Politicans and world leaders making news and in the news, and spouting hot air
The Mail’s front-page headline is grist to the mill of they who warned us against Gordon Brown’s love of stealth taxes.
The Queen’s guard at Buckingham Palace stand still. Are they exempt? Or is it one Still Tax for all?
And how still is still? Is the Government engaged in a giant game of Dead Lions, walking among us looking for signs of life to tax?
If you remain still, you must pay. If you remain too still you are most likely dead, which leads us to think that this new Still Tax is a likely replacement to Inheritance Tax. In which case, is the £800 a one-off payment, or is the Still Tax calculated each year, meaning that the longer you are dead the more you pay?
Reading on, the Mail says the Still Tax is brought on by the high cost of heating, petrol and mortgages. You might be better off dead.
But, then, they get you there as well…
BJORJK makes her childish point about Tibet and leaves the mess behind:
HANGHAI (Reuters) – China will tighten its controls over foreign singers and other performers after Icelandic singer Bjork shouted “Tibet! Tibet!” at a Shanghai concert last weekend, the Ministry of Culture said on Friday.
OKLAHOMA Gays Are Cancerous, Islamic Terrorists. So says Sally Kern, an Oklahoma State Representative. Gays are also responsible for global warming:
The only two things from Oklahoma are steers and queers, and I don’t see any horns on you boy – (Officer and a Gentleman, An – 1982)
NICK COHEN: Why Brits don’t fall over Obama…
Style over substance?Mawkish sentimentality? Because we have Bob the Builder…
Bill Clinton claims that Hillary Clinton urged him to intervene militarily in Rwanda:
And then, using a more somber tone, he explained that she had wanted the United States to intervene in Rwanda in 1994, when hundreds of thousands of people died in a genocide that lasted just a few months.Clinton has often said that not acting in Rwanda was one of his biggest regrets. It’s a decision, he said, for which he continues to try to make amends. Had he listened to his wife, Clinton said, things might have been different.
“I believe if I had moved we might have saved at least a third of those lives,” he said. “I think she clearly would have done that.””
When Hillary Clinton was asked whether this was true, she said “It is.”
I have no idea whether or not this is true. But I do know a couple of related things. First, if Hillary Clinton did press for military intervention in Rwanda, her advocacy left no trace in the world.
They say Hillary Clinton prevented war with Venus. They say Hillary Clinton brought down the Berlin Wall. They say Hillary Clinton can see around corners…
Says the New York Times in “On the Campaign Trail, Few Mentions of McCain’s Bout With Melanoma”:
In 1999, during Mr. McCain’s first race for president, he gave the public an extraordinary look at his medical history — 1,500 pages of medical and psychiatric records that were amassed as part of a United States Navy project to gauge the health of former prisoners of war.
But this time around, Mr. McCain has yet to make his full medical records or his physicians available to reporters. At least three times since March 2007, campaign officials have told The New York Times that they would provide the detailed information about his current state of health, but they have not done so. The campaign now says it expects to release the information in April.
Has the New York Times at least three times requested a look at Mr McCain’s medical notes? Has it given up asking and resorted to just giving it a good guess?
Does McCain have cancer? He had an melanoma surgery – “The final pathology analysis showed no evidence of spread of the melanoma, his staff said at the time.”
So McCain does not have cancer. Says the NY Times: “So Mr. McCain’s prognosis for the recurrence of melanoma can be gauged only by talking to experts not connected with his case. Those experts say his prospects appear favorable.”
Has the NY Times turned into the National Enquirer? Is at aiming that high? The Enquirer thrives on the opinion of professionals offering expert opinion on a celebrity they are not treating or representing.
The campaign also said Mr. McCain regularly took Vytorin to lower his cholesterol, a baby aspirin to help prevent heart attacks, a multivitamin and, occasionally, Claritin or Flonase for allergies.
And? And nothing. That’s it. Not only is politics showbusiness for ugly people but they have to get by on fewer drugs than the average celebrity has for elevenses.
“It was not out of line,” said one of the experts, Dr. Richard L. Shapiro, a melanoma surgeon at New York University… “With melanoma, a patient is never completely clear,” says Dr. Shapiro.
That opening question needs to be rephrased: Does John McCain have cancer, and if not, why not?
THE girl in Hillary Clinton’s 3 a.m. advert is an Obama supporter.
