" Madam Miaow Says: September 2010

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Super-rich hang onto their wealth, shock horror: Bill Gates in China


Wonderful. The liberal British media promote individual largesse over state organisation of wealth distribution with The Guardian taking a swipe at the Chinese for stinginess.

How unlike the home life of our own dear plutos!

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet's Chateau Lafitte party in Beijing should have seen China's billionaires playing at philanthropy in a 12-step programme of conscience-salving when we would have all been better-off had everyone paid proper taxes in the first place. Some might even venture to ask how anyone — not just Chinese people in a 'communist' state — gets to suck up so much money in the first place.

The Guardian sniffs that China's rich don't want to play the game as several were washing their hair last night when they should have been paying obeisance at the Gates altar. Never mind that: as some sniped back, in America giving to charidee is a way to get out of paying taxes.

Upholding die alte scheisse for dear life, the Guardian gives this pertinent observation its own spin:
"Defensive tycoons retort that giving should be a private choice and dismiss American philanthropy as little more than a tax-dodge."

I like that "defensive".

It seems the liberals' solution to our economic woes is for business people to amass personal fortunes and hand it out according to whim. So you get, f'rinstance, a situation where Philip Green (Top Shop, Debenhams, Kate Moss) is able to write himself a cheque for a billion quid, pay no tax (because his missus lives in Monaco), chuck a few crumbs at good causes and find himself invited into Cameron's swag team where he can advise on cuts for the rest of us.

Both the Guardian and the BBC cite favourably the example of Chen Guangbiao, the 42-year-old recycling magnate who is happy to see his brother and sister working for less than three hundred bucks a month as a dishwasher and security guard because they were useless with some dosh he once gave them. Chen attended the party and is angry that many of his fellow squillionares failed to show. He says, "This makes me so mad. How did we get so rich? We've had favourable economic policies and China's working class helped us get there. I think we need to repay society,"

His own mother suckled starving neighbours' kids and two of his siblings died of starvation, but he is now the model for how the planet's resources should be hoovered up by the new super-rich to do with what they want. He says he'll be leaving the lot to charity when he dies. How noble and self-sacrificing! All he's done is trash the notion of family as the repository of hereditary wealth which, under Gates's new rules, gets passed on to non-democratic organisations to dispose of after they've paid for nice offices, wages, etc. (See Bono's charitable enterprise.)

I always liked that analogy of trickle-down as being the sparrows gathered as the horse's rear end, waiting to pick remaining undigested grain from its droppings: die alte scheisse, indeed.

But on a happier note ... rejoice! For now, with China one of the major beneficiaries of the Iraq war (well done, Dubya and Tone), the Sino-Russo oil pipeline is now open for biz. So the West can just f-f-f-fade away.

Super-rich hang onto their wealth, shock horror: Bill Gates in China


Wonderful. The liberal British media promote individual largesse over state organisation of wealth distribution with The Guardian taking a swipe at the Chinese for stinginess.

How unlike the home life of our own dear plutos!

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet's Chateau Lafitte party in Beijing should have seen China's billionaires playing at philanthropy in a 12-step programme of conscience-salving when we would have all been better-off had everyone paid proper taxes in the first place. Some might even venture to ask how anyone — not just Chinese people in a 'communist' state — gets to suck up so much money in the first place.

The Guardian sniffs that China's rich don't want to play the game as several were washing their hair last night when they should have been paying obeisance at the Gates altar. Never mind that: as some sniped back, in America giving to charidee is a way to get out of paying taxes.

Upholding die alte scheisse for dear life, the Guardian gives this pertinent observation its own spin:
"Defensive tycoons retort that giving should be a private choice and dismiss American philanthropy as little more than a tax-dodge."

I like that "defensive".

It seems the liberals' solution to our economic woes is for business people to amass personal fortunes and hand it out according to whim. So you get, f'rinstance, a situation where Philip Green (Top Shop, Debenhams, Kate Moss) is able to write himself a cheque for a billion quid, pay no tax (because his missus lives in Monaco), chuck a few crumbs at good causes and find himself invited into Cameron's swag team where he can advise on cuts for the rest of us.

Both the Guardian and the BBC cite favourably the example of Chen Guangbiao, the 42-year-old recycling magnate who is happy to see his brother and sister working for less than three hundred bucks a month as a dishwasher and security guard because they were useless with some dosh he once gave them. Chen attended the party and is angry that many of his fellow squillionares failed to show. He says, "This makes me so mad. How did we get so rich? We've had favourable economic policies and China's working class helped us get there. I think we need to repay society,"

His own mother suckled starving neighbours' kids and two of his siblings died of starvation, but he is now the model for how the planet's resources should be hoovered up by the new super-rich to do with what they want. He says he'll be leaving the lot to charity when he dies. How noble and self-sacrificing! All he's done is trash the notion of family as the repository of hereditary wealth which, under Gates's new rules, gets passed on to non-democratic organisations to dispose of after they've paid for nice offices, wages, etc. (See Bono's charitable enterprise.)

