Saturday, January 23, 2010

US Invades Haiti

The Haiti earthquake disaster is being used as a cover for a backdoor US invasion. Leftie Latin America has accused their US foes of tightening their grip on the disaster stricken country "over the bodies and tears of its people". What could the US possibly want with dirt poor Haiti?

From the ground it certainly looks like an invasion as the dust settles on quake hit Haiti.

Embedded broadcast news reporters from the safe confines of the secure airport seemed more interested in becoming the centre of miracle rescues with occasional escorted forages adding to disaster porn. Meanwhile a vast US presence was building up all around them.

The Orange Party's suspicions were roused when the US seized control of the airport, an aircraft carrier appeared on the horizon and US forces dropped in on the debris to seize the presidential palace.

Mission accomplished for three strategic objectives of any invasion.

Now US foes in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua all claim Washington was using the international relief operation as cover for a military takeover.

Dirt poor Haiti is a barren, brown country stripped of its forests for fuel, in stark contrast to the rich tourist playgrounds of lush green neighbouring Dominican Republic.

Revolt and revolution are always in the air in one of the poorest countries on the planet.

The US has history on Haiti, propping up the repressive regimes of Papa Doc and Baby Doc to rid the country of 'reds under the bed'.

At stake is US paranoia over a creeping leftie menace lurking in the underbelly. Anti-US Latin American countries along with their Cuban caribbean cousin describe themselves as "the axis of good".

What can Haiti possibly have that the US wants so desperately? The same as in Afghanistan and Iraq - Big Oil. A country ripe for the picking to prop up the US Empire and a buffer against creeping 'communism' as a bonus.

Rejecting accusations that its massive military deployment was an "occupation", the US claims it is a response to a request from Haiti's invisible president Preval.

Some 11,000 US military personnel have been deployed and another 4,000 were due to arrive today. Among them infamous Blackhawk helicopters and elite troops of the US airborne division, along with more warships and coast guard vessels, bearing the hallmarks of USSOCOM special operations command.

The US administration has always shown a keen and often over zealous interest in Haiti. So close to the US and a strategic location in the Caribbean. But until the 'invasion' the nearest US military base was a stone's throw away but across the water at the disgrace of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In 2004 US marines were ordered in to control the capital following a presidential coup. All too reminiscent of the 1995 US-led intervention, 'Operation Uphold Democracy', designed to overthrow the elected government.

The US has a nasty habit of using its massed might of military missions dressed up as 'peace-keeping' and 'nation-building' with the deployment of 'US led multinational forces'.

Venezuelan president Chavez reckons "the empire is taking hold of Haiti over the bodies and tears of its people ... They brazenly occupied Haiti without consulting the UN or the Organization of American States."

Bolivia's Morales said he would request an emergency UN meeting "to repudiate and reject this military occupation of the US".

Castro's Cuba has already pledged to do everything it can to help its "sister island" in the Caribbean. Cuba has had hundreds of doctors, nurses and medical staff in the country for years.

Haiti was always a political, social and geographic disaster waiting to happen. The last thing the US wants is another country on its doorstep falling to an anti-US 'commie menace'.

Meanwhile as the death toll mounts to 110,000, the grim search for survivors is over, says the UN, with a meagre 132 people rescued from the rubble since the earthquake struck a staggering 11 days ago.

What is left is the circus of a stymied aid effort, desperate people struck down with disease, famine and the grief of lost loved ones - and once again a vast occupation force of US troops and military hardware.

Top picture: US Enters Haiti - Time cover 1994
Mid pictures: US airborne division at the presidential palace and main entrance of the general hospital 2010. US marines in Port-au-Prince 2004
Bottom picture: Makeshift sign pleading for help from US marines 2010


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Good News Week Goes Bad

Election spinners were hoping for a Good News Week, what with unemployment falling, crime rates dropping and pigs flying. Then someone had to spoil it all by spilling the beans on anti-terrorism cutbacks.

Greedy Glynis Kinnock's astonishing disclosure in the Lords yesterday over cutbacks in Pakistan counter-terrorism came hard on the heels of Bunkered Brown's weasel words to the commons that the Afghan-Pakistan border was the "number one security threat". No wonder no one trusts New Labour's election pledges.

Now the struggling Supreme Leader is under pressure to explain why the foreign office was having to deal with a slashed budget of £110m because of the plummeting pound.

