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Groundhog Day weather gives ambiguous results

By popular tradition in the USA, the groundhog comes out of his winter burrow on February 2nd for a look at the weather. If he can see his shadow, he disappears back into his hole, expecting a further 6 weeks of bad weather. If it's cloudy and he casts no shadow (as on Feb. 2nd in Romiley), he comes out of his burrow, expecting spring to arrive at any moment. Naturalists are confident that there are no longer any groundhogs resident in Romiley – the ones which weren't drowned in their burrows by floods will have been blown into the next county by gales.

Scumbag thieves sabotage Romiley's health care

The Health Centre was in chaos after thieves broke in and stole the computers. [Update: it was the monitors which were stolen, not the PCs, but the denial of service effect was the same. Ed.] Unable to access appointments made and medical records, the service was reduced to emergency appointments only. Anyone with info on the scumbags is invited to pass it on to BlackFlag News so that we can give them some exposure.

Romiley's Committee of Vigilance to retake the streets

Following criminal assaults on the Health Centre and the Gateway supermarket this month, the RCoV has decided to set up Vigilance Patrols. The teams will be armed with tasers, which are guaranteed to subdue the most violent of criminals until electrified restraints can be applied. Minor offenders will be chained to something solid and left to experience public humiliation. More serious offenders will be removed to a People's Prison 'somewhere in the neighbourhood'. There, they will enjoy starvation rations and grim conditions until they repent.

Super Bowl 38

The New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers clashed in Texas to settle Super Bowl 38. The match started as a defensive battle but it featured a 3-minute shoot-out at the end of the first half to leave the Patriots ahead 10-14.
   Carolina's offense actually did better than the defence in the second half, which kept things close. But kicker Adam Vinatieri proved that he was really the most valuable player by kicking the winning field goal as time ran out; as he also did against the Rams in Super Bowl 36. The result? Carolina 29 but New England 32.
   Carolina set a record for the longest play from scrimmage – an 85-yard pass completion from Delhomme to Muhammad for a touchdown – and the teams beat the previous record of 20 for total penalties when the officials started enforcing the rules again (which they stopped doing during the playoffs).
   On a note of bad taste: the TV cameras ignored a British exhibitionist when he delayed the start of the second half with a streak but they were pointed at Janet Jackson when she got one of her tits out to show off a nipple clamp. As a result of waves of violent indignation from all across America, MTV have been banned from doing future half-time shows at Super Bowls. So maybe we'll get something watchable next year.
UpdateSome woman in Tennessee is claiming that she suffered 'serious injuries' as a direct result of the broadcast and she has elisted the services of the legal firm of Flywheel, Shyster & Flywheel to sue everyone in sight for one zillion dollars' compensation. We hope she receives a fitting reward for her greed. One zillion Bronx cheers sounds appropriate.

Pro Bowl 2004The American Crunch Pro Bowl involves the best NFL players of the year as chosen by the players themselves. They meet in Hawaii for what is usually a by-invitation, end-of-term exhibition match. Not this year, though. Recently, the American Football Conference has been beating the National Football Conference and nobody has cared too much. But finding themselves 25 points down at 38-13 early in the second half, the NFC team woke up.
   Not wishing to be known as the team which blew such a big lead, the AFC responded and we were treated to the longest ever and highest scoring Pro Bowl. The NFC were leading 45-48 with 5 minutes left, the AFC came back at them and with 4 seconds to go, the score was 52-55 in the NFC's favour but the AFC had a chance to kick a 51 yard field goal to send the match into overtime for the first time ever – but the kick missed!
   Both teams are to be congratulated for putting on a great show at the end of the match, and let us hope they can manage the same next year.

Dreamers of the Day by Jon A. Gored   New Year Bonus   New Year Bonus   New Year Bonus

BlackFlag News would like to offer its readers a chance to read this monumental work by one of Romiley's premiere authors.
Extended for one more month!

   Read the Book on Jenson Farrago's website

   Read about the Book on the Romiley Literary Circle website

   Buy the Book at the website

This outstanding novel was voted Book of the 20th Century

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Full details from : The Body-Improvement Clinic, 71a Riverside Drive, Romiley.


