Dubya – With A British Accent?

Motives are at the root of most actions. Often they are well-intentioned. Usually they are easy to figure out, blatant in some instances. Sometimes, though, human beings can take actions that defy logic, astound common sense, and leave the rest of us wondering just what the hell that person thinks they are playing at.

In a recent article, I suggested the British prime minister, Gordon Brown, might do himself some good in the eyes of the British people if he had the balls to denounce the present US administration for its torture of prisoners from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today, Gordon Brown revealed to the world his total lack of testicular organs, by groveling to the Israeli Knesset in a speech some Western journalists described as ‘gushing’. It was, quite obviously, an attempt to curry favor; more likely with Washington than Jerusalem.[1]

Brown, overshadowed by his predecessor’s wile and cunning, has had problems vanquishing the specter of Tony Blair, still haunting the halls of Westminster. By addressing the Israeli parliament Brown has carved for himself a tiny niche in history, as the first British prime minister ever to do so.

It may prove a dubious honor.

The world’s press this week made much of the talks between Iran and European diplomats desperate to find a solution to the problem of Iran’s continuing uranium enrichment. The hype accompanying the talks was caused largely by news of a US representative sitting in on the meeting. It was viewed as a small step towards the thawing of Iranian/US relations. While no firm deal was forthcoming, both sides agreed to consider proposals and meet again.

Days after that meeting, Gordon Brown marched into the Israeli Knesset, and announced:

“”For the whole of my life, I have counted myself as a friend of Israel……to those who question Israel’s very right to exist, and threaten the lives of its citizens through terror, we say: the people of Israel have a right to live here, to live freely and to live in security…….to those who are enemies of progress we say: we condemn anti-Semitism and persecution in all its forms.

To those who believe that threatening statements fall upon indifferent ears we say in one voice – it is totally abhorrent for the president of Iran to call for Israel to be wiped from the map of the world.”

For a world leader to make such a statement at this time smacks not just of arrogance, but utter stupidity. By his actions and words, Brown has proved himself unworthy, both as leader and a representative of the United Kingdom.

It would seem that in Gordon Brown the UK has acquired a Scottish version of George W Bush, the only other national leader known for frequent blatant faux pas and political indelicacy.

Brown, like all other world leaders, knows full well that Iranian president Ahmadinejad never used the words “wiped from the map of the world” in reference to Israel.[2] Western media hyped up a mis-translation that has been used repeatedly against the Iranian regime.

Yesterday, was not a time to resurrect it; the Knesset was certainly not the place.

We are left begging the question: what were Brown’s motives?

Gordon Brown knows he can never be another Tony Blair. He lacks Blair’s personality, style, and charisma. Most of all, he falls way short in intelligence and common sense. His principles are indoctrinal, rather than acquired through intellect and logic.

He longs for the adulation and stardom his predecessor commanded on the world’s stage, but knows he’ll never achieve it. As with George W Bush, his popularity ratings at home have reached an all-time low.

Personal recognition often comes at a price, and for Gordon Brown being the ‘first’ in Israel is perhaps the greatest recognition he will ever achieve.

The price he may pay, so far as the rest of the world is concerned, is to flop into the pages of history as “just another George ‘Dubya’ Bush.”

[1] “Brown issues Iran nuclear warning” BBC, July 21st 2008

[2] “Representative Press” February 27th 2007

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British Government Calls George W Bush A Liar

The British prime minister, Gordon Brown, has reached a new low in opinion polls. Instead of leading his country, he seems more inclined to follow slavishly the route of his predecessor, Tony Blair, in attempting international fame and recognition at the expense of the needs of his voters at home.

Brown has just been handed a perfect method to redress that balance, but it’s extremely unlikely he has the balls sufficient to do so.

Politicians can be thoroughly reliable when it comes to avoiding issues. By a process of pontification and verbal hedging they frequently sidestep specifics and leave one wondering just exactly where they’re coming from. Nevertheless, after reading a recent report of the British parliamentary foreign affairs committee, few can harbor doubt that the British government has reached the unequivocal conclusion that when George W Bush categorically stated to the world, “America does not do torture”[1], he was lying.

No British politician, with the possible exception of George Galloway, would ever risk calling the American president a full blown fibber, of course. The US/UK ‘Special Relationship’ is far too politically sensitive for that, but this report comes as close as it’s possible to get without causing a serious rift, given George W Bush is fading gradually away into the twilight of his incumbency.[2]

Unfortunately, even this damning report is unlikely to alter anything.

Special relationships are all well and good, but most of us at sometime in our lives have had a close friend, or lover, go sour on us. To do nothing and pretend all is well just leaves a festering resentment. Usually it’s better to make a clean break, walk away, even though the pain of separation may be hard to bear for a while.

If prime minister Gordon Brown is keen to remain in the position bequeathed to him by Tony Blair, and right now his chances of doing so past the next general election seem slim at best, he should act on this report in the only honorable manner possible.