LibDems have accused Borrowing Brown of starving the foreign office of funds. Tories have waded in, pointing out this is not the way to run foreign policy, claiming leaked FO memos reveal budget cuts.

What a shambles. It wasn't supposed to be like this.

After unemployment 'good news', the Beeb flagged up "breaking news", reporting fiddled crime stats to prop up New Labour's election chances.

Police recorded crime fell 8% in the third quarter of last year compared with the year before, reported by BBC on-line news as "Breaking News".

Breaking News? US troops and marines getting off their ass to deliver vital aid and supplies to Haiti disaster victims— that's breaking news. But crime stats? C'mon. No one believes fiddled figures after iffy Smiffy.

But to back it up, the BBC reports: "ministers say that the British Crime Survey's separate study reveals that the risk of being a victim of crime has reached its lowest recorded level". The British Crime Survey does what it says on the tin - it's a survey stupid.

Yesterday's 'good news' on an unemployment fall led the BBC TV 6pm news bulletin. Good news that 2.46 million people are on the dole?

Good news that employment is fuelled by an increase in people forced into part-time work, with bosses forcing workers over a barrel with low pay and shorter hours in return for a job? There are still nigh on a million 16-24-year-olds out there, out of work and another 2.3 million people who are not included in the massaged dole figures.

The government's office of national statistics (ONS) is having a busy time lately, reporting today one for the borrowing bean counters, with the 'good news' that public sector borrowing came in slightly less than expected in December.

But voters don't believe 'good news' that the economy has turned a corner. Borrowing is still hitting record highs for the month. Even the government's preferred measure of public sector net borrowing came in at £15.7 billion, also a December record.

Total net borrowing reached 61.7 percent of GDP in December, the highest since records began in 1974, according to the ONS. No wonder bank governor King issued a warning to get a grip, Darling or risk the wrath of the money markets.

Pumping out 'good news' is no doubt all part of the ploy to Brownbeat election weary voters into submission. But as the Orange Party has said before, the Tories and LibDems can sit back and wait for another fine mess the government has got itself in to, to blow up in their faces.

Good news week? The Orange Party feels an old hippy stirring in the loins with a sixties protest song from Hedgehoppers Anonymous:
Have you heard the news?
What did it say?
Who's won that race?
What's the weather like today?

It's good news week,
Someone's dropped a bomb somewhere,
Contaminating atmosphere
And blackening the sky,

It's good news week,
Someone's found a way to give,
The rotting dead a will to live,
Go on and never die.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wheels Fall Off Obama Bandwagon

The wheels have fallen off Barry's bandwagon. A resounding Republican victory in the Massachusetts Senate race has sent shock waves through the White House, leaving Obama and his sycophants scrambling to save their skins.

A year on from his inauguration and angry voters have had enough of the slick snake-oil salesman from the Windy City.

The Boston Globe didn't mince words, screaming: "Angry Massachusetts voters sent Washington a ringing message yesterday: Enough."

The eyes of the eagle nation fell on Massachusetts as voters in the true US blue heartland held a referendum on Obama's presidency, dealing the Democrats a devastating blow.

At stake now is Obama's signature health care overhaul and how the party can tap into any Obama magic left before midterm elections in the House and Senate this fall.

Riding on a wave of anger and disillusionment, clean-cut poster boy Republican, Brown, struck a populist tone, beating boring Democrat, Coakley, hands down in what was supposed to be a shoo-in after the death of one of the icons of the Kennedy clan.

Democrats took their eyes off the ball in a 'safe' Senate seat. But Republicans didn't win the seat - it was won by the poor souls suffering shattered dreams. Duped voters had had enough of the sham politics of false hope.

Now Brown becomes the 41st Republican in the Senate, giving the party filibuster powers to derail Obama's domestic centrepiece health care plan on which he's staked his presidency.

Brown may have vitalised the down at heel GOP, including Boston 'tea party' protesters, attracting disappointed Democrats.

But sweeping victory went to the vast swathe of non enrolled 'independents' who voted for Obama because they wanted change. They just don't like the direction he's heading.

The Senate election played out against a national backdrop of anger, resentment, fury and disillusionment with voters despairing over high unemployment, bank bailouts, monstrous budget deficits, health care wrangling and the Orange Party's big bugbears of the Gitmo non-closure and bloody follies of the Iraq/Afghan wars.

Coakley ran a complacent campaign, believing she had a god-given right to the seat - with a little help from Obamashine and the Kennedy clan.

