Gently Back Into the Water 823

I had excellent news from my cardiologist yesterday.  Ready to think about other things now.  I am horrified by the continuing stream of ” royal” baby hype on television.  Truly pathetic – is this 1313 or 2013?  Who buys into this nonsense?

I thought the Lib Dem take on Trident missiles was hilarious.  This small group of islands does apparently need to retain the ability to wipe out one third of the urban population of humankind, as a defence against something undefined – possibly people we invade getting too annoyed about it – and  in order to increase our “influence” in the World.  As we plainly have less influence than the Germans, who don’t feel this need for the power of obliteration, I do not quite see how this works.  Nor do I see Pakistan, which does have nuclear weapons, as very influential.  Nor do I quite understand how our influence can be increased by possessing something  under effective American control.  But there you are.

Anyway, the Lib Dems have come to the intellectually scintillating conclusion that we do need this world shattering power, but we don’t need it on Wednesday or Thursday afternoons or on Saturday mornings, which will be cheaper.  Brilliant, and plainly does not dodge any big ethical or practical questions at all.





823 thoughts on “Gently Back Into the Water

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  • Someone

    “Congress roughs up NSA”

    whack that Piñata,

    Yes, as you say. It looks good to the public…The truth though is that NOTHING is going to change, well, with all that info they have, what do they have on EVERY member of “Congress” ?. I have always said that blackmail played its role in forming the UK coalition government. “Knowledge is Power”.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Villager

    “Credit to Flaming June to attempt a reply, but sorry, not good enough. I’d recommend her to try harder except she hasn’t a basis. I almost fell for her implication that Power would be pushing Israel for a permanent seat!”

    That is precisely why I thought it useful to spell out the position in more detail. Whether intentionally or not, her post had the potential to mislead.

    Re her “reply”, I should say two things

    1/. whether or not Palestinians have ever talked about “sweeping Israel into the sea”, this expression was common currency amoung the neighbouring Arab STATES for decades (although no longer, I believe). I did not mention the former Iranian President.

    2/. whether Israel has declared its borders or not is irrelevant to its legitimacy under international law.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    re Israel as a possible non-permanent member of the Security Council

    Well, having disposed of a certain commenter’s potentially misleading post on the above, I started thinking about human rights and, deciding that I needed a good laugh early in the morning, checked out the membership of the UN Commission on Human Rights in the last year of its existence (2005 – replaced by the UN Council on Human Rights from 2006).

    Readers will be pleased to learn that the following paragons of human rights were members in 2005:

    Egypt, Eritrea, Guinea (Conakry), Qatar, Ukraine…

    and most egregiously :

    Zimbabwe, China, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Cuba.


  • Flaming June

    Just a few years ago my train fare for an off peak return to London used to be under a tenner. Yesterday I handed over a £20 note and got a £1 change.

    I read this:

    Five rail bosses on £11m gravy train: Three-year pay and bonus deal ‘is a reward for failure’
    Network Rail executives could share £5million bonuses on top of their six-figure salaries
    The five bosses earn between £348,000 and £577,000 a year
    Taxpayer-funded firm faces £75million fine for missing punctuality targets
    Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle condemned the move as commuters face rising train fares

    On the train home, every seat in the carriage had an A5 printed sheet folded into three from Mr Tim Shoveller (sic) the MD of Stagecoach SouthWest Trains Ltd promising bigger and better things to come.

    His company have merged with Network Rail to form The Alliance. Not sure if this is a financial arrangement or purely a PR exercise.

    I read that Mathewson, ex chair of the failed Royal Bank of Scotland which we bailed out with £38billion, has just left Stagecoach with a handshake. Mathewson preceded Fred Goodwin as CEO of RBS and then became chairman.

    They are all in IT together.

