Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Now, That's What I Call Nuance

Ever had a friend or relative invite you out for a drink, only to discover when you get to the bar that all your friends are there and it's actually a great big surprise party, and you're the guest of honour?

Well, that's kind of how I feel today, except it's a bit more like I'd been invited for a drink by a friend who turns out to be Squeaky Fromme, and the guest of honour at the party is Charles Manson.

A quick explanation - months ago, I promised to write a post about Hillary Clinton, proclaiming her America's Nixon-in-Waiting.

Of course, when I said that, I meant mean-spirited, pusillanimous delusions of persecution, and not perfectly happy to threaten nuclear genocide for political gain.

"Hillary Clinton today threatened to “obliterate” Iran if it launched a nuclear attack on Israel, her most aggressive rhetoric yet against Tehran as she seeks to cast doubts on whether Barack Obama would be a strong commander-in-chief."

I don't know, maybe this was just one of those occasions when leaving the room and counting to ten would've helped...

Anyway, never mind whether the Iranians a) actually have nukes or whether b) they're deranged enough to actually attack the Israelis.

In what universe is aggressive the correct adjective to describe a presidential candidate's threat to exterminate a nation of seventy million people?

A few other, more apt descriptors spring to mind, and suffice to say they're a tad stronger than belligerent or combative.

Noting quickly that this follows on from McCain's threats to bomb Iran and Obama's to bomb Pakistan, I think I'm seeing a pattern forming here.

It's the presidential version of small-man syndrome, isn't it?

Now, I'd be a lot happier if Hillary set her sights low... It'd be far saner for her to wait until the next debate, then to throw herself at the camera, snarling and vowing to skullfuck the Guantanamo detainees to death with a collossal stars 'n' stripes strap-on, live on national television.

Or perhaps John McCain could throw darts at kiddy fiddlers on the Tonight Show, before saluting and loudly humming Hail To The Chief while maniacally whacking himself in the knackers with a snooker ball in a sock.

Now, that would be impressive.

Because, you know, when I look to the next leader of the free world, I'd prefer it if they looked a little bit less like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad... And if they absolutely have to, they could at least put on a bit of a show while they're doing it.

(By the way, I'd originally intended to do an amusing post about how American politics closely resembles The Crystal Maze tonight, but even I can't work out how to wedge mushroom clouds into the metaphor.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Minister Plays Down Scottish Oil Refinery Strike Fears
Staff Walkout "Unlikely" To Lead To Petrol Rationing, Radioactive Zombies
All Tabloids, 22nd April 2008

Scottish Finance Minister John Swinney today played down fears of widespread petrol rationing, economic woes and marauding gangs of irradiated, flesh-eating undead ghouls from the very pits of Hell itself.

"I have discussed this with the management and the unions, and I am confident that this pension dispute can be resolved ami
cably." He told journalists. "I would urge all Scots to refrain from panicking and fill up your cars as normal, without putting unnecessary strain on reserves by buying excess fuel."

Asked whether he had drawn up contingency plans for an invasion of rabid, shuffling zombies, the Minister responded that any predictions of blood-curdling attacks by the unquiet dead were "ridiculous", "absurd" and had "absolutely no basis in fact".

"I can categorically assure the Scottish people that there are no such things as radioactive zombies," Mr. Swinney said, "And any suggestion to the contrary is purest fantasy."

Pages 2-3: Will ravenous zombies eat your child's face while you look on horror-struck through the ropes of your entrails?

Page 4: 10% off canned food and shotguns

Pages 6-7: Time to fill up your car?

Pages 9-10: How YOU can survive the upcoming zombie holocaust, AND lose weight!

Back page: McGeady claims double trophy haul

From The Courts

Musselburgh Hibs S.C. vs. Ayrshire Bhoys S.C.

The case was heard on 27th March 2007 at the Hibernian Court, Easter Road, Edinburgh.

