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Christmas Eve is a poor time to deliver a dark message of Christmases to come. Yet delivered it must be.

It is prompted by listening to an item on the BBC Today programme early this morning. A month or so ago, a group of people in a typical, fairly comfortable town in England, Watford, had been interviewed about the recession. They had obviously expressed concern at the financial events but they were somehow felt to be remote, something the government would fix and that they could work their way through. Good times would come back, didn’t they always?

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I am not sure about the title of ths piece, but I have borrowed it from elsewhere. It contains a distinction with which I am not comfortable but one that will be made again tomorrow and I offer this story to you as a good omen! Please let it give you confidence and remove any last minute nervousness that you may have.

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An extraordinary protest against Sarah Palin is being reported by McClatchy.

Hundreds gather for anti-Palin rally in downtown Anchorage

The protest came two hours after the governor held a morning rally in downtown Anchorage, attended by as many as 1,500 cheering supporters, then flew off to Nevada to resume campaigning. It's the first public demonstration against Palin since she accepted McCain's offer on Aug. 29

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Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 11:52 AM PDT

Can we get back to the real world?

by Welshman

I'm going to try another diary. The second in six months after a time when I used to be a top recommended diarist on DKos.

I tried one a couple of days ago about the anxieties of the generals about proposed troop deployment from Iraq and what it told us about the "success" claimed by Bush and the Republicans today in Iraq. A claim of success that even Obama seemed in his O'Reilly interviews to be unable or unwilling to firmly reject. It told us also of the increasing difficulties in Afghanistan. It had only a dozen responses before disappearing.

Well, I'll have one more go. This time it is the breaking news that 40% has been wiped off the shares of Lehman Bros, the Wall St bankers because hopes of a financial lifeline from Korea Development Bank (KDB) have been called into question after South Korea's financial regulator urged the bank to carefully consider any investment. Now. today, its financial viability is being questioned.

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The discussion of the Iraq occupation may appear to have gone away as a major discussion point in the election but what is really happening in Iraq has not.

As I listen to the preliminary speeches at the GOP Convention tonight, I hear speaker after speaker talking about victory in Iraq, including the lie that Barak Obama does not acknowledge the impact of the "surge".

Well, just as these speakers to do not seem to have been briefed that Barak Obama has agreed just a few hours earlier today with Bill O’Reilly that "the surge" has made an unexpected contribution in reducing the level of hostilities, so also have they not heard Obama’s warning as a key corollary that there has not been any accompaniment of political stability.

And the White House has just confirmed that Barak Obama is right and the claims in the Convention hall are false

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If Daily Kos was a British blog, a news item today would appear in the diaries here as illustrative of what we love about the quirkiness of your country (whilst fully acknowledging our own).

It is a delightful story brought to my attention by the equally quirky Drudge. It is squeezed in between his accounts of apocalyptic natural weather disasters that he so enjoys recording, from forest fires to twisters that spell the end of life as it is currently known across the great plains of America and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi Basin.

I am an avid reader of Drudge because I just know he will be the first to tell me of the arrival of the Rapture.  Today, however, he brings to my attention the great Californian initiative for an almighty universal bowel movement and co-ordinated toilet flush as a memorial to the late, great  George W. Bush. I love it, despite toilet jokes normally being regarded in Europe as a peculiarity to be found in a particular genre of German humour.

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Sun Mar 23, 2008 at 03:03 PM PDT

Random Notes From Across The Pond

by Welshman

It is Easter. I am minded to let people know that I am still around.


Well our now not beloved Labour Government in the UK has introduced its latest budget and, like all its predecessors, taken the cheap shot of raising revenue by increased taxation of motor vehicles, cigarettes and beer. No wonder we are becoming a less sociable nation.

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Fri Feb 08, 2008 at 07:20 AM PST

Excuse me if I talk about John McCain

by Welshman

I know it is annoying for me not to be joining in and rubbishing one Democratic candidate in favour of another, but I thought I would talk about politics.

You remember? How to beat the Republicans in November. Yeah, I guess it may be seen as a bit irrelevant and it sure is dirty work cleaning up the sidewalks but, you know, someone has to do it.

This work needs to start now. Only one important thing happened yesterday. No it wasn’t Clinton’s camp rejecting claims that she is running out of money or Obama supporters having a go at Firedoglake for raising the Rezko affair.

Mitt Romney pulled out of the GOP race, leaving the field clear for a focussed, concentrated GOP attack upon the Democrats for every day, every week and every month leading up to November . Not good if Democrats spend the same time trying to tear their party candidates down. In my weird book of presidential election strategy, this sure looks like bad political karma. So I hope some of you wiser birds on Dkos will try and squeeze a diary or two onto the Recommended List in the next few months that leaves Bush to his sad history, your great candidates to hoped for quieter debate and get deep down and dirty on the GOP and John McCain.

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I’m a bit testy today. It is your fault.

I stayed up late to watch the Superbowl. I saw one of the most technically interesting football games that I have ever seen. In the last quarter, I also saw the most gripping and exciting game that I have ever seen.

I don’t resent my tiredness this morning. Even though I shall probably stay up late and watch the Super Tuesday results that are being covered over here by Sky News on our TV Channels.

American football is worth watching.  "American Football"? Yeah. That is what the whole of the rest of the world calls it. "Football" is what you lot quaintly call soccer.

Ah but I forgot. You can change the World. Barak Obama told us that in his Superbowl ad. You can make us call football "soccer". You have the military to ensure it.

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I sit here and play Eva Cassidy records and idle my time away by desultory flicking through various American political blogs and finding little there that either suits my mood or feeds my mind.

Many complain that it is the in-fighting and the rancour of the present Primaries that make them turn away. For me it is not the venomous dislike of other candidates that I find ugly. It is the idolatry of their own preference that I find offensive.

I don’t know where this comes from, this belief that somehow a sudden and genetically impossible evolution will occur by the initiation of a single person to usher in a New World where most of our problems will be solved.  It is as sad to see the extent of the investment of hopes and aspirations placed in particular candidates by the left as it is to see the religious right look towards the coming of their divine Messiah to change the human condition.

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Perhaps it is reaction to all the candidate diaries, or reaction to the candidates themselves, but a restless feeling inside this grumpy old man has been thinking the unthinkable.

Maybe none of your candidates are any good.

Certainly, it is fortunate that life out there in the real United States world appears different from that on Daily Kos. Thank heavens this is so. If the electorate got sight of all the negative things said about the different Democratic candidates on here, then Democratic chances in November, 2008 would be worthless.

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Wed Jan 02, 2008 at 08:34 AM PST

The Baying Of The Mob

by Welshman

Something happened on Daily Kos a couple of days ago that brought into perspective certain aspects of the current political scene in the United States.

First let me deal with the news story around which the reaction was based. In many ways it was unremarkable – a detail which may or may not have significance. I hope it does have some, as it may point to a rational way forward in Afghanistan. It was a comment made by the US Ambassador in Afghanistan, William Wood. The Daily Kos diary reported it as:

The United States supports reconciliation talks with Taliban fighters who have no ties to al-Qaida and accept Afghanistan's constitution, the U.S. ambassador said Thursday.
William Wood said the U.S. is in favor of a "serious reconciliation program with those elements of the Taliban who are prepared to accept the constitution and the authority of the elected government" of President Hamid Karzai.

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