Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: March 2009

31 March 2009

The Bush Administration in a nutshell

This cartoon neatly captures the legacy of the Worst President Ever

Here's a couple of stories that illustrate just how stupid and just how brutal the Bush Administration was:

Buy High, Sell Low

The federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation decided to shift its holdings from bonds to equities, just about the time the bottom fell out of the stock market.

A finance professor who had previously advised the agency not to make the switch away from bonds compared the move to an insurance company writing policies to cover hurricane damage and then investing the premiums in beachfront property.

Bush was able to do for the PBGC what he tried and failed to do for Social Security.

Bush's Torture Rationale Debunked

Abu Zubaida was the alpha and omega of the Bush administration's argument for torture.

That's why Sunday's front-page Washington Post story by Peter Finn and Joby Warrick is such a blow to the last remaining torture apologists.

Finn and Warrick reported that "not a single significant plot was foiled" as a result of Zubaida's brutal treatment -- and that, quite to the contrary, his false confessions "triggered a series of alerts and sent hundreds of CIA and FBI investigators scurrying in pursuit of phantoms."

Zubaida was the first detainee to be tortured at the direct instruction of the White House. Then he was President George W. Bush's Exhibit A in defense of the "enhanced interrogation" procedures that constituted torture. And he continues to be held up as a justification for torture by its most ardent defenders.

But as author Ron Suskind reported almost three years ago -- and as The Post now confirms -- almost all the key assertions the Bush administration made about Zubaida were wrong.

Zubaida wasn't a major al Qaeda figure. He wasn't holding back critical information. His torture didn't produce valuable intelligence -- and it certainly didn't save lives.

Betray every ideal that America was supposed to stand for, and stupidly flush billions of dollars down the toilet. All in pursuit of long-debunked theories of economics and interrogation techniques that were based on the sort of simplistic reasoning that appeals to children. Greater risk brings greater reward. Inflict enough pain, and you'll get to the truth.

It's as if we were governed for eight years by teenagers who were raised on a steady diet of "
24" and "Wall Street". Except that I think the teenagers might have gotten better results for their efforts.

(cross posted at appletree)

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30 March 2009

Jaqui Smith : Should she simply "sod off" as soon as poss?

Pictured above: Jacqui Smith, British Home Secretary in Gordon Brown's government.


To many voters she's a minister "on the take" who is not satisfied with a fat salary, a chauffeur and two homes but also claims more by employing her husband, calling her family home her second home and submitting bills for porn films.

The gap between the elected and those who elect them has rarely been wider. It is in all our interests that that gap is closed.

Read the rest of an ultra bright Brit bloke's excellent entry ~~ at the popular blog of Nick Robinson, BBC political editor.

Incidentally, for our none-Brit readers who may not be too familiar with this particular Brit bloke's face, here's a reminder of a couple of his 'close encounters' with the ogre aka George W. Bush, which most of the world witnessed ~ and probably enjoyed, as immensely as ourselves.


Robinson got a very hard stare from George W. Bush when he asked him if he was in denial about the situation in Iraq (since the most Bush had said about the situation was that the increase in attacks was "unsettling"). Bush replied "It's bad in Iraq. Does that help?".

Nick Robinson had another run in with George Bush. At a press conference featuring Bush and Gordon Brown, Bush said to Robinson "you should cover up your bald head, its getting hot".

As Bush walked away Robinson replied "Didn't know you cared", to which the President said "I don't".

Learn a little more regarding Nick.

Almost as an afterthought we realised that even some Brits may not yet be fully aware of the latest 'accusations of fiddling' affair that Smith's become embroiled in.

So, see the latest sad & sorry Smith story.

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27 March 2009

Canada, Jason Kenney and George Galloway : the ongoing 'banning' saga...

Seen and/or heard much about brave British MP, George Galloway being "banned" by Canada?

Courtesy a sweaty, stinking lying, self serving, duplicitous, piece of political slime, christened Jason Kenney?

Interested at all in telling the truth? The type of truth that so often hurts certain so-called 'elected representatives' of 'we the people'?

Interested in integrity? Democracy? Honesty? Free speech? Freedom of movement? Freedom from harassment and/or hindrance?

If so, you absolutely MUST go to
Gert's place ...

... then, to see the unarguably unmissable, second 'installment' of this sad & sorry saga, slip straight across here.

Incidentally, if you're a British Passport holder yourself, we strongly suggest seeing precisely what it says inside its front cover.

On second thoughts, being the big hearted old Brits that we are, we'll save you some of your precious time.

Her Britannic Majesty's
Secretary of State

Requests and requires in the
Name of Her Majesty
all those whom it may concern to allow
the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance,
and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.
Incidentally, don't just take our word for it ; check it out yourself when you next get the chance to.

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25 March 2009

Britain's 'Big Brother' grows bigger and uglier, by the bloody day


What's the difference between Brown, Blair, Obama, Bush and Orwell's Big (1984) Brother?


Not a lot.


