Sunday, May 31, 2009

David Cameron 'ready to repay suspect mortgage' | Mail Online

David Cameron last night pledged to repay thousands of pounds in expenses if his own 'fraudbusters' condemned his mortgage claims.

The Tory leader vowed to submit to the ruling of the party's internal scrutiny panel after questions were raised about his use of taxpayer-funded allowances.

He made the promise after being dragged personally into the 'snouts in the trough' MPs' expenses scandal.

It emerged that Mr Cameron paid off the remaining £75,000 of a mortgage on his London home using his own money in 2001, shortly after taking out a £350,000 mortgage on his large constituency home in Witney, Oxfordshire.

He used the second homes allowance to pay the interest on the new mortgage.

But mortgage experts say if he had kept the loan on his London home and borrowed £75,000 less on his second home, he would have saved taxpayers more than £22,000.

Mr Cameron has taken a tough line on MPs who have abused allowances - calling for the 'full force of the law' to be deployed against them.

He insisted his claims had been 'reasonable' but pledged to face the scrutiny panel like other Tory MPs.

He told Channel 4 News: 'I obviously will abide by anything the scrutiny panel that I've established and set up.

'My scrutiny panel is not like the House of Commons. It doesn't just go through and say, what were the rules at the time. It's actually trying to ask a deeper question, which is what is reasonable and what is right.'

In a statement earlier the Tories said taxpayers had not lost any money. It said: 'If he had paid £75,000 toward Oxon it would not have been cheaper for the taxpayer, as that mortgage is far higher than the amount he was able to claim for - particularly in 2001, when the amount you were able to claim for was much lower.'

But Labour MP John Mann - who has spearheaded calls for a clean-up of MPs' expenses - said: 'People will find it hard to believe that Mr Cameron's decision to arrange his finances so that all of his mortgage debt was on a property funded by parliamentary allowances meant no extra cost to the taxpayer, as compared to continuing to share the debt between two properties.

'It may be embarrassing for him to volunteer to go through his own scrutiny process, but simply appearing before an in-house panel that answers directly to him isn't going to convince anyone and wouldn't be good enough.'


David Cameron 'ready to repay suspect mortgage' | Mail Online
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BBC NEWS | Politics | Cameron backs MP 'sacking' powers

Conservative leader David Cameron is urging other party leaders to back a plan to allow voters to sack their MPs.

"If we cannot have an election now we should start looking at recall powers," he told BBC One's Politics Show.

He also defended his own expenses claims after stories suggested he could have saved taxpayers money by paying £75,000 off his second home mortgage.


BBC NEWS | Politics | Cameron backs MP 'sacking' powers

Cameron knows the economy will improve before the next election comes around and is desperate to force an election by any means during the worst period in the economy.  Cameron, who has not bothered to formulate policies he would follow as PM, most likely because he knows he never will be, seems to be in a kind of desperate bargaining to become Prime Minister by any means, short of telling the public precisely what he aims to do.

To make clear how all over the board this guy I did a Google news search on "Government of Thrift".  Some of you might remember this was the hot term a few weeks ago, Cameron massive plan for a Thacher like transformation of government.  At the time he and the party presented this as a epoc changing concept, an entirely new way of doing government which would impact each and every person in Britain.

Well sort of seems to have faded.  And I mean faded.  A Google News search on Cameron's revolutionary concept "Government of Thrift" carried out of June 1 showed the last reference to the term in news was one on May 29, before that was one on May 28th but that was fairly active.  Before that one was May 16th when the term was discussed by Scottish conservatives.

Cameron can introduce a radical new term intended to radically change the lives of everyone in the UK and then seem to lose interest in it.  And what if he becomes Prime Minister?  Will there be a "Government of Thrift" or not, what will it mean?

Oh but we already know, in the UK Tory means banker or pissed at the BNP for some reason.


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GOP senators tone down Sotomayor criticism - Capitol Hill- msnbc.com, Read the Sub Text

WASHINGTON - Republican senators on Sunday avoided joining those in the party using racially charged criticism against President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, underscoring the party's challenge in opposing the first Hispanic to be chosen for the nation's highest bench.

Appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor already faces scrutiny from conservative commentators and former officials over a 2001 remark that her experiences as a Latina would lead her to better decisions than a white man. Talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has called her a "racist" while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, saying a "Latina woman racist" is unsuitable for the court, has called for Sotomayor to withdraw her nomination.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican from Hispanic-heavy Texas, asked her colleagues to focus on Sotomayor's record instead of wading into a racially tinged debate.



GOP senators tone down Sotomayor criticism - Capitol Hill- msnbc.com

Read the subtext of the story: Senators in the GOP suddenly not afraid to contradict Rush.  Is this a change in GOP attitude to Rush, a growing GOP understanding that Rush is ruining them, a change in public attitude among Republicans or has Rush finally just gone too far for the GOP to follow.

The question, I think, comes down to siding with old white males with 10 years to live or new younger voters who are the fastest growing part of the population.  The GOP simply can not afford to repeat the mistake of the 1970s and 1980s with blacks and the 1990s with Asians now with Hispanics.  George W. Bush was even elevated to a President because of his support among Hispanics in Texas, supported that turned out to be an illusion as the Bush administration saw another minority group gutted by an increasingly racist right wing nationalism.
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Clock ticks on toward GM bankruptcy filing - Autos- msnbc.com

Clock ticks on toward GM bankruptcy filing - Autos- msnbc.com
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BBC NEWS | UK | Susan Boyle 'admitted to clinic'

BBC NEWS | UK | Susan Boyle 'admitted to clinic'

Britain's Got Talent's star Susan Boyle has been admitted to a private London clinic, it is being reported.

The Sun said the Scottish singer has been admitted to the Priory clinic with exhaustion a day after she was runner-up in ITV1 talent show final.

Police were called to a London hotel on Sunday at 1800 BST to doctors assessing a woman under the Mental Health Act, Scotland Yard confirmed.

That woman was taken voluntarily by ambulance to a clinic, they said.

At the request of doctors, police accompanied the ambulance.