Informing the US administration that the British people find its inhumane methods unacceptable, followed by an announcement that, until America recovers the honor and integrity once its proud heritage, the ‘Special Relationship’ is suspended, would not only show the rest of the world that Britain wasn’t afraid to stand up for its principles, but would engender sufficient support from the British people to ensure Gordon Brown a landslide victory in 2010.

[1] “US does not torture, Bush insists” BBC, November 7th 2005

[2] ” UK ‘must check’ US torture denial” BBC, July 19th 2008

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Buggering Up Arnold

“Thank you for calling the Power Company. Your custom is extremely important to us. Please listen carefully to the following menu……”

We’ve all had it happen to us. A sudden emergency; we reach for the phone, only to by stymied by an automated message that presents us with a menu we can’t remember full of suggestions that are of no use in solving our immediate predicament.

Last night, at exactly 9.09 pm, we were plunged into Stygian darkness when some plonker at the power company decided it would be fun to throw a switch and cut power to ‘Section 31’.

‘Section 31’ is a small group of residential properties on the outskirts of town, that just happens to include ‘chez Adams’.

The weather was balmy; the night was warm. There was no reason on the goddamn planet for a power outage, yet ‘Section 31’ was suddenly denuded of light, cast into the blackness, an outcast from the world of fluorescent joy and gay, twinkling, effulgence enjoyed by everyone else in this mid-Illinois conurbation, other than the unfortunate residents of ‘Section 31’.

You see, it’s not the first time. This was the third occasion in four days that power has suddenly died, only to be reinstated within a few minutes, or even a couple of seconds. Their excuse is always the same: transformer failure.

It’s what their automated voice tells you:

“Our engineers are aware of a problem in Section 31 due to a transformer failure, and are working to rectify the fault. Power restoration is expected within five minutes.”

Only, we ‘Section 31’ residents all know its not a transformer failure. Transformers don’t fail for a few seconds then repair themselves. Oh, no! We residents of ‘Section 31’ know we are the fall guys.

When the heavy industry to the east of town needs more power, and the densely populated areas to the south and north turn up their air conditioning, it places an enormous strain on a power grid dating from the era of Thomas Jefferson. Something has to give, and what gives is ‘Section 31’.

In the main power control room the cry goes out: “Overload!”

In a flash, the supervisor assesses the situation, sees the problem and barks the order, “Shut down Section 31.”

The switch is thrown and ‘chez Adams’, together with a couple of dozen other properties, finds itself transformed in a millisecond from a cosy, humming, domicile to a dead, dark, silent tomb.

Of course, the power company would argue – if the power company deigned to argue at all, which it doesn’t – that it’s most important to keep the industry and heavily populated business areas supplied, rather than a few old codgers watching television or playing video games on their computers.

I disagree. What’s more, I’d tell them so if I could only speak to something that actually drew breath. First of all, I pay the same rate for power as anyone else in this god-awful town, so I’m entitled to equal priority. Second, my computer is just as likely to corrupt its files during a power outage as those of the Archer Daniel Midland Corporation or the Tate & Lyle Sugar Refinery.

And third, it plays havoc with Arnold.

But can I get through to a human being at the power company? No, of course I can’t ……

What? Who’s Arnold?

Ah, well, during the summer Arnold lives and works in the backyard. He needs a constant supply of electricity in order to do his job. When the power goes out, Arnold downs tools and won’t do a tap till I go out and boot him into action once more.

Only, during a central Illinois summer, no-one ventures out into their yard after dark. A night out in the Amazon jungle is more appealing than even a minute or two outside in a central Illinois backyard mid-summer.

Consequently, if Arnold stops work after dark due to a power outage, it’s next morning before anyone risks booting him into action again.

Still, as I was saying, if I could only manage to contact someone down the power company other than that darned machine, I’d tell ’em…….

What? What does Arnold do?

Why, Arnold’s a Mosquito Magnet. You see, that’s the reason most central Illinois residents won’t step outside their yard door after dark: mosquitoes. We’ve got mosquitoes bigger than bald eagles flying around out there, and Arnold does a great job of vacuuming them up. Well, that is, so long as the power keeps flowing. As soon as it cuts out, so does Arnold. It means a trip down the yard to boot him up again once the power’s back on, and there ain’t no-one’ll do that after dark.

Still, eventually, I’ll succeed in getting through to one of them bigwigs in person down the power company, and when I do he’ll get a right piece of my mind. We folks in ‘Section 31’ have as much right to power as anyone else in this town and…….

What? Why’s a Mosquito Magnet called Arnold?

Geez! Are you dumb! Because it’s an Exterminator. Right? You know – Arnold, the Exterminator……?

And that’s what I’ll do to that bigwig down the power company, one of these days……if I can ever get past that bloody automated machine……

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