boy was not the possession of the killer but the victim, it has emerged.

Oh well. They managed to work up a jolly good froth and sell a few papers. That’s got to count for something…

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Date
20040805
Flash Music Video
Time
15:06
Radiohead’s Creep – it’s a lovely build and a beautiful finish. Flash developers will love the intro and credits. (Well, hacks and newbies like me, will…)

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Date
20040806
The War on Terror
Time
10:14
Yes, it’s true. Because I suspect my government and the US government of manipulating the terrorist threat with the help of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, I don’t believe that threat exists. And because I considered the invasion of Iraq to be rash and illegal, I love Saddam and want to hug & kiss and squeeze him until our bodily fluids mix and I can have his babies.

Well, Abu Musa al-Hindi appears to be real, and these connections appear to be damning, but I’m sure you’ll pardon me for questioning the following:

The Times today breezes right over denials from government officials in Pakistan that intelligence regarding Heathrow was shared with the UK (“Pakistan’s interior minister Faisal Saleh Hayyat later said that the UK authorities had not received information from Pakistan”) and instead praises them for their help in this editorial and goes live with this…

Times – Manhunt as five al-Qaeda militants evade police: A Pakistani intelligence official said Mr Khan told them how he visited Finsbury Park mosque during his time in Britain and met the radical cleric Abu Hamza whose extradition is being sought by the US.

Khan (Khaaaaaaaaaaan!) is of course the man who was arrested in Pakistan, so is not part of the recent round of arrests in the UK, but it’s all happening at the same time and there are so many foreign names to deal with, I doubt anybody know or cares about that. Especially not The Sun who – as you might expect – are all over the Hamza connection and not above linking it to the phantom Heathrow plot from paragraph one….

The Sun – Hamza linked to bomb plot: Preacher of hate Abu Hamza was sensationally linked to the al-Qaeda suspect behind the Heathrow bomb plot yesterday. Hook-handed Hamza had several meetings with terrorist “postman” Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan… The computer expert’s capture led to arrests of 12 terror suspects across Britain on Tuesday.

Today’s bold editorial is even better: The man, codename Bilal, was arrested in the swoop which foiled a plot to attack Heathrow. He had met Hamza several times in London — and you can bet it wasn’t to talk about Arsenal’s back four or who’d win the Derby. Let’s now hear no more nonsense from those who pleaded for Hamza’s “human rights” to be respected.

Let’s skip over the human rights issue and the Heathrow matter for a moment take a look at the timing of these arrests…

Here’s a repeat from Wednesday’s Independent newspaper: Scotland Yard said the arrests formed part of “inquiries by security services into alleged international terrorism” and that they were part of a “pre-planned, intelligence-led operation”. It is understood the intelligence came from MI5. The timing of the raids was brought forward in the wake of the publicity over the perceived threat to US financial institutions, although the arrests were not connected with that threat.

The Times today chooses to present this somewhat differently: The official said that the US had been interested in Bilal “for some time”. British security sources refused to say last night why he had not been picked up earlier.

My guess would be that they had a shifting group with some more elusive members and were doing the sensible thing; monitoring the threat, gathering information, and waiting for the right time to make arrests so they could capture as many suspected cell members as possible and maybe even (God forbid) come up with some actual evidence here and there. Bush’s long overdue, but much hurried and politically-motivated push in Pakistan f**ked that up, which is why we have a manhunt on our hands (much to the joy of the Daily Mail, who get one Manhunt! story that’s so sensational, it’s sure to take people’s minds off their role this Manhunt! story.

*cough*

Human rights…

Stalking David Blunkett brings us this Sun sidebar that you may have missed amongst yesterday’s linkage: Peers and MPs last night infuriated David Blunkett by condemning his anti-terror laws as a breach of human rights. Post-9/11 measures to net Muslim extremists were branded racist in an all-party committee report. It said they breach rights of all Muslims and should be torn up. Mr Blunkett denounced the findings. A close aide to the Home Secretary said “The world changed after the al-Qaeda attacks on the twin towers yet some people don’t seem to have grasped this. The most important thing now is to protect British citizens.”

Hmmm. So, human rights for us, but not for all? Sounds awfully familiar…

BBC – UK troops ‘beat Iraqi to death’: Rabinder Singh QC, appearing for the Iraqis in the six test cases, told the judges European human rights laws, which protect the right to life and freedom from torture or inhuman and degrading treatment, applied to troops in Iraq and the government was obliged to investigate. But lawyers for Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon say the Human Rights Act, which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK domestic law, can only be applied inside UK territory.

At this stage, I feel compelled to remind you once more that my objection to our attack on the wrong country and the use of the terrorist threat as a propaganda device to sell the invasion to the public does not mean that I deny there is any terrorist threat. In fact, if anything, Iraq has proved to be one of Al Qaeda’s greatest victories.

The abuse of the terror threat by the US government to pursue a totally unrelated and greed-driven agenda has provided Al Qaeda not only with a great deal of sympathy in some quarters, but a massive and largely unregulated playground in the Middle East that may soon see the introduction of martial law in the new, ‘free’ Iraq. The issue has also effectively split the United States in two.

At home, our role in the invasion of Iraq and Blair’s attempt to spin and sell it via manipulation of the terrorist threat means that it is the terrorists’ agenda, not his own, that now shapes his foreign and domestic policy (we pissed off a lot of people by siding with the US when we could very well have prevented the invasion and allowed the inspectors more time merely by sticking to our guns – and it reached the stage long ago that Blair could not drive forward new policies because of ongoing disquiet about Iraq).

It’s also compromising our justice system. And Bush’s continued use of terror as a trump-card (or ‘Keep Out of Jail Free’ card) now appears to be interfering with our attempts to monitor and contain actual threats. The question you have to ask is; is this making us any safer?

Which brings us back to Heathrow… and another question.

Independent – A plot, or not? Why Heathrow bomb plan was a media dream: It began with tales of a “terror alert in US and Britain” and culminated in a “plot to bomb Heathrow”. In the past few days anyone following the American and British media or listening to US security chiefs would be in little doubt the two countries were facing an imminent attack by al-Qa’ida. New information is, however, emerging that calls into doubt the level of threat. Senior British counter-terrorist sources yesterday denied they had found any specific plot to attack Heathrow or any other British airport.

Blair was very careful not to lie outright about the Iraq/terror connection (that didn’t exist), but he used the word ‘terror’ and Iraq’ or ‘terror’ and ‘Saddam’ or ‘terror’ and ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in the same sentence more times that I can count. This careful and deliberately proximal use of key phrases and concepts painted a false – and useful – picture.

Another picture is being painted right in front of us. The keywords are ‘terror’ and ‘Heathrow’ and ‘real’… why?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040806
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:25
Mike (of the Alan Milburn proxy blog) has managed to get a nibble out of a local councillor via this discussion forum. He also reports that this post is only one minor technicality away from being an actual post from his MP.

You may also wish to read Ivan’s post on his personal blog, where he outlines the genesis of the proxy blog for David Lepper.

This is a nice and cuddly blog in keeping with the now-fluffier Blog Your MP campaign, but Ivan has also started another weblog in parallel. …

For David Blunkett, there will be no mercy.

And Balders? Balders has gone all-out and started weblogs for all three MPS in Barnsley: Michael Clapham, Eris Illsley and Jeff Ennis. At the very least, one man running three blogs in tandem (as well as his own) should prove how easy it is.

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Date
20040806
George W. Bush
Time
10:43
Bwahahahahahahahaha!

Independent – Tongue-twisted Bush is bent on self-harm: Even by the previous standards of Bushisms, this was one for the ages. Signing into law a new $417bn (£229bn) defence spending bill, the famously tongue-twisted 43rd President of the United States solemnly declared yesterday that his administration “will never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people”. The gaffe came as President George Bush was warming to his favourite theme of the terrorist threat faced by the US. “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we,” he said. “They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

More Bushism fun here.

In other news, one can only wonder what the mother of this baby was thinking….

UPDATE – A little somthing extra for you… They Knew: Despite the whitewash, we now know that the Bush administration was warned before the war that its Iraq claims were weak.

Oh, and you may want to check out PoliticalStrikes.com, (where I found this little number).

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Date
20040806
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh s**t!
Time
10:50
North Korea’s nuclear sub capability exists thanks to the assistance of Sun Myung Moon, the well-known Republican supporter, owner of the Washington Times and all-round religious nutbag.

While we’re on the subject, you may also wish to read about the ‘scrap metal’ being shipped out of Iraq.

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Date
20040806
Opportunities
Time
11:01
Sorry, no fun links today. I’m saving myself. Party. London. Tonight. Be there.

UPDATE – Oh, go on then…. take a pot-shot at a pigeon or two if you must.

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Date
20040806
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
15:09
Bill Thompson – The revolution will not be blogged.

Apart from the joy of the rip-off headline, this article is worth reading purely for the enjoyment of watching a man present every almost every clue available and still fail to come up with the obvious conclusion.