  • Hasbarista

    @Jon – can you check , it appears Kempe might be a sayanese twin conjoined with one other at the same herzliya IP address? Could be a Villager, Habba, Giles or RD. Really if they like to hifive each others posts like the FIVE “hava nagila” dancing israelis of the NY car park of 911 fame, they should be at HuffPo or the Guardian.

  • Flaming June

    Not all in IT together but in dire straits are those interviewed in this World Service programme which I heard earlier this morning, Poor souls. It is harrowing to hear grown men and women break down.

    Welfare Britain – the New Reality
    Duration: 29 minutes
    First broadcast:Thursday 18 July 2013
    The system by which people in Britain receive state support is undergoing radical reform. The current complex raft of benefits, which include housing, unemployment and family support are being capped and streamlined.

    The government – led by a coalition of Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties – says that the current system is unaffordable and that the changes are designed to encourage people back to work. But critics of the new system argue that it fails to tackle underlying issues such as the difficulty of finding work and cost of living differences across the country.

    One of the most controversial reforms is the reduction in housing support for those living in accommodation with spare rooms – the so-called bedroom tax. Since April, when the reforms began to take effect, Nina Robinson has been spending time with London families affected by the changes. She meets Emmanuel and Tya who have been living with their children in overcrowded conditions. They think it is fair that people who have spare bedrooms should be made to downsize to smaller homes, so that families like theirs can benefit. But she also meets 60 year old Fred, who says his back problems prevent him from working and that he is being forced out of his home. 29mins

    Rent arrears are growing.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Jon/Mod

    “@Jon – can you check , it appears Kempe might be a sayanese twin conjoined with one other at the same herzliya IP address? Could be a Villager, Habba, Giles or RD.”

    Yes, please check and report back for the sake of Hasbarista’s peace of mind 🙂

  • Sofia Kibo Noh

    @Ben. 11 44pm


    An Open Letter to the Media 
    Dan Hellinger, Webster University,Forrest Hylton, Harvard University and Steve Striffler, University of New Orleans

    “…media distortions of the state of democracy and press freedoms in countries that are routinely condemned by the U.S. Government such as Venezuela and Ecuador – contribute to a climate of demonization that enables U.S. aggression against those countries and damages relations between the people of the U.S. and our foreign neighbours.”

    This is why Narrative matters and why those who craft false narratives need to be held to account. Remember Lord Haw Haw?

    A last word from Terry Pratchett.
    “It can take a violent wrench for a person to free themselves from the weight of narrativity.”

  • Flaming June

    More on the subject of universal jurisdiction and this government’s special treatment for visiting officials from the Israeli entity. cf HMG’s treatment of Abu Qatada, incarcerated and never charged with anything, on whose deportation many £millions were spent over 10 years.

    Britain re-writes diplomatic protocol to protect Israeli officials
    Ben White Friday, 12 July 2013 14:42 – See more at:

  • Sofia Kibo Noh

    Israel’s academics get the power of narrative too.

    “The main idea is that this is about how to use the new media to reclaim Israel’s narrative and promote Israel’s point of view” (“Haifa U course teaches web hasbara strategies,” 13 March 2012).

    More here.

  • Komodo

    Personally I think Hasbarista and Kempe are the same person. Each feeds the other’s overt agenda perfectly.

    Since we’ve returned to the perpetual running sore that is Israel, this, today:

    Yeah. As if they’ll take a blind bit of notice, absent any realistic sanctions.

    On the face of it, this is the problem, as usual. No preconditions like easing the economic stranglehold:

    But what the US hasn’t allowed itself to realise yet is that Israel has no intention of agreeing to any kind of permanent or contiguous Palestinian state West of the Jordan. Its policy is to continue carving up the West Bank into ever smaller disconnected Palestinian enclaves set, like raisins in a fruit cake, in the indigestible stodge of the settlements. It will stall, obfuscate, make impossible conditions, keep the Palestinians in a state of simmering hatred that precludes rational behaviour, and play the victim card energetically to ensure that the US cannot make any realistic contribution – even if AIPAC wanted it to – except that very handy $3Bn annually the US taxpayer sets aside for what he fondly believes are his friends in Tel Aviv. And nearly as much again to keep the Egyptian Army sweet.

