Category Archives: Politics

(WE DON’T NEED THIS) FASCIST GROOVE THANG.

Well, that didn’t take long, did it? Normally, one would expect a new head of state to spend a couple of weeks coming to terms with the position, perhaps give the tyres a kick, adjust the seat and the mirrors and then take a short drive around the block, but no! It would appear that Der  Trumpfer jumped straight into the drivers’ seat, slammed the accelerator to the floor and set off on what appears to be a reenactment of the goriest bits of “Deathrace 2000.” I thought, presumably like a lot of other right minded people, that a lot of his blather on the campaign trail was simply red meat thrown to the mob, but it appears that he actually meant what he said. Who’d a thunk it?

Thankfully, those  who don’t watch Fox “news” had an instant Howard Beale moment and made sure everyone knew about it. It was gratifying to see that the attendance at the Women’s March in D.C. exceeded by a considerable amount the attendance at the inauguration, and at so many other marches not only around the U.S, but all over the world. Of course,  baby threw a tantrum when the U.S. Parks Department posted a picture of 45’s inauguration crowd alongside that of President Obama’s first inauguration. No one in their right mind would have believed that more people came to see the Oompa Loompa sworn in than any of the previous 44  presidents, but to ban the parks department from publishing anything in public.?It’s the typical reaction of a spoilt brat who  is caught out, and then resorts to red-faced hysteria in an attempt to blame others for his lies.

Don’t you think it interesting that the nylon haired one is so obsessed with size? Be it walls, crowds, ties, aircraft or  whatever, he always claims that his is bigger than anyone else’s. I wonder if he is trying to compensate for some kind of inadequacy or trying to deflect attention away from something of which he is ashamed or embarrassed. Oh, I see my error. He doesn’t experience shame or embarrassment, only anger, contempt, pride, smugness and hubris. I mean, don’t his staff have access to Photoshop? Even Stalin had a team dedicated to altering photographs. My favourite has to be that of Stalin winning the 100 metres gold medal in the 1936 Olympics. It’s the best retouching job the KGB ever did.  (Apologies to Alexei Sayle).

Of course, that was just the appetiser. The main course was right behind it, and oh, wasn’t it the most incredible, enormous shit sandwich you’ve ever seen? I’m talking of course, about the (absolutely not a) Muslim ban ( honestly). I mean, did he really think, even for a minute, that he would get away with it? Not go all Bill Hicks on you, but the balls on that guy! He must have to wear specially fitted trousers with balls that big. Does he have to use a wheelbarrow to carry around those enormous balls?

Of course, the outrage  was instantaneous. I heard that one placard being held outside JFK airport read” “First they came for the Muslims, and I said “Oh no you don’t motherfucker!”” Pastor Martin Niemoller must be very proud of that person. And the owners of art and office supply stores must be very happy. Have you tried to buy poster board, wide tipped Sharpies or any kind of paint recently? Had I the money, I’d be buying stock in Office Depot and Michaels.  A blind man on a speeding horse could see the unconstitutionality of the ban, yet as soon as Judge James Robart, a Bush 43 appointee, no less, struck down the ban, the tiny fingered one denigrated him. But then again, that’s nothing new, just ask Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

Trying to deflect blame for any future event is also straight from the Despots’ Handbook, as is singling out a specific religious group,  threatening the press and surrounding oneself with ideologues who lack basic competence. Rather than draining the swamp, as he claimed, he is filling it with the most revolting, foul slime imaginable.

It would not surprise me if he were to find an excuse to impose martial law and put troops on the street. Seriously, he has no concept of self control or that he is doing anything untoward. I think he genuinely believes his  own publicity and that this is his destiny.  No one has ever said “no” to him, hence his apoplectic responses to anyone or anything that doesn’t go his way. I’m genuinely concerned for the future of this county. I don’t think we can afford to wait two years until the mid-term elections to try to redress the balance. One of my biggest fears is that Bannon et al see him as a useful puppet and are planning to have him impeached or resign and then have Pence replace him as president, with Bannon as Veep. I know this all sounds like a whacko conspiracy theory, but if  the alternative is that he is doing all this himself, then what?

He’s already questioned the legitimacy of the judicial and legislative branches and is issuing edicts at a rate that would make Kim Jong Un jealous, and I wouldn’t put it past him to give himself even more control. To quote Abraham Lincoln, who must now be spinning in his grave at the thought of those grubby, tiny digits on his bible, once said, “Any man can handle adversity. If you want to see his true character, give him power”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Orange Crush.

