I shot this last year, when it was very summery in Oakwood. It’s one of my fave images to have as desktop wallpaper, I find it very calming and cheery. Feel free to download it and use it similarly yourself. It leaves space for your desktop stuff if you’re using OSX but you can always flip it around if you’re using Windows. Above is a reduced-size version, click below for the proper pic, it’s around 1.7meg.
If you’ve sent me email recently, whether from the ‘About’ section here or independently, and I haven’t replied… well maybe I did. I’ve had a lot of outbound email go missing lately. I only know this because a couple of people have re-emailed me about work-related stuff, wondering why I hadn’t replied. So I got a bit paranoid and last night I sent emails to other people who hadn’t replied to my last messages. Turns out, they’d never got them!
Now, I’m not actually suggesting the spooks at Menwith Hill (above) have singled me out in their global infowar. I think it’s far more likely that my emails are going missing due to the increasingly aggressive spam-filtering people have to install, thanks to our wonderful free-market economy and its corporate abusers. (What the hell is Cialis anyway?)
But sometimes I wonder why ‘US Government’ pops up so much as a visitor when I look at my web stats logs…
Anyway, if you think I’ve been ignorant to you recently and not replied to an email, please bear in mind that I might have and please re-send it.
…we are in the process of commissioning an expert review of all the academic and clinical evidence of the link between cannabis use and mental health, particularly schizophrenia.
“There is medical clinical evidence now that there is an important causal factor between cannabis use and schizophrenia – not the only factor, but an important causal factor. That is the common consensus among the medical fraternity.”
(Source: BBC News)
Don’t believe the mythology that addicts spread. No drug addict is going to examine the medical impact of their addiction rationally, whether the drug is cannabis, nicotine or alchohol. My mother is a psychiatrist so from an early age, I’ve read about drug abuse and its consequences in her professional journals. Here’s a small primer:
Schizophrenia is most commonly characterized by both ‘positive symptoms’ (those additional to normal experience and behaviour) and ‘negative symptoms’ (the lack or decline in normal experience or behaviour). Positive symptoms are grouped under the umbrella term psychosis and typically include delusions, hallucinations, and thought disorder. Negative symptoms may include inappropriate or lack of emotion, poverty of speech, and lack of motivation. Some models of schizophrenia include thought disorder and planning problems in a third grouping, the ‘disorganization syndrome’. Additionally, neurocognitive deficits may be present. These take the form of reduction or impairment in basic psychological functions such as memory, attention, problem solving, executive function and social cognition. The onset is typically in late adolescence and early adulthood, with males tending to show symptoms earlier than females.
Mmmm… it all sounds very tempting, doesn’t it?
Think about it the next time you’re about to take a relaxing toke…
Coalition troops and Iraqi security forces may be responsible for up to 60% of conflict-related civilian deaths in Iraq – far more than are killed by insurgents, confidential records obtained by the BBC’s Panorama programme reveal.
(Source: BBC News)
Again, more proof that what we see on our tellies is pure US government propaganda. Ask the average Brit who’s causing the current mayhem in Iraq and they’d surely answer “insurgents” since this is what our mass media is screaming.
Shame it’s not the truth, eh?
Still, we can’t let the truth get in the way of Bush’s Crusade to liberate the oil er… oppressed people of Eyerak.
Of those deaths, 60% – 2,041 civilians – were killed by the coalition and Iraqi security forces. A further 8,542 were wounded by them.
(Source: BBC News)
And that’s just in the official figures kept by the US-installed puppet regime! Excluding “insurgents.” Who are insurgents? Why, anyone who dares to oppose the will of Bush and his cronies. These deaths don’t even merit counting. So all those buildings flattened by the US military because they were suspected insurgent safe houses, the people murdered in those buildings aren’t even included in these figures. No trial, no charges, no justice, just summary execution by the US invaders.