Hutton really did us a favour

While the nation was questioning Lord Hutton's judgement, and his contact with reality, bits of the truth were crawling into the light of day. If Vice-Prez Bliar and his cohorts were blameless, then fingers had to be pointed elsewhere, e.g. at the 'Intelligence community'. And when the scapegoats started defending themselves, e.g. by accusing the Bliar regime of using the Intelligence services for PR purposes and virtually sweeping the floors of Spy HQ in search of useful scraps, some of the fog began to disperse.
   Before Hutton tried to obliterate it with his whitewash, a skeleton of the story had emerged. Now, pieces of tissue are being fitted to that skeleton, allowing a forensic reconstruction to be made of how the Bliar regime took the country to war on the basis of blatantly misleading evidence.
   In time, the bare bones will acquire a cladding of flesh and a recognizable face. And while the Bliar regime may have escaped blame in the Hutton Report, the indignation generated by its sheer partiality will allow students of early 21st Century history to paint Bliar and his cohorts their true jet black in due course.

Campbell McAllisterA message from the Downing Street Communications Unit

The Blessed Leader has said all that he wishes to say about Iraq's multiple and well-documented Weapons of Mass Destruction.
   He therefore commands everyone else to shut up about them.
   Or face the consequences.
UpdateThe Blessed Leader has also said everything that he wishes to say about the safety of the MMR vaccine, the bugging of foreigners by our security services, the Millennium Dome, cronyism, payments to Labour Party funds in exchange for favours, the legality of the recent war in Iraq and Council Tax rises blamed on government meddling and underfunding, which DID NOT HAPPEN.

#The Hutton Report is having the desired effect on the BBC, where leadership of the chicken-hearted is now the order of the day. As well as editing everything uncomplimentary to the government out of news and current affairs programmes, comedy shows like Radio 4's Absolute Power (which features a couple of spin-doctors) are also being snipped as the panic spreads. And the snipping exercise was a second-best choice after the outright surrender of cancelling the programme proved too much for the chicken-hearted ones to get away with.


US Intelligence agencies accused of being Nervous Nellies

The cancellation of flights from the UK and France to the United States at the Super Bowl weekend is generating a high degree of scepticism in the UK. There is a suspicion that the US security services are engaged in an exercise in self-justification – if they're in charge of homeland security, then they have to dig up threats to their homeland to justify their existence.
   Informed opinion suggests that the Yanks are gathering low quality information and the threats are very tenuous. And the Yanks are being wound up by terrorists, who are sending emails and making phone calls knowing that everything will be intercepted by the USA's global eavesdropping operations.
   Further, as cancelling flights by foreign carriers benefits US airlines, there is a strong suspicion that the CIA, the NSA, et al are busy protecting the security of their homeland's economy and their own pay packets.

!Prez Bush and Vice-Prez Bliar have been nominated for the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize by a Norwegian MP. BlackFlag News has no information on whether he is a notorious hoaxer or just trying to get himself noticed.

Lord Butler – Who He?

A bloke who thinks it's okay for government ministers to deceive by telling selected parts of the truth. Also the guy who paved the way for Alastair Campbell to turn the civil service into a Labour Party propaganda unit. And someone who won't even be told that Vice-Prez Bliar and his chums snipped off warnings about the reliability of intelligence reports and used the raw data as a basis for sexing things up, amplifying the apparent danger and setting the nation on a path to war in accordance with Prez Bush's wishes.
   And if Butler is stirring up his bucketful of whitewash in private, we're left with the interesting question of why Vice-Prez Bliar is bothering to go through the motions of such a blatant stitch-up. It's either a sign that he has nothing but contempt for his customers, or he's buried in a bunker with no idea what's happening in the real world above his head. A bit like another Führer in April, 1945.

snowmanLords cheer up the lawyers

The House of Lords has ruled on the practice of clearing snow from the pavement in front of one's house. If anyone slips on the cleared surface, they can sue the housholder for creating a hazard. But if the passer-by slips on a snow- or ice-covered pavement, they can sue the local authority for not making the pavement safe.
   Ambulance-chasing lawyers greeted the ruling with delight as they win either way. No wonder the 'compensation culture' is estimated to be costing the UK £10billion every year.

@The Butler Inquiry – The Results : None of the testimony and documentation fell within the exceedingly narrow remit of the inquiry and so no evidence of incompetence or wrongdoing was detected.

Single Choice Issue

Buff Hoon, minister for lying about, and to, the armed forces, reckons that the 4-5 minute claim in Vice-Prez Bliar's dodgy dossier is insignificant. The Vice-Prez himself pleads ignorance of the whole matter. Both have attracted the headline: Liar or Fool? Which begs the question, "What do they mean, or?" We know both of them are liars and if they expect anyone to believe their ever-changing stories, that makes them idiots as well.