I’ll put the primal screaming on hold for a second and try to be rational about this. I make no promises, though. So, where to begin? Despite following the election closely, by Monday of this week I just wanted the whole nightmare to be over. Enough was more than enough, and for the first time I didn’t bother reading many of the articles on the Guardian website. Even I was glutted by the coverage, like a once hilarious catch phrase repeated ad nauseam.

Lacking television, I knew that listening to the radio at home and sober wouldn’t do it for me, so I headed off to my favourite watering hole early on Tuesday evening to watch the results. A small crowd had gathered to watch CNN on the two screens that usually provide sports coverage as I took my place and sipped at the first of several  pints of stout, keeping one eye on the screen whilst reading “The Economist”- a publication that has become a security blanket as much as a source of information over the past few months.   I wasn’t too concerned by the early returns, as there was no doubt in my mind as to how the Confederacy would vote, but as the evening wore on and the gap refused to close, a sense of foreboding descended upon me. People drifted away, but I stayed until almost 9pm before heading back to Singledad Towers and logging on to the Guardian website.

It only got worse. Much, much worse. As the red column crept inexorably towards 270, I succumbed to the inevitable and called it a night, stunned by the implications of what had just happened. Wednesday was not a happy day, to put it mildly. My poor brain had a great deal of difficulty wrapping itself around the implications of the election result, and no, it had nothing to do with my alcohol consumption of the night before. Indeed, I still find it difficult to comprehend the existential crisis we face as a result of “The great American electorate” – Ha! The most oxymoronic phrase in history – choosing to elect  the Oompa Loompa In Chief.

Actually, I think Der Trumpher is in fact, TWO Oompa Loompas in a suit. The skin tone is the same, his hair has obviously been dyed, but the big giveaway are the  Oompa Loompa sized hands on what appears to be an adult human.

To be serious for a moment, though, the implications are horrific. Due to the unconstitutional and anti democratic stance of the Republicans, the Bigot elect now gets to choose at least one, and possibly as many as three supreme court justices. Kennedy isn’t getting any younger, and the Notorious RBG is an octogenarian cancer survivor. Let me spell it out: Marriage equality, Transgender rights, Roe V. Wade, environmental regulations, Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, the Paris climate accord, the EPA itself ( created, as you all know, by that dangerous  radical  liberal Richard Milhous Nixon), employee protection, the Iran nuclear deal, religious tolerance, immigrant rights, gender equality, freedom of the press, the fourth amendment, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, all of these and no doubt many more are now at risk. I’m not joking. We now stand on the threshold of a new Dark Age.

Think about whose tiny, tiny finger will soon be hovering over the nuclear button. No doubt it will be a gilt button, the finest anywhere, but just think about it. Would you give a machine gun to a four year old? That in effect, is what has happened. Except for the fact that when a four year old throws a tantrum, you can put him in his room until he calms down. Oh, and four year olds are rather more rational than President Pumpkinhead.

I’m still numb with shock, in case you didn’t realise. I feel like Charlton Heston in “Planet Of The Apes” when he sees the Statue of Liberty poking out of the sand – a prospect that is now very much in our future . How can I make sense of it all? Hillary was by far the most qualified and competent of any of the candidates. Do people really hate her that much? Is this, as it has been called, a “Whitelash” against the outgoing resident of the White House? Do people really despise and distrust liberalism that much? Is it a backlash against the establishment and entrenched interests? Ha! That would be ironic – republican voters voting for a candidate from the party responsible for the last eight years of gridlock and “Hell no!!!”

And people wonder why we’re fucked up as a species. I truly despair for this nation. I feel like I’ve been woken from a coma only to find that what I thought was reality was in fact an illusion. It’s a situation that not even H.P. Lovecraft at his inventive best could imagine. I’m floating in space with no sense of up or down, nothing beneath my feet, surrounded by an immense unfeeling and indifferent void. I know this all sounds a bit melodramatic, but how am I supposed to feel? Fear not, I’m not going to fall foul of Godwin’s Law, but the words of Pastor Martin Neimoller ring truer now than ever before.

There is no upbeat ending here, just the mental image of a boot stamping on a face for ever. I’m off now to practice saying “Eh?” at the end of every sentence and sew as many maple leaf patches as I can find onto everything I own, especially my tee shirt that says “Don’t blame me, I voted for Cthulu.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ain’t That A Kick In The Head.

For the last couple of months I’ve been gainfully employed at a downtown insurance company. I work in the Agent Communications department, where I turn templates of articles into web pages for the Agent News bulletin, copy edit and proofread articles, upload videos, and update the homepage amongst other things. The job is more engaging and informative than you might imagine. Like most people, I regarded insurance as both essential and incredibly boring, but as a result of reading many  articles and transcribing interviews, I’ve learned that there is much in the industry that goes unnoticed. Fear not, I’m not going to bore you.

