Monday, August 09, 2004
So if you don't believe that the class struggle is real, congratulate yourself - you have a worse grasp of politics than President Dumbfuck.
Saturday, July 31, 2004
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
The case was due to be heard on Monday, but Sony gave a written promise not to use the illegal advertising method any more in England or Wales, and Camden Council withdrew the action. A similar action against BMG UK is still with m'learned friends.
The Earth Desk's legal expert confidently expects that Sony will give a wheelbarrowful of cash to Nu Labour and then break all its promises, but in the meantime the only people to benefit will be the SWP, who won't have their posters inciting revolution pasted over by showbiz ones. Could Camden Council's ASBO threat be the spark?
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Monday, June 21, 2004
Friday, June 18, 2004
The loss of further union funding would be a blow to Labour. The RMT was expelled in February when they voted to allow branch-level donations to 'other parties' (the SSP in Scotland), and as early as 2001 the GMB was cutting its funding.
The proportion of party funds which come from the unions has been dropping, from 66% in 1992, to 40% in 1997, to 33% in 2002, with the majority now coming from 'individual and corporate donations, membership fees, sponsorship and commercial events,' but Labour must fear that large donors will be fair-weather friends, and the membership is likely to be haemorrhaging like an Iraqi wedding party.
On Radio 4 yesterday, the minister responsible justified the unjustifiable by talking about the expense of repatriating the islanders, and by alluding to the uncertain future of tropical islands due to global warming. He claimed that the US's 'defence needs' have also increased since 9-11, implying that people's 'human rights needs' will have to decrease in the War on Turrism.
The spirit of justice still burns fiercely in nu-Labour, it seems.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
The explanation of attacks on US forces which was most agreed with was that the attackers 'believe the Coalition is trying to steal Iraqis wealth' (78% thought this totally or partially true, to 7% who thought it false.)
Other explanations seen as true were 'they believes all foreign forces must leave at once' (74%: 11%), and 'they believe national dignity requires the attacks' (68%: 13%)
The least likely explanations were those usually promulgated by the US and UK politicians:
'they want to return to Saddam and the Ba'ath Party' (20%: 61%),
'they are angry because they lost the privileges they had under Saddam' (32%: 48%), and
'they do not want democracy in Iraq' (38%: 48%).
The question on confidence in different institutions also made grim reading for the CPA:
78% of those polled had no confidence in the CPA, and 81% had none in the Coalition forces. The Governing Council and the UN inspired no confidence in 55% and 57% respectively, and the Iraqi police came out best, with 76% having a fair amount or a great deal of confidence in them. This is reflected in the response to other questions about security: 87% thought it likely or very likely that the Iraqi police and army could keep order on their own, and 55%:32% of those polled would feel more rather than less safe if foreign troops left immediately - foreign troops were seen as occupiers by 92%.
Meanwhile, with the purely paper excercise of the transfer of sovereignty only two weeks away, oil exports have been crippled after attacks on pipelines in both north and south, and three senior Iraqi officials have been killed in the last week: the head of security for the northern oilfields yesterday, after the Deputy Foreign Minister on Saturday, and the Education Ministry's Director of Cultural Relations on Sunday.
The British Prime Minister, the increasingly unhinged Tony Blair, responded to the Iraq-related hammering the voters gave him by saying (about his decision to join the American attack) 'the judgement will increasingly be seen to be to be right as time goes on.'
Monday, June 14, 2004
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
However, since people under capitalism can best be seen as commodities, it makes sense to give them all bar-codes. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Oh, except computer errors. And the recent legitimation of torture by the global ruler, to whom Blair has tied himself. But apart from that, you have nothing to fear.
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Now, as a politician who has got to the top, Blair must have passed his Lying 101 course, and he should know that a key to succesful lying is that the truth of the issue should not be readily apparent to anyone over three years old. Comical Ali fell foul of this principle too, when announcing that Americans were nowhere near Baghdad while their tanks were trundling along behind him.
However for Blair, as for Ali, there is no fall-back position other than capitulation. Blair has completely dropped the 'Third Way' nonsense of his late opposition and early premiership, which is exploded even as a 'salutary myth'. His complete alignment with the demented Bush regime makes self-identification in a mid-position between corporate capitalism and socialism (even of the feeblest parliamentary kind) impossible. The Third Way, always vacuous, has vanished to be replaced by blatant kow-towing to the hegemony of capital, adorned with a sickly icing of simpering.
This is why Blair has to make assertions such as the one this morning. His rejection of ideology (and even history) means that his brand-image is the whole of his politics - the surface is the core; he is an authentic vacuum. Hence his 'integrity' now consists of telling lies that he knows that we know are lies, because he told them before.
Monday, June 07, 2004
Sunday, June 06, 2004
This Earth Desk correspondent started studying Earth politics in the era when almost the whole of the world's thermonuclear arsenal was in the hands of two vegetables - between 1980, when Reagan came to power, and 1984 when Leonid Brezhnev died, life on Earth was balanced on a knife-edge - remember Reagan's 'bombing begins in five minutes' joke?
Other things to remember Ronnie for are the huge increase in military spending in peacetime, wrecking the US economy for the sole purpose of transferring tax dollars to military contractors, and for the filthy terrorism perpetrated (especially) against school-teachers and medical workers in Nicaragua, illegally funded by selling weaponry to extremists in Iran, and by flooding US cities with cocaine.
Good fucking riddance, Ronnie; rot quickly.
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Ten largest proven oil reserves by country (2002, in billions of barrels, b bl)
The world's two most populous countries, China and India have 18.25 b bl, and 5.3 b bl of oil reserves respectively.
Proven oil reserves by region (2002, b bl)
Ten largest proven natural gas reserves (2002, in billions of cubic metres)
Fifteen largest oil producers (2002, in millions of barrels / day)
*Saudi Arabia is now producing ~8.5 m bl / day, with ~1.5 m bl / day unused production capacity. It is the only country with significant unused capacity.
Ten largest consumers (2002, in millions of barrels / day of refined products)
Opec's 2002 Statistics Bulletin (150 page pdf, 2.0 Mb) can be downloaded here.