dimanche 31 août 2008

No rest for the imperialist

A senior British officer told The Sunday Telegraph: "We took over 3,500 terrorists off the streets of Baghdad in around 18 months. "You could say it was a very successful period. But the butcher's bill was high. The attrition rate is equivalent to that experienced by the SAS during the Malayan insurgency 50 years ago.

samedi 30 août 2008

Britain is full

...of racists, see forum discussion below. But that was in The Sun. This load of lazy garbage appears in the left leaning Observer. Andrew Anthony reckons, er, Britain is full. Sorry no room at the Inn. It's predictable and we've heard it all before. In the South, especially, the roads are clogged, services are overstretched and "and the sense of friction, the tension of reduced personal space, is often palpable."

Especially if its full of dickheads like Anthony. This kind of stuff is simple to refute and should not have been written really. One can only surmise that the editorial board has asked for a right wing piece of drivel to drum up flagging sales and depress whatever leftwing people still read the dreadful rag even further. Or that such spout comes naturally to the toady hacks who scribble for the wretched paper.

The Recession Man cometh

Darling. Something has to be said about that as a surname, but later. Christmas, perhaps, when we've all got more time on our hands, what with the recession panning out worse than our dear leaders had anticipated and another million or so are down the social. When they said "The fundamentals of the UKplc economy are sound.", back in Spring, they really didn't know what they were talking about, see. Sorry Darling. Not that we believed them at the time, of course, but even so, Darling, as Chancellor you would expect him to have a bit more foresight than the averge punter. But no. "Britain is facing "arguably the worst" economic downturn in 60 years which will be "more profound and long-lasting" than people [i.e. him and his team of fuckwits] had expected, Alistair Darling, the chancellor, tells the Guardian today.
In the government's gravest assessment of the economy , which follows a warning from a Bank of England policymaker that 2 million people could be out of work by Christmas, Darling admits he had no idea how serious the credit crunch would become. "

He had "no idea". No idea, none at all? Just poked his snout out of the window, sniffed the breeze, shrugged and announced 'Nah, it'll all blow over.' Well done Darling!

Apply the same logic to a coach driver, ["I had no idea how serious falling asleep at the wheel could be."] a doctor [" Oh, That lump! Christ now I see what you mean. How long's it been now?"] a teacher ["You know, I had no idea getting the wrong curriculum would be, like, so disasterous!"] and face it, they'd all be down the road.

Since he freely admits he has no idea what's going on with or what to do about the big it, we need to be sceptical about even his 'grave' assessment. That is, when they say things'll pick up by 2010, he means the recession'll drag on for years.

Even so, the cost of labour has to be held down so as to stop inflation going up. Funny how profits get bigger and bigger all the time though and no one says they cause inflation. The poor get poorer - only quicker under Labour.

Thank you Darling.

jeudi 28 août 2008

Get stuffed. . .

The leader of the Assocciation of Obese Individuals today launched a savage attack on 'political extremism'. He said "In this day and age, nobody should belong to a group so divorced from society as the Conservative Party. There is no excuse these days for being a public masturbator. They must be taught the error of their ways." Fat head Cameron was too much of an arse to respond.

mercredi 27 août 2008

A step closer

Fascism was a particular political movement in a specific historical context, of course. But even so...."Hispanic workers were segregated from the other plant employees; US citizens were provided blue armbands to separate them from the immigrants. "

On BFM TV a rigorously up-beat Sarko cheer along French news channel, the event was represented as a humanitarian rescue by the ICE squads.

mardi 26 août 2008


Don DeLillo is one of the best contemporary novelists around. This superbly written quote from Falling Man his new novel about 9/11,

“The world was this as well, figures in windows a thousand feet up, dropping into free space, and the stink of fuel fire, and the steady rip of sirens in the air. The noise lay everywhere they ran, stratified sound collecting around them, and he walked away from it and into it at the same time.”

Forum Discussion topic of the week- US Afghanistan massacre

Parthian Shot - "more bombing needed till total submission is obtained ,whatever the cost. the taliban regime are finished .."

danmaspethsny 24/08/2008 17:50:06 Re:American terrorists kill 76 "Way to go AMERICA Really though i'm upset by this, There should be a few zero's after the 76."

Northernerdownsouth 24/08/2008 21:01:40 Re:American terrorists kill 76 -->
Re:American terrorists kill 76
"Kapital,[for it is I -REL] Ooh getting angry now. You don't get indignant about deaths caused by anyone but America. You sit around waiting for the Americans to kill people and get off on it and think "Ooh I can slag off America", you might make more sense if you took your p.enis out of your hand and typed with two hands instead of one. Bye for now hypocrite."

Parthian Shot 24/08/2008 21:06:53 Re:American terrorists kill 76 -->
Re:American terrorists kill 76
"carpet bomb till submission is complete !"

