Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A failure of perception in South London? See below.
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U-turn for pot policy in London's Brixton


Once a hotspot of social disorder, great inroads were made with community policing initiatives in Brixton - including liberal attitudes to cannabis possession pioneered by the now assistant police commissioner, Brian Paddick. The loosening attitude also had a great influence on the recent downgrading of the herb to a "class C" drug in legislative terms.

Despite the fact the new legislation extends far beyond the local boundaries of Brixton, this area of Lambeth has remained a popular cultural centre for both Londoners and other visitors. This focus has brought gains to the local economy but also led to claims of "drug tourism" with dealers descending en-mass and destroying the new social fabric. It is a sad trend, but hardly unexpected and far from unique - it is a symptom of the social neglect in Blair's Britain and not a problem related to cannabis itself. The distinction is however apparantly lost of those now making policy and a u-turn on tolerance is underway.

Not mentioned in the article is the fact that the Home Office (national government) are about to define the amount of cannabis that can be considered to be owned for "personal possession" and that the quantity will be less than even the most casual of herb smokers will consider reasonable. In Brixton itself, the police will start re-arresting people with any quantity whatsoever as of 12th December.

Another page at the BBC discusses whether this clampdown is the right approach. For more on this issue, check out News of The Weed here at blogspot.


Currently rethinking the mess-o-potania. See below,
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Bush Goes On Offense Over Iraq

CBS News | Bush Goes On Offense Over Iraq | November 30, 2005�09:51:13

A quick link to CBS where you can view or download the new 35 page document released by the White House and describing future strategy for Iraq. In few few short hours it will be followed by Bush himself procrastinating on the issue.

Having left it a reasonable time since the passing of Michael Hutchens, those Australian mega-rockers INXS are back on the road with a new album. The replacement singer sounds like a cross between Hutchens and Jagger which means the band sound every bit their classic selves. Their current gigs are in the USA and a visit to the site at Sony Music set off my security alarms before crashing the browser completely. A better bet is the Australian band site where you can download the new single for free.

I still haven't found anything more on the latest Downing Street leak, but you can find a bit of speculation HERE.


Monday, November 28, 2005

No thanksgiving for Cindy Sheehan on her return to the Crawford ranch - a seasonal stuffing more like it.
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Friday, November 25, 2005

The sound of silence

CBS Newsa>

This link is for a news item on Tuesday. It's pretty much the same report as the link to The Scostman item I published the other day. But...

When this item failed to appear in the British news on Tuesday night I mailed Jon Snow at
Channel 4 News to express concern. The next night (Wednesday) they did cover it in a fashion by revealing that the UK media had been threatened by the government with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act if information in the leak was pursued. As a result, the coverage was more devoted to the censorship issue than the content of the story itself.

The conclusion seems to be that Blair took action at the request of the White House - largely to protect the image (????) of Bush than for any reason related to UK national security. After all - this is one leak that actually presents Blair in a favourable light and he certainly needs it. The farce is that although the story has been buried here in the UK, over in Amerika itself the item was reported here there and everywhere. This link simply proves it and if you didn't read it earlier it may be worth doing so now.

Although there will be no more details available for now in the UK, I suspect revelations will slowly appear elsewhere. I will be on the lookout for links.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Protest singer David Rovics. A prolific, angry and emotional artist, he arrives in Britain for a brief tour shortly. See below.
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David Rovics and Climate of Change

Campaign Against Climate Change

This link will take you to news about a march here in London on December 3rd.

These are the lyrics to a new song by David Rovics which he's just sent. Im sure he won't mind me reproducing them.

