16 November 2002
According to a Channel 4 survey,
32% of Britons see George Bush as a greater threat to peace
than Saddam Hussein. This kind of wrong-thinking disrespect
of Americas leader has been criticised by Prime Minister
Tony Blair, novelist Martin Amis, and various others. They
say that it doesnt help to portray Bush as a moron.
And that we shouldnt be spreading the following kind
When Dubya was just a youngster, he went to
the chemist and asked the pharmacist, Sir, can you tell
me where the ribbed condoms are?
The chemist replied, Son, do you know what condoms
are used for?
Sure do. They keep you from getting venereal diseases.
The chemist was impressed. Thats right, son.
Do you know what the ribs are for?
Dubya paused and then answered, Well, not really,
but they sure do make the hair on my goats back stand
5 October 2002
Weve launched a campaign to
abolish the Nobel Peace Prize, and to replace it with
a Nobel Prize for Minimising Collateral Damage Whilst Militarily
The way it would work is that national leaders could be nominated
for the new Nobel prize if their military campaigns (for peace)
killed or maimed less than, say, 100,000 innocent civilians.
(The exact number would be subject to negotiation by the Nobel
panel, nominated world leaders and Mars, the god of
17 September 2002
Iraq has agreed to unconditional
weapons inspections, which seems to put containment
and deterrence back onto the agenda. Containment and
deterrence of the lunatics in the Pentagon, that is.
10 September 2002
Tony Blairs logic goes as follows:
We cant just do NOTHING, therefore we must
use military action. This is curiously similar to
the logic of his welfare-to-work policy: We cant
have people sitting at home doing NOTHING, therefore we must
force people into low-paid shit-jobs.
Its a strange inability to see more than two options
where thousands exist, and it seems to be a common mental
defect among politicians. Perhaps it proves the argument that
having your head up your RECTUM on a regular basis
is more psychologically damaging than regular cannabis use?
28 August 2002
If President Coke and the Pentagon
junta really desire war and environmental collapse,
what media-friendly PR message can they put across next (after
the failure of the Evil Saddam ruse). The answer
is simple: the economy is at stake.
War and eco-disaster good for the economy? Sure, why not?
Theres a perfectly logical economic rationale. Read
any conventional economics textbook youll see
that the capitalist economic system is based on the idea of
scarcity. In fact, without scarcity of resources, the fiercely
competitive, dog-eat-dog capitalist approach would seem absurd.
If theres an abundance of resources for everyone, why
Were now approaching a post-scarcity era (with potentially
enough to go around for everyone). Thats a threat to
the status quo. For the current economic system to survive,
we need to ensure the continuation of scarcity. War and environmental
collapse are good ways to guarantee scarcity. It all makes
sense, after all.
19 July 2002
Heres what some US conservatives
say about the current corporate scandals (Enron,
People shouldnt take political advantage of it
Strange. After all, the political system like the
market runs on competition and self-interest.
Which means that everyone should always take political
advantage of everything. George W Bush, for example, magnificently
took political advantage of September 11th. So, Mr Corporate
Conservative, dont knock political opportunism
great nations are built on it.
12th July 2002
According to todays newspapers,
the average person in Britain is burgled only once every 50
years. Ive cancelled my home contents insurance
policy. (Guardian 12/7/2002)
5th July 2002
In their campaign to stamp out
terror, the peace-loving nations have now bombed (killed)
over 5,000 innocent civilians. Each time we bomb some more
people, our politicians say:
Nobody wants civilian casualties, but
this is war, and, sadly, the innocent get hurt in war.
Which, of course, is nothing like an arsonist saying:
Nobody wants people burnt alive, but
this is arson, and, sadly, people get burned when I torch
Not that wed compare politicians to arsonists. Arsonists
sometimes take responsibility for their actions.
27th June 2002
Many Hollywood stars are enlightened.
They get paid vast sums for work they love. But they are so
free from ego and vanity that they think nothing of SHITTING
their talents away on product endorsements. This is spiritual
non-attachment in action. Non-attachment to the neocortex;
non-attachment to the brainstem.
17th June 2002
Income inequality, the growing gap
between the rich and poor, is acknowledged as fact by most
people. The disagreement begins over how damaging it is. Free
market fundamentalists argue that inequality is necessary
to the healthy functioning of a market economy. Maybe they
should pay more attention to the writings of their own hero
Adam Smith, the so-called godfather of capitalism.
Smith argued that only under conditions of equality (not
inequality) could a market function efficiently, and that
the measure of a properly functioning market would be its
tendency to create income equality (not inequality).
7th May 2002
Were told that the UK economy
is successful. Then the government says it will
take 20 years to eradicate child poverty in the UK. Pardon
me, but if the economy is really successful, we
could eradicate poverty now, not in 20 years.
3rd May 2002
get wealthier and wealthier. But governments tell us theres
less and less money available to spend on public services.
Listening to governments whine: Oh, theres
no money available to improve hospitals, education, transport...
etc, youd think that technology was going backwards
and that economic output was decreasing.
30th April 2002
The super-rich make vast sums
exploiting microfluctuations in international currencies.
If currency-market transactions were taxed (at a very low
rate, eg 0.2%), it would generate billions of dollars per
day enough revenue to solve many of the urgent
problems facing humanity. (Search on: Tobin tax).
Closing down offshore tax havens would also generate hundreds
of billions of dollars. Why should the super-rich be allowed
to avoid paying tax?
