Filed under Yanks

Two for one

The Editors (not the pretend-Kasabian band) are irritatingly good. Two sequential paragraphs, both full of utter, completely unrelated to each other, WIN:

The sad fact of American politics is that at least 35-40% of the electorate belongs in a mental institution, and there’s probably another 10-20% who are high-functioning retards. The Congressional numbers are no better. There’s no point in trying to make a deal with these people.

Also, I think the Obama death panels should be run like “American Idol”. Three sassy latte-sipping America-haters give their opinions on which grannies and babies die this week, and then the audience can place their votes by calling in to ACORN. The losers are allowed to survive for another week if they agree to have a Christian doctor forced at gunpoint to give them a sex change operation.

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Deporting people to the States

So Gary McKinnon’s apparently off to a US jail forever for doing fuck all. Hurrah!

It’s interesting – both on the NatWest case and this case, opinion seemed broadly divided between:

1) people who think it’s possible to get a fair trial in the US
…and..
2) people who understand the US judicial system

Why’s that? Well, the US judicial system has two features that come together to make fair trials for non-violent crime impossible: very very long sentences for trivial offences; and discounts for pleading guilty that can amount to cutting your sentence by 90%.

So in the UK, if you were accused of conning your employer out of a million quid, or of hacking the military’s computers, you’d be looking at a sentence of a few years maximum. Which would be fair, as you wouldn’t actually have done anyone any real harm. A guilty plea would get you 1/3 off your final sentence – so if you’re not guilty but there’s some circumstantial evidence against you, or if you are technically guilty but think a jury would go your way, then it’s still worth fighting.

In the US, you can be charged initially with counts that would leave you in jail for the rest of your natural. Remember, this is *for nicking a bit of cash*, or *for some not-super-complex hackery* – if you think that’s fair and proportionate YOU ARE INSANE. But then, the kindly prosecutor-man will offer you a sentence which is only slightly longer than you’d get in the UK, as long as you plead guilty to everything.

This effectively means that, if prosecuted for a non-violent criminal offence in the US (they can’t get away with the same kind of sentencing discounts for violent crime, on the grounds that the long starting points there aren’t totally insane), your only reasonable strategy is to plead guilty.

And that isn’t a judicial system to which we should be sending people at all, never mind on the basis of nothing as per the current system.

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It doesn’t matter *who* shoots the civilians

I’ve finally got around to reading Craig Murray’s The Catholic Orangemen of Togo. Brief book review: it’s fucking excellent; buy it; read it.

However, I don’t quite understand Craig’s, and indeed many other people’s, obsession with ‘mercenaries’. For example:

For me, the really scary thing about [a video where private security company Aegis shot a civilian car in Iraq that drove through a checkpoint] is that it was the subject of a formal United States Army enquiry, which says that the incidents shown were “within standard operating procedures”, as laid down by the US Army, which in effect give Aegis the right to shoot up any car approaching them, in case it is a car bomb.

Aegis were working for the US Army. If Aegis hadn’t been there, then Yank soldiers would have be there, operating to the same rulebook and shooting the same poor buggers who missed the checkpoint. It doesn’t matter in the fucking slightest whether the chaps with guns shooting cars are scared American 21-year-olds or skint, retired-vet South African 45-year-olds, except to the extent that scared troops are more prone to make terrible mistakes than less-scared troops.

The problem is the fucking rulebook that says you can shoot a carload of civilians on suspicion – and suggesting the problem is down to the contractors who do the same bloody thing as the real army is a meaningless cop-out.

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And this, my American friends, is why you must vote Democrat

A demented Libertoonian speaks:

Republicans, given the kind of power the Democrats are about to accrue, would maybe take away your right to get a completely totally naked chick to grind on your lap in a publicly licensed bar. The Democrats will do their damnedest to take away your right to speak.

Democrat win. Also, who the hell would be able to /speak/ in such a context? I have no desire to support their voodoo multitasking skillz.

Mrs Spears: VP candidate

Alaska in Winter are a great band, named after the dullest concept imaginable. So if you’re a 17-year-old girl growing up in said dull location, with a religious conservative fundie-loon mum, and who’s doubtless been told birth control is Teh Evils, then getting up the duff is not that surprising.

