I don’t think I need add anything…
Ugh. Where to even start?
Today, on a whim, I decided SB’s wardrobe could do with a little updating. She’s still comfortably in 12-18 month clothes, and will be for a while, but it never hurts to be prepared. So, off to the shops I went, for some 18-24 month and 2-3 years clothes. I only had two major criteria.
Nothing pink, and nothing setting back the feminist cause by fifty years.
Thankfully, in a venn diagram, most of the clothes that say “It’s Important To Be Pretty” and “Be Cute” are also bright pink, so I could just waltz right by them. I don’t have anything against pink, but it’s not my favourite colour to see on SB – I love her to have a real mix of colours in her clothes, rather than just row after row of pastels.
This is challenging enough when you’re shopping for a…
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Most of last year was very heavy going for me because of a flood of major problems. In the end, I was virtually brought to a standstill because of the impact it was all having on me. However, things are definitely starting to look up and these last few days have been great.
I’ve just returned home from a much-needed and long-awaited stay with my best friend (who spoils me rotten! 🙂 ); a particularly horrid problem with a large company was finally brought to a very satisfactory close on Thursday; I was rid of an albatoss around my neck yesterday; and last, but definitely not least, I have splashed out in a big way and treated myself to a lovely new car which will be delivered on Monday morning!
One of the worst difficulties from last year is still ongoing but, with so many other things having been resolved, I am much more able to cope with that and give it time, attention and care.
Some people say that problems and difficulties make you stronger. I don’t know about that, but I do know that those closest to me did anything and everything they could to help and support me, and to cocoon me with love. Getting a new car is great, but it’s not a patch on that!
Watch out world, Bossymamma is back!!! 😮
Myfanwy is paving the way for more Be Creatively prompts. Whilst we are awaiting those, she has given us a small writing task. We may “choose one (or both) of the following topics as a warmup exercise.
1. Write about something that warmed your heart during December
2. What is one thing you would really like to happen in 2016?”
Number 1. immediately chose itself as I read Myfanwy’s Write On blog.
Most, if not all, of you will be aware of the floods that have occurred around the north of England in recent weeks. I am thankful that our home has not been flooded.
There have been many reports on local and national news bulletins and also on social media of ordinary people taking action to help others who have been adversely affected by the floods. Some people have driven to Cumbria to provide support and aid. There have been spontaneous appeals for items which can be donated, organised by individuals who have felt moved by what they have heard or seen and have felt the need to do something to help.
Away from the floods, I saw a report before Christmas of two young men who were loading their car with food for the homeless and going out on the streets to distribute it.
Maybe it’s just my imagination, but it feels as though there is more goodwill around at the moment. I don’t know whether I am simply noticing it more, if it is being reported more widely or whether there really is more kindness around but it has certainly warmed my heart during December.
When is a human not a human?
Could it be when you issue orders for “the men” to go “over the top” regardless of the futility of the objective?
Maybe it’s when a person, or people, don’t believe what you believe so you kill he/she/them?
Or, perhaps, it’s when you are encouraged to think of them “as just black blobs on a screen” so that you will press the button to obliterate them?
There were tears in my eyes as I read this:
I am a political animal. Political with a small “p” rather than party political. It saddens me beyond measure to see the actions that governments, both at home and abroad, are prepared to take regardless of the consequences and the excuses that they concoct supposedly justifying those actions.
This may be the most important article I ever post, because it reveals perfectly how the Establishment works and how the Red Tories and Blue Tories contrive to give a false impression of democracy. It is information I can only give you because of my experience as an insider.
It is a definitive proof of the validity of the Chomskian propaganda model. It needs a fair bit of detail to do this, but please try and read through it because it really is very, very important. After you have finished, if you agree with me about the significance, please repost, (you are free to copy), retweet, add to news aggregators (Reddit etc) and do anything you can to get other people to pay attention.
The government based its decision to execute by drone two British men in Syria on “Legal Opinion” from the Attorney-General for England and Wales, Jeremy Wright, a politician, MP and Cabinet Minister. But Wright’s legal knowledge comes from an undistinguished first degree from Exeter and a short career as a criminal defence barrister in Birmingham. His knowledge of public international law is virtually nil.
I pause briefly to note that there is no pretence of consulting the Scottish legal system. The only legal opinion is from the Attorney General for England and Wales who is also Honorary Advocate General for Northern Ireland.
So Jeremy Wright’s role is as a cypher. He performs a charade. The government employs in the FCO a dozen of the most distinguished public international lawyers in the world. When the Attorney-General’s office needs an Opinion on public international law, they ask the FCO to provide it for him to sign.