The office is on the 16th floor and surpasses many of my previous places of employment by having windows. In the interest of ergonomics I have an adjustable desk that gives me the option of standing, should I so desire. Being a lazy bastard I never understood why someone would stand when they could sit, but having tried it, I really appreciate the option. Standing also affords me the opportunity of admiring the view: If I look straight ahead, I can see the Sound and the various vessels plying their trade. To  my left I can see what was once the tallest building on the west coast and the baseball stadium. Between these lies a view of the dockside cranes and docked container ships. Funnily, though, I have yet to see any containers being loaded or unloaded.

I’ve enjoyed the routine of the commute, dressing in something other than tee shirt and jeans and being around other people, particularly people who are interesting, intelligent and who actually talk – I think I mentioned during the entire 12 months at my previous job, there were two co workers who NEVER talked to me. Not one word, despite seeing them on a daily basis.

The swag has been much better as well. My last place had nothing better than cheap shopping bags that were one grade above disposable and crappy earbuds with the acoustic quality of  a soup can telephone. Not long after I joined the department, a major relocation took place – we all had to move to different cubicles to allow for the arrival of staff from two other floors undergoing refurbishment. This also meant the loss of some storage space. Our location was occupied previously by the Marketing team, who simply abandoned all their stuff when they were laid off.  As a result, in the space of a week I scored two portable speakers, one of which is Bluetooth enabled, a tote bag with a built-in speaker (yes, that’s a thing), a picnic cooler in the style of a backpack, an official U.S. Men’s Olmpic ice hockey team shirt, a scarf, a travel mug, a signed photo of Kelsey Keller and good quality earbuds.  Not bad, eh? Mind you, our unofficial family motto is “If ever you are offered something for nothing, take it. And what you can’t carry, you drag”, so none of you should be surprised by my eagerness to haul away as much buckshee merch as possible.

Now for the flip side. Early last week I received an email from the agency that found me the job which opened with the greeting”All is fine!” It informed me that due to a reduction in  funding  for support staff in the 2017 budget, starting in mid January my hours would be cut by 50 percent. This is some strange meaning of “fine” that I’ve never heard before.  You can imagine my consternation. Rather than walking away, I agreed to stay on for the remainder of my contract, as any money is better than none.

Not all was lost, though. My supervisor offered me the option of working from home, which would save me the expense of commuting and also the need to wear trousers during the day. Of course, I accepted her offer, although the cut in hours felt more like being laid off than anything else. You can imagine my distress at the change in circumstances as I really enjoy the environment in the office. My colleagues are all very charming people, the free coffee is drinkable and there is a genuine sense of teamwork.

My first day working from home is election day, and that’s probably a good thing, as I don’t fancy having to dodge flying bricks, automatic gunfire and Molotov cocktails as Trump’s supporters react to the inevitable defeat of their beloved Fuehrer.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for post – apocalyptic urban hellscapes as long as they’re in the movies and not a part of my commute.

Of course, my changed circumstances do have an upside: I can start looking for another job while working, and my supervisor has told me that she understands absolutely if I need time to attend interviews, etc. Twenty hours a week doesn’t even cover the rent, but at least I have some forewarning, my resume is up to date and the received wisdom is that it’s easier to find a job when you have a job.  I just hope I remember to put trousers on before I head off to an interview.

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I Hope You’re Happy Now.

Well, it finally happened: The turkeys voted for Christmas. I am, of course, referring to the recent decision by the British electorate to leave the European Union. To save time, I suggest you watch the two most recent episodes of “Last Week Tonight” as they will bring you up to speed and give you a pretty accurate idea of just how I feel. The implications of the so called “Brexit” don’t bear thinking about as the economic repercussions could last a decade or more. However, most people didn’t even consider the picture beyond “How will it affect me?” and simply reacted with a level of Xenophobia which even followers of the England national football team would find hard to match.

These ( in the words of Billy Bragg) “Little John Bullshits” simply swallowed hook, line and sinker the lie that leaving the EU would allow Britain to erect some sort of Trumpian wall, prevent all immigration and somehow restore Britain to the status of a world power that it hasn’t had since the 1880’s.

