British Conservatives waste taxpayers’ money on canal to nowhere

This video from the USA says about itself:

Palin was for ‘Bridge to Nowhere’

2 September 2008

McCain’s VP did not reject Congressional funds for infrastructure projects in Alaska.

After the bridge to nowhere of Alaska’s conservative Republican governor, vice presidential candidate, Donald Trump supporter and believer in dinosaurs living at the same time as humans, Sarah Palin, now …

By Peter Frost in England:

Daventry‘s Tory canal to nowhere

Wednesday 26th July 2017

PETER FROST loves the English canals but is worried about adding a single extra mile at a cost of £8.7 million

TOMORROW Daventry District Council (DDC) will vote to spend almost £9 million pounds on building less than a mile of canal that, like many Tory projects, doesn’t go anywhere.

If you want to move or moor a boat on this short stretch of canal, you will have to load the boat on a low-loader and have it craned off into this new canal-shaped pond in the middle of Daventry town.

Perhaps I need to declare an interest. I pay my council tax to that council in Northamptonshire. I am a member of the Daventry Labour Party. Indeed, I have chaired the party in the past. The local council has 30 councillors who are Tories and just six who aren’t. Three are Labour, two Ukip, one Liberal Democrat.

I don’t like our local Tories. I’d like to see them swept from office but strangely they still retain the power to shock and horrify me with their short-sighted policies and stupid decisions.

To find the real origins of this crazy canal scheme you will need to travel back in history. The Romans built Britain’s very first canals. Much later Dutch engineers built canalised rivers to drain our fens.

The first true canal for carrying goods was built in 1761 by engineer James Brindley. A transport revolution followed with many miles of canals being built as part of the rapid industrialisation of England.

At the height of canal use there were nearly 3,000 miles of these arteries of the industrial revolution carrying all sorts of cargo to all sorts of destinations.

The Oxford Canal, completed in 1790, was difficult to navigate. The need for a quicker, more direct waterway to link the capital with the Midlands led to the construction of the Grand Junction Canal.

The Grand Junction joins with the Oxford at Braunston just a couple of miles from Daventry. The canal bypassed Daventry but, even when the canal was built in 1793, the company planned a three-mile arm from the mainline to Daventry town centre. But that arm was never built.

More than two centuries later, in austerity Britain, for reasons not clear to anyone, the Tory Daventry council thought it would be a good idea to finally build that canal arm.

Initial costing was £10m but as the project grew in size and complication that more than doubled.

No problem, cried the council. It won’t be local people who pay the bill but investors who will be desperate to put money into the new Daventry canal arm. No local or community money would be spent on the harebrained scheme they promised.

Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris promised local people “that this should never be paid for by taxpayers.”

Despite its own MP’s advice, DDC is now proposing to build a new canal link from the existing Grand Union Canal to the town centre, terminating in a series of mooring basins with shops, housing, restaurants and perhaps even a pub.

From the initial concept, dreamed up in 2002, the dream got bigger, more expensive and even more unbelievable.

The scheme proposed up to seven canal locks and perhaps a canal boat lift replacing four of the locks. The total bill reached £24m.

Boat lifts are impressive, and unbelievably expensive. Restored historic boat lifts and a new lift built in Falkirk have proved real tourist attractions.

The logic was that what’s good enough for Falkirk could do miracles for Daventry’s tourism.

Not only did most local people oppose the plan but nobody seemed to want to invest in it; most people thought that without local public support or any private investment that the scheme would simply be forgotten, but no.

The council decided, despite all its previous assurances, that it would use council money to fund the plan.

The council realised it could not afford the entire £24m but declared it would spend £8.7m on a three-quarter of a mile length from the town centre and not actually joining the original mainline of the canal.

The new tiny length of canal would have moorings but to reach them you would need to crane your boat onto a low-loader and drive to the canal.

No wonder popular Daventry Labour Councillor Wendy Randall branded the scheme a “ludicrous idea” at a recent council strategy meeting.

Funding for the long-standing project was backed by the Tory majority of strategy group members on July 6, despite much noisy opposition from a picket outside the meeting and from the public gallery.

Randall didn’t just call the canal arm a ludicrous idea, she also expressed her concerns over broken assurances that the project would never be funded with public money.

She said: “Every time we have discussed this it’s always been about investors coming on board.

“Never have I heard it mentioned about us using any of our budget. Our local MP, Chris Heaton-Harris, is president of the Canal Trust. He has always maintained that this canal would never, ever be funded by public money.”

At the meeting Tory Colin Poole opened the discussion listing the potential benefits to the town.