I always liked that analogy of trickle-down as being the sparrows gathered as the horse's rear end, waiting to pick remaining undigested grain from its droppings: die alte scheisse, indeed.

But on a happier note ... rejoice! For now, with China one of the major beneficiaries of the Iraq war (well done, Dubya and Tone), the Sino-Russo oil pipeline is now open for biz. So the West can just f-f-f-fade away.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

CIA accidentally overthrows democracy


O-SPAN Classic: CIA Accidentally Overthrows Costa Rica

American foreign policy in its full glory. (Follows a short trailer.)

More brilliant stuff from The Onion. Hat tip John Booth via The Lobster.

To rewatch it you have to either reload this page or click through to The Onion site — sorry, it's their strange set-up.

CIA accidentally overthrows democracy


O-SPAN Classic: CIA Accidentally Overthrows Costa Rica

American foreign policy in its full glory. (Follows a short trailer.)

More brilliant stuff from The Onion. Hat tip John Booth via The Lobster.

To rewatch it you have to either reload this page or click through to The Onion site — sorry, it's their strange set-up.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Ode To A Detox On Returning From St Ives: poem


RIGHT!!! Self-imposed boot-camp for me. Cutting out or down on salt, sugar, no alcohol (except for Dunkerton's cider on special occasions), no preserved meat full of nitrates, and less meat, anyway. Less wheat bread and pasta. More fruit including berries and grapefruit, salad, veg. Drink lots of water and green tea.

And this is why. Like my diet, it's a work in progress (or regress).

Ode To A Detox On Returning From St Ives

I thought I'd grow old like Lauren Bacall
Elegant, willowy, tall
Tight arse, tons of class
An enigma on a pedestal

Once slender and tasty
In a thin thong and pasties
The pasties are now Cornish pasties
And I can't thing the thame thong without crying.
My legendary six-pack is now a six-pack of cider
My overactive mandibles leave love handles
The size of trees
I love my food
But my food hates me
Treacherous, it deposits clues
In my jelly belly
(it's a jelly belly, it's a jelly belly, it's a jelly belly, it's a jelly belly)
I tried sleeping with the fishes
Even they didn't fancy me
They flashed their fins and went upscale
And threw me out of the sea

A whale washed up,
A chubby angel after the Fall,
I roll across the land, a shapeless fog,
Devouring all in an epic trawl
I wish the fog was a pea-souper
Cause I could scoff that an' all
Scarf the lot like a hog.
Nom, nom, nom.
No! This lardy bard should recall
Lauren Bacall was no butterball

Fat threatens to settle in folds
The make-up thickens
Like clotting cream,
Like two inches of plasticene
Like fossil strata from the palioscene
My bags are now luggage
My breasts are baggage
In body angst overdrive
My reflection is savage
I will rivet closed my gaping maws
My beak snaps shut
My greedy paws
Gathering greenery
My jaws chewing up the scenery
Filling the hole inside me
Coz I recognise the metaphors
Grimly I scan the vision before me
And understand why no-one adores me
I do not enthrall like Lauren Bacall
Tons of flaws, open pores
I'm growing old like Diana Dors

Anna Chen — September 2010

Live performance from Anna here

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Ed Miliband a safe pair of hands for the US


So, Miliband Minor gets the job. No surprises there considering he's been falling over himself to prove that he's as much in the US's pockets as Tony Blair was.

The whole filial conflict in the Labour Party leadership contest has been one big pantomime to me with Ed rebranding himself as a lefty to mop up the votes generated by a nation wanting real progressive politics and who would never stomach Blair Mk II. To paraphrase the hippies, whoever you voted for, a Miliband was always getting in to continue business as usual. Just how left do you think Ed will be when he's in Number Ten?

There's an interesting blogpost I half agree with at Liam Macuaid's.
Any Daily Telegraph readers worried that Ed Miliband’s election as leader of the Labour Party means that it’s likely to move sharply left will be reassured by his performance at last year’s climate change talks in Copenhagen. Obama had flown in and demanded that a last minute deal be forced through which he’d stitched up with China, India, Brazil and South Africa. Many of the countries of the global south were opposed, rightly saying that it was a charter for richer nations to carry on pumping carbon into the atmosphere. Miliband stomped into the room where they were meeting at 4am and ranted that if they didn’t sign up they’d be denied access to a putative $30bn fund. The high drama of this bit of blackmail was lessened slightly by the fact that he was in his pyjamas at the time. It’s hard to be a moral titan in your jimjams but it’s easy to be the message boy of the rich and powerful.

