Archives for September 2010

Lobbyist Breaks Cover!

Top Washington lobbyist, Jimmy Williams has spilt the beans. In the first installment of his book ‘Follow the Money’, he pulls back the curtain on corporations and interest groups who apparently have unlimited ability to spend money on political causes i.e. on lawmakers, and political action committees – whoever they want, really. In other words they can apply the pressure and dish the influence like any other lobbyist. They can throw their money around as they please. Oh, and if by some slip of the corporate beancounter’s pen they forget to tell the IRS about their largesse, which most of them do, all they get is a small fine.

The loophole? A Supreme Court ruling that gives corporations the same rights as a registered lobbyist to spend money on any political cause they choose – and they don’t have to register. Nobody knows nuffink!

All this has probably surfaced because some poor lobbyist thinks someone is pinching his lunch. What it reveals is that the amount of corrupt money swilling around in Washington has been seriously underestimated. Big time!

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Milliband of Brothers?

David is clearly shattered that he has blown his chances of ever leading the Labour Party. On top of that, he has to deal with ‘her indoors’ who is still spitting tacks that Ed actually ran for the leadership at all. David may be able to come to terms with the fact that he was piped at the post by ‘the other Milliband’, but the tension that is going to exist between the two families probably means that it’s pretty certain that David will decide that it’s time to go.

Will he be a great loss to the party…or to Ed? Well, he might well be. Ed looked strangely vulnerable when he delivered his speech at conference. If Ed falters, Billy Balls will be after his throat. If David decided to stay he could give him some protection…or maybe he would ditch brotherly love and go after his throat too? Interesting times lie ahead… Whatever happens let’s hope it’s more about politics than personalities. Keep your eyes skinned for pigs flying down Whitehall.

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Don’t Give Yourself a Balls Ache, Ed

Okay Ed, now let’s see what you’re made of. What are you going to do with Ed Balls, Shadow Home Secretary, Chancellor even? Whatever job you give him, never forget he was Gordo’s number one henchman, the architect of some of his dirtiest tricks. He needs to be kept busy and at arm’s length.If you feel the need for his rottweiler skills, choose where you put him carefully.

Just remember that GB would have accepted his fate more gracefully had there been a leadership contest between himself and TB. You had a leadership contest. You beat Billy Balls fair and square, but never forget that he learned his craft at the foot of the master – he could damage your health – if you let him. Putting a bad apple in your barrel is not a good idea. So what are you going to do with him, Ed? We’ll be watching.

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Don’t Barrack Barack

Spare a thought for beleagured Barack wallowing around in the Washington cesspit doing his best to make sense of the incomprehensible. I wonder how many times the one term senator wakes up in the middle of the night an wonders why he ever made such a supreme effort to become ‘Mr President’?

Washington has become an enormous, tangled, directionless bureaucracy. Tap dancing in treacle is the required skill – you get nowhere and it exhausts the spirit.

There has been a slow, but steady change in Washington over the years. The malign influence of money has gradually corrupted the values of even the most steadfast senator or congressman. A creeping, systemic corruption has eaten away at one of the world’s supposed great democracies, and emasculated all good intention.

$3.5 billion spent by lobbyists last year, that should give you a clue. Their intent not just to put their point of view, but to influence, cajole and to corrupt. Lobbyists are a malignant force that work against the best interests of the people. Until their activities are outlawed, politics in Washington, and London for that matter, will remain corrupt.

So spare a thought for brave Barack who, against all odds, got his health reform bill through, who forged a new SALT treaty and who pulled the great United States away from the brink when the dishonesty in Wall Street got too much.

Busy, reforming presidents are seen as a threat by the all powerful minority. Those that have want to protect what they have. Somehow they will destroy him.

No matter how well intentioned, this President, or any other for that matter, will never be able to save America from itself.

So what could bring about fundamental change in America? A massive, cataclysmic event on the scale of the Great Depression is probably the only thing that could deliver the scale of change needed to free America from its current level of corruption and turn it into a more equal and just society.

Will the  American people ever see through the illusion of the ‘American Dream’ and finally find their voice?  Unlikely. This is a country controlled by fear: a country which possesses only a thin veneer of compassion.

