Sunday, 28 December 2008

Our Predictions for 2009...

In the spirit of "New Year Messages", divining from the entrails of the dead economy, and the general prognosticating fever of the end-year period, Manuscripts Don't Burn would like to indulge in a little lighthearted speculation about what the coming twelve months might hold in store for the UK.

In 2009, the media will become almost hysterical about how marvellous it is for everyone to tighten their belts, pull together, and learn to darn our own socks. Words like "tempered in the fires of adversity", "school of hard knocks", and "Dunkirk spirit" will turn most tabloids into soggy repetitive clones.

And all the while the newspapers and tv channels will be desperately trying to distract everyone's attention away from the huge, turd-bomb of an elephant in the room: that the UK is in the throes of economic collapse, and the rich bastards are desperately stuffing their pockets and getting the hell out like rats leaving a sinking ship. Bailouts will proliferate, funnelling public money into private hands at an ever-increasing rate. Banks will repossess willy-nilly, and there will be no recourse other than... another government bailout.

The ship probably won't sink in 2009 - that'll more likely be 2010-11, after a long period of near lawlessness, rationing, food queues, power shortages, utility breakdowns, hunger, disease outbreaks (which will never *actually* be found to be due to the uncollected rubbish piling up in the streets) and civil unrest, which will be dealt with EXTREMELY violently by the police and army and consistently blamed on "anarchists" and "terrorist sympathisers". Thousands of British, students, unemployed, and concerned subjects of her majesty will be locked up without trial during these grim days. Tasers will be used on anyone so much as waving a placard. "I've done nothing wrong so I've nothing to fear" will be exposed as the cowardly sham it is.

Finally, once all the wealth that can be extracted has been extracted and the corporate fascists are safely installed in their heavily-defended tax havens, the EU will be called in to mop up the whole sorry mess. Like with East Germany in the nineties, Europe, despite having suffered its own knocks in the global depression, will shoulder the immense debt burden of putting what's left of England back on its feet again.

The only remaining question will be: will the huge landowners in England, who basically "own" us all anyway, go peacefully, be bribed with new laws which let them keep their millions of tax-free acres behind gated compounds, or have to be strung up before they'll let the rest of us get on with rebuilding the country? That one remains to be seen.

Either way, next year is unpleasant. The year that everything starts to go to hell.

Oh - and "abroad": Israel, Iran, Pakistan, India, China, US... There'll be lots of emotive news programs on Sky TV telling us how we should feel about the citizens of country X getting blown up by country Y - horrified, justified, indignant, or just plain "it's all a long, long way away and doesn't affect me..." Likely we'll all be far too busy to care - same goes for climate change too.

The most terrifying thing about "abroad" will be the out-and-out refusal to engage productively with Russia, which will continue its slide towards aggressive national socialism, bashing everyone over the heads with threats to cut off the gas and eventually the oil. It's an unending irony that, just as following WW1 the victors hammered Germany into the ground rather than rebuilding and extending hands of cooperation, thereby reaping disaster two decades down the line, the international community, led by the nightmare BushCo, saw fit to avenge itself on the fallen giant of the Soviet Union in the 1990s and try to ruin and dismember it, rather than offering the hand of understanding and friendship. Now, once again, just at the moment when we should be really paying attention and engaging diplomatically, we'll leave the Russians to stew as they suffer their own "Consequences of the Wall Street Crash", and similar to Germany in the 1930s, we'll reap the whirlwind as their society lurches to a vengeful right-wing extreme government intent on restoring national pride, whatever the cost.

Historians will wonder how we were all so blind. But we weren't, were we? It's not rocket science. It's just that we didn't *do* anything about it, dithering tomnoddies blustering about bugger-all... The tragedy of humankind is that it is so easily induced to forget...

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Chronicle of a Rape Foretold: Economic Collapse 2008

It's interesting that the majority of debates on the ongoing economic collapse start from the assumption that the task facing our governments is to manage our economies in the interests of the majority of its citizens, and that their actions and dialectics revolve around the best way to achieve this. And that, poor dears, they've made a bit of a mess of it this time.

A wider perspective gives us no grounds for this assumption. Governments rarely work for the benefit of their populations, but rather for the most effective exploitation of their populations for the benefit of the small minority of the faction currently controlling those governments, unless forced by threat of violence and social unrest to do otherwise. This isn't conspiracy theory; Manuscripts Don't Burn would argue it's the tacit common sense working agenda of the political classes, but one which our corporate- and government-controlled media do not like to see discussed.

The situation we're facing today is planned. It's been in the offing for thirty years; the gradual and insidious redistribution of wealth from bottom to top, reversing the more egalitarian redistributions following WW2 (in the face of the Soviet ideological opposition - however illusory that turned out in the long run). One has only to speculate on the relative wealth of a typical family between now and, say, thirty years ago to realise that today's families are considerably worse off, working harder, and carrying greater debt than our parents' generation. Money is flowing upwards, being concentrated into the hands of a small minority calling itself "big business", who themselves control the governments and electorates via "oligarchical intimidation" (witness Mandy's recent "interview") and media propaganda. The future is one of austerity and indenture for the masses, whilst the elite lounge on their yachts preaching about how it's important for us all to "make sacrifices". Haw-haw-haw.

The goal here is nothing more and nothing less than a return to the pre-WW1 status quo of quasi-fascist social organization, with a vast and easily-exploited workforce providing 99% of the labour in return for 1% of the wealth. Anything else foisted upon us by the mock-discussions in the corporate media is just smoke and mirrors to distract us whilst they rob us of our birthright.

We can engage in these pretend debates as much as we like (should we inflate our savings into non-existence or not? what kind of perpetual indebtedness and indenture do we want? which tyrant are we going to vote for - Mr Bad or Mr Crazy? ooh - the breathlessness of choice!), but we're simply parrotting the intended obfuscations which have been given to us in this distracting, irrelevant discourse. The real business of course continues apace, hoovering up the wealth and leaving us bereft, hyperinflating our currencies out of all value and centralizing the concrete assets - in the form of land and resources - in the hands of the "business" elites, leaving us with nothing but handfuls of worthless paper. There's nothing short of actual violence that we can do to change that, for all our self-important "debating" and hot-air. Witness Greece as a foretaste of what's to come in all Western societies in the coming years, when the security forces use lethal force to stifle anyone who dares protest. These anti-terror laws and snooping bills weren't there to "protect" us after all... who'd'a thunk it?

"The Federal Reserve is utterly terrified." Give us a break - yeah, Manuscripts Don't Burn is sure those private and discrete, unaccountable billionaires are quaking in their boots at the prospect of us having to give them all our possessions AGAIN. Terrified to bits. Wouldn't you be? What a joke.

Angry, us? Does it show?

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Thanks to GolemXIV on the next wave of the crash...

Manuscripts Don't Burn hasn't posted here lately, as you'll doubtless be aware - but we'd like to post a copy of a fellow blogger, GolemXIV, from the Guardian website today. Thanks, GolemXIV!

"The point is there is nothing of any consequence the gov or the BoE can do about deflation. The deflationary forces are just too amssive.

Just take a look at the next wave appraoching the beach.

Next year, 09, we get the first spike of the next TWO classes of american mortgages to start defaulting. Sub-prime is almost all through by early 09 but Alt-A and the even more toxic Option ARMs will start to make the headlines.

Nearly 4 Million small businesses in the US have Alt-A and of them 1.2 Million are ALREADY 60 day delinquent. As for the ARMs you really don't want to even look.

For those who don't know ARMs are mortgages where for an introductory period you can CHOOSE how much to pay or not pay all the way down to pay nothing. WHat you don't pay gets added on to your mortgage up to 125% of the loan. Then this new HUGE amount gets put on to a MUCH higher rate.

The market expects massive default rates.

This will mean even more massive write downs. This is part of why the banks have been hoarding all the cash we gave them.

So cutting a percentage point or two or messing about with a couple of VAT points really is about as impressive as getting your todger out, thinking you'll piss on that forest fire inferno and show it who's boss."

Manuscripts Don't Burn has been reading GolemXIV's comments attentively throughout this historical crisis. So far, he's been spot on every time. Interesting times...

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

US Elections: Dare we even hope...?

Manuscripts Don't Burn is going to shed its customary cynicism and world-weariness today. The times are too few when one can do so legitimately, and it would be wrong not to take this rare chance to talk about something which has become a very rare commodity in our political lives today. Hope.

Now, after the election, is the most difficult time. After 8 years of cynicism, we have the tiniest chance to dare to hope again.

Is Obama for real? Or is he just another puppet for the corporate feudalists? Will he let us down like the New Labor victory of Tony Blair in 1997 let the people of the UK down? They promised us a new age - and delivered a New World Order. It is no surprise we find it hard to dare to believe...

Will the neocons even let Obama serve? After JFK, RFK, Martin Luther King, after 911, Guantanamo, Abu-Ghraib, is it any wonder why we look for snipers in the shadows, grassy knolls, false flags? There are 11 weeks still to go before the inauguration... a lot can still happen. We are still holding our breaths.

To have hope back after so many years of cynical Machiavellian hopelessness and neocon PNAC warmongering, exploitation, and trashing of human rights and the constitution, is almost too much to bear.

But there you have it - hope is back on the agenda.

For once, Manuscripts Don't Burn will not stoop to pouring cynicism and scorn on this historic day. We will give him a chance. Over to you, Mr. President...