Almost. As I commented at the time, the Danish Text produced in secret by the rich nations led by the US at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit last year was in OPPOSITION to the position of China, India, et al. It would have left the US producing carbon emissions at four times per capita that of the Chinese.

But Liam is right in that Ed made his bones and proved himself a safe pair of hands just when the scandal of the Danish Text was about to hit the headlines. Ed yelled, "Look over there" and blamed the Chinese for wrecking the talks.

Meanwhile, there's been no proper debate about green technology and renewables so that, for example, while Britain invented carbon capture technology for coal powered stations, we have built precisely zero while China has built a slew of 44% carbon capture stations, as well as revolutionising green energy technology. F'rinstance, although outstripping the rest of the world in the use of those big expensive wind turbines, China is developing smaller machines using far more efficient electro-magnetic energy. Plus an entire city has its domestic appliances powered by solar energy. And China is reforesting areas the size of Wales. But young Ed, minister for such affairs, shied away from these facts and avoided the debate, saving Obama's hide at Copenhagen.

I'm taking to them thar hills and wish to live as a Maroon, rifle in hand, a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou, whoever'll join me. Who's up for it?

My hate is pure at B&T

Harpy Marx on Mister Ed, who says: "strikes must be a last resort". Oh, right. Never knew that.

Paul Mason on the economics of Ed's leadership with Balls as Shadow Chancellor.

.

Ed Miliband a safe pair of hands for the US


So, Miliband Minor gets the job. No surprises there considering he's been falling over himself to prove that he's as much in the US's pockets as Tony Blair was.

The whole filial conflict in the Labour Party leadership contest has been one big pantomime to me with Ed rebranding himself as a lefty to mop up the votes generated by a nation wanting real progressive politics and who would never stomach Blair Mk II. To paraphrase the hippies, whoever you voted for, a Miliband was always getting in to continue business as usual. Just how left do you think Ed will be when he's in Number Ten?

There's an interesting blogpost I half agree with at Liam Macuaid's.
Any Daily Telegraph readers worried that Ed Miliband’s election as leader of the Labour Party means that it’s likely to move sharply left will be reassured by his performance at last year’s climate change talks in Copenhagen. Obama had flown in and demanded that a last minute deal be forced through which he’d stitched up with China, India, Brazil and South Africa. Many of the countries of the global south were opposed, rightly saying that it was a charter for richer nations to carry on pumping carbon into the atmosphere. Miliband stomped into the room where they were meeting at 4am and ranted that if they didn’t sign up they’d be denied access to a putative $30bn fund. The high drama of this bit of blackmail was lessened slightly by the fact that he was in his pyjamas at the time. It’s hard to be a moral titan in your jimjams but it’s easy to be the message boy of the rich and powerful.

Almost. As I commented at the time, the Danish Text produced in secret by the rich nations led by the US at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit last year was in OPPOSITION to the position of China, India, et al. It would have left the US producing carbon emissions at four times per capita that of the Chinese.

But Liam is right in that Ed made his bones and proved himself a safe pair of hands just when the scandal of the Danish Text was about to hit the headlines. Ed yelled, "Look over there" and blamed the Chinese for wrecking the talks.

Meanwhile, there's been no proper debate about green technology and renewables so that, for example, while Britain invented carbon capture technology for coal powered stations, we have built precisely zero while China has built a slew of 44% carbon capture stations, as well as revolutionising green energy technology. F'rinstance, although outstripping the rest of the world in the use of those big expensive wind turbines, China is developing smaller machines using far more efficient electro-magnetic energy. Plus an entire city has its domestic appliances powered by solar energy. And China is reforesting areas the size of Wales. But young Ed, minister for such affairs, shied away from these facts and avoided the debate, saving Obama's hide at Copenhagen.

I'm taking to them thar hills and wish to live as a Maroon, rifle in hand, a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou, whoever'll join me. Who's up for it?

My hate is pure at B&T

Harpy Marx on Mister Ed, who says: "strikes must be a last resort". Oh, right. Never knew that.

Paul Mason on the economics of Ed's leadership with Balls as Shadow Chancellor.

.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Top o' the world, Ma: return from St Ives

Roof of the Tate St Ives (pic by Jan Jefferies)

Return from St Ives. And this time it's personal.

Arrived tired, weary and achy from a seven-hour drive this evening, and missing the town and friends already. Two weeks is never enough.