BBC Goes Totally Chicken

The craven acting director-general has decided that the BBC can no longer pursue breaking news in case it is seen to be in competition with newspapers and in case it embarrasses the government. (Oh, what a giveaway!) In future, the BBC will report only well-established fact, which will require corroboration in the form of signed statements endorsing the accuracy of the report from 2 participants in the news event.
   As a result of the new policy, BBC news broadcasts are expected to become shorter than their accompanying weather forecast. But the licence fee will remain safe from amputation by a Labour government, which came to office vowing to end sleaze but which is drowning in the stuff 7 years on and trying to prevent the BBC from reporting its misdeeds.

v1The Church of England has decided that the Three Wise Men story is inaccurate. There is no evidence that they weren't as thick as 3 short planks – or that they were men. In short, the truth lies somewhere between 3 wise men and 3 clottish women. Where we go from there has not yet been disclosed.

v2Fingebant atque credebant : The Roman historian Tacitus knew all about spin-doctory and he devised a suitable epitaph for Vice-Prez Bliar's minions and hangers-on. The usual translation is 'they both pretended and believed in the pretence'.

"Please try to sneak into and out of the country!"

The British government has given an Israeli minister an immunity from arrest in this country. Shaul Mofaz is wanted for crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli army in occupied Jordan during 2002 but the Bliar regime is pretending that he has diplomatic immunity. Those eager to have Mr. Mofaz arrested are planning a legal challenge the moment he sets foot on British soil.

Trade Unions get 67% Return On Investment. The trade unions handed £6million to New Labour last year. In return, Vice-Prez Bliar intends to hand them £10million of taxpayers' money if the current Employment Relations Bill slides through Parliament. Sounds like a sweet deal!

Lord Chief Justice Woolf reckons that a building to house the government's planned Supreme Court will cost the taxpayer £50million. But given the experience of the Scottish Parliament building, which was supposed to cost £40million but which will now cost in excess of £500million, and the 'Bloody Sunday' inquiry, the cost of which has blown up from £10million to more than £155million, the Supreme Court sounds like it's going to be another Millennium Dome. [And given the track record of the usual suspects in getting things like this built, it probably won't come 'on-line' until the turn of the next millennium. Ed.]

bulletPublic protection scheme

The public gallery of the House of Commons is to get a bullet-resistant screen in case an outraged customer decides to take a pot-shot at Vice-Prez Bliar. Which seems to be another waste of public money as we're enjoying the sight of the bugger wriggling too much to put him out of his misery.
   Afterthought: Maybe it is a good idea after all – in case the Vice-Prez snaps and turns into a crazed lone gunman. A bullet-resistant shield would protect the customers and leave only the guilty parties on the floor of the House in the danger zone.

Vice-Prez Bliar is to allow Genetically Monstered crops to be grown in the UK. Why? Because the US government wants GM to be legitimized world-wide and when Prez Bush yells 'Jump!', the Vice-Prez gets on with it. Labour bunger and V-P's crony Lord Sainsbury is expected to do 'very nicely' out of the deal.

v1Immigrant cab drivers who can't speak the language and don't know their way around are standard in American films. But it would appear that the situation is no better in the UK. Auto Express magazine put researchers accompanied by a driving examiner in black cabs and minicabs in London, Birmingham and Manchester. The conclusion of the skills survey was that 90% of the drivers would fail a standard driving test. Their offences included yakking into mobile phones, driving the wrong way down one-ways streets, snacking while driving and not keeping both hands on the steering wheel for other reasons, and not using mirrors.

v2Doctors at St. Thomas's Hospital, London, have found that coughing as the needle goes in provides a distraction and makes an injection as pain-free as possible. One cough per jab is required for multiple injections.

Heart Attack!!!"Vice-Prez Bliar is liable to croak at any second from a heart attack!"

Although the Vice-Prez is making light of his unfitness to rule, from the medical standpoint, Labour MP Dr. Lewis Moonie begs to disagree. He has the same irregular heartbeat problem but he insists that the Bliar version is much more serious, implying that the Vice-Prez should quit on the spot and hand over his job to the next in line. Given Downing Street's tendency to lie and lie again about the health of the incumbent, his customers can expect more of the same over Vice-Prez Bliar's heart condition.
   On a note of information: Dr. Moonie was sacked from a government job last year and he will be handing over his safe seat to the Mugger, alias Big Gordy Broon, at the next election. Which doesn't do a whole hell of a lot for his credibility.

v5Civil servants are requested not to leak anything about the latest Iraq war and breach the Official Secrets Act, even if the government cannot prosecute them for fear of having the war declared illegal in the courts. Thank you.


Government to ban Happiness – official!

prison barsThe government intends to ban 'Happy Hour' in pubs. Vice-Prez Bliar's new direction, post-Hutton, is towards trivial, achieveable targets rather than ones which will give him any trouble. Useful legislation is now a no-hoper; which is good news for all those who believe that when a government tries to do something, it only makes a bad situation worse.
   Enforcement of the ban on Happy Hours will be in the hands of the Vice-Prez's newly commissioned Frivolous And Disorganized Crime Agency (Fradocrag).