The Priory Clinic said: "We can neither confirm nor deny the reports."

Dance group Diversity beat the West Lothian singer to be named the winner of the talent show on Saturday night in a final watched by an audience of 18 million.

On Sunday, it emerged Boyle was taking time off on the advice of a doctor.

Television company talkbackThames released a statement: "Following Saturday night's show, Susan is exhausted and emotionally drained.

"She has been seen by her private GP who supports her decision to take a few days out for rest and recovery."

"We offer her our ongoing support and wish her a speedy recovery."

The singer became an international singing sensation after first performing "I Dreamed A Dream" in the contest, a song she reprised for the final.

Her performances have attracted millions of hits on video-sharing websites and led to an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show.

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YouTube - Auto-Tune the News #4: spa regulation. serbians. sotomayor.



YouTube - Auto-Tune the News #4: spa regulation. serbians. sotomayor.
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YouTube - Auto-Tune the News #3: cuba. afghan friendship. 2-party woes.



YouTube - Auto-Tune the News #3: cuba. afghan friendship. 2-party woes.
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George Tiller Killed: Abortion Doctor Shot At Church

George Tiller Killed: Abortion Doctor Shot At Church
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Richard A. Clarke -- Cheney and Rice Remember 9/11. I Do, Too. - washingtonpost.com

Careful analysis could have replaced the impulse to break all the rules, even more so because the Sept. 11 attacks, though horrifying, should not have surprised senior officials. Cheney's admission that 9/11 caused him to reassess the threats to the nation only underscores how, for months, top officials had ignored warnings from the CIA and the NSC staff that urgent action was needed to preempt a major al-Qaeda attack.

Thus, when Bush's inner circle first really came to grips with the threat of terrorism, they did so in a state of shock -- a bad state in which to develop a coherent response. Fearful of new attacks, they authorized the most extreme measures available, without assessing whether they were really a good idea.
Richard A. Clarke -- Cheney and Rice Remember 9/11. I Do, Too. - washingtonpost.com
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Cheney's speech ignored some inconvenient truths | McClatchy

Cheney's speech ignored some inconvenient truths | McClatchy
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Robert Gibbs says it like it is on the British press



If anything he is being too kind

Native in London



Standing over the wild flowers we have let grow in place of grass in the yard I see a furry little bee flying from flower to flower. The bee makes me happy, since they have become rare in London and my little patch of flower may help a small hive to survive. I am like the native on the Discovery channel, watching his world collapse hoping to see the return of a species of grazing animal, or bird, or fish. Only I am an IT consultant living in London, desperately hoping the bees don't become extinct.

I am already in that city the native hunter feared being forced in to. But his vanishing nature has found me here.

Learn more about saving nature in London http://sustainableharingey.blogspot.com/
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Tragic, unwise: Conservative grandees turn on David Cameron over plans for European Union | Politics | The Guardian

On the eve of the European elections, the Tory leader stands accused of adopting a "rigid commitment to impotence" after he pledged to withdraw from the main centre-right grouping in the European parliament.
Tragic, unwise: Conservative grandees turn on David Cameron over plans for European Union | Politics | The Guardian
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A Promise to Be Ethical in an Era of Immorality - NYTimes.com

A Promise to Be Ethical in an Era of Immorality - NYTimes.com
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Sotomayor Pick Sparks Race Divide In GOP

Wow, these guys are getting obsessive about race. And rather open.

Sotomayor Pick Sparks Race Divide In GOP
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A Korean Invasion Blindsides the U.S. Army -- but in a Good Way - WSJ.com

A Korean Invasion Blindsides the U.S. Army -- but in a Good Way - WSJ.com
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Al Jazeera English - Americas - US insists on settlement freeze

Al Jazeera English - Americas - US insists on settlement freeze
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The gay teenage boy who was elected prom queen - Americas, World - The Independent

The gay teenage boy who was elected prom queen - Americas, World - The Independent
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George Monbiot: Kofi Annan and humanitarians wake up to the climate crisis that affects us all | Environment | guardian.co.uk

George Monbiot: Kofi Annan and humanitarians wake up to the climate crisis that affects us all | Environment | guardian.co.uk
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Exclusive: The unseen photographs that throw new light on the First World War - Europe, World - The Independent

Exclusive: The unseen photographs that throw new light on the First World War - Europe, World - The Independent
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Somalia: one week in hell – inside the city the world forgot | World news | The Guardian

A Ugandan officer in the presidential compound offered his own jaundiced assessment: "Look. The best thing the Somalis know how to do is to kill other Somalis."
Somalia: one week in hell – inside the city the world forgot | World news | The Guardian
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Pentagon Plans New Arm to Wage Wars in Cyberspace - NYTimes.com

Pentagon Plans New Arm to Wage Wars in Cyberspace - NYTimes.com
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Pentagon Plans New Arm to Wage Wars in Cyberspace - NYTimes.com

Pentagon Plans New Arm to Wage Wars in Cyberspace - NYTimes.com
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Hitler Kids



Are we suppose to feel sorry for these parents?
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Why Does Rush Limbaugh Not Call the NFL 'Socialist'

Today, thanks to Britain's deep recession, the league must spend its off-season grappling with falling ticket prices, ailing corporate sponsors and financially distressed owners. Unlike teams in the NFL, Premier League clubs are almost entirely unregulated: There is no salary cap, players are freely traded, and league administrators have no control over who buys and sells clubs. Given such wide latitude, some owners racked up big debts during the credit boom, both on buying the clubs themselves and recruiting expensive, on-field talent. Analysts fear the owners who spent big will now be whipsawed by the downturn and forced to make deep cuts.

Conservatives in America love to ramble on and on about 'Socialism' which they often equate with Europe and a 'European' way of doing things. Yet, as alluded to in the paragraph above, the most successful sports league in the US, possibly in the world, is the NFL. This is a league in which private owners submit almost every business decision to their fellow owners and to the league.