He was about as convincing to local people as his council had been attracting private investor money to the hare-brained scheme.

You can join the protest outside the council offices tomorrow evening at 5.45pm The meeting is open to public from 6.15pm onwards. You can email your views to the chief executive

Trump leaves veterans to Sarah Palin

This video from the USA says about itself:

Sarah Palin To Lead Largest Government Agency

1 December 2016

Trump is rumored to appoint Sarah Palin to lead a very important government agency. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“Trump eyeing Sarah Palin for Veterans Affairs?

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ massive network of hospitals and clinics has been under a microscope since scandalously long waiting lists and allegations of cover-ups burst into public. The management morass seemed so intractable that in 2014, President Obama pushed out a decorated former general, Eric Shinseki, and hired a former chief executive of Procter & Gamble, Robert A. McDonald, to sort it out.

Now, according to people close to the transition, Mr. Trump is thinking of taking Veterans Affairs in a new direction, handing its reins to former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.

Given Mr. Trump’s passionate campaign pledges to the nation’s veterans, the response — if she is chosen — would be … interesting.”

Read more here.

The Trump administration is ending a popular and effective program that prevents veterans from ending up on the street — just as the number of homeless vets is on the rise: here.

‘MOST INAPPROPRIATE’ A veterans group slammed President Donald Trump’s Memorial Day tweet after he used the national holiday to honor and remember America’s fallen servicemen and women by crowing about himself. [HuffPost]

Trump picks General “Mad Dog” Mattis for secretary of defense: here.

Responding to reports that President-elect Donald Trump intends to nominate General James Mattis to serve as Secretary of Defense, Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International USA’s Security with Human Rights Program, released the following statement: General Mattis’ murky and conflicting views on human rights raise serious questions that must be answered during his confirmation process: here.

PALIN PRANKED BY SACHA BARON COHEN Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said she was duped into an interview with Sacha Baron Cohen for his upcoming TV show. “I join a long list of American public personalities who have fallen victim to the evil, exploitive, sick ‘humor’ of the British ‘comedian’,” she wrote. She sounds pissed, right? You betcha! [HuffPost]

Sarah Palin’s Husband Files for Divorce: Report by Bill Galluccio – Sep 9, 2019.

US Republican Sarah Palin hates Black Lives Matter

This 2015 video from the USA is called Sarah Palin Calls Black Lives Matter Protesters Dogs.

Another video from the USA used to say about itself:

Sarah Palin Doesn’t Understand What Black Lives Matter Means

11 July 2016

Sarah Palin is on the warpath against Black Lives Matter. She’s sure they’re not peaceful, but rather violent thugs and rioters. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

SARAH PALIN’S SON ARRESTED Track Palin, the eldest son of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), was arrested for the third time in less than three years on charges stemming from domestic violence incidents. [HuffPost]

TODD PALIN ‘FILES FOR DIVORCE’ Sarah Palin’s husband, Todd Palin, has reportedly filed for divorce from the former Alaska governor and the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. He cited an “incompatibility of temperament between the parties such that they find it impossible to live together as husband and wife.” The couple has been married for 31 years. [HuffPost]

Sarah Palin promoting Donald Trump with boar-killing

This video from the USA says for itself:

Sarah Palin thinks this dead boar will get votes for Trump

5 April 2016

Sarah Palin is trying to hog all the Wisconsin votes for Donald Trump ahead of Tuesday’s primary. The former Alaskan governor posted a picture of herself on her Facebook page of alongside a freshly killed boar — as a way to encourage Wisconsinites to vote in Tuesday’s primary. … “And vote for bold, new leadership that puts your interests before party politics,” she wrote. “Vote for the first candidate since Reagan who is growing the Commonsense Conservative movement”.

Sarah Palin wants Trump as United States president

This is a comic video from the USA about Sarah Palin‘s creationism, Fred Flintstone, and dinosaurs.

From the New York Times in the USA, 19 January 2016:

Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential nominee who became a Tea Party sensation and a favorite of grass-roots conservatives, will endorse Donald J. Trump in Iowa on Tuesday, officials with his campaign confirmed. The endorsement provides Mr. Trump with a potentially significant boost just 13 days before the state’s caucuses.

“I’m proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for president,” Ms. Palin said in a statement provided by his campaign.

Her support is the highest-profile backing for a Republican contender so far.

If someone believes that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time, then it is not so surprising that that person believes that a racist would make a good president of the USA. As Ms Palin had already said earlier that she had a “political crush” on neo-fascist Marion Marechal-Le Pen of France’s National Front (FN).