Bush & Bliar to be impeached after misselling scandal?

The Prez and his side-kick sold the Iraq war with all the enthusiasm and dodginess of purveyors of used cars or endowment mortgages. That's the gist of what retired UN weapons inspector Hans Blix is now saying. Mr. Blix seems surprised to find that B&B sexed up their 'evidence' for going to war and he rather naively expected sincerity from them!
   The joint message from the bunkers beneath the White House and Downing Street is that going to war in Iraq was the right thing to do and, given enough attempts, B&B will come up with an explanation which 50.5% of the people will believe.

@Tony Bliar probably doesn't know this, but he also faces impeachement for negligence. It has been ruled that if he didn't know the 4-5 minutes readiness claim applied only to Iraq's battlefield weapons, then he was failing to do his job properly.

!The soon to be established Fadocrag website will offer payments to registered 'snouts'. Informers will be able to sign up at the webside, provide their credit card details and become eligible for payments. If the Fradocrag assessors judge that the information is useful, a payment will be made to the credit card from an untraceable source. If the scheme proves to be a success, the Home Office will consider expanding the system of indirect payments to include top-ups for household utilities (electricity, gas, water, etc.) and mobile phones.

Octogenarian tells town hall bandits where to get off

Miss Elizabeth Winkfield was hauled before Devon magistrates when she told Torridge District Council that she wouldn't pay their demand for an extra £114 in Council Tax. She offered to add the rate of inflation to the previous year's bill but the council insisted on their 18%. Miss Winkfield's options now are to let bailiffs seize her property and sell it off for ridiculously low amounts or go to gaol. And she is quite prepared to do the latter.
   p.s. Old 'Two Jags' Prescott, who's supposed to be in charge of preventing councils from making extortionate tax demands, reckons that Miss Winkfield should just pay up and look cheerful.
   p.p.s. The Grauniad reckons Miss Winkfield has the forces of evil in the form of Max Clifford, the UK Independence Party and the Daily Mail on her side; which should even up the odds a bit.
   p.p.p.s. Miss Sylvia Hardy, another victim of an 18% Council Tax demand, is to seek a seat on her council as an independent. Which will give her access to the details of how the council is throwing her money around.


Teflon Tea-Shop not so untouchable?

prison barsIrish politicians seem to be as bad as French ones when it comes to spivvery. The current PM, Bertie Ahern, looks like going the same way as his predecessor over bungs. Charles Haughey copped for £8.5million. But Teflon Tea-Shop Bertie looks like being sunk for peanuts in comparison.

v1The Metropolitan police have extended their investigation of the murder of Briton Tom Hurndall to include the murder of British cameraman James Miller. The two men were shot by Israeli troops in Gaza in April and May of 2003 respectively while watching the Israeli army of occupation harassing the civilian population and knocking down buildings.

v6Mrs. Yasser Arafat is reported to be under investigation by the French authorities and the EU because they reckon her bank accounts were used to launder cash misappropriated from the EU's €350million/year aid to Palestine. Given the track records of both investigating bodies, Mrs. A. doesn't seem to have a whole lot to worry about.

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The Mugger


Stealth Tax #70 : a £40 per week charge to middle-class parents for formerly free nursery places. Author: Minister for Covering Up Child Abuse Margaret Hodge.

Stealth Tax #71 : a £200 per year charge to middle-class parents for places on formerly free school buses.

@The Mugger is resorting to a standard diversionary tactic. He is having a go at the EU's 'wasteful and inefficient spending' in an attempt to draw attention away from stealth taxes and similar abuses in the UK. Which are perpetrated by the government of which the Mugger is an undistinguished member, we might add.

Stealth Tax #72 : a £250 per hour charge for the fire brigade for non-fire-related call-outs, e.g. clearing up after road accidents and rescuing pussy cats out of trees. The sponsor is our old pal 'Two Jags' Prescott.

!Having demolished the pensions industry, the Mugger's next target is the UK film industry. He is closing a tax loophole to ensure that no more major films will be made here, depriving British people of jobs and the Treasury of tax revenue. So why's he doing it? Because the Mugger sees anything that makes things worse for UK plc while Vice-Prez Bliar is in charge as part of his Personal Power Plan.

Item in dispute

Official attempts are being made to suppress an advertisement for "Hutton" brand whitewash, which will be available in industrial quantities (at very attractive discounts) from this month.
BlackFlag News hopes to be able to display this advertisement when the lawyers quit wrangling [mainly, because we need the money. Ed.]
UpdateA plan to change the name to "Butler" brand whitewash seems to have run into similar difficulties.

