Ethics

Yellow jerseys and white lies

Lance uses his fingers to demonstrate the amount of times he's taken performance enhancing drugs

Lance uses his fingers to demonstrate the amount of times he’s taken performance enhancing drugs

It’s not about the drugs…or is it?

“I can emphatically say I am not on drugs”, I said… “I know there’s been looking, and prying, and digging, but you’re not going to find anything. There’s nothing to find… and once everyone has done their due diligence and realizes they need to be professional and can’t print a lot of crap, they’ll realize they’re dealing with a clean guy”.


LANCE ARMSTRONG during the 1999 Tour de France (from his autobiography IT’S NOT ABOUT THE BIKE, published 2000)

OK, so it’s easy (and some may say opportunistic) to kick people when they’re down, but some people deserve it. Texas may have a yellow rose, but no longer a yellow jerey.

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The Dubya-M-Ds in G-Dubya-B’s head

Oil be the judge of that

This week the Times is publishing serial extracts from a newly published work of fiction – the ghost-written memoirs of George W. Bush, Decision Points. This little gem caught my eye:

“When Saddam didn’t use WMD on troops, I was relieved. When we didn’t discover the stockpile soon after the fall of Baghdad, I was surprised. When the whole summer passed without finding any, I was alarmed.” [Yeah right – even thought the UN weapons inspections report by Hans Blix hadn’t found any evidence for WMDs prior to the invasion]

“The left trotted out a new mantra: “Bush Lied, People Died”. The charge was illogical. If I wanted to mislead the country into war, why would I pick an allegation that was certain to be disproven?”
It wouldn’t be anything to do with the fact that gaining a plentiful supply of cheap oil was more important than the truth by any chance? Or that Dick Cheney told him to?

“While the world was undoubtedly safer with Saddam gone, [try telling that to the hundreds of thousands who were killed after Saddam had been removed] I had sent American troops into combat based in large part on intelligence that proved false. ” [Somehow the word “intelligence” and George W. Bush don’t make good bedfellows].

“No one was more shocked or angry than I was when we didn’t find the weapons. I had a sickening feeling every time I thought about it. I still do.”

Oil be the judge of that – pull the other one, Georgie.

Blood diamonds are an African despot’s best friend

Poor Naomi was horribly inconvenienced by the court – those pesky conflict diamonds!
Mugabe – rumoured to have prostate cancer – but who will his successor be?

In the light of the current trial of former Liberian leader Charles Taylor at the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague, in which bad-tempered model Naomi Campbell was so inconveniently called to give evidence, I was interested to read an article on the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe in the July/August 2010 edition of Foreign Affairs (subscription required for full text) by Robert I. Rotberg from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Program on Intrastate Conflict and President of the World Peace Founation.

 In a damning indictment on the Kimberley Process, Rotberg outlines Zimbabwe’s role in the conflict diamond trade:

“The toothless Kimberley Process, an international initiative meant to segregate “blood diamonds” from nonconflict diamonds has failed to stop stolen Zimbabwean diamonds from entering the world market.  Many of these diamonds find their way into neighbouring Mozambique, and from there they often fall into the hands of Russian dealers, who buy and sell the stones on the international market.  And in May, a Zimbabwean general began recruiting Chinese soldiers with Beijing’s approval, to help mine the diamonds.”

Au Revoir La France!

Embittered French coach Domenech refuses to shake hands with South Africa coach Parreira
…Yet Thierry Henry has no such qualms with the ball against Ireland

 

Irish eyes were smiling today as the hand (pun very much intended!) of poetic justice saw France’s early exit from the World Cup.

After falling victim to a mutiny in the squad embittered French tosser boss Raymond Domenech  refused to hand it to his opposite number South Africa’s Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira. 
So how ironic it is that while the hand of Henry got France into the World Cup finals the absence of the hand of Domenech should play a part their exit.
Sortez les bleus! 

“It’s a little secret, just the Robinsons’ affair…”

As a general rule The Dreaming Arm tends to avoid commenting on that storm (or should that be Stormont?)-in-a-teacup  style primary school playground bunfight known as Northern Ireland politics.  There are other blogs better equipped to do that, such as Snailer McCoole (or whatever his name is) or that Russian bloke who likes football and David Cameron.  Nevertheless, I just couldn’t resist commenting on this particular incident!