The Plaintiff, Musselburgh Hibs Supporters Club, alleged that the Defendants, Ayrshire Bhoys Supporters Club, had committed the crime of vagrancy, to whit -

1) That on an unspecified date, within unspecified Glasgow slums, Ayrshire Bhoys

a) Did rake in an unspecified bucket for something to eat and;

b) That within said bucket, they did find a dead rat and;

c) That they did think said rat a treat and;

d) That the above occurred within unspecified Glasgow slums.

The Defendants, Ayrshire Bhoys, denied the charge and made a counterclaim, to whit

1) That Musselburgh Hibs were guilty of being

a) Hoors

b) Poofs and

c) Junkies

They further contend

2) That Musselburgh Hibs were guilty of being

a) Hoors

b) Poofs and

c) Junkies

and two further charges to the same effect.

There then followed a side claim by Ayrshire Bhoys against an unidentified Hibernian player, in which the Defendants claimed that

1) He (the unidentified Hibernian player) had been booked for

a) Being ugly;

2) He (the unidentified Hibernian player) had been booked for

a) Being ugly;

And two further charges to the same effect.

The court then adjourned for pies and bovril, and will reconvene fifteen minutes later, at which point the court will hear further claims and counterclaims of wanton soapdodging.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Let's Get Dressed And Dance Away The Night

Consternation at the embarrassing Reaganaut suckfest that is Samizdata today, where much anguished discussion is prompted by the following statement...

"A barrier to people accepting libertarianism is the notion that we'd let people starve in the streets."

This is, of course, absolute nonsense. I laugh at the mere suggestion that a libertarian government would let a load of starving people lie in the streets, bringing down house prices and annoying real people, when there are perfectly serviceable prisons about.

After all, every libertarian I've ever conversed with has been emphatic in their belief in the rule of law. It's encouraging to note that, on the day when the people are informed that there will be no more benefits or NHS and immediately descend on the houses of the libertarians in an orgy of looting and violence, the government of the day will consider the philosophical implications before it orders in the riot squads.

Or perhaps I'm wrong and, when the first baying mob eviscerates the first local businessman, the libertarians will call for even more liberty.

Good Reaganauts being what they are, there's also time for nostalgic stroll down memory lane with the well-worn notion that charitable donations will instantly fill the benefits gap. Let-Them-Tug-Their-Forelocks-And-Say-Please, Sir - I've always loved that one. I'd love to see it argued in a job centre... Although not at close enough quarters to be struck by the flying blood and teeth, of course.

Finally, we close with the assertion that the certain path to public starvation is Teh Commies, which is fair enough when we consider Russia and China, for instance. Still, it would probably have surprised large numbers of dead Irish and Indians to learn that they were the victims of rampant socialism... And when I read about those food riots this week, I don't recall the protesters demanding that a hammer be taken, Casino-style, to the dead hand of government.

Now, I may be exposing my honking ignorance, but bear with me here... This whole libertarianism thing, didn't we try that in the late nineteenth century? And, correct me if I'm wrong, didn't we have millions in the poorhouse and a majority of the public leading miserable lives?

If it didn't work in an era when the most lucrative occupation was invading other people's countries and ripping off everything that wasn't nailed down, is there a reason to believe it'll work today? Because if there is, I can't see it.

It's when I read this kind of thing that I suspect that Libertarianism = Hand's off my Lexus, filthy starving hippies.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Let Them Eat Bullshit

Barry Obama in bother again, this time for the high crime of elitism -

"U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama came under fire on Friday for saying small-town Pennsylvania residents were "bitter" and "cling to guns or religion," in comments his rivals said showed an elitist view of the middle class."

Damn, that old devil elitism... Now he's under fire from rough-hewn sons and daughters of toil in the American press and political establishment.

He has my sympathy, because I've been called elitist more times than I care to mention by leftists, rightists, Mail-reading cranks, Guardian-reading loons, wingnuts, moonbats... Pretty much everyone, in fact, and one day I sincerely hope to be castigated for elitism by someone who actually earns less than I do.

See, the purple prose I spout is the result a lifetime of burying my head in books geek-style, rather than a childhood of brie-scoffing privilege... And all that book-learning makes me suspicious of wealthy, well-educated political insiders who don rhetorical shell-suits to shout Me simple caveman, Me is angry about elitism!