This is where America, to me as a sane person, becomes a completely non-comprehensible place. In the UK, plenty of dim teenage girls with witless parents sprog up – but assuming you didn’t grow up in a gutter, you’ll probably bother using johnnies in the first place, and will certainly get an abortion otherwise. In Yankland, girls whose parents *aren’t* circus freaks actually have kids when they’re still kids – even if their mum’s the second-highest-profile female politician in the land…

(indeed, thinking about it, if Bristol Palin *did* do the only sensible thing available, and unfucked her life through the means of basic harmless surgery, then that’d probably be the thing that sank McCain’s campaign. Dammit, America is a despicable hole filled with despicable bastards…)

Dissemination (damn, I hope I spelled that correctly)

Sarah Palin, laughing as a radio shock-jock calls her cancer-surviving colleague a bitch and a cancer:

I know this is more or less irrelevant to most readers, but if you’re USA-an or a blogger then it’s probably worth forwarding to wavering Hillary-ites or putting the video up to increase the chance of someone forwarding it to wavering Hillary-ites…

On being reminded that GWB isn’t as bad as some

America is the most unjustifiably arrogant shithole on the planet (I mean, for fuck’s sake – US immigration is hilarious. “No, of course I’m not fucking coming here to work without a visa – what, d’you think I couldn’t get one if I wanted? Do you think I’d choose your poxy country if I was going to fucking emigrate? Cuntards.”)

But it’s always worth remembering that – much as we love to hate the current President – that actually the whole country is based on barbaric, shitheaded arsery. See the latest fiasco: the International Court of Justice suggests that murdering Mexicans based on comedy fake trials would be wrong; the Texas Supreme Court tells the UN to fuck right off; the President suggests that actually, the UN might have a point; the US Supreme Court tells the President to fuck right off; the International Court of Justice says “err, guys, are you like Iran and Saudi, or are you some kind of approximation towards a civilised country?”; and we await the outcome.

(clue: in Iran and Saudi, they top people for fun; in civilised countries they don’t.)

Top sekrit covert ops

a) George Bush is a fucking tool
b) George Bush is coming to the UK
c) This is a Bad Thing
d) Manticore!!

Kinda yeah, kinda nah

I’m sent a link to this story, on the grounds that it will really piss me off. And it sort-of does, but not as much as the sender might have expected.

[it's about a woman in the US who got locked up for 10-20 years aged 19 for some half-arsed drug offences, who escaped from jail after a year, spent 32 years as a fugitive living a respectable suburban life, and who's now been thrown back into jail after some unspeakable bastard grassed her up].

And indeed, there are elements that piss me off. Anyone who grasses up a non-violent offender to the police should be beaten about the head with an iron bar until they no longer have a head. Also, obviously, the original sentence was gibberingly crazily insane. As we all know, drugs don’t take themselves; while many of the people who sell drugs, as a result of the trade being illegal, are nasty bastards who also shoot and steal, there is nothing any more immoral about the act of selling drugs in itself than the act of selling pie or skydiving lessons [*].

But the actual ‘someone who escaped from jail being sent back there’ thing doesn’t actually upset me all that much. If we’re going to impose deranged sentences on people for non-harmful non-crimes, then the ones who break out of prison shouldn’t be punished any less severaly than the ones who actually stay there, follow the system, endure the torture of jail and try and get paroled…

[*] to pick two activities that, like drug use, are enjoyable but raise one’s chances of untimely death

Americans can’t take a joke

The headline is hardly news; it’s a well-known fact that joking with Yanks about subjects such as Vietnam, the KKK, 9/11 and Iraq is something that generally doesn’t go down well. As highlighted by the previous post.

[special PDF competition: £100 plus medical bills for the remainder of their life will be paid to the first person to go up to a New York fireman and go with "what's the odd one out of Vietnam, the KKK, 9/11 and Iraq? 9/11, cos none of the other victims deserved it"]

So my sympathy for pissed-up Northern Irish idiot Aidan Mackle is somewhat limited. Nonetheless, holding a drunken Irishman on terrorist charges for slurring “I’m Bin Laden’s mate and he’ll hijack your plane if you don’t give me more booze” is obviously crazy: if anyone, even for one second, thought the chap was a serious threat then they’re the one who should be locked up forever in a non-reality-based institution…

Update: I forgot to add that American airlines (small final A) are the worst in the world, that all of their crew thoroughly deserve murdered, and that for anyone who flies with them, being murdered by terrorists – or, indeed, being abused by an Irish drunk – would be a merciful release. Genuinely, I would rather fly fucking Aeroflot or Turkish Airlines than subject myself to another transatlantic flight on Delta, NWA, Continental or United. I haven’t yet flown AA, and would sooner grind broken glass into my eyes than do so, so there’s a small possibility I’m being unfair to them and them alone…