But it was an eventful couple of weeks. Apart from regular festival activities — poetry recitals and music at the lunchtime sessions in Norway Square — we saw dolphins vying with local fishermen for mackerel in the bay, and one of them receiving a thump from a revved boat, possibly on porpoise, upsetting the crowd of onlookers.



Watched the annual Shakespeare open-air performance on the Island: this year it was Much Ado About Nothing. (Featuring Chris Lanyon's naked bum with only a surf board to protect Benedick's modesty.) The Tate screened John Waters' original Hairspray movie on Porthmeor Beach. And we saw the fabulous Hamsters plus a rather dreary headliner Robin Trower at The Guildhall thanks to Hamsters guitarist, Snails' Pace Slim, sorting us out with freebies. That was a heart-pounding version of Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner, Slim.

Patrick Heron's studio at Porthmeor, St Ives

Had a final look around the Porthmeor Studio complex before it receives its long overdue makover, now that it's got a grant to fix the leaking roof, windows, flaking plaster and a undergo a complete remodelling. Resident artists leave in October and come back, hopefully, in the spring. The photo is of me and Jan Jefferies in Studio 5, the late Patrick Heron's studio, where I used to hang out as a teenager while he painted and fed me mugs of tea. I remember with great fondness those little masterclasses — Bonnard, British influence on the American modern school of painting, why the quality of light in St Ives has always attracted so many artists (a peninsular/isthmus, the town is surrounded on three sides by the sea, reflecting lots of ultra-violet light), the joy of colour, stripes, planes and the surface of the canvas as opposed to the frame as a window ...

Morris Dancers and Angels in St Ives

Peace and lurve, ma-a-an! Here's a sight rarely seen. Morris dancers watched by ice-cream-chomping Angels. The St Ives effect has the lion lying down with the lamb and purring.

Farewell, St Ives. Hope to see you in the spring.

Sun setting over Porthmeor Beach

Top o' the world, Ma: return from St Ives

Roof of the Tate St Ives (pic by Jan Jefferies)

Return from St Ives. And this time it's personal.

Arrived tired, weary and achy from a seven-hour drive this evening, and missing the town and friends already. Two weeks is never enough.

But it was an eventful couple of weeks. Apart from regular festival activities — poetry recitals and music at the lunchtime sessions in Norway Square — we saw dolphins vying with local fishermen for mackerel in the bay, and one of them receiving a thump from a revved boat, possibly on porpoise, upsetting the crowd of onlookers.



Watched the annual Shakespeare open-air performance on the Island: this year it was Much Ado About Nothing. (Featuring Chris Lanyon's naked bum with only a surf board to protect Benedick's modesty.) The Tate screened John Waters' original Hairspray movie on Porthmeor Beach. And we saw the fabulous Hamsters plus a rather dreary headliner Robin Trower at The Guildhall thanks to Hamsters guitarist, Snails' Pace Slim, sorting us out with freebies. That was a heart-pounding version of Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner, Slim.

Patrick Heron's studio at Porthmeor, St Ives

Had a final look around the Porthmeor Studio complex before it receives its long overdue makover, now that it's got a grant to fix the leaking roof, windows, flaking plaster and a undergo a complete remodelling. Resident artists leave in October and come back, hopefully, in the spring. The photo is of me and Jan Jefferies in Studio 5, the late Patrick Heron's studio, where I used to hang out as a teenager while he painted and fed me mugs of tea. I remember with great fondness those little masterclasses — Bonnard, British influence on the American modern school of painting, why the quality of light in St Ives has always attracted so many artists (a peninsular/isthmus, the town is surrounded on three sides by the sea, reflecting lots of ultra-violet light), the joy of colour, stripes, planes and the surface of the canvas as opposed to the frame as a window ...

Morris Dancers and Angels in St Ives

Peace and lurve, ma-a-an! Here's a sight rarely seen. Morris dancers watched by ice-cream-chomping Angels. The St Ives effect has the lion lying down with the lamb and purring.

Farewell, St Ives. Hope to see you in the spring.

Sun setting over Porthmeor Beach

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Madam Miaow sings "Mercedes Benz" at the St Ives Festival



So this is how I amuse myself while I'm in St Ives for the festival. I sang for the first time, not including the occasion two years back when I provided backing vocals for Buffalo Bill Smith and Charles Shaar Murray at the Kettle and Wink and forgot the lyrics to Who Do You Love?, even though it was me who was pressing for them to play the song.

Didn't mangle Janis Joplin's comment on consumerism too much. And I'd rather have a tiny Mazda sports car or anything driven by Emma Peel.