Look, I despise the EU as much as the next thinking person, but I’m not stupid enough to believe stories of EU regulations calling for straight bananas and labels specifying how many seeds are in each apple, but it sure as heck beats the mad free for all of the past and has at least meant that Europe hasn’t reduced itself to a heap of smouldering rubble in the last 60 years. The EU is, using Churchill’s description of democracy “The worst possible form of government. Apart from all the others”.

What really gets me is that the day after the  vote, the two most searched terms online were “What is the EU?” and “What does leaving the EU mean?”. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!?!?!?!  How can anyone make such an important decision and then look into the  consequences later? Imagine if Pontius Pilate had  said “Oh heck, let’s just let this Jesus bloke go free” and then spent the next day looking through the scrolls to see what he’d actually done.

As you know, I have a pretty low opinion of the vast majority of humanity. The rampant stupidity and insensitivity seen on a daily basis makes despair about the future of H. Sap. as a species. One good thing to come out of is is that David Cameron, the Pigfucker Minister and leader of the Conservative party, the smug prick who set the ball in motion has been forced to resign and can now go back to pursuing his interest in necrophiliac bestiality which he acquired whilst at university.

Can you imagine any other country being stupid enough to back an ignorant, arrogant blowhard who promises to “Reclaim the country” from foreign influence, restore national pride and prevent immigration? No, nor can I.

 

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You’ll Never Walk Alone.

It was William Ewart Gladstone, one of Queen Victoria’s prime ministers who said “Justice delayed is justice denied” , but I doubt if even he could imagine a wait of 27 years to see justice done. I’ll do my best not to get too angry about this, but I make no promises. Let me start at the beginning.

On April 15, 1989, some 54,000 football fans were at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillborough stadium to see Liverpool and Nottingham Forest play in the F.A. Cup semi final. By the end of the afternoon, 96 were dead. LET ME REPEAT THAT. 96 people attended what should have been a glorious, exciting sporting event and went home dead. You would imagine that such an event would result in a thorough investigation in order to find and punish those responsible, but you’d be wrong.

In fact, the victim blaming began before the bodies were cold. David Duckenfield of the South Yorkshire police, and  the officer in charge that day , claimed that “Drunken fans had stormed the gates” and rushed through the tunnels leading to the terraces. Four days later, a statement repeated far and wide by the media. Indeed, just four days later, “The Sun”, a semi-pornographic comic for the educationally subnormal masquerading as a newspaper printed a headline in 200 point font “The Truth” following which it claimed that fans had robbed the dead, assaulted ambulance workers and urinated on police tending the victims. The only “Truth” on the front page were the date and the price. Needless to say, no one was surprised when piles of the publication were burned in the streets of Liverpool, newsagents refused to carry it and sales in the city plummeted and have never recovered.

Where was the public outrage? I hear you ask. well, bear in mind that this was the 1980s. Margaret Thatcher ( may she burn forever in the fires of eternal damnation) was still Prime Minister. Her contempt, which knew no bounds reached stratospheric heights for three groups, namely: football fans, the working class and the people of Liverpool. Combining all three produced a perfect storm which she and her cronies exploited to the full.  Bear in mind that Thatcher had proposed national identity cards for football fans, and for football fans alone, and had wanted all crimes within a mile of a football ground on match days to be considered a football related crime. If the 9/11 attacks had happened in London within a mile of a football ground on a Saturday, the deaths would have been blamed on football.

Now that you’ve had a couple of minutes to let that sink in, I’ll continue. The resulting Taylor Report was a whitewash, with the authorities cherry picking the conclusions. This led to the abolition of standing at football grounds which then led to the massive hike in ticket prices and the start of the campaign to turn football into a middle class day out and ostracise the true fan base.

Of course, the people of Liverpool rallied around the victim’s families, and there were precious few who didn’t know someone who had lost a loved one or someone who had been at the game. Support groups emerged to continue the fight for justice – a long, thankless task that took a full quarter of a century to succeed. A little over a year ago, the current Prime Minister, the oily creep David Cameron admitted in parliament what we had all known: that the Police had destroyed evidence, altered statements and suppressed facts. Cold comfort, but finally we had confirmation of what we all knew in our hearts.

On April 26 this year, the two year coroner’s inquest into the deaths returned a verdict : all 96 victims were unlawfully killed. Duckenfield was found guilty of gross negligence and my only hope is that he will be prosecuted. I won’t go into the details, as you can read them for yourself. I would, however like to point out two things. Trevor Hicks has been at the forefront of the Justice Campaign since the start. By now he should have been playing with his grandchildren and living life to the full. Instead he was in a coroner’s court to hear that his 16 and 18 year old daughters had died as a result of police incompetence. Jon-Paul Gilhooley was just 10 years old and the youngest victim that day. Had he lived, he would have seen his cousin Steven Gerrard captain the team he loved.