Meanwhile, the World Game Institute shows how most
of humanitys social and environmental problems could
be solved using 30% of the worlds total annual military
27th April 2002
Sent a letter to all the major
UK newspapers. The Independent printed it yesterday
One reason for the popularity of the far right in France is
public fear about crime. The British media should learn from
this that exaggerating the crime problem doesnt merely
sell newspapers it can have damaging repercussions
for society too. When newspapers interpret an increase in
cell phone theft as crime spiralling out of control,
they play a dangerous game of scaremongering.
(For a list of newspaper email addresses, please see our
Letters to Newspapers page.)
18th April 2002
Corporate tax avoidance costs
Britain £85 billion a year, according to estimates in
the Guardian (12/4/02). Many large companies are so
clever at exploiting tax loopholes that they pay no tax at
Notice how compartmentalised news stories seem. Another story
covered this week was deteriorating public services.
As usual, two options were discussed: (a) better public
services (paid for by a general tax increase) or, (b)
lousy services (with no tax increase).
Since the above stories were kept in separate compartments,
nobody said: Hey, theres a third option
if we close the tax loopholes exploited by the super-rich,
we can have better public services without general
They can compartmentalise the news, but they cant compartmentalise
7th April 2002
Most people have noticed that
private enterprise doesnt work as it should. News of
corporations saved from financial disaster with public money
inevitably leads to the question: Isnt private
enterprise meant to stand on its own feet?
In addition to publicly-funded bail-outs, most
big companies benefit from technological advances/infrastructure
funded by public money. They get most of it free. If they
didnt theyd never make a profit in a million years.
Given that we, the public, funded technology, isnt it
time that we received the economic benefits eg much
shorter working hours.
24th March 2002
If the warmed-up corpse of Hitler
was President of the US, and a lobotomised sheep was Prime
Minister of the UK, I couldnt be less optimistic than
I am now.
On the other hand, there are more people on the
planet working towards positive solutions for humanity than
at any time in history. There are millions of individuals
trying to balance constructive optimism with sociological
realism, working behind the scenes, trying not to succumb
to apocalyptic nihilism or small-minded political/social expediency.
I see these people everywhere, except on TV, or in the newspapers,
or inside political parties.
9th March 2002
A study by Reed shows that workers
are being given fancy job titles instead of pay increases.
Technical Sanitation Assistant (toilet
Optical Illuminator Enhancer (window cleaner)
Head of Verbal Communications (receptionist)
Senior Corporate Events Manager (secretary)
Apparently, words like Head, Chief
and Senior are being used to appeal to the vanity
of workers (and to distract from the appallingly low pay).
28th February 2002
Last year I made a formal complaint
to the Independent Television Commission (ITC) about
the governments Welfare Cheats TV advertisements.
I claim these ads serve a political purpose (political TV
ads are forbidden in the UK). If you havent seen
the ads, you can download them: http://www.targetingfraud.gov.uk/campaign.htm
The ITC has the power to withdraw ads from TV,
so this is potentially a big embarrassment for the government
(the ads cost at least £15 million of taxpayer money).
The ITC is still investigating. I will put all
the details of my complaint on the website as soon as there
is an outcome.
Incidentally, while I was researching the ITCs
Code of Advertising Standards, I noticed the following
Advertisements must not without justifiable
reason play on fear.
No advertisement may exploit the superstitious.
Hmm... to my mind that would disqualify 90% of
11th February 2002
Reality mimicking satire?:
George Bush and Tony Blair have been jointly nominated for
the 2002 Nobel peace prize – for their bombing of Afghanistan
(which resulted in the death of at least 4,000 Afghan civilians).
The nomination was made by a rightwing Norwegian politician.
Downing Street responded with an embarrassed no comment.
3rd February 2002
Fifty church ministers
are planning to live on the minimum wage for Lent, to highlight
the problem of low pay. The Anglican bishops and other clergymen
say they want to learn what its like to live in poverty.
Hmmm... Lent lasts for just 40 days. If theyre serious,
they should try it for at least two years, without any access
to their savings accounts or stock dividends. Otherwise, its
equivalent to a Conservative politician spending a week on
welfare to show that its no great hardship
(which once happened as a TV political stunt).
15th January 2002
During the Gulf war, UK authorities
banned various TV content as inappropriate
during a time of war. One item banned was an ad for Cadburys
Caramel chocolate bars. This ad a cartoon
showed marching soldier ants and a sexy, languorous female
bunny-rabbit trying to tempt the soldier ants away from their
regimented marching with the offer of Cadburys Caramel
(and a sweet Marilyn Monroe persona). The catch-line was Take
it easy with Cadburys Caramel.
Presumably the unstated message lazy
sex & chocolate is better than marching to war
was seen as undermining national security. A Ph.D thesis could
probably be written about the various meanings of this ad,
but youd have to be paying very close attention to single
it out, amongst all other TV output, as inappropriate.
Who pays such close attention, and do they have a job description?
7th April 2001
Whenever I argue the case for a Guaranteed Income or shorter
working hours, people tell me these things are unwelcome interferences
in the "free market", and that work/income should
be left to "market forces". But if I ask them to
define "market force", they usually have difficulty.
The point is we need new economic concepts. "Free market",
"market forces", etc, are simplistic, obsolete clichés.
Money is now completely divorced from any notion of "real
wealth". Rich people get richer in the money markets
by running computer programmes which transfer money so quickly
that they can exploit microfluctuations in exchange rates.
What kind of "market force" is that?