Shehraz 24/08/2008 21:23:29 Re:American terrorists kill 76 -->
Re:American terrorists kill 76
"Dear Kapital Please note that Dan is a buffoon. Whenever the American or racist posters lose any argument or cannot provide a counter-argument, they bring out this Buffoon. The fact of the matter is, he should be treated with pity. His string masters, are the ones who have reduced his position to this level. He is just a knuckle dragging Neanderthal, who has escaped evolution, and the other posters exploit his obvious disadvantages to further their own cause, which is to promote racism and fascism. Peace"

Parthian Shot 24/08/2008 21:28:49 Re:American terrorists kill 76 -->
Re:American terrorists kill 76
"cant remember if ive mentioned that we should carpet bomb ,until complete submission is obtained"

HOB 666 - "24/08/2008 18:11:30 Re:American terrorists kill 76 -->
Re:American terrorists kill 76
"Kapital If the people in Afghanistan that you support were to win there would be far more incidents like this happening not to mention other human rights violations – that’s kind of the Taliban’s bag – but I doubt if we would hear you complain then so your rant here is made moot by your own prejudice. If the US were TARGETING civilians I can assure you by this time there would only be a handful left and that’s NOT the case is it? "

KWUK 24/08/2008 18:44:04 Re:American terrorists kill 76 -->
Re:American terrorists kill 76
"Kapital If you like these places so much and are so anti West go live somewhere else and try making use of your freedom of speech or anything else for that matter, a freedom which allows you to post the rubbish that you do now. Remember Lord Haw Haw who appeared during WW2."

and so on

lundi 25 août 2008

French PS plus irony

The French socialist party (only one of those adjectives applies at the moment), hasn't sent a delegate to the Democrat convention in Denver. Presumably, it's because Obama is too left wing for them. . .

dimanche 24 août 2008

American aggression

Here at REL we are "Neither Washington nor Moscow" as the old SWP rag used to have it. Funnily enough, after the geo-political earthquake of the last month centred in Georgia, that slogan has more resonance now than it ever had.

After the Georgian rout, is there another arms race emerging from the ruins? Well, the Russian action in the Caucauses has to be seen against in the context of increased American military dominance in the rest of the world. It is easy to play the anti-American card at this point. But a country's foreign policy is distinct from the country and people itself. After all, one can think Bush is doing a fantastic job yet be prejudiced against Americans. For the record, I am the obverse of this position.

Thus the article by Mike Whitney struck me as being fair enough . It's a little too sympathetic to Putin at times but the US push into Eastyern Europe is a provocative move to which the Russians will be forced to respond to. The American explanation that the missile defence system (if it works which is doubtful) is to protect Europe against Iranian launched missiles is not meant to be taken seriously, of course. But a nuclear system that allows the US to obliterate Russia under a new international relation theory called 'compellence' cannot but provoke international instability and even outright conflict.

After the Georgian defeat, Bush one might have thought, would have approached things differently and toned things down. But he and his apparatchicks and his opinion formers are having none of it and keep up their aggressive bluster.

All it does is to make that criminal gangster Putin look good.


There will come a time very soon when even use of the word 'atheism' will be met with incredulity. Like the word for 'unbeliever in witches' in medieval times today. But Norman Geras thinks otherwise. He has turned into a contemporary soldier of the endarkenment since his earlier days of relatively left leaning days back in the 90's. Here he is lashing out at some rather mild arguments in favour of atheism by A.C. Grayling,

"Religion is a matter of choice in that, unlike race, age, gender or disability, you can change it, or not have it at all. True, most people's faith was driven into them when they were small children, and belief can be hard to shake off if your community will reject or hurt you for your apostasy. But it is still fundamentally voluntary. As such it should pay its own way and take its place in the queue along with everyone else." [A.C.Grayling]

There are contexts in which it is relevant to stress that a person's race, age, gender or disability are non-voluntary. But to call religious belief or the lack of it a matter of choice and voluntary is, at best, misleading. Matters of belief have to do with what a person thinks is true, and you can't just choose, or not, to think something true in the way that you can choose to take an afternoon stroll. The suggestion that if a person's beliefs turned out to be practically inconvenient in some way they could just change them is not a view worth taking seriously. So if religion should pay its own way, as it should, that's not why it should."

". . . is at best misleading"? This defence of irrationalism here is a major philosophical lapse for any philosopher. It is tied in with his defence of Israel. Religion matters see. If it doesn't, how could Geras' "defence" of Israel gain traction. Of course you can choose your religion. Geras' pious protection of inauthenticity rests on the terrible analogy he uses:- you chose to take an afternoon stroll. That choice (ignoring the question begging nature of the wider argument for the moment) is one minute choice in a wider pattern of living that could be called 'Healthy mind healthy body'. Obversely, deciding to ditch worn out beliefs such as those attached to religious noise, involves not going to a place of worship - and not 'changing inconvenient beliefs' (a stupid thing to say) - arguing against those who hold beliefs in metphysical constructions and pitting yourself against states that found themselves on God derived supremacy.

Geras should reread his philosophy primers - he's lost his touch.

Send no flowers

The odious rolexy fake Presidenté Sarko has been on French TV a lot recently. The deaths last Monday of ten French soldiers in Afghanistan had him preening himself in front of the cameras and in church (absurdly crossing himself in front of the altar like shit wouldn't melt in his twisted little gob) and lambasting reporters for daring to ask akward questions about the incident. Like, was it friendly fire that killed the soldiers (some, probably), why did re-enforcements take so long in coming (er, ne demander pas cette question svp).

Some of the troops' relatives refused to meet the tiny turd but no matter - this national week of mourning has been milked for all it was worth by the political class. (This is in no way disrespectful of this blogger to mention this. Any death in war, other than a stray bullet hitting Bush, Brown Sarko etc. cleanly between the eyes is a horrid base thing).

The country wide impostion of sanctimonious mourning stifles the impulse to criticise or ask questions. One feels that the journalists 'daring' to ask Turdko non-sentimental questions was, in fact, a set up. They were instructed to float this insolence to be seen to get a thorough slapping down as a message to the rest of the country.

The message being - this is how it is for the long haul. Permanent war perpetual mourning ask no questions. Shut le fuck up.