Point is, these soulless oxygen-thieves are clubbing Obama for speaking the truth - lots of people who would've instinctively voted Democratic thirty years ago now base their votes on a candidate's love of guns or his commitment to cleaning up the country for the glorious return of the baby Jesus. That's not because of public stupidity - although God knows there's always been a surplus of that, everywhere on Earth - it's because the Democrats have long since stopped addressing their concerns and cheerfully thrown any defence of their economic interests down the pan for corporate contributions. Horrible as it is to contemplate it, the mendacious Jesus-pimps and the NRA have actually been addressing issues voters care about, while the Democrats were busy signing NAFTA.

That's also why British politics feels like an eternal scribbling in the margin exercise, with regular intervals of cretinous moral panic. The argument over the economy and the welfare state seems to be over, leaving the politicians to issue ever more grandiose and ineffective pronouncements on 1) how nasty they'll be to foreigners, 2) who's going to save the planet from eco-death and 3) scum-baiting promises to exterminate crime.

I don't think you have to be a conspiracy theorist or a class warrior to work out why any attempt to discuss that situation earns you the elitist tag and a stiff arse-booting from 20,000 exquisitely-pedicured feet.

Elitism? Bollocks, more like. I hope to God that Obama gives this the response it deserves, i.e. the finger, followed by a polite invitation to fuck off. Who knows, if it works, perhaps politicians in the UK might take note and stop inventing new ways to annoy the public with healthy eating and anti-smoking campaigns, and possibly even start examining their own timid centrism.

n.b. Hillary Clinton's response to this = Karl Rove. All of her supporters who are currently whining about sexism- and I'm looking at you, fellow non-American voter Elton John - should perhaps consider the possibility that she's perceived as a quasi-Republican android with a huge, throbbing boner for power because, you know, she is one.

Friday, April 11, 2008

One For The Football Fans

Previous experience tells me there's one or two football fans who visit here, so here's a quick question... Celtic Cup - Yes or No?

I'm hugely in favour myself. I've a few mates who are rugger types and I think we miss out by not playing our neighbours regularly. I couldn't give a monkey's for rugby, but they do look like they enjoy it, don't they?

Given the generally friendly relations between the Celtic countries, this sounds like it'll be great fun all round. The atmosphere around the games will be much more like the Six Nations than regular international football, and it's a great excuse for a weekend holiday.

I'm inclined to dismiss the general complaint that the teams won't take it that seriously, because I know that the fans won't take it very seriously either - win, lose or draw, it'll be viewed as an opportunity to get away from it all for a good drink and a bit of a laugh with mates.

And now the bad part - fixture congestion has knocked the competition back to 2011. Worse, it looks like they're intent on playing the ties in February and May, so we can kiss goodbye to players from the big English and Scottish clubs. While it'd be a good opportunity to give young players a go in high-profile games, it doesn't help put bums on seats.

If the tournament goes ahead, is there a reason why they can't do it over two weeks after the season has finished? Surely the tournament would attract far more attention if it dominated the sport headlines in a traditionally quiet part of the year, and everybody likes summer football.

In favour, against or don't care? Is the rugby analogy offensive to football fans? Will it work with the fragmented-fixture set-up? Will they even do it, or is it all just bullshit?

Those who care, fire away...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Achtung! Kill Yourselves Immediately

Another stiff kick to the testes of leftish liberalism in Britain today, this time from the fragrant foot of soon-to-be-published-novelist Ruth Fowler. Clearly, there's a huge market for this kind of Ooh-Aren't-The-Liberals-a-Shower self-flagellation, not to mention similar bouts of shadow-boxing with composite lefty bastards.

To be honest, it makes a pleasant change for Grauniad columns to focus on the actual, real flaws of some of its readership, i.e. their maniacal compulsion to boss the public about and their misguided belief that I personally care deeply about the effect of plastic bags on the environment and the harm my smoking does to their children's health etc. It's a definite improvement on the regular articles denouncing them in fiery tones for being in league with a goosestepping troupe of clockwork Hitlers.

