Tag Archives: barack obama

A Rant At The World On December 1st 2011

I’ve tried. I really have. I’ve tried to be calm and rational and reasoned over the last few blog entries. But I can’t do it anymore the more news that emerges from, well, everywhere just keeps chipping away at my calm. I mean, seriously, how can the world be in such a mess? Don’t get me wrong, I know the place is run by psychopaths and naked emperors but you’d think they’d at least be competent. Instead they just continue to flush the civic and economic life of the western democracies down the metaphorical toilet. The Emperor has no clothes, but instead of parading around in all his nakedness, he’s actually managed to put on a pair of Y-fronts so he looks even more ridiculous and foolish.

That’s the thing though, these people are Teflon-coated; they can say and do the most stupid things and not only stay out of jail but get rewarded for it. Crash the world economy? Here, have a six digit bonus and don’t think about the human cost of your actions…

What am I saying? They don’t give a damn about the human cost of their actions.

The whole state of affairs gets progressively more ridiculous. Jeremy Clarkson, who is admittedly entertaining on Top Gear said that yesterday’s public sector strikers should have been executed in front of their families. Obviously a joke, but the fact that he writes for the Murdoch-owned, Tory-worshipping Sun leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I mean, I wouldn’t suggest that people who tacitly support hacking the voicemails of murdered schoolgirls should be executed, but you’ll forgive me if I struggle to overcome the enraged contempt in which I hold their actions.

And besides, Clarkson is friends with David Cameron and Rebekah Brooks. That’s the Axis of the Banality of Evil right there.

(Great way of diverting attention from the issues behind the strikes though, Jezza. I’m sure your mates will thank you for it.)

And Nick Clegg and his fraud of a party have chained themselves with words of support for Conservative spending cuts beyond the next election, so that’s another excuse for millionaire ideologues to lecture the rest of us about living in the real world as the money in our wallets gets worth less and less as they destroy our libraries and schools and health services. But no, apparently the biggest threat to the civic life of our nation is a bunch of people camping outside St. Paul’s Cathedral, or a bunch of public sector workers going on strike for a day.

Of course, that’s just tabloid media coverage, and as one of their number seems to think that everyone who wants privacy is a paedophile, I think we should ignore their contemptible hostility and hysterical scapegoating until they go away. Unfortunately they won’t, because football scores, racism, naked breasts and gossip about minor celebrities are this country’s equivalent of crack cocaine and we just keep feeding the dealers, regardless of the amoral chaos they leave behind.

It’s as bad over in America and it’s going to get worse. Next year the world – yes, the world, because US politics tends to have an effect on which civilians we end up bombing – is going to get dragged into a presidential election that will decide who gets to be the most powerful corporate bootlick on the planet. So far, the choices are about 700 potential Republican party candidates engaged in a competition to show which one of them is least capable of being trusted with nuclear launch codes, and Obama.

Ahh yes, Obama. Domestically, I’m sure he’s achieved more than he’s given credit for. Internationally? Just another politician. In some ways worse, because he swept into power on a wave of hope, and now the Egyptian military are using his silence over US treatment of Occupy Wall Street to murder their own citizens. Sure, Obama could say “Our police haven’t killed anyone yet!”, but that last three letter word is laced with grim inevitability.

Oh, and in his quest to raise money for his campaign (note to his staff, tweets about how much money you’ve raised sit uncomfortably next to tweets reporting police brutality in New York and Oakland), Obama yesterday said that the US has “no ally more important than Israel.” Which may be true, but it probably comes as news to France and Australia, to whom he said the same thing.

(Yes, I know “no stronger ally” can mean that the US just has a lot of joint-best-friends, but they’re still just weasel words used for the sake of expediency, just another example of empty flattery churned out by a bunch of speechwriters who are apparently using Word’s find-and-replace function. Realpolitik? Probably, but it’s why no-one trusts each other anymore. Still, he might say it to North Korea by mistake, that’d be fun.)

