Saturday 31 January 2009

The Israelis and the Palestinians

What have the Romans Ever Done For Us?

As I see it.... by L. Berney

Soon after the end of WW2, in 1948, the Jewish Agency (Gurion, Herzl, Shamir, Begun and others) decided to occupy, take over and set up a Jewish State in the territory of Palestine. This new state, which they named Israel, was to be the homeland of the survivors of the Nazi Holocaust and of the Jews under persecution in the Soviet Union and in the Soviet occupied countries, and of persecuted Jews living in other Arab territories. At the time there were some 6,000,000 Arab people, the "Palestinians", resident in Palestine.

One group of people occupying and taking charge of another group of people's territory has happened many times throughout history. Here are a few examples:

  • Romans into France, Iberia, Germany, Britain, Eastern Mediterranean, etc
  • Normans into Britain
  • Moors into Iberia
  • Spanish and Portuguese into South America
  • British into India
  • Dutch into the Dutch East Indies
  • Europeans (Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy) into Africa
  • Boers into South Africa
  • Nazi Germany into France, Belgium, Holland, Norway etc
  • Japanese into Burma
  • Americans into Vietnam
  • Soviets into the Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries
When you do this -- militarily invade and govern someone else's territory -- you are surrounded by hostile people and you in the minority. You are faced with the problems of maintaining your authority and how to deal with the indigenous population. Invariably, with ruthlessness, "mailed-fist" subjugation, brutal suppression of resistance, and "apartheid" is how it is done. When your back is to the wall (or to the sea), if you and your invasion are to survive, there is probably no other way!

That is what is happening in Israel/Palestine now!

History shows that, in the end, the invader usually loses and the indigenous population usually wins. The only way the invader wins is if he "genocides" the indigenous population so that there aren't any, or very few, left! -- e.g. the aborigines of Australia, the Maoris of New Zealand, the Indians of North American.

Sunday 25 January 2009

The 2008 American Presidential Election and President Obama

As I see it………… by L. Berney


The impression given by the media is that Obama won the 2008 Presidential election by an overwhelming majority. The official results show a very different story.
  • Of the 305 million citizens of the USA, 213 million are ‘registered voters’.
  • Of these 213 million, only 131 million cast their vote.
  • Of the 131 million voters, 69 million (52.9%) voted for Obama and 62 million (47.1%) voted for McCain and number of independent candidates.
Thus, Obama received only slightly more than 50% of the popular vote.

Moreover, of the 213 million registered voters, only 32% voted for Obama, the other 68% voted against him or did not cast a vote. Therefore, 144 million Americans (68%) now have a President they did NOT vote for!

By no means, I suggest, an ‘overwhelming majority’!


When the result was announced, and at the inaugural celebrations, there were endless scenes and stories of public euphoria. It seemed to me that most of the euphoric people we saw were black. (About 14% of the USA population is black.) The reason for their euphoria was because a black man, one of their own, had won the presidency and that the white candidate had lost. The euphoria was purely racist based.

In fact, Obama, is not ‘one of their own’. He is not a descendant of the Africans imported into the USA as slave labour in the 18th and 19th centuries. His mother was a white European and his father was a Kenyan student. Obama was born and spent his formative years in Hawaii; he was brought up by his white mother. In 1979 he moved to Los Angeles to attend Columbia University where, in 1983, he graduated with a BA. He has no connection with the black slave-descendant people of America.


The main themes of Obama’s campaign for President were CHANGE and TOGETHER, WE CAN.

These themes are nothing new. In fact, nearly all presidential candidates campaign on a promise that they will bring about changes. When in office, they find that bringing about the changes they promised is difficult or in some cases impossible. What Presidents do is largely dictated by unpredictable events and is often frustrated by opposing vested interests. (Macmillan, a UK Prime Minister, famously observed that the greatest obstacle to political achievement was ‘Events, dear boy, events’.)

After their election, new Presidents always call upon the public for national solidarity and support. For example Kennedy’s famous, "…and so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country". Obama likewise, in his inaugural address, called for the peoples’ backing and solidarity.