Mrs Robinson and Benjamin in "The Graduate"

 
“Here’s to you Mrs Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you will know”
 
So sang Simon & Garfunkel in the soundtrack to the film The Graduate.
 
In a fascinating case of life imitating art the film was about an affair between Mrs Robinso,n a married middle-aged woman (Anne Bancroft) and Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman), a young university graduate.  Now it’s been reported that a real life Mrs Robinson, Iris Robinson MP and wife of Northern Ireland’s First Minister Peter Robinson has had an extra-marital affair with a lad almost young enough to be her grandson.  As a bible-thumping self-proclaimed Christian and noted homophobe Iris may feel that true to the song, Jesus (being a forgiving sort of chap) does indeed love her.  Whether young Kirk feels the same remains to be seen, but unlike the former (to quote from The Life of Brian) he’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.
 
 And to further spice things up there’s also a tale of alleged financial impropriety tied to the whole affair.  Tabloid journalists (and bloggers with too much time on their hands) are no doubt having a field day.
 
Peter not surprisingly denies the allegations of his wife’s financial wrongdoing.  But then he would.  A bearded politician from the opposite side of the sectarian fence is also prone to issuing denials – which are greeted with howls of laughter from the dogs in the street.
 
Robinson is known as “Peter the Punt” after leading a violent incursion across the border into Co. Monaghan with a baying mob in the 1980s and subsequently escaping jail by paying a court-imposed fine.  But experts in rhyming slang have claimed that he always was a bit of a punt anyway – in much the same way as Bernie Madoff was a banker.
 
Iris has made her bed, she can lie in it –as I’m sure she did once or twice with Kirk!  
To drown his sorrows the Punt may well down several cans of strong beer such as Stella (or “Wifebeater” as I believe it’s colloquially known for some reason) – or whatever his preferred tipple is.  (Other alcoholic drinks are available).
 
And isn’t it doubly ironic that Robbo’s deputy in the NI Assembly bears an uncanny resemblance to Art Garfunkel who co-sang the above song?

Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness

Popular recording artist Art Garfunkel

 
We’ve come full circle…as the actress said to the bishop.

Tony Blairs All between Iraq and a hard place

Cartoon by Martin Schranks

Ken Macdonald QC’s piece in The Times brilliantly exposes Tony Blair’s real position on the decision to invade Iraq:

“Hindsight is a great temptress. But we needn’t trouble her on the way to a confident conclusion that Mr Blair’s fundamental flaw was his sycophancy towards power. Perhaps this seems odd in a man who drank so much of that mind-altering brew at home. But Washington turned his head and he couldn’t resist the stage or the glamour that it gave him. In this sense he was weak and, as we can see, he remains so. Since those sorry days we have frequently heard him repeating the self-regarding mantra that “hand on heart, I only did what I thought was right”. But this is a narcissist’s defence and self-belief is no answer to misjudgment: it is certainly no answer to death. “Yo, Blair”, perhaps, was his truest measure.”

It’s doubtful whether the Chilcott enquiry will reveal anything new, but it’s all very simple really:

Q:  Why did the Americans invade Iraq?

A:  Because there’s a lot of oil there and big bad Saddam while doing nasty things to his own people (but that’s beside the point) wasn’t going to give it to them – and coincidentally America’s own oil supplies are running low.

Q:  Why did the British invade Iraq?

A:  Because the Americans told them to (and apparently there’s a lot of oil there too).

Blair didn’t have the balls to say no to Bush.  Nor do his successors have the balls to tell the Americans to fuck off in relation to the extradition  of computer hacker Gary McKinnon who has the right to be tried in his own country.  Uncle Sam has John Bull in his pocket – just like a paedophiliac relationship between priest and altar boy.  The US has enough power and influence to carry on abusing and Britain is too ashamed to blow the whistle.  While the Vatican UN quietly turns a blind eye, pretending they didn’t know anything about it.

Oil company forced to Shell out millions

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Shell Oil has agreed to an out-of-court settlement of $15.5 million with the Ogoni people of the Niger Delta in Nigeria after a legal battle lasting almost 14 years.  In agreeing to this settlement Shell is effectively admitting guilt for  human rights abuses, including complicity in the murder of Ogoni activist the writer Ken Sara Wiwa.  This landmark victory sends out a powerful message to big multi-nationals with no regard for human rights or the environment who think they can run rough-shod over anyone who gets in the way of their blood-money making activities.