No wonder we rebelled from these guys

Tom Jackson
Aug 21, 2013

With the smug self-assurance of the ignorant, I have taken it for granted that Americans enjoy the worst government in the Western world. My opinion has been shaken by recent news from the United Kingdom, and I'm not even talking about the David Miranda scandal, which demonstrates that a government can carry out kidnapping and theft with impunity. 

The Guardian reports on the case of British businessman Gary Bolton, who made fake bomb detection devices for as little as about $3 that were sold for as much as  $23,000. This is a profit margin that anyone publishing an American newspaper would envy, but it gets better. In spite of the fact that at least some British government officials were well aware that the devices were useless, tax dollars were spent by the government to promote the bomb devices in foreign trade shows. 

Alas, "Made in Britain" isn't always a guarantee of quality, Rolls Royces and Beatles records notwithstanding. Here is a snippet from the Guardian's story, by Robert Booth: "In Thailand, where hundreds of the bogus devices were sold under the brand GT200 for use at police and army checkpoints, human rights campaigners have reported they failed to detect bombs that then killed four people. Hundreds more have been wrongly imprisoned after the fake equipment indicated they had handled explosives."

Bolton has been sentenced to seven years in prison. Tragically, he now suffers from depression, his lawyer told a British judge.

My favorite part of the Guardian's story is the calm British understatement from the opposition politician who has risen to say that all this sounds kind of like a bad idea.

"There are serious questions to be answered by a number of government departments and agencies," says a Labour member of Parliament, Thomas Docherty. "This sort of thing undoubtedly damages our reputation with foreign governments and they are less likely to buy British again."

I say, sir! This is almost unpardonable!

(Hat tip, hagbard celine on Twitter.)

UPDATE: Germany's in the news, too! 'Man in Underpants Partied in Merkel's Jet.' 

 

 

Comments

2cents

In my email box this morning:

(Putin’s Speech on Feb. 04, 2013

This is one time our elected leaders should pay attention to the advice of Vladimir Putin....how scary is that?
On February 4th, 2013, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, addressed the Duma, (Russian Parliament), and gave a speech about the tensions with minorities in Russia:
"In Russia live Russians. Any minority, from anywhere, if it wants to live in Russia, to work and eat in Russia, should speak Russian, and should respect the Russian laws. If they prefer Sharia Law, then we advise them to go to those places where that's the state law. Russia does not need minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires, no matter how loud they yell 'discrimination'. We better learn from the suicides of America, England, Holland and France, if we are to survive as a nation. The Russian customs and traditions are not compatible with the lack of culture or the primitive ways of most minorities. When this honorable legislative body thinks of creating new laws, it should have in mind the national interest first, observing that the minorities are not Russians.
The politicians in the Duma gave Putin a five minute standing ovation.)

Huron_1969

A fact check on the Putin email

The Truth:  
We checked the Russian archives of the speeches by President Vladimir Putin and found that he made no such address to the Russian Parliament on February 4, 2013.

This eRumor appears to be a spin off from an older one that came from the Land Down Under.   This one said that an Australian Government official told Muslim immigrants are not welcome if they desire to change the Australian standard of law to Sharia. 

That remark was true and made by Australian Finance Minister Peter Costello in a speech to the Sydney Institute on February 23, 2006.    Since then several variations of this eRumor have sprung forth changing the person who made the remark to the elected Australian Prime Minster at the time of circulation.  

Buckeye_Nation

that is one the best comments about governments i have ever read, why cant all leaders say something along those lines, if a minority chooses to come to a country, be it the United States, Russia or wherever, the minorities should conform to the laws and language of the country they are choosing to live in, common sense

The Big Dog's back

Always count on no cents to copy and paste a right wingnut lie.

From the Grave

The Guardian lines my birdcage, and nothing else. I wouldn't wipe my arse with it.

2cents

.

coasterfan

I don't think we have the worst government in the world; certainly there are a lot of gov't run programs that help millions of people. Some don't like paying for those programs, but that doesn't diminish the good that these programs do.

Our Congress is certainly dysfunctional. They have only passed roughly 1/6 as many bills as the one Harry Truman called the "Do-Nothing Congress". Many of the bills they HAVE passed didn't really help/change anything: renaming Post Offices and re-affirming "In God We Trust" as our motto.

It's funny that the party who is responsible for the congressional intransigence is also the one who complains most about dysfunctional government. So, it's not surprising that, of the several hundreds of bills Mitch McConnell has voted in favor of filibuster over the years, he recently filibustered HIS OWN bill.

The reality: our govt. is far from perfect, but we don't have military coups, thousands rioting in the streets of our capital, overthrown dictatorships, and hundreds killed in the process.

Contango

Re: "we don't have military coups, thousands rioting in the streets of our capital, overthrown dictatorships, and hundreds killed in the process."

Unfortunately, this current regime and some in the past supported and advocated those occurrences in other countries.

Historically, all that you have listed have occurred (some repeatedly) in the U.S. at one time or another.