And of course, the comparison with the reaction to the deaths of 76 civilians in Afghansitan, a conflict, from this Summer on, whose consequences Sarkozy is now as responsible for as Bush and Blair, could not have been greater. The news, in effect, treated the whole matter with contempt. It flashed up a few times on the ticker at the bottom of the screen but drowned it out with all the soldiers' funeral coverage.

It has to be said, after all, that these were soldiers. Even given what was said above, they at least knew that they were in the front line. The civilians (nameless and relatively unmourned) didn't know what hit them or why. They were just people getting through the day.

Overhead right now, French air force jets screech overhead. The past years when they cruised by, it was a pretty harmless spectacle. Now it is sinister and dark.

Even in jest

. . . this kind of stuff is sick in the current context (see below). From the Observer C. Bennett, "As the golds have multiplied, it has been proposed that winning at sport can also - depending which expert you believe - restore national pride, reverse Scottish devolution, trounce political correctness, promote elitism, exalt women, justify private schools, banish obesity, revive the public's trust in public spending and glue society back together again (assuming it was broken in the first place). Following close study of his television, the mayor of London finds that the respect agenda is based on a myth of juvenile dysfunction bearing no relation to the exemplary 'courage and morals' seen in Beijing."

Airbrushed airstrike

It has been independently confirmed - here from Le Monde in France "Mais la police de la région a affirmé que quinze maisons ont été détruites dans les bombardements. "Soixante-seize personnes, tous des civils et pour la plupart des femmes et des enfants, ont été tuées", a assuré le ministère de l'intérieur dans un communiqué, qui détaille parmi les victimes 50 enfants de moins de 15 ans, 19 femmes et 7 hommes.
Saeed Sharif, membre d'un conseil local, a également indiqué que de nombreux civils sont morts. "La nuit dernière, plusieurs personnes assistaient à une lecture du Coran lorsque les Américains ont bombardé, a-t-il dit. Des dizaines de civils ont été tués."

[Basically this says that despite NATO denials, local police say that fifteen houses were destroyed in the bombardments and 76 people killed most of them women and children. A local dignitary said that a lot of people have been killed whilst attending a Quran lesson].

Yet in The Observer, New Labour wank sheet, there is not a single word of this story. Not a single mention. Instead there is some filler about energy policy, a American punk who died, how to make a perfect barbeque and the nudge nudge hint hint story about our brave team GB showing off its little shiny medals, will not be having a welcome home party due to 'health and safety' fears. We are supposed to infer that those dastardly terrorists are threatening our way of life again. After all, Team GB is like Armed Forces GB - it only gets success when doing things that involve sitting down.

Like in the cockpit of a plane locking on to some house full of fifteen year old kids.

Kundera noted that the struggle against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting (yes, and maybe I am forgetting the exact quote. . .). He wrote that in the time when Stalinist tanks drove in to Prague. There has been a lot of pixels wasted in the talk of Russian 'aggression' lately. Imagine the reaction if Russian bombers had killed 76 Georgians. . .would that story have been dropped so quickly as the massacre in Afghanistan? What a question.

Is this a false analogy? In this context no. We are being conditioned not to resist, not to react not even to remember properly. How long will these murdering psycopaths get away with it? As long as we let them, I guess . . .

samedi 23 août 2008

Plausible denial, Self-justification, move on

The routing is tediously predictable. People are killed (or not!). Mitigating circumstances are put forward (again, or not) then they say "it is only to be expected and stop being so naive for thinking these things don't happen. This is a war." before getting their embedded journos to tell us again that it's not a war but a security operation. The item becomes old news.

This is how the MSM drowns horror stories where its controlers are the main culprits. The recent murders in Afghanistan of 76 (?) civilians is following the same road map. First the story appears in inverted commas. True, the region where the collateral bombing victims were killed is a long way from here but even so, the degree of scepticism is still quite high. The story is catastrophic. 2005, 52 people died in London on the July 7th explosions. It shook the country to its core. The 'culprtis' were done and dusted within days - "It's them muslims." No inverted commas to be seen. This mass death in the west of Afghanistan, is of a similar order but already the story has started to slip down the charts, and just a day after it came out.

The story nevertheless, heads Al Jazeera/English for the afternoon, where we see the secong leg of the media management. Make no mistake, this is a real shocker of a story. And no '. . . if it's true.' equivocation. Not to believe the Afghan authority and by-stander accounts here is to fall immediately into the MSM trap of 'Softening the Blow'. We've all done it. Denied in full then let things slip bit by painful bit. Only there's no remorse on display from the Occupation moutpieces pushed forward to do their bit and read out press realeses and refuse to answer any further questions. These days, we find that they can't even ber bothered to remain consistent within the drivel they utter; Hence,

"The coalition denied killing civilians. It said 30 militants had been killed ...A spokesman for the defence ministry in Kabul said US special forces and Afghan troops had struck against a commander named Mullah Sidiq. "Twenty-five Taliban were killed, including Sidiq and another commander," said a spokesman General Zaher Azimi. "Five civilians were killed."

Maybe they don't really know what's going on ("every effort is made to prevent the injury or loss of innocent lives". or maybe they're so used to thinking they can baffle people with this double speed double think that they really just don't give a fuck. Yet, get passed that, since, - "plausible denial" -, it could be that they've killed 30 militants (and 'Hey ok some militant relatives but you know those fuckers had it coming sometime sooner or later.......). Or 30 resistance soldiers or freedom fighters however you want to define it.