Notes on St Ives for anyone else planning a trip down: best pasties, scones and jam from Pengenna Pasties in the High Street opposite Lloyds Bank. Clotted cream ice-cream with clotted cream on top from Waller's on the corner of Fish Street. Internet at The Hub — and they now serve Rattler cider, the finest fruit-based drink on the planet except for Dunkertons. Yay for the Hub!

Lunchtime sessions at Norway Square, St Ives Arts Festival, September 2010. Hosted by Bob Deveraux.

More live performance from Anna here

Madam Miaow sings "Mercedes Benz" at the St Ives Festival



So this is how I amuse myself while I'm in St Ives for the festival. I sang for the first time, not including the occasion two years back when I provided backing vocals for Buffalo Bill Smith and Charles Shaar Murray at the Kettle and Wink and forgot the lyrics to Who Do You Love?, even though it was me who was pressing for them to play the song.

Didn't mangle Janis Joplin's comment on consumerism too much. And I'd rather have a tiny Mazda sports car or anything driven by Emma Peel.

Notes on St Ives for anyone else planning a trip down: best pasties, scones and jam from Pengenna Pasties in the High Street opposite Lloyds Bank. Clotted cream ice-cream with clotted cream on top from Waller's on the corner of Fish Street. Internet at The Hub — and they now serve Rattler cider, the finest fruit-based drink on the planet except for Dunkertons. Yay for the Hub!

Lunchtime sessions at Norway Square, St Ives Arts Festival, September 2010. Hosted by Bob Deveraux.

More live performance from Anna here

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Supurbia: "The Afghanistan Song", St Ives Festival 2010.



Still in St Ives for the festival. Here's the first of my videos of the talent. Superbia play their great anti-war song, "The Afghanistan Song" during the lunchtime sessions in Norway Square for the St Ives Arts Festival, September 2010.

Supurbia: "The Afghanistan Song", St Ives Festival 2010.



Still in St Ives for the festival. Here's the first of my videos of the talent. Superbia play their great anti-war song, "The Afghanistan Song" during the lunchtime sessions in Norway Square for the St Ives Arts Festival, September 2010.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Morrissey brands Chinese people "sub-species": this little China Girl says "just you shut your gob"


The Guardian plugs their "Morrissey sparks racism row calling Chinese 'subspecies'" Weekend magazine article on their front page.

The old miserabilist has used the excuse of an animal cruelty scandal in China to brand the entire Chinese race as a "sub-species". What, even Buddhists who don't eat meat? Even the Chinese environmentalists and animal rights activists who work hard to protect pandas and tigers in their natural habitats? Even the Chinese people who are shocked and furious to find private zoos mistreating the animals they've been trusted to look after? Even the Chinese investigative team at Xinhua News Agency who uncovered the scandal of the deaths of tigers in Harbin zoo?

While he understandably described the latest scandal as "absolutely horrific", which it is, he neglected to extend his empathy to fellow human beings when he said, "You can't help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies."

There's been a wave of anti-Chinese Yellow Peril fever whipped up coinciding with the rise of China as a superpower, surfacing in sensationalist scapegoating every time there's a disaster. They've attempted to stick us with the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in rural England, the Gulf Of Mexico BP oil leak, even climate change when the West has been belching out carbon emissions for 160 years since the industrial revolution and look set to continue doing so at four times per capita that of the Chinese.

Loved One (Jewish) just chimed in to say it's like being Jewish between the wars. "No wonder Jews are so fond of Chinese food. In New York it's practically the staple diet. Red star, yellow star, what's the difference?"

Turn to any nation and you will find a callous money-grubbing section of society which views animals and humans as objects to be stripped down and used. These are the enemy and the ignorant who need to be educated (possibly, if all else fails, with steel-toed boots). We could count the ways that this particular barbarism manifests in the West, but I respect my readers sufficiently to assume that they know what those issues are.

It was Spaniards themselves who halted bull fighting in Barcelona, but it took a long time and a hard fight. The same is happening in China. At least they don't bomb people from 30,000 ft as some civilised nations do.

I know animal rights activists who care about humans as well. Pity Morrissey isn't one of them. Fading old rock stars will do just about anything to grab a headline — and the best thing about The Smiths was always Johnny Marr's guitar-playing.


Sherlock and wily orientals. Review of "The Blind Banker", Episode 2.

BBC jumps racist shark with "Fu Manchu In Edinburgh"

Racism for fun. Fu Manchu producer pleads irony on BBC.

The Independent publishes article by Sonny Leong, Chair of Chinese For Labour, 6th October 2010, asking if the Chinese have lost face by their lack of response.

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