But isn’t it all worth it? Hasn’t the US helped give birth to democracy? Here’s just one reason why I’m cynical:
WASHINGTON — From 1970 to 1973, the United States sought to overthrow the government of Chile and its democratically elected president, Dr. Salvador Allende, whom it deemed a Marxist threat to U.S. interests. Under orders from President Richard M. Nixon, the CIA mounted a full-tilt covert operation to keep Allende from taking office and, when that failed, undertook subtler efforts to undermine him. Those efforts “never really ended,” the CIA’s director of operations at the time, Thomas Karamessines, later told Senate investigators.
Twenty-five years ago last week, on Sept. 11, 1973, the Chilean military seized power, The junta, under Gen. Augusto Pinochet, ruled until 1990. Its death squads murdered more than 3,000 people, and it jailed and tortured thousands more. Chile is still trying to come to terms with the damage done to its democratic institutions.
They show how much the United States was committed to thwarting Allende even before he took office, and they illustrate a fact that was not well understood during the Cold War: The CIA very rarely acted as a rogue elephant. When it plotted coups and shipped guns to murderous colonels, it did so on orders from the president.
The US government doesn’t care about democracy. It cares purely about how much power it can exert over any regime. It would rather have a friendly dicatator than an independent democracy.
After all, who created the monster who oppressed Iraq? Who turned a blind eye when he gassed Iranians and Kurds, did nothing but keep supplying him with all the money / arms he needed as long as he played along in the anti-Iran program? Perhaps it’s worthwhile posting this picture up again:
Donald Rumsfeld and a close personal friend
Soon thereafter, Donald Rumsfeld (who had served in various positions in the Nixon and Ford administrations, including as President Ford’s defense secretary, and at this time headed the multinational pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle & Co.) was dispatched to the Middle East as a presidential envoy. His December 1983 tour of regional capitals included Baghdad, where he was to establish “direct contact between an envoy of President Reagan and President Saddam Hussein,” while emphasizing “his close relationship” with the president [Document 28].
Rumsfeld met with Saddam, and the two discussed regional issues of mutual interest, shared enmity toward Iran and Syria, and the U.S.’s efforts to find alternative routes to transport Iraq’s oil; its facilities in the Persian Gulf had been shut down by Iran, and Iran’s ally, Syria, had cut off a pipeline that transported Iraqi oil through its territory. Rumsfeld made no reference to chemical weapons, according to detailed notes on the meeting [Document 31].
(Source: National Security Archive)
Everyday there is more bloodshed and horror in Iraq. Whether the people doing the killing are the invaders or the terrorists, it’s ordinary Iraqis paying the price with their lives. The roots of this current nightmare go a long way back, at least 22 years to the picture above (and that’s not including the British meddling) . The horror is the product of US machinations in the Middle East, supporting murdering scum like Hussein as long as he played ball.
Look at the history books. Look at the US government’s policies in Vietnam, Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, Chile, El Salvador, Grenada, Afghanistan. The US ruling class aren’t interested in ideals like democracy and freedom. Like any ruling class anywhere, they’re only interested in two things: power and money.
I love getting CDs in the post. Wake up and there’s a little pressie on the doormat.
I got these a couple of days ago. They’re all completely excellent in varying ways. And I wouldn’t have bought three of them if I hadn’t downloaded them first. (I have Radio Three to thank for putting me onto E.S.T.)
Just for Google, the CDs are:
Willy Wonka (Original Soundtrack)
Les Breastfeeders – Dejeuner Sur L’herbe
E.S.T. – Viaticum
Adam Green – Gemstones
“To date, there have been a total of 179 major human rights violations of Coca-Cola’s workers, including nine murders. Family members of union activists have been abducted and tortured. Union members have been fired for attending union meetings. The company has pressured workers to resign their union membership and contractual rights, and fired workers who refused to do so.”
“Most troubling to the delegation were the persistent allegations that paramilitary violence against workers was done with the knowledge of and likely under the direction of company managers.”
Check out the link above for the full article on AlterNet. It shows the only difference between organised crime and multinational corporations is the size of the profits they make. If you’re rich enough, no law can bind you.
This week’s top new tune is ‘I’ve Been Thinkin’ by Dor. It’s a solid, thumping hip hop track that instantly grabs you with the sample hook and then the lyrics kick in. But am I talking absolute shite? Make up your own mind by having a listen to it here. I think we’ll be hearing a lot more from Dor and The Black Lung Brothers. It’s good to start off 2005 with some cracking hip hop.