Teams share revenue, which ensures that at least some of the advantages of being in large media markets are spread to smaller market teams. Teams that finish last are given preferential treatment in the draft of college players, again to give them every chance to rise off the bottom and compete in the league.

In English football, on the other hand, not only are the teams free to do more or less as they please, but losing is punished severely: the bottom three teams at each level get demoted, cast down to a lower league. In such a system, the Chicago Cubs would be lucky to be in AA baseball.

Perhaps it is a stretch to use the term 'Socialist' to define the NFL. Despite the heavy regulation, the teams remain the private playthings of rich owners. But then, most of Europe is privately owned too. The 'Socialist' medicine delivered in the UK is delivered with the involvement of private contractors at nearly every level. Much of the public transport system, the national rail franchises in particular, is run by private corporations like Virgin.

Does the term 'Socialism' even mean anything any more or is it just Conservative-speak for 'Stuff I don't Like'?

English Soccer's Morning After - WSJ.com
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Inveterate Reader Meets Kindle - NYTimes.com

Inveterate Reader Meets Kindle - NYTimes.com
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Shock jocks: Voice of unreason - Americas, World - The Independent

Shock jocks: Voice of unreason - Americas, World - The Independent
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Bobby

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Japan: A spent technological force? - Features, Gadgets & Tech - The Independent

Look beyond the eye-catching market for gadgetry, says Fingleton, and Japan is still the world's leading technological player behind the scenes. Toshiba, for example, manufacturers the mini hard drive that powers the iPod, Japanese companies monopolize the production of semiconductor-grade silicon, and make much of the optical fiber and laser diodes that form the backbone of the internet; Nikon and Canon supply many of the optical machines that print lines on computer chips, and so on."

Anyone who thinks Japan is out of the game should look at trade statistics," advises Fingleton. "Japan's current account surplus last year totaled $211bn. That was nearly four times the total in 1989, the last year of the great Japanese boom. Japan has achieved this despite rapid growth by other East Asian nations." So down, but not out seems to be the message. Still, the country's corporations have no room for complacency. Falling profits will affect their ability to invest in R&D, and competition, especially from South Korea, is likely to intensify; Samsung has already stolen much of Sony's thunder. China, with about 10 times Japan's population, is an economic behemoth that will easily outpace its rival in the long term, outspending it in research and in trained scientists and engineers. "There is still an awful lot of stuff that Japan is doing technologically very well," says Allum. "But people are catching up."
Japan: A spent technological force? - Features, Gadgets & Tech - The Independent
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Prostitution ban: the Scandinavian experience | Society | The Guardian

Prostitution ban: the Scandinavian experience | Society | The Guardian
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White roofs and 'cool' cars - Steven Chu gives Prince Charles tips on tackling climate change | Environment | guardian.co.uk

White roofs and 'cool' cars - Steven Chu gives Prince Charles tips on tackling climate change | Environment | guardian.co.uk
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Monday, May 25, 2009

From Hands Across America to Kal Penn: The Evolution of Celebrtiy Activism | The Stimulist

From Hands Across America to Kal Penn: The Evolution of Celebrtiy Activism | The Stimulist

They may not have always been effective, but who can forget the epic celebrity charity stunts of the 1980s? “We Are the World,” anyone? How about Hands Across America? Twenty-three years ago today, an estimated 7 million people—including Oprah, Prince, and Barbara Streisand—formed a line across the country to raise money for the nation’s hungry and homeless. Despite the high turnout, the event was derided as a failure for raising just $20 million. (Many of the hand-holders neglected to fork over the required $10.)

The world hasn’t seen many events rivaling Hands’ ambition in recent years. The Katrina telethon is remembered solely for Kanye, and 2005’s Live 8 didn’t have much impact—aside from pitting its organizers against world leaders. Perhaps bowing to conservatives’ effective effort to link liberal candidates to the Hollywood left, most American stars have gone the George Clooney/Brangelina route and kept their actions relatively quiet.

But last month, the evolution of celebrity activism took another turn when Kal Penn—aka Kumar—accepted the associate director job in the White House Office of Public Liaison. While the path from actor to politician is well worn (see Ronald Reagan, Fred Thompson, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, just to name a few), Penn’s enlistment as a mid-level bureaucrat could mark the start of a new era of celeb engagement. According to the LA Times, others may follow his lead:


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Art, Authenticity, and Propoganda

The one conservative who would be waterboarded, it is torture

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcmiami.com/video.



View more news videos at: http://www.nbcmiami.com/video.


Well one thing this shows about waterboarding, it does make people tell the truth. Even people who likely have never told the truth once in public in their lives.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Op-Ed Columnist - Blue Double Cross - NYTimes.com

“We can do a lot better than a government-run health care system,” says a voice-over in one of the ads. To which the obvious response is, if that’s true, why don’t you? Why deny Americans the chance to reject government insurance if it’s really that bad?

For none of the reform proposals currently on the table would force people into a government-run insurance plan. At most they would offer Americans the choice of buying into such a plan.

And the goal of the insurers is to deny Americans that choice. They fear that many people would prefer a government plan to dealing with private insurance companies that, in the real world as opposed to the world of their ads, are more bureaucratic than any government agency, routinely deny clients their choice of doctor, and often refuse to pay for care.
Op-Ed Columnist - Blue Double Cross - NYTimes.com
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Porn Attack on YouTube

BBC NEWS | UK | Pornographic videos flood YouTube

Video-sharing website YouTube has removed hundreds of pornographic videos which were uploaded in what is believed to be a planned attack.

The material was uploaded under names of famous teenage celebrities such as Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers.

Many started with footage of children's videos before groups of adults performing graphic sex acts appeared on screen.

YouTube owner Google said it was aware and addressing the problem.

BBC NEWS | UK | Pornographic videos flood YouTube

BBC NEWS | UK | Pornographic videos flood YouTube

Video-sharing website YouTube has removed hundreds of pornographic videos which were uploaded in what is believed to be a planned attack.

The material was uploaded under names of famous teenage celebrities such as Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers.

Many started with footage of children's videos before groups of adults performing graphic sex acts appeared on screen.