The Commons
David Rovics

First you told us only through you could we know God
And if we dared to question then He wouldn't spare the rod
For you we worked the soil, for you we dug the moors
For you we shed our blood and fought so many pointless wars
And now you build your fences and say there's nothing we can do
You say the world around us belongs fairly to the few
But about six billion people no doubt will agree
This world is our home, not your property

It's the commons, our right of birth
And to those who would enclose the land all around the Earth
Our future is your downfall, when we cut this ball and chain
You who'd sacrifice the public good for your private gain

With our sweat we built the railroads, built cities on these shores
But because you own the money you say that it's all yours
We laid the phone lines and the pipelines and then right before our eyes
You say these things our taxes paid for you now will privatize
Privatize the hospitals, privatize the schools
Privatize the prisons for all those who break your rules
And preparing for the day when all the wells run dry
You say you own the very rain that falls down from the sky

But it's the commons, our right of birth
And to those who'd own the water all around the Earth
Our future is your downfall, when we cut this ball and chain
You who'd sacrifice the public good for your private gain

You claim to own the harvest with your terminator seeds
You claim to own the genomes of every animal that breeds
You claim to own our culture and the music that we play
And with every song we download to your coffers we must pay
You would even own my name and you say it's for the best
Maybe you'll let us on your radio stations if our songs can pass your test
You own country, you own western, you say you've given us a choice
You may own the airwaves but you'll never own my voice

It's the commons, our right of birth
And to those who would own the music all around the Earth
Our future is your downfall, when we cut this ball and chain
You who'd sacrifice the public good for your private gain


David is currently in Europe and about to arrive in Britain for a few gigs. SEE HERE for details. He will be performing after the march on December 3rd here in London.


Bush attack on Qatar thwarted by Blair News - International - Blair 'convinced Bush' not to launch strike at Al-Jazeera

Some breaking news on the blogs, this item has just appeared in the Scotsman's evening edition. It's another leak from Downing Street and for once it puts Blair in a slightly more favourable light.

In essence, it seems the ape emperor attempted, in true cowboy style, to bomb the headquarters of the arab television and media station, Al Jazeera and was only talked out of it at the last minute by Downing Street. Given that Al Jazeera are based in Qatar, one can only imagine what might have happened if the strike had gone ahead. The arab league will not be happy.


Down at the World's Chemical Farm

AlterNet: Ecology

As I take time off to listen to Tony Blair gtetting a grilling from a parliamentary committee, here's something very meaty to get to grips with. A cautionary tale for us vegetarians too, the Amerikan bias at the start rapidly shifts to an international perspective on the self-interest behind world trade and the willingness of the US to not only poison its own citizens, but the planet at large too. Good and thorough read.


Monday, November 21, 2005

China presented Bush with a closed door. He escaped but by all reports achieved little else.
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Merry Go Round

We've all been highly amused by the sight of Bush trying to exit his China press confernece by way of a locked door. Pity they didn;t close all the others too and detain him indefinately.

After a short stopover to congratulate Mongola on helping him in Iraq, the ape emperor returns to his homeland as I write. First South America and then Asia - one wonders what has brought on the urge to travel so much? His return will be marked by a two week holiday in the business of Washington, so he'll presumably be hoping to hunker down for recovery undisturbed by all the shit flying his way recently.

I really have become allergic to the Blair-faced spectacle. When that wonderful singer Paul Rodgers joined up with the remnants of the Queen band some time back, my enthusiasm for the result was marred by the PR machine telling me how Rodgers was Blair's favourite vocalist. A similar downder happened when I watched the UK Music Hall of Fame ceremonies at the weekend. Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart are two of Britain's major gems in the music world and performing together as the Eurythmics they have always been greater than their parts. Sad then that a greater part of the homage was delivered by that selfsame Blair.

Another homage by Blair came by videotape to another concert - this one a memorial for the late Mo Mowlam. Fine tributes from musicians and other major figures, but an odd one for Blair given that he'd snubbed her funeral in favour of a holiday. Hypocrisy and attention-grabbing is what I'd call it.

Another new entry today in Richard Neville's "Diary of A Futurist! today. Check it out HERE.


Friday, November 18, 2005

The cat's away - let dissent play!

Independent Clinton Outburst

It must be psychology - with Bush temporarily dispatched to the other side of the planet, otherwise timid beasts emerge from the shadows.

Well not Bill Clinton. His claims that Iraq has been a "big mistake" are echoing everywhere and this link to today's Independent has a decent summary.

Possibly more upsetting for the ape emperor is the complete rejection of his social spending cuts and a demand for Iraq war accounting by Congress. Not so much a democrat uprising than a rebellion by now unhappy republicans.