Full details in due course (we hope) from :
Romiley Whitewash (Hutton Division), 13b Riverside Drive, Romiley.

world news

Meiwes hopes to be declared officially
"Innocent, OK!"

Armin Meiwes, the Kassel Cannibal, has exercised a little-known right available to all EU citizens under the Human Rights Charter. He has opted to have his conviction for manslaughter with cannibalism, and the 8½ year sentence, reviewed by an independent judge from a foreign country. He has nominated the UK's own Lord Hutton for the job and his legal team expects to see him free to pursue his somewhat dubious hobby sometime in the late summer. He might even invite Lord Hutton to dinner when he gets out of gaol.

#The Israeli army has been charged with a December killing spree in Nablus in Israeli-occupied Jordan. The score for the alleged terrorist hunt stands at 4 gunmen killed, 9 adult by-standers dead and 6 children dead. Israel has been trying to keep the news media and human rights groups out of the isolated city but some evidence of atrocities is starting to leak out.

!Apparently, the US government has known since May 2003 that there were no WoMD in Iraq. So why didn't Prez Bush tell Vice-Prez Bliar? Or did he tell him, and has the Vice-Prez been lying to us since then? BlackFlag News would like some answers.

Bush does the dirty on Bliar

Prez Bush is to launch an investigation into why his spies got the Iraq WoMD issue so badly wrong. He is on safe ground as his dossiers were compiled by the CIA, etc., and not the White House. Vice-Prez Bliar, in contrast, got his fingers inky by reshaping his own dodgy dossiers to make the case for war more sexy. So Bliar is heading for a kicking while Bush holds a 'Get out of gaol free, it wasn't me, Gov!' card. Worse, the US report will be published in March 2004; after the coming US presidential election but before the next general election in the UK.
[Unless the Vice-Prez loses his nerve big-time. Ed.]
   The Bush regime has expressed an intention to keep tight control of its inquiry, to which the American public has 'freedom of information' access, to ensure that the whitewash reaches all necessary areas. Vice-Prez Bliar is having his enquiry held in secret to achieve the same outcome.

The EU Triple Cross flagEU double standards showing again

The European Commission had declared Ryanair's subsidies from small airports in the public sector to be illegal while continuing to turn a blind eye to similar subsidies to airlines from private airports and direct state subsidies to Air France.
   Worse, the ruling was accompanied by some pious bullshit about doing it for the benefit of the customer!

!Prime Minister Sharon of Israel has announced a plan to withdraw all Israelis from the Gaza Strip, an area of Egypt which has been under Israeli occupation since 1967 as a border-straightening exercise. Such announcements are usually just PR exercises but there is a suspicion that this time, he will use the withdrawal plan to justify annexing further Arab land in Israeli occupied Jordan.
   Meanwhile, the Israeli army is still killing the Palestinian locals and stealing their land; presumably as part of a backup Lebensraum creation plan in case Mr. Sharon's Gaza withdrawal plan doesn't come off.

$Enterprising Uruguayans are planning to raise parts of the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee and build a museum around them as a tourist attraction. The warship was damaged by the British navy in December, 1939. Its captain reached the neutral port of Montevideo but found that he could not make effective repairs in the 72 hours allowed under the rules of war. So he scuttled his ship in the River Plate, where it has remained a hazard to navigation ever since.

French flagThe French want to reduce the 7,000 annual deaths on their roads (twice the UK death rate) and they think they can do it by getting points added to the licences of British drivers for speeding and parking offences committed in France.
   Weird, or what?

$China is to blame for the dollar's slump and the euro's inconvenient rise against the US currency. Apparently, the Chinese are messing about in the international currency market to avoid taking a share of the pain from the dollar's slide. And the Europeans think this is unfair.

The European Union expects that 50% of its citizens will be seriously allergic to something or other by 2015. Obsessive standards of cleanliness and a failure to 'eat our peck of dirt' are believed to be the main contributory causes to the spread of universal allergies. Customers are advised to buy lots of handkerchiefs; and shares in pharmaceutical companies and firms which manufacture inhalers.

v3Dr. Atkins, he of the diet, had a history of heart problems and he weighed 18 stones when he died in hospital last April, 2 weeks after a fall on an icy pavement. At 6 feet tall, he had a body-mass index of 35, which made him clinically obese. Opponents are saying he died of a heart attack because his arteries were clogged up by fats from his diet. The chairman of his company says he didn't have a heart attack and he put on 4 stone 4 pounds (68 pounds, 31 kilogrammes) in 2 weeks due to water retention while he was in a coma in the hospital.

v5Dr. Friedrich Wurst of Basel University has come up with a test which can spill the beans on long-term drinking habits. He can detect the levels of fatty acids, the by-products of metabolizing alcohol, in human body hair and tell if his subject is an abstainer, a light drinker or a boozer. Those wishing to conceal their drinking habits can thwart this test by removing all of their body hair. But the bad news for them is that big boozing can also be detected after up to 3 weeks by new blood and urine tests.