YouTube owner Google said it was aware and addressing the problem.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Netanyahu Clashed With Obama, Congress On Trip

"A senior Israeli official who was present at the meetings defined them as 'a fight' and 'mutual arm-wrestling,' with Netanyahu trying to put an emphasis on the Iranian issue, and the members of Congress insisting on returning to the issue of the settlements. The senior official emphasized that there was full coordination between President Obama and the members of the Democratic majority in Congress. Netanyahu discovered yesterday how much Congress had changed, the senior official said. In 1996, Netanyahu recruited the Republican majority that existed in Congress against Clinton, the Democratic president. Today, this is impossible."
Netanyahu Clashed With Obama, Congress On Trip
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China at the crossroads: Young, gifted and red - the Communist party's quiet revolution | World news | guardian.co.uk

China at the crossroads: Young, gifted and red - the Communist party's quiet revolution | World news | guardian.co.uk
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Witch Hunts and Foul Potions Heighten Fear of Leader in Gambia - NYTimes.com

Witch Hunts and Foul Potions Heighten Fear of Leader in Gambia - NYTimes.com
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Krugman: US "Depressed Economy" Could Last 5 Years

Krugman: US "Depressed Economy" Could Last 5 Years
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MI5 'starved of funds' in run-up to July 7 attacks - Crime, UK - The Independent

MI5 'starved of funds' in run-up to July 7 attacks - Crime, UK - The Independent
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Monday, May 18, 2009

GOP Losses Span Nearly All Demographic Groups

The only subgroup in which the party saw a slight increase in support from 2001 to 2009 was frequent churchgoers.

The biggest declines, of roughly 10 percent, occurred among the college-educated, 18 to 29-year-olds, and Midwestern voters.

The turning point was 2005, after Hurricane Katrina and Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, when the party's support really started to free-fall, according to Gallup: "By the end of 2008, the party had its worst positioning against the Democrats in nearly two decades."
GOP Losses Span Nearly All Demographic Groups
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As the political consensus collapses, now all dissenters face suppression | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian

Our grossly unfair electoral system, which responds to the concerns of just a few thousand floating voters and shuts out the minor parties; the vicious crackdown on dissent within parliament by whips and spin doctors; the neoliberalism forced upon governments by corporate power and the Washington consensus; the terror of the tabloid press – all combine to create a political culture which cannot respond to altered realities without collapsing. What cannot be accommodated must be suppressed.

The police respond as all police forces do; protecting the incasts from the outcasts, keeping the barbarians from the gate. The philosophy of policing has not changed; they just become more violent as the citadel collapses.
As the political consensus collapses, now all dissenters face suppression | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian
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David Cameron has dealt well with expenses crisis, voters tell Guardian/ICM poll | Politics | guardian.co.uk

Labour's showing is its worst in a Guardian/ICM poll since July 2008, and it is also the Tories' worst performance in the poll this year. But the findings may demonstrate that most voters are still more concerned about the economy and other issues and regard the crisis besetting Westminster as a second-order issue.
David Cameron has dealt well with expenses crisis, voters tell Guardian/ICM poll | Politics | guardian.co.uk
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sabotage hits Britain's biggest cycle race - Home News, UK - The Independent

Sabotage hits Britain's biggest cycle race - Home News, UK - The Independent
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Tensions Stoked Between Iraqi Kurds and Sunnis - NYTimes.com

American officials have long feared a military conflict in the north, where Arabs and Kurds have competing claims to territory and have legions of trained men under arms. The struggle for power has also fueled the insurgency in the north, giving groups like Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia an opening to appear to back an Arab cause. And it comes as American combat troops are scheduled to withdraw from Iraqi cities by the end of June.
Tensions Stoked Between Iraqi Kurds and Sunnis - NYTimes.com
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AND HE SHALL BE JUDGED: GQ Features on men.style.com

Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld has always answered his detractors by claiming that history will one day judge him kindly. But as he waits for that day, a new group of critics—his administration peers—are suddenly speaking out for the first time. What they’re saying? It isn’t pretty.
AND HE SHALL BE JUDGED: GQ Features on men.style.com
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Pakistan Is Rapidly Adding Nuclear Arms, U.S. Says - NYTimes.com

Pakistan Is Rapidly Adding Nuclear Arms, U.S. Says - NYTimes.com
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Op-Ed Columnist - Obama Can’t Turn the Page on Bush - NYTimes.com

Both Dick Cheney, hoping to prove that torture “worked,” and Nancy Pelosi, fending off accusations of hypocrisy on torture, have now asked for classified C.I.A. documents to be made public. When a duo this unlikely, however inadvertently, is on the same side of an issue, the wave is rising too fast for any White House to control. Court cases, including appeals by the “bad apples” made scapegoats for Abu Ghraib, will yank more secrets into the daylight and enlist more anxious past and present officials into the Cheney-Pelosi demands for disclosure.
Op-Ed Columnist - Obama Can’t Turn the Page on Bush - NYTimes.com
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From a Theory to a Consensus on Emissions - NYTimes.com

From a Theory to a Consensus on Emissions - NYTimes.com
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hugh Van Es: Photographer Who Took Famous Saigon Photo Dies

Hugh Van Es: Photographer Who Took Famous Saigon Photo Dies
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Bill Would Guarantee Up to 7 Paid Sick Days - NYTimes.com

In a move timed to coincide with the legislation’s introduction, the liberal Center for Economic Policy and Research plans to issue a report on Monday, “Contagion Nation,” which finds that the United States is the only industrial nation where workers are guaranteed paid sick leave for neither short-term nor long-term illness.
Bill Would Guarantee Up to 7 Paid Sick Days - NYTimes.com
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Friday, May 15, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why Madrid isn't be be sniffed at - Europe, World - The Independent

Air pollution has long been a fact of life in Spanish cities, but scientists now say it is not just smog that chokes people as they walk to work or stroll through the park. A new study has found the air in Madrid and Barcelona is also laced with at least five drugs — most prominently cocaine.
Why Madrid isn't be be sniffed at - Europe, World - The Independent
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Steve Bell on MPs' expenses | From the Guardian | The Guardian