Now, my grasp on economics is as firm as a eel's grip on a buttery muffin, but even I know that there must be a significant part of the readership that gets off on being scolded for their snottiness and closet fascism by wide-eyed sex-kittens and torn-faced ex-Trotskyites. Why that should be, I have no idea.

After all, I've never read a column in the Torygraph telling their readers to shove their frustrated pastoral fantasies up their wrinkly old hoops... Nor have I read any articles in the Express revealing that 90% of their readership secretly yearn to cheer on legions of black-clad stormtroopers as they beat half the planet's population senseless with cudgels.

If anyone can give an example of a business successfully advertising its products with the tagline Buy This, You Snivelling Pack of Pointless Cretins, I'd be grateful.

As for Ruth Fowler's other points about the sheer level of vitriol on display at Comment Is Free, I think my theory is blunter, yet perhaps more accurate...

Comment Is Free attracts morons, twats, bigots, snobs, wankers and tools to its comment threads because it a) deals with contentious issues and it's b) on the fucking internet.

There. Can I have a column now?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Olympics Protest - News Round-Up

Business Leaders Condemn Chinese Exploitation

Kent, England - Richard Lambert, head of the Confederation of British Industry, today condemned the International Olympic Committee for awarding the Games to China, a nation notorious for human rights abuses.

"The CBI is disgusted by this decision to award the Olympics to the Chinese," he said. "China's punitive taxation rates and overly-restrictive health and safety legislation will discourage British businesses from cashing in on lucrative investment opportunities, such as the exciting tiger-penis farming industry or its burgeoning demand for handcuffs, stun-batons, tear gas and tasers."

Secretary Hu "Baffled" By Protests

Beijing, China - Speaking from his throne of human skulls, Chinese Communist Party Chairman Hu Jintao expressed incomprehension at recent anti-Chinese protests and comments by political figures.

"I don't understand," he said. "Hillary Clinton gets most of her campaign contributions from corporations that own factories at Suzhou Industrial Park, amongst others. They get their products at a fraction of the cost, while using China as an excuse to crush their own domestic unions, demand regressive labour laws from bought-and-paid for Congressmen, and bilk vast tax breaks from states with massive unemployment by threatening to cut jobs... And here she is, calling on President Bush to boycott the Olympics?"

"Honestly... I literally have people bent over backwards to please her, and this is the thanks I get."

Hu shook his head in exasperation, pausing to order some minions to force another 20,000 industrial slaves into a death-trap prison/factory to apply radioactive paint to children's toys. "This arrangement suits everybody," Hu said. "Doesn't she realise how tiring it is driving the global economy 24/7? I've a good mind to ask for that trillion dollars back..."

Protester Totally On Television

London, England - In a completely, like, mindblowing development, sources report that local protester Samantha Parkinson was totally on television yesterday, which is, you know, just like... Wow. 27 year-old Parkinson was briefly glimpsed if you pause the screen and look in the top-left corner during this well mental sequence, in which London police officers confiscated banners, T-shirts and flags from free-speech protesters.

Reports also suggest that you can see the back of Parkinson's Killers shirt in an online photo depicting police arresting several demonstrators for public order offences, which is actually kind of a bummer if you think about it.

Unconfirmed speculation suggests that a man seen being shoved to the floor and handcuffed by police may have been Charlie, you know, that one with the nose-ring that Ashley got off with at Tabitha's party, which would be just like, hey, this is crazy, right?

Dead Iraqis "Silent" on Chinese Human Rights Abuses

Baghdad, Iraq - Sources report that several hundred thousand dead Iraqis remained unmoved by the plight of the Tibetan people yesterday. Despite China's brutal fifty-year occupation, levels of public awareness amongst Iraq's minority deceased population remains at a surprisingly low 0%, prompting British human rights activists to wonder whether a change in tactics might help foster public sympathy on the issue.

"The problem appears to be spreading to other countries," one activist said. "Initial studies suggest that dead Afghans are, if anything, even less interested in the fate of the Tibetan people."