Perhaps Bill’s distaste for weblogs is causing a blind spot (you may remember him asking this time last year if it was all over for blogs).

Perhaps Bill read this report on the report and not the report itself.

No matter – let’s get to the meat….

In this article, Bill Thompson commits the following sins:

- He makes the false claim (often bandied about) that blogs take a lot of work. They don’t. They require a lot of commitment. There is a difference.

- He points out that the development of weblogs has been slow because “they appear to require more technical knowledge than a website built by a constituency activist” – without bothering to point out that they actually don’t.

- He acknowledges the issues of accountability and transparency and how blogs can promote same, but ignores the potential value of this in re-engaging a cynical electorate.

- He acknowledges that it’s not the technology that’s really at work here, but the capacity to engage driven by a willingness to do so – but he then dismisses the potential of this on the basis that it’s foolhardy to place too much faith in technology alone (I’m still trying to work that one out).

- He also notes that some MPs will fear accountability and transparency and/or shun this level of engagement. Quite right. But he completely ignores the rise in personal publication (which he dismisses as noise pollution) and what role this plays now and is going to play in the future. (I would not describe a blog or blog-driven/supported campaign that’s the top search result for an MP’s name or a high-level government campaign to be “absorbed into the general flow of net traffic”, would you?)

Finally, it’s worth taking a look at what he considers to be the difference between his early website for Anne Campbell and a weblog; the former boasted “no trackback, no comments or feedback” (I have none of these – is this not a blog then?)… and* “the content was mostly press release-style information.” Then take a look at Bill Thompson’s blog, where he only ever posts articles that he was writing for the BBC anyway (one wonders where he gets the idea that blogs are a lot of work).

The potential is still there for weblogs to further contribute to political discourse. If all goes well, they may very well shape it in subtle but positive ways.

But in these early days, there are also dangers. These dangers are as follows:

1 – That not enough MPs will fail to understand the value of weblogs before…

2 – A top-driven campaign to exploit them in the wrong way fails miserably, resulting in…

3 – Most MPs being convinced that weblogs are of no use.

Bill Thompson is contributing to Factor 1 with this witless piece. The only thing he brings to the debate is a less-than-helpful mix of prejudice and ignorance. I hope he’ll pardon this trackbackless blogger for saying he should pull his fucking head in.

[UPDATE – *Actually, he was right on this point. It took me far too long to get comments etc. going on this site, because I was too busy building blogs for other people like Tom Watson and Boris Johnson. IMO, for a while, in the very early days, blogs could still be blogs without comments, but this ended as conversation technology became widely accessible. ‘Witless’ etc. was a bit harsh, too. My bad. Cheers, Bill.]

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Date
20040807
Appeals
Time
15:53
The Circle Line Party was grrrrreat. I may report in full on Monday, but for now I have a favour to ask on behalf of one person who had a not-so-great time:

If anyone who went to the Circle Line Party witnessed the arrest of the gentleman in the green t-shirt (or the exchange with the police officer that preceded it) at or around 8.50pm at Sloane Square station, please get in touch with me via my main email address:

manic at bloggerheads DOT com

It seems the police are making some quite ridiculous claims, so we’ll need a few witnesses to set things straight. (And, yes, someone is already chasing up the CCTV footage.)

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Date
20040809
The War on Terror
Time
10:47
Your questions answered…

Were the Pakistan arrests linked to the London raids?: Yes. MI5 had been investigating Mr Khan for some months and had several of his contacts in Britain under surveillance, including Bilal. When details of Mr Khan’s arrest was made public, the police were forced to arrest the suspected cell members in the UK.

A shorter version of this answer reads: Yes. Whoops.

#(Did the Bush Administration Burn a Key al-Qaeda Double Agent?: The announcement of Khan’s name forced the British to arrest 12 members of an al-Qaeda cell prematurely, before they had finished gathering the necessary evidence against them via Khan. Apparently they feared that the cell members would scatter as soon as they saw that Khan had been compromised. (They would have known he was a double agent, since they got emails from him Sunday and Monday!) One of the twelve has already had to be released for lack of evidence, a further fall-out of the Bush SNAFU.

A shorter version of this answer reads: Yes. Whoops.

Is Blunkett really mad with the Americans about this?: David Blunkett has issued a barely coded rebuke to President George Bush for issuing a terror alert that resulted in “ridicule”. The Home Secretary went on the offensive to explain why Britain did not follow suit when the US administration issued a warning on information that turned out to be four years old.

A shorter version of this answer reads: Yes. But only because they made him look stupid.

Have the Bush administration learned anything from this?: Washington reacted by disclosing still more data…. An unnamed military official told Time that there were benefits to spreading panic in terrorist ranks. “People get flushed out and when that happens other people get nervous. As they start to move, they talk and we hear them. It’s like hunting birds: you scare ‘em up, they run then you shoot them.”

A shorter version of this answer reads: No. Duh.

Incidentally, new spin is due from Washington any day now – and could well take hold. The reason Al Qaeda is being targeted in the run-up to the election is because they plan to strike during that election.

Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? The only thing that’s hard to explain is why this reason wasn’t mentioned before now. Oh, and why Osama bin Laden became not-so-much-a-priority-as-Saddam for close to two bloody years.

Heathrow…

Only the Moonie Times is hanging on to scraps of this, but it’s worth noting how the story (almost) grew legs via Reuters and Bloomberg. Were there a little more panic and a little less healthy scepticism, it could well have become reality by this morning. Not that it isn’t for about a million or so devoted Scum readers, who are unlikely to see any form of correction or retraction…

Bloomberg – Al-Qaeda’s U.K. Leader Planned Heathrow Attack, Times Reports: A senior al-Qaeda member in the U.K., alleged to have been in the final stages of planning an attack on London’s Heathrow airport, has been arrested by British police, the London-based Times reported, citing unidentified intelligence officials in Pakistan.

Reuters – Terror detainee targeted Heathrow: A senior al Qaeda figure planning to attack Heathrow airport was among 12 terrorism suspects arrested in Britain two days ago, newspapers report. None of the papers quoted a named source and all differed in details, but most linked the arrests with recent swoops in Pakistan and this week’s alert in New York and Washington.

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Date
20040809
RWCs
Time
10:49
For the least week or so, Blogdex has been close-to-overwhelmed by a variety of posts, articles and plugs for books/sites/ads that question John Kerry’s military service record in Vietnam. The latest question that has the wingnuts foaming at the mouth is “Was Kerry in Cambodia?” – and of course, if they can prove that, they can declare victory. Kerry wasn’t in a certain area of Vietnam when he says he was! And Bush wasn’t in a certain areas of Texas when he says he was!

See? They cancel each other out completely.

Another wonderful bit of balance comes to us in the form of the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, who are meant to act as an antidote to the vile poison of the veterans who support John Kerrys’ hateful and unnecessary campaign to unseat that great world leader George W. Bush. You may want to read up on this ‘independent’ and ‘self motivated’ group. They certainly appear to have some interesting ties:

Salon.com – Smear Boat Veterans for Bush: The “swift boat” veterans attacking John Kerry’s war record are led by veteran right-wing operatives using the same vicious techniques they used against John McCain four years ago.

CHB – Anti-Kerry Vets Driven by Longtime GOP Operative, Bankrolled by Bush Cronies

More from Disinfopedia.

The final word I leave to R. H. Blanchard.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040809
Religion
Time
10:55
Unusual Churches and Cults reviews/blogs more whacked-out religions than you can poke a stick at. Including mine, which is nice.

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Date
20040809
NSFW
Time
10:58
I hope they’re not serious….

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040809
Only Interesting To Bloggers
Time
10:59
Guardian – Forget the bloggers, it’s the vloggers showing the way on the internet ! You heard it here first, folks. The simple wish to communicate has been outmoded yet again by another sexy bit of tech! (Nice to see Steve get a plug, though…)

UPDATE – Try not to get too excited about MT Tabs.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040809
Funny
Time
11:01
Build a better Bush. Should keep you distracted for all of 10 seconds.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040809
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s…. oh s**t!
Time
11:07
Martial law is on the way, government censorship is already happening, the death penalty has been reinstated, moderate cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is suffering from a life-threatening illness and arrest warrants have been issued for both Chalabis (the one who helped the US with the WMD claims and the one who’s presiding over the trial of Saddam Hussein).

At times like this I thank the Lord that this perilous step in the Middle East was taken with international cooperation that allowed us to leave behind a strong and renewed Iraq that rests on a solid foundation and is able to handle life’s little challenges.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040809
Circle Line Party III
Time
11:47
Circle Line Party III got a massive response (and this morning wakes up to find itself blogged), but it was obviously too crowded, and a decision had been reached (and spread through the party) that we were to split into two groups – but when we reached the Sloane Sq, the police were waiting.

