Archive for the ‘political smack down’ Category

I told you things would get nasty on the campaign trail.

February 21, 2007

Hi Brit,

I told you things would get nasty as the race of 08 heated up.  Obama and Clinton have are in the process of firing the opening shot, Maureen Dowd Column Incites Hillary Attack On Obama — and Geffen.  The whole piece is worth a read, but here’s what I found interesting:

“Everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling,” Geffen said.


Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson just released the following statement: “While Senator Obama was denouncing slash and burn politics yesterday, his campaign’s finance chair was viciously and personally attacking Senator Clinton and her husband.

And these are just ranging shots.  I get the impression that we haven’t seen anything yet.  Good times, good times.

the Grit

Iraq! we’re pulling out.

February 21, 2007

Our esteemed leader, the Right Honorable Tony Blair has been making promises to our soldiers in Iraq, and their families at home, which at the moment he hasn’t a clue whether he can deliver. But it does give him good press for the first time in a number of months. He has promised to cut our forces in Iraq by at least a third in the next few months, and possibly by half before the end of the year.

Nice words for the soldiers and relatives, but are they realistic promises? He provides a rider that says “if conditions permit,” but of course the media do not pick up on this so readily. In my opinion it is to early to even consider such promises. Irrespective of what Blair says, it is obvious that the situation in Iraq is far from settled and a withdrawal at this stage does not seem politically or militarily sound. The environment over there is still fragile and taking away the trained troop will leave a fledgling government lacking in strength and support needed to be able to fully carry out their democratic reforms. He claims that Basra is safer than Bagdad. Whether that is the case or not, does he not realise that once the insurgents hear about it, rather than taking on the might of the US forces in the capital, they could do just as much damage by attacking less well supported areas.

Whilst I appreciate that the proposed withdrawal is comforting for many, the worst case scenario is that we pull out, violence flares up again and we are forced to return. Or perhaps that is Tony Blair’s intention, namely to use this news to make himself popular again and leave the mess cleaning to Gordon Brown (did I say cleaning?). If this is the case, this reported withdrawal is not a pleasant publicity stunt.

Anyway, what has happened to this special relationship we have with the US? Are we now saying that it no longer important to maintain unity with the multi-national force?

the brit 

UK Human rights and Freedom extinguished

February 18, 2007

Hi Grit

The government in the UK, if re-elected at the next election, will be taking the final steps to abolish human rights, freedom and privacy for the individual UK citizen, all in the name of protecting us against terrorism.

If the labour government have their way, all adults over the age of 16 will, by 2009, be required to place their fingerprints on a central computer. The suggested law may even extend to “iris” prints. These moves are in addition to the requirement to provide photographs for driving licences; requirement to provide details for the census and annual local government property occupancy register (for council tax purposes); and the multitude of close-circuit television cameras that adorn our towns, streets, villages and roads. An extra measure of identity that is also being considered is to place our medical records in the same “identikit” of us.

Not satisfied with us already being the most watched nation in the EU, these latest moves will actually increase the gap between us and other countries, turning us into one of the most monitored nations in the world. Some may argue that these moves are positive, but are they? Let us consider the evidence.

1) COST:

Naturally, there is the cost of the citizen ID rules. The government suggest that this will amount to just over £5.4 billion ($10.8 billion). However, independent sources put the figure at £19.3 billion ($38.6 billion). This represents over £300 ($600) per annum, per citizen. In addition to this, it is compulsory for people to give this information at one of 69 centres through the UK, at their own cost. In some cases this means travelling up to 100 miles, irrespective of age, financial situation or infirmity. A round trip of this nature, taken in work time will cost the worst affected another £100 at least. Of course, this does not take into account the annual running costs of the scheme.


A basic human right is that of privacy. The ability to live our lives without fear or favour, and to keep parts of our lives free from the prying eyes of others. From 2009, if these plans go ahead, this will no longer be possible. Some will argue that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, but that is not the point. Do I really want my health, age, medical condition, financial status and life history potentially exposed to every form of media and individual nationally and internationally? Our data protection act suggests that such information should be secure but, in view of the fact that the government has incorporated rules to allow certain organisations, commercial as well as government and non-government organisations to access the data, this guarantee no longer holds true.


Such a system will also lead to discrimination, both intentional and by devious means. Employers will be tempted to access medical and financial information about potential employees, therefore leading to unfair bias against certain applicants. This is particularly the case in medical issues. For example, take the case of a person who may in the past have had cancer. Although possibly totally cured, when such a person is set against an applicant who has not past health problems, which is the less than totally honest employer going to chose?