    No need for a link to support this hypothesis. Israel’s actions have repeatedly confirmed it for decades.

  • Komodo

    And thank you, Sofia. Bang up to date. Contains a reference to your earlier comment too!

    “arm the students with the latest surveys and data and to teach them how to present the Israeli narrative”

    If it’s any comfort, Wiki has this snippet:

    Along with exposition, argumentation, and description, narration, broadly defined, is one of four rhetorical modes of discourse. More narrowly defined, it is the fiction-writing mode whereby the narrator communicates directly to the reader.

  • N_

    You read it here first: Snowden may encounter problems if he tries to enter Kazakh airspace on the way to Vladivostok.

  • Iain Orr

    Craig – Delighted to have you back and ticker ticking well. As well as the illogicality of the LibDem position on Trident[except that it probably makes senses in internal party politics terms, rather than in the real world], please cast your eye over the latest example of spurious statistics : the claim that the 2012 Olympics boosted the UK economy by £10 billion.

    I cannot conceive of any reputable economist [a rather restricted category, I admit] finding that the 2012 bread and circuses did anything other than damage the economy and the environment, while undoubtedly giving vicarious pleasure and excitement to many live spectators and couch potatoes; and a huge sense of achievement – and rewards – to many elite athletes.

    I was at the launch last night of Mark Perryman (ed) London 2012 – How was it for us?, Lawrence and Wishart, 2013. That analyses well the murky political and ideological underpinnings of the highly corrupt IOC; and how land and waters of considerable value for London’s health was filched and degraded, with huge net losses in terms of local amenities.
    In one aspect, the Olympics are like Cruft’s Dog Show, a display of freaks, shaped by diets, drugs and training into shapes and speeds that “conform” to a pattern that no normal sane person would wish to have. I think (but others can perhaps provide supporting evidence, that both pedigree dogs and elite athletes have shorter lifespans and often suffer in their later years from crippling deformities.

  • Komodo

    Whoops –

    Mr Ward, MP for Bradford East, wrote on his website in January that he was “saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps, be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza”.

    This led to a complaint to the Lib Dems from the Holocaust Educational Trust.

    At the weekend, Mr Ward posted a tweet, asking: “Am I wrong or are am I right? At long last the #Zionists are losing the battle – how long can the #apartheid State of #Israel last?”

    Lib Dem whip withdrawn from this evil person. Lib Dems aren’t allowed to have opinions. Especially…

    Let’s deconstruct it:
    1. Not denying but acknowledging the horror of the holocaust. Check.

    2. Ongoing atrocities: Documented fully. Maybe not quite daily, in a good week.

    3. Alleges “Zionists losing the battle”. Obviously refers to Zionists as opposed to non-Zionists within Israel. Zionism is not a term of abuse, but a description of a political position, widely held by Christians as well as Jews. It is acknowledged to be the creed of Israel’s current leaders. Whether they are losing or not is either a statement of fact which he is prepared to back or a personal opinion. Either is fully admissible.

    4. “Apartheid state” – the evidence again favours this interpretation. Israel has repeatedly been described as such, for instance by a South African, who should know, in 2002:

    Once again, this is at best a valid point of view. At worst it is the unalloyed truth.

    So what’s with the brouhaha?

  • Flaming June

    I agree with you Iain Orr. No visible sign of ‘legacy’ in Surrey except for cycling. The residents around Box Hill and rhose who live along narrow lanes in the area known as the Surrey Hills, are fed up with cycle races and triathlons held since the Limp Ics which entail road closures for a complete day, or days. A Ms Helyn Cleck of Surrey CC promoted the Limp Ics cycling and takes all the credit. She claims great economic gains for Surrey with another of those figures in £millions snatched out of the air. Surrey CC also employed an officer in the year preceding the games, specifically to promote them games. Two councillors resigned when it was revealed they had a company promoting tourism connected to the Games!