The first girl in the ad is young Casey Knowles. It’s stock footage from eight years ago when she worked as a TV extra – footage owned now by Getty Images and used by the Clinton campaign.
But they couldn’t have picked a more unwilling star.
“It’s really sort of ironic that my image would be used to advocate for Hillary when I myself do not,” said Casey.
She may only be 17, but Casey has some very strong political opinions. She turns 18 – legal voting age – in April, in plenty of time before the general election.
“It’s perfect timing because I have a candidate that I really identify with,” she said.
“I’ve been campaigning for Barack Obama for a few months now,” she said. “I was actually a precinct captain at the caucuses a few months ago. I attended his rally a few months ago and I’m a very, very avid supporter.”
Says Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe: “We think that the young actress in that stock footage who’s now supporting us has got sound judgment as to who the strongest commander in chief would be.”
As Jamie Wearing asks: “Now with the clocks moving ahead tonight, does this mean a fully made-up Hillary will be getting calls at 4 a.m.?”
THE Al Goreans are coming: Could Gore Be The Nominee?
Vince Cable says: “Just as binge drinking has become one of Britain’s main recreational activities, binge lending has now become a mainstay of the economy.”
No, not cronies. (Wipes tear from eye). Cojones.
And – he-he- the Liberal Democrats have promised to increase taxes on strong booze in a bid to tackle binge drinking.
CLIVE DAVIS on Samantha Power: “It’s ironic that an academic who made her name by writing about genocide can’t tell the difference between Hillary and a real monster. Andrew Sullivan thinks Samantha Power was just speaking the truth. Really? Alex Massie insists the Scotsman was right to publish.”
When Power was discussing Hillary Clinton with the Scotsman and said “she is a monster… she is stooping to anything”, she added a hasty “that’s off the record”.
Says Kevin Connolly:
But there are one or two interesting questions in the whole issue too.
First, and most obvious, is the issue of whether that unguarded remark gives us a clue as to the view of Mrs Clinton held inside the Obama camp, and perhaps even by the Illinois senator himself.
The second is the extent to which the strong language is an indication that the Democrats are going to find it impossible to keep up the generally mannerly tone of their race as it goes right down to the wire.
“Obama aide quits over Scotsman interview,” says the Scotsman on its front page.”
The piece features Power’s less-than-convincing apology:
“With deep regret, I am resigning from my role as an adviser to the Obama campaign. I made inexcusable remarks that are at marked variance from my oft-stated admiration for Senator Clinton and from the spirit, tenor and purpose of the Obama campaign. And I extend my deepest apologies to Senator Clinton, Senator Obama and the remarkable team I have worked with over these long 14 months.”
Indeed. It makes you wonder – is she secretly working for John McCain? (Samantha Power is blonde.)
SMOKE the peace pipe Hillary…
Hillary Clinton had no direct role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland and is a “wee bit silly” for exaggerating the part she played, according to Lord Trimble of Lisnagarvey, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former First Minister of the province.
JACQUI Smith on ID cards:
Even the most hard-bitten student activist would recognise its not an abrogation of his radicalism to get an ID card if it helps him to provide an assurance of his identity to those who provide services to him.
NAME calling: Is Hillary Clinton “a monster”?
Is Barack Obama no different than Ken Starr?
MARK Hemmingway on the Cult of Barack Obama. No, not the death cult:
If anyone doubts that Obama’s supporters engage in cult-like behavior, try pointing out that they engage in cult-like behavior. Apparently fealty so permeates Obama’s hardcore base that not only are they glad to produce creepy, propagandistic tributes, but they’re also more than happy to delve into insane justifications of same.
After I first expressed my distaste for the videos, I was contacted by a number of outraged supporters of the Illinois Senator. In particular, I had criticized actor Ryan Phillippe for claiming he was voting for Obama because he wanted a “better future” for his children when the only thing I know about Ryan Phillipe, private citizen, is that not that long ago he emerged from a messy divorce from his Academy Award-winning wife surrounded by tabloid rumors of an affair.
The only good celebrity supporter was Kenny Everett. As he once told the Conservative Party conference: “Let’s nuke Russia!”
The Obama DipDive video is after the jump.
Oh-bummer! Oh-bummer! Oh-bummer! (Repeat until we are all zombified…)
Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Young People and Families today announced the detail of a Government parenting programme to help parents get extra help with issues such as bullying, school exclusions and dealing with the impact of divorce.