Phone companies are already required to store details of all calls, such as the time and date, location and who made them, for 12 months for possible use in criminal investigations or court cases.

An EU directive ordering data on internet traffic to be stored in a similar way is due to come into effect in the UK on Monday, 6 April.

The government is also considering proposals to store all communications data on a single database, which may be run by a private company.


So what else is new?

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20 March 2009

The Gitmo Clusterf***

Detainee abuse at Guantanamo continues to shame America

Lawrence B. Wilkerson, chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, has finally admitted the obvious. Many of the detainees at Guantanamo are innocent:

Wilkerson, who first made the assertions in an Internet posting on Tuesday, told the AP he learned from briefings and by communicating with military commanders that the U.S. soon realized many Guantanamo detainees were innocent but nevertheless held them in hopes they could provide information for a "mosaic" of intelligence.

"It did not matter if a detainee were innocent. Indeed, because he lived in Afghanistan and was captured on or near the battle area, he must know something of importance," Wilkerson wrote in the blog. He said intelligence analysts hoped to gather "sufficient information about a village, a region, or a group of individuals, that dots could be connected and terrorists or their plots could be identified."

In his posting for The Washington Note blog, Wilkerson wrote that "U.S. leadership became aware of this lack of proper vetting very early on and, thus, of the reality that many of the detainees were innocent of any substantial wrongdoing, had little intelligence value, and should be immediately released."

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney fought efforts to address the situation, Wilkerson said, because "to have admitted this reality would have been a black mark on their leadership."

How could this have happened? Apparently, the incompetence that marked the early stages of our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan extended to the taking of prisoners:

Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, said vetting on the battlefield during the early stages of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan was incompetent with no meaningful attempt to discriminate "who we were transporting to Cuba for detention and interrogation."

Wilkerson told the AP in a telephone interview that many detainees "clearly had no connection to al-Qaida and the Taliban and were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Pakistanis turned many over for $5,000 a head."

Some 800 men have been held at Guantanamo since the prison opened in January 2002, and 240 remain. Wilkerson said two dozen are terrorists, including confessed Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was transferred to Guantanamo from CIA custody in September 2006.

To summarize, only about 3% of those who have been held at Guantanamo (and only 10% of those still being held) are terrorists. And most of the information that was coerced from the innocent detainees was probably false and counterproductive.

This is no minor crime. Remember that Bush and his cronies wanted to hold these men (
and boys) without charge for the duration of the war on terror. In other words, Bush wanted to lock up hundreds of innocent men for life, just to avoid trials that would demonstrate that many had been abused and most were innocent.

As one might expect, many of those in the Department of Defense who are responsible for this sorry state of affairs have been pushing back. The most recent attempt to deflect attention from their crimes came in the form of a report which alleged that 62 former Gitmo detainees later "returned to the battlefield" to fight American troops. Predictably, the report was
quickly debunked.

It's time for the Obama administration to release or charge all detainees in American custody. Obama seems to be on the right track so far, announcing plans to
release more detainees from Guantanamo and continuing a program, initiated by the Bush administration, to release detainees held in Iraq. But that doesn't go nearly far enough. If the US is to stand once again for justice, then the Obama administration has to initiate an aggressive investigation to find out who was responsible for imprisoning innocent men for years at a time, who gave the orders to torture the detainees, and who tried to cover up these crimes.


Just last week, terrorists in Afghanistan
assassinated a former detainee who had been released when it was determined that he was not a terrorist. Jawed Ahmad, 23, had worked as a journalist for Canadian media outlets and as a translator for American military forces, which is probably the reason he was killed.

Meanwhile, the glorious democratic government that the US is propping up in Kabul sentenced a journalism student to 20 years in prison for the crime of blasphemy. Parwez Kambakhsh had asked questions about women's rights during class. Earlier, Kambakhsh had been sentenced to death, but Afghanistan's Supreme Court decided that the lesser sentence was more appropriate. Kambakhsh was not represented by a lawyer during his trial.

I wonder whether the Afghan justice system was modeled after Bush's detainee policy, or if Bush modeled his detainee policy after Afghanistan's justice system.

(cross posted at appletree)

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19 March 2009

Long live Austria's abominal animal, Josef Fritzle : Really, really, really, long, long, long

Short and (bitter) sweet post today.

So, here's all we're saying regarding such a super-sickening subject as this is ~~ apart from "Hip, hip, hooray!"

If ever anyone deserved to serve out a (long, long, long) life sentence, without a shadow of a doubt
it must surely be this absolute 'abomination' incarnate, who, for a couple of dozen years or so, has been masquerading as a 'man' in Austria.

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17 March 2009

George Galloway's recent heroic humanitarian cross country 'Gaza-Aid' convoy accomplishment

Abject apologies at the outset for not posting this piece somewhat sooner but ... oh never mind, who the hell's interested our own recent personal problems? Especially, since, as this old Jewish gent named Albert Einstein once so famously said : "Everything is relative."

( Btw, don't ask, 'coz we won't tell. )

Anyway, remember good old
George Galloway?