Friday, 24 October 2008

US Elections: Raising the spectre of the "Stolen Election"

The media have been buzzing over the past few days with talk of possible irregularities in the upcoming US elections. The BBC are reporting a Warning over US election problems, suggesting record numbers turning out to vote and the new (and still dodgy) voting machines could cause havoc on the day. The Daily Telegraph is even more candid: Police fear riots if Barack Obama loses US election, explaining how SWAT teams are in place in Democratic areas to "deal with" problems should Obama's 5-13 point lead somehow mysteriously vanish and McCain end up the winner.

Manuscripts Don't Burn boils this down to a simple question. After the extremely dubious results of the last two US elections, which international observers were not allowed to attend, is the BushCo corporacy going to let go of power to a Democrat, particularly a populist bi-partisan Kennedy figure like Obama. It's a tough call. On the one side, with the economy on the verge of total collapse once the Credit Default Swap tsunami arrives (probably in January), it's not going to be an easy ride for whoever is running the country. However, the possibilities of increased authoritarianism which economic collapse brings is bound to appeal to the Cheney mindset, even if the increasing potential for heavy-handed control comes at the price of economic chaos.

So, twisting our arm, Manuscripts Don't Burn predicts that McCain - Palin will just scrape a victory, by the skin of their teeth, and Obama, like Gore and Kerry before him, will step back from contesting the results "in the interests of national unity". The media will attribute this to a "massive Republican grassroots response" and "increased voter turnout turning opinion polls on their heads". Yes, there will be huge irregularities, yes, the Diebold voting machines will be hammered for having no paper trail, yes, there will be riots and blood on the streets, but, at the end of the day, we don't believe BushCo will step down without a fight.

Of course, there is one good reason why Obama might still win - corporacy support. Despite the fact that he'll be prosecuting numerous banksters over the fraud of the economic collapse, he is possibly better for business right now than BushCo's endless expensive wars. A period of economic and political stability right now would allow the corporacy a breathing space to gather itself together for the next stage of the putsch - large-scale currency and regulatory trading blocs - and possible calm the increasingly restive masses with some acceptable leftist window-dressing and "I'm on your side" emoting. But that might presuppose that the corporacy actually gives a damn, which more and more it appears not to - witness the recent heavy-handed mass arrests during the Republican convention.

So, Manuscripts Don't Burn hazards a McCain win, whilst praying for Obama. The only other factor is the American people. Thank heavens the corporacy hasn't been able to disarm these guys yet, unlike the heavily surveilled masses in the UK.

The Pakistan Gambit (6): Pakistani Govt defies US

Things are moving quickly in Pakistan. Yesterday, the Guardian reported, the Pakistani parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for dialogue with extremist groups and an end to military action.

The US is unlikely to take this sitting down. There have already been a dozen US missile strikes inside Pakistan since September, and a ground assault, fuelling anti-US sentiment. But the US is clear on what it expects the Pakistani strategy to be. "Pakistan needs to and is attacking insurgents in its northern areas," said Patrick Moon, a deputy US assistant secretary of state. "Sanctuaries for Afghanistan Taliban in Pakistan complicate our security operations. Pakistani Taliban and other extremists such as al-Qaida are posing a threat to the stability of Pakistan."

But where do these Pakistani Taliban come from? Well, under a treaty with the tribes of northern Pakistan, the Pakistan army was not originally allowed to enter the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (a legacy of the British Raj). However - and note the savage irony - this accord broke down in 2004 under US pressure calling for al-Qaida bases to be disrupted. It sparked a tribal insurrection and pushed the locals towards extremism, creating a Pakistani Taliban.

The "Pakistani Taliban and other extremists" which the US is demanding the Pakistani government attacks are a direct result of US policy in Pakistan.

Manuscripts Don't Burn awaits the US response with interest. We would expect some major terrorist atrocity inside Pakistan, or perhaps even an attempt on the government. A military coup looks ever more likely.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Growth Junkies: Why we are here in the first place

Manuscripts Don't Burn continues to pillage the Guardian website today as extremely sound analysis of the financial meltdown develops. Next, blogger SocialistMike, furthering GolemXIV's analysis of the CDO tsunami with an analysis of the relentless capitalist drive for growth - what got us into this insane situation in the first place.


"Golem is right about the CDS nightmare hanging over the financial system, but doesn't touch on why we are in the crisis.

"It is because of over-production of commodities and a resulting over-extension of commercial activity and credit. Profits are great in the upturn and it is all reinvested in more machines, more warehouses and transport, more commodities and yet more profit. Soon markets become saturated as the workers producing the goods, whose wages have been held down to boost profits (trickle down etc), can no longer afford to buy what they produce and have to turn to credit, supplied by the very same growing profits of production and retail.

"We have a circuit of capital: investment, consumption, profit, reinvestment. The more profit the more loan capital is available for more credit, both to producers, distributors and consumers. The more loan capital is available the harder it is to find profit from actual production so speculation in credit and future profits starts, based on the loans that producers give to sellers, that sellers give to consumers, on what commodities and assets are expected to return in the future, etc etc. Paper money (meaning bonds, shares, futures, commercial paper etc) comes to replace and equal real money in tradeable value producing more 'profits' that need to be reinvested but with nowhere to go except back into ever higher levels of abstracted speculation in paper. But suddenly the cracks in reality can no longer be covered up. There is a dawning realisation that most of this credit will not be paid back, that it alone is supporting the whole of production and comsumption. Panic ensues.

"Crises are always caused by the same thing - an unequal distribution of the proceeds leads to over production relative to consumption as each capitalist and investor seeks the hightest profit for themselves in a reducing sphere of opportunity.

"Capitalism forces all of us - bosses and workers - to dance to its tune. There is no choice for a capitalist in an upturn - they must competitively reinvest for greater profit or be eaten alive thereby bringing on the crisis - or a downturn - their capital is tied up in unsold commodities and credit is suddenly unavailable from the banks so there are firesales and firings, cutbacks and economies all contibuting furhter to the crisis.

"They must act as a herd; there is no room for reason and objectivity at any stage of the capitalist process of production for any of those involved in it, which is everyone."


Manuscripts Don't Burn has constantly argued against our society being structured for the benefit of the economy (as a mathematical construct) rather than for the benefit of its members - which invariably leads to the nonsense we see today. As Gandhi famously said, what's so great about growth anyway? Growth is the mantra of late Imperialist capitalism, and it needs to be exposed for the hollow, inhuman dogma it is. In its drive for ever greater "efficiency", more and more people are laid off, fewer people are asked to do more work, prices are cut, and eventually no one can afford the goods they are producing. Hey presto - 2008, and people are buying their food on credit cards.

Manuscripts Don't Burn notes the increasing howls of anger and outrage from around the world as the powers that be stuff their pockets and jump the sinking ship whilst the rest of us are left to drown. We also note the increasing polarization into extreme left and extreme right in public opinion - so wearyingly familiar. Dumbing down the education system so that no one knows their history may make people easier to control, but it does mean we just keep on making the same old mistakes.

Manuscripts Don't Burn can see no option other than a re-creation of the labor movement, with all the government oppression, thuggery, and violence that entails. The labor movement and union power was not created because it was "just", "right" or "cool" - it was created because people were starving and the rich-sponsored police clubbed down anyone who complained. Tony Benn once lauded our system for being able to change government without there being blood on the streets: Manuscripts Don't Burn fears those days are over, and agitation and mobilization is the only way out. Every now and then it behoves a generation to fight for the lives of those still to come; Manuscripts Don't Burn had hoped to get through without it happening to us. Sadly, it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

The Tsunami Offshore: the on-coming CDS meltdown

The blogosphere has been buzzing the past few weeks with talk of the huge Credit Default Swap tsunami currently being held offshore by the global bail-out. Speculation is that it'll come crashing in shortly after the US elections - the stability of which is the main reason our futures have been hocked.

This morning blogger GolemXIV posted the following summary of where we're currently at on the Guardian website. Manuscripts Don't Burn cannot better it, so with due credit to GolemIV, we'd like to post it in its entirety. You can see the original here.

"We are entering the second and more dangerous phase of this financial melt down. As corporations begin to go down the CDS and CDO's written on their debt will blow up.

"When they do, the holders lose massive amounts of money. They are losing often 90 cents in every dollar. Most of the institutions making these losses are also still highly leveraged. This means a small loss is enough to force them to have to raise more real cash to cover their losses and replace their capital holdings.

"To raise the cash they have to sell assets, call in debts or seek yet more help from the governments.

"Selling assets is depressing the value of those asset types on the market making all the other holders of that kind of asset a little bit poorer. Bringing them, in turn, a little closer to having to sell themselves.

"Calling in debts forces those from whom you call in the debts closer to bankruptcy. This is the situation with Gmac the finance arm of GM. It is virtually bankrupt and may file very soon. To stave that off, Gmac is forcing the GM dealers to whom it has loaned money to pay up. They are starting to go bust. They default on loans and round we go.

"Sovereign nations have been offering themselves as the backstop to every bad debt brought to them. If they don't stop NOW they will find their own debt, sovereign national debt, is down graded. This may happen to US national debt quite soon.

"Once that happens we are facing a Bond market dislocation. After that I won't be writing any more as there will be no point.

"This is NOT a liquidity crisis it is a Solvency crisis. The banks are insolvent. They know it. It is why they won't lend. The only lending they are doing is on the basis of the real cash the governments have injected. The governments have essentially created little banks inside the carcasses of the banks who are still poisoning the financial stream with all the worthless and toxic debt backed paper they refuse to admit is worthless.

"The banks and governments have refused to admit these assets are worthless. Refused to force them out and to take the losses and begin to rebuild.

"All that is happening is the real worthlessness of the paper is leaking out slowly as one entity after another is poisoned and goes under. Basically the stuff is putrefying and leaking out.