The only known occasion when this did not happen was the Iraq War. Then the FCO Legal Advisers – unanimously – advised the Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, that to invade Iraq was illegal. Jack Straw asked the Attorney General to dismiss the FCO chief Legal Adviser, Sir Michael Wood (Goldsmith refused). Blair sent Goldsmith to Washington where the Opinion was written for him to sign by George Bush’s lawyers. [I know this sounds incredible, but it is absolutely true]. Sir Michael Wood’s deputy, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, resigned in protest.
In consequence Blair and Straw decided that, again for the first time ever, the FCO’s chief legal adviser had to be appointed not from within the FCO legal advisers, who had all declared the war on Iraq to be illegal, but from outside. They had to find a distinguished public international lawyer who was prepared to argue that the war on Iraq was legal. That was a very small field. Blair and Straw thus turned to Benjamin Netanyahu’s favourite lawyer, Daniel Bethlehem.
Daniel Bethlehem had represented Israel before the Mitchell Inquiry into violence against the people of Gaza, arguing that it was all legitimate self-defence. He had also supplied the Government of Israel with a Legal Opinion that the vast Wall they were building in illegally occupied land, surrounding and isolating all the major Palestinian communities and turning them into large prisons, was also legal. Daniel Bethlehem is an extreme Zionist militarist of the most aggressive kind, and close to Mark Regev, Israel’s new Ambassador to the UK.
Daniel Bethlehem had developed, in his work for Israel, an extremist doctrine of the right of States to use pre-emptive self-defence – a doctrine which would not be accepted by the vast majority of public international lawyers. He clinched his appointment by Blair as the FCO chief legal adviser by presenting a memorandum to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee in 2004 outlining this doctrine, and thus de facto defending the attack on Iraq and the Bush/Blair doctrine.
A key sentence of Daniel Bethlehem’s memorandum is this
“It must be right that states are able to act in self-defence in circumstances where there is evidence of further imminent attacks by terrorist groups, even if there is no specific evidence of where such an attack will take place or of the precise nature of the attack.”
There is a fundamental flaw in this argument. How can you be certain that an attack in “imminent”, if you are not certain where or what it is? Even if we can wildly imagine a scenario where the government know of an “imminent” attack, but not where or what it is, how could killing someone in Syria stop the attack in the UK? If a team were active, armed and in course of operation in the UK – which is needed for “imminent” – how would killing an individual in Syria prevent them from going through with it? It simply does not add up as a practical scenario.
Interestingly, Daniel Bethlehem does not pretend this is accepted international law, but specifically states that
“The concept of what constitutes an “imminent” armed attack will develop to meet new circumstances and new threats”
Bethlehem is attempting to develop the concept of “imminent” beyond any natural interpretation of the word “imminent”.
Daniel Bethlehem left the FCO in 2011. But he had firmly set the British government doctrine on this issue, while all FCO legal advisers know not to follow it gets you sacked. I can guarantee you that Wright’s Legal Opinion states precisely the same argument that David Bethlehem stated in his 2004 memorandum. Knowing how these things work, I am prepared to wager every penny I own that much of the language is identical.
It was New Labour, the Red Tories, who appointed Daniel Bethlehem, and they appointed him precisely in order to establish this doctrine. It is therefore a stunning illustration of how the system works, that the only response of the official “opposition” to these extrajudicial executions is to demand to see the Legal Opinion, when it comes from the man they themselves appointed. The Red Tories appointed him precisely because they knew what Legal Opinion would be given on this specific subject. They can read it in Hansard.
So it is all a charade.
Jeremy Wright pretends to give a Legal Opinion, actually from FCO legal advisers based on the “Bethlehem Doctrine”. The Labour Party pretends, very unconvincingly, to be an opposition. The Guardian, apparently the leading “opposition” intellectual paper, publishes articles by its staff neo-con propagandists Joshua Rozenberg (married to Melanie Phillips) and Rafael Behr strongly supporting the government’s new powers of extrajudicial execution. In summer 2012 Joshua Rozenberg presented a programme on BBC Radio 4 entitled “Secret courts, drones and international law” which consisted mostly of a fawning interview with … Daniel Bethlehem. The BBC and Sky News give us wall to wall justification of the killings.
So the state, with its neo-con “opposition” and media closely in step with its neo-con government, seamlessly adopts a new power to kill its own subjects based on secret intelligence and secret legal advice, and a very weird definition of “imminent” that even its author admits to be outside current legal understanding.
That is how the state works. I do hope you find that helpful.
This article has been updated to reflect the fact the Daniel Bethlehem is now retired from the FCO.