I don’t know who talked to them about it, but the police seemed OK to let us just split into two groups and be on our merry way, but then the Undergound staff got involved, lost patience very quickly and insisted 1) that the train go nowhere until they decided on what to do and 2) that um, yes, we empty the train.

We don’t know what to do with it, so let’s just be rid of it.

The excuses I heard were technical problems and someone being ill on a train stuck behind ours (which wasn’t true).

So, there were all standing around doing nothing, not having fun, sweating a lot and pissing of commuters. This wasn’t part of the plan. So…

The only thing that got people off the train? A promise that came from somewhere that we had to let this train move on so we could be allowed to split up amongst the next ones. Partygoers trusted this and passed it on. I was one of them. (It needs to be noted that the train could not have been emptied without the partygoers organising this themselves.)

Mostly the authorities looked lost. Maybe they know how to deal with passive crowds (move along now, sir) or aggressive ones (resisting arrest, are we sir?) but not happy ones.

Anyway, we did as they asked and the result was a packed platform, but if we all kept our heads and stuck to the plan, half/some of us could get onto the next Circle Line (or even available) train to ease up pressure on this station (priority one), allow the trains behind us to proceed (priority two) and then get on with the party (priority three).

Only problem was, someone had decided the party was over. Suddenly trains were going through and not stopping. Past a *packed* platform, even at slow speed, this was pretty dodgy and getting dodgier with each passing train (a subdued but ugly ‘booo’ went up when the first Circle Line train did this).

Had we been allowed to split into two groups and proceed, there would have been no danger to anybody (and a much better experience for partygoers and commuters).

Whoever made the decision to stop the party (seemingly at near-to-all costs – at a station with a platform narrowed by building works) fucked up. And the platform only cleared as quickly as it did because there was a ‘pass it on’ distributed by partygoers about moving on, ‘wandering’ off and continuing at a specific time/location.

They couldn’t have evacuated the station without us. But they kept it closed for a further hour or so, just to look like they were doing something, I suppose. Or collect evidence for the attempted murder that took place (dun-dun-dahhhhhhh!).

One of the party-goers lost his footing and ended up putting his dirty, grubby hands on a policeman. This quickly turned into a claim that he had actually pushed him onto the tracks. When this (allegedly) happened, something like 200+ people were still on the platform, and nobody saw anything like this happen. (An arrest was made and CCTV footage is being sought, but we’re still looking for witnesses if you saw the exchange and/or arrest.)

The police and/or Underground staff caused the problems on that platform, and the only solutions (proposed and working) came from the partygoers themselves.

(Incidentally, if there’s ever a panic-causing situation on the Underground, they’d best pray for a few smart commuters being on hand to give some sensible advice. The tannoy system they have going can’t even be heard above the background noise of a *quiet* crowd and their staff’s crowd-handling skills ain’t worth shit.)

Happy news? The split had already started. There was a large group that had got off at Victoria and subsequently didn’t get stopped by some pigheaded jobsworth. This reformed into a party that proceeded happily in an anti-clockwise direction. Some people from the interrupted party stuck around outside Sloane Square to be hassled by a comically large police presence (which eventually dwindled to allow this party to proceed also). A group of us made our way to the whispered rendezvous and this chapter of the party renewed itself successfully and completed a full lap of the Circle Line in the traditional clockwise direction. Both train-based parties managed to meet up afterwards, and a fine time was had by all.

UPDATE – A short report from Geoff, who failed to see me not seeing him.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040809
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:49
A political weblog aggregator has just launched. So has a proxy-blog for Glenda Jackson.

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Date
20040809
The War on Stupid
Time
13:34
Victory is ours! The zone is owned.

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Date
20040809
The End of Democracy
Time
13:49
Some shenanigans of a hi-tech and low-tech variety for you to ponder on. To think of all that campaign money that’s just going to waste when the result has already been decided… makes you want to cry, doesn’t it?

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Date
20040809
Compare and Contrast
Time
16:02
Comparing the treatment of Khan and Krar should tell you just about everything you need to know about the Bush administration’s approach to terror (and the vital role the media plays).

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Date
20040809
Tony Blair
Time
16:36
BBC – Labour group urges new direction: “We did think Blair would…renew social democracy. We were wrong,” says Renewal’s next edition’s editorial. It adds: “Iraq is Blair’s poll tax, a… breach of trust, demonstration of arrogance and strategic blunder for which the party as a whole is paying.”

More from The UK Today.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040809
In The News
Time
17:01
You won’t be quite so calm when you realise that it’s recycled Prozac…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040809
Inneresting
Time
17:32
I was trying to find/remember the name of an early arcade game when I stumbled upon this collector/dealer website and this fantastic arcade game from 1942.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040810
Page 3 – Words of Wisdom
Time
09:32
Thanks to lies and spin (plus something I like to call ‘selective transparency’) about BSE under the previous government and MMR and WMD under the current government, releasing a simple and safe vaccine has become problematic. At least, that’s the spin.

You read that right, folks. The government is telling us that the vaccine is totally safe, but they’re concerned that people won’t trust it because they lie so often. And if you find yourself doubting the army of doctors, experts and department heads that have come out of the woodwork in the last few days, then turn instead to the page you love most in the one newspaper you can trust:

One Page 3 of today’s super immunosuppressant Sun, Katie (19, from Liverpool, who is wearing a lovely pair of medical-issue panties and little else) says she understands parents’ concerns over the new five-in-one jab. She then goes on to say: “Tony Blair has done the right thing by publicly reassuring mums and dads. The experts seem to agree that the five-in-one jab is a positive step, so I think most people will put their faith in the Government.”

Must. Believe. Girl. With. Boobies.

Must. Place. Faith. In. Government.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040810
Only Interesting To Bloggers
Time
09:34
Guardian – The blog busters : Mighty corporations ignore the whispers on web diaries at their peril. Sean Hargrave reports on how the big brands are logging on to save face.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040810
The War on Terror
Time
10:01
London News review – Terrorism: how many warnings is too many?: Threatening people is precisely what (Bush is) doing. Terrorism’s the right word for it. An up-against-it President Bush is trying to scare the electorate into keeping the Republican Guard in charge. It’s disgraceful, really it is. Listen to how he measures his presidency by the “job” he has to do, leading the fight against terror: “We will stay there until the job is completed and our commanders on the ground tell us.” Bush has even started calling himself “the war president” – just listen to this amazing statement: “I wish it wasn’t this way. I wish I wasn’t the war president. Who in the heck wants to be a war president? I don’t.” You’ve got to tip your hat to his speech writers – that’s a particularly neat trick: affirming that Bush is “the war president” while suggesting that he is only such by force of circumstance. The same force of circumstance that is forcing Bush to remain at the helm until the “job is completed.” Which it won’t ever be because the War on Terror is unending. Brilliant.

Tom Tomorrow – Using the threat of terrorism to scare voters: all of September will be “National Preparedness Month”: Other September Surprises: a whole “educate the family” campaign, with kits available at various retailers; an in-school “Ready Deputy” duck-and-cover training program; and a website called Readykids.gov (not yet online), all launched in the first week. Brilliance. Tie the concept of Bush’s only winning issue to family and children. Unspoken, deniable implication: “vote for Bush if you want your kids to live.” Nice.

And of course it’s those of us pointing out the dangers of this ongoing manipulation of the terror threat that:

1 – Do not believe in the threat

2 – Cause people to lose trust in the government

3 – Make the threat worse

Heathrow…

The LNR piece links to this wonderful ‘bull-becomes-reality’ article:

rediff.com – Al Qaeda planned to attack Heathrow airport: Al Qaeda’s British cell planned to attack London’s Heathrow airport. This became clear after British agents arrested ‘Bilal,’ the man suspected of heading the Al Qaeda cell in Britain earlier this week.

Of course, it had only become ‘clear’ that this was the case after this ‘journalist’ had read an article in the Times, but to give it more credence he/she/it also references two articles in the Guardian and the New York Times – the only problem being that the former article makes no mention of Heathrow and the latter article only says: The leader of the House of Commons, Peter Hain, told British Broadcasting Corporation radio that those detained in London on Tuesday had been “important arrests.” But Mr. Hain declined to comment on reports in some publications that they had involved a plot against Heathrow Airport.

PS – When he says “some publications,” he really means “two publications owned by the same man that have willingly fed the public our lies since before we took power” – but this quote was obviously edited for reasons of space.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040810
Consume!
Time
10:06
Start ‘em young!

Incidentally, McDonalds recently started airing two minute educational commercials aimed at very young kiddies. You can make all the grown-up arguments you like about what the intentions are and how Ronald McDonald never says ‘hamburgers are good for you,’ but what a lot of people seem to be forgetting is that this is playing to two audiences:

1. Mum – Sees full message. Feels reassured about McDonalds. Stops writing angry letters.

2. Child – Sees; health + clown. Clown=McDonald’s. Therefore; McDonald’s=Health

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040810
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:20
More Kerry-bashing, plus:

Every issue of the Toronto Star from 1892-2001 in PDF format. Plus a search engine to help you find what you’re looking for. Other newspapers, please take note.

