Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Way to usher in a new year

Leaders Lie, Civilians Die, and Lessons of History are Ignored

By Robert Fisk

December 29, 2008 "The Independent" -- -We've got so used to the carnage of the Middle East that we don't care any more – providing we don't offend the Israelis. It's not clear how many of the Gaza dead are civilians, but the response of the Bush administration, not to mention the pusillanimous reaction of Gordon Brown, reaffirm for Arabs what they have known for decades: however they struggle against their antagonists, the West will take Israel's side. As usual, the bloodbath was the fault of the Arabs – who, as we all know, only understand force.

Ever since 1948, we've been hearing this balderdash from the Israelis – just as Arab nationalists and then Arab Islamists have been peddling their own lies: that the Zionist "death wagon" will be overthrown, that all Jerusalem will be "liberated". And always Mr Bush Snr or Mr Clinton or Mr Bush Jnr or Mr Blair or Mr Brown have called upon both sides to exercise "restraint" – as if the Palestinians and the Israelis both have F-18s and Merkava tanks and field artillery. Hamas's home-made rockets have killed just 20 Israelis in eight years, but a day-long blitz by Israeli aircraft that kills almost 300 Palestinians is just par for the course.

The blood-splattering has its own routine. Yes, Hamas provoked Israel's anger, just as Israel provoked Hamas's anger, which was provoked by Israel, which was provoked by Hamas, which ... See what I mean? Hamas fires rockets at Israel, Israel bombs Hamas, Hamas fires more rockets and Israel bombs again and ... Got it? And we demand security for Israel – rightly – but overlook this massive and utterly disproportionate slaughter by Israel. It was Madeleine Albright who once said that Israel was "under siege" – as if Palestinian tanks were in the streets of Tel Aviv.

By last night, the exchange rate stood at 296 Palestinians dead for one dead Israeli. Back in 2006, it was 10 Lebanese dead for one Israeli dead. This weekend was the most inflationary exchange rate in a single day since – the 1973 Middle East War? The 1967 Six Day War? The 1956 Suez War? The 1948 Independence/Nakba War? It's obscene, a gruesome game – which Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defence Minister, unconsciously admitted when he spoke this weekend to Fox TV. "Our intention is to totally change the rules of the game," Barak said.

Exactly. Only the "rules" of the game don't change. This is a further slippage on the Arab-Israeli exchanges, a percentage slide more awesome than Wall Street's crashing shares, though of not much interest in the US which – let us remember – made the F-18s and the Hellfire missiles which the Bush administration pleads with Israel to use sparingly.

Quite a lot of the dead this weekend appear to have been Hamas members, but what is it supposed to solve? Is Hamas going to say: "Wow, this blitz is awesome – we'd better recognise the state of Israel, fall in line with the Palestinian Authority, lay down our weapons and pray we are taken prisoner and locked up indefinitely and support a new American 'peace process' in the Middle East!" Is that what the Israelis and the Americans and Gordon Brown think Hamas is going to do?

Yes, let's remember Hamas's cynicism, the cynicism of all armed Islamist groups. Their need for Muslim martyrs is as crucial to them as Israel's need to create them. The lesson Israel thinks it is teaching – come to heel or we will crush you – is not the lesson Hamas is learning. Hamas needs violence to emphasise the oppression of the Palestinians – and relies on Israel to provide it. A few rockets into Israel and Israel obliges.

Not a whimper from Tony Blair, the peace envoy to the Middle East who's never been to Gaza in his current incarnation. Not a bloody word.

We hear the usual Israeli line. General Yaakov Amidror, the former head of the Israeli army's "research and assessment division" announced that "no country in the world would allow its citizens to be made the target of rocket attacks without taking vigorous steps to defend them". Quite so. But when the IRA were firing mortars over the border into Northern Ireland, when their guerrillas were crossing from the Republic to attack police stations and Protestants, did Britain unleash the RAF on the Irish Republic? Did the RAF bomb churches and tankers and police stations and zap 300 civilians to teach the Irish a lesson? No, it did not. Because the world would have seen it as criminal behaviour. We didn't want to lower ourselves to the IRA's level.