"Hello, Is There Anybody There?" - Burma

Rangoon, Burma - Confusion reigned in Rangoon yesterday as the Burmese people began to ask where all that international attention had gone. "Uh, hello? Is anybody there?" asked the Burmese population, whose struggle for basic human rights and freedom of speech was briefly yet ecstatically popular in Britain just a few months ago. "Uh, we're still here," they said, collectively.

Local Blogger Stable After Frenzied Attack On Self

Edinburgh, Scotland - A local blogger was rushed to hospital today after being overcome by a life-threatening attack of cognitive dissonance. The unnamed internet loudmouth was overwhelmed by the seizure, and began bashing his head against his desk shouting "Arseholes!" at the top of his voice.

"Bastards," he sobbed as he was carried to the waiting ambulance. No further details are forthcoming at present.

p.13 - Athletes Shuffle Feet, Change Subject

- Dalai Lama Asks International Community For Aid, Yaks

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Immigration - The Facts

Stunning news from the House of Lords this week, where a bunch of old, white guys have issued a report on immigration. They've found that them foreigners are ruining the country, and you can't even get a seat on a bus these days for all the damn Polish.

Interestingly, though, I've noticed that people I speak to internalise these kinds of talking points. I have to keep tabs on the daily papers at work, and I'm always stunned by how often I meet people who quote more or less directly from that day's scare-story. Immigrants push up wages, take our jobs and push up the price of houses, that kind of thing.

Well, since the tabloids seem to have sussed the all-too-human flaw of credulously adopting the last thing we read until another fact comes along to shove it out, I've done a bit of research into the issue of immigration myself.

Hopefully, these fascinating facts will quickly penetrate the public consciousness....

- Polish plumbers display 40% more bum-cleavage than good old British tradesmen. Additionally, it's an ancient Polish tradition to slyly half-inch your lighter when you're not looking.

- Romanians are capable of smuggling as many as four gypsies into the country by shoving them up their arses. One in ten gypsies carries a rare and highly infectious disease that causes sufferers to urinate through their ears.

- Nigerians attract lions. Alarmingly, as many as 27% of Zimbabwean immigrants actually are lions, cunningly disguised as office cleaners. When decent folk aren't watching, they stalk big game on the British savannah, roaring like pissed-off motorbikes.

- Pakistanis exude an air of wistful melancholy, like a handsome middle-aged woman recalling the passionate dalliances of her youth with a series of well-endowed suitors. This is because they're all listening to the cricket on Radio Islamabad, which is beamed directly into their skulls via subcutaneous aerials embedded in their spines.

- Bulgarians don't take global warming seriously, and fly to work in jumbo jets while spraying deodorants at the sun and laughing like fucked-up hyenas.

- Albanians are rubbish at Tetris - most of them can't even get past forty lines on Level Three, for Christ's sake.

- Almost 90% of Bosnians prefer The Terminator to Terminator 2: Judgement Day, despite the latter film's vastly improved special effects and action sequences.

- The Turks only pretend to like kebabs so they can flog them to gullible Brits. In private, they eat Weetabix.

- Latvia is a leading cause of male pattern-baldness.

There, let's see that in six-inch letters on the front of the Daily Mail. Much more agreeable.

n.b. About the scuddy-women pictures - I'm upping the half-naked women quotient because I'm starting to worry that readers might suspect that I'm some kind of secret cock-farmer.

Nothing could be further from the truth, which is just as well, since homosexuality impairs one's ability to drive and operate machinery.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Liberal, But Not That Bloody Liberal

As a denizen of the frozen north, I don't spend much time fretting over London's mayoral elections. Frankly, listening to the leading candidates - the mop-haired, dithering Tory fist-magnet Boris Johnson and the supremely punchable Ken Livingstone - is about as pleasurable as nailing my testes to a radiator. The entire contest is precisely the kind of the Vote To Keep The Loonies Out! travesty that has made modern British democracy the envy of none.