It's all effect. It's a psychological operation that's as much part of the whole deal as the missiles themselves. This is a war on at least two fronts. The killing and the numbing, one might say. There are many who just don't believe this sort of stuff, of course. This, by now, is the only way to treat anything that our glorious leaders say on at least this subject. If they say 'it's not about oil' then it is. If they say 'This is a war for democratic values' - then this means we had better find out the real reason. If they say 'There were no civilians killed during this operation' - then you accept what the eye-witnesses say. After all, what have they got to believe - the evidence of their own eyes? And what have we got to believe, again? The distant sounding crackly voice of an army spokesmen and a photograph of somze old kalachnakovs - scary maybe in downtown Manchester, but out in the rocky wildness of Afghanistan, pretty much as common as cars.

Doubtless it has its desired effect on some of the people some of the time. You get lulled, can't really believe it, chain of command, geostationary satellites, integrity of purpose, smrat weapons, [yeh, sic] our boys. Time passes. The inverted commas get dropped though, later on. But once you've heard the truth plausibly denied, the truth itself becomes that bit easier to swallow. If I say 'Don't think of fried eggs', what do you unavoidably think of? When the incontrovertible evidence finally breaks through the circle of censorship placed around it, it appears as born out of the doubt surrounding its media inception. It is easier not to get shocked by it. What was once 'Denial and shock', in that order becomes 'Shock and denial'. But both are presented so as to minimise any viewer reaction.

If the story does not go away, (awkward questions, meetings, international outrage. . .) then the story passes over into the next stage. The tone is still distinctly psychopathic, in that inhumane things have been done, lied about, admitted begrudgingly under duress but are then furiously defended. No apologies of course. War means never having to say you're sorry. Here, the Sarkozies, Bushes Blairs steadfastly remind us that it is our troops who are fighting and that we must defend what they are doing come what may. You are with us or against us.

Later, the critics, having shot their bolt in the first flurry of words, are now made to look naïve. "We are fighting a ruthless terroroist enemy and neutralising them and regrettably [clutching onion] sometimes these things happen." There, the MSM can down tools, its task complete. The show moves on.

We know all this, but it needs repeating every now and then.

Earlier, the item, whatever it was again, didn't even make it to the 8 o'clock French news. Reminder here

vendredi 22 août 2008


Les violences ont redoublé d'intensité depuis près de deux ans malgré la présence de 70 000 soldats de deux forces multinationales, l'une de l'OTAN, l'autre sous commandement américain.

The horror, the horror

That preening idiot Martin Amis, semi-novelist and racist of this parish, once penned a poison essay called 'Horrorism'. In it he had a right go at Muslims writing, inter alia, that they had just better get used to abuse until they got their house in order. It was and is total filth - even the MI5 Behavioural Unit (what a sinister bunch of twats they sound btw) put forward a more nuanced view of yer average British terrorist. But no matter. You can't expect that much of this upper class cretin. Apart from a well written piece condemning the truly terrible crime just breaking in Afghanistan. Western occupiers - without doubt in a revenge attack for recent losses in the country - have bombed somewhere in western Afghanistan and killed 76 civilians, according to Afghani government sources.

The guardian primly notes that, "Civilian deaths in military operations have become an emotive issue among Afghans, many of whom feel international forces take too little care when launching air strikes, undermining support for their presence."

There is reams to be written about this incident - but that phrase! These foreigners you know, they're just SO emotional - no stiff upper lip for the sacrifices that have to be made in laying the foundations of civilisation.

We will wait a long time for any response from Amis and his blood drenched ilk.

[Rage. . .]

jeudi 21 août 2008

Sport, nationalism and war

Nationalists are moderately intellectualised football hooligans. Politicians enjoying wars, as they all do, are popular nationalists. Only in Gordon Brown's case, not that popular. Brown's war is the one he inherited from Blair of course and as unsurprisingly the PM has made one of those 'surprise' visits (that really surprise no one) to the battlefront in Afghanistan.

The war in Afghanistan, hitherto eclipsed by its sister conflict in Iraq, is not going at all well for the occupying forces. Resistance units have recently inflicted relatively heavy losses on western forces, most notably this week after an ambush left ten French soldiers dead and scores wounded. Three Polish occupiers have also been killed along with a Canadian and a Briton.
The war is 'justified' by threadbare talk from Paris, London and Washington as defending democracy, protecting 'our values' and so on, talk that nobody believes or is meant to believe. The British PM's rhetoric, though, has got so desperate that he has fallen back to using sporting metaphors for the occupation. It is rendolent of Major's sad talk of Englishness as being cricket, nuns of bikes and so on. Brown's time as PM is over but even so one would think his speeech writers would try a bit harder than this,

"Addressing around 300 troops who gathered in the 39C heat, he said: "You are the heroes of our country ... You are the frontline against the Taliban... What you are doing here prevents terrorism coming to the streets of Britain.
"This week we are celebrating the Olympics where we have had great success. People have been winning medals in areas where we have been breaking ground. But this week also I believe that our Olympic athletes and everybody else in our country will remember that you have showed exactly the same courage, professionalism and dedication. You make our country proud every day of the week, every week of the year."

To compare sport with occupying foreign countries is an intellectual failure of a thing to do. On one front, though, it is revealing in the sense that it shows precisely what the elites really think about the overblown sports day dragging on in Bejing atm. None of that spreading toleration and understanding htrough competitive but friendly sporting activities. No. This is about winning, supremacy and humiliating your opponents. One must win at all costs. It also reveals the elites' ideas about what war is - a great game vicariously played out by the untermenschen, but ultimately bestowing glory on them and their great nations. The league table for occupation has the US at the top and the correlation between that and the actual medal table is striking enough.