It is also not so surprising that that person believes that a sexist would make a good president of the USA. Not even if that person, Sarah Palin, has refered to herself as a ‘feminist’. Ms Palin using the word ‘feminist’ reminds me of the slogans like ‘War is peace’ in George Orwell’s novel 1984.

We Obtained Sarah Palin’s Notes From Her Trump Endorsement Speech: here.

Ahmed’s clock and bigotry in the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

Sarah Palin hates scienceChris Matthews, Keith Olbermann comment

31 October 2008

What a busy day for Sarah Palin. Besides giving a deposition on her role in troopergate (see: ethics, abuse of power), and dropping a hockey puck in St. Louis, she also managed to screw up her first policy speech. Via Think Progress:

For many parents of children with disabilities, the most valuable thing of all is information. Early identification of a cognitive or other disorder, especially autism, can make a life-changing difference.

Palin claimed that the amount that Congress spends on earmarks “is more than the shortfall to fully fund IDEA.” She then ridiculed some of the projects — such as “fruit fly research” — saying they have little or no value:

Where does a lot of that earmark money end up anyway? […] Youve heard about some of these pet projects they really don’t make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not.

Damn those earmarks! Wasting good money on fruit fly research:

[S]cientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine have shown that a protein called neurexin is required for..nerve cell connections to form and function correctly.

The discovery, made in Drosophila fruit flies may lead to advances in understanding autism spectrum disorders, as recently, human neurexins have been identified as a genetic risk factor for autism.

Source: here.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Bright Ahmed’s clocking on at the White House

Tuesday 22nd September 2015

ONE thing is obvious. Fourteen-year-old Texas schoolboy Ahmed Mohamed is a lot brighter than the Republican Party’s favourite Sarah Palin. That’s not a personal attack — it is just the obvious truth.

Palin has attacked President Barack Obama for inviting young Ahmed to the White House after he was wrongly arrested and handcuffed — mainly for looking like a Muslim and building a clock that actually didn’t look much like a bomb.

Ahmed was detained for making a clock that his teacher assumed was a bomb. Palin declared: “Right. That’s a clock, and I’m the Queen of England.

“Ahmed Mohamed, an evidently obstinate-answering student,” she continued, “was bringing in a homemade clock that obviously could be seen by conscientious teachers as a dangerous wired-up bomb-looking contraption.”

In reality the bright young schoolboy created a sophisticated electric clock built into a pencil box for his school science fair.

Science fairs are an inspired part of technology teaching in the US that encourage students to make exciting projects. A huge web-based world and a vast mail order industry offers all sorts of sometimes extraordinarily complex science fair experiments.

Sadly his teachers took one look at the device and his Muslim appearance, accused him of building a bomb and had him arrested. Ahmed was taken from his school to police headquarters, where he was interrogated about his intentions with the device with particular questioning focused on his surname and Muslim appearance.

Ahmed’s father expressed his anger at his son’s treatment. “My kid was hurt and was tortured and arrested and mistreated in front of his friends inside of the school,” he said. “That is not America.”

Just a few weeks ago in a Morning Star feature about the Birmingham Six (Morning Star August 15), I wrote that in the 1960s British police could arrest you for looking “a bit Irish.” That philosophy, it seems, is alive and well — but now it is looking “a bit Muslim” that can get you into trouble.

Islamophobia shows its ugly face all over the globe. But the case last week in Irving, Texas, takes some beating.

Ahmed’s parents came to the US from Sudan. They settled in Irving. There, at the Sam Houston middle school, their son Ahmed became known as the kid who made crazy contraptions.

His classmates brought him their broken electronic devices and Ahmed fixed them. He built a radio-controlled car that could run on land and underwater. He built his own phone charger. His school mates called him the “Inventor Kid.”

Then just a few weeks ago he started his freshman year at MacArthur high school, where no-one knew him. The tall kid in the geek’s glasses did what he did best; he built something.

Ahmed’s clock wasn’t a beautiful thing, but his inventions never were. His clock was a mess of wires and circuitry but it kept perfect time.

When he proudly took it to school his teacher took one look and called the police. Ahmed didn’t get a gold star. Instead he got three days’ suspension from school.

Then the police took over, the student was handcuffed, arrested and taken to the police headquarters by Irving officers.

Irving has a history of Islamaphobia. This March local Mayor Beth Van Duyne accused local mosque leaders of attempting to set up a shadow court system following Islamic law.

The imams said they were merely mediating minor disputes, not bypassing or contradicting US law. Nonetheless, Van Duyne and the Irving City Council passed a resolution supporting a Texas anti-Sharia Bill.