4 charged in Florida killings over Xbox. No doubt because the X-Box was evil. And the clothes. The clothes were evil, too.

Koko the gorilla calls for a dentist. Awwwww. That’s so cute, I forgot to ask why it’s been 20 years since her first full medical examination.

Psychologists try to learn how to spot a liar. Turns out liars have no reliable tell-tale signs. Conclusion? Anybody not showing any tell-tale signs is lying to you. And that includes you, you bastard.

UPDATE – Oh, I’m sorry. Did I skip over the Kerry-bashing? OK, here’s a link for you; one of the authors of this book is a hardcore Freeper.

Go and browse through the related freep threads before they’re pulled. (FreeRepublic tend to be rather gutless about things like this, and pull threads the moment their own poison starts to work against them.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040810
Only Interesting To Bloggers
Time
10:28
The Washington Post is having a best blog competition. Must be the season for them or something.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040810
Inneresting
Time
10:32
“Do Not Enter” signs from around the world.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040810
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
11:09
Reuters – Lynndie England abuse hearing halts: Lawyers for England renewed a request for top U.S. government and military officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to be called to testify… (hearing officer Colonel Denise Arn) said she would rule on the additional witnesses and resume the hearing as soon as possible but gave no indication when that might be.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040810
George W. Bush
Time
11:19
Journalists laugh at Bush, to his face. The cracks are finally showing (mind you, the one in his skull has been visible from Day One).

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040810
Cool
Time
11:39
Cool website with nifty jingle. (Doesn’t work in Firefox, sorry.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040810
Circle Line Party III
Time
12:03
More reports, comments, pictures and video.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040810
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
16:27
I decided that enough was enough this afternoon and advised the two biggest abusers of not-Blair’s email address (i.e. the people who hammer it week-in, week-out) that they’ve been wasting their time these past 3-4 years. These are two Very Serious People that each take an opposing view on the Israel/Palestine question. I’m not looking forward to the replies, but at least the deed is done.

Peter Broderick is more of a problem. This is a man on the edge, with a unique view of the world. I’m not sure how well he’d cope with this particular reality. Still, the last email he sent was over a month ago, so perhaps he has finally switched medication….

From: Pete Broderick

To: clu@fco.gov.uk, kay.sweet@fco.gov.uk, marrena.marren@fco.gov.uk, paul.mowat@fco.gov.uk, tony-blair@prime-minister.co.uk

Subject: Health and safety

Date: 6/7/2004 9:25:11 am

Hi,

Questions have to be asked, of the like so fthe GMC, BMA, BMJ, UKCC, RCN, etc when it comes to the amount of hours junior doctors are expected to do over weekends, when from a friday to a Monday junior doctors are expected to be on call over one hundred hours at a stretch, leading to a situation where consultants can vend cocaine to the junior doctors.

This fee nominal lack of regard by the medical bodies, and their doctoring fee loss of fees proves that health and safety are not paramount in their agenda, but actuallly dragging the NHS into disrepute, with regards the Maastricht treaty and the social charter/chapter. Such an approach by the medical bodies is fostering a drug dependency culture, if it hadn’t happened last year I would have suggested that they would be offering amphetamines to the airforces of NATO, to try and take a few out, especially as TOP GUN has probably been repeated on TV recently.

AN NHS with a (w)holistic approach to healthcare and illness prevention would be far better than the current NHS that we have.

The Royal Arches of medicine, still do not support the principle of the NHS and would prefer healthcare to be more commercial, currently the Royal Arches, want the pharmacist to be a person, most NI holders see every week, and they have designs of a crazy paving to take you from being smacked by a medic the minute your born, into a home when you retire, so that your house goes to the owner of the home.

That’s just the way it is

Pete Broderick

Pls could could you actually try and stop these fifth columnists or do you need the help of those that give a shit?

UPDATE – No, I tell a lie. I just found this one that also explains his recent absence…

From: Pete Broderick

To: clu@fco.gov.uk, kay.sweet@fco.gov.uk, marrena.marren@fco.gov.uk, paul.mowat@fco.gov.uk, tony-blair@prime-minister.co.uk

Subject: Industrial espionage

Date: 23/7/2004 8:12:54 am

Hi,

Institute of Directors v CBI

Small retail outlets are being distributed

contaminated alcohol.

1980’s ID knocked out CBI and small business through

the Commercial poll tax.

On Wednesday I drank four cans of tennants super Bar

code 5010017046880 #10010000049/83 T4AA10D

They were contaminated with Prozac+.

This then linked with drink spiking that is going on

the pubs.

The distribution seems to coincide with when ITN’s

Patrick Hubbard concentrates on bINge dr inking.

If it goes unchecked other food sources might also be

targeted.

I have also to contact my local police on a seperate

matter, again there has been an attepmt to break into

my flat.

With Respect

Pete Broderick

And, as we all know by now, Pete may actually have been onto something about that Prozac.

UPDATE 2 – Oh dear, the account seems to be overloaded again… and now I’ve done a bit of a clean-up, some of the backlog is coming in – including at least 8 more emails from Mr Broderick. No matter. I’m sure they’ll keep until tomorrow. (Unless he’s rumbled yet another dastardly plot to poison our beer supply!)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040811
Tony Blair’s Email
Time
09:30
After yesterday’s revelation from Mr Broderick:

…I drank four cans of tennants super Bar

code 5010017046880 #10010000049/83 T4AA10D

They were contaminated with Prozac+.

This then linked with drink spiking that is going on

the pubs.

Pooons got in touch with the following:

Reading the blog about Mr Broderick reminded me of a story a friend

in London told me a few years ago.

She was working as an alcohol counsellor, and the service she worked

for noticed that of all the drinkers they had on file, 90-odd percent

that died drank Tennants Super. The ones drinking Special Brew, etc

seemed to be fine.

A letter to the brewers garnered little response. Completely

unprovable sadly, but you should drop Mr B a line and suggest he

change his poison!

That’s all very interesting, but surely the proof of Mr B’s theory would be that these people died *happily*…

Besides, whatever Pete may or may not be dosed-up on certainly doesn’t appear to be hindering his problem-solving abilities:

From: Pete Broderick

To: uk@un.int , usa@un.int , tony-blair@prime-minister.co.uk , turkey@un.int , smillar@nato-pa.int , so2mr@arrc.nato.int , spain@un.int , slovakia@un.int , slovenia@un.int , romania@un.int , rusun@un.int , poland@un.int , portugal@un.int , president@kremlin.ru , president@whitehouse.gov , press@hq.nato.int , paul.mowat@fco.gov.uk , natodoc@hq.nato.int , netherlands@un.int , luxembourg@un.int , latvia@un.int , lithuania@un.int , italy@un.int , iceland@un.int , hungary@un.int , greece@un.int , france@un.int , estonia@un.int , dims-pia@hq-nato.int , dims.pia@hq-nato.int , delun@mfa.no , denmark@un.int , czechrepublic@un.int , bulgaria@un.int , canada@un.int , belgium@un.int , gerhard.schroeder@bundestag.de , germany@un.int , clu@fco.gov.uk

Subject: NATO & Expansion

Date: 29/7/2004 11:51:16 am

With Respect,

Hi,

Along with the political expansion of the Twenty seven

Countries of the RCN, has developed a geographical

progression, with the thawing of Tundra, in Siberia,

and Greenland.

Both pieces of land should be developed to be used by

NATO, in the first instance.

Denmark, for instance could be awarded 10% of the

contracts, on a home grown basis, with the other

member nations offering 3% each, ditto in Siberia, 10%

of the contracts designated by the Kremlin, and each

other NATO member responsible for approx 3% each.

NATO/RCN should look to Modify the name of the

organization, to include membership of Commenwealth

states, especially Australia/NZ. with the plans of the

PRC in mind, and Arab alliance, that is looking to

form allegiance, with regards the redevelopment of

Iraq.

This org. can then contract services in a professional

manner to the twenty eight bodies of the UN.

On a business basis, is also how professional

preachers have to be dealt with, as they show a

starkling lack of appreciation of patriotism.

Rapid Deployment should be a comprehensive issue, not

just in the resource deployment of troops, but also

assets from Procurement to competitive tenders, and

regional rejuvination.

Finally Sharon is looking to flood the Israeli army

with mercenary troops, a hidden message of his

DIASPORA comments ditto Saddam, his 8/8 posting to the

Iraqi UN Mission 2001, and his repeated emphasis in

the final few paragraphs, regarding aeroplanes.

Business will now look to contaminate every aspect of

the Madrid Treaty, from the bilateral talks, through

the multitrack process.