Steve Bell on MPs' expenses | From the Guardian | The Guardian
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Norway Thrives by Going Against the Tide - NYTimes.com

Norway Thrives by Going Against the Tide - NYTimes.com
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Explorer-Scouts Train in Post-9/11 Law Enforcement Methods - NYTimes.com

Cathy Noriego, also 16, said she was attracted by the guns. The group uses compressed-air guns — known as airsoft guns, which fire tiny plastic pellets — in the training exercises, and sometimes they shoot real guns on a closed range.“

I like shooting them,” Cathy said. “I like the sound they make. It gets me excited.”
Explorer-Scouts Train in Post-9/11 Law Enforcement Methods - NYTimes.com
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Monday, May 11, 2009

The GOP Dream Team, for Democrats

Lucianne.com News Forum - HomePage

The true leaders of the GOP.  After months of every woman and non-white guy being presented as a potential President we now have the real GOP team, and for Democrats it is sweet.  No more hiding, against the ropes the real powers of the right show themselves, and they are precisely the faces Obama wants to pound.
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

When Chevron Investigates Chevron on Pollution - NYTimes.com

The first Google search result for the words “Chevron in Ecuador” shows a Web site created by Amazon Watch, an environmental activist group, that blames “Chevron’s negligence” for injuries and deaths in the country. Chevron has since bought Google ads so that its Web site about the lawsuit, which includes Mr. Randall’s video, appears as a sponsored link.

Mitch Anderson, a campaigner for Amazon Watch, said that Chevron had resorted to “embarrassing public relations tactics” because credible news sources had not sufficiently framed the report the way they would like, namely, to “to place all of the blame for Texaco’s environmental disaster in Ecuador on PetroEcuador,” Texaco’s former partner.
When Chevron Investigates Chevron on Pollution - NYTimes.com
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Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - 'Hundreds dead' in Sri Lanka attack

Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - 'Hundreds dead' in Sri Lanka attack
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Health Care Industry Is Said to Commit to Holding Down Costs - NYTimes.com

Health Care Industry Is Said to Commit to Holding Down Costs - NYTimes.com
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Shaky Pakistan Is Seen as a Target of Plots by Al Qaeda - NYTimes.com

Shaky Pakistan Is Seen as a Target of Plots by Al Qaeda - NYTimes.com
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Has Nicolas Sarkozy delivered? Two years on – Bruni, bling and barricades | World news | The Observer

Despite the protests, however, and despite the fact he has become a hate figure for much of the country, Sarkozy remains almost as unassailable now as he was in 2007, as a result of the chronic weakness of the French left. Analysts say he must be breathing a deep sigh of relief that the demoralised opposition cannot muster a single credible challenger.
Has Nicolas Sarkozy delivered? Two years on – Bruni, bling and barricades | World news | The Observer
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Porn star for the Senate

GOP now obsessed with ketchup



GOP now obsessed with ketchup, mustard is now not American I guess. I never liked ketchup. The Republicans are upset because for 8 years the "ordinary guy" stuff worked. Now that the "ordinary guy" stuff has failed they are just trying it harder and harder.

This stuff is for real, the GOP has little else to talk about.

Al Jazeera English - Europe - Clashes hit German anti-Islam rally

Al Jazeera English - Europe - Clashes hit German anti-Islam rally
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Waste not: recession leads to big drop in amount of rubbish we are throwing away - Green Living, Environment - The Independent

But not just the recession, as the article makes clear. The recession has merely accelerated a trend towards lower consumption, recycling and lower waste production that was well underway in the first half of 2008.

Waste not: recession leads to big drop in amount of rubbish we are throwing away - Green Living, Environment - The Independent
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Friday, May 08, 2009

The Pirate Chronicles - For Somali Pirates, Worst Enemy May Be on Shore - Series - NYTimes.com

The Pirate Chronicles - For Somali Pirates, Worst Enemy May Be on Shore - Series - NYTimes.com
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Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - Pakistanis flee Swat fighting

Talat Masood, a retired general who worked in Pakistan's defence ministry, told Al Jazeera that Pakistan was "probably paying a price for the wrong policies it has pursued".

He said that if action had been taken much earlier - months before or even during former president Pervez Musharraf's time, the "state of affairs that we find today would not have happened".

"And these militant forces, they would not have been of much strength," he said.
Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - Pakistanis flee Swat fighting
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The nature of British identity

There is a popular book over here called Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour by Kate Fox which I enjoyed reading to some extent. I found many of the observation interesting but mostly simply obvious, like the fact that English people seem to need to get drunk in order to "pull", that is flirt.

Highly formalised societies, like the Koreans and Japanese have this same universal problem and the fact that British culture forms are both so rigid and so non-vital that young people turn to alcohol to create a collective space were the more spontaneous behaviour that comes naturally to Australians, Americans, French and Canadians can happen is only a feature and not an insight.

In fact the entire book is just features of daily British society which may or may not hold up to proper sociological methods; none showing any insight in to "Englishness."

It is my opinion that there is no such core of Englishness. Certainly English have traits or features, most noticeable to me is a tendency to drink too much, a tendency to engage in happy speak in meetings, a shyness to speak up in engagement, a inability to express unique opinions, and an accent. But this tend to be common to people around the world and there is nothing unique about English in the way people from Tokyo, Korea, Nepal, or Syria have unique clear national identities.

Yesterday and Irish gypsies my wife is working with told me that the "stupid English had no idea about Saint George's day". Boris Johnson elected to spend the City of London's money on St. George's day this year only to have the day come without any clear understanding about what it was. The picture was Boris showing off how he doesn't mind looking confused. The pictures of him getting off a double decker bus and dancing with people in silly outfits in a major tourist market could not hide the fact that St George's day has no content at all for most English. It is a part of English identity that has been under attack since Henry the VIIIth and in fact being English proper, being CofE English MEANS that you don't go in for Saint's days.

And why the BNP/Tory bitching about St George's day anyways?