The predictable happened: angry crowds assembled outside mosques, and local Muslims requested police security after racist threats.

Khalid Hamideh, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Irving, said: “The mayor is a crusader on the fringes of the far-right, and unfortunately there are some misinformed people who listen to her.”

Ahmed’s siblings say they are increasingly regarded with suspicion and disdain. One of his sisters had to leave a new job after her boss tried to force her to remove her head scarf while at work.

In Ahmed’s case all official police charges were dropped, but the school suspension stuck. Reactionary and racist Van Duyne publicly announced her support for the actions of the school and police.

Obama took a different view. He invited Ahmed to come and see him at the White House saying: “Cool clock, Ahmed.

Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science…”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg invited Ahmed to visit him too and Twitter asked if he wanted to work for them as an intern.

Ahmed is now the centre of a movement supporting scientific curiosity among school students and denouncing any sort of racism, but sadly — as Sarah Palin has proved once again — Islamaphobia is alive and well.

Rupert Murdoch sacks Sarah Palin

Rupert Murdoch cartoon

Dutch NOS TV reports that Fox News in the USA, owned by Rupert Murdoch, has sacked Sarah Palin, ex-Republican party candidate for vice president.

No reasons for this were published. But the love between Fox News and Ms Palin already seemed to be over earlier.

Like the earlier “beautiful” friendship between Rupert Murdoch and Silvio Berlusconi also gave way to enmity.

Sarah Palin is said to have got a million dollars per year from Fox News before being sacked.

When will arch phone hacker, arch burglar, arch warmonger and Bahrain dictatorship admirer Rupert Murdoch sack himself at last?

Fox News and Sarah Palin have called it quits.

Sarah Palin against Pope Francis I: here.

New York daily life and theatre

By Fred Mazelis in the USA:

Sorry at New York’s Public Theater: American liberals on Election Day

23 November 2012

At the Public Theater, New York City, extended through December 21.

Sorry, the play by Richard Nelson that opened on Election Day at New York’s Public Theater, is the third in what is now projected as a series of four plays on the Apple family of Rhinebeck, New York.

Rhinebeck is a small village almost exactly 100 miles north of New York City. Nelson himself lives there. Although his plays are fiction, he is writing about subjects and people that are undoubtedly very familiar to him.

Each of these Apple family plays is set on the very day on which it opens, in real time. Nelson has set himself the task of exploring social and political themes of American life as refracted through the daily concerns and problems of a fairly typical family.


The first installment, That Hopey Changey Thing, was set on the date of the 2010 midterm elections, and took its name from the sarcastic anti-Obama slogan used by former Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Next in the series came Sweet and Sad, which was set (and opened) on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and which we reviewed last year (“Sweet and Sad: An honest, probing look at life on the anniversary of 9/11”).

Sorry is set on Election Day 2012, taking place while the voting is going on nationally, and before the outcome is known. And Nelson has announced the date of his fourth installment in the series of plays: November 22, 2013, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

This technique of placing the works in real time is an interesting one, and opens up the possibility of investigating historical and political questions in a fresh, living way. Indeed, one of the playwright’s strengths is his ability to write dialogue about the elections, war, the economy and other issues that are not set speeches but rather effectively interwoven with the concerns of daily life.

Nelson works on the plays until the very last moment, literally hours before the opening performance. In the case of Sorry, lines were inserted on Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, up to and including a reference to “another storm tomorrow,” the northeaster that hit the New York area the day after Election Day.

The cast of characters has been almost the same for the first three plays. Much of the plot revolves around retired actor Benjamin Apple, who lives with his unmarried niece Barbara, a schoolteacher in Rhinebeck. Another member of the household is Marian, Barbara’s sister and a grade school teacher in town whose marriage disintegrated after the tragic suicide of her daughter.

Visiting once again in Sorry, as in the earlier plays, are the other Apple siblings, who live in New York City. Jane is a writer and Richard a corporate lawyer, who has doubts about whether to continue in his job. The actor who plays a sixth character, Jane’s boyfriend, was unavailable for Sorry and so the latter has been written out of the script by sending him to an acting job in Chicago.

The cast is uniformly excellent, including Jon Devries as Benjamin, Maryann Plunkett as Barbara, Laila Robbins as Marian, J. Smith-Cameron as Jane and Jay O. Sanders as Richard.

One of the main plot lines in Sweet and Sad involved the preparation for a school commemoration of the 9/11 anniversary, and much of its dialogue dealt with the “war on terror” and the concomitant war crimes and attacks on civil liberties. At the same time, alongside these broader themes was the condition of Uncle Ben, who had suffered a massive heart attack and whose memory was now beginning to fail.