But lurking in the background was 12 months of disasters, no sign of change nor improvement in economic conditions - and an empty suit.

Much of the US mainstream media has still sold its soul to St Barack, despite the strutting self-regard and smirking pompous arrogance. The result is as much a shot across the bow of a doting media as it is a wake up call to the White House.

Obama reality was never going to measure up to the hype and rhetoric. But after a year, the president has ended up disappointing just about everyone with personal ratings plummeting.

Increasingly it is falling to Blustering Bill Clinton to try to rescue the Democrats and prop up a president who robbed wife Hillary of the presidency. There's a lot of life left in the old political dogs yet.

After a year in high office, the Chosen One has got up the nose of so many voters, a bloody nose was inevitable. For the Obamakins, the lights have gone out in Massachusetts. The prospects for their messiah are bleak.

The Orange Party makes no apologies for Obama venom. Americans voted for a slick salesman who promised the earth and delivers nothing but false hope and shattered soap powder dreams. Like his twin Blair who was born in the same stable, the architect of the Audacity of Hype has finally got his comeuppance.

Where next after the wheels fell off Barry's bandwagon? A refrain from the New Christy Minstrels springs to mind:
No wheels on my wagon,
So I’m not rolling along
The Cherokees captured me
They look mad, things look bad
But I’m singing a happy song ...


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

All Aboard The Election Booze Cruise

A general election 'booze war' has broken out as ministers announce a blitz on boozed-up Britain with a belated crackdown. But only a commitment to rip up New Labour's 24-hour licensing laws and ban cheap supermarket booze will stop the alcohol fuelled, out-of-control mayhem.

There's nothing like a general election to force New Labour to get off its high horse and tackle the problem of boozed-up, binge-drinking Britain.

With the Tories and the Mail on their backs, ministers should get the message. Instead politicians are pussyfooting around with half-baked policies.

Booze is one of Huxley's "chemical crutches" which people always turn to in times of desolation and despair. From the gin lane of Hogarth (pictured above) to the current sad and destructive spectacle seen on the streets night after night.

The Orange Party puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of a failed government booze strategy at the heart of the country's out of control alcohol problem.

And, as noted here earlier this year, that's the view of leading experts, who lined up to roundly condemn round-the-clock drinking and availability of cheap alcohol in supermarkets, brought in as part of the shiny New Labour brand.

The message to MPs was stark and simple: Over the last ten years, government policy has led to an increase in the consumption of alcohol.

At the centre is bleary-eyed Blears' misguided notion that a cold, wind swept island in northern Europe, where beer and spirits are the staple diet, can be magically transformed into a wine-sipping "continental cafe-bar culture". How very New Labour.

Big tax increases on strong alcohol, a 'levy' on late-opening pubs and a ban on supermarket discount deals are all unveiled by the Tories to take back town centres from violent drunks, reports the Mail.

But that's just pissing in the wind. Central to any change would be a reversal of the disastrous relaxed 24 hour drinking laws. It's time to get back to the opening hours when pubs closed at 11 pm.

Tightening up licensing laws and penalties will stand the best chance of reversing the damage. Anything less is cosmetic drivel. Taxing the problem is likely to have little or no effect.

But that requires a change of culture. It is the duty of a responsible government to bring in controls which reflect the prevailing mood of public opinion.

It's easy to blame drinkers as they plunge into depths of despair and sink into the oblivion. But like the failed New Labour booze project, they're just viewing the rosy world through the bottom of a beer glass and the eyes of a drunk.

Meanwhile decent folk are too scared to go out on the streets, policed and ambulance crews struggle with the carnage and hospital staff are at their wits end trying to cope.

Doctors and academics have been desperate to tell MPs just how it is. Costly and useless education initiatives have been a miserable failure because no-one has the guts to speak up and tackle the root cause.

Now both parties are bending over backwards with booze the new election battleground. And the Mail is producing a handy guide to how the parties compare.

President of the royal college of physicians, professor Ian Gilmore, told MPs he firmly blamed the government for the deteriorating situation, saying health department strategies on the one hand were useless when, with the other hand, the home office brought in 24-hour drinking laws.

The alcohol problem got out of hand because no one had the guts to challenge the false assumptions of relaxed licensing laws or cheap alcohol pricing and the devastating effects which were starting to shows themselves.

Few were willing to raise their heads above the parapet in case they were branded as part of a reactionary backlash to the wonderful 'modernising' policies. For the government, to admit failure would be to admit the failure of a central plank of policy.