"This isn't rocket science. Even though the bankers would like you to think it is.

"Imagine a group of men walking across an ice sheet. They are roped together for safety. Or as the financial world characterizes it - to spread the risk. Great in theory. But each man is carrying an anvil of debt. One man, lets call him Lehman, falls through. The ropes tighten, everybody stops still. No one can move. Lending stops.

"What they should do is collectively put down their anvils and let them slip down the hole Lehman made. Huge losses but the ice is safe, then hole doesn't widen. But none of them will do this. Each is convinced that one day their anvil of debt will turn to gold and they'll be rich once more. So they stand there slowly dragging each other towards the hole.

"As they get pulled closer together, their combined weight threatens to crash the entire ice sheet. The bad news is WE are all living on that sheet."

The Pakistan Gambit (5): Who Pays the Piper...

Manuscripts Don't Burn is noting with interest the continued development of the Neocon strategic agenda in the Middle East / Iran / Pakistan / Central Asian region, as Pakistan is now brought to its knees due to financial aid to the country having been stalled since June. Last week President Zardari travelled to China, having expressed reluctance to seek US financial aid due to the political strings attached - following recent US incursions into Pakistani territory, including bombing of civilians, schools, etc, on the border, overt pro-Americanism is a political no-no. China clearly said "no" (now why would they do that?), and now Zardari finds himself having to eat his words and go cap-in-hand to the IMF asking for his very own bail-out.

And the cost of all this? An estimated $6bn - cheap given the recent $700bn bank bail-out. And, in return, the US would be able to impose "conditions" rather unpleasant to the democratically elected Zardari.

Manuscripts Don't Burn would playfully like to offer the following scenario: the IMF approach, whether successful or not, will trigger further huge political instability in Pakistan, with, in all likelihood, Zardari shortly falling from power, to be replaced by a far more compliant pro-US non-elected military governorship. With UN oversight, of course, and a nice big fat "peacekeeping force" to make sure everything goes according to plan. Unless, of course, Mr Zardari is willing to play ball, and assume the position...

Or, well, maybe we just have to invade Pakiranistan after all...

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Welcome to the Revolution...

Today our societies suffer from a massive disconnect between the world we *think* we live in, and the world we actually live in. Thanks to the propaganda fed to us every day of our lives, we think we live in a "modern" world of democracy, freedom of speech, and individual liberty. In actual fact we live in a world which is barely post-feudal, encumbered by Imperialist caste systems and hierarchies, and switching over from late Imperialism to proto-fascism (call it "corporate feudalism" if you will) during our lifetimes. Note the distinct lack of words like "freedom" and "democracy" in the above.

Marketing and window-dressing is all - the virtuosity of spin. Even in the Middle Ages, when people were chopping one another up on the flimsiest of pretexts and with alarming alacrity, the prevailing dogma was a Candidean "all for the best in the best of all possible worlds", that the state was structured "as God ordained it", and that the world was one of universal brotherhood and love. When of course nothing could be further than the truth. It should give all of us pause when we blather on about freedom and democracy - the West is a loose mercantile coalition of one party states masquerading as two party states. The reason the US elections pretty much fall 50/50 each time is because people vote pretty much randomly - there are no real issues to distinguish them. "What color chains do you want today?"

To paraphrase Orwell, revolution never comes from the "proles". Western history documents several so-called revolutions - English in the 17th century, American and French in the 18th century, a close call Europe-wide in 1848, the Russian in 1905-17, Chinese in 1949, etc, etc. In none of these were the leaders from the working class; quite the opposite, they were from the disgruntled mercantile classes, looking to remove the glass-ceilings of inherited privilege. And they worked - but only by recruiting the proles to their side by LOTS of egalitarian-sounding marketing.

We are facing a similar Revolution today. Twenty years ago the Cold War began to crumble. Since then, the old guard have struggled to stay in power - finding us a new Bogey Man (in a beard and turban this time) to drum up population-controlling fear, and desperately trying to keep the old oppositional us-and-them confrontation going to feed the military-industrial complex which drove 20th century history from start to finish. With the most Orwellian of irony, the old world order even tried to sell itself to us as the New World Order. Some people bought it; someone always does.

But there is a bunch of mitteltier rebels out there trying to break the NWO glass ceiling; and it's the merchants, again. There are resources *everywhere* available for exploitation today, and the corporate feudalists want to *get at them*! In every Western country over the past decade we've seen corporate interests and government interests gradually become the same - actually the definition of fascism - but in clear opposition (most of the time) to the OWO/NWO.

Hence today's Revolution. The OWO/NWO is collapsing under the weight of its own inertia; in its place, a much more agile corporacy, perhaps not quite global yet, but heading in that direction. As with most Revolutions, its going to be disturbing to the peace of all of us for a while, but, uniquely, perhaps, this time, our New Masters, the corporate feudalists, would like to keep us Consuming and Producing just as before - it's simply the agenda that's changed. There's been a coup d'etat in the West.

Tragically, the rest of us are left blinking in the rubble, clutching our smoke-and-mirrors dreams of a free modern world of liberty and fraternity in tatters to our chests. To quote Starship Troopers (!), the only freedom any of us ever really have is figuring things out for ourselves. Bitter comfort, when you may be losing your house and savings to "historical necessity".

The trouble with Marx is that Lenin gave us the idea we could shortcut the historical dialectic, somehow jumping from "post-feudal late Imperialism" to "socialism-building-communism" in one fell swoop, hurdling possibly centuries of social development in a single bound. The aftermath of the Russian revolution gave the lie to Leninism. But Marx is still in there - we inch one step forwards, as capitalism comes face-to-face with its own contradictions when placed on a global stage. Now we get to post-capitalism - a kind of managed version of what we had, with hopefully some greater social controls. But, dang, is this social progress thing ever a slow business...

HG Wells in "The Shape of Things to Come" predicted total economic collapse and a century of rigorous self re-education before our society could reach some form of sensible organization. Here at Manuscripts Don't Burn we think that's optimistic; last week the US spent TEN TIMES the sum it would take to deal with global hunger on a "bailout" of its banking system, so we have a way to go yet before the era of universal brotherhood dawns.

Perhaps this is the eternal paradox of the intellectual. The world *could* be a paradise, if only people were... well, different... not like they are... weren't people, basically... if only they were more like us here at Manuscripts Don't Burn... oh, bother... ;-)

In this hinterland of history at the tale end of the Middle Ages, we can offer only this advice, from a dear friend who happens to run a Swiss bank investment company in the City in London: Keep it local. Show, don't tell. Create functioning communities and networks *where you are*. Sidestep the corporacy and create your own alternative system. Rebel in small things; don't watch advertising; don't follow the demands of the herd to be "alternative" in acceptable ways. Keep smiling, and crack targeted jokes. Never just mumble and let another overt oppression take place.

As the ex-mayor of London said, if voting changed anything, they'd abolish it.

Cause for hope or despondency? Manuscripts Don't Burn votes for Hope - at the price of eternal vigilance. Our civilization has a long way to go yet before it reaches the place our propaganda tells us it's already at. But that's no reason not to keep heading in that direction. It *is* the right direction.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Economic "Crisis": The Great Redistribution Continues Apace

The current state of the global economy - ie what happens to us all in the West - is only a crisis from the perspective of those on the receiving end. For the powers that be - the big banks, global corporations, and major landowners, everything is proceeding according to plan.

What we're witnessing is a particularly blatant episode in the huge redistribution of wealth from poor to rich which has been going on since the 1980s, reversing the more egalitarian post-war redistributions of the 50s and 60s. The poor are being divested of their ability to buy and hold property at an alarming rate, their "savings" are about to be destroyed by extremely high inflation, future education, welfare, public works, and healthcare budgets have just been spent in advance in the "bail-out", and assets with any concrete value are being placed into the hands of the mega-rich.

The future for most of us is indenture - lifelong indebtedness to the banks in return for a roof over our heads, little different from the indentured serfs and tenant farmers of the Middle Ages.

What floors us here at Manuscripts Don't Burn is the scale of their blatant audacity - not only harnessing the media-government complex over the past 20 years to ensure astronomical indebtedness amongst the population, but then actually forcing them to pay *twice* by "bailing out" the toxic debt which their pea-under-the-stone "trading instruments" have excreted. You couldn't make it up - as Dubya has so famously said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time - and those are the ones you should concentrate on".

Why aren't people rioting in the streets? Our allegedly-elected government has finally admitted it's in bed with big business and working directly against our interests, and we just roll over and turn the telly on?

Thank God at least our governments have been repealing our civil rights and introducing all that draconian "anti-terror" legislation. That way, they can club us down and lock us up when we start protesting at our coming homelessness and hungriness, and it'll all be legal!

Ignorance is Strength, indeed.

The Pakistan Gambit (4): Do As You Are Told


Get a map. Look at all the countries surrounding Iran, and think of the best way of geographically isolating a country which you can't - yet - invade. You need: Iraq, Georgia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan... and Pakistan. Dominos, falling, year by year.

As we reported, by this time last year the USA was operating forces covertly within Pakistan despite protests by the Pakistani army. Increased instability within national borders, resulting in unrest, factionalization - the usual destabilization tactics.

Last Friday / Saturday, after 12 months of political turmoil, the new Pakistani government issued a clear statement that infringements on their sovereignty by "foreign powers" (guess who?) were unacceptable.

Hours later, a "bomb" destroys the hotel where a secret meeting of the Pakistani government was due to happen, but fortunately changed at the last minute. Message: TOE THE LINE. WE CAN GET YOU ANYTIME.

Yesterday, the Pakistani army start firing on US troops unilaterally and illegally crossing their borders.

