USA

El Nuevo Hombre en la Casa Blanca

Era una día historica para los Estados Unidos con la elección del primero presidente de origen africano. Obama empieza su nuevo posición durante un tiempo muy dificil…

What probably makes it even more difficult for Obama is the weight of expectation on his shoulders and his public beatification by the masses as some kind of living saint/saviour of the world figure before he even took up office. That said he does seem to be clued up about the wider world and in touch with the ordinary man/woman on the street – and got to the White House on his own merit rather than on the back of daddy’s oil empire and political pedigree. I believe he’ll do a good job.

The controversial political commentator Ann Coulter  (described by “The Beast” magazine (http://buffalobeast.com/122/50mostloathsome2007.html) as “A skeletal freak who hates the world and lives to anger people into buying her books” doesn’t seem to think so however.  Referring to him as “B. Hussein Obama”,thus emphasising his middle name as if to link him with the former butcher of Baghadad – or better still imply he’s a member of Al-Qu’aeeda – Coulter certainly knows what sour grapes taste like. In the spirit of consistency she should similarly refer to the ex-president as G. Walker Bush. 

I’m informed by a reliable source (ie a bloke who drinks at my local, whose wife’s childminder’s husband’s brother’s wife’s uncle was a builder who refitted Coulter’s kitchen apparently) that Ann Coulter’s middle is Sshole.

So in the true spirit of fair play and consistency she should refer to herself as A. Sshole Coulter.

What is a liberal intellectual anyway?

The Guardian (12 December 2008), has a profile of the Candian MP and academic, Michaell Ignatieff, better known on this side of the Atlantic as a former columnist with the Observer and broadcaster in the 1990s. Currently leader of the Canadian Liberal Party Ignatieff is hotly tipped by certain quarters to be Canada’s next prime minister.

The piece ends with an observation from editor of Prospect magazine David Goodhart:

“If he does make it to the premiership,as Goodhart points out, he will become the fourth leader of a major English-speaking country, after Barack Obama, Gordon Brown and Australia’s Kevin Rudd, who could be classified as a liberal intellectual.”

An intersesting (even if meaningless) point. What exactly constitutes a liberal intellectual is unclear though. However the changes of government in the US and Australia certainly bear testament to this. Obama’s predecessor could not by any stretch of the imagination be described as liberal or intellectual in any sense of either word. Rudd’s predecessor John Howard, although a member of the Liberal party could hardly be described as “liberal” with a small L, and certainly not an intellectual.

Apart from the four countries mentioned there are few others in the English-speaking world which could be called “major”. It’s fairly safe to assume to Goodhart would not list Brian Cowen’s 26 county republic as a major English-speaking country. In any case there would no doubt be howls of laughter in the Dail and beyond if Biffo, or his predecessor Bertie were to be classified as liberal intellectuals..

John Bull enslaved by Uncle Sam

The plight of Gary McKinnon who has lost his appeal against extradition from the UK to the US after hacking into top secret US security files is now the subject of a blog to campaign for justice against this ridiculous decision. McKinnon now faces a long sentence in the US, a punishment completely disproportionate to the crime. A ingenious letter highlighting the hypocrisy of the the US securocrats was published in The Independent a few weeks ago.  Its writer, PJ Parkins of Lancaster denounces the master-servant relationship between the US and UK and argues that the Americans should be grateful to McKinnon for exposing the flaws in their IT security arrangments, pointing out that if a computer nerd can find out such military secrets, it can’t be that difficult for the Russians and the Chinese.

But this paragraph (with no disrespect to reasonable-minded, rational-thinking Americans) says it all:

“However, intelligence organisations that could not work out why people of Middle Eastern appearance would want to learn how to fly aircraft, but not land them, that thought that allowing Vietnam to become a united country would produce a communist domino effect in south-east Asia, and went to war because of non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, are hardly likely to win many marks in an IQ contest. Remember, this is the nation that has vast numbers of people who believe in creationism.”