Instead the country is being dragged down a slippery slope with wasteful public relations education campaigns. As if a message on a bottle to 'drink responsibly' would make a blind bit of difference to someone blind drunk.

Cut-price supermarket booze is one of the problems. MPs were told cut-price supermarket deals led to the surge in binge drinking, sparking a trend for young people to drink cheap alcohol at home before heading to bars and pubs.

Ministers had been too lenient with the drinks industry, MPs were warned. But for a government in the pockets of the drinks and supermarket industries and powerful lobbies and using the price of alcohol as a tool for stealth taxes, biting the hand that feeds them would be hard to swallow.

Alcohol sales should be restricted to stand alone licensed premises for the over 18s quite separate from the supermarkets which simply use cheap booze as loss leaders to entice shoppers into the store.

A return to the traditional "off-licence" and public house as the only alcohol outlets coupled with licenced restaurants where age could be relaxed is the solution.

Martin Plant, professor of addiction studies at the university of the west of England, didn't pull any punches when he told MPs: "Supermarkets at the moment are displaying the morality of the crack dealer. They have been told for several years that what they are doing is completely irresponsible. Cheap alcohol kills people."

The blame lies with those at Westminster who hoodwinked the country and brought in the ludicrously lax licensing laws as part of a shiny New Labour dawn of all style and no substance. The country is paying the price. New Labour will pay the price at the ballot box.


IT Waste Tastes Of Snake-Oil

Billions of pounds have been squandered on New Labour's love affair with big expensive IT projects, as gullible ministers were taken in by slick IT salesmen. Now the wheels have fallen off a decade of disaster after taxpayers cash on doomed projects was thrown down the drain.

The white heat of information technology was too hot to handle as ministers stood by and watched IT projects crash and burn, throwing good money after bad to prop up a decade of incompetence.

Time and again the chickens came home to roost, as many of the big IT projects ending up as embarrassing financial fiascos.

Mesmerised ministers were happy to be strung along by slick IT salesman and consultants who promised the earth and delivered nothing. Maybe hoodwinked New Labour liked spending billions of pounds of our cash to make them feel important.

The Independent makes a splash today exposing the £26 billion IT waste with a catalogue of botched projects. Along with a plea to save the whale. Botched IT projects have left taxpayers with an almighty bill for computer systems that have suffered severe delays, run millions of pounds over budget or have been cancelled altogether, reports The independent.

IT consultants have been able to milk the system dry and make a fortune, as off-the-shelf systems were abandoned for bespoke solutions - taking twice as long and twice as expensive.

Nice work if you can get it. Creaming off a fortune and stuffing the place with 'warm bodies' whose job was to keep projects going for as long as possible. Yet banks, supermarkets and stores never seemed to be beset with the same problems as the public sector.

Whitehall is littered with the debris of doomed IT projects. The Orange Party has lost count of the number of times it has highlighted the shambles from way back in May 2008. Taking the lead from vociferous Craig's 'Plundering the public sector' and 'Squandered' with special reports from Private Eye.

The frustrated public accounts committee had actually run out of words to describe the mess.

The Independent has complied a shocking list of New Labour's IT spending spree. From the ill-fated farms subsidies scheme, costing the DEFRA about £350m and leaving farmers more than £1 billion out of pocket. Through to the MoD's defence information infrastructure project, currently running more than £180m over budget, 18 months late and set to cost £7.1 billion.

But the big daddy of all disasters is the NHS's Connecting for Health (CfH) computer, flagged up by the Orange Party and others as one the most shameful examples of how the government has squandered away public cash.

The biggest non-military IT computer project in the world, costing a staggering £12.7 billion, is years behind schedule. Yet ministers steadfastly squandered billions on the useless NHS white-elephant.

Both the Tories and Labour's Left have seized on the project as another example of government waste and have called for the whole project to be scrapped. Minister's attempts to "ram through a top-down, centralised, one-size-fits-all central NHS computer system" have come "crashing down around their ears".

Tax-payers' cash has gone down the drain and into the pockets of IT consultants, leaving doctors and hospital chiefs trying to get to grips with an unworkable IT system, filthy wards and a third rate service from debt ridden hospitals forced to pay off crippling PFI loans.

But the government was happy to write blank cheques for these enormous disasters, as time and again the commons spending watchdog warned of delays after delays, describing projects as "fundamentally flawed" and blaming ministers for "stupendous incompetence" in managing them.