Draw your own conclusions. Here at Manuscripts Don't Burn, we're comparing and contrasting every other CIA covert ops destabilization campaign since the war.

Regime change, anyone?

Oh, no, hang on, it's the TERRORISTS. Riiiiiight... Always is, bub. We're the good guys, remember, whoever we kill.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

The Strip-tease of the Search for Life on Mars

The search for life on Mars has become such a drawn-out and elaborate strip-tease that many of us are forced to conclude that NASA (etc) are already sure they've found it, and are simply preparing the ground socially for the announcement. Now, even the Pope is pretty sanguine about ET, and has said it all fits into God's great plan, which should sort out the concern of a large chunk of the global population.

30 years ago, an announcement of alien life might have had unpredictable social consequences. Now, Manuscripts Don't Burn is pretty sure most Brits would barely register the news, as long as sports and soap opera broadcasts weren't interrupted.

The sad fact is that science is still a minority patronage game for governments, much as it has ever been, and has to scrabble for the leavings from the budgetary table. No matter how excited science enthusiasts may get, most people are just not bothered, and will simply parrot a number of socially-acceptable cliches to cover their lack of interest (to whit, the BBC HYS entries).

The end result is a painfully slow pace of research, and an equally slow uptake by the social consciousness, ideally with minimal social upheaval. Only the rapid spread of the internet has got out of control from this perspective - and now the world's governments are trying, with clumsy threats and propaganda, to persuade the world's people to agree to put the genie back in the bottle.

Manuscripts Don't Burn for one would be absolutely delighted to see yet more evidence of life on Mars. However, we are pretty much convinced it's already Out There, and lots of it, so it would just confirm what we already think...

The simple truth is that exploratory entrepreneurialism is not the traditional forte of governments. What we really need is a Bill Gates or Richard Branson to get on board and kick ass - we already have the know-how to be out there in the solar system right now, with bases all over the place and plenty of resource exploitation to pay for it.

Tho, with the obsessive secrecy of our governments, Manuscripts Don't Burn wouldn't be surprised if we were already doing it...

Monday, 5 May 2008

Irrelevant diversions as the price of food rockets...

The average UK family is facing a £1700-a-year utility and food bill increase over the past 12 months - that on a £20K gross salary. For most of the population, regardless of what the government says, actual experienced inflation is running at 10-15%.

It's inevitable, we are told. Poor harvests. Overpopulation. Global warming. "The era of cheap food is over." "We all have to tighten our belts and pull together - it'll be like the war again. It's the New Austerity."


The elephant in the room is that we have food riots all around the world and looming shortages / starvation because a bunch of brokers are being allowed by supine governments to create a bubble in commodities (ie FOOD) to try and claw back some of the money they lost in the subprime fiasco (after they'd been "allowed" to flog off the backup foodstores we'd set aside to prevent this sort of thing happening).

It's not global warming, it's not overpopulation. Our governments are allowing private individuals to speculate with the global staple food and energy supply. Irresponsible laissez-faire and lack of planning is the crime, that and the fact that the media are not shouting the truth from the rooftops.

But, hey, this is corporate feudalism - it's cool if people die, as long as the brokers keep making their millions. We can always blame it on global warming and overpopulation! The poor saps will never cotton on till it's too late - then they'll be too hungry to do anything about it.

Buy coffee! Buy rice! Buy wheat! The price is gonna rocket once the people start dropping!


Support material:, "Making a Killing from Hunger"

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Olympic blackmail brings China into line

The Daily Telegraph reported this morning that China has revealed to the UN details of Iran's "secret nuclear program". How wonderfully decent of them, we are told, that they've shown sense and kicked these Mad Mullahs in the nuts as they so rightly deserve. Hurrah!

Naturally we are not given the opportunity to comment on this piece of "news". So, just for fun, Manuscripts Don't Burn would like to present an "alternative" interpretation of this shock cooperation by the nefarious... we mean cuddly... or is it nefarious... damn... Chinese... Remember folks - we're at war with Eastasia, we've always been at war with Eastasia...

Dick Cheney has a matter of months left in office, and the eastern Med and Red Sea are teeming with a recently much-bolstered US naval presence (presumably to ensure fishing and sunbathing expeditions continue unmolested...). He's declared openly that Iran is in his sights, but the military disagree, and have started resigning. Even the intelligent reports don't help Deadeye Dick in his mission to "Save Tha Werld...", so we need something a little more weighty. Something that will stick in the UN. But Russia and China won't play ball - Dick, mate, you can't just go blowing shit up cos you want to. It's where we get our oil...

Then, quite out of the blue, riots break out in Tibet. China blames the Dalai Lama and friends for stirring things up. Surely not that nice man in the orange dress and glasses who's always smiling? Suddenly, the west is talking about boycotting the Olympics, which China has been pouring dosh into and spinning into the biggest propaganda event of the century. At last - a lever which might just budge those Intractable Chinese.

Suddenly the Chinese turn up with all this evidence that the Iranians are bomb-crazed loons hell-bent on bombing us all back into the stone age (hang on... sorry, I think that's someone else...). The crime? Iran has "obtained information on how to manufacture nuclear-armed weapons". What - you mean they Googled it? Get away! That's just unfair! Of course, we in the West are too afraid to Google it anymore, lest we get spirited away for a few years' holiday in Guantanamo, but those Evil Mullahs just don't care - they LIKE orange jumpsuits, for Chrissakes! They Google everything - they just refuse to be censored like good God-fearin' patriots.

Well, more fool them. Googling shit is a crime, now, punishable by Nuclear Destruction by Deadeye Dick. Watch this space as the hysterical media machine ratchet up the pressure for the Iranian gambit. Dick *could* leave it for his idiot-grinning corporate successor to follow up, but our suspicion is that he wants to press the buttons himself. Manuscripts Don't Burn puts its money on an attack before year-end.

Monday, 17 March 2008

The Pakistan Gambit (3): US Predator Drones active inside Pakistan

The Guardian reported this morning "suspected" missile attacks by US predator drones in Wana, South Waziristan. As many as seven separate missiles are reported hitting two houses in the town, killing at least 20 people, including "several" Al-Qaeda militants - indicating mostly civilian casualties. The attacks are reported to have been preceded by the characteristic buzzing sound of the unmanned US drones, although both the US and Pakistani governments retain a policy of not recognising the politically inflammatory unmanned drone attacks.

Manuscripts Don't Burn would just like to note this event in passing as confirmation of our earlier comment (see December's entries) that the US military was about to enter Pakistan and engage militarily, despite American denials and the vociferous outrage of the Pakistani army to the contrary. Interestingly, the Guardian report mentions an unusual admission by the Saudi government - remembering of course that Bin Laden is a Saudi and most of the 9/11 pilots were Saudis - that at least 3 of its nationals had been deported from Pakistan for being there "in an illegal capacity" - doubtless Al-Qaeda members there. Saudi Arabia continues to be the primary source of so-called Al-Qaeda agitation, and yet has never been held to account - doubtless because of the royal families very close ties with the Bush family and its enormous financial holdings within the USA (this being the country which beheads rape victims, remember, and with whom Jack Straw declared we share so many common values...).

The US continues to intervene militarily in its gradual geopolitical game of Middle Eastern oil hegemony (in which we count Pakistan as a key player in connecting with Afghanistan and helping in the encirclement and isolation of Iran). Now, thanks to its interference, Pakistan is a no-go area for westerners. Well done, men. Next we will doubtless see the case being made for a more robust presence in Pakistan in order to make it safe for foreigners...

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Jim Rogers on CNBC: Abolish the Federal Reserve and Stop "Socialism for the Rich"

Interesting times bring strange bedfellows: Manuscripts Don't Burn today finds itself standing in solidarity next to straight-talking arch-capitalist Jim Rogers as he unequivocally condemns the appallingly corrupt bailout of Wall Street at the expense of the rest of us. It's clear now that the enormous capital transfer into the hands of the rich and the corporate is damaging the global economy and screwing up life for the rest of us for at least the coming decade, and we need top figures like Jim Rogers to point out the blindingly obvious - the Wall Street bailouts are not capitalism. Capitalism would let the investment banks go bankrupt, would let the recession in as the inevitable part of the economic cycle. The enormous Federal Bank bailouts we are seeing now simply postpone the recession, and exacerbate its intensity, and look like a mad scramble to bailout the rich and the incompetent with money which could otherwise be used to better effect before the shit finally hits the fan.

Strange bedfellows indeed. Manuscripts Don't Burn finds itself agreeing with Jim Rogers: abolish the Fed. Bernanke resign. Let these incompetent parasites go bankrupt. Clear out the dead wood and start with something more responsible - if these guys believe they are capitalists, then let the market deal with them. For the rest of us - the long-suffering public - give us some public banks who we can trust to look after our money.

No to corporate feudalism. No to socialism for the rich.

Unreported: Housing Benefit Applicants Dispersed by Riot Police in Florida

Manuscripts Don't Burn believes that this is where our job gets tricky. The number of watershed events of police oppression against our populations is rising above a number which can be easily reported, and of course is being ignored by our supine mainstream corporate media. Nevertheless, we'll attempt to pick up on what we regard as key, symbolic events and record them here. Just click on the "What They Don't Want You To Know" in the "Length and Breadth of the Shaft" column on the right hand side of your screen to see news items which the media strenuously want to ignore.

On Wednesday, March the 12th, the Palm Beach Post reported the shocking news that a crowd of 500 housing benefit applicants in Palm Beach had been dispersed by police in riot gear when application forms ran out earlier than expected.