You know - the man who so many of his lousy lying critics love to hate? Even though the majority of them aren't fit to lick his boots.

The fact is that if we weren't such serially, seriously avowed agnostics we'd almost certainly be cheering & chanting out aloud. You know the sort of thing(s) we mean. Something such as :God bless George Galloway.

How's this for an honestly heroic accomplishment of almost epic proportions, by such an elderly (and so often slandered) individual of true integrity?

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13 March 2009

Real American, Charles Freeman, asks why real Americans aren't allowed to be just real Americans any more

Scarcely have we seen 'straight talk' statements such as this spoken by an American : a 'real' American that is.

(Incidentally, huge heads-up hat-tip to fellow Brit blogger
'Gert ' for this.)

First, just some small snippets from Charles Freeman's recent personal statement:

The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.

There is a special irony in having been accused of improper regard for the opinions of foreign governments and societies by a group so clearly intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government – in this case, the government of Israel. I believe that the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics has allowed that faction to adopt and sustain policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel. It is not permitted for anyone in the United States to say so. This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.

The outrageous agitation that followed the leak of my pending appointment will be seen by many to raise serious questions about whether the Obama administration will be able to make its own decisions about the Middle East and related issues. I regret that my willingness to serve the new administration has ended by casting doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government.

Now read Chas Freeman's full personal statement.

Now, be your very own court, prosecutor, defender, jury and judge.

We realise of course that's it's simply stupidity of the silliest sort to even venture to suggest that anyone should ever act as one's own executioner, as well : nevertheless .....

This 'real' old Brit's just saying.....

*(Cross posted across at 'appletree')

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09 March 2009

Special message promise to cowardly, cretinous, muderous 'Real IRA' terrorist retards ...

We're they're 'you know who' is going to get you cowardly, cretinous, murderous (already brain dead), bastards for this.

You'd better believe us.

This time, absolutely everyone is determined to. Everyone. Everywhere.

Nobody's with you, or for you, or going to help hide you.

Nobody. Nowhere. No how. No way.

Never. Ever.

Not In the Republic. Not in Ulster. Not in England. Not in Scotland. Not in Wales. Nor anywhere else, either.

Nope, you shit-head, scum-bag, no-marks ~~ not anywhere at all.

And you know it. And we know you're already pooing your pants, aren't you?

Anyway, suckers, see ya!

Wouldn't wanna be ya!

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Israeli soldiers shoot unarmed Palestinian farmer

Check out this video.

Israeli soldiers shot 20 year old Mohammad al-Breem, despite knowing that he was an unarmed farmer. The incident took place on February 18, a couple of hundred yards from the "green line", which means it was well withing Palestinian territory.

This is not an isolated incident. Have a look at a similar incident that took place at the same location on Feb. 12:

Human rights workers began videotaping harvests after a 27 year old farmer was killed by Israeli soldiers on Jan. 27.

The video camera is potentially the most powerful weapon that the Palestinians have against oppression, but it will only work if the American news networks start airing the footage and letting their viewers know what's really going on in the occupied territories. And if the video camera proves ineffective, how can we justifiably condemn the Palestinian extremist groups when they resort to more extreme methods? Wouldn't any of us consider violence if peaceful means of resistance failed to stop an occupying army from randomly shooting our families and neighbors?

(cross posted at appletree)

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07 March 2009

A bit about Turkey, Clinton, Obama, Europe and more

We heard that Hillary Clinton took a trip to (our very own 'home from home'), Turkey today ~ (Saturday 8th March 2009).

Also, we see that her boss, US President Barak Obama, is soon set to follow in her footsteps and take the exact same trip.

We always find all this sort of stuff so very interesting : so very, very interesting.

So much so, that we wouldn't, for the world, want to miss a single subsequent episode of this latest international "series".

And incidentally, sorry if you don't much care for our choice of portraits. The truth is that as (admittedly amateur), avid photographers ourselves, sometimes we just get soooo sick & tired of seeing so much photo-press "saccharine".

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05 March 2009

British 'Special Forces' active again in Northern Ireland ?


We honestly can't decide whether we've got good news or bad news today.

Moreover, nor can we decide whether it's genuine "leaked" type "learned by the BBC" information -- or purposely (professionally), planted Machiavellian mischievous misinformation -- and/or diabolically deliberate disinformation.

Read this remarkably surprising report and see (and say), what you think.

We say again, hmmmmm.

Don't you just hate being damned well undecided?

*(Cross posted across at 'appletree')

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02 March 2009

The fascist face of US policing : Kings County Seattle-style


Watch this and weep.

Then ruddy rage!

The young girl is 15 years old.

The 'so called' policeman is a 'so called' sheriff's deputy.

So, now you've seen the film, read this whole sorry story ~ and much more of the same sort of shocking shit.

Home of the brave? Land of the free?

Oh, yeah. Sure

And we're a pair of Protestant Popes.

*(Cross posted across at 'appletree')

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