The best old tune was ‘Pure Imagination’ by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. I will have no truck with Tim Burton’s sham of a mockery of a travesty of a sham of the original, classic film. I expect it to be on a par with his butchery of Planet Of The Apes. I love the original Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder’s performance in it is one of the most captivating I’ve ever seen. It’s a truly magical, idiosyncratic film. And I love the fairytale, sweeping soundtrack by Bricusse and Newley, masters of stage, film and pop music. Why does Hollywood’s current output seem to be 90% crass, loveless remakes of brilliant films? Gah!
Meine Damen und Herren, der playlist:
Cursive – Art Is Hard
Goudron – Art School Fuckheads
Postal Service – We Will Become Silhouettes
Remembering Never – The Glutton
Oddjobs – Fun
Sondre Lerche – All Luck Ran Out
Lost Sounds – Destructo Comet
Cap’n Jazz – Soria
Brooks – Roxxy
Clinic – Walking With Thee
Gratitude – This Is The Part
Big B – Tweakers
The Liars – Mr Your On Fire Mr
God Forbid – Gone Forever
Mel Torme – Comin’ Home Baby
Alan Braxe & Fred Falke – Rubicon
Saves The Day – Through Being Cool
The Commodores – Machine Gun
Dor – I’ve Been Thinkin’
Low – Monkey
Vive La Fete! – Touch Pas
The Decemberists – Sixteen Military Wives
Send More Paramedics – The Pain Of Being Dead
The Clash – Overpowered By Funk
Skinnyman – No Big Ting
Adam Green – Emily
Tigrics – Public Gameover
Red Animal War – Violet
Bright Eyes – Another Travelin’ Song
Jurassic – What’s Golden
The Wedding Present – What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?
Maetrik – Funnels
Mastodon – Crusher Destroyer
Vince Guaraldi Trio – Schroeder Piano
Help She Can’t Swim – The Dance Party Turned Into A Wake
NEU! – Hallo Gallo
Tyde – Twice
Pigeon John – Pay Back
Captain America – Flame On
Tunng – Fair Doreen
OMD – Souvenir
Andrew Bird – Action/Adventure
Minus The Bear – Fine + 2 Pts
Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley – Pure Imagination
It’s of a little Iraqi girl. Her parents have just been murdered, shot dead by US soldiers. Their crime? Failing to stop at a roadblock. Maybe you’re asking, ‘why didn’t they stop?’ I don’t know. Maybe they were scared of getting hauled off to Abu Ghraib and tortured to death like their fellow countrymen. Maybe it was too dark for them to see the hand signals. As for the warning shots, we’ve only got the US military’s word they were fired and we know how honest they are.
All I ask is that you put yourself in that Iraqi family’s position. Your country has been invaded by the most powerful military in the world, representing a president who you know hates your religion. It’s bombed your country flat, letting chaos ensue, whilst securing all the oil facilities. Both its troops and troops of its ally, the UK, torture and beat your countrymen to death, with impunity.
The soliders carrying out the torture say they’re only following orders, just like the Nazis used to.
Their superiors say no such orders were issued. It seems no-one is to blame for these war crimes. Meanwhile, your life is worth nothing to these defenders of truth and justice. They can riddle your car with bullets, injuring your children and killing you. Your little girl screams as she looks at your blood on her hands.
And no-one cares. It’s just more dead Iraqis to add to the pile of 100,000. Here’s what the US military says:
The statement also said that military officials extended their condolences for this “unfortunate incident” and were investigating.
(Source: BBC News)
An “unfortunate incident” is dropping a cup or bumping into something as you’re parking. That the US military thinks that murdering two civilians and injuring a child is merely an “unfortunate incident” shows how cheaply they regard Iraqi lives.
This story wasn’t on the TV news. Why bother? It’s just the daily reality of a country under a brutal occupation my torturing, murdering invaders. This occupation is our fault. If we protest enough, if we march enough and campaign enough, we can stop it. The question is, can we be bothered?