The EU Triple Cross flagUK still 2nd Class in EU

French Prez Chirac has made it quite clear that Vice-Prez Bliar isn't going to horn in on his cosy twosome with the Germans. The Big Two (in terms of population) have warned the V-P that they'll zap his vetos if he doesn't support EU voting rights based on population numbers. But they did toss him the bone of support for a new EU job of European Commission Vice-Prez in charge of Economic Reform, which Vice-Prez Bliar has bookmarked for his disgraced crony Peter Mandelson.
   Downing Street had no comment to make about the suggestion that EU votes should be proportional to a nation's nett contribution to the EU's budget, which would shuffle the French to the bottom of the pack. But we did detect a certain wistfulness behind the 'no comment'.
UpdateThe Italians are unhappy about Vice-Prez Bliar's toadying to the Frogs and the Krauts, and they didn't like being left out of the mini-summit. Worse, the Italian PM, who thinks it's okay to dodge taxes, doesn't think the EU needs an ECVPIC of Economic Reform and he has promised to deliver a resounding 'NO WAY' to Mandy's job when it comes up for approval.

"Bring me the head of Osama bin Laden."

US special forces are drafting in a large chunk of the British SAS for a bin Laden capture operation. Prez Bush is hoping that being able to display the carcase of his country's No. 1 enemy (preferably dead and unable to talk back) will swing the election for Mr. Prez 2005 in his favour. Pakistan's army will also be taking part in operations to clean up the border area with Afghanistan. The Pakistan government is taking the double opportunity to score points with the US government and rid itself of stroppy, and armed, opponents in the region.
   p.s. A poll conducted in the USA in January showed that 34% of the respondents wanted to see Osama bin Laden executed live on TV and 21% were willing to stump up actual cash if the execution were shown on pay-per-view.

Iran takes a step back toward Dark Ages

Iranians chose to stay away from the poles after their totalitarian regime banned opposition candidates from standing in this month's general election. Two newspapers which supported the country's 'reformists' were also closed down. Despite clear warnings that the Gods are not smiling on them, the Iranian people seem to be moving inexorably toward a one-party state of the sort which blighted Russia and Eastern Europe before the collapse of Communism, and which continues to oppress large areas of Africa. The unfortunate people of Iran have done earthquakes and fire. Now, all they have to get through are pestilence, isolation and control freakery at a level which Vice-Prez Bliar can only dream of. But hey, if that's what they want, it's their problem.

v6The Israeli army has turned to bank robbery in the occupied territories, having realized that it has enough fire-power to get away with it. The initial venture yielded an estimated US$11million from Palestinian banks in Ramallah. The operators of Palestinian art galleries are advised to move everything into safe storage out of the country before their Rembrandts take a walk.


Make room, make room!

rocket launchBurying people in densely populated Taiwan is now a severe problem, which is why Houston-based Celestis Inc. is extending its 'space burial' service, which has been available in Japan for the last couple of years.
   The firm will send a lipstick-size container of cremation ashes into space for just US$12,000 via a commercial rocket launched from the US or Russia. The remains will orbit the Earth every 90 minutes (roughly the same orbital period as the International Space Station) for 'months or even years' before re-entering the atmosphere and burning up.
   One of the firm's messages is that sending ashes into space, "helps one fulfill the instinctive desire to explore space." Celestis also offers to shoot a small sample ashes to the Moon for US$30,000.


Grumbles of the rumbled?

Prez Bush, hard-core boozer turned abstainer and God-botherer, isn't happy about being exposed as a draft-dodger. Especially when John Kerry, his likely Democratic opponent in the coming election for Mr. Prez 2005, is a decorated Vietnam war veteran. But George Dubya can take comfort from one fact: he didn't zap off to Canada to avoid military service.
Kerry and Fonda
Companions in infamy: Vietnam Vet John Kerry & 'Hanoi Jane' Fonda
Prez Dubya and friend
"George Dubya skived off from the National Guard to help a friend's political campaign..."
   Nope, George stayed right at home in the good old US of A and joined the National Guard. Okay, so there's a huge paper-shredding operation going on to cover up his lack of participation in any National Guard activities (because he was too busy helping with a friend's political campaign), but once that's out of the way, you can be sure that the Republicans will bounce back with some really serious dirt on Mr. Kerry. Like a bogus intern scandal, for instance?
   Does that matter? Well, not really, because both hopefuls for the Mr. Prez job seem to have the same qualifications as the captain of the Good Ship Venus.