Two people were arrested and six to eight people hospitalized for exhaustion during the ordeal.

Hundreds of people, mostly mothers who had spent more than eight hours in line - all night, in other words - were forced to leave the property at 2333 W. Glades Road by 30 Boca Raton Police officers, including SWAT team members, who walked toward the crowd in unison holding their police shields up about 10:30 a.m.

By the end of the operation, in which mothers with children were dispersed by riot police for having got angry at waiting all night for housing benefit application forms, only to be turned away, police declared they were satisfied with the operation and happy that "no one got hurt".

Hang on! No one got hurt? Women and children at a benefits office being dispersed by riot police?

Be under no illusions, people. This is what the draconian laws removing your civil liberties have been for over these past few years. Food is running out. Inflation is raging. Unemployment is hidden and epidemic. The crash has now started and is gathering pace. Try and protest, and this is what you face - riot police, or worse. Don't forget those enormous internment camps Dick Cheney's Halliburton has been building! Click here for the official Halliburton press release and here for the analysis.

For Manuscripts Don't Burn, one of the most telling comments came from Shayla Williams, 22, of West Palm Beach, who was angered by the police tactics.

"This place is going to get shot up later," she yelled to officers. "They can't treat us like this."

Tony Benn once said the benefit of our society was that, for the first time in history, we could change our government if we didn't like it without there having to be blood on the streets. Manuscripts Don't Burn wonders what Mr. Benn would say today.

Keep the flame, guys, and remember: manuscripts don't burn - you can't kill an idea. Spread the word.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results of 2008 Election Early

Manuscripts Don't Burn would like to thank our friends at for this priceless piece of reporting... You keep the flame, guys.

Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early

Blatant Graft Brings the West to the brink of Economic Collapse

Sometimes, when reading the papers, it's easy to get the impression that all this economic chaos and impending suffering and hardship is some Act of God. The way the papers paint it, it's as much a surprise to the Powers That Be as to the rest of us. Heavens to Betsy, they say, how could things have come to this? It was all going so well - none of us saw this coming...

Go to hell. The coming wipeout of our decent standards of living and social freedoms is horribly deliberate, and the result of a policy more than a generation old to reverse the social and economic levelling which followed WW2 and replace it with a blatant unfairness and pseudo-feudalism reminiscent of the late 19th century - before We the Proles got organised and demanded our share of the cake.

Whilst the supine press continue to hem and haw and wonder how things could have gone so terribly wrong, Manuscripts Don't Burn would like to express its anger and disgust, and enumerate some facts which may help shed light on events unfolding in the US and which will ultimately impact the freedoms and standard of living of all of us in the West, and indeed beyond. Not only is what is currently being called "the sub-prime crisis" a deliberate product of US government policy, it is merely the latest episode in the tightening of the noose of the New World Order, and the US government itself (in the person of The Dear Leader, BushCo) is managing the shenanigans in a way which - to those of us of purer mind - appears deeply criminal. Bearing in mind that this is merely the latest episode, Manuscripts Don't Burn would like to observe:

1. In an unprecedented use of the legal power of "federal pre-emption," BushCo recently ordered the individual states of the US to NOT enforce their consumer protection laws, thus allowing banks to practice "fraudulent conveyance" or "predatory lending" as it's defined under US law. In other words, BushCo didn't just turn a blind eye to what the banks were up to, they actively enabled the whole sub-prime bullshit that led to this bail-out.

2. Eliot Spitzer - the "bane of Wall Street" - was in Washington in February to launch a campaign to take on and investigate the financial alchemy of the Bush regime, and some of the biggest financial powers on the planet.

On the night of February 13 when Spitzer made the stupid choice to order some saucy take-out in his Washington Hotel room, he had just finished signing these words for the Washington Post about predatory loans:

"Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye."

Spitzer said in the headline, that Bush was the "Predator Lenders' Partner in Crime." The President, said Spitzer, was a fugitive from justice.

3. Last Wednesday, the 12th March, Carlyle Capital went bankrupt. Carlyle Capital is an offshore subsidiary of the Carlyle Group, who have some powerful friends: James Baker, Senior Counsel; notable partners, former and past: George Bush, the Bin Laden family, John Major and more dictators, pirates and presidents than you've had hot dinners. The Federal Bank acted swiftly and Bernanke dumped $200 billion on the poor little suffering bankers. They got the public treasure, and got to keep all those houses too. As a result, every mortgage sharking operation shot up in value on Wall Street.

The very same day the bail-out was decided - what a coincidence! - the man called "The Sheriff of Wall Street" was cuffed, and Eliot Spitzer was silenced.

4. Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, paid Washington DC prostitutes to put him in diapers, yet the Senator was not exposed by the US prosecutors busting the pimp-ring that pampered him. Naming and shaming and ruining Spitzer - rarely done in these cases - was made at the "discretion" of Bush's Justice Department.

So, BushCo creates financial turmoil, breaking the law yet again. It gets away with it - yet again - and yet again simultaneously enriches all their friends in the ruling class. Meanwhile, the poor move into their cars.

Is it us, or is anyone else seeing a pattern here?

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Keeping it local - the only way democracy can work

The Guardian is running an article today bewailing the disappearance of a crucial local government layer in British society, to the degree that our first port of call for what should be local government concerns these days is actually the police. It's debatable just how much clout village and local community councils ever had, but there is absolutely no doubt that confidence in the institution of democracy - people running their own communities, for themselves, has evaporated almost entirely in Britain today.

The UK has had whatever feeble democratic institutions it originally had perniciously eroded over the past 30 years, and individuals now need to start to fight back by forming their own grassroots local democratic groups and bypassing the undemocratic top-down no-say "system". Looking elsewhere in Europe shows the picture is very, very different.

Manuscripts Don't Burn is based in Normandy, in a tiny commune of 180 individuals. This rural commune possesses an elected mayor and an elected commune council of 10 people, who everyone knows on first name terms, and who pretty much know everyone in the commune. The commune council has direct control over a sizable chunk of the local community tax. Each year they host a New Year's presentation where they explain how their share of the local taxes which everyone has paid in have been spent around the commune, and how they plan to spend in the coming year. Each person in the commune has the opportunity to ask questions directly of the people spending their taxes, to protest, or to organise petitions to spend the money in other ways if they disagree. About 80% of the commune turn up at such meetings, and involvement is high.

If Manuscripts Don't Burn has a local problem which needs dealing with, one goes to the mayor. He is able to escalate things as high as he needs to, and makes himself available for meetings with commune members for two 3-hour sessions a week - it's rarely necessary to wait more than 30 minutes before sitting down to talk to him, face to face.

Manuscripts Don't Burn has tried to explain the British "system" to the French, only to be met with shock. "But if that is your system, how are you represented?" was their universal response.

Manuscripts Don't Burn has no answer to this question. The UK public, quite simply, are not represented in their government, at any level: it is a travesty to call the system democratic. The UK is a one-party state masquerading as a two-party state, pure and simple.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Saudi Prince threatened "another 7/7" over BAe Investigation

The Guardian yesterday reported something which to many of us has been obvious for some time - that the Saudis have had a lot more to do with events such as 911 and 7/7 than our cringing media have dared say. Court documents released yesterday have revealed that during the official British investigation into the BAe / Saudi bribing scandal in 2004-2006, Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted.

Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced "another 7/7" and the loss of "British lives on British streets" if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.

Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE.

He was accused in yesterday's high court hearings of flying to London in December 2006 and uttering threats which made the prime minister, Tony Blair, force an end to the Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribery allegations involving Bandar and his family.

The threats halted the fraud inquiry, but triggered an international outcry, with allegations that Britain had broken international anti-bribery treaties.

Lord Justice Moses, hearing the civil case with Mr Justice Sullivan, said the government appeared to have "rolled over" after the threats. He said one possible view was that it was "just as if a gun had been held to the head" of the government.

Manuscripts Don't Burn notes for the moment that this revelation is receiving little attention in our Supine Corporate Media - including a grovelling article on the BBC site which would be funny if it weren't so serious, suggesting that it was the BAe inquiry posing the danger to lives rather than the Saudi threats - understandable given that woman-beheading Saudi Arabia is an enormous investor in BushCo and a country with which we share "so many common virtues", in the NuLabour government's words. Consequently we would like to present this information here - for posterity's sake.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Who Will Rid Me of this Turbulent Website - Economic Indicators Site Closed Down

There is an Inconvenient Truth known as the Economic Indicators website at, a site run by the US government providing free-of-charge data on the state of the US economy. As Forbes has explained, the site provides an invaluable service to the public for accessing US economic data:

This site is maintained by the Economics and Statistics Administration and combines data collected by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, like GDP and net imports and exports, and the Census Bureau, like retail sales and durable goods shipments. The site simply links to the relevant department’s Web site. This might not seem like a big deal, but doing it yourself–say, trying to find retail sales data on the Census Bureau’s site–is such an exercise in futility that it will convince you why this portal is necessary.

As of March 1 this year, the Bush administration is going to CLOSE DOWN this website due to "budgetary constraints". Yeah, right... As if "budgetary constraints" affected anything that BushCo did. And, in any case, as those of us who know anything about the production of websites is concerned, costs almost NOTHING to run - the only "budget saving" would be if BushCo decided they weren't going to collect the stats at all, which is hardly likely... But, as we all know, the "budget" has nothing to do with it - it's the fact that this information is being made freely available to the global public.

Henceforth, this free economic data will NOT BE AVAILABLE TO YOU, although you'll be able to pay (through the nose) for "bulletins" detailing bits of the economy that BushCo want you to know about.