And while we all know the Special Relationship is an embarrassing Cold War joke, it probably comes as news to all the British troops who’ve died as a result of those damned crusades in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s before we talk about the tens of thousands Afghanis and Iraqis who’ve died. That’s a hell of a lot of collateral damage considering we were only really interested in getting Saddam and Osama. Well, you got them. Well done. When do we invade Iran? Because we’re all expecting it, with bitter, empty laughs.

Still, maybe a good war will distract people from the next inevitable collapse of the global economy. Heck, maybe it can help the economy – after all we sell weapons and tear gas to all those oppressive regimes.

That’s the thing. People are dying because of all this. Their lives are being ruined. And the sad thing is that we all bear some responsibility for this – we voted for them, bought their tabloids, purchased their trinkets. The conspiracy theorists are right, we’re ruled by the Illuminati. The tragic thing is, it happened by mistake. Great. That’s the biggest sick joke of all.

Right, rant over.

For now.

But only because Morrisey’s come on the radio and I have to go.

PS. Now the British Government want chemotherapy patients to undergo “fit-for-work” tests. Here’s a clue – they’re undergoing treatment for cancer, it’s possible they might struggle a bit. There’s a petition against this here.

PPS. And now the Independent has published a story of how lobbyists at Bell Pottinger brag about how easy it is to get access to people like the Prime Minister and the Chancellor. Not that we didn’t all know this, but it’s good to see it in black and white where it might make someone squirm…

Quick thoughts on the bin Laden news (weirdly including a mini-review of Action Comics 900)

And so Osama bin Laden is dead.

In some ways it feels like news from another age, from the months after the 9-11 attacks, when the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were new, when Dubya was on the throne, when the 21st Century was sparkling new and was just being defined by the War on Terror. It seems like so much time has passed, with the Arab Spring and Obama’s election starting to awkwardly birth a new decade, and so bin Laden’s death starts to feel like closure.

Well, closure’s one word for it. Hearing how the news has been received in the States, especially New York and Washington DC, it almost feels like more than that, almost an exorcism. The bogeyman has been slain, and while it remains to be seen what yesterday’s news will practically mean in the long term, as a symbol it’s hugely important. In some ways it’s the end of a story, emotionally if not realistically.

It feels uncomfortable to celebrate the death of another human being, even one with bin Laden’s history. It would be easy to condemn the chants of “USA! USA!” that greeted the news as being crass and jingoistic, but I think that would ignore the trauma that 9-11 left on the American psyche. September 11th was a defining moment; the death of bin Laden can be seen as justice for that moment, justice delayed by a decade now delivered unexpectedly. The response to the news is bound to be cathartic – the question is what the response will look like in the next few weeks or months, when the chanting dies down and the realities of the situation emerge.

(And this is where this coincides with Action Comics #900, which also got mixed up in Sunday’s post. The lead story, by Paul Cornell and Pete Woods, features a confrontation between Superman and Lex Luthor. It’s powerful because, among the cosmic lunacy surrounding it, it boils down to two men destined to be enemies because they respond to the world in such fundamentally different ways. Lex can’t get beyond hatred, ego and greed and therefore squanders his intellect in an irrational war against his chosen hate figure; Superman, on the other hand faces loss and disaster but emerges from it with his humanity intact, finding the courage to accept closure and changed circumstances and using them to build a better future. It works because the relationship between the two characters is always doomed to end in hostility, the dark and light sides of the American Dream warring against each other. In this case, of course, virtue triumphs over vice; how this works when a choice between Lex and Clark’s worldviews has to be made in real life is a whole different ballgame…)

And so an enemy lies dead and those leading the situation have to decide how to respond – with acceptance, closure and an attempt to do things differently in future, or as an opportunity to dig in the knife, to enact further vengeance, to find a new bogeyman and start living in fear of him instead. And so we should all hope and pray that the right decision is made, as its consequences could define the next decade in the same way 9-11 defined the last. And their ramifications could go on to define us all.