The Independent has found that the total cost of New Labour's 10 most notorious IT failures is equivalent to more than half of the budget for the country's schools last year.

Ministers have been responsible for presiding over one expensive IT disaster after another and blamed for 'stupendous incompetence'. Taxpayers are left with huge bills for bungled projects. Another fine mess of New Labour's own making. What have ministers got to show for years of wasting taxpayers cash? As the Orange Party has said before and The Independent says today: Egg on their faces and a very expensive bottle of snake oil.


Monday, January 18, 2010

It's Grim Up North And In Brown's Bunker

It will be grim up North for years to come as cities limp out of recession. And the country faces a "decade of pain" after years of Borrowing Brown's spending binge. A phoney election war is being waged while the country goes down the pan.

The gulf between rich and poor cities is set to widen. The struggling North may even face a second crippling blow to recovery, warns think tank Centre for Cities, which points to the widening economic gap between the haves and the have nots.

Nowhere is this highlighted more than in a tale of two cities, with Bath and Hull (opposite) shown up starkly by the Independent as among the best and worst.

Hull - home to heroin, home secretary Johnson, fish and chips and Prescott. Bath - with cool spas, good transport links, a strong private business base and a well-fed, well-educated, middle-class elite.

It's hell in Hull and grim in Grimsby. Cities and towns, including Barnsley, Doncaster and Stoke have seen a drastic jump in unemployment. It will take years before jobs return to pre-depression levels.

The gap between unemployment in Labour's industrial hearlands and the wealthier South has already more than doubled in a year. Soaring from 4.8 to 8.4 per cent in Hull - but only from 1.4 to 2.1 per cent in Cambridge.

The outlook is grim for youngsters on the wrong side of the divide. Figures out this week are set to show unemployment topping 2.5million - with nearly a million 16 to 24-year-olds on the dole. The grim survey is more grim evidence of the grim economic devastation caused by Borrowing Brown's grim recession. Grim cities hit hardest were already suffering before struck down by savage recession.

Private sector jobs have been slashed after the 'boom' years' growth propped up by ballooning debt, relying now on the sham of public sector non-jobs. Cities are paying a high price for a decade of New Labour's failure and incompetence with young people bearing the brunt.

Recovery will be long and hard. Without a surgical strategy, there is no end in sight for this painful tale of two types of city.

Centre for Cities chief executive, Dermot Finch, said: "Figures this month will likely show the recession is technically over - but it won't feel like that in many places for a long time."

Back in the 'Barmy' Bunker, the country faces a "decade of pain" as the cost of Borrowing Brown's spending spree stifles economic recovery, warns leading economic forecaster Ernst & Young ITEM Club. Growth this year and next would be far lower than government forecasts. And they claimed massive debts mean the country faces a decade of "painful readjustment" as taxes rise and public spending is slashed.

Chief economic adviser, Peter Spencer, said: "We are no longer in a position to borrow - the massive debts that we racked up in the last decade now need to be repaid."

Official figures due later this month may well confirm the country pulled out of recession in the final months of 2009 but ITEM put this down to emergency measures such as the 'cash-for-bangers' scrappage scheme which have propped up spending.

No doubt the government will make a song and dance with the boast that the country is coming out of recession depression. But that's nowhere near recovery with little growth in what will be a "challenging year" ahead, notes Bloomberg.

"Once the effects of these temporary stimuli have worn off, it is difficult to see where the growth is going to come from in the short-term," said Spencer.

The Orange Party has long believed the key to the country's recovery and salvation is manufacturing. The ITEM report said the economy faces stagnation unless the economy changes from borrow-and-spend to being more export driven.

But with manufacturing decimated, saving the economy with an export-led boost is a forlorn, false hope.

What is clear is that the country is no longer in a position to borrow. ITEM added that it "remained concerned" over the UK's dire public finances, with net borrowing set to soar to a record £178 billion this year.

Those massive debts racked up in the last decade of deceit now need to be repaid. The Bank of England will have to stop printing money sometime to halt rampant inflation.

Manufacturing is on its last legs. The government cannot borrow and spend to fuel an economic revival. The public just doesn't trust New Labour's half-baked election 'pledges'. When they got there, the treasury coffers were bare.

Election weary voters and struggling businesses need a general election now. Only then can a fresh start be made on the tough decisions needed to set the country on the rocky road to recovery. Fat chance.

Unemployment graphic: Sun