A “Government parenting programme”, eh? No, not like the one in China; the Parent Know-How Programme is something edgier and more challenging?
Says Ed Balls: “I want to make Britain the best place in [the?] world for our children and young people to grow up… Government doesn’t bring up children, parents do, but I want to do as much as I can to back parents and families and strengthen the support for all families.”
Forget the nanny state. These are YOUR kids. In YOUR home. In YOUR Government–sponsored parenting scheme.
Says Children’s Minister Kevin Brennan: “Kids don’t come with instructions so we all need a little help sometimes.”
See the Government pamphlet free with all kidzzzzzzz…
ON the blog wires: “I was busking in Croydon in November (ish) and Boris Johnson came up to me and posed in front of me for pictures. He didn’t really speak to me. When he left, a passer by came up to me and said did he give you that £20 and I said what £20? When I looked in my guitar case there was nothing there and I thought that was a bit odd.”
Minister’s friends tell hair-raising tales
A friend of Housing Minister Caroline Flint claims that when she was a Students’ Union leader at University of East Anglia she did the popular lefty women’s thing at the time and kept her pubic hair au natural. Such was the density of her lower thatch, which can be imagined from the luxuriant black barnet on her head, and given the location of her choice of tertiary education, she was known as “Thetford Forest”.
Prescott’s clearners still around?
WITH John Prescott wielding his Peacemaker in Armenia, the cleaners move into his former grace-and-favour apartment, or “love nest”, as the Express has it.
It is “Prez’s dirty secret”, says the Star. The place needs a “deep clean”. The Sun sees the cleaning bill come in at £3,500.
A picture of Prescott with aide Tracey Temple sat on his knee appears.
The picture suggests that the cleaners may have been a bargain.
A new office chair does not come cheap, neither a new desk, a new carpet, a new door, a new work surface in the kitchen, a new bath, a new set of kitchen tiles, a new bed and a new croquet mallet.
Someone open the window. And fetch the mop and bucket. Quick!
Pic: The Spine
Says he: “Nick is experimenting with some sort of low-carbon moped for getting around London, so I’m sure there is photograph coming out of that.”
And one that should be reproduced for years and years and years to come…
Don’t worry if it’s a bit late. You see Venezuela has its own time zone.
DIZZY thinks Jacqui Smith said on the Today prgramme this morning, in an interview on ID cards, that “the database cannot be hacked”.
But can it be put on a disc and lost?
ARE the Democrats campaigning for the Republicans?
As he says: “Hillary will spend the seven weeks prior to Pennsylvania telling us Barack is awful. Barack will spend the seven weeks prior to Pennsylvania telling us Hillary is awful. And John McCain, the unity candidate, will spend the next seven weeks agreeing with both of them.”
Susan Rice, a foreign policy adviser to Senator Barack Obama, is discussing the foreign policy credentials of Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Clinton has issued her 3 a.m. phone call ad, in which she invites voters to worry about who is best equipped to answer the red phone at 3am when an international crisis breaks.
Says Rice: Clinton hasn’t had to answer the phone at three o’clock in the morning and yet she attacked Barack Obama for not being ready. They’re both not ready to have that 3 a.m. phone call.”
You may suppose that if anyone is ready to receive an unpleasant phone call at 3am it is Hillary, possibly from a intern asking if Bill is home.
Yes, we know, Slicky Willy has moved on. But it keeps coming up.
Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson says: “When Sen. Obama was confronted with questions over whether he was ready to be commander in chief and steward of the economy, he chose not to address those questions, but to attack Sen. Clinton. I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is the way to win a Democratic primary election for president.”
The phone is ringing. Hello. Hello. That you Linda? A click on the line…
“Peacemaker Prescott heads for Armenia,” says the Guardian.
“Prescott leads Armenia peace trip,” trills the BBC.
The Council of Europe is sending the former deputy-PM to Armenia because: “John Prescott will assess the post-electoral situation and explore possibilities for defusing the current political crisis and promoting dialogue.”
Picture: John Prescott using his peacemaker.
Noah Greenwald, of the Center for Biological Diversity in “Conservation Groups File Suit to Obtain Protection for Rare Three-Foot Long Spitting Earthworm”
Denial of protection for the earthworm is all too typical of the Bush administration …