November 2016

Yes, yes, you should read this

AUGUSTO PINOCHET, who died Sunday at the age of 91, has been vilified for three decades in and outside of Chile, the South American country he ruled for 17 years. For some he was the epitome of an evil dictator. That was partly because he helped to overthrow, with U.S. support, an elected president considered saintly by the international left: socialist Salvador Allende, whose responsibility for creating the conditions for the 1973 coup is usually overlooked. Mr. Pinochet was brutal: More than 3,000 people were killed by his government and tens of thousands tortured, mostly in his first three years. Thousands of others spent years in exile.

And you should read it to the end.

Ms. Kirkpatrick argued that right-wing dictators such as Mr. Pinochet were ultimately less malign than communist rulers, in part because their regimes were more likely to pave the way for liberal democracies. She, too, was vilified by the left. Yet by now it should be obvious: She was right.

What was that about the phallocentrism of health care?

Women will be offered psychological therapy on the NHS to cope with premenstrual syndrome under new guidelines.

Senior doctors will today recommend that women diagnosed with PMS be given cognitive behavioural therapy as the first course of treatment for the condition.


Actually, since CBT consists of telling people “Yes, that’s true, that is a problem but, you know, the human condition, you’ll just have to deal with it” then perhaps that is proper phallocentrism at work.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I rather like human beings

Yes, this is all rather trivial and it’s on Twatter and in the Mail and all that.

Ben Carter, from Devon, will only drink from a blue Tommee Tippee cup, prompting father Marc to put out an appeal on social media after becoming concerned the cup was wearing out.
Ben would refuse drinks that were not in the cup and had been to hospital with severe dehydration.

And of course this is all lovely advertising for the company and so on.

Tommee Tippee, based in Northumberland, said it was nearly 20 years since it had manufactured that product, but has now rediscovered the design and found the mould used to make the two-handled originals, stored in a usable condition in China.
It has said it will make a run of 500 cups to ensure ‘that Ben has a lifetime supply and that his family won’t ever have to worry about finding another cup’.

Call it rational self-interest, call it altruism, call it what you will, but there are times when it’s possible to just rather like human beings.

Err, you what love?

The Women’s Equality Party has its conference:

And as delegates spoke, the issues around health came through loud and clear. Inequalities are stopping women from accessing the care and services they need. Our members spoke of funding cuts to essential social care services, weight discrimination in the fashion industry and draconian legislation on abortion.

We’ve, to any approximation of accuracy, got abortion on demand. And somehow that LuluLemon does not make yoga pants for hippopotami is not something I can feel any angst about. Somewhat grateful in fact.

And what inequality in health care when women live longer than men? Something that didn’t used to happen in fat given deaths in childbirth but we went off and largely solved that problem, didn’t we?

Never award yourself powers you don’t want your enemy to have

In all the outrage about the unhinged things Donald Trump keeps tweeting and saying, there’s been almost zero criticism at the fact that Obama will be partly responsible for the extraordinary scope of powers Trump inherits. The Obama administration has not only done nothing to curtail the slew of extreme national security and war powers that Trump is about to acquire since the election – the White House is actively expanding them.


George Monbiot on funding for campaigns

As usual, the left and centre (myself included) are beating ourselves up about where we went wrong. There are plenty of answers, but one of them is that we have simply been outspent. Not by a little, but by orders of magnitude. A few billion dollars spent on persuasion buys you all the politics you want. Genuine campaigners, working in their free time, simply cannot match a professional network staffed by thousands of well-paid, unscrupulous people.

What is Greenpeace’s budget again?

When even a bloke in a wheelchair gets it…..

Professor Stephen Hawking has joined the Swedish royals in a campaign addressing serious obesity and physical inactivity.

In an ad titled “Pep talk with Stephen Hawking” the cosmologist and physicist addresses “the most serious public health problems of the 21st century.”

“Today too many people die from complications related to overweight and obesity. We eat too much and move too little,” Professor Hawking says in the ad shot for Swedish non-profit GEN-PEP.

The solution, he says, “is not rocket science,” and he recommends that people eat less and take up more physical activity.

Err, yes Jeremy, yes

Children should be blocked from texting sexually explicit images by social media companies, the Health Secretary has said.

Erm, how?

Sure, you can block the “I’d like to fuck your vagina with my penis” through word recognition stuff.

But there’s no way to get to euphemisms. “Let’s nip behind the bike shed for some rumpy pumpy my darling little arhoomba!”

And let’s face it, English has some millennia’s worth of euphemisms to play with….

So here’s a question

Just what is it that we cannot do as members of the EU but can outside?

