The War Against Oceania Continues

This is likely to be a patchy entry, but anyway…

Here we go!

First 9/11 mention. We took out Afganistan! Yay! 2/3 of known leaders captured (don't mention Osama).

And on to Iraq. Ah, it was a humane war. Good to know. And it's only since 9/11 that terrorists have been stopped? Er, okay, we won't mention the Irish and Basque groups, shall we.

Decent and Democratic society! Except women can't go out alone at night. But hey.

Okay, he's not actually said anything yet. And dances around the point that a Free and Democratic Iraq could conceivably elect a party that promises to institute Sharia law...

More foreign terrorists in Iraq. Is there any confirmation of this yet? They keep harping on about it, but I've never actually seen any evidence…

It's just Baghdad and Tikrit that are causing problems.

"A different kind of war"

"We will spend what is necessary" —

Okay, first WWII mention. Thankfully he avoids the Werwolf issue.

The Coalition is still on the offensive, apparently. But major combat operations are over. It's not a war. It's not.

We need help! 130,000 US troops in Iraq at the moment, 20,000 troops from other countries. Colin! Colin! Colin! He'll save us all, but we're still calling the shots, okay! But we were right, so suck it up and send us troops that we can order about.

Of course, the Governing Council is regarded as a joke by many Iraqis, but at least you're doing something.

Here comes the begging bowl 8-).

$87bn. Ow. And that's just for the next year. Colin gets to go to the other countries asking for money. He gets all the nice jobs.

More careful mingling of Iraq and 9/11.

Okay, that final pull away shot - very, very scary.

Incidentally, this is complete hearsay, but it sounds as if Donald Rumsfeld had a lucky escape yesterday…

currently playing: Dexy’s Midnight Runners - Jackie Wilson Says (I’m In Heaven When You Smile)

The Fourth Estate Awakens

An ABC report into the PATRIOT Act.

currently playing: The Cardigans - Carnival

Next Up - P2P Supports Terrorism!

I suppose that I shouldn’t be too surprised; the British equivalents of the MPAA and the RIAA have often drawn links between commercial piracy and organised crime, so attempting to scare people from KaZaa on the basis it might contain child porn is just a natural extension of their scare tactics. Expect to see news stories showing how Al-Qaeda is using P2P software to communicate in the next few months, just before John Ashcroft unveils his revised VICTORY Act (unless he decides to drop the pretense and simply name it the WAR IS PEACE Act).

Also, if any American readers are thinking about taking up the RIAA's amnesty offer, this article in Wired explains why you should be a little cautious before doing so.

But...But wait? Surely we overthrew the previous regime out of the goodness of our hearts? To install a democracy in the Middle East? We wouldn't stoop as low as using Iraq's future oil production to fund our invasion, would we? Oh, we would. Look, the news has been full of references to post-WWII Germany in the past week. While you're combing through the files trying to find some evidence of German insurrection, have a look at something called The Marshall Plan, will you? It could give you a few ideas…

currently playing: Bob Dylan - Joey

Slightly-used Music Friday!

Yes, it’s that time again (what, where you feel there’s nothing you can say, and so you fob your readers off with a few songs, inevitably trying to defend the choice of picking something with a female vocal? — Ed. Yes. — Ian. Okay, but don’t come crying to me in the morning — Ed.).

  • Belle & SebastianRoy Walker
    Taken from their new album, Dear Catastrophe Waitress. I like this because it’s jam-packed will all the twee clichés that you could possibly imagine, but it’s still quite fantastic. Even the wazoos. This MP3 has a few encoding errors, but that should entice you to go and buy the album when it comes out in October (or, it could just be that I couldn’t find a proper copy on Soulseek. You decide).

  • Club 8You and Me
    I know very little about this band. They’re from Sweden, they have a website (which isn’t working as I write this), and they’re rather good. And it’s only two minutes long, so you might as well give it a try.

  • Nick CaveGood Good Day
    Just to show that Nick Cave isn’t always miserable. Although my sister insists that Where The Wild Roses Grow is a happy song, because Kylie Minogue gets killed at the end.

  • SuedeAnother No-one
    A sad and haunting b-side from their Trash single. I seem to remember playing it a lot during the winter of 1996.

  • Betty BooDoin’ The Do
    No explanations. No apologies. Betty Boo is doin’ the do.

currently playing: Carole King - So Far Away

Ticketmaster: Your Official Scalper

Deep within the bowels of Ticketmaster HQ, there must be a special department set with the task of finding new and exciting ways of making music fans hate them further. They’ve had successes: the Orwellian masterstroke of ‘Convenience Fees’, managing to get consumers to print their own tickets, and of course becoming a monopoly force in the American arena scene. This new idea ensures that they’ll get their Christmas bonus this year.