The Olympics is dead and was only artificially reanimated in the nineteenth centruy to generate jingoism and nationalism. The undead Brown playing homage to it and to the dead in Afghanistan is too necrophiliac a thought to carry on with.

French dead in Afghanistan

Ten French soldiers were killed by Afghan resistance fighters on Monday. The talking turd Sarkozy blabs some speel about 'War on Terror' and a battle for 'our values' during the rememberance ceremony.

He must embarass even Bush the arch chimp himself, who dropped all that toe cringing crap years ago.

In the dozens of such future ceremonies to come, Sarko'd better come out with something a lot more convincing. 20% of French people support his futile Afghan adventure - the rest look on in blank disgust.

Invisible strike

The unions in the UK have sold out the airport workers, but there's still a lot of strikes going on. In Le Monde there's the heartening story of a massive virtual general strike. Sure, these things are common in India, and that's why the Guardian and other media nozzles didn't report it (then again, why report all the other same old stuff over and over?) but imagine union workers in the west doing anything like this:

"Calcutta, capitale du Bengale-Occidental, habituée aux grèves générales, avait mercredi des allures de ville fantôme. Les commerces, les entreprises, les écoles ont été fermés, et les transports publics interrompus. Des groupes de syndicalistes ont patrouillé dans les rues pour vérifier que la grève était bien respectée.

Groups of trades unionists patrolling the streets enfocing the strike. Good move. Imagine the soft arsed British unions doing anything like that. They still pay good money to the fckng Labour Party!

mardi 19 août 2008

Inflated talk

"Writing in the Sun, Besley - known as one of the more hawkish members of the MPC, which sets interest rates - also warned workers against chasing higher wages to help prop up their living costs, which are rising as a result of spiralling fuel and food prices.
"Everyone wants to protect their living standard," he wrote. "But if everyone does it, prices will just go up again as businesses try to cover their higher costs. Then we'll all be back to square one, but with inflation still high. This spiral has to be nipped in the bud and that means having interest rates at a suitable level until the threat of higher inflation has passed."

Is there anyone out there who actually believes this sort of thing anypore? Wages have been forced down in real terms for years. There is never going to be a time when They say "OK, everyone time for a wage rise."

It's a zero sum game - and guess who's getting the zero. Surely, though, not for much longer?


You miss a few days news and a lot of interesting stuff happens. Bush is having a terrible time as the ramifications of the Georgian fiasco become apparent, Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae go broke and Washington's ally in Pakistan is booted out of power. Economically, militarily and politically the Empire is dissolving before our very eyes.

Alas, as the latest Marianne points out, the left is in such a state of disarray that it will fail to capitalise on the malaise. Still, that need not be a bad thing. The people before the old left parties.

samedi 16 août 2008

Larkin was half right

They fuck you up your off-spring
They mean to and they do.

vendredi 15 août 2008

On a lighter note

Away with the idea of being a killjoy - is the OLympics really about being joyous? - the American swimmer Phelps is being lauded in the Guardian and MSM generally for eating around six times the ordinary person eats. All this in order to swim. Swimming is a pleasant enough activity (in a pond or a river somewhere etc.) but reduced to speed, brutality and competiveness it is an odiously tedious spectacle. Also the ends, a little gold medal standing on a podium singing the national anthem, are futile.

Now, after taking that into consideration think of the food crisis currently affecting millions in the world. One person eats six times the normal amount of food - fthat is, 'normal' for the west - in order to splash about and feel good whilst millions go without food altogether.

Phelps is just one person, of course, but his pointless consumption is tasteless in the extreme but par for the course in the US and symbolic of its decadance and decline.

jeudi 14 août 2008

The politics of envy

Over at the ever excellent throughthescarydoor a disection of the recent post by Polly Toynbee at the Guardian blog (one can hardly call it a newspaper anymore after its recent performance during the spat between Russia and Georgia. . .) concerning the rich. The rich, will they always be with us? The article is well written and informative - unusual for something by the old new Labour hackette. Many things stand out - but one particularly unsupportable moment more than the others. Faced with criticism for their lack of social awareness, one of the rich list focus groups cries out "The Politics of envy!"

"Even when confronted with that evidence, [that 'The poor are hit hard by VAT and other indirect taxes: they spend relatively more on taxable goods and services.'] the bankers especially gave the crudest response, saying flatly that they contributed more in cash - denying the point of a progressive tax system, which is that higher earners pay a larger proportionate share.
"Politics of envy!" one lawyer exploded furiously. "I really object because what it does is take the whole emphasis and focus away into something that's totally irrelevant and won't help a poor person at all."

Yes, one thing the rich are all united on is that giving money to the poor just won't help them at all. ("They were contemptuous of anything that gave extra money directly to poorer people.")The general 'argument' though that any giving way on taxation redistributively so, would be a concession to the PoE, is usually presented with a flourish by supporters of the right and rich as an argument-ending blockbuster of a contribution.

It isn't of course. But it is to the type of social democracy still defended by Toynbee is. She ends her piece by reflecting that "They could not see that the pleasure they derived from possessions, prospects and doing well by their children is universal and that others deserve a share of that, too." This is to present political economy as an inevitable zero sum gain. The production of goods and services cannot be organised any other way other than it is now under actually exisiting 'toolate' capitalism.