Incandescent light bulbs.
Gender discrimination in insurance.
Free trade with non-EU
Abolish CAP
Abolish CFP
Any bloody size vacuum cleaner we want

And so on and on. We’re trying to create a definitive list of what we’ll be newly free to do. Your ideas please!

It’s just weird, weird

The weekend’s developments in France support that thesis. What seems likely is that the people of that country will be faced with a choice between a Thatcherite opponent of the welfare state and a far right neo-fascist in the 2018 presidential election.

Firstly, he has no clue about the French electoral system. There will be a Socialist candidate, a Communist one (if not several, the Stalinists and the Trots usually put one up each, if not more), Macron will try to come through the middle and so on. That none of these are likely to make the second round is up to the French electorate of course.

But more than that there’s that idea of Le Pen as “far right.” You couldn’t get a fag paper between her economic ideas and those of Spudtollahs’ co-author, Colin Hines. And the idea that the author of The Curajus State would be against fascism lite is simply ridiculous, it’s what he’s actually preaching.

Do these people simply have no self-knowledge at all?

Anyone got a link to an official list, in English, of FN’s economic suggestions? Be fun to run it off against Ritchie’s proposals…..


The role that foreign capital and political powers such as the US, Russia and China are likely to play in this process seriously threatens the prospects for Cuban national sovereignty – perhaps the only unambiguously positive element of Fidel Castro’s legacy. Barack Obama’s policies have signified a degree of recognition of that sovereignty. It is uncertain what Donald Trump’s policies will be in this regard, although the appointment of Mauricio Claver-Carone, a Cuban-American extreme rightwinger, to his transition team is a very ominous sign.

National sovereignty’s very important except when we vote for it at which point we’re all xenophobic dickheads.

What a lovely thing to complain about

Trouble is, lip service doesn’t pay so well. Days after that interview, the recently ejected chancellor began a speaking tour of America. In just a month, it was revealed last week, he raked in £320,400. Osborne made more from five speeches (nearly all to the finance industry, naturally, and putting in what his parliamentary register records as a total of 13 and a half hours’ work)than the average British worker will earn in over 11 years.

So, that’ll be some £130,000 or so of American money that flows into HM Treasury. An appalling outcome we all agree Mr. Chakrabortty.

Oh, well done Polly!

The ground is shifting, and Brexiters, such as Dominic Raab, are getting nervous: “The public have spoken; we should respect the result and get on with it, not try to find new hurdles that undermine the democratic process,” he says. But what kind of democracy is that, with just one lifelong vote – immutable, however many people review the altered facts and change their mind?

Remainers, meanwhile, like Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, feel the stirrings of an opportunity. She is the first Labour frontbencher to open the door to a second referendum. Others, John Major and Tony Blair included, press for a second vote so citizens can approve the final deal. How wise that sounds: lay out the facts, explain the complexities and let the people decide.

But has no one learned the lesson of the last referendum? Never again, is what we learned, for how could a second referendum in what would probably be an even nastier atmosphere improve the national debate? How would it not, once again, be hijacked by lies?

We saw the last time how moderate, rational people of all parties who campaigned for remain failed to come to terms with the post-fact, post-truth, emoto-politics, where what you identify with trumps all else. We saw how the sight of a far-right tectonic shift, the deployment of terrifying statistics and the fire-alarm warnings from trustworthy experts all proved irrelevant to the 52% who wanted just one thing – out, as a badge, as a state of being, as a national identity and as sovereign freedom from foreigners in Brussels or over here.

So, not even one vote then as you peasants might vote the wrong way.

Actually rather amusing

Scurvy cases reported in Australia reveal modern diet failings

It’s not poverty, the expense of fresh food or anything. Not even that people aren’t eating enough veg in most cases.

It’s that old English thing of boiling veg to mush that is…..

The do actually believe this

Howard Reed says:
November 28 2016 at 11:59 am
In order for democracy to function properly people need to vote on the basis of accurate information. As the Leave campaign spent 3 months lying continuously (I don’t think there was one accurate statement from Leave over the whole campaign), I think we can safely conclude that democracy failed to function properly, because people were misinformed. The fact that the Leave campaign rowed back on every one of their campaign commitments (most obviously £350m per week for the NHS) within a few hours of the result being announced shows that the whole referendum was a farce and anyone in the Remain camp who takes the result seriously has been duped by Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and the rest of the far right.

As they did not vote as I think they should have done, increase the propaganda bugdets comrades!

And seriously, what is all this fuckery about Landsman Economics, Ritchie “creating a narrative”, if it isn’t to get people to vote on less than accurate information?