Yes, Israel deserves security. But these bloodbaths will not bring it. Not since 1948 have air raids protected Israel. Israel has bombed Lebanon thousands of times since 1975 and not one has eliminated "terrorism". So what was the reaction last night? The Israelis threaten ground attacks. Hamas waits for another battle. Our Western politicians crouch in their funk holes. And somewhere to the east – in a cave? a basement? on a mountainside? – a well-known man in a turban smiles.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Why?

Is it Monday?

Last day at work - yipppeee!

Now for two weeks of drinking and doing things I shouldn't with people I love

Fuck you Auckland (chortle)


can't wait to get back home...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why?

Do I love Johnny Cash so?

Listening ot the double concert (2CD) Folsom legacy editon is fucking amazing

music rocks

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Why?

Am I so over Microsoft Windows - is it cause its turned to pooh? grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

And why hasn't Apple sorted their fucking gaming shite out


or in simple terms Bob wants a new puter and hates his options

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Deep thinking

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blog.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Muntadar al-Zaidi Did What We Journalists Should Have Done Long Ago

By Dave Lindorff

December 15, 2008

When Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi heaved his two shoes at the head of President George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad, he did something that the White House press corps should have done years ago.

Al-Zaidi listened to Bush blather that the half-decade of war he had initiated with the illegal invasion of Iraq had been "necessary for US security, Iraqi stability (sic) and world peace" and something just snapped. The television correspondent, who had been kidnapped and held for a while last year by Shiite militants, pulled off a shoe and threw it at Bush-a serious insult in Iraqi culture-and shouted "This is a farewell kiss, you dog!" When the first shoe missed its target, he grabbed a second shoe and heaved it too, causing the president to duck a second time as al-Zaidi shouted, "This is from the widows, the orphans, and those who were killed in Iraq!"

I'll admit, listening to Bush lie his way through eight years of press conferences, while pre-selected reporters played along and pretended to get his attention so they could ask questions which had been submitted and vetted in advance, I have felt like throwing my shoes at the television set.

Al-Zaidi, who paid for his courageous act of protest by being brutally beaten by security guards, is a hero of the profession. He stopped taking the president's BS and called him what he is: a murderer and a criminal, with the blood of perhaps upwards of a million Iraqis on his hands. Al-Zaidi used what was supposed to be a staged photo-op for the president as an opportunity to speak up for those whose lives have been ruined by this president-the ones our suck-up journalists routinely ignore.

I'm not suggesting that journalists should routinely leave presidential press conferences in their stocking feet. We have different ways of expressing our sentiments to people we feel have insulted our intelligence than throwing shoes at them, but it would be nice to see a journalist or two flip the president the bird when he lies so blatantly to them. Or they could all get up and just walk out, leaving him standing alone at the presidential lectern.

It's time for the press corps to stop treating presidents like royalty. If he accomplished anything at all in eight years in office, President Bush has demonstrated that, to the contrary, the president is a very ordinary-and in his case a rather less than ordinary-man. The office of president deserves no more respect than that of the mayor of Detroit, or of Wasilla.

My suggestion is that the press corps use the remaining five weeks of the Bush administration to develop a new relationship with the presidency-one in which they drop all the phony propriety and tradition and start acting like boisterous newshounds of old, barking questions, laughing cruelly at inane answers, demanding follow-ups when they are given the run-around, and, where necessary, walking out, or perhaps tossing the occasional shoe.

The journalism profession was a full-blown disaster and an utter disgrace during the Bush administration, and with all the crises facing the country and the world, in part because of that failure on their part, we cannot afford to have them continue that failure into the Obama administration.

With the Bush administration reduced to a running joke at this point, it gives the journalism profession a chance to redeem itself by using these few remaining weeks to establish a new tradition for presidential press conferences and photo-ops-one that can continue on into the new presidency.

Meanwhile, I'm suggesting that my alma mater, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, hire al=Zaidi to teach a class in press conference journalism techniques. They should make it a multi-year appointment, because if he left after just one year, his would be difficult shoes to fill.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

I love to mess about in boats


Decemeber 6th sees the 2nd officially sanctioned BMP roadtrip, this time crossing the tasman to see Luciano play on a boat in Sydney harbour.
The boat is due to leave 11am sharp with Greg Wilson playing a 4 hour opening set, followed by a 4 hour stint from Luciano. (cheers for the text Ninja.... blatant stealing here)
After the show we'll most likey drive to mexico, perhaps with Luciano

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008