Friday, October 28, 2005

Lest We Forget #2

How jealously the reactionaries guard the status quo
(Remember, too, how 'reasonable', how 'scientific', are their arguments against change - at the time!)

A suffragette prisoner being force fed by prison authorities, Britain, 1912.

Mary Leigh was force-fed in September, 1909:
"On Saturday afternoon the wardress forced me onto the bed and two doctors came in. While I was held down a nasal tube was inserted. It is two yards long, with a funnel at the end; there is a glass junction in the middle to see if the liquid is passing. The end is put up the right and left nostril on alternative days. The sensation is most painful - the drums of the ears seem to be bursting and there is a horrible pain in the throat and the breast. The tube is pushed down 20 inches. I am on the bed pinned down by wardresses, one doctor holds the funnel end, and the other doctor forces the other end up the nostrils. The one holding the funnel end pours the liquid down - about a pint of milk... egg and milk is sometimes used."
Letter to The Times (10th October, 1909) signed by Kitty Marion, Constance Lytton and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence:
"We want to make it known that we shall carry on our protest in our prison cells. We shall put before the Government by means of the hunger-strike four alternatives: to release us in a few days; to inflict violence upon our bodies; to add death to the champions of our cause by leaving us to starve; or, and this is the best and only wise alternative, to give women the vote."
Source: Hunger Strikes.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Dear Soft Secrets

"Dear Soft Secrets,
I was just opening the door to my plants and they came from everywhere, with guns out and all. They came from bushes, cars and a van and there must have been 20 cops. All that for a few plants. It broke my heart because it was my 3rd crop and they had grown quicker than ever before, that's down to what I learned from your Growing for Dummies series. So all you growers out there take extra care. You never know when the cops will come calling. This is my 2nd time caught in 10 years. My wife will continue to grow while I'm locked up. Fuck them! They can never stop me growing or smoking blow."
Danny & Mandy, Northern Ireland

The Editor's reply:
"It's a fucked up world, Danny... People are binge drinking every weekend, puking, pissing, swearing, fighting and brawling all the way on the streets and into their own houses, every year thousands of people get killed, maimed, brutalized, raped, beaten or land in a wheelchair for the rest of their lives as a direct or indirect result of alcohol consumption, and what does the government do? They spend millions prosecuting and incarcerating peaceful and (otherwise) law-abiding people who have this one hobby: growing a plant and smoking her fruits... Anyway, hang in there buddy! A solemn salute to you from all staff and readers at Soft Secrets."

From Soft Secrets magazine, Issue 5, 2005.

This great magazine, very infomed, with contributors like Jorge Cervantes, is free. Past issues can be read online in English, Français, Español, Italiano and Nederlands, with lots of pics of lovely buds in full bloom - both plant and human.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Wicked Wizard of Oz

Frank L. Baum, author of 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz', wrote, as a journalist:
"The Whites, by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians."
Just over a week later, on Dec 29th 1890, the Sioux were massacred at Wounded Knee. Baum penned another editorial after the bloody act, stating:

"we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow up… and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth."

Dorothy says (in 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'):
"Well, of course not. My goodness, what a fuss you're making! Well, naturally when you go around picking on things weaker than you are - why, you're nothing but a great big coward!"

Source: The Native Truth.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Happy Birthday to The Iron Lady

Margaret Thatcher is 80 today. She's having a celebration with 650 guests, including loads of celebrities; not least amongst them the UK celebrity of celebrities of the centuries - the Queen; who, apparently, rarely attends personal celebrations of serving or former prime ministers.

The British can't handle heroes.

In the UK, you rarely hear much good said about Margaret Thatcher and her years as premier. Outside the UK, it's a different story. The Iron Lady is a well-respected figure - spoken of fondly as La Dama de Hierro, die eisendame, and suchlike, and highly esteemed as a public speaker.

What Maggie did was to give us just what we wanted. And now we've got it, we're not satisfied. "It's all materialism now", we say, looking at everyone around us, but not at ourselves; and blaming Maggie 'cos we can't handle it.

No. To me, there was only one problem with the Thatcher government, and that was most of the other people in government with her. Blokes are bitchy: I know, I've worked in offices with just blokes and ones with just women. I can tell you, blokes are bitchier than women: probably because their self-esteem is more vulnerable, and they need to bolster it up by knocking others down. I heard a telling story. When she needed to have a blow-out, as relief, Maggie did not call on any of her party colleagues: it was with her secretary, another female, that she could share a bottle of whisky in a late-night session and burn the current stress out of her system. (Her husband was her great support too, of course.) And we, the public, aren't much better than her colleagues: as with Churchill immediately after the war, we're quick to get rid of our premiers once they've delivered.

Passion and strength.