Again, With Respect

Pete Broderick

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040811
Compare and Contrast
Time
09:32
Michael Howard: “I’ve got my rights” is the verbal equivalent of two-fingers to authority. There is now a palpable sense of outrage that “so-called” human rights have tipped the balance of justice in favour of the criminal and the wrong-doer – rather than the victim and the law abider. The decline of responsibility and the proliferation of rights have left us in an ethical quagmire, which is undermining our fight against crime. The clear distinction between right and wrong has been lost in sociological mumbo-jumbo and politically correct nonsense.

Deborah Coles: “The death of a 14-year-old while in and custody of the state is shocking and highlights the dangerous consequences of locking up children. The Home Secretary can no longer resist the call for a public inquiry into the treatment of children by the criminal justice system. He must take action to address what is a serious and disturbing human rights issue� the death and suffering of children while in the custody of the state.”

(Image posted to B3ta.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040811
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:22
Look up.

Look down. (Note – all images leached from yannarthusbertrand.com)

Look out!

Everything else is Kerry-Kerry-Kerry… which I’d like to have a little chat about if that’s OK with you. The first thing you need to see is that this isn’t charting organically. This is a co-ordinated push of information. This article does worry me some – but what worries me more is where the link support is coming from. In case you haven’t noticed, almost every Kerry-bashing or Bush-supporting chart-topper on Blogdex begins its life (or its link support) at either Drudge or Instapundit. Hardly a natural groundswell.

Now, let’s compare this whole ‘question of service’ thing with the Bush AWOL question. The Torygraph has an interesting angle…

Telegraph – Nuanced? Kerry’s story just doesn’t add up: The point is, even if it were true, it fits the Bush narrative: he was a lackadaisical son of privilege who goofed around, drank too much, found Jesus, sobered up and got his life together. If you’ve got 30-year-old pictures of him dancing naked on a bar in Mexico when he was supposed to be back at the air base, so what? It’s compatible with the official version. That’s Bush: the bad stuff still fits the picture.

Bush is/was an idiot. Therefore it’s water off a duck’s back. Works for me. No need to mention that he’s the (now reluctant) War President who never faced a shot fired in anger (unless there’s some coke-deal-gone-wrong that we don’t know about).

Another comparison worth making is the number of witnesses that have come forward in this case. In Bush’s case, the AWOL question was national news, but the only positive ‘witness’ they could dig up was professional letter-writer William Campenni – who never actually saw anything. Kerry, on the other hand, has backers – and knockers – that have known him for years. FFS, at least someone remembers he was *there* – even if some right-wing activists (who just happen to have deep and long-standing Republican connections and just happen to enjoy Republican funding) wish to cast doubt and sling mud with what appears to be a pack of carefully-crafted lies.

Jim Rassman – John Kerry saved my life. Now his heroism is being questioned: Nobody asked me to join John’s campaign. Why would they? I am a Republican, and for more than 30 years I have largely voted for Republicans. I volunteered for his campaign because I have seen John Kerry in the worst of conditions. I know his character. I’ve witnessed his bravery and leadership under fire. And I truly know he will be a great commander in chief. Now, 35 years after the fact, some Republican-financed Swift Boat Veterans for Bush are suddenly lying about John Kerry’s service in Vietnam; they are calling him a traitor because he spoke out against the Nixon administration’s failed policies in Vietnam. Some of these Republican-sponsored veterans are the same ones who spoke out against John at the behest of the Nixon administration in 1971. But this time their attacks are more vicious, their lies cut deep and are directed not just at John Kerry, but at me and each of his crewmates as well. This hate-filled ad asserts that I was not under fire; it questions my words and Navy records. This smear campaign has been launched by people without decency, people who don’t understand the bond of those who serve in combat.

My advice is as it has always been. If a link on Blogdex raises an eyebrow, always look to see where the support comes from.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040811
Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch
Time
10:24
I really wish these people would do their research before rushing in with stuff like this….

—– Original Message —–

From: “Jeff Shakoor”

To: manic AT bloggerheads.com

Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2004 7:38 PM

Subject: FOX TV seeking Star Wars families for “Trading Spouses”

–> My name is Jeff Shakoor. I’m a casting associate at Rocket Science Labs

–> here in Hollywood. We are currently producing the new hit reality show

–> “Trading Spouses” for FOX and are currently seeking a Star Wars family for

–> our second season. We were hoping you could be of some assistance in

–> helping us find this talented and interesting family. If you know of anyone

–> who might be interested could you please have them send the names and ages

–> of everyone in their family who would like to participate along with a photo

–> in jpeg format to jshakoor@rocketscience.com. All children must be five

–> years of age or older and all applicants must be legal US residents. If you

–> have any questions please feel free to contact us. The show airs Tuesdays

–> at eight on FOX. Thanks in advance for any help you could provide us.

–>

–> Jeffrey Shakoor

–> Rocket Science Labs

1. I’m not sure, but I think I’m supposed to leap up and say; “Me! Me! I’m interesting and talented!” and in the process forget to ask for money.

2. Trading Spouses? Was Wife Swap too hardcore, or do you perhaps have more interesting plans for that title?

3. Let me guess, you plan (ha ha ha) to swap the wives (ho ho ho) from a Star Wars (ha ha) and a Star Trek (ho ho) family. Oh, do stop, please. You’re killin’ me here…

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040811
Inneresting
Time
10:36
Take a look at some bloopers from Bewitched, then – while you’re in the mood – take a peek at who owns gladyskravitz.com

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040811
Consume!
Time
10:39
Get your face or photo onto a stamp without all that doing a great public service and dying malarkey.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040811
Christianity Watch
Time
10:40
“Why are you helping me?”

I think I may have the answer to that question, but I’ll let you work it out for yourselves…

UPDATE – Jesusify your website with these fabbo linky-tract thingies. Highlights include the truth behind martial arts and rock music.

(Latter link via Ultimate Insult.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040811
The Big Intervention
Time
10:42
Independent – Blair faces vote of no-confidence over war: Labour activists are circulating a resolution of no confidence in Tony Blair for next month’s annual party conference because of a loss of trust in him over the war over Iraq.

This is exactly what The Big Intervention was designed to do/create/prompt. If you want to take advantage of this development, check out this update from The UK Today.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040811
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
14:05
Hutton fails to find leak culprit shock! His ‘urgent’ investigation took 196 days to complete. And makes no findings whatsoever. And is followed by a two finger salute by Trevor Kavanagh of all people. It’s laughable.

But, hey… it’s six months down the track and the Olympics start in a day or two. Who’s going to care?

(Heads-up via Wibbler.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040812
The War on Terror
Time
10:28
Heads-up via this post at The UK Today….

Independent – Terror suspects lose detention challenge: Ten suspected terrorists detained in the UK without charge or trial today lost a Court of Appeal challenge to their internment. Most of the foreign nationals at the centre of the ruling in London have been held in prisons since 2001. Two of the ten have exercised their option to leave the UK rather than remain in detention. The men challenged a ruling of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) that Home Secretary David Blunkett had “sound material” to back up his decision that they were a risk to national security. Their lawyers had argued that evidence obtained by alleged torture of detainees in US camps should have been excluded by SIAC.

The Scotsman today has a few word from the men’s solicitor, Gareth Peirce: Ms Peirce pointed out that, while British citizens could not be locked up indefinitely, foreign nationals could be detained on mere suspicion of being a threat to national interests, which could include economic interests as well as security.

But that nice Mr Blunkett has assured us that he has used these (new) powers “sparingly and proportionately.” Basically, we should not be concerned about these draconian laws, because they’re only being used – most reluctantly – by people who are quite nice, really, and looking out for our best interests. It’s because the spectre of terror is so very, very scary that these only-very-slightly-scary measures are being taken.

We should also try not to be concerned about the following quote, also from Gareth Peirce: “It shows that we have completely lost our way in this country, legally and morally. We have international treaty obligations which prevent the use of evidence obtained by torture in any proceedings (but) what this judgment says by a two-to-one majority is that, if it is obtained by agents of another country and not procured or connived at by UK agents, it is usable without any restriction and there is no obligation on the secretary of state to inquire into the origins of it.”

We’ll get onto Blunkett’s bleating in a moment. In the meantime, it needs to pointed out that no statement he has made so far directly addresses the question of the rights and wrongs of evidence obtained by torture.

Independent- Evidence gained by torture allowed by British judges: From Lord Justice Laws’ judgement: ‘I am quite unable to see that any … principle prohibits the Secretary of State from relying … on evidence … which has or may have been obtained by torture by agencies of other states over which he has no powers of direction’

OK, let’s go to the bleating…

Independent – David Blunkett: Freedom from terrorist attack is also a human right – in which he claims that he’s protecting our human rights by ignoring theirs – but he’s also looking out for theirs by detaining them and not sending them home. As for comparisons between Belmarsh and Guantanamo? Pshaw! Absurd! They use orange jumpsuits, we use grey. (Please note that one of the ‘safeguards’ he cites is the option he also points out that many detainees do not have.)