As for the future: Never say, it can't happen here.

grumpy

"Our Congress is certainly dysfunctional. They have only passed roughly 1/6 as many bills as the one Harry Truman called the "Do-Nothing Congress". Many of the bills they HAVE passed didn't really help/change anything:"

After 230 years of congress passing laws I would hope that most laws that are actually needed have been passed decades ago. Passing pi$$ poor bills into laws help no one. Unless the politicians can spin it so the people believe what they are told. We have survived 230+ years without the laws that haven't yet been passed, I doubt much will fall apart without more laws for awhile. I can think of a few that should not have been passed over the last few decades, and I bet you can also.

The scorecard on a congress should not be how many bills it can pass, but how many the bills that passed helped the people, and how many didn't.

Contango

Re: "They have only passed roughly 1/6 as many bills as the one Harry Truman called the 'Do-Nothing Congress'."

OMG!

Only a brain-dead big government-loving socialist would base the effectiveness of a legislative body solely on the number of bills passed.

Not to worry, agencies, departments and other non-elected members of the vast Washington bureaucracy have been busy writing tons of rules and regs for your enjoyment.

2cents

A police officer friend told me one morning. "There are so many laws on the books now, I could probably find something to arrest you for right now while having breakfast"

Contango

Re: "so many laws,"

Agreed.

Interesting article in the WSJ couple yrs. back about the proliferation of Federal laws wherein, the legal concept of mens rea (criminal intent) does not apply.

You did it? You're guilty period!

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB...

"The U.S. Constitution mentions three federal crimes by citizens: treason, piracy and counterfeiting. By the turn of the 20th century, the number of criminal statutes numbered in the dozens. Today, there are an estimated 4,500 crimes in federal statutes,"

"Atlas Shrugged":

"We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them."

shucks

Ayan Rand is your messiah.

'Atlas Shrugged' is your bible.

Donegan

“I heartily accept the motto, — ‘That government is best which governs least.’” Henry David Thoreau
I Happen to agree with Thoreau who I might add are alot smarter than these wanna be political comentators on local web sites.

shucks

“I heartily accept the motto, — ‘That government is best which governs least.’” Henry David Thoreau

...........Can you cite any country for example?
And IF you can -- give me your opinion on how much better it is versus the USA.

Donegan

http://thoreau.eserver.org/civil...
Try reading the essay and you might understand. Complaining about all these messes and re-electing the same people who created these messes just keeps the status quo. The government is not there to redistribute wealth, Dictate to the masses morality, Police the world, Tax its citizens for "Secret" programs and are supposed to be accountable to the citizens themselves. Not some overbearing agency that is responsible to no one except itself while its self stated main and only purpose is to gain more power. It is a government FOR the people BY the people, They work for us not the other way around.

shucks

"Try reading the essay and you might understand."
...........Why don't you reread my writings and you might understand that I asked you a question ... which you haven't answered and are now dodging.
Name a country where that has worked.

Contango

Re: "Can you cite any country for example?"

1. U.S. up until the mid-19th Century.

2. British Protectorate, Hong Kong until 1997.

The PROBLEM ALWAYS is that the rich and powerful are egotists and encourage central planning.

shucks

How about it , Donegan ?

What do you mean by best?

I doubt that you understand your own link.

Donegan

I would happen to agree with Contango. Up until around 1865 the government had its integrity, The states had their say, The citizen theirs and the Federal government was a balance. After 1865 the states lost their say and the Federal government dictated to everyone the laws of the day. Ever notice the first 14 amendments gave the rights to the citizens and the rest gave it to the Federal government? Pretty easy distinction.

shucks

You have no idea what you are talking about.
Neither does Contango.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sta...

Contango

@ Mr. Jackson:

Did you see the freedom of the press scandal that occured in the UK?

http://www.democracynow.org/2013...

Don Lee

The Miranda detention referenced and linked to in his first paragraph is part of that. On this side of the Atlantic, anyone who is OK with that happening should remember: The press has no special protection. Its speech freedoms are the same as yours.

KURTje

Gary puts the sin in buSINess.

Contango

Were those old dead white men prescient or what?

"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."

- James Madison

At the beginning of the 20th Century, the fear was the anarchists.

Next came foreign communists and the Nazis.

Now we have both foreign terrorists and domestic "lone wolves."

The names of the enemies change, but still we sponsor the Endless War at the behest of the military industrial complex and their partners, the American Ruling Class.

Pres. Obama: “I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have 100 per cent security and also then have 100 per cent privacy and zero inconvenience,”

IOW: Just think of losing your individual freedoms and rights as an "inconvenience."

2cents

In my email this morning:

A. Back off and let those men who want to marry men, marry men.

B. Allow those women who want to marry women, marry women.

C. Allow those folks who want to abort their babies, abort their babies.

D. In three generations, there will be no Democrats.

Stop It

That is misleading. The Republicans will do the opposite of A. B. and C. and we'll have a new generation of Democrats.

Nemesis

Whooooosh!!!!! That was the point flying over your head.

shucks

I strongly doubt that a Republican will ever be a president again.

2cents

LOL, Will not be any country left to be president of : )

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