Medical, legal and financial practitioners will be able to access medical records, providing a situation where they can discriminate against those they do not want to assist.   


No computer or other registration system is infalible and the identity system will be no exception. With personal and biometric information on around fifty million people on file, the incidences of misinterpretation, incorrect identification and transpostion of information will rise. As a result this is bound to lead to an increase in the incidence of miscarriages of Justice. Add to this the fact that none of the biometric identity measures are 100% accurate and it can be seen that this will compound the issue. A small example of this might occur with twins for example. Especially in cases of identical twins wrong identification is even more likely.


The United Kingdom laws have always been founded upon the rule of “innocent until proven guilty.” It is bad enough that in recent decades tax and other laws have led to a reverse of this process in such areas. Now, with the introduction of of these measures, such a foundation has been totally eroded. The onus on the citizen will now be to prove their innocence in all cases.

Does this mean that in future one has to keep a daily diary of life events to ensure that one cannot get into a situation where lack of evidence to suggest otherwise leads to automatic guilt? I work from home and, during the day, this means that there is no-one to provide an alibi for my whereabouts, especially if I am not on the computer. If I take two hours off for a bath and rest, will I in future have to log this and provide photographic evidence? 


Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes of the past decade. It is also one of the least obvious to the victim, unless it has been committed for financial purposes. How can we be sure that our identity will not be stolen or duplicated for other criminal purposes? What is more important is, if such an event does occur, how will we know until a crime, using our identity has been committed?


The assumption that identity laws will offer protection against crime and terrorism is flawed in so many ways as to make it laughable. It only works if one starts from the premise that every hardened criminal and committed terrorist is going to abide by these laws. Naturally, Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists, and underworld criminals are going to assist the law by coming forward voluntarily to offer their biometric identity to the authorities. I think not! Such an assumption is, at best, insane.

There are those who argue that it is easier to catch someone who does not possess an identity card. How does that work? There are 60 million people in the UK and it is certain that there are not enough law enforcement agencies or officers to check each indicvidual. Add to this the fact that there is unencumbered travel in the EU through 25 countries and a determined criminal or terrorist has more than adequate escape routes. These are in addition to the many illegal ways of escaping from the country. Furthermore, why should such persons worry about being apprehended when there is always the route of identity theft to cover their tracks?

Although there may be rules and laws in place to address breaches of the protections in place, these are an “after the event” remedy, by which time the damage is done. Once the security of information has been broken, one cannot recapture the privacy, irrespective of how much money has been recovered in damages.

The hypothesis that these measures are a protection against crime and terrorism, as has been clearly demonstrated, is totally wrong. They will have little to no effect in these areas. 

In conclusion therefore, one has to observe that these new laws will have limited impact upon detering any major crime and terrorism attempts. What they will do is to damage the human rights of the innocent citizen.

the Brit

Pay as you go driving

February 12, 2007

Hi Grit

It seems at last that the UK public are actually trying to get their voices heard over government laws that are, to say the least, crazy and unacceptable. The regulation causing the problem is their intention to charge £1.34 per mile for drivers to use their vehicles during the “rush hour.” As the average distance for rush hour drivers in the affected areas is around 10 miles a day return, this could cost over £60 ($120) per week. No one but a fool (which obviously includes our government ministers) could suggest that this would work.

However, a petition drawn up against this measure has already attracted well over a million signatures. Mind you, so far this does not faze the transport minister who said recently “of course we will listen to people. But parliamentary democracy doesn’t just involved the expression of views.” Well, that is news to me! I thought democracy was all about expression of views.

Let’s hope the petition numbers continues to grow.

the Brit

Drink and sex abuse in UK politics

February 9, 2007

Hi Grit

Want to know why are politics in the UK are in such a shambles? The following story that I found gives some insight into this situation. It involves the case of Fiona Jones, once heralded as one of “Blairs Babes”, a term that was given to the 100 women MP’s that came into parliament with him in 1997.

Twelve days Fiona was found dead by her 17 year old son. She was surrounded by empty Vodka bottles. It is obvious from this scenario that she was an alcholic, but how did she get into this position. “Parliament taught her to drink,” accuses her husband. It transpires that the Houses of Parliament offers cut-price drink to all members and that heavy drinking sessions are not uncommon. With it being a very close environment there is a culture of “you have to do this to become one of us.” 

The other contributory factor to Fiona’s demise was sexual harassment. From the reports it seems that the lady was continuously subjected to bullying sexual attacks and innuendo by her chauvenistic colleagues.

Surprisingly, only one MP (an ex-MP at that) mentioned Fiona’s death. The article itself seems to brush away the importance of the issues of drink and sex, blaming Fiona’s demise on other issues.