In the UK, Blair's at home but facing similar dissent for his ideas of future social planning. Sadly, although he can't muster support from his own party, it seems likely he'll get a lot of backing from the opposition. As a result some legislation may get through. The Torys hardly need a new leader - they've got Blair! In his pursuit of legacy, he is more than willing to betray the party he used to lead and with retirement pending he has little regard for the electorate.

We've got the Olympics and now government is backing a UK bid for the World Cup (football). Scoring in one's own goal doesn't go down too well in that game and any team captain practising the habit with such regularity would not be tolerated for long. Blair should scuttle off to the other side of the house and let the team oust his cronies and rebuild themselves. Then they might just be ready to play in future games.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

U.S. Keeps Control Of 'Net Names

CBS News | U.S. Keeps Control Of 'Net Names | November 16, 2005�10:00:01

Hot off the press from CBS this item claims Amerika will keep control of the internet for now. See this morning's piece for more.

Webmistress sleeps & Pot gets go-ahead

When the webmistress sleeps

First off a plug here for Richard Neville's latest blog - always a favourite of mine.

Meanwhile in the UK there has been a limited approval for prescribing medical pot. FULL DETAILS HERE. Oddly, the "Sativex" product is manufactured in Britain and currently exported to Canada. Exactly why the product needs to be re-imported for use is something of a mystery - a lack of communication between government departments perhaps? It is welcome news noneless, especially in the light of my comments last week on the persecution of "Cannabis Gran".


My cartoon of the day courtesy of Slate. This nose is after the Web too, but can the UN or anyone else offer an alternative? See below.
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Is the Internet in danger?

Independent Online Edition > Science & Technology

A quick link today for an article in the British newspaper "The Independent" which examines in more detail the previously reported moves to shift control of the World Wide Web to an international body. Were there any kind of stable global authority available, this might be a good idea, but as this story shows, it is commerce, vested interests and censorship that are signing up for this campaign.

At present, there are no winners in the debate and the world's population has everything to lose. Information is power and neither dictatorships or corporate-manipulated democracies like the idea of giving it to we humble citizens. Even if control remains where it is, the imperial Bush machine will move the privatise its governance subject to US law and oversight. This in itself would be another obsticle to the empowerment of the people in the global state.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Carcinogens might be less of a problem if the government allowed some smokers access to Sativex spray. See below.
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Small Pharma? Reefer to dosage ...

Respectable Reefer

After a quiet weekend here is a story that seems appropriate after Friday's outrage about "Cannabis Gran". GW Pharmaceuticals make the only legal marijuana products in the UK and their customer base here is non-existent. They do however export produce to Canada.

This feature takes a look at the company whose Sativex brand isn't even available in the country of manufacture. Were it so, poor pensioners might not be forced to prepare their own medicine and thus be subject to persecution by forces of law and order who have far more important things to do in this day and age.

This on a day when our Transport secretary hosts a meeting where plans are being annouced for high-tech surveillance measures on the underground and elsewhere. It is, of course, part of the government's anti-terrorism strategy but surely this better fits the Home Office remit. Maybe this is designed to take the heat off Charles Clarke and recent parliamentary failures.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

She's not too keen on Bush either - Cannabis Gran experiences the wrath of big brother. See below.
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News of the weed not good for Granny

news of the weed

A quick link to the latest "News Of The Weed" here at blogspot.

When a 67 year old "grandma" can face a possible 14 year sentence and eviction from her home you might think she has been hiding some horrible history. Not so! The lady in question has simply been preparing a little home-grown cannabis for use as medicine. She's been rather loud about it's sucess as a treatment for various ails of course - maybe that's the real reason for this outrageous action.

The police should be watching out for terrorists - not themselves terrifying poor pensioners for habits they conduct in the privacy of their own homes.


Something In The Air?

America Waking

This link leads to a summary in the Times of the fall from grace of the Republication Party in yesterday's local and state elections. Long term bad news for Bush and short term bad news for Arnie.