Sorry has a somewhat different emphasis than Sweet and Sad, and it is a revealing shift. Here the main focus, for most of the play, is the dilemma facing the family as they prepare that very day to place their uncle in an assisted living development. Barbara in particular is wracked by guilt, accusing herself of abandoning her uncle, while her siblings insist that there is no choice and that Benjamin, losing inhibitions as part of an Alzheimer’s-like decline, is becoming more difficult to live with.

Although the action is set on Election Day, there is virtually no discussion of this until the last 15 minutes or so. The siblings talk about Benjamin’s role in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman many years ago. They look at the journal he has been keeping, even as his faculties decline. There are passing references to the election, but they amount to very little.

Then Richard suddenly announces that, while he is not home and unable to cast his ballot, he would have voted for Barack Obama. Jane wonders, “Do we know what we’re rooting for?” The conversation turns to Billy, Jane’s son, in his early 20s, who compares the political situation to two divorcing parents screaming at one another.

Richard announces that if he had one minute with Obama, he would ask him “Why did you begin appealing to our hates?” One sister adds that she would ask Romney “if you really are just out to help your rich friends? Then God have mercy on your soul.”

This is, frankly, pretty weak and a far cry from the angry oppositional sentiments offered in Sweet and Sad, where the characters spoke about inequality, “the Wall Street Republicans and the Wall Street Democrats,” the militarization of American life and the attacks on basic civil rights.

What has happened to the Apples, and to the playwright, in the 13 months since Sweet and Sad? This is a question worth examining, because Nelson has not lost his touch at writing about daily life and making his characters quite real.

In an interview with the New York Times, Nelson reaffirms his liberal stance, talking about friends “who had misgivings and worries about Obama and other Democrats.” These misgivings, however, take a very different form than they did only a year ago. What begins to emerge from a comparison of Sweet and Sad and Sorry is the political trajectory of a certain fairly privileged layer of academics and intellectuals.

It would seem that Sweet and Sad reflected what might be termed an “Occupy moment.” Last year the characters and their creator were reflecting some of the anger that found momentary expression in the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that quickly spread all over the world. This was far more of a moment than a movement, however. With no coherent political perspective and dominated by an assortment of anarchists and liberals, the demonstrations dissipated fairly quickly, to the point where local Democratic politicians were able to remove them by co-option or police action.

This set the stage for Sorry. Some of the angry Democrats of 2011 are now resigned to support for Obama as the lesser of two evils. They are not merely discouraged, but perhaps also not that angry after all, and now the twin parties of Wall Street are instead described as resembling bickering parents.

The themes of family relations, of the sorrows and difficulties in caring for older relatives are no less important than they were previously, but in Sorry Nelson seems to be retreating into these rather than explaining the connection between daily life and broader issues. One journalist writing about the play summed it up by referring to a moment of reconciliation in Sorry between Barbara and Benjamin, observing that “it points up what truly matters to people: making peace with a loved one, not who wins Ohio.”

Of course who wins Ohio is not important when the choice is Obama or Romney, but posing the question in this way is another way of saying nothing can be done about politics and we might as well simply turn to family and friends, “what truly matters”—as if the issues of daily life can be divorced from the fate of humanity as a whole.

What next for Richard Nelson? The half-century anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination certainly provides a good deal of food for thought. Will the next play deal with the confused and contradictory legacy of the 1960s, and with the virtual disappearance of the Democratic Party liberalism represented by Kennedy and Johnson? Sorry is not the most promising indication of what might come in this next and presumably final chapter.

Waterboarding ban by US Obama administration

This is a video about the United States Bush’s administration’s torture policy; especially about waterboarding.

From Reuters:

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ruled out the use of “waterboarding” as an interrogation technique for terrorism suspects on Monday, calling it a form of torture that the Obama administration could never condone.

Waterboarding is torture … My Justice Department will not justify it, will not rationalize it and will not condone it,” Holder, who his heading a review of the treatment of terrorism suspects, said in a speech to the Jewish Council of Public Affairs in Washington.

Sarah Palin: ‘Waterboarding Is How We’d Baptize Terrorists’ If I Were In Charge: here.

Sarah Palin blames Marx Brothers for recession, cartoon

Sarah Palin blames Marx Brothers for recession

In this Internet Weekly cartoon from the USA, defeated Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin blames the Marx Brothers for the economic recession.

Sarah Palin: The Gift That Keeps On Taking: here.