This story is not only tragic, for which our sympathies are extended to Fiona’s family, the root causes of it are indefensible.

Tony Blair and his government publicly depore the menace of drink, often quoting how much work time is lost as a result, and the health and safety issues surrounding it. The same government has introduced laws and cracks down hard on sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace. Why have these issues not been addressed in their own (private) club?

If we were found drunk in the workplace, the minimum expected of us would be to seek treatment. At worse we would be sacked for being unsafe to perform our task. If we were found guilty of sexual harassment in the workplace we would be fined, sacked or even imprisoned and our employers would be accountable as well. Why are the same rules not applied here.

Our government is responsible for making decisions that affect the health and safety of its citizens and, in many cases those of other nations. They are supposed to make sensible, sober decisions regarding matters of local, national and international importance. How can they be trusted to do that if these sorts of incidences are occuring?

No doubt this is the tip of a dangerous ice-berg. The government’s treatment of this lady is deplorable. The governments failure to maintain the same rules and regulations that they apply to its citizens and their employees is unforgivable and, in my view, a criminal dereliction of its duties.

the Brit

Freedom of blog speech under threat

February 6, 2007

Hi Grit

I don’t know if you have read the news relating to attacks by some governments on Freedom of speech on the Internet. More and more countries throughout the world are beginning to interfere with the freedom of bloggers being able to write what they like. Amnesty international cites the case of an Iranian blogger who was arrested for speaking about a political argument in his country.

They are asking for all free fighting bloggers to voice their support for the right to free Internet speecb wherever someone is from.

They have my vote.

the Brit

Congress calls on Climate Change expert!

February 3, 2007

Hi Brit,

If there was any doubt in your mind about Global Warming being nothing but a political ploy, this should remove it: Gore to Testify on Climate Change.  One other thing that is brought up in the article is that Al Gore may make a late entrance into the 2008 Presidential race.  Oh what fun that would be!  Who wouldn’t want to see a knock down drag out fight between Hillary and Al?  Of course, considering that Hillary has bigger stones than Al, my money would be on Clinton.  Go Colts!

the Grit

Political corruption does not affect voters

February 3, 2007

Hi Grit

This latest comment from Tony Blair has to be shows just how contemptuous politicians are of their voters. In a speech to the Labour party’s National Policy Forum he will tell them that the voter will not pay any attention to the “cash for honours” or any other political scandal for that matter.

Obviously we, the voters, have no morals and do not expect our politicans to be trustworthy. Despite that, we of course will be dumb enough to believe that these corrupt people will make decisions that are in our interests. The contempt with which the current crop of politicians hold the public beggars belief.

Over the past decade or so politicians have introduced stringent corporate governance laws and regulations onto commercial enterprises to stop corruption and ensure transparancy, as well as introducing extensive big brother tactics to monitor the behaviour of citizens. In my opinion it is high time that these were made applicable to the politicians themselves.

the Brit

Blair to become the next Nixon

February 1, 2007

Hi Grit

The “Cash for honours” saga is continuing to gather momentum. Last week Blair was secretly iblair-1a.JPGnterviewed by the police for the second time over the scandal. One Scottish party leader suggested that, instead of his friendship with George Bush, perhaps the British public should be looking more towards his likeness to Richard Nixon. From the response by Blair, it was easy to see that this current development has him rattled and the bookmakers, who don’t often back a loser, lowered the odds of him being charged from 12/1 to 7/1. Perhaps the picture from earlier was not so far off the mark

As he approaches retirement, the man has now achieved a record that no other previous PM can compete with. Tony Blair is the first Prime Minister to be interviewed by the police. As simply a mere citizen, it would seem to me that the honorable thing to do at this stage is to step down. However, that does have its down side.

Waiting in the wings to take over the job is George Brown, a Scotsman. Bearing in mind that a vote in Scotland yesterday showed that 74% of Scottish people thought that being part of the Union (UK) was a mistake, I have visions of us English people being cast adrift in a Dunkirk type flotilla of small vessels as Scotland takes over the entire country.

the Brit 

NGO’s empowered

January 30, 2007

Hi Grit

I read with interest your comment about power being delegated to committees and am really thinking that you and your fellow Americans would not feel at home in the UK, despite popular beliefs.

The problem with where power lies and decisions can be made in the UK is even more complex than the US. Like you, we have a system where governments, when they get into power, think “don’t need the electorate now!” so they delegate some of the most difficult laws and regulations to those who do not have to vote on it. For example, when there was all the furore about big business, ancient men (notice I did not use the word wise?) were gathered together to define new regulations to control corporate governance. This produced a regulation that, whilst not law, was orchestrated in such a way that if a corporation did not implement, they would be delisted from the stock market. No voting on that then!