By sheer co-incidence of course, we now have Blair suffering his first ever defeat in the House of Commons. When I wrote here yesterday, I knew it would be close but actually didn't remotely expect this - the vote against him was more sunstantial than one or two.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

World on hold for Blair's private battle


After several days of terrorising both his supporters and the opposition in an effort to gain support for draconian laws, Prime Preacher Blair has now put international business aside in order to recall ministers from foreign parts just to get their votes. The financial expense and political price of such behaviour is absurd - surely votes could be cast by proxy or electronically? The biggest folly is that even if our self-consumed leader gets his way and scrapes through the proposed legislation, the House of Lords are almost certain to reject it anyway.

It will be back to stage one and history will simply show British cabinet ministers abdicating their other, more important, responsibilities for a couple of days.

As our neighbour France shows all the signs of descending into a modern-day revolution, Britain's media eyes have been focused on the China state visit. Whilst "Free Tibet" and other civil rights protesters put on a worthy show, democracy and freedom were wholly absent from the agenda. This was iconic intercourse designed to consolidate pre-eminence in the power structure of the 21st Century. China may not offer any political menu to it's citizens, but it has proved a dab hand at capitist method and the market-driven world economy. Indeed, it bankrolls the vaster part of American debt! Britain may still have a degreee of free speech and claim to abide by its democratic heritage, but the menu offered to it's electorate is more often than not a case of the same pudding served with different sauce.

If Blair's aspirations were met, there would be even less difference between our two countries.

If America's debts were called in, Bush would either have to "nuke" the bank or accept that China is already the world's strongest economy. Their size makes them the planet's worst polluter, but they are also leading the field toward sustainable energy. They are ahead of America in the old space race, but their agenda is more concerned with off-planet resources and farming than America's showmanship. In percentile terms, China's citizens are emerging from poverty at an accelerating rate and the contentment factor is high. Elsewhere in the world, the opposite is becoming the norm as the social-economic divide widens. France today is a good example.

I would hardly claim that China's leaders are benevolent in our understanding of the word and they certainly exhibit ruthless methods of quashing any dissent in their midst. Yet they have proved more than capable of attaining a dominent position in the global economy in a very short period of time and as a world power they are currently in the ascendency. Even more significantly, they are largely unaffected by the new religious and cultural fundamentalism presently disrupting the rest of the planet.

Enough of the devil's advocate, but it all gives pause for thought.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Women protest during Bush visit to South America. Argentina, Brazil - you name it, they don't like it. Homecoming's not good either - the FBI reckon the Iraq War was started for the profits rather than ideaology and guess whose corporate pockets are getting fat? Actually, this photo replaces a destroyed MacDonalds in the Paris uprising which sadly vanished.
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Paris Burning

It has taken a week or more, but now the international press has woken up to the riots in France. This is not the student uprising of 1969, nor, as yet, is it an Islamist terrorist ursurgency. It is about poverty and social deprivation - albeit in predominantly muslim inner city areas. It is a matter of 21st Century ghettos and their consequences - here in a nation renowned for the volatile nature of its citizens.

The sudden and dramatic increase in violence has proved beyond the ability of the police to control and it should serve as a warning to other societies where rampant market driven economies are accelerating the divide between rich and poor. On the international stage it is the real source of the current global discontent, but the problem is present in most capitalist based nations and local unrest is only a matter of time. When people revolt "en-masse", there will never be enough law enforcement to keep them at bay. Such is the stuff of revolution and the French should know this only too well.

Chirac has unsurprisingly responded with condemnation and vowed to punish the protagonists. Exactly how he plans to round up so many individuals is unclear. His first stop should be to address the seeds of this civil warfare and attempt to placate the disaffected. Although street level intermediaries are doing their best to bring some calm on a local level, the danger that this uprising could be hijacked by religious extremeists is all too clear - and right here in the centre of Europe.

Let us hope the current destruction does not start focusing on the greater economic infrastructure or places like the channel tunnel itself. Those who advocate terrorism are just waiting for the chance to ingratiate themselves with a movement such as this and in the absence of hope, there will be all too many willing recruits.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Grandchildren of the revolution

Grandchildren of the revolution by Richard Neville

Today's link is for a lengthy essay by Richard Neville. More a case of "then and now" than his usual satire, he looks back at sixties London and draws some parallels with modern times. Essential reading!