But what of the poor scalper? Will they become extinct? What will happen to the honoured tradition of being asked if you have any tickets to sell while you wait in line for a concert? And the stranger cousin, being asked if your want to buy tickets when you're standing in line. I've never, never understood this. I know it's considered an amusing stereotype that the British, when left to their own devices, will naturally form queues, but surely it should be assumed that if you're waiting in line, there's pretty good odds that you have a ticket. My favourite example of this was during the mile-long queue to Glastonbury a few years back. Yes, I'm standing here, in line, in sweltering heat, with a backpack containing far too much food, a gas canister, a two-man tent, clothes, plus an oversized coat for when it inevitably rains. I've been here for an hour, and I've moved two hundred metres. Do you think I would be doing this without a ticket? I mean, really?

Ahem. Actually, now that I come to think about it, I've never seen anybody either buy from or sell to a scalper. And the tickets that Ticketmaster will be selling are very different to the ones that you can pick up on the street five minutes before the doors open. So, erm, the last paragraph was a little pointless, but hey, you've all got used to that by now, right?

To sum up: Ticketmaster - still corporate scum.

(Today's entry may be coloured by the fact that they're charging me $20 for posting my R.E.M. tickets. My, that's a big stamp.)

currently playing: Kraftwerk - Europe Endless

One of These Is Not Like The Others

Currently, the Page You Made™ on Amazon is recommending that I buy these items:

  • New Nokia phone
  • Wait Until Dark DVD
  • FLCL Vol. 2 DVD
  • The Lone Wolf and Cub Series
  • Ted Conover’s Coyotes, and…
  • the Anna Kournikova sports bra.
Hmm. Amazon knows something that I don’t, apparently…

currently playing: UNKLE (featuring Badly Drawn Boy) - Nursery Rhyme

Sorry About Dresden

More from the “if we keep making up crazy stories, they’ll stop complaining” department:

“There is an understandable tendency to look back on America’s experience in postwar Germany and see only the successes,” Ms. Rice said, noting that the Allied-occupied nation was neither stable nor prosperous between 1945 and 1947. “SS officers, called Werewolves, engaged in sabotage and attacked both coalition forces and those locals cooperating with them, much like today’s Baathist and Fedayeen remnants.

Donald Rumseld added a helpful example in his speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention last week:

One group of those dead-enders was known as “werewolves.” They and other Nazi regime remnants targeted allied soldiers and they targeted Germans who cooperated with the allied forces. Mayors were assassinated including the American appointed Mayor of Achen, the first major German city to be liberated.

On the surface, this seems like a fairly reasonable comparison, although it could be pointed out that the situation in Germany was vastly different to Iraq (Iraq never had an equivalent of Dresden, for example, and the US domination of the Coalition meant that there was no squabbling over how to split Iraq up, unlike the convoluted plans partitioning Germany).

Unfortunately, as this article at Slate points out, this latest damage-control exercise is grounded more in fiction and the dreams of Goebbels than what actually happened. Yes, the mayor of Aachen was assassinated. However, the event happened over a month before the Germans surrendered, so it's not quite the same as what's been happening in Iraq. It also appears to be the apogee of the Werwolf's guerilla tactics. In fact, the Germans were happy to cooperate with the incoming Allied forces (according to a RAND report referenced in the article - it's in the "Lessons Learned" section at the end of the file), with very few reports of resistance or sabotage.

It's hard for an administration to admit it made had made a slight misjudgement. To be fair, they didn't promise a cakewalk, but they gave hints that the people of Iraq would celebrate the removal of Saddam Hussein, and welcome us with open arms. Many anti-war protestors pointed out that it probably wouldn't be that simple. Unfortunately, it seems that the protestors may have been right, no matter how the US and UK try to tell us otherwise.

currently playing: Belle & Sebastian - Roy Walker


You might have noticed that the Google adverts have gone. I received an email yesterday informing me that Google was cancelling the account, due to ‘invalid clicks’. They weren’t prepared to go into any further detail, but what I think happened is that due to my family all accessing the Internet through a single gateway, all their clicks appeared to be coming from the same source. Hence the banning. Oh well.

My sister was watching the MTV VMAs tonight (MTV UK decided to show it two days after it originally aired, thus ruining any surprise). I caught snatches whilst writing. To borrow a phrase from my American friends, wasn't the sight of Snoop Dogg dragging women around on leashes a little...well, sketchy? And I think that Sheryl Crow deserves one of Coldplay's awards, considering that "The Scientist" a blatant steal from "No One Said It Would Be Easy"…

currently playing: Hole - Violet

News From Iraq

Another blog from Iraq was brought to my attention today: Baghdad Burning. Go read.

In other Iraq news, Salam Pax's house was searched yesterday; the army left after liberating a bottle of Johnny Walker. Nice.

currently playing: David Bowie - Young Americans

I Love The Internet

A few weeks ago, I sent an email to the Saturday Looks Good To Me website, enquiring whether I could get hold of the CD that they were selling on their latest tour, as I’m currently a bit far away to turn up to a concert.

Today, I got an email from band leader Fred Thomas, thanking me for the request, and giving me the details as to how I could get my hands on a copy of the tour CD. The Internet rules :-).

Perhaps we shouldn't have had all those news reports that said the NY blackout couldn't happen here….

currently playing: Blur - She’s So High