UpdateWhile Prez Bush was a non-participating member of the US National Guard, John Kerry (now a Vietnam veteran) was protesting against the war with 'Hanoi Jane' Fonda (as proved by a photograph of them sharing the platform at an anti-war rally). According to Prez Bush's supporters, this makes George Dubya more patriotic than Mr. Kerry. [Do I detect the sound of bottoms of barrels being scraped? Ed.]
UpdateThe 'Hanoi Jane'/Kerry picture has been shown to be a composite created from 2 pictures taken 13 months apart in Miami Beach (Fonda) and New York (Kerry). The prime suspect for creating the bogus picture is the Republican party's Dirty Tricks Department because nobody else would do something as dodgy as that!

Demonize, Demonize, Demonize!

Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who first suggested a link between the MMR vaccine and autism and bowel problems, is now top of the government's hit list for boat rockers. Mainly because Vice-Prez Bliar is being held, wriggling, in the spotlight for refusing to say if his kid Leo had the triple jab. Which leaves his customers coming up with conclusions like:

  1. He can't say 'yes, he did have it' because he's worried about another leak making a liar out of him.
  2. He can't say 'no, he didn't have it' because he'd be exposed as a hypocrite if he's saying everyone else's kids should have MMR.
So, impaled on the horns of his dilemma, the Vice-Prez has gone into denial. The question never existed so he doesn't have to answer it. He also reckons that the private life of one of his kids is none of the customers' business; an argument which won't wash because he has taken every opportunity to shove the kid down our throats in the past.

Notes : Those wishing to reach an informed conclusion are invited to consider the following:-
(1) The children in his study were referred to Dr. Wakefield before their parents decided to take legal action against the vaccine manufacturers.
(2) The editor of The Lancet and the government would like everyone to believe that Dr. Wakefield was paid by the parents to reach his conclusions.
(3) The studies used to 'prove' the safety of MMR were paid for, in part, by the vaccine's manufacturers.
(4) The Bliar government has a history of lying to its customers either directly or by spinning away inconvenient parts of the truth.
(5) The government's chief medical spin doctor has accused Dr. Wakefield of mixing science with spin.
(6) The science of Dr. Wakefield's study has not been attacked. Instead, his critics are pretending that he had a vested interest in reaching his conclusions. This is deliberate misinformation.
(7). The government is ending legal aid to parents who believed that their children were damaged by the vaccine to remove a source of embarrassment.
(8) The Blair government has a history of handing legal aid to the rich, the unworthy and the unspeakable in preference to decent citizens.

Another grumble.

Clare Short is 'totally irresponsible and entirely consistent'. Which has what to do with the accuracy of her revelations about Vice-Prez Bliar bugging the UN Secretary General and a whole bunch of others? If his counterblast is 'totally tangential and entirely evasive', it must mean that she's telling the truth and he's not happy about it.

v1Unwhipped Tory MP Ann Winterton told a joke about a shark going for a Chinese in Morcambe Bay in an after-dinner speech, Labour MP Nick Palmer told the papers.
   Actually, Mrs. Winterton has pointed out, she mentioned the joke as an example of things doing the rounds in emails in conversation at a private dinner, and Mr. Palmer is guilty of political malevolence.


DoS's and junkmail galore

Virus!The MyDoom virus is sending the people who guestimate how much these things cost into a feeding frenzy. One of its objects seems to be to swamp the website of the SCO Group, which is claiming intellectual property rights to elements of the allegedly open-source Linux operating system for PCs.
   As usual, the virus is trawling infected PCs for email addresses so that it can replicate itself and clog the system with pointless traffic. Which raises the following interesting question: If you don't get a shower of emails from MyDoom, does that mean no one thinks you're worth including in their email address book and you should crawl under a rock and die?

Upgrade and perish?

Those lucky people who are still struggling with Windows 98 were cheered to learn that the latest security panic at Microsoft doesn't affect them. Only versions of the operating system from Windows 2000 onward are affected by a huge hole, through which any competent hacker can stroll to take over an individual PC or a company network. Apparently, Microsoft was warned of the serious flaw in July 2003, but they've only just got round to releasing a patch for the hole.