Besides, he says, it’s not as if he’s pulling people off the street for the hell of it: “It is not as David Blunkett that I act to protect national security, but as Home Secretary. And act I must to prevent foreign nationals who we believe are international terrorists, but are unable to deport, from remaining at large in the UK.”

Yep, that’s our David. Calm, responsible and detached. Especially when it comes to terrorism.

And of course it needs to be pointed out that he’s not arresting people willy-nilly: “I deeply resent the inference in The Independent’s leading article on Tuesday that taking decisive measures to protect the country against terrorism – and the measures have protected us – is somehow to deny those very rights. I want a rational debate but based on facts. It is wrong to claim – as the media has this week – only 14 people have been charged out of more than 600 arrested under counter-terrorism laws. In fact, about half of those who have been picked up under the Terrorism Act 2000 have been charged with differing offences – 97 of them under the Terrorism Act itself. Under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act (ATCSA) 2001, 17 people have been certified, 12 of them are still detained.”

Please note the two-step. He refutes the Independent’s human rights argument because of an ‘erroneous’ claim over how many were charged. If we refer to the article in question, you will note that it claims something lese entirely: Of more than 500 arrested under the Terrorism Act of 2000, just 14 have so far been convicted.

He’s the Home Secretary and he doesn’t know the difference between a charge and a conviction? That calls for a repeat of this link, so it does.

But even if we let this slide, we need to take a look at the ‘about half’ bluff: “In fact, about half of those who have been picked up under the Terrorism Act 2000 have been charged with differing offences – 97 of them under the Terrorism Act itself.”

1. ‘About half’ is not half. Technically it could be ‘more than half,’ but if it were then you would have said that. So is ‘about half’ 290? 240? What? Give me a number, please.

2. 97 charged under the Terrorism Act, hmm? What were the other 100-200 people charged with, then? Littering? I hear that’s an arrestable offence these days.

As for calls for a rational debate, it’s not us defending every move (or hiding from every crisis) with claims that the fucking sky is about to fall. And it’s not us who magically process ‘suspected of having connections to groups who may be involved in terrorism because of what some guy strapped to a board in Guantanamo said’ into ‘people we believe to be international terrorists’…

Beware the lies. Beware the creep.

(A large version of this image has been posted to B3ta.)

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Date
20040812
Flash Games
Time
10:41
Two cool games via The Ultimate Insult:

Shoot the Cliche is a sad in-joke that starts slow, but gets more challenging as time goes by. (It doesn’t get funnier, it just gets more challenging.)

Herculympics follows a very simple rule; take a retro game and add a twist. Prepare to break your keyboard….

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Date
20040812
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:46
Not-the-Real-Jim-Cousins has a meeting lined up with the real Jim Cousins!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040812
Riding High on Blogdex
Time
10:59
National Lampoon turn their attention to MoveOn.org

The Onion: Delivering the central speech of his 10-day “Solution For America” bus campaign tour Monday, Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry outlined his one-point plan for a better America: the removal of George W. Bush from the White House.

Terror searches meet censorship – man almost has book confiscated ‘for his own safety’…

Torygraph – Hand over nuclear weapons and know-how, Iran tells Britain. We’re saying no, yes?

CNN – Wedding guest eat victim. I hope they remembered to keep a slice for luck.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040812
The War on Stupid
Time
11:16
Rob D noticed that the home page of Labour Party in Shepherds Bush points to what used to be the Hounslow Labour Party website. Sadly, whoever was in charge of renewing the domain hounslowlabour.org forgot to pay the bill and a move to labourinhounslow.org was necessary. What is now at hounslowlabour.org is a very useful guide to pay-as-you-go porn sites.

However, despite this being brought to their attention and reported once or twice, they have yet to chase down and update external links from many other Labour websites. (Not that this is easy to do. With so many of them hiding their content behind frames, a simple Googling of the URL is unlikely to detect every link. Can I perhaps suggest you take a peek at your old referral logs?)

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Date
20040812
A Blog is Born
Time
11:17
Meet Rachel, friend of Poons.

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Date
20040812
George W. Bush
Time
11:20
As George himself might say; “It was the picture that was heard around the world…”

George W. Bush sucker-punches a rugby opponent at Yale.

UPDATE – Would plugging this t-shirt reveal a horrendous (if gratifying) double-standard?

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Date
20040812
No, Really…
Time
12:19
Woman thrown overboard for refusing to share her breastmilk.

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Date
20040812
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
13:01
Independent – Hutton leak inquiry ‘is yet another whitewash’: Richard Ottaway, a Conservative frontbench spokesman who questioned Dr Kelly when he was a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said: “This is not only a second whitewash. It is a complete waste of the taxpayers’ money. Everyone knows it was No 10.”

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Date
20040812
Photoshopping
Time
13:45
Intelligence gained under torture is admissible in our courts – so long as we didn’t do the torturing…..

I’m still getting over that. Here’s a picture I made to help me cope.

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Date
20040812
It’s War! And Somebody’s Telling Porkies!
Time
14:20
Washington Post – The Post on WMDs: An Inside Story – Prewar Articles Questioning Threat Often Didn’t Make Front Page.

I can’t possibly improve on the comments by Atrios and Rising Hegemon.

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Date
20040812
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
15:16
I did warn ‘Ivor’ about posting in first-person, even in jest. Not that it’s confusing (it only confuses the very stupid) but more because it provides justification for this kind of hard-done-by reaction. So, a gentle slap on the wrist for ‘Ivor’ and a quick “get over yourself” for David Lepper for this effort….

MP hits back over spoof weblog: The Pavilion MP has become the latest victim of a national campaign to ‘blackmail’ politicians into starting web log (blog) online diaries. Some of the “proxy-blogs” are openly hostile to the targeted MP and Mr Lepper will now consider legal action to get the site removed…. Dr Nick Palmer, secretary of the all-party Parliamentary internet group, said: “Blackmailing MPs into creating blogs is not the best way. If they want the MP to blog, they should get in touch and ask.”

Ex-squeeze me? I’ve been in touch. I’ve asked aplenty. I may not have talked with the All Party Parliamentary Internet Group but:

1 – They haven’t approached me, either.

2 – I think I had them on my hassle list, but they didn’t appear to do much apart from talk (and their site still uses frames, so I wasn’t expecting much in the way of forward thinking).

As for the whole “David Lepper is a serious and dedicated MP” thing, perhaps his web presence should reflect that.

The blackmail/victim/culprit language deserves a slap too, but what really gets me is “there has been a growth of genuine blogs by MPs following successful internet campaigns in the United States” – when the US model is highly flawed and had nothing to do with this growth. In fact, the first elected officials to start blogging started right here in the UK. And the only reason this campaign is necessary is because the flawed top-down model might yet be adopted here (as the general election looms ever closer and silly money comes into play).

Mr Brendan Montague should check a few of his facts (and perhaps do a little research) before he plays journalist again.

UPDATE – I know, I know – flies and honey. But this kind of ignorance really gets me down. Incidentally, you may wish to take a look at the fabulous website of Nick Palmer, the man who is quoted in this article as some kind of Interweb expert. What would happen if I knocked on your door, Nick?

UPDATE 2 – Nick actually answers his email, so I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt when he tells me that the quote attributed to him was used rather (ahem) selectively. However, he needs to take a closer look at weblogs before he decides what they are.

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Date
20040813
Civil Liberties
Time
10:22
(Image posted to B3ta.)

Just what in the hell is going on here?

On Wednesday, it was established that evidence obtained by torture is admissible in our courts (as long as it’s not us doing the torturing).

Now – when he’s not bleating to The Scum about the injustice of a criminal winning the lottery – Blunkett is proposing that every offence be an arrestable one!

He would also prefer it if officers could fingerprint you, test your DNA and X-ray you without your knowledge or consent.

Independent – Police to have power to arrest litterbugs

Guardian – Police to get wider arrest powers

Bit Mail-esque, that Indy headline, isn’t it?

OK, let’s try to be sensible and look at this with a cool head…

John Kampfner – This is about politics, not policing: When a government floats changes to the criminal justice system, look for the context as much as the content. The political parties are using the summer to test-run ideas ahead of a frenetic election year. There can be no other reason why David Blunkett has, two days after a speech from Michael Howard, decided to unveil another pot-pourri of ideas in the never-ending “battle” against crime.

But, at the same time, let’s be aware of the creep.

There were certain laws rushed through to target terrorists. Who in their right mind would defend the rights of terrorists?

Oops – these laws were also used to stifle protests – against arms dealers!

There are new police powers designed to crack down on animal rights activists. Who in their right mind would defend the rights of such extremists?

But they apply to you too, Jack. And a law that makes it illegal to protest outside someone’s home technically makes it illegal to protest outside Downing St.

I say again; “Oops!”