I can’t imagine what the families went through for so long. I just can’t. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. No one should have to put up with the stonewalling, denial, vilification and outright lying that went on over the course of so many years. Only the knowledge that they were right and the support of the community kept them going. Liverpool is a tight knit city, even more so when threatened and attacked by outsiders and if any good has come out of this it is a strengthening of the city’s sense of self.

I have no quip with which to end this post, no upbeat comment to wrap things up neatly, so I’ll just end by saying:

(finally) Justice for the 96. They will never walk alone.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/apr/26/hillsborough-inquests-jury-says-96-victims-were-unlawfully-killed

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Let The Idiot Speak

Note: This one is a bit heavy on the editorial content.

Now that so called “Super Tuesday” is  behind us, all I can say is WTF, ‘Merka? Seriously, what is wrong with you people? Well, not you exactly, I mean anyone who is reading this, in all probability has more than two brain cells to rub together, but I’m still puzzled. As someone who grew up with the parliamentary system I find the American method of choosing a leader to be bizarre in the extreme. Essentially, in Britain a general election is just a nationwide  series of local elections and the prime minister is simply the leader of the party that wins the most constituencies, and isn’t elected directly. Even after over two decades, I still find the primary process insane, especially the fact that anyone can declare themselves as either Democrat or Republican and run on that ticket without any prior justification or history.

Like most people, I presumed that Trump’s announcement to run was just one more ego trip designed to generate free publicity for whatever plan he had in hand and I fully expected the whole thing to crash and burn in a spectacular manner after a couple of weeks. Of course, I’m not going to rehash all his outrageous statements and claims, but from anyone else they would have spelled instant death followed by a flurry of the usual non-apology apologies and rationalisations. Not so with Trump. He is the archetype of someone who has never been questioned, never been called out on anything he says and has never been told  “No”.  What started out as a joke became a farce and then passed into a surrealist farrago that even Bunuel and Dali on acid couldn’t match on their best days. I bet Jon Stewart must be kicking himself for leaving “The Daily Show” just as the richest vein of material in comedy history was discovered. This makes the whole Anthony Wiener affair pale by comparison.

I don’t want to fall foul of Godwin’s Law, but as some of you know, I am something of a history buff – take a look at my book shelves and you’ll see for yourselves, but I have to point out that Trump’s rise to prominence is not without precedent. I can think of another political outsider with a stupid haircut who rose to popularity by offering the ill educated masses quick and easy solutions to complex problems, blamed all the country’s perceived ills on foreign powers whom he would force to pay recompense or face the consequences and wanted to force a religious group to be identifiable in public.  We all know how that turned out, don’t we?  At least with all those golf courses, the Donald has no shortage of bunkers.

Of Rubio and Cruz I will say little except the infighting between them has been hilarious as each one tries to outdo the other in religiosity and political hard lining. It comes to something when John Kasich is the voice of reason. My only hope is that this election truly tears the Republican party apart once and for all.

The other side of the coin isn’t too sweet either. Why does this country have an obsession with crazy old guys? Ross Perot, John McCain, and now Bernie Sanders. I just don’t get it. I find it hilarious that half the country is terrified of someone who claims to be a Socialist. Just the mere mention of the word is enough to give the entire population of the Confederacy an attack  of the vapours. Well, let me tell you, Bernie ain’t no Socialist. As a former card carrying member of the Labour Party amongst other organisations, he would be laughed out of any meeting I’ve ever attended.At best, he is a liberal democrat with some crazy thrown in for good measure. I bet his basement is full of soccer and baseballs that have flown over his garden fence.

Last, but by no means least is Hillary Clinton. I will confess that I don’t like her. She expected this primary campaign to be some sort of coronation procession.

It may well end up that way, but what I can’t stand is her smug expression and her obvious sense of entitlement, like a spoilt child who knows that she will get any present she asks for. Even if she wins, and I expect she will, her first term will make Obama’s tenure look like a New Year’s Eve party. I can predict with confidence that the hate campaign against her will be like nothing we have ever seen. If you thought Obama had a hard time getting anything done, wait until Inauguration Day and then see what happens.

From all the above you may have the impression that I won’t be voting in November. Nothing could be further from the truth. I intend to mail in my ballot as soon as I can, and will vote exactly the way those of you who know me expect me to. I just think that there has to be a way to select the de facto leader of the free world that has more dignity, substance and honesty than the current one. Who’s for a new television series? I have a great idea – American Presidential Candidate Gladiator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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