Similarly, the government passes a lot of regulations that it does not want to bother Parliament with, to outside NGO’s, probably because they feel that we as voters, apart from being surplus to requirements, would be too confused by the issues to make a sensible decision. Of course the other way that the politicians can sidestep the due process of democracy is to take a leaf out of John Reid’s (the Home Secretary) book. He changed the way our legal system worked within twenty four hours by simply writing to the Judges and asking (so he says) that they stop imprisoning guilty criminals.

Finally, as if this wasn’t enough, we in the UK have another non-democratic “big brother” showering us with laws and regulations like confetti at a wedding. It is called the EU. In my view the European Union structure is an ideal place for politicians who are tired of allowing themselves to be subjected to the vagaries of democracy. They sit in their ivory towers constructing regulations about matters in which they have no knowledge nor have been asked to interfere with, and churn these out at the rate of knots. Of course no-one outside of the EUSS (European Union Secret Society) is asked for opinion or allowed to cast judgement. Thus suddenly us mere mortals find ourselves waking up in the morning to find that we cannot have milk in our coffee because the EU have deemed that milk should not be cream in colour or something stupid like that.

The moral of this of course is that there is always someone worse off than you 🙂

the Brit

Finally, the yoke gets lighter.

January 30, 2007

Hi Brit,

This item, Bush Directive Increases Sway on Regulation, should give you a bit of an insight into US politics and how our Government works.  As you may know, our Federal Government has blessed us with gigantic agencies and departments, crammed full of careerer bureaucrats, that exist for the sole purpose of attempting to regulate every tiny detail of everything that happens, or can happen, in America.  Now, a moments thought, will expose the trouble of this system, that being that there is no conceivable way for legislation to be passed with enough detail to cover all this.  Thus, over the years, Congress, realizing in their wisdom that millions might die from RRDS (Rules & Regulations Deficit Syndrome) without a constant flow of new and ever more complex and comprehensive instructions from Washington, solved the problem by delegating their Constitutional duty to the unelected employees of the various nanny agencies. 

President Bush has, with the stroke of a Constitutionally authorized pen, slapped the new Power in town back down to size.  The best part of the article is a response from a leading, and very liberal, Democrat:

Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said: “The executive order allows the political staff at the White House to dictate decisions on health and safety issues, even if the government’s own impartial experts disagree. This is a terrible way to govern, but great news for special interests.”

Yes, Mr. Waxman, I know how you feel.  It is certainly a shame that we have to bother with involving elected officials in the process.  Oh, the trouble caused by this thing we call democracy.

the Grit

Blair adding to prison crowding?

January 28, 2007

Hi Grit

Unfortunately, I do not think that Tony Blair will be thinking much about space or any other travel at the moment. Keeping his freedom may be more to the forefront of his mind right now.

You remember the cash for honours situation we talked about a few weeks back? Well, the police investigations have continued. As part of these they hacked into the Number 10 computer e-mail systems (Is that allowed?). There they found incriminating evidence that implicanted the Prime Minister’s office, and hand written notes from Blair himself. All this leads them to believe that he knew about the issue and condoned it at the very least.

The police are saying that, at the very least he may be called upon to give evidence in the criminal cases that develop. At present his future does not look that secure unless you count a prison cell in that vein.

the Brit

State of the Union and George Bush

January 25, 2007

Hi Grit

At the risk of getting shot down in flames, I am going to comment on George Bush’s state of the union address, over which there has been a lot of criticism. There are those who say that it was weak or that it showed a turnaround in his opinions. However, I disagree with these comments. I have been comparing his speech this year with the one he gave in 2003 and have come up with some surprising results.

Domestic affairs

I can find little difference between what George Bush said this year against what he said in 2003. He is asking for issue such as health care and immigration to be placed at the top of the list in terms of social issues that the country needs to deal with. Is that wrong? As has been mentioned in many areas of the media and other posts here, the rich do seem to have an easier and less taxed ride that the ordinary populace. Of course, that comment applies to the UK as well.


Way back in 2003 Bush recognised the need for industries such as the automobile manufacturers to address environment issues. His latest speech asks the same of them. They have the money and technology to make the changes but failed to address the issue. Today he is asking the question again.


In 2003, George Bush outlined the extensive steps that the government had taken to curb the abuses of business, referring to legislation such as the Sorbanes-Oxley Act. In 2007 he is asking for business to continue to improve their social responsibility efforts.