Take a look at the leaders of her party since her demise: John Major, William Hague, another (I honestly can't remember his name: I know we were supposed to remember him by three initials, like TDC, or something like that), Michael Howard, and whoever's next, so far. See any towers of strength there? Where are they - all these people 'born to be leaders'; conditioned in public schools and academies to know their place at the top?

Since her time, I haven't heard a speech with the passion and strength that Maggie gave. All of the successive Tory leaders have been weak of voice; the Labour leader lost conviction and blew his credibility with his unremitting blind faith in WMDs, his overweening faith in the use of a Press Spokesperson, and his practical disbelief in his stated credo of openness; and the Chancellor, from his very first speech, has used the first person singular as if we had elected him rather than a whole government.

And just in case you're in doubt, I'm no right winger - check out the other posts here.

Anyway, bloody great innings, Mag. Thanks.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Katrina vs Linda Ann

There's a superb personal story on the effects of Hurricane Katrina, with great photography, at Operation Eden.

Clayton James Cubitt

November 14th 2005. I just added this. It's a comment posted on 'Operation Eden' from a resident of Slidell in the Katrina-hit region.

Anonymous said...

"I am not even sure how I found your blog, to be honest. Just one of those things -- but as a resident of Slidell who's sticking it out through the rebuilding, I have to just say this to you: thank you, brother.

Thank you for cataloging what happened -- from the people's perspective, from the individual, from the intimate.

Bless you for the gift of your soul -- it shows in every photograph, every composition, every single detail.

Bless you for your reaction -- for the personal losses you documented, for the emotions you expressed in words and pictures, for the journey."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

"The Vast Majority of People..."

That's it. Someone said it again. I'm listening to BBC Radio 4. Another interviewee just said, "The vast majority of people...". That's three times in the last two days. It's a useful term which you can't argue with, because the 'vast majority of people' can't be argued with; there are too many of them, vast numbers; they are the majority, and this is a democracy.

I wondered how common this phrase is, so I did a search on the complete phrase "the vast majority of people" in Google and it returned 2,940,000 entries.

I checked "the majority of people", which expresses the same point without decoration or exaggeration, but it returned only 1,930,000.

So, listen out: I think we are going to hear lots more about what "the vast majority of people" do and think. Be persuaded.

In John Stuart Mill's phrase: "the tyranny of the majority".

Kate Moss's Videos

Wow, I've just seen the grainy secret videos shot by Kate Moss of reporters working for the British media. You have never seen so much cocaine snorted in your life.

I think, after these revelations, we will see many major companies withdrawing their advertising support.

As Piers Morgan, then Daily Mirror editor, remarked during the John Lesley cocaine story, there would be plenty of positive results if a Monday morning test for cocaine use was conducted in the newsrooms of national newspapers.

*Rod Liddle in the Guardian: "Because Media London is a fragile edifice, built on cocaine. A sort of pharmaceutically induced chimera. Take away the charlie and everything will collapse. And then where will we be?"

*In a Channel 4 film spotlighting BBC drugs scandals Piers Morgan commented: "Frankly, if you made class A drug abuse a barrier to being a BBC presenter, then I'm afraid you'd be left with probably Moira Stuart and that's about it."
BBC insiders questioned Channel 4's decision to single out the corporation: "It is a bit strange. [Cocaine] is a fact of life in the TV industry, it's not like it just happens at the BBC," said one.

Now, if hypocrisy was a crime we'd have some real juicy stories in the news.

* Unfortunately, you need to register to read these articles, but it's free, and you can lie about yourself - just like the press do!

Monday, October 03, 2005

"Get Spayed Bitch!"

This goes back to July 20, 2001; but it's such a piece of shit that it needs continually holding up in everyone's face until the cretins that carry out this kind of thing are all locked up.

It's a letter in a local town paper, the Bridgnorth Journal. Bridgnorth is an ordinary small country market town in the UK Midlands.

As a retired Bridgnorth trader and one who has always loved being associated with the town, I felt extremely angry and let down by the treatment my daughter and her partner received when they visited Bridgnorth on Thursday, July 12.

My daughter's partner was born and bred in Wolverhampton of Jamaican parents. He was strictly brought up and a nicer, kinder, more gentle man one couldn't wish to meet.

I feel proud to be associated with him.

They both wanted to move out of Wolverhampton and buy a house in a pleasant rural area, so they came to Bridgnorth to visit the local estate agents.

They parked outside WHSmiths in the High Street and, upon returning, were dismayed to find someone had put a notice on their car reading "GET SPAYED BITCH!"

They were both distressed, particularly my daughter's partner, as the message was directed at my daughter.

To say I was angry is to put it mildly. NO-ONE should have to put up with ANY remarks like this whatsoever.

If the person who left this message ever needs the help of the emergency services, I hope he will spare a thought for the men and women who daily risk their lives without discrimination, like my daughter, who is a police constable and her partner who is a firefighter in the Fire Brigade!"