    Surrey CC did not answer a FoI request on the cost of the torch relay through the county saying that the cost was paid by individual boroughs and councils. Good get out there SCC. This was their share:
    Road Closures
    Surrey County Council have to date spent the following on the Torch Relay
    in Surrey – £126,232.38. broken down as follows:

    • Traffic Orders £18,800
    • Signs £101,428.38
    • Traffic Mgt £4,228.00
    • Tow Away £1,776.00
    Branded Bunting
    Branded bunting approx £5000 paid from a central government grant.
    Other Associated Costs
    As the County Council were not the principal leads on this event we are
    only hold cost information in relation to the Torch for those elements the
    County Council delivered.

    Perhaps the bunting now residing in someone’s shed will come out when the royal offspring is delivered. Every lamp post in this borough had an Olympic banner attached with that strange font and in those weird muddy colours. Expensive ephemera.

    Anyway Coe, LOCOG and G4S did well out of it and didn’t Tessa Jowell get a gong too?

  • Komodo

    Mark – don’t think it matters, although Israel’s howling the place down over this, as of any other criticism of its current policies. The important thing is that the big guns are onside (and you will note that the big guns’ bitch, the UK, is politely standing aside from this one) and will help remove all impediments to Israels’ G-d given right to steal land. In fact, as this helps to consolidate the ME as US sphere-of-influence, Europe is probably shooting itself in the foot. France remains on the pro-Israeli side of ambiguous, and Germany sells the buggers submarines. I suspect that European intransigence probably results from the perception that there is some shit even an EU voter will not take. Though seeing aid projects by the EU for Palestinians being bulldozed, and NGO’s being banned, certainly doesn’t help.

    Sorry to be pessimistic, but it’s hard to avoid.


    Three former NSA employees who also found themselves in the manure for telling the truth comment interestingly on Snowden here:

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    “Britain re-writes diplomatic protocol to protect Israeli officials
    Ben White Friday, 12 July 2013 14:42 – See more at:

    Thank you to Flaming June for posting this article, which confirms what I wrote in my post on universal jurisdiction the other day in order to correct the misleading impression given by her on the subject in her own post.

    However, the title of this article is also slightly misleading when compared to the text of the article (which I suspect many will not bother to read properly): it gives the impression that there is a law, or legislation, on Special Mission status which the UK govt has now changed. This is of course not the case; now as before, the FCO uses its prerogative in the granting of Special Mission status, no more and no less.

    By the way, I haven’t yet seen an apology from her for (inadvertently, I’m sure) misleading readers.

    And this also from F.J :

    “HMG’s treatment of Abu Qatada, incarcerated and never charged with anything, on whose deportation many £millions were spent over 10 years.”

    That, my dear, is the price (unfortunately) of allowing people like Mr Qatada full and due process. A full and due process which I doubt certain other states, seemingly much admired on this blog, would have given him 🙂

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Komodo (09h08) opines

    “Personally I think Hasbarista and Kempe are the same person. Each feeds the other’s overt agenda perfectly.”

    Yes, it must be rather disquieting for Komodo and consorts to realise that more and more people are speaking out against the received ‘wisdom’ peddled with such obsessive regularity on every thread. And thereby seeing through Komodo and consorts 🙂

  • nevermind

    Any self respecting country demanding a seat on the UN should have it examined. But they have to abide by the rules that exist, i.e. you are a country under UN rules if you have declared borders.

    Further, any country that has flouted UN rules and resolution for more than 300 times, should never be allowed to sit on any board.

    What cheek, don’t want to play the communitarian game that rule world affairs, but want to have a say in issues that are non of their business, typical.

    However much you vow/protest Habby, you have no argument, nor have you showed anybody anything.

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