On the face of it, the job of being the President has many serious disadvantages.

  • Personal Danger For the next four, or perhaps eight years, Obama will live in constant fear of assassination. Four of the USA’s 43 past Presidents were assassinated and two were injured. In all, there have been 90 assassination attempts.
  • There are, in America, many thousands of citizens for whom having a black President must be absolute anathema. It will take only one who is incensed enough to ‘Kill that Nigger President'.
  • Obama is at a much greater risk than any member of the armed forces. Historically the President has a one in seven chance of being killed or injured -- the odds for a black man being President are probably shorter.
  • Being a black President of the USA, Obama has arguably the most dangerous job in the world!
  • Personal Criticism From now on, everything he does or says will be minutely scrutinized. Every opportunity will be taken by the media, the opposition Party, even by some members of his own Party to criticize him. He will be forever fighting to maintain his ‘popularity rating’.
  • Personal life It will be impossible, at best very difficult, for him or his wife or his two young daughters to enjoy a normal private life. He and his family will be hounded by the media – their every move will be photographed and made public. In addition, the President’s family, like he himself, will be at the risk of assassination attempts.
  • Personal Pressure The work schedule and pressure on him will be tremendous. Greater, no doubt, than that on the average CEO of a large corporation earning $10M a year. (The President’s salary and expense allowance is less than $600,000 a year).

If Obama was asked, "Why do you want to be the President?" his answer would probably be something like this:

I have been a life-long member of the Democratic Party and I firmly believe that our policies are absolutely right for our country -- for all classes of society, for the young, the students, for families, for the elderly. Our policies will ensure financial stability, economic growth, and homeland security for this generation and for generations to come.

I vow to strive for the good of all, and I will devote the whole of my abilities for the welfare of our people I believe I am the right person to lead the Country.

If he were to speak the truth, the real reason why he wants the job would go something like this:

Many years ago, I had to decide what career I would follow; I liked the Power and Status that professional politicians have. I joined the Democratic Party in the 1990s and fought my way up to become a US Senator in 2005.

My ambition was always to be the President of the USA. Think of it! Me, Barack Obama, the Most Powerful Person in the whole country, in the whole world!

There would be a luxury all-expenses-paid life-style for me, and for my family. At the end, there will be substantial incomes to be had from memoirs and lectures, and an appointment to the board of one or more of the major corporations I had been able to ‘help’ while I was in office -– with a large financial reward.

To get to be the President, I will do anything, say anything. I am prepared to accept the personal risk. I am prepared to impose the inevitably difficult and unnatural life-style on my wife and children.

(*As an aside, according to the Daily Telegraph, Tony Blair is earning over £1,000,000 a year from speaking engagements, and has received a £5,000,000 advance on his memoirs, and has commercial advisory appointments carrying salaries of £2,500,000 a year!)

Having regard to the real personal danger and the other onerous factors of being the President, one can only conclude that any man striving for the position has to be to a degree mentally unbalanced, not normal. His motive must be an obsession for personal POWER, STATUS and eventually WEALTH at any cost. The question must be, is such a person a fit and proper person to run the country?


Obama has publicly stated that one of his objectives is to settle, once and for all, the Israel/Palestine problem by the ‘two state solution’. In my opinion, he will fail.

The world of Islam will NEVER EVER accept the existence of a non-Islamic state (Israel) on any part of what it considers to be an integral part of Islam territory (Palestine). Islam will not give up the fight – the jihad -- until the state of Israel ceases to exist and the whole of Palestine reverts to Islamic territory.


America commenced a military occupation of Afghanistan in 2001 as a reprisal for the 9/11 attack on New York and the Pentagon.
Obama has said," …Afghanistan is a war that we have to win because al-Qaeda and the radical Islamic Taliban movement cannot be allowed to establish new havens for planning terrorist attacks...”