Still, I'm noticing an interesting trend emerging amongst those politically invested in the race. London's Evening Standard have provided acres of space for Ken-bashing chimpanzees to practice their crapslinging skills, while online chancers across the political spectrum have locked lips and are now engaged in a hot, steamy, no-holes-barred orgy of Ken-hate.*

Without doubt my favourite is this offering at the high-speed wingnut car-crash that is Pajamas Media from Scottish blogger Mr. Eugenides. Mr. E clambers seal-like onto the podium, shows off his ball-balancing skills in the intro then starts honking little horns marked socialist, anti-semite, Chavez and Ahmadinejad... Much to the great delight of the hideously deformed ghouls in the audience, who instantly begin butting each other and bellowing about Londonistan in comments.

It's pretty obvious whose interests are being served here - the Tories hope to win the election, while the braying gaggle of lolloping freaks and boggle-eyed trolls that hang from the party's arse like particularly nasty piles get to claim the credit.

Meanwhile, the Left's most pious and precious get to indulge in their favourite habit, i.e. noisily and ecstatically performing Dyson-strength suck-jobs upon each other for their immense moral rectitude... And God knows, there's nothing they love more than chasing off some vaguely socialist ogre, lest his brutish thoughtcrimes corrupt the nation.

The actual charges against Livingstone range from potentially serious to flat-out silly bullshit, and I'm only slightly surprised to find the same accusations across the board. Roughly...

Suspicious but inconclusive financial irregularities of a type somewhat less alarming than the Tory and Labour funding scandals of recent years;

Being nasty to a journalist who then took offence on account of his ethnicity, precisely the type of thing that would have this lot puking their ringpieces through the tops of their heads if the wounded party wasn't white;

Pissing off the Labour Party, for which he garnered huge public respect;

Paying his mates from the public purse, something which the jackasses this lot support would never do, and

Meeting Hugo Chavez and some dodgy Islamic cleric, which would be of more concern if our leaders didn't have a habit of glad-handing all manner of unsavoury characters.

Lots of these seem like good reasons to despise Ken, is if more were needed. Thing is, even if none of these allegations were true, others would be found.

Watchers of American politics will be familiar with the tactic - throw enough mud at a rival candidate and hope he sinks, leaving your boy to coast home. It's precisely this tactic that's made American elections ludicrous exercises in hysterical stupidity, as idiotic scandals cause the national press to leap onto chairs, clutching their blouses to their breasts like the old lady in Tom & Jerry bellowing at the brazen mouse in the swiss cheese.

The problem is that this kind of onanistic guff is effective. I reckon turnout in American elections is so low because of the witless bullshit that passes for debate over the pond. There's no engagement with the populace because the candidates are required to castrate themselves on TV whenever some damnfool preacher shouts his mouth off or it transpires the President spent a war hiding in a barracks.

No-personality politicians = Bullshit politics = low turnouts = laughable democracy - I can't put it any more simply.

So you see our problem. The more that flawed establishment media loses ground to partisan hacks with websites, the more this kind of gotcha-politics rules the roost, and the more damage it does... But there is a solution, one that runs against every principle I have, and it's going to lose me the few friends I've made online.

Win or lose this election, Ken should wait until it's over, then have a pack of rabid lawyers go through all these articles, online and off, with a fine-tooth comb. If there's anything libellous in there, he should immediately lodge the nastiest, most vicious law suits imaginable, and if grovelling apologies aren't immediately forthcoming he should sue the very shirts off their backs.

Nuke their bank accounts from orbit until there's nothing left but groggy cockroaches crawling through the irradiated rubble of their finances, because nothing says Nasty smear-merchants will not be tolerated like a red bill and bugger-all in the bank.

Now, you may protest that there's a right to free speech, and indeed there is - it's Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Read it - you'll find there's nothing in there protecting weasels who cheerfully pen screeds calling public figures Terrorist sympathisers.

Our democracy was formed in an age long before modern communications were invented, and we've found some excellent ways to bring people into the political process. What we still haven't figured out is how to deal with wreckers, frauds, conmen and cheats - if you've got any better suggestions, comments are below.

Cheers to Pigdogfucker, who'll be horrified by this conclusion, for the heads-up on the Pajamas Media story.

*I can provide links to even more deranged screeds, but you wouldn't thank me.