Again and again, the pieces add up. Freedom of information in the Anglo-Saxon Empire is being systematically closed down, to general apathy. We keep a record here of how it was done - in case it should prove useful to posterity. We can always hope.

Mr Bush - the time for glorifying yourself will soon be at an end.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Arrested at gunpoint for listening to an MP3 player

As a testament to the police state the UK is rapidly turning into, and the extent to which the media is colluding with this, Tuesday's "Metro" is reporting a shocking incident in which a man was arrested at gunpoint, bundled into a police van, and locked up, having had his fingerprints, mugshot, and DNA samples taken - all of which now are on a permanent database, along with the information that he was "once arrested for a firearms offense".

The reason for this? When waiting for a bus, the 28-year old man had taken his black Philips MP3 player out of his pocket to change tracks. Another person in the bus queue had panicked, thinking the man had taken out a gun, and phoned 999. The police immediately sent a firearms squad to "bring the man in".

This could easiy have been another Menezes event - if the man hadn't been white, but instead Asian, perhaps he would have been shot on sight "just in case". Either way, this event just shows how paranoid the UK public have become, and how heavy-handed the police are now freely allowed to be. And an innocent man now has a criminal record.

Manuscripts Don't Burn notices that none of the major news channels have even so much as touched this story. We post it here, like so many other stories, together with the link (above), to preserve it from vanishing without a trace.

Multi-million Pound Study States the "Bleeding Obvious"

The Guardian reports today that the Sutton Trust, an "influential charity", whatever that is, has discovered that university tuition fees in the UK actually favour rich families, and have been dissuading poorer students from going to university because of "fear of debt".

This kind of pseudo-revelatory bollocks really angers Manuscripts Don't Burn. In fact, Manuscripts Don't Burn is offering itself up as a "Blindingly Obvious Think Tank" for government ministries and "influential charities" to save millions of pounds in future when researching the f*cking obvious. If you want to know whether water is wet, the pope catholic, or whether setting yourself on fire is likely to hurt, just call Manuscripts Don't Burn - we'll send you a 700-page feasibility study and multimedia-sexy Powerpoint presentation in a fraction of the time of Accenture and at a fraction of the cost... For F*ck's Sake...

University Tuition fees are one of the shameful legacies of Thatcher's social engineering program which the NuLabour coup did nothing to expunge, and which since its inception has done its job to increasingly dumb down the Proles and leave a generation of young people intellectually frustrated and unable to afford education whilst the like of Hatfield Polytechnic (the "University of Hertford") are packed out with thousands upon thousands of A-level students pretending to do media studies degrees on mummy and daddy's bank account.

You may have already guessed it from our tone, but Manuscripts Don't Burn represents one of the thousands who, in times past, would not have been allowed to go to university by its parents if it entailed racking up tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt before the age of 20. And quite rightly so. Education is not a privilege - it is a right. It is not something which we have to buy; we, and our parents, grandparents, and all taxpayers and disenfranchised folks for generations past, have already more than paid for it - education is owing to us.

The social engineering of university tuition fees is all the more horrible because of its short-sightedness. No longer does the UK have a sufficiently skilled workforce; no longer to the desperately cheapened "A-levels" count for anything when entering university; no longer does a BA mean what it did a generation ago - not when they're two a penny. We now have to look abroad for our doctors, dentists, engineers, technicians. The UK, by this and other dismal methods of social engineering, is hollowing itself out, turning itself into a shadow, in which all looks well when seen on paper, but outside, in the real world, things look terribly, terribly different.

So remember - the next time you're about to spend millions of pounds on a survey to find out the bleeding obvious, think of Manuscripts Don't Burn.

Tune in next week for: Why Lending Thousands of Pounds to Penniless People on State Benefits is a BAD IDEA and not a Viable Method of "Structured Investment".

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Rowan Williams: Media Stooge

The Archbishop of Canterbury has attempted to say something sensible about the status and future of Muslim culture in the UK. Unfortunately, he has said it publicly. About Muslims. Big mistake.

This entire issue is an excellent example of what's wrong with Britain at the moment, and why so much of Britain's government is being carried on behind closed doors. The new reality, it seems, is that whatever you want to do, just do it, but for God's sake don't try and talk about it.

Anyone who wishes to propose mature and serious debate about an issue in Britain has to have an army of spin doctors to couch it in terms which won't send the mass media off wetting themselves in a blind, hysterical frenzy and misrepresent the hell out of whatever was said. So people stop bothering. What *is* the point of bothering? What's the point of trying to talk about things, when the media will just tear you apart and splatter you all over their pages in their hysterical attempts to sell papers. It's what they do.

If it was necessary for the media to roll in the gutter p*ssing themselves and grovelling for our money in order to sell papers, they'd do it. It's nothing to do with news - it's the hysterical production of equally hysterical demand, nothing more. And our democracy has it as a terminal disease. The mass media is collaborating in screwing our country into the ground. Cui bono?

A lot of issues need discussing in modern Britain: global warming, joining the Euro, immigration, corporate corruption, decentralisation, and many, many more. But they won't be. They're perceived by the media as boring, stick-in-the-mud topics which require at least a small exercise of the grey matter to contribute to, and therefore f'all use in selling papers. And in our increasingly uneducated and asinine culture, it's so much easier for the media to scream their heads off with easy-to-swallow knee-jerk meaningless soundbites before tuning into wall-to-wall Eastenders and celebrity dancing / hiking / cooking / what-the-frack-ever programs than actually trying to get people to concentrate on an issue for more than five minutes. Which suits the shadowy backers of the shadowy government which *really* runs the show just fine.

And so democracy dies. Not to the sound of tumultuous applause, but to indifference, and the frantic changing of channels...

...and the lighting of cigars, and satisfied smiles, in oak-panelled rooms far, far, from public view. Nemo custodiet ipsos custodes. And they like that just fine.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Now Optional: the Rule of Law

The Soviet Union had many marvellous and enlightened laws, on paper. So did Nazi Germany, and so do many dictatorial and tin-pot third world regimes today. But the presence of a splendid body of law means nothing if the uniform, unbiassed application of it cannot be relied upon. It has been one of the major bugbears stopping social advancement in the former Eastern bloc, the simple fact that whilst there may be laws condemning corruption, state appropriation of property, theft, nepotism, and all manner of graft, those laws have for years simply been sidestepped by those in a position to do so for their own benefit, and misapplied again when it has stood in their favour. Nothing, and no one, stands to ensure the uniform and unavoidable application of the law.

This is the rot that is facing the UK today - the inability to guarantee the enforcement of the laws which regulate and guarantee our freedoms. The lack of investigation into 7/7, Dr Kelly, the Menezes murder, honours for sale, the Saudi-BA bribery allegations, the lost details of half the population, and countless, countless other incidents, are what is sending us down the dark path we're currently treading. Scandals which in the past would have brought down governments are ignored, and there is no recourse.

In Pakistan, lawyers and the judiciary chose to make a stand, and suffered for it. This is what we need in the UK; action from just those people have explicitly and individually sworn to uphold justice in the UK. Their silence now only abets those who wish to sweep the remnants of it away. If the process can be stopped anywhere, it is at the root which is being invisibly chopped away.

The simple truth is, in the UK today, if you have money or power enough, the law doesn't apply to you anymore. And for the rest of us, who assume we are still protected by that very law, we should realise too that it can no longer be relied upon when we need it.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Deconstructing the War on Terror

AnthropoidApe, a fellow contributor to the Guardian's Comment Is Free pages, today offered a deconstruction of the BushCo term "War on Terror" which sums up perfectly the geopolitical game today. We at Manuscripts Don't Burn cannot better AnthropoidApe's word-perfect commentary, and so, with great thanks to him, we would like to present it here for amusement, and also for posterity:

"Plenty of people have pointed out that the term "War on Terror" is incoherent (because you can't make war on a tactic) and oxymoronic (because war IS terror).

The term is Orwellian because it is chosen by powerful criminals to dress up their crimes as virtue.

Nevertheless, the term bears analysis. It's not a stupid or trivial throw-away line. The term "War on Terror" is a core slogan for the US regime and despite some effort they have never been able to replace it with anything better. It remains a key term in the neocon lexicon because it attempts to redefine "war" in a neocon way.

The "War on Terror" purports to fight a tactic instead of a concrete opponent because it is not really a war. The "War on Terror" has no realistic, achievable war aims. There is no prospect of it ending in victory, and even the conditions of such a victory are not concretely specified. It is predicted and intended to go on and on and on... for the foreseeable future.

In short, the "War on Terror" is not a war but a political regime. It is the military dictatorship of the Commander-in-Chief of the United States over his country and the world. The "War on Terror" is another name for the "Pax Americana" - because War is Peace - and you are either for it or against it.

The "War on Terror" regime is organised as a full dictatorship despite the survival of republican institutions in the USA and of world institutions like the United Nations. "War on Terror" ideology subordinates those institutions to the will of the Decider, just like the political institutions of the Roman Republic, shells of which lived on under the emperors. The Bush dynasty autocrat George the Second in his glory and majesty gives orders to the US people, to the UN Security Council and to other sovereign states, with no trace of embarrassment. In his own thinking he is king of the world.

As part of the "War on Terror", the dictator abrogates any laws or human rights whatever with impunity. That principle is what passes for the legal basis of the regime and its application is exemplified by detention without trial, by official kidnappings, torture and disappearances and by the genocidal imperialist conquest of Iraq.

The Cheney-Bush gang want to call their regime a "war" because they need political and legal cover for their spree of crime and violence. The notions of "war" and "wartime" sustain the domestic climate of fear and chauvinism that they strive after.