Winning the war and the subjugation of Afghanistan is not going to happen. The USSR tried for 10 years and failed (1979 to 1989). The British tried three times (1839, 1878 and 1919) -- they failed each time. After eight years America (and the British) are still fighting the “insurgents”, and Bin Laden is still at large. The war continues with ‘victory’ nowhere near being in sight. (World War II took ‘only’ six years to finish!)


According to the Federal Electoral Commission, the declared total amount spent on the 2008 Presidential Election was a staggering $1,601 Million.

This money was raised from individual and corporate supporters. Why do individuals and corporations give money to a political party or to a candidate? The only reason I can think of is that they hope to be rewarded with some material benefit if their candidate/party gets into power. This, surely, is an anti-democratic and is a corrupt practice.

How is this money spent? It is spent on advertising and promotion. However, it goes way beyond merely disseminating information. The admitted intention is to ‘win votes’; to persuade voters to vote for one party or candidate instead of voting for another. As I see it, this is ‘buying votes’ and is a blatant attempt to corrupt the democratic principle whereby voters should cast their votes on the merits of the case only, NOT influenced by the publicity money can buy!

Saturday 24 January 2009

I was in the audience of THAT show (Friday Night with Jonathan Ross)

with Tom Cruise, Stephen Fry, Lee Evans and Franz Ferdinand

Tom Cruise on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, broadcast 23 Jan 09

Jonathan Ross fan gets to see 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross' being recorded amid an enormous dollop of media hype

As days go, Thursday 22 Jan 09 certainly was a memorable one!

Since my favourite TV show has been for ages, 'Friday Night with Jonathan Ross', as previously blogged, I thought it about time I sent off for tickets to be in the audience to see it being recorded. Just where is the green room? Why do they never show the audience? I was hoping to get all questions answered.

So I was on my way to BBC Television Centre on 29 Oct 08 when I was told the show was canceled. The tickets were then reissued for 22 Jan 09. Guests announced: Lee Evans, Stephen Fry and rumour. Then I heard that the time of the show was moved to noon rather than the evening. Must be a VIP rumour - which tied in rather obviously with Tom Cruise. What a stroke of luck that I should end up going to THAT show!

I set off for London nice and early, although the media were already there when I arrived at Television Centre. It was a bit of a media frenzy - I saw Sky News, BBC News, BBC Five Live, BBC Radio One, The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Daily Mirror and several papperazi. I even ended up being interviewed by BBC News three times, and once even live on the morning news! They mainly wanted to ask what I thought about the who-ha, whether I thought what Jonathan Ross did was wrong or right, whether he should apologise - there was enormous speculation as to what he is going to say about it in his opening address.

We, the audience, were then allowed into the doughnut building, the first stop of which was to go through 'airport security'. I was very impressed by the level of good control that the friendly security staff exhibited. They herded us every step of the way, making sure we never strayed beyond 'studio' or 'loo'.

It was very interesting to see the set 'in the flesh' because TV cameras manage to distort one's perception of distances and room layout. It was great, for me, to be in the studio (one of eight) because it is very likely to have been used for the filming of some of the original Monty Python Flying Circus shows in the late 60s and early 70s. How many other unforgettable shows were recorded in that very studio, I wonder.

Then the warm-up artist started doing his thing - a chap from New Zealand - and, finally, the Four Poofs installed themselves around their Piano and sang us a little song - the only line of which I still remember was a Heather Mills putdown.

Then the familiar theme music starts playing and the show is underway: the doors open, Jonathan Ross comes out, makes his apology etc... you know - you've seen the show!

It was fascinating to see how all the cameras move around the set. You'd think a few would collide now and again. Actually, I have a question. The opening shot where the camera flies from the left of the stage (from the audience's point of view) to the double doors where Mr Ross appears - how do they get the camera to fly through the animated "O" so perfectly when it isn't really there?

I was actually struck by how professional everybody was, from security right through to Jonathan Ross himself. I think he only fluffed his lines once, and that wasn't during his apology as I would have expected. He's just the same when the cameras are rolling as when they are not, by the way. And yes, several rude things he said (which I am not going to repeat here) were cut out before the show was broadcast. I must say, it was edited so well; you would never know where the edits were. And it ends at exactly the right second - how do they do that?

What you wouldn't know from just watching the show at home is that when a guest is called onto the stage, they get up, go into the corridor and, at that point, the the recording is halted to maybe do a bit of makeup or something. Then, when they are ready, the Four Poofs get the music going, the floor manager gets the audience clapping, and only then does the guest emerge onto the stage.

During the first pause after Lee Evans had been called, Jonathan made us all laugh when a makeup girl came out from the corridor, and he said, "That's not Lee Evans, obviously." Then he said, "Yes, I have lost a little weight, thank you for noticing."

One other thing Jonathan said while the cameras were not recording was quoted in the media, care of Yours Truly (see My media scrapbook below).

Just before the end of the proceedings, Tom Cruise made a point of coming back on stage to thank the audience for coming - a very considerate gesture I thought and so 'Tom Cruise'.

I also particularly enjoyed the conversation Jonathan and Stephen Fry had about Twitter. I have been following Stephen for a few weeks now and I tweeted every step of the way that day, from my mobile phone. (Follow me if you want:

When we (the audience) left Television Centre, we were besieged by the media who wanted to know what Jonathan said in his opening address, what rude words he used, the memorable moments of the show, etc. I was immediately surrounded by cameras, microphones, note pads and a barrage of questions. They were even getting tetchy with each other when one cut in with their question before I had finished answer the previous question! Now I have an idea what it must be like to be a celeb! Before I answered any, I wanted to first announce to the world, via Twitter, the exclusive news that Lee Evans was going to play a professor in Dr Who.

It was wonderful to then watch the show the next day and to see how it had been edited. Get this: just before the show went on air, I managed to get 2 replies to @johnalexwood from Jonathan (Wossy) himself via Twitter!

As anticipated, the show did really well in the ratings with 5.1m viewers. The last show in October was watched by 3.74m.

My media scrapbook (it was strange checking my own name in Google News!):
Television Centre

The Media waiting to pounce

The audience on their way into the studio

Welcome to the Audience Foyer

The Tardis

Related posts:

Thursday 15 January 2009

Music Icon Quincy Jones Receives Humanitarian Award “On the Mike with Mike Sherman”

Quincy Jones
Photo courtesy of

Music icon Quincy Jones will be featured on “On the Mike with Mike Sherman” this Saturday night (17 Jan 09) where he will be recognized for his outstanding humanitarian achievements. Later on in the show, Mike Sherman will talk with pop recording artist Solange Knowles, the sister of international superstar Beyonce, and the stunning actress Meagan Good. Mike Sherman will also be in Miami Beach for the annual BMI Musica event where he will meet up with Latin hip-hop superstar Pitbull. But the show won’t end there. Tune in for Mike’s one-on-one interview with fashion mogul Christian Audigier and south beach night club owner Romain Zago, as well as a performance from pop star Katy Perry.

Christian Audigier

Don’t miss some of the nation’s best artists on Miami’s number one music television show this Saturday at 10:30 on CBS/WBFS MY 33. See and

About “On the Mike with Mike Sherman”
Two years ago “On the Mike with Mike Sherman” debuted on Saturday night on My 33 (My Network TV, a CBS affiliate) in Miami and now is syndicated all over the country. Mike Sherman, a successful stockbroker founded Delray Beach-based Mike Sherman Productions, Inc (MSP, Inc) out of his love and passion for pop, Hip-Hop and R&B music. He created a show that has brought millions of viewers to TV screens all across the nation. In the hope of bringing the urban community in South Florida closer to exclusive interviews, VIP events and A-list celebrities, Mike has created up-close and personal relationships with media moguls worldwide. “On the Mike with Mike Sherman” can also be seen on 5 international networks throughout the world.

Sunday 4 January 2009

Spamalot London Closes - it's the end of an era

I went to see Spamalot (with Harry) for the 