21st Century Wire
August 31, 2012
So that was the Republican National Convention – American political circus in all its technicolor glory. It blew in with Hurricane Isaac and blew out with the wreckage of Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair. In between, delegates threw peanuts at a black CNN camerawoman with the words ‘This is how we feed animals”, Paul Ryan delivered the most demonstrably mendacious speech ever by a candidate for high office, a Cayman Islands registered yacht appeared in the Tampa marina to host a reception for Romney family and major donors, and the Ron Paul faction was unceremoniously ejected from the hall for daring to support their candidate. It was hardly the performance of a government in waiting.
Despite the best efforts of the GOP ringmasters, enthusiasm for the nominee remains lukewarm at best. Clint’s inane ramblings on Thursday evening completely upstaged the pusillanimous Romney, scoring a huge own goal in what was a complete PR disaster for Republicans. When finally it was Romney’s turn, he did his best to seem like a normal human being with much talk of his parents and their struggle, but little about his career as an asset stripper. He looks reluctant to defend the extreme positions he’s adopted to shore up his base, he lacks a fluid mastery of the issues and has no grasp of specifics. The slick Obama may make mincemeat of him in the debates. Truth to tell, the only thing that keeps his campaign from completely imploding is the very deep dislike of President Obama that runs through parts of America, Romney’s campaign being based almost entirely on “I’m not him, so if you hate him, vote for me”. Old Ron Paul, sidelined and finally ignored by party apparatchiks, now looks far too tired to run anywhere, but were he to endorse Libertarian candidate Govr. Gary Johnson (himself shamefully excluded from the early candidate debates), Romney may not recover.
He may not recover anyway, for there is another, much darker hue to the Romney candidacy. Foreign Policy. Be in no doubt, the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is determined to launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran. That this could signal the start of World War 3 is irrelevant to him and his government. Now Bibi would be happy to wait until after the election if Romney were certain to win, because he knows the Mormon’s support for whatever he chooses to do is unequivocal. (Romney made the ludicrous accusation in his acceptance speech that Obama had thrown Israel “under the bus” and that Americans were less safe as a result of Obama’s supposed failure to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions). However, Netanyahu also knows that a re-elected Obama, free from the requirement to endorse or join a unilateral attack on Iran that the Jewish lobby demands in an election cycle, would veto any such action. So Netanyahu is not prepared to wait and gamble that Romney will win. He will use his upcoming speech at the United Nations to compare the Iranian regime to that of Nazi Germany and outline how Israel must be allowed to launch pre-emptive unlateral strikes on anti-semitic Iran to prevent a soon to be nuclear Iran obliterating the Jewish state. Romney will claim it is the patriotic duty of every American to support him. As Americans are wont to say “Go figure”.
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Among the vignettes to emerge from the Abramovitch vs Berezovsky trial is the fact that the Chelsea F.C. owner once set up a company staffed entirely by disabled people, so as to take advantage of tax breaks. In court, Abramovitch won this round of the $250m lawsuit by successfully arguing that Berezovsky never owned a stake in the huge oil and aluminium assets the Siberian claims as his own, but was instead simply employed as a fixer to arrange the required political deals needed to smooth Roman’s path. Basically, this meant gaining access to the alcoholically compromised Boris Yeltsin and guiding the pen in his hand in the required way. In this manner, Abramovich acquired large chunks of the former Soviet Union’s state owned industrial holdings for a tiny fraction of their true worth, making himself immensely rich in the process and robbing the Russian people of a sizeable chunk of their national assets. To see these two voraciously greedy men squabbling over their ill gotten gains is a truly repellent spectacle. Far from deciding who owns what in the British courts, the Russian authorities should be declaring the original sales null and void and returning to the Russian people what is rightfully theirs.
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The death of the tolerant British state continues apace with the criminalisation, from September 1st of occupying an empty property with the intention of living in it – “squatting” as it is known. A text book case of politicians pandering to populist indignation, all sides of the so-called political spectrum can unite in their opposition to this softest of voiceless targets, the squatter. While the majority of squatters in the UK occupy abandoned offices, factories or large buildings of various kinds, politicians ignore these to highlight the cases where squatters have moved into the temporarily empty homes of holidaymakers or absent landlords, creating a victim-victimizer blame game that is easily identified and outlawed. Of course the irony is that instead of tackling the problems of a lack of affordable housing and the huge number of empty properties, politicians would rather throw people in jail, where of course they cost the taxpayer millions of pounds to house and feed. Leaving them in empty and abandoned buildings is free.
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The science fiction nightmare that is 21st century Britain is becoming complete as we must now all get used to the idea that our skies will be filled with repellent mechanical drones, equipped with cameras, tasers and the like. Britain is already home to more CCTV cameras per head than anywhere else in the world. But still it is not enough. Law enforcement and other “agencies” now want to be able to spy on you in your own home or garden using this incredibly irritating and scary devices. Am I the only one to find this prospect truly nightmarish? I recommend the shotgun approach.
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