On the other hand, they want none of those trappings of the "old" concept of war in which both sides are belligerents of equal standing. No, any violent resistance to their ("anti-terror") violence must be illegitimate.

Employing the legal category of "prisoner of war" and respecting the international laws of war centred on the Geneva Conventions would cramp the imperial style. Instead those laws are flouted and we are provided with a new conceptual apparatus and a new euphemistic terminology: "unlawful combatant" (=POW), "enhanced interrogation techniques" including "sleep management" (=torture), "extraordinary rendition" (=kidnapping and deportation to torture), "ghost detainee" (=disappeared person), "black site" (=secret prison) etc. The asymmetrical term "War on Terror" fits right in because it recognises the US (with a retinue of vassal allies) as the sole legitimate belligerent and constructs all the Empire's armed opponents as criminal "terrorists" rather than warriors.

In short the "War on Terror" is called a war simply to licence large-scale aggressive violence and international diktat by the US regime.

In the non-rhotic NZ dialect, "War on Terror" sounds just the same as "War on Terra" and a friend of mine always writes it that way. It's apt: the only way to construe the "War on Terror" regime as a real war is to see it as a world wide, long term and often violent conflict over whether the US empire will by divine right rule and pillage our planet forever or whether other nations will also be independent and sovereign. In other words, a war of the US neocons against all the peoples of Terra.

I'm backing Terra to win."

- AnthropoidApe on the Guardian website, 30th January 2008

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Ron Paul - Attracting some flack at last

After polling well above Giuliani and Thompson in the US caucuses this month, the mainstream media have finally started to take notice of Ron Paul's existence. Without any press coverage whatsoever, he has been able to gain between 6-10% of the vote in every poll so far. However, up until the last few days he has been studiously ignored by the media. Only now have they chosen to see him - and that only to start mudslinging at this uncompromising right-winger who seems determined to give the US establishment a damn good dressing-down, or die trying.

It's clear that Ron Paul is persona non grata to the corporate feudalists in the US and UK - alone amongst the electoral candidates currently on view he stands against big business control of the US. You can watch him on Youtube - he speaks sensibly and honestly. He refuses to pander to the hysterical PC demands of the media - if a subject is many-sided and complex, he will go with that and discuss it. Issues in life are often grey - the corporate media insist that everything should be simplified to soundbite black and white and marketed to the viewer in dumbed-down packaging.

So Ron Paul is anathema to the "establishment"; as people begin to notice him, we will see some serious shit being thrown his way. The entire US propaganda machine will be mobilised against him - just watch it happen.

Ron Paul raises real issues. You may not agree with him (Manuscripts Don't Burn DOES NOT!), you may think he's a nut, but his presence in the American electoral debate is the best damn thing for sensible discussion of the perils posed by the increasingly monolithic, brainwashing, and corporate media-military-industrial complex currently shredding the US constitution and annihilating the reputation of a country which only a few decades ago was admired around the world.

Sometimes, when a political situation becomes so grim it needs a radical overhaul, an individual appears who stands for an ideal which transcends political divisions and promises - actually promises, and not with some dreary predictable media-approved spin - to stop the rot and restore the rule of law.

Manuscripts Don't Burn is left-wing, and disagrees with almost every detailed policy Ron Paul represents. Except one: that individual freedom in America is an endangered species. America is being screwed by the corporate feudalists, the constitution is in tatters, people are more oppressed, threatened, and worse off than they've been for years. The cultural capital, the intellectual, economic, and political heritage, and the international goodwill which America has built up, and deserved, over two centuries of championing the best and brightest of political, social and economic structures, is now being pissed down the drain by a bunch of control-freak totalitarians whose only interest is to steer the world into war and destruction to line the pockets of arms manufacturers and military contractors who don't give a damn for anything but their own continued hegemony.

In such a dark state of affairs, even Manuscripts Don't Burn recognises that Ron Paul is the only person standing up to them. He'll probably be assassinated by a "lone gunman" if he ever gets anywhere near being elected, but till that time we will vote for his platform. There simply isn't anyone else who isn't in the pockets of the corporates.

Oh - and the UK? Makes no difference. The UK government is what the US government tells it to be. Period.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

George MacDonald Fraser on The State of the Nation

This is definitely a first: Manuscripts Don't Burn is actually posting a link to an article in today's Daily Mail!

Seemingly unaware of the crashing irony, today's Daily Mail published an edited extract from the late George MacDonald Fraser's "The Light's On At Signpost", in which MacDonald Fraser surveys the enormous changes which have taken place in Britain since the time of his birth, between the Wars.

Manuscripts Don't Burn recommends this article. As great fans of the Flashman series, we cannot help but admire MacDonald Fraser's blunt, unforgiving portrayal of the UK's slump into a corrupt, undemocratic, Third World nation.

Just for the record, we are posting the link to this article here. More like this, please. And Rest In Peace, George, and thanks for the films and the Flashman books. We liked those.

The Long Johns - The Economic Meltdown Explained

Manuscripts Don't Burn would like to present the Two Johns with their clear-as-crystal explanation of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the results of our latest and greatest attempt to redistribute and siphon money away from the poor and back into the pockets of the rich - and just why the western world is currently on the verge of economic collapse. Well, why shouldn't one laugh? The only other options are far too horrible to contemplate...

Britain - A Country That Has Lost Its Way

Something, somewhere, appears to have gone a little wrong. Everyone knows it, indeed many of us can point exactly to where the problems are, but no one seems to be doing anything about it. Prices of food, fuel, heating, electricity, water, gas, public transport are all going up well above 10% a year, and yet the government tells us inflation is 2.1%. We go about our daily business, and more and more our activities are scrutinised, every minor infraction is criminalised and penalised: fined for spending too much time in McDonald's or supermarket car-parks; fined for putting your rubbish in the wrong bin; herded into ID cards, compulsory organ donation; cameras everywhere; almost impossible queues for even basic health services; postal services which cost the earth and which have a worse track record than 50 years ago; longer working hours, for less money; commuter trains which feel like cattle waggons, and which cost the earth and which "officially" work fine though everyone knows they don't; illegal wars in far-off places for the gain of private companies; bellicose gestures and racial and religious hatred and intolerant fascist attitudes ("string 'em up!" "bring back National Service!", "it's the only language these people understand!") in the press and on the TV; health scares, food scares, terrorists, child molesters, murderers, yobs, fraudsters; fat cats, dysfunctional celebs, binge-drinking, insane levels of debt; dumbing down of news, education, the media; glorification of ignorance, cheap docusoap TV, wall-to-wall Eastenders and football teams who earn millions whilst losing games; lack of skilled workers forcing governments to import immigrant labour to make up the shortfall; UK-born citizens leaving the country in droves - 200,000 a year at last count.

We all know this. The list above isn't even complete; any of us could go on, and on, with the unending litany of what is clearly an increasingly dysfunctional society. And now we stand on the edge of a very nasty economic collapse, and pundits tell us that the UK is the most exposed country in the world to a protracted economic crisis due to the Thatcherite dream of a ruined manufacturing base, badly-skilled workforce, and almost entirely service-based economy - indeed, financial services-based.

So, what is next? What happens when you have to make the choice between eating or heating? When you can't afford to keep a roof over your head, and the bank wants it back and leaves it empty 'cos no one can afford to buy? Where do you go? It's happened before - although hardly within living memory, and not in this country for a while. It's going to come as a bit of a shock to the complacent and blase British public. But what does happen then? Increasing oppression and authoritarianism? It looks that way, in the US and the UK at least. We are fast returning to the Good Old Days of the 19th century, when the rich were rich and the poor and needy doffed their caps and were grateful for the workhouse. The gap between rich and poor has not been this severe since 1914; our coal production levels have fallen to pre-industrial levels; and decent food is once again becoming a scarce luxury for the new British poor.

Splendid job. It looks like Britain had a chance to make it out of its backward, class-ridden mire, and in the post-war years seemed to be managing, for a while. But nothing but nostalgia ties us to those days any more; look around, at 30 years of retrenchment and redistribution of wealth from the hands of the poor to the pockets of the rich, and tell us we're wrong.

The time is fast becoming ripe for a Brave New World, with a Great Leader to restore our lost pride, make the trains run on time, and purge England of its lefties, intellectuals, and funny foreigners and their funny foreign ways. Just remember, when the time comes, that we once had a chance to stop this happening...

You may think Manuscripts Don't Burn holds out little hope for the regeneration of good old Blighty. You would be right. Unless you're in the Inner Party, with loads of cash to back you up, the UK is stuffed.

Manuscripts Don't Burn shakes its head in disbelief. Does nobody read history any more? Do we forget, so easily? If so, perhaps we deserve no better.

God Bless Britain. Cos nobody else will.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

The Ethical Chicken Debate

Manuscripts Don't Burn has noticed an appalling amount of condescension, snobbery, and bitterness bandied around the media and blogosphere over the past week on the subject of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver's attempts to highlight the disgusting state of our battery-farmed chicken industry. Clearly there are some deep-seated issues here.

Manuscripts Don't Burn knows several people who live on the breadline and eat mostly processed food - tins, centrifugally-harvested burgers, chicken nuggets, fish fingers, etc, etc. To our knowledge little or no fresh food enters their diet. It seems that this is not untypical.

Given that for a £6 free-range chicken one can feed a family of four for 3 days (roast chicken, curry, sandwiches, soup, in that order), processed food is clearly the more expensive option. So poverty, at least, is not the reason. If anything, a lack of cooking know-how, of confidence in buying and feeding oneself, and a dependency mentality on advertising and the slop doled out in ready-meals and burgers seem to be at the root of the "burger and chips Happy Meal" obesity epidemic which is raging through the poorer sectors of the Anglo-Saxon Empire. To poor to eat? Hardly.