We revolutionaries object to the very idea that ". . .others deserve a share of that too." It is not the divvying up of the ill-gotten gains that is the problem, but the means of their production that creates the anti-social divisions of class that Toynbee rightly feels uneasy about. It is not that we think society should just make the lives of the poor slightly better or more 'radically' swap the poor and the rich's places. It is to fundamentally attack the grounds on which the whole edifice stands.

And, of course, it is not 'envy' that motivates us. As if socialism were based soley on the resentment of some fat idiot having a gold plated yacht, sixty rolexes and a genital masseur or whatever.

It is grounded in a justifiable rage against the squandering of resources and lives that keeps their whole sordid system going. And that anger is growing and getting stronger and taking shape.

They are afraid and right to be, those rich bastards.

World Wide Web

One day

The only side is the international working class

There is lots more guff floating around about the disasterous Georgian adventure in Ossetia. The latest load of agitprop comes from the Guardian in an article quoting Georgian sources that those darned Ruskies are lying about ceasefires and are piling more troops into the area.
The background to the positions being taken is obvious enough. Those on the left are suspected, wrongly for the main part, of being Russian sypathisers. The quasi-argument going,

'You are left-wing. You support the ideas that inspired the Russian Revolution. You read subversive blogs called 'Lenin's Tomb'. Thus you have been seduced by Russian propoganda in the past. You are being seduced by Russian propaganda now. The claims by Moscow of 2000 dead are exaggerated. The Russians are like your Soviet comrades and just as bad. The tanks that rolled into Georgia are a ghostly repeat of those that trundled into Czechslovakia in '68. Therefore the US humanitarian aid is like that it gave Berlin back in '61 and is given to save the cherished principles of the West. If you criticise any aspect of this assisstance, you are anti-American and anti-simetic too.'

By and large that's the argument of comment pages, papers all over the continent and all the other media nozzles. Naturally it's all rubbish. Despite all else, faced with an "either/or" dichotomy - often the best response is to take the "neither" option. It's not that difficult to think outside the circle that some try to place around an argument. Washington is the centre of a brutal postmodern empire. Moscow, the centre of a smaller but no more aggressive state with wider geo-political ambitions. Georgia is a client state of the former. Under the cosh of all these countries' propaganda, economic rigour and police are working people. The main casualty in war is the working class. This relatively small conflict has seen off perhpas fifteen hundred people and left thousands of refugees. There is rarely a clear burden of blame in the outbreak of any conflict. Further, it is not worthwhile to develop argupments with something as flimsy and moralistic as 'blame' at its centre. Imperial-like countries, states that seek to extend their influence by creating energy corridors, friendly regimes and military bases will necessarily come into conflict with other governments doing the same. Millions of Professors of the Obvious have written piles of books on this type of story. We are not interested in their moral arguments. We want to know in whose interests wars were launched when and why then. Analysis is focused on the main acytors involved in war. The leaders, the ruling class(es) to which they belong, the armies and the people themselves.

Of course, the only people able to resolve the problems that lead to conflict in the first place, though, are the working people themselves.

All else, the lies, the sordid deals and phoney calls for peace are all rubble on the road.

mercredi 13 août 2008

Words fail

“Russia has invaded a sovereign neighboring state,” Bush declared Monday. “Such an action is unacceptable in the 21st century.”

mardi 12 août 2008

Stop the War

Good post .


From the Tomb- ". . .the real victims of Russia's attacks will be not only the civilians cut down by their bombs, but also the Saakashvili regime's opponents, who have repeatedly bore the brunt of the state's crackdown whenever there is a flare-up of rivalry with Russia. . ."

An ill wind

There is rarely an upside to a war. However, to compound their problems the people involved in the current conflaguration in the Caucasus have the shuffling gimp French President Sarkozy himself to contend with. He is sticking his guele in with Putin and scuttling about ineffectually in an attempt to halt the fighting. The only compensation from all this is that the toady runt will be around less in France making things worse here with all his unimplemantable reforms and attacks on the non-rich.

To save time, though, he might as well do what the Georgian President did and order tank and artillery salvos on his own recalsitrant poplace. . .

Third world bore

There was a lot of chatter in the blogiverse about how the disasterous Georgian offensive in Ossetia was the start of the third world war. It wasn't and isn't. This operation was a desperate diversionary option by the Georgian PM to try to bolster support for his ailing regime. It could have worked, like Thatcher's Malvinas adventure, but this gamble backfired horribly for Mikheil Saakashvili whose time as President will soon be at an end.

The Americans are powerless to do anything in the immediate region. There is a lot of noise about a huge US fleet heading for Iranian waters, but this is just a bluff. Geo-politics is in a state of practical paralysis as economic woes and military shortfalls make it impossible for sides to win decisive victories (witness the appalling Israeli 2006 incursion into Lebanon). The only power able to shift things along is the international working class of all countries. We have always known, though have tried to convince ourselves otherwise, that 'our leaders' have our interests at heart. It is now glaringly apparent that they, like the class they represent, are resentful and fearful of us and our potential power.

Just a microglimpse of the evidence for this.....some friends come to visit and ironically brandish a copy of the truly terrible 'Paris Match'. Inside a jaw droppingly bad taste interview with France's topcops and political puppet controllers. The talk, at first, is all about how rozzer is going to deal with auto-crime, theft and street muggings with more technology à la US police forensic shows (the home secretary did actually take them seriously). So far so dull. But there on the next page in bold quote "The Police's main fear and targets are cybercrime and the rise of the far left." The rise of the far left. ?