No Swastikas!Microsoft adopts new New Labour policy

The Gates Empire has decided to follow Vice-Prez Bliar's new direction. Instead of concentrating on fixing major bugs in its software, Microsoft will now focus on tiny, easily fixed details. Accordingly, Microsoft has turned its big guns onto the font Bookshelf Symbol 7 [bssym7.ttf]., which is included in Microsoft Office 2003.
   Someone mentioned to Microsoft in December 2003 that this particular font contains what Microsoft is calling "unacceptable symbols" – i.e. a couple of swastikas. No complaint was made about the swastikas but a light bulb must have gone off in the head of someone in Microsoft's PR department and the company issued a removal tool. Now, the status of this previously 'optional' removal tool has been revised to the 'critical update' level. So, the engine may die and the wheels may fall off the vehicle, but the customer can be sure that the stickers on the windows are all politically correct!
   Notes: 1. The swastika is a good luck symbol in most of the world.
   2. Its name is derived from the Sanskrit for "all is well".
   3. When the bssym7.ttf font is removed from a PC with a Japanese version of Office 2003, some phonetic symbols may not be shown correctly.


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Random Reflections In February

#The great thing about space travel is that you don't have to be stuck on the same planet with Peter Mandelson.

v4Understanding Hutton : Judges tend to be notoriously soft on serial offenders. This is evident from the number of 'last chances' offered to criminals who leave the court one day and return the next with a new charge sheet. And judges sometimes try a short, sharp shock. So what has happened now becomes clear. Hutton gave another 'last chance' to Bliar, Campbell and all the other dodgy-dossierites and he came down good and hard on first-offender Andrew Gilligan to frighten him into staying on the straight and narrow in future.

?Hutton , what next? We could always follow the EU's standard practice for a referendum: if the stupid public votes for the wrong option, the EU insists that they keep voting again and again until they get it right. So if one stupid judge gives the wrong verdict ...

Is £5,200 one-way a reasonable price to pay for a 47-hour, 1,861-mile train ride from Adelaide on Australia's south coast to Darwin on the north coast? 250 mugs actually paid that much for the new trans-continental train service's inaugural journey.

?Which is worse: the retentive knowledge of Buff Hoon (he knows everything but doesn't pass it on) or the wilful ignorance of Vice-Prez Bliar (he should know things but can't be bothered asking questions)?

v1It seems inescapable that politicians in government get so used to covering their asses that they end up incapable of telling the truth. Experience shows that they will tell any lie to maintain an illusion of personal infallibility; and modify the lie until it reaches a form which the public will accept or until they are overtaken by another crisis.
   And when they are challenged over a blatant lie, such serial offenders insist that they never make mistakes and that anyone who refuses to accept their deceptions is an evil monster who eats babies for breakfast.
   In view of the above, perhaps there should be some sort of legal limit on the amount of time a politician can spend in power if they all become a paranoid liar to one extent or another.
   Perhaps politicians should be subject to a compulsory truth-recognition test, like a motor vehicle's MoT, after 3 years in power. It would certainly be interesting to find out if serial politicians realize what they're doing or if do they become so used to lying that they just can't help themselves any more.

?Anyone seen A Poka A' Chips, Now!, the new Vietnam war classic from the Scottish film industry?


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Is TheGuardian becoming a Daily Mail clone?
(But not a very good one?)

Daily Mail masteheadGuardian masthead

On Monday February 16th, TheGuardian copied the Daily Mail by putting a big picture of a 19-year-old, blonde, female American actor person on its front page. This is okay for a mere tabloid – but is it what one expects of an allegedly serious broadsheet? And on Wednesday 18th, TheGuardian put the story about the faked John Kerry photograph on its front page – one day after the Daily Mail had given us all the gen on the source of the photos used to make the composite. Which mean that by the time TheGuardian got round to delivering the story, it was olds rather than news.
   Looks like someone at the Grauniad has taken on board the slogan: 'To be the best, you have to beat the best' (presumably, in the sense of the Mail's circulation figures) and they're trying to cover everything that appears in the Mail, even if they do it a day late!

Daily Mail, TuesdayGrauniad, Wednesday
Tuesday's Daily Mail : page 7Wednesday's Guardian : front page

This Month's Garbage

The Garbage Groveller Dick Ryder as acting chairman of the BBC's governors.

Suffolk County Council banning hanging baskets in Bury St. Edmonds in case they make lamp posts topple onto the customers. 

 John Reid, Ph.D. (Professor of the History of Denmark?) shifting the goalposts on NHS targets yet again to cover up (1) that these arbitrary targets don't mean anything, and (2) that the government never hits them anyway.

Vice-Prez Bliar wanting another 15 years to do some tinkering with the education system. 

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 back to topCreated for Romiley Anarchists' League by workers in revolt against oppression.
Sole RAL, February 2004.