Maybe, just maybe there might be another Tea Party, but not the current Republican ‘potty Palin’ variety, something as revolutionary as the last one. Too much to hope for, I think. The point of no return has been passed and the self-destruct button has probably already been pressed. We are witnessing the slow decline of the island empire… Pity.

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Convinced by Vince?

Party conference speeches are usually full of virtuous rhetoric and well rehearsed twaddle. Today was different.  There was something worth listening to. I think I was convinced by Vince. Vince Cable’s speech to the Libdem conference hit the spot. In his distinctive nasal tone, he said things a lot of people wanted to hear, things many of us were afraid had been sacrificed on the altar of coalition harmony. Today he came up trumps.

I have managed to infuriate the bank bosses; acquire a fatwa from the revolutionary guards of the trades union movement; frighten the Daily Telegraph with a progressive graduate payment; and upset very rich people who are trying to dodge British taxes. I must be doing something right.”

Right on Vince!

and

“I want to shine a harsh light onto the murky world of corporate business. Why should good companies be destroyed by short-term investors looking for a speculative killer while their accomplices in the city make fat fees?”

More. more….!

“On banks, I make no apology for attacking spivs and gamblers who did more harm to the British economy than Bob Crow could achieve in his wildest Trotskyite fantasies, while paying themselves outrageous bonuses underwritten by the taxpayer. There is much public anger about banks and it is well deserved. But I am not seeking retribution.”

He said “tough interventions” would be needed to ensure that the banks used their money to support business, rather than see it “frittered away in bonuses and dividends”. On that point Vince, you need to dig a little deeper. The real harm being done to British business by the banks is under the radar at local level. This is where the real crimes are being committed.  If you want to get things moving, shine your light on what’s happening on the front line.

Yes, Vince you are doing something right. Today you said what needs to be said. Just listen to whose squeaking and you know you’re on the money. It was great. Now, if you want us to be really happy bunnies, turn the rhetoric into action. We’re all watching and waiting.

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Politicos by Roz

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Palin Into Insignificance…Hopefully

Sarah Palin as Vice President was a scary enough thought, but President Palin? They cannot be serious! How could any sane person put the words ‘President’ and ‘Palin’ together? It would appear that a lot of Republicans are, and that’s very worrying.

Since helping John McCain to lose the Presidency, Sarah Palin has seldom been out of the headlines. Somehow she has captured the imagination mid-west Americans. Her folksy, self-depricating manner has won her a dedicated core of supporters from ‘red America’ and mid-west folk who now think of her as one of their own. To them she’s become a true ‘mid-west moma’.

Someone once said that they liked Americans, but only the ones that lived near the coast. Europeans find it hard to understand middle America. They are alarmed by their unworldlyness and apparent naiveity – and the fact they cough up dumbass odd-balls like Palin and consider putting her up for President. Bizarre! Perhaps she’s just a crazy sideshow in the land of entertainment?

Sarah Palin is, in true American fashion, taking advantage of her popularity and making as many bucks as she can, as fast as she can. Well, good luck to her, but let’s hope that that her star wanes and good sense prevails…’cos it’s scary.

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Oh Mein Papa!

The champagne corks must have been popping aboard the papal jet as it took off from Birmingham last night as Gefreiter Ratzinger and the gang headed off back to world headquarters. The great Catholic marketing machine had done its stuff. As sales trips go, this had been a good one. Or had it?

Once the befrocked tifosi have time to reflect, and they see the sales figures, I think they may well conclude that it might have been better to keep Papa at home.   Parading the genial old German around our streets in an ice cream van has only served to get us to focus on what is wrong with the Roman Catholic Church.  So, the greatest beneficiary of the visit is…….? Papa’s bete noir, ‘aggressive secularism’ – what else!

Fry, Dawkins, Tatchell, Graying et al got it spot on in their letter to the Guardian last week.  This should have not been a state visit. Is it likely that the hirsute resident of Lambeth Palace be accorded such an honour in Italy or in the Vatican City even? Not in a month of Sundays.

The question we should all be asking is, who was it that decided it should be a state visit? There is absolutely no transparency here. Up until now we have trusted those who organise these things, whoever they may be, not to accord the honour of a state visit to heads of state whose policies[sic] are known to cause misery and suffering. Clearly something has gone seriously wrong.

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Politicos by Roz

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