From the price point of view, eating real food is not exclusive or beyond the reach of "poor" people. So Manuscripts Don't Burn would like to humbly request the Blogosphere to please drop this faux "guilt trip" that it's beyond the reach of those terribly hard-up poor people and start helping people get educated about the provenance and consequences of our badly screwed up food industry. The whole idea of "well, we have to have cheap and crappy food available so the poor can afford it" attitude is offensive.

Ban battery chickens. Most of all, ban the gross profiteering the supermarket middleman extort from the chicken farmers, who receive an average of 7 pence on a £2.50 battery chicken, and, yes, we can all suddenly afford to eat meat produced in a decent environment.

And stop the class-ridden snobbery, Britain, for God's sake.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Simone de Beauvoir: The Job is Never Done

Today marks a hundred years since the birth of Simone de Beauvoir, philosopher and probably the most influential feminist of the last century. Her book "The Second Sex" was indeed a seminal book: it has been banned, vilified, and heralded as the harbinger of a brave new world. The fact that so much of it seems like common sense today shows just how influential it has been.

Nowadays, reading "The Second Sex" can seem a little dated, and writers like Camille Paglia and Joanna Russ can pack a bit more punch. But, as Manuscripts Don't Burn looks around at our society today, on January 9th 2008, at the reformation of the Spice Girls sexually-oppressive "Girl Power" and the constant inculcating refrain everywhere in our society of youth, beauty, mindlessness and celebrity heralded as the One True Goal which every woman should aim for, we realise that the messages of The Second Sex still need to be repeated, loud and clear, on a daily basis.

But we live in an age where culture is defined by lowest common denominator economic figures - even philosophies have to sell well, and compete with pop music, soap opera, and the cult of mindless celebrity - where accessibility and pithy soundbites rule. Philosophies have to serve the state and conclude capitalism to be the best of all possible worlds, or be so empty, vacuous, and populist that they couldn't possibly do any harm apart from keeping philosophy students busy in our increasingly vacuous academies of business, marketing and media studies.

Paradoxically the Anglo-Saxon Empire is coming to resemble the Soviet Union in an uncanny fashion. The State has a very definite ideology, in which the media and education systems collude by excluding any alternative discourse, or at best relegating it to the lunatic fringe. Even the battleground of language is largely harnessed by the system towards reinforcing the dominant ideology, and everyone must have their state-sanctioned papers (ie be deemed "economically viable") before their work can be propagated. Living here in France, where intellectualism is not derided, and where people do not aggressively sing praises to their own ignorance to near-universal acclaim, Manuscripts Don't Burn does wonder how much further the dumbing down of the UK and US can go. "And now, Karl Marx, your starter for ten: who won the FA cup in...?"

Thank heavens, for the time being at least, for the internet, where alternative discourse remains alive and well. Small wonder the Powers That Be want to present it as such a terrible threat. One wonders what de Beauvoir would have made of it.

Monday, 7 January 2008

"To Prevent Homegrown Terrorism, and For Other Purposes"

Manuscripts Don't Burn has recently read the Bill "H.R. 1955: Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007", which passed the House back in late 2007 and is now up for Senate approval. Its stated aim is "To Prevent Homegrown Terrorism, and For Other Purposes". Ignoring that rather throwaway "And For Other Purposes" for a moment, the Bill creates a Commission of permanent unelected members tasked with surveying the US population AND worldwide Internet activity and identifying any activity which may, in any way at all, be considered to contribute towards "violent radicalisation, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence". In particular, Manuscripts Don't Burn notes the Bill's definition of "violent radicalisation" as:

"the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change"

Yup. Read it again. You were right the first time. According to this Bill, you don't actually have to DO anything. You just have to be - even a little bit - thinking about, say, becoming a Marxist. You know, the little guys with the red flags who believe in revolution? If you think any one of a number of things - in fact, if you pretty much think at all, for after all our very political and economic system is based on violence and deprivation by force at some point along the chain - then you're "It".

The Bill seems oblivious to the irony that the US is currently embarked upon a huge project of "facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change" throughout the Middle East, Africa, and doubtless Latin and South America too: no government passes Bills which effectively criminalise its own activities. No, Dear Reader, this Bill is aimed at You and I. It is designed to make us think, "heck, should I even be thinking this - I could be arrested!" When the Proles start policing themselves through fear of The Unseen Hand of Despotism, then the darkness is almost complete.

Watch this space. Thought-crime legislation is becoming all too frequent these days, and the process is far too dull and boring for most people to be bothered following. Manuscripts Don't Burn notes that this law only establishes a Commission to "identify" who these homegrown turrists, free-thinkers, and dissidents are - it conveniently leaves out what is to be done about them. That bit, clearly, is yet to come - and in the meantime Halliburton continues to build its mysterious "refugee camps" up and down the country.

The Pakistan Gambit (3): Pakistani Army Says No To US Troops

Seemingly oblivious to its own overweening arrogance, the Bush administration's senior national security advisors are debating whether or not to expand CIA and US military activities to conduct "far more aggressive covert operations" in the tribal areas of Pakistan, reported the New York Times last Saturday.

The Pakistani Army wasted no time at all in reacting angrily to this complete invasion of sovereignity. "It is not up to the US administration, it is Pakistan's government who is responsible for this country," chief military spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad told AFP yesterday, as reported on the Yahoo website.

Manuscripts Don't Burn is under no illusions as to why this story broke on Saturday. As we said last month, the focus - for the time being at least - of the NWO's bogus "War on Turr" has switched to Pakistan, doubtless due to self-evident Russian and Chinese warnings that Iran for now is a no-go area for BushCo's bullying. However, Pakistan clearly is not - and it certainly isn't able to stand up for itself against the might of the USA. Again as we mentioned last month, Pakistan remains highly strategic for the oil grab currently underway by the folks at the Project for the New American Century, and is on its list of "Countries to Invade"; likewise occupation of Pakistan by American forces provides a neat encirclement of Iran, increasingly isolating that country which stubbornly refuses to implode in the face of US aggression.

Either way, Manuscripts Don't Burn would like to note the breathtaking arrogance of the Bush administration - including the delightful Mr Cheney - openly discussing options for military activities within Pakistan's internationally recognised borders, without actually informing its head of state. Musharraf, like the rest of us, doubtless learned it from the New York Times.

A clearer attempt to drive a wedge between the Pakistan's President and its army we have never seen. Divide and rule, as ever, is the name of the game, and Musharraf must be made to realise who he relies upon for his job.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Ron Paul - The Man Who Won't Go Away

Well, Manuscripts Don't Burn has had to ferret around in the bowels of the online media to turn up any mention of the Presidential candidate who polled 10% of Iowa yesterday, over twice that of Rudy Giuliani. Mention of Ron Paul is being quietly downplayed.

We've decided to showcase Larry King's interview of Ron Paul, which was controversial and contentious, and made Paul look rather good, was never broadcast but relegated to a "web exclusive" in a direct-to-video moment. Manuscripts Don't Burn didn't realise the "equal airtime" law could be circumvented in this way: apparently filming a candidate and then posting a link in some godforsaken corner of the internet satisfies the requirement that you're treating a candidate in the same way as one you give prime billing on your televised news spots. That's news to us - who on earth to they think they're kidding?

You can watch the Larry King interview here - it's worth it just to hear Paul say loud and clear that he believes America's interventionist meddling throughout the world and its endless corporate wars are a complete disaster - and remember that 10% of the vote went to him.

Manuscripts Don't Burn likewise notes as interesting the fact that Fox have now started to discuss whether they should be covering him. A rather late night section from Fox questioning why they've been ignoring him so far is here.

Now, Manuscripts Don't Burn doesn't agree with Ron Paul's politics at all. But, he appears to be taking the corporate feudalists on head on, which gains him kudos in our book. In any case, in the interests of what remains of our tattered democracy, he surely needs a little more than blatant attempts at patronising belittlement by the media...

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Abandon All Hope, You Who Enter Here...

There used to be a joke in the Soviet Union that the Russians rounded up for execution in Stalin's purges used to ask if they had to bring their own gun. Manuscripts Don't Burn wonders if the architects of New Britain used this as their Mission Statement...

Today and yesterday the media is full of outrage and hysteria over the enormous screwup on our railways. Even more than usual, you can't get anywhere, everything's broken, and the fares have gone up. Manuscripts Don't Burn looks on from overseas at the Funny Little Island, and sadly shakes its head...

Perhaps we could ask the French or the Germans to come and run our train system for us? Just a thought... In fact, all the answers are obvious, but of course doing Something Sensible would remove all that luvverly money passing directly from taxpayers to private hands in the Great Train Ripoff, all part of the Reverse Wealth Distribution Master Plan so assiduously implemented over the last 30 years, so it'll never happen.

Manuscripts Don't Burn has a significant wager as to how much more the Great British public will take before they start rioting. It's incredible - by international standards it ought to have happened years ago - but no, the Machine has kept on piling on the bullshit, and the British citizen has just moaned a bit more and coughed up.

Manuscripts Don't Burn thinks this is a great way to make money. "Hey, we can just keep pumping these chumps for more and more, and they just keep paying! We don't even have to give them anything! Brilliant!"

What's next? A free poke in the eye with every journey? Mandatory health insurance surcharge on every ticket to cope with death by overcrowding? Outbreaks of cannibalism and feral behaviour on isolated broken down trains in the wilderness?

No wonder the rest of Europe laughs at Third World Britain. A sad, shoddy state of affairs, indeed.