It is certain that the governments of all countries are united on this matter. Here, the term 'far left' is code, bien sûr, for anticipated widespread social unrest provoked by the brutal measures that are being and will be introduced to reduce working class living standards.

That will be the real third world war.

Empty seats at Olympics

Boredom is a universal ailment. Minority sports events are one of its many harbringers. So the news that there are swathes of empty seats at many of the remarkably boring events taking place in Bejing comes as no surprise.

lundi 11 août 2008

Moscow Rules. . .

Just because we're lefties over here at REL does not mean we are somehow 'pro-Russian'. After reading all the boooks 1917, the purges and the second world war, though, it is difficult to jump immediately on the anti-Russian bandwagon that is rolling in the media over the Ossetia question.

Take France 2 news last night. The Olympics (and surely the Georgian aggression last week was timed to perfection to coincide with the opening ceremony) and the war were the top stories. The news from the Olympics was that a Georgian judo player had lost in the first round. The explanation? Those dastardly Russians invading his country had kept him up all night with worry. The fact that he was rubbish might have had something to do with it, but that would have spoiled the propaganda effect presumably. Then on to a candle lit vigils outside the main Olympic building - held not for the Ossetian civilians killed in the Georgian attack, but for Georgian 'territorial integrity' , a candle 'SOS' message to urge the world to come to Georgia's aid ('Help we thought we could get away with this now it looks like we fckd up. Please send us some troops and stuff') and then a fully subjective report from the Georgian capital mainly about how everyone is feeling ok about the invasion. Throughout, the news gave the impression that it was Russian aggression that was at the root of this episode and that France would be condemning Moscow in stringent terms.

British media, same schpeel. Today's Guardian news story tags on the end of its latest hate piece that "Moscow says 2,000 civilians were killed and thousands made homeless when Georgia attacked South Ossetia last week in an attempt to bring the separatists to heel. Witness accounts suggest the death toll was far higher." with, after the bias in the rest of the article, the "Moscow says. . . " the tag at the start of the sentence acting as a bracing dose of scepticism to the Russian claims. No such doubt is expressed over Georgia's position of innocent victim in this terrible, tragic farce.

The Americans are in their element here, at once annoyingly self-righteous, belligerent and meddlesome. 'Self righteous' in their condemnation of the hallowed Goergian territorial sovereignty (a claim after Yugoslavia, Iraq etc. that bears no further examination for its sheer criminal hypocricy) 'belligerent' in that Cheney has made some threatening noises over the issue with clear intent to ramp up the crisis, and 'meddlesome' in the provocative intervention of flying the 2000 Gerogian troops currently stationed in Iraq. Russian jets and US transport planes in the same air-space - - what a good idea.

Clearly, socialists are on no one's 'side' in all this other than that of the working class - the class of people who end up paying the most for these Summer warfest media entertainment shows. But it is clear that the consistent western media bias in this putrid affair reveals a profound rivalry that has far more deeper roots than the cold war. In a heavily armed capitalist context amidst one of the worst economic crises of the last hundred years, one would be justified, at the moment, for feeling a little bit nervous. Arise ye masses from your slumber, indeed.

Market euphoria

There must be more than one leftie who was disappointed with last week's little flurry on Wall Street. The DJIA closed up about 600 points on the week. Analysts have all but given up hope as to the logic of the New York Exchange's ups and downs. Maybe more astute heads rule in Bejing, though, from where we hear, "China's main stock index tumbled more than 5 percent to a fresh 19-month low on Monday, hit by concern about slowing economic growth and rising producer price inflation, which threatens to squeeze corporate profit margins. "

Even the crisis has to experience its own moments of . . . crisis.

dimanche 10 août 2008

war talk

Guardian today: "President Bush's deputy national security adviser, James Jeffrey, warned Russia of a "significant long-term impact" on US-Russian relations if Moscow continued its disproportionate actions."

Firstly, who on earth is this guy to lecture anyone on the ethics of invading foreign countries?
Secondly, shouldn't there be inverted commas round the word 'disproportionate', or is the Guardian jetissoning all notions of 'objectivity' in this context?

Language and War

The tired truism that a particular philosophical concept is the first to bite the dust the moment war starts is as relevant as ever as the war between Georgia and Russia gets under way. The conflict will end very soon with the withdrawl of Georgian troops back to their original positions. Yet the reporting in the MSM is another lesson in how the state propaganda machines operate. Their goal, of course, is to propogate a particular interpretation of events, irrespective of the reality, present partial evidence that substantiates it, repeat and lie back in the conviction that its consumers will deduce the desired response.

The desired response here, evidently, is that a large proportion of the public interested in this type of event, will believe the Russians are being aggressive and savage and that the "territorial integrity" of Georgia is to be respected. [Forget what yhou think you remember about Yugoslavia for now].

First, in the all to familiar pattern, the 'facts' are presented in a leading way. That is, the viewer is influenced by the header of a story. The BBC's latest report has it that "Georgia 'calls Ossetia ceasefire' ". Immediately this language conjours up the impression of reasonableness and peaceful intention. It is the Georgians who are the peace seekers and Russia that is the obstacle, even though, if one thinks about it, a ceasefire has to be jointly announced. But there is no "for" in the headline. Simply calling a ceasefire is futile. Calling for a ceasefire another. The Observer's interpretation of events "Russia widens attacks as world pleads for peace in South Ossetia." is also as clear, if more strongly pronounced. It is Russia that is the intransigent aggressor. Further, the world does indeed 'plead for peace' but this part of the headline suggests that the onus is on Russia for that peace to happen. (Presumably by a 'humiliating withdrawl').

