The Belarus saga exposes the hollowness of the west's support for human rights and democracy
Monday March 27, 2006
When is an election not considered free and fair by the west? Answer: when it delivers victory to a government that rejects neoliberal orthodoxy and refuses to orientate its foreign policy towards Washington or Brussels. There is no other conclusion one can come to after both the US and the EU announced swingeing sanctions on Belarus after the re-election of President Lukashenko.
It's started. The attack on Venezuela, of course this has been going on for sometime - but now it's bringing it to the people. To demonise the Venezuelan adminstration in the eyes of the public - in preparation for a long running campaign to restore the domination of capital.
On Monday March 27, the British Channel 4 screened a documentary on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that can only be described as scandalous. The description of Chavez as a “demagogue who could spearhead a regional shift to the left” may have been a quote coming from Washington, but it is clear Channel 4 wanted to make a clear statement agreeing with all the lies coming from the White House: we don't like Mr. Chavez. Why?
First, of course, because he is authoritarian. As usual, this allegation was not backed up by any evidence. It is one of these things the corporate media, when talking about Chavez, tend to mention as an aside, never putting too much emphasis on it because they must also know that the President, his government and his policies have been ratified in eleven different elections and referenda in less than eight years' time. Nevertheless the slander was there, and needless to say, there was not a word about Chavez’s extremely big democratic mandate and about the concerted attacks on the Bolivarian revolution by any means necessary (the coup, the lock-out, the CIA involvement, etc.).
The attack on the Venezuelan people will not go down well here. Trade Unions across Europe have already pledged their support, every worker on the planet supports the current Venezuelan administration. As a Marxist I offer my complete support to the defence of Venezuela - but as a Marxist that is not uncritical support the current administration does have its flaws like the whole united front nonsense with Lula and friends - however Venezuela is an example to the world of what can be achieved and we will not let it go without a long and bitter fight.
Over the last few weeks have come many announcements from retailers and film studios that they will be dropping the UMD film format. The format was developed by Sony for use with their PSP video game system, it allowed users to buy films to watch on the PSP.
However from the offset it was obviously going to fail.
1) Who would actually buy a film twice? No thanks.
2) Portable DVD players which have better battery life can play your existing DVD films and are cheaper than the PSP.
One high ranking Universal executive writes "It's awful. Sales are near zilch. It's another Sony bomb -- like Blu-ray".
We have standards for a reason. DVD is the film standard, and HD-DVD is the HD film standard. If you want to watch on a very portable device you re-encode the content for that device - HD-DVD allows that in the specifications.
Two images so far from the eclipse, more shall be processed and uploaded later.
Note the sunspots 865 and 866 on the right side of the image (east side of the Sun - they've just rotated around from the side of the sun a couple of days ago).
There's a cool animated map of the locations and times of the eclipse across the surface of the Earth, you can find this here.
What does the Earth look like from space when it's blocked out by the Moon...? Well some cosmonauts onboard the space station Mir took this image:
This photo was taken during the August 1999 solar eclipse, and shows the Moon's shadow racing across the Earth at nearly 2000 kilometers per hour.
The Septim's have come and gone, out of the ashes of an Empire came a Nord, who went by the name of Paul Nord'Dude. On the 17th of Frost Fall in the year of 3E 433. He proclaimed himself Emperor of all Tamriel.
Finally after centuries of fighting for the freedom of the men of Tamriel in the first era, the Nords take their rightful place as masters, the weak and ungrateful Imperials would still be slaves to the elves if it wasn't for the power of the Nords, the mongrel Bretons will never forget their true blood lines it is to be stamped upon the heads of all - Elvish scum no Fargoths allowed.
The first year of the forth era shall be marked with a strong empire, an empire free from the damn wood elves and their buddies. Imperials shall now take their place as cannon fodder for the Nordic hordes, the beast races will be set free with lots of magic moonsugar and we will hunt down and locate S'virr so we can promote him to commander of the Nordic-Tamriel fleets.
The second year of the forth era shall be marked with a strong empire that shall expand to cover the entire world - we shall have our revenge on the Akaviri - nothing shall stop the Nordic advance, not when we have S'virr in charge of our ships.
It is with a strong heart and a frosty chill that we welcome the beginning of the forth era, the next time the sun rises it shall rise on a new era and a new emperor.
As you've probably seen in the news lately France has been gripped by protests for the last few weeks. The government wants to introduce new employment legislation making it possible for the capitalists to dismiss workers under the age of 26 for no reason at all - known as the first employment contract (CPE).
It makes a nice change to have the students and the unions united completely - those over 26 should make no mistake, they're next - the French workers' having the experience they have will know that perfectly well - and will stand united.
The movement has been growing stronger and stronger, and the ruling class has been dividing. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the capitalists have gotten away with too much, for the comrades in France this is the last stand. It's time to boost the moral of the working class, correct the mistakes of 1968 and win us a victory.
For the moment, however, events are definitely moving in that direction. The eyes of the workers of the entire world should now be fixed on the events in France. We are standing before the prospect of a pre-revolutionary situation as an immediate possibility. If the government backs down and abandons the CPE, it may still be able to avoid the approaching cataclysm. If it tries to resist — as the initial reaction of De Villepin to the events of the day would seem to indicate — it may well find that events will take such a turn that even the withdrawal of the CPE will not suffice.
Nearly 3 million workers and students have protested in over 150 cities in France over the last couple of days, building and building up. Here's a map showing locations and numbers.
In the UK yesterday we had a strike of around 1.5 million people - largely public sector workers campaigning against plans to increase the pension age to 65. We need to learn something from our French comrades - one day strikes don't work, we need to be on the streets every day - nothing should move apart from us, bring the country to a standstill, and then we might get somewhere.