Well for no other reason than the popularity among Irish and non-Irish alive for St. Patrick's day. As St. Patty's day has grown as a global event the English, who see themselves as somehow the victims of British Imperial history and the post-colonial boom in the British Economy, have tended to agree when asked "should there not be a St George's day like there is a St Patrick's day?". Agreeing that you are the victim of history is very different than actually having a meaningful cultural event. The endless surprised Boris Johnson found this out the hard way as his photo ops were ruined by confusion. I am sure his desire was to wrap himself in the St. Georges flag, but not even he could ignore questions of how close to BNP identity he was moving. In fact he justified the entire exercise in pandering by saying somehow it was undermining a BNP issue. Is removing all non-native born English and non-Whites the next Tory move to undermine the BNP? Its impossible to find the line where this is NOT going to happen in Boris Johnson's logic.

The reality is that Englishness is not an identity but a complaint. A certain social class in England has undergone a rapid period of social transformation since WWII and this has been even faster under Thacher and New Labour. The fact that both major parties have been moving this process of economic and social transformation means that the anxiety resulting from such transformations will always be present.

Englishness is just an imagined state of national identity which no longer exists. England, unlike Wales, Scotland, and Ireland lost its Identity long ago in Empire and global capitalism. England is a hybrid identity. On any given day the vast majority of culture artifacts consumer by a person living in say London or Coventry are imports, even tea was brought here from China, and sugar from the West Indies. Only the milk in the nations national drink can be produced here. That is if England was fully isolated from the world you would have a cup of milk and water.

Beer is the only drink of England that has its origins in England. Tea is foreign, as is most of what English eat. Fish and chips, pan and mash and fry ups are rarer and rarer with English consumer more and more Asian, Balti, American and European food. And the English seem to be in a rush to get out of their own nations, for vacation or to live overseas.

If Britain is to get over its present anxiety somehow the people need to embrace the hybrid identity. Presently this is not happening, with nostalgia and xenophobia being the most common traits of the English.

London as the centre of English society is also the centre of global culture. Only New York compares to London's position as a truly global super nation. The people of New York have learned to enjoy this and take pride in it because they have advantages of mythology that values immigration and diversity more. England is in a kind of denial of the fact it is a hybrid species.

Labour rocked by expenses revelations - UK Politics, UK - The Independent

What's sad about this is when you take it in the context of the post immediately below. The real scandal of New Labour is that they've institutionalised the neo-liberal policy assumptions that have carried on redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top of the economy. But this expenses scandal is what will cause the Tories to come back to power. Nothing will change. New Labour's few good policies, such as strengthening the NHS and the trains, will be slashed in the interest of 'Austerity' and the transfer of wealth will become even worse.

Labour rocked by expenses revelations - UK Politics, UK - The Independent
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UK's income gap widest since 60s | Society | The Guardian

UK's income gap widest since 60s | Society | The Guardian
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Ban considered for Spice Gold, herbal high as strong as some skunk cannabis | Society | The Guardian

This stuff contains some kind of synthetic THC-like substance. Is it harmful? Who knows. The governments rush to ban it as soon as they discover that it makes people high.

I still have to ask: what is it specifically about getting high that needs to be made illegal? And why is it that getting high on caffeine or nicotine or alcohol is not considered such a severe problem as to require any more than basic regulation?

Ban considered for Spice Gold, herbal high as strong as some skunk cannabis | Society | The Guardian
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Op-Ed Columnist - Stressing the Positive - NYTimes.com

Does anyone remember the case of H. Rodgin Cohen, a prominent New York lawyer whom The Times has described as a “Wall Street √©minence grise”? He briefly made the news in March when he reportedly withdrew his name after being considered a top pick for deputy Treasury secretary.

Well, earlier this week, Mr. Cohen told an audience that the future of Wall Street won’t be very different from its recent past, declaring, “I am far from convinced there was something inherently wrong with the system.” Hey, that little thing about causing the worst global slump since the Great Depression? Never mind.

Those are frightening words. They suggest that while the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration continue to insist that they’re committed to tighter financial regulation and greater oversight, Wall Street insiders are taking the mildness of bank policy so far as a sign that they’ll soon be able to go back to playing the same games as before.

So as I said, while bankers may find the results of the stress tests “reassuring,” the rest of us should be very, very afraid.
Op-Ed Columnist - Stressing the Positive - NYTimes.com
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What is this a cartoon of?


A character sketch from a Dickinson book, maybe the artful dodger?
A character for a new cartoon called Sweat Hogs 2010?
A frat boy's idea for a Halloween custom making fun of "nerd"?
A first years art students response to a project "draw an ugly person"?

No, this is actually being presented in the British media based upon one witness memory of an evil man hanging around in front of the McCanns apartment when the McCanns were "innocently" getting drunk. (The McCanns are now doing the talk show circuit with the "mother" sporting minishirts and a twisted emotionaless expression) Its an English persons imagination of the pedophile Other enemy. This picture, and the fact if has been taken seriously by so many of the Tabloids, many of which have declared the McCanns fully innocent, gives a massive insight in to English self image.

The McCanns, for those of you who don't know, left their toddle daughter all alone in a hotel room and upon returning they claim she had vanished. At the time there was some criticism of the family but is soon faded. The McCanns are Doctors and British and they claim the murder was by a pedophile. In this way they have tapped in to the imagined hatreds of British complexes and gult. British people are racked by inability to connect with their children, and gult as to their raising. Only a David Cameron, who man handles his child for press event before going back to his penis party in West London, can pull of the illusion of a functioning British family. T

he fact is the British family is in terrible shape. Divorce, generation gap, lack of investment in children have all come together to make homes that don't work and school that don't work.

Because of this the British, like so many other nations, have made the pedophile an endless enemy. In the imagined army of pedophiles lurking in the streets Britain has exiled its own anxiety about how they are abusing their own child in little ways day after day after day.

The sad thing is most British want to identify with the McCanns, and to save the McCanns, who if innocent left their small child alone in a hotel room in a strange country (where endless numbers of staff had the key) so they could go get drunk at a Tapas bar. And who is the British media presenting as the enemies in all of this, Portugal's police.