Bush may have a few problems at home these days, but beyond the womb of his homeland security the reception in South America would be enough to give an intelligent person cause for thought. Has nobody told him he's unwelcome most places on the planet?

Another link. This tells of a UN audit which suggests the US owe millions of dollars to Iraq. First they invade and secure the oil supply for cheap. Then they steal back the profits to pay for an infrastructure. Then they build to such a poor standard that they make extra extra profits. Money for nothing or oil for nothing?

Here in the UK the government almost lost a vote in the House of Commons on anti-terror measures. Just one vote short of defeat. This link points out that a certain loudmouth called George Galloway was too busy with a bit of self-promotion to attend and cast what could have been a crucial vote. Like Blunkett, this guy enjoys the cushy life - his procrastination and willingness to combat the Amerikan Emprire may have endeared him to many, but this is folly of the highest order.

Scan down a few entries for that photo of Blunkett published the day before his resignation. Some of you missed the significance - his companion looks to be none other than the selfsame Galloway. Let him hang himself, or should I say "head the gallows way!" Before we get too silly ...


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Sorry - wrong movie! See below.
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13 hours to reboot the universe and everything

This week the final installment of the "Star Wars" saga goes on sale for our home entertainment. We can all now take a day off to watch all 13 hours or so in the correct order and muse upon a phantom reality that has occupied our lives for near on 25 years. This link has an interesting essay.

Of course, a synopsis will barely take 13 minutes.

Bit One. A long time ago in a galaxy very far away a child is born. He is exceptionally gifted and gets adopted by the state to be trained for some higher purpose. He's cute and has lots of robots and aliens for friends.

Bit Two. Boy in now a teenager and doing lots of worthy stuff for his tutor and the state. Shows signs of attitude problem but still struts his stuff in a palitable fashion whilst falling in love and getting married. Meanwhile, the shadow of war falls on the state.

Bit Three. War arrives and boy is young adult. Has a son and daughter but then rebels and joins the other side. Abandons children to pursue a career as serious war-monger.

Bit Four. Son has grown up in isolation but inhertied daddy's talents. Daddy's old tutor resurfaces to educate son. Son also discovers secret sister. Daddy is now a major bigwig in the empire that has replaced the state. State is now relegated to resistance movement and sets out to train son as their own champion. Old tutor dies.

Bit Five. The son is now the big hero of the resistance and, unlike daddy, shows no signs of being a rebel. The son, his sister and assorted mates do all sorts of things to combat the empire. Also gets to meet a load of daddy's old pals who also help him out. Son finally meets daddy and has a fight with him before finding out the truth of their blood relationship. Survives fight and escapes with an arm missing.

Bit Six. The son gets a new robot arm and makes serious plans to sort out the daddy problem. Seeks out daddy's old mega-guru to get some advanced training before having another go at daddy. Big generation battle ensues but daddy won't kill son and decides he's a nice guy after all. Son kills emporer instead and everyone has a party. It was just a little celebration at first, but becomes galaxy wide for the remastered edition.

Bit Seven. There isn't one, but you could just go back to bit one and re-enter the loop.

13 hours! Just how many times are we really going to watch it all again now? If there is a parable here, it's a mighty flimsy one.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

As the temper tantrums become increasingly public, everybody's favourite protest sign currently reads: "Won't someone please give him a blow-job so we can impeach right now!"
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Senate enters closed session on Iraq

CBS News | Senate Dems Force Showdown On Iraq | November 2, 2005�08:30:04

I'm no expert on the American constitution but this latest news seems significant. The demoncrats have effectively closed down the US senate and put it in a closed session to address the Bush administration's abuse of intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq invasion. With everything else piled up against the ape emporer, could this be the icing on the cake?


Nightmare in Downing Street? Must be the company he keeps - see below.
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Pack yer bags - Take two!

For those who haven't heard (it was too late for this morning's papers), the British cabinet minister David Blunkett has now departed government again. He will not be sorely missed!

In other news, Iran has sacked all its diplomats whose attitude was considered too liberal for the new regime. See here. Not the most encouraging decision in the current climate.