Recommendations

Sean Thomas is moderately amusing, but also a twat. Experiencing his blog is rather like reading a Martin Amis novel while being lovelessly buggered by your fat, elderly landlord because it’s the only way you can pay the rent.

I recommend you read the site until Mr Thomas’s overwhelming desire to please, impress and disturb (but not too much, because that might undermine the ‘please’ and ‘impress’) leaves you wishing you’d never encountered him in the first place.

Hmm. I’ve made more wholehearted recommendations in the past. And will do in the future. Go and read Chicken Yogurt. It’s excellent. Also go and read Greenlander. It’s better than having electrodes attached to your genitals, which is high praise indeed in my book [*].

And that is what the future will be like.

[*] Sadly, my book has been banned in Canada.

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What silence, you crazy bitch?

The Mirror’s Sue Campbell joins the SBBS assassination list (explanation here) for crimes against reality.

(and for the last fucking time, calling a Jewish reporter a Nazi is not equivalent to calling an Arab a Hamas terrorist. It would be like calling an Arab an IDF officer, if anything, which would be a rather strange thing to do).

Incidentally, I eagerly await condemnation of the Pope from everyone who’s laid into Ken Livingstone in recent weeks…

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Q&A

Q: What would the boys over at Stalinism.com consider the "non-sensible" Left? And what, I am almost afraid to ask, would those people write that the Stalinism kids won’t? (Dash Riprock)

A: Anyone we disagree with, and things that are coherent and inoffensive, respectively.

This most certainly doesn’t include the glorious Emerald Bile. Sample: "I have a lot more respect for a man who can insert a huge vibrator into his gary than one who can play hockey. Hockey is like fast croquet, except people have gay names like ‘centre forward’ and ‘inside right’. ‘Inside Right’ is a tailor’s term, and everyone knows that tailors do their jobs just so they can feel cock."

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Mayoral skills

The Mayor sticks it to the Mail, by pointing out that rag’s own unapologetic Nazi taste lapses (think Prince Harry, but with important old men who should know better).

For reasons that I can’t fathom (other than general Ken-hatred), ‘Sensible Left’ists Mick Hartley and Eric aren’t impressed.

The fact that the Daily Mail held a, err, Nazi party would seem to highlight both the extent to which it’s a horrible fascist rag, and the extent to which any employees who get offended by Nazi references are working for the wrong company. Both of these would seem to fit rather well with Ken’s point.

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Stop this

I hate the US government for many things – but worst of all, for making it rational to believe things that sound like crazy tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theories.

People like me on the ‘Sensible Left’ ignored people like Scott Ritter ahead of the war, because we thought they sounded like loons. But they were right, and we were wrong. They understood that this administration is not constrained by conventional notions of sanity, whereas we assumed that there was some degree of continuity with Enlightenment values hidden under their dark, vicious exteriors.

In other words, we can safely assume that the Americans did rig the Iraqi elections, and that Iran will indeed be bombed in June. Hunter S Thompson’s decision seems more rational with every news article I read. As does Charlie Brooker’s prescription. What the fuck are we doing?

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Oddments

Chris Lightfoot reveals the police’s secret weapons against terror, and will doubtless consequently be interned in Belmarsh within the week [*]. Semi-relatedly, George Monbiot (yes, I know) suggests that the new crime bill contains far more insidious provisions than the non-story of the (admittedly daft) religious hatred legislation.

Elsewhere, Jon Ronson writes an extremely good eulogy to Hunter S Thompson, which also mercilessly rips the piss out of the drug-addled laddish hacks who think they’re heir to the Gonzo tradition.

Finally, it’s always suprising quite how much one’s sympathy towards people who are merely appalling rises when they run into opposition from people who are downright evil.

[*] This is an exaggeration. At the moment, we’re still at the ‘first they came for the Muslims’ stage of tyranny; it’s at least three or four years before we reach ‘then they came for me’.

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European welfare in ‘funded by USA’ shock

"Any comparison to Scandinavian welfare states runs into trouble when we keep in mind that such European welfare states are dependent on exports to the American worker-consumer, who does not enjoy welfare state largesse.

"Should America spend as much money as Europe does on a welfare state, then the European welfare states would collapse, as the lack of discretionary consumer spending (due to higher taxes) would mean less exports from Europe’s welfare states…. That is a consequence of the freeloaderism Europeans are known for."

This may be the most gloriously wrong-headed thing I’ve ever read (and I’ve read an awful lot of gloriously wrong-headed things). From here.

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Total nonsense

Making up scandals about Oxbridge admissions is always a fun thing for newspapers to do. The latest one is even more non-story-ish than normal: apparently, Oxford’s postgrad admission guidelines used to suggest that candidates with degrees from good universities should be favoured above candidates from ‘weak’ universities.

The fact that a rigorous academic course favours people with a rigorous academic track record is not shocking. Indeed, if Oxford were *not* to take the candidate’s previous university into account, that would be staggeringly remiss of it.

I assume the problem here is that the media world features far too many people with ‘degrees’ from ‘universities’ such as Luton and Middlesex (and shoulder-mounted chip shops to match)…

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Free Mojtaba and Arash

Today (February 22) is Free Mojtaba and Arash Day, to raise awareness of two bloggers locked up by the dodgy maniacs who run Iran. Read more here.

It might also be a good day to reflect on the freedom of speech of people closer to home – and probably also a good day to point out your opposition to any crazy plans the dodgy maniacs who run the US have in store for the Iranian people…

Update: and also to sympathise with the poor buggers who’ve been earthquaked to death, which is even worse than being jailed for blogging.

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Oily chart

As we’re all constantly being told, the oil price has rocketed since the whole War on Terror/bombing-the-Middle-East thing kicked off. It’s worth remembering that much of this price rise is fictional.

The red line in the chart below shows the price of oil in US$; the blue line shows the price in euros. As you can see, the difference is striking. Measured in dollars, oil prices have risen 89% since January 2000. Measured in euros, they have risen just 50%. The contrast is even sharper since the beginning of 2003: dollar oil prices are up 44%, while euro prices are up just 15%.



In other words, oil prices appear to be rising far more than they really are because of the magical collapsing dollar. This is a helpful illusion for the US administration: they can pretend to Americans that oil is more expensive at the pumps because of complicated geopolitical issues, rather than because the value of a dollar has fallen 39% since the President’s inauguration.

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