BBC NEWS | UK | 'Very ugly' new Madeleine suspect

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Your request is being processed... Elisabeth Hasselbeck Disowns "Ignoramus" Joe The Plumber Over "Queers" Comment (VIDEO)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/07/elisabeth-hasselbeck-diso_n_199152.html

Torie's government of thrift, not in the policy

Cameron has coined a sound bite "government of thrift", we don't know what that means on Tory web site makes it even more vague.

It seems that a government of thrift will contain some major increases in spending including, all very vaguely stated:

  1. We will raise the basic state pension in line with earnings to help stop the spread of the means test.

  2. A massive expansion in the provision of real apprenticeships, creating 100,000 additional apprenticeships every year and making it easier for companies to run apprenticeships
  3. More community learning to improve skills and employability, including a NEETs Fund aimed at youngsters not in any kind of education, training or employment, and a Community Learning Fund
  4. We will build a high-speed rail line connecting London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds with the Continent through the Channel Tunnel.
  5. Building hundreds of good new schools within the state system
  6. We need effective border security. A Conservative Government will introduce a unified border police force.
  7. We need to protect and increase the capacity of our critical infrastructure so that we are able to withstand and respond to disruption.
  8. Allowing local residents to veto high council tax rises in order to keep council tax down (and how are council services going to be paid for since all council residents will vote down higher taxes?)
  9. We are committed to achieving the UN target of spending 0.7% of national income as aid by 2013. Our top priority will be to ensure that every single pound of taxpayers' money delivers the maximum impact – so we will establish an Independent Aid Watchdog to monitor the performance of the Department for International Development.
  10. So we will introduce a dedicated Border Police Force to bring together all the agencies responsible for border control.
  11. We need more homes – but they must be built in a way that protects the environment and provides the infrastructure to support local communities.

    That’s why local people need to decide where new homes should go, instead of Whitehall bureaucrats. And that’s why we will use incentives to encourage new homes to be built, rather than letting unelected quangos impose unsustainable development on communities.

  12. Scrapping Stamp Duty for first-time buyers on homes up to £250,000, so that nine out of ten pay nothing
  13. We will always provide the funding the NHS needs and are committed to real increases in health spending
  14. We are committed to introducing a universal home health visiting service to help families through the challenges that come with a new child. The number of health visitors will be raised by 4,200 - and new mothers will be provided with a guaranteed level of support for the first five years
  15. We will support a diverse childcare system, with parents' needs met by a variety of providers, including childminders and private, voluntary and independent nurseries
  16. We believe quality of life and environmental issues must be at the heart of politics – which is why we have pledged to improve Britain's environment by reversing the decline in our biodiversity, improving urban green spaces, providing incentives to recycle and working towards zero waste.
  17. Tranform electricity networks with 'smart grid' and 'smart meter' technology that automatically matches supply and demand, allowing a huge increase in renewable power
  18. Provide up to £6,500 worth of home insulation improvements, enabling households to reduce their gas and electricity bills
  19. Create a decentralised energy revolution by introducing a system of feed-in tariffs to encourage micro-generation of electricity
  20. Expand offshore wind and marine power and provide government backing for a network of large-scale Marine Energy Parks
  21. We will freeze council tax for two years by reducing wasteful spending on advertising and consultancy in central government
  22. We will introduce a £50bn National Loan Guarantee Scheme to underwrite
    bank lending to businesses and get credit flowing again
  23. We will provide tax cuts for new jobs with a £2.6bn package of tax breaks to get people into work, funded by money that would otherwise go on unemployment benefit
  24. We will cut the main rate of corporation tax to 25p and the small companies' rate to 20p, paid for by scrapping complex reliefs and allowances
  25. We will give small and medium-sized businesses a six-month VAT holiday, funded by a 7.5% interest rate on delayed payments
  26. We will cut National Insurance by 1% for six months for firms with fewer than five employees, paid for from the above changes to the company tax regime
  27. We will abolish Stamp Duty for nine out of ten first-time buyers and raise the Inheritance Tax threshold to £1 million. Both of these changes will be funded by a flat-rate charge on non-domiciles.
  28. We will call on the Government to use the 2009 Budget to help the innocent victims of the recession and encourage a new culture of saving in the long term by abolishing income tax on savings for everyone on the basic rate of tax and raising the tax allowance for pensioners by £2,000 to £11,490
  29. The soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, civilians, and their families that make up our Armed Forces are the backbone of this nation’s security. But a decade of neglect by Labour has left them overstretched, undermanned, and in possession of worn-out equipment.
  30. We will also help to rebuild our broken economy by working with the creative industries to ensure the majority of the population have access to next generation high speed broadband within five years.
  31. To ensure that we have adequate space to house offenders, our plans for renewal of the prison estate will increase capacity by 5,000 places above Labour’s plans.
  32. Fighting rural poverty by creating opportunity, with less regulation on rural businesses, more power to local people to tackle the shortage of affordable homes and a better integrated transport system
  33. Offering English language instruction for all to cement the English language as the bedrock of our national identity
  34. Establishing a temporary National Loans Guarantee Scheme to get credit flowing again and help protect jobs
  35. Allowing struggling firms to defer their VAT bills for up to six months
  36. Cutting small firms' payroll taxes
  37. Helping companies with the costs of hiring new staff by giving tax breaks for new jobs
It seems the government of thrift contains a vast set of spending increases in all major areas the Conservatives have cared to speak about, along with vast tax cuts. So where is the government of thrift come from?

Well the Google powered search of the Conservatives site finds 2 sites with "spending cuts" in the titles.

Rep. Michele Bachmann claims that she is nice, and that there is an American DNA

Michelle Bachmann accuses Congress of being un-American

Swine Flu is a Democrat(ic) scourge



Who is the most insane national political figure in America today? Little doubt it is ever funny, kind of scary, and clearly utterly insane Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann

Message to Republicans: if you can't get sane females or non-whites to run for elected office, why not just white guys?

