Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Chomsky extract

Good extract from Noam Chomskys new book, Failed States. Appeared in the Independent today.

Sadly, I feel it's too late for the US to elect an administration that would have the guts to do the 7 things that could help to stem the tide against America.

"1) accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and the World Court; 2) sign and carry forward the Kyoto protocols; 3) let the UN take the lead in international crises; 4) rely on diplomatic and economic measures rather than military ones in confronting terror; 5) keep to the traditional interpretation of the UN Charter; 6) give up the Security Council veto and have "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind," as the Declaration of Independence advises, even if power centres disagree; 7) cut back sharply on military spending and sharply increase social spending."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Note to self: never make a movie that criticises the US Government...

This one is hilarious... or at least it is if you aren't Richard Kelly (director of Donnie Darko).

Apparently, he's been prevented from leaving the US because his passport has been flagged as that of a terrorist on the US Governments watch list.

Interestly, his reason for wanting to leave the US, was to go to the Cannes Film Festival, so he could promote his new movie, Southland Tales, which just so happens to cast a not so kind eye on the security measures taken by the US since September 11th 2001.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Local Elections

Nothing too surprising here then. Labour got stuffed. For all their talk that it wasn't too bad because of the North it's hard to deny the results. Nearly 300 council seats lost and a PM reshuffling almost every major position in his cabinet is a clear sign of a government in crisis. Where this leaves Gordon Brown, only time will tell, although I am beginning to sense that there may not be a clean handover afterall, if Blair chooses to keep plugging away. This reshuffle does not suggest he intends to go early.

Results so far.

From 173 of 176 results declared.

Conservatives up 278 - now with 1711 council seats
Labour down 288 - now with 1174 council seats
Lib Dems up 25 - now with 871 council seats
Others down 15 - now with 191 council seats

For the Tories this is a major success. They polled 40% of the vote which is a huge gain for them. However it isn't all rosy. For all their success in London, they have again failed to make inroads in the major northern cities. Many of these remain battlegrounds for the Lib Dems. Nonetheless, this is clearly a sign of a major Tory revival.

And what of the Lib Dems? Well the problem is the same as it always seems to be. Despite taking 27% of the vote and pushing Labour into third, they have only managed to gain 25 council seats. The Lib Dems need to deal with this problem and fast. It's no good if they finish second in lots of races if they don't actually win the major constituencies. Until we have some form of PR this kind of problem will continue to stifle the Lib Dems.

Finally, to the BNP. I think it's time the media got this one into perspective. This party now has 44 seats out of a total 22,000. Does this really warrant so much airtime? They are not close to being in government. They are a tiny group which campaigns that one issue is the root to all of the countries problems. Do the BNP worry me? Not really. They target areas that have large ethnic minority populations, knowing that these areas are more likely to have white people feeling resentment. But in the end, they have a major numbers problems. Basically, there aren't enough areas in Britain that they can campaign in, because most of the ethnic minorities in Britain are crammed into only a minority of constituencies. The BNP are not a threat and the media should stop giving them almost equal airtime, because they hardy deserve it. For example, the Green Party has 89 council seats and has also had some good gains in the UK today, yet I don't see their leader on the national news all the time.

Anyway. Back to the real world...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Two Presidents, one killer speech

Fantastic speech by Stephen Colbert at the White House correspondents' dinner. The 'real' bush must have been squirming.

Some excerpts:

"I'm a simple man with a simple mind, with a simple set of beliefs that I live by. Number one, I believe in America. I believe it exists. My gut tells me I live there."

"I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he has stood on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world."

A part of me will miss Dubya when he's gone, mainly because I don't think there will be another President who is so easy to take the piss out of. Unless they change the law and Arnie gets in.