As these reports continue, it becomes ever clearer just on whose side these sources are. France Inter reports that altough Georgia has called a ceasefire, Georgian troops continue to fight. However, on the BBC we read that "Georgia says it has ordered a ceasefire in South Ossetia and offered to hold peace talks with Moscow. But Russia denied that exchanges of fire had stopped, and continued to bomb targets near Georgia's capital Tbilisi, including the airport, reports said. " (Please think) It is Russia that is continuing the bombing and bears responsibility for the continuation of the fighting.

The Observer's opening paragraph is more forthright in its disapprobation of Russian action, "Russian bombers and artillery yesterday widened their attack against Georgian forces with strikes against towns and military bases across the country in a dangerous escalation of the two-day-old war. [REL emphasis] as if Georgian action on Friday afternoon were of no consequence and were certainly not an escalation. The line is clear. Russia is still the long range threat, despite all that Glasnost thing and how well capitalism has freed the soviet hordes since 1989 that has since been consigned to the dustbin of PR history. "The new enemy has always been Russia", the headlines might as well have read for all the double think their stances involve.

And so on. And on and so boringly on goes the straight laced po faced slanting of reality in all the liberal press. We are being fattened for future conflicts and military actions - Gerogian, Russian and Britisher alike. As Nietzsche said, though, truth is an old woman - and its them too who cop for it pretty soon in this type of sordid conflict.

vendredi 8 août 2008

Fear the wrath of the poor

Good site over at http://le-poireau-rouge.blogspot.com/. One report is about the general strike in South Africa, which hasn't received any attention at all in the MSM. The country's own Mail and Guardian though, gives the heading "Fear the wrath of the poor" to its treatment of the worker action that paralysed South Africa earlier this week. The boss' representatives do their best to ridicule the stoppages, but their rhetoric is jaded and threadbeare. In fact the whole piece is biased.

The article is split into two halves. The attention given to the union action comes last and includes detials on the police presence, there to 'keep the peace'. This means that some economist's view point is given more immediacy than the strike of hundreds of thousands of working people. Thi is important because the people tend to pay more attention to the start of a piece of writing than then end. (Novels are different). Further the message of the start of an article influences the way the second section is interpreted. So far, so obvious. Here, the first ten paragraphs or so are taken up by the likes of Russell Lamberti, economic strategist at the Econometrix consultancy who blubs on about ""The unions are striking against something they can't control. Food and fuel prices are determined by global markets and not by policy. It's not a conspiracy against the poor.""
The first claim is false. Workers can control the means of production. The second is true but it is based in policy decisions. The third point is patently false. But no scepticism about these ideas is offered to the reader. Instead, the paper concentrates on a few burning tyres, the conclusions of travel company and police spokespeople and the timid demands of the conservative trades union movement. The people themselves were absent from the report, yet they are there in gigantic numbers. 93% strike action in some of South Africa's mines, a whole country on strike workers everywhere in the world gathering political strength.

Fear the wrath of the poor indeed. For We/they are very angry

Bread, circuses and war

The price of wheat, oil and other essential produce has declined over the last few days. One must not expect the crisis to be as predicatable at all. It has taken many long and intense negotiations between warring factions of the ruling elte to inject some relative stability into the world's careering economic system. It could be that the Olympic Games, that seem to have been with us long before they started, might provide the ferbrile poplaces temporary distraction, but the 'war' in the Caucauses is a major problem. It is one of those developments that is seemingly unconnected to the wider deteriorisation of international system, but just the kind of shock that generates dangerous and unpredictable events.

With a war in the near middle east, unresolved tensions between Iran and the US and a deep economic crisis - it's about time the latter day Lenins and Trotskies got their shyte together.

lundi 4 août 2008

Out of the mouths of beasts

The crisis is provoking more and more outbreaks of truth from the parasite class themselves. This from some insect atop a bust Australian bank on www.wsws.org, "NAB’s chief executive John Stewart, who resigned this week, blamed the deteriorating US housing market, saying in a television interview: “I think we are not at the bottom yet.” At a media briefing he commented: “Unfortunately, the behaviour of the housing market in the US leads us to believe that the worst-case scenario might not be too far away from the most likely scenario." [REL's emphasis].

Well put.

dimanche 3 août 2008

Blair's memo

Arch wanker Tony Blair has leaked a memo in which he accuses Brown's government of vacuity and drift and so on and of not being capable of winning the next election. The Observer notes, extraordinarily, that ". . .never before has Blair's anger and dismay at what has happened to his party been so brutally exposed."

How ridiculous, pompous and outrageous is that stumpy little twig of a sentence. There is a whole thesis waiting to be written on just that phrase. "...what has happened to the party - Blair's angry about it? "His" party? brutally exposed - what, only now??

Hopefully Mossad'll do for him in a fasle flag op.

vendredi 1 août 2008

How come....

How come the government is quiet about the price gouging hike of 35% gas price rise? When the unions stuck for a rise of a measly 5% or so, the government slapped them down with talk of the workers creating an inflationary price spiral, but when British Gas does something like this, the silence is deafening. The demonstration of support for business has been so strong for so long that, of course, it comes as no real surprise, but even so - to leave this unopposed reveals just how far Labour has sunk and how far it is from the interests of the people, so much so that some extra-Parliamentary response must surely be inevitable.