Even if they are only headline-grabbers and/or an attempt to dominate the right-field and hamper the Tories – what happens if these ideas take hold? After all, they’re designed to such things as slimy, law-savvy hooligans. Who in their right mind would defend the rights of rampant youths thrusting two fingers at authority?

Certainly not Leah (22, from Hastings) who ‘reckons it’s a good idea’ to make every offence arrestable. She says: “There’s no point just ticking people off. This proposal will make a lot more people stay within the law.”

Ah, yes. As with the ever-developing DNA database and the plan to introduce ID cards (hey, we’re at war, remember), the law-abiding have nothing to fear.

Unless you fear the growth of a police state.

Unless you fear that one day the law may change and put you on the wrong side of it.

And I’m not just talking about making something illegal that you wish/need to do – I’m also talking about making something legal that inconveniences, endangers, or outrages you. (Not that our government would ever, say, pander to the needs to a greedy corporation by approving of morally questionable or unsafe practices.)

The further the creep gets, the less likely it will be that you’ll be able to protest against such things (or anything) effectively.

Currently, if a protest gets to be inconvenient or embarrassing (i.e. if it’s working) the police have to use their imagination with regards to charges and/or goad people into violence. If Blunkett’s proposal’s went through, it would be much easier for police to discourage protestors by making one or two ‘show’ arrests or to displace/disperse protestors by taking them into custody. Embarrassment over little incidents like this will be a thing of the past.

Under Blair, we seem to be forgetting the ‘social’ and getting waaaay out of control on the ‘justice’ – this is especially dangerous in an age where media control is increasingly centralised (and the government becomes more and more adept at controlling it).

What recourse do the public have if they object to the actions/inactions of a corporation or their government and the media are unable or unwilling to highlight the problem?

There are some people who are in this position right now – and the media actually conspire against them. But who in their right mind would defend the rights of rampaging anarchists?

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Date
20040813
How To Think Like An Evil Bastard
Time
10:30
Steal monkeys and put them to work! If you get enough monkeys, you may even be able to get them to knock out a novel on the side.

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Date
20040813
Humanity
Time
10:37
Evangalist’s ‘miracle baby’ scam acts as a front for baby-trafficking. There’s a programme about this on Radio 4 at 12:30pm (GMT) today. You may wish to tune in.

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Date
20040813
Music
Time
10:44
iPod Vs. the Cassette!

‘Stairway to Heaven’ as Schubert would have written it, not to mention Beethoven, Mahler, Miller etc.

The latter brings to mind this fabulous album. I’m proud to say that I not only own a copy, but even keep in the the Regular Rotation library (i.e. not in a box in the attic).

UPDATE – More on the eeeeee-vils of music from Backword.

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Date
20040813
Tolerance
Time
10:49
Oh God, what a mess.

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Date
20040813
RWCs
Time
10:51
Oh God, what a bunch of asshats.

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Date
20040813
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
11:28
It seems that this article is mostly the result of a thin-skinned MP and a journalist who wishes to one day write for the Daily Mail.

‘Ivor’ has been in touch about amendments to the David Lepper proxy-blog (i.e. removing/rewriting the ‘first person’ material) but he also points out that this article was written without his knowledge. Mr Brendan Montague didn’t even bother to advise him of the article; much less ask why he had created a proxy-blog. I’d like to think that we have slightly more class than this, so if you do link to this story and/or comment on the writing style, judgement or parentage of Mr Brendan Montague, please do get in touch via mailto:news@theargus.co.uk and let him know why his ears are burning. (UPDATE – Brendan claims to have tried to reach ‘Ivor’ and myself by email and blames deadlines for the inaccuracies. He also requests that any correspondence regarding this article be sent to his direct address. Google hasn’t seen this address yet, so I’ve spamblocked it as a courtesy – brendan DOT montague AT theargus DOT co DOT uk)

Note – It’s worth mentioning the sudden rush of press releases that have followed David Lepper’s discovery of the proxy-blog – and that one of them concerns an issue raised at the blog.

On a more positive note, Nick Palmer has been in touch to defend his choice of publishing platform, which relies heavily on a direct newsletter with a readership approaching 1500 peeps (contents of this newsletter are mirrored on the site).

Nowt wrong with that, but take a look at his main concern about blogging (Nick has asked me to plug his way of doing things, which is why I’m being so liberal with the email quotage):

“I don’t want to write frequent short passing thoughts – I want to chew over issues in depth from time to time, usually about once a week. Because my format is email-driven, a blog approach would mean sending them an email most days. Many would unsubscribe. I could instead invite them to look at the web site when they felt like it, but that would mean that if I wanted to consult them on a current issue I’d be at the mercy of when they next went to have a look.”

Basically, Nick has mistaken capacity with necessity.

A blog would allow him to publish more frequently, but it wouldn’t compel him to. If he wished, he could publish once a week as he had always done and instead of simply sifting through the isolated replies by email (he gets about 300 per newsletter) he could instead bring it to life by inviting comment on the website.

One is a publication, the other is a conversation (which often brings new ideas to the table). There is no need to blog hourly or daily to make this happen.

As an added benefit, this level of interaction with the online community nearly always improves search results (which often brings new people to the table). There is no need to reach thousands of people to make this happen.

Nick seems worried that the site will become inundated with non-constituents, but he doesn’t seem to understand the value of attracting like-minded individuals to his site (i.e. peeps who are interested enough in any given issue to search for more information). I’m sure there’s more than one problem Nick deals with that people outside his constituency may have dealt with before and/or may be able to help with.

Anyway, he knows all this now, so I’ll let you know what he comes back with. (UPDATE – He’s not sold on it yet, but there is hope…)

Moving right along to some excellent news from the proxy blog for Alan Milburn

Meeting Alan Milburn: Alan seemed very keen for the blog to continue, and was interested in himself and his office taking a more active role, but was reluctant to commit to personally updating the blog before he had a better understanding of how much of a time committment it would be. As a halfway step, one of Alan’s constituency workers is going to start posting items to the blog… in addition to me.

Excellent news. Top banana. Good work that man.

I’ve been kind of slack on Tory-chasing this week, as I’ve had something developing in the background. As soon as I get an answer on this, I’ll be ready to move (or not) on the Tory front.

UPDATE – Julian Bond on Ivor/Lepper Vs. Mike/Milburn

UPDATE – Yes, that’s what we do. We rush straight into blackmail. Because we’re evil. And impatient. And ungrateful.

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Date
20040813
The Bush Administration
Time
11:32
Via Toby….

BBC – Moore embarrasses new CIA chief: Moore, who directed the film Fahrenheit 9/11, has released an interview with Mr Goss in which he says he lacks the qualifications for the top spy post. “I couldn’t get a job with CIA today. I am not qualified,” Mr Goss told Moore’s production company in March. The White House has dismissed the interview as “ridiculous hearsay”.

Ridiculous hearsay direct from the source?

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Date
20040813
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
12:23
Meanwhile, in Iraq…

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Date
20040813
We’re Not At Home To Mr Cock-Up
Time
15:19
I’ll let Annie do the introduction to this wonderful example of customer communication.

It reminds of an idle thought I had the other day about the most interesting request I could make under the Data Protection Act (here’s a handy resource, courtesy of Mark Thomas).

Who do you think would have the most interesting/telling chatter or data relating to little old me and my two stampy feet? SWT? Downing St? The Ecilops?

I can probably only afford one request every month or so, so I’ll have to prioritise. Emails/suggestions to the usual address, please.

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Date
20040813
Distractions
Time
16:54
Crikey! Look at the size of this week’s B3ta newsletter! Oh my… and there’s some very, very rude bits in this latest edition (read a comment from an outraged recipient). If you wish to avoid blushes and go straight to the coolest features, then bikesagainstbush.com, the KFC clones and this very naff/cool Flash version of pool await your attention.

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Date
20040813
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
17:40
Hooray for us, because we’re working to change this.

If you’re an MP, please keep this article and the ‘politics (is) conducted by and for the elite’ comment in mind the next time you prepare to poo-poo our requests or suggest helpfully that perhaps we would care to run for office ourselves. Sneh.








Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

20-31 July, 2004

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Date
20040720
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:36
*cough*

Meanwhile, in the country that has a ‘Q’ in it…

The spin has two distinct flavours:

1. Rush Limbaugh: “Good. Good. Hubba-hubba…. Well, the Iraqis are handling their own affairs.”

2. U.S. officials: It’s a useful rumour that isn’t true… “He wants to project that dual role—to the West as a committed democrat, and to the Iraqis as a tough guy who got things done.”

How nice.

Plenty of discussion is sure to follow here. I couldn’t possibly comment. Really. I’ve been banned from Fark.com for two days for posting ‘graphic content’ in this thread. See if you can spot it. (Oh, go on, have a hint. Pretty graphic, huh?)

The truth is, I’m getting banned from Fark.com on a semi-regular basis for daring to suggest – on a very regular basis – that they’re accepting Murdoch money for plugging The Scum on a regular basis.