Joe the what ever you want to be true is true man, the GOP in total decline

100_0121 - The Conservative Underground

Joe the Plumber, who is not named Joe and is not a plumber but in the modern conservative movement anything is anything.  Evolution didn't happen, we 6 billion people can pump all the green house gases we want in to the planet without impact, free market reforms gave us better banks; anything you want is true.

The problem is that in the current world illusions are weighed against reality.  Conservatism was always about illusion, about mythology.  In the 1980s you could cut taxes by 25% and increase spending, in the 1990s welfare, which accounted for a few dollars a year from each Federal tax payer was transformed in to the cause of government spending.  The massive illusions of a movement that in the end is nothing but a clustering of neo-fascist reaction. 

And if you dared to show they were wrong, as Clinton did, you will have your sex life investigated to the ends of the earth. 

And then when you elect someone like George W. Bush, to the point of supporting his theft of the Presidency, you turn around and say he was never your guy and somehow you warned him all along, even when you were knocking doors for him, voting for him, and bullying others who openly questioned him as anti-american.

Hey Conservatism passed itself as a philosophical movement from 1979 to 1988.  By 2001 it was a worship of personality and now it is a dillusion.  Globally conservative leaders are in denial.  From the Tories in the UK who promise more spending and less spending and lets not talk about what we will do to Germany where the right wing government refuses to join global efforts in politics, to Italy, France, Poland and the US conservative thinking has been established as wrong thinking time and time again.

The McCanns, Britian, and the Imagine Other Enemy (a Rant on British Xenophobia)

BBC NEWS | UK | 'Very ugly' new Madeleine suspect

An artist's impression has been drawn of the latest suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

The image shows a "very ugly" man who appeared to watch the apartment where the three-year-old's family was staying on the day before she vanished.

The McCann family were staying in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz when Madeleine went missing on 3 May, 2007.

Lets all be honest about this case. 

The most likely murder are the McCanns themselves.  As for finding someone else, there is at present not the slightest evidence to lead to another criminal. The above picture is more of a cartoon than anything else.  Nor has there been a plague of similar crimes at hotels in the South of Portugal.  The case is essentially at an end, accept that the McCanns are going to lead much of England and the growing number of perfectly economically capable parents who psychologically are not up to the jobs on a long journey through imagined alternative life of a child they likely dumped in the ocean.

There.  For American readers who are surprised that I would feel doubt about writing this, you need to understand that the main force the McCanns are using to remove all suspicion on them is the media's desire to make evil male pedophiles they imagine to exist as the villins and 19th Century liable laws that, as far as I can tell, only protect the wealthy and criminal and throw people like Oscar Wilde in jail.

Seeing this as an outsider it is pretty clear what is happening.  British people are extremely xenophobic, to the point where today most British and almost all Tories somehow think Europe, even Western Europe, poses some kind of existential threat to England.  I can hear readers in America laughing at this, but it is true. Go download Cameron speaking on closer ties to nations like France, Holland, Germany and Belgium,  he speaks as though the EU is the Third Riech.

For the typical British person admitting that a couple of British doctors in a European country on the Mediterranean may have performed a vile crime and that the Portugal's authorities  might have seen through it is beyond the scope of very limited English imagination on race, crime and Other.  In the iamgined world of the White English Today the English person is a pure minority in their own home land, under constant threat from pedophiles, Europe itself, and the masses of emigrants who are needed to run a massive service economy.  England consumes on one hand a massive flow of Others, Others that it has previously enslaved an now enslaves as low paid workers serving its economy of electronic transactions and compulsive consumption. But on the other hand uses these Others as an excuse for all its problems. 

In Britian racism and xenophobia are state policy.

The picture picture is actually almost funny.  I frankly could not have drawn a more perfect parody of the British imagination of Other.  The sad thing is that most likely two murders are going utterly free protected by 19th Century laws of slander, a monopoly on print media that has lost any pretext of news of knowledge transfer, and a radical xenophobia and racism born out of neo-liberal policies which have, as Thacher indented them to, eliminated any social structure of community meaning from the daily life of most White English. 

The sadest part is that at present Britian has no options.  The media will continue to become more short term sales driven and thus will pander more and more to shared pyschological needs, like selling lip stick.  Poltically Britian is at a dead end, she has no choices at all.  Its not possible for her to reform in the way Obama is reforming US political power and the only likely change would be a leader in Cameron or Johnson who panders to all these trends even more without really having a policy.

Britian is the perfect example of, like Japan, a society that though following excellent economic trends has lost itself entirely.  Britian does not exist.  England only exists as a set of imagined hatreds, fears, and compulsions.  Recently Boris Johnson made a fool out of himself trying to think up things to do for the camera to celebrate St. George's day and the St George's flag.  He failed to understand that St Georges day was supported by most English ONLY because it was not being celebrated while St Patrick's Day, Rise Tolerance, and Gay Pride were.  Once the City of London decided to celebrate St. Georges day the day lost all of its meaning.  There is nothing about Englishness to celebrate becuase there is nothing left about Englishness.  Englishness is just an imagined complex of people living in England.  Boris dancing with the guys in funny suits as a handfull of mostly European tourist watched the entire joke unravel was the perfect symbol of a desperate effort to assert Englishness as a reality.  The truth is that Englishness is now nothing other than a hatred for the Other and only the BNP can express such political asperations because the asperations are only racist in their soul.

One can only hope that the slow process, reflected in so many bright young people, of embracing a hybrid global identity will continue in Britian.  What makes London the greatest city in the world is not that it is somehow English the way Milan is Italian.  England is not that kind of country. England is a cluster of cottages sheltering from the rain.  Curry, Jerk, Balti, Techno, Blues, Sarris, and the millions of other features drawn from a rich global history are what make for a dynamic vital hybrid identity that only London has.  London is the greatest city in the world because at the end of the day it is Ken Livingston and not Boris Johnson. 

Nothing can be done to change this.  The present trend of so many English to escape to suburbs structured as an illusion of some kind of Englishness will only speed the process up by leaving key communities to hybrid identities.