It appears from the 2003 speech that there was cross-party support to fight the threat of terrorism and, more importantly, the war in Iraq. Now all that appears to have changed. Has George Bush changed his stance on that? Not as far as I can see. If he is to be credited with nothing else, it appears to me that his consistancy has to be admired.  Again I would comment that the same position appears to have evolved in the UK.

Does his address this year reflect a change of emphasis? No I don’t think so, neither is it the speech of a “lame duck” President. In this speech he is reiterating many of the tasks that he set the US in 2003. The only difference is that now he is saying to the democrats “Okay, you have control, now use it to make our country better.” The problem is whether the new regime will take heed or not.

Whatever side of the US political divide people are on I personally think that they cannot label George Bush as either weak or inconsistant. However, from other political discussions that I have read, this is not a position that one can attach to all US politicians.

the Brit

Hillary not liberal enough?

January 25, 2007

Hi Brit,

It seems there is some politics inside politics out on the Left Coast, Hillary’s Hollywood Friends Switch Sides.  Could it be that Hillary isn’t liberal enough for the Rich and Famous?  Or, has sexism come to Tinsel Town?  Perhaps, and I’ll go out on a limb here, it’s because Senator Clinton is a bitch?  Well, that one probably isn’t right.  The liberal elite have plenty of bitches among their number, so they should be used to that.  Ah, I’ve got it, Barack Obama is the Antichrist and has them under his spell.  And not the Spawn of Satan, could it be that the mysterious would-be-President is even more liberal than the Wicked Witch of New York?

As to Senator Obama, there’s also a rumor going around that he’s a Muslim and attended a madrassa while his family lived in Indonesia, Obama Versus Fox News.   I saw a bit on this last week, but figured it was too good to be true.  However, now that I’ve read that piece, I begin to feel that the Secretive Senator does protest too much.  Not to fear, I’m so sure the liberal press will not sleep until they cover up the truth behind this ugly rumor.  Oh, I meant to say, uncover the truth.  Sorry.  My bad.

the Grit

Who has bigger stones, Pelosi or Bush?

January 16, 2007

Hi Brit,

Since both our countries are in the Iraq war together, I thought you might be interested in this political smack down, Pelosi warns Bush shouldn’t ‘abuse power’ on troop escalation.  I know Pelosi and her pack of snarling liberal Democrats talk a good game, but one has to wonder if they’re brave enough to cut funding for troops in the field?  My guess is  that they won’t dare.  However, there are some Republicans that may take Pelosi’s side, although that may just be a ploy to lure her into a trap.  Good times; good times.

the Grit

Chaney and Poulson in trouble – corruption?

January 6, 2007

Hey Grit

I have just been sent some news from a source that apparently there is a media gag on.  It refers to your politicians Paulson and Cheney being SUBPOENAED BY TRIBUNAL. Well, I don’t know about the governments and Pelosi wanting a clean environment and ethical politics, but it seems that there is one heck of a lot of sweeping to be done.

Sadam dies – where is dignity?

December 30, 2006

Hi grit

A little after 3am this morning Sadam Hussain was executed. Whether one believes in the death sentence or not, that should have been the end of the matter. What I personally find abhorant is the media’s fascination with the last moments of his life, including a picture of him with the noose around his neck and his exposed body afterwards.

In accordance with the law, the man has paid for his crimes, but could not the media have allowed him some last remnance of dignity as he took his last breath?

the brit

The politics of global warming

December 19, 2006

Hi Brit,

You’ll like this installment of political smack down, just for the British connection if nothing else.

British Lord Stings Senators Rockefeller and Snowe: ‘Uphold Free Speech or Resign’

It would seem that our Senators, an office, by the way, which often comes with a god complex, stuck their noses into somewhere they didn’t belong, and got them verbally tweaked.  First of all, it’s unusual for Senators from both sides of the isle to cooperate on something as controversial as Global Warming.  Secondly, it’s unusual for a Republican to be nasty to Big Oil.  Lastly, it’s unusual, as I understand it, for British Royalty to be as uppity as Lord Monckton was in his beautifully crafted reply to our ludicrous legislators. 

The ending sums it up nicely, “I challenge you to withdraw or resign because your letter is the latest in what appears to be an internationally-coordinated series of maladroit and malevolent attempts to silence the voices of scientists and others who have sound grounds, rooted firmly in the peer- reviewed scientific literature, to question what you would have us believe is the unanimous agreement of scientists worldwide that global warming will lead to what you excitedly but unjustifiably call disastrous and calamitous consequences.”

I have to give this round of political smack down to your fellow Brit.

the Grit