Oh, and isn’t it funny that a few days after Charles Kennedy brings up the Heathrow incident (see relevant entry at Hansard), The Scum come up with a story that makes the never-fully-explained and often-questioned threat seem more real?

The Scum never attacks Blair unless it’s part of Murdoch’s agenda or Blair’s agenda. In the current political climate, any kind of assurance from the government that this is real or that is genuine is sure to be regarded with more than a small level of suspicion.

Sure, this ‘lost’ document gives them a black eye, but it helps to cement the idea of a real and genuine threat at Heathrow.

Having people think or suspect that Blair cynically rolled tanks into Heathrow to hype-up the terror threat and discourage protestors would be far more damaging than this security lapse that’s easily blamed on one underling or another. (Take a look at the timing of this action and how it wove into the whole Iraq/Terror/WMD lie.)

I’m inclined to think that Heathrow is a bigger story than most people think. Somebody should be shining lights into a few dark corners.

UPDATE – Yep. Here’s your underling…

The Scum – Dossier blunder ‘so bad’: The papers, dated June 26, 2004, were handed to The Sun after they were found near a petrol station close to Heathrow’s perimeter fence. A bungling sergeant based at SO18 Aviation Security is believed to have left them on his car roof when he paid for fuel at the garage. He forgot the papers were there and the dossier fell off his car as the sergeant drove away.

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Date
20040720
The Political Weblog Movement
Time
10:59
Guardian – Report damns UK political blogs: The quality of comment and debate on political blogs is often poor or even non-existent, and the jury is still out on whether they will ever make a significant contribution to parliamentary democracy, according to a Hansard Society report out today.

As far as I can see, the shortfall is as follows:

1. There aren’t enough weblogs to make a working ecosystem

2. There’s still a danger that the ‘top-down’ approach could stuff everything up:

The Hansard Society also expressed concern at the possibility that the next general election would inspire a wave of homogenous, party-approved campaign blogs. “Should we … expect a launch of off-the-shelf party weblogs in the run-up to the forthcoming UK elections, modelled on their American counterparts and run by blogmasters in party headquarters, as it happened in the States?”

Now, let me see, who’s been working hard to get more MPs blogging?

Who constantly puts the message out that the ‘top down’ approach is flawed and not worthy of the description ‘blogging’?

Tomorrow it will have been a month since I went ‘away’. The new blog format (with better archives and comments) isn’t ready yet, and I don’t feel sufficiently rested, but I may have to return anyway. There’s too much bullshit flying about… and there’s a job to be done.

PS – I collared William Hague yesterday for 60 seconds of valuable face-time. As many of you are aware, I’ve been working on getting Hague to be the first Tory blogger, but I’m having a hell of a time getting the message past his staff (for the record, some of Tom’s staffers also urged caution when he first considered blogging).

Tell you what, why don’t you get in touch with William Hague today (scroll down for email address) and tell him that I’m a smart chap that can be trusted? When you’ve done so, drop me a line. I’ll need some encouragement to get out of bed.

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Date
20040720
Church & State
Time
13:12
Who Would Jesus Torture? The Religion of George W. Bush: It certainly is remarkable that such an insipid, callow, little man like George W. Bush, who has slaughtered thousands of innocent civilians as surely as if he pulled the trigger himself, can be described as deeply religious by one of America’s most mainstream magazines with no sense of irony. American lemmings are now so brain washed that they believe this war criminal is a man of God. It would seem that the God he worships is really the Viking god of war, Thor, with his thunder of ongoing, preemptive “Shock and Awe” extending as far as the eye can see into our future. Heaven save us from these Christians.

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Date
20040720
Video
Time
15:54
You’ve just fired a missile that has killed dozens of human beings before your eyes. What do you say?

1 – “What have I done?”

2 – “Oh, the humanity!”

3 – “May God forgive me!”

No? How about “Woah, dude!”…? (Links to page with embedded 650KB WMV file.)

That’s torn it. I’m back on deck as of now.

UPDATE – Even if we could be sure that these people were ‘insurgents’ – and we can’t – it still wouldn’t make this right. The idiot on the mic seems to think that this is some kind of game.

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Date
20040721
It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!
Time
09:06
OK, let’s try to make sense of this one…

Four days ago, a leading Australian newspaper went live with this article based on the testimony of two independent witnesses (compare this to the 45-min WMD claim, which was based on the testimony of one compromised witness)….

Sydney Morning Herald – Allawi shot prisoners in cold blood: witnesses:Iyad Allawi, the new Prime Minister of Iraq, pulled a pistol and executed as many as six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad police station, just days before Washington handed control of the country to his interim government, according to two people who allege they witnessed the killings.

This received *zero* coverage in the States. It wasn’t even refuted. Until, that is, the official spin was in place. Three days later.

Prime Minister Allawi may be no democrat, but his tough-guy approach plays well in Baghdad: U.S. officials say privately that he may actually have planted the stories about summary executions as part of a psychological smoke-and-mirrors game. “He wants to project that dual role—to the West as a committed democrat, and to the Iraqis as a tough guy who got things done.”

This ABC article acknowledges that this is “the sort of story which cannot be verified without access to Mr McGeough’s sources, or without independent investigations which would take time,” but you and I both know what would have happened were the person at the centre of such claims someone who either the British or US government was out to get. (Admittedly, Saddam Hussein has set one hell of a precedent for this kind of behaviour, which is why I’m not using him as a specific example.)

The result would have been immediate – and damning – worldwide coverage, and therein lies the irony of today’s photoshop. I hope you enjoy it.

Moving right along…

Let’s take a quick look at the tricky game of selling us the notion of transplanted democracy and selling to the Iraqis the exchange of one fist for another.

But not a real fist, because that simply wouldn’t do. No, it has to be phantom fist. (“Phantom fist have strength of ten tigers.” – Old Jungle Saying)

Boston Globe – Myth of Iraq’s premier as ruthless leader showcases nation in turmoil: To Iraqis hurting from months of violence and chaos, interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has developed the aura of a tough, perhaps brutal, leader. Surprisingly, that image has endeared him to many Iraqis, accustomed to strongman rule.

In this same article Allawi is quoted denying the rumour and claiming that his enemies were the source.

So what’s it to be? And where is the truth? Or even the pursuit of it, for that matter…?

So far all this has revealed is an entirely different myth – the myth of a free/liberal media.

UPDATE – Axis of Logic – Iraqi prime minister accused of murdering detainees: The newspapers appear to have had the story for several weeks. They finally decided to publish the article on July 17, noting that “the failure by Iraqi and US officialdom to mount convincing denials makes the witness accounts impossible to ignore”…. Far from denouncing the Bush administration for establishing a US-protected police-state in Iraq, commentary over the past week in the New York Times and the Washington Post has lauded Allawi for his reputation for sadism and ruthlessness. It is part of a shift that is underway: previous claims that the US occupation was to establish democracy are being jettisoned in favor of increasingly open support for the “strongman” Allawi and his methods.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Date
20040721
Tony Blair
Time
09:50
Guardian – Blair survives Commons Iraq debate unscathed: Though Mr Blair again admitted errors to a packed house, the only concession he made before a notably lacklustre attack by Michael Howard was to promise to curb his informal “government by sofa” style of running No 10 and the handling of MI6 assessments.

So, let’s summarise what we’ve learned over the last week or so:

- Everybody was responsible, but no-one is to blame.

- Saddam is a gone, and that’s a good thing.

- Thousands of people were sent to their deaths. And the decision was made in an informal ‘coffee morning’ atmosphere.

- Saddam is a gone, and that’s a good thing.

- Blair may have presented compromised and shaky intelligence as evidence, but he most definitely did not mislead the House or the people.

- Saddam is a gone, and that’s a good thing.

- That Campbell fellow? Well, we had a quick look at some written evidence…

- Saddam is a gone, and that’s a good thing.

And – surprise, surprise – the Tories have let us down once again in their role as opposition.

Guardian – Tory MPs fear Howard is starting to panic

Independent – Howard’s failure to hit home plunges Tories into despair

Last night also saw what I think was the first instance of a Tory standing up and pointing out that IDS was in charge at the time.

Ho-hum. What a joyful and curious world we live in. Howard looks likely to lose his job over this – but not Blair.

Blair has the media machine, y’see. And today his media flagship not only asserts that he has seen his critics off, but also lets loose with a none-too-subtle message for Gordon Brown, dressed up as praise. Gordon is “one of the greatest Chancellors in our history,” he and Tony make a great team. And it would be a shame if that team were broken up. Got the message, Gordon?

Back to Howard…

BBC – Blair buffeted by Iraq fallout: The prime minister’s credibility was at stake during the debate, he stressed. But he then failed to follow through and successfully challenge Mr Blair’s credibility.

(sings)

Gut-less… guuuut-lesssss…!

But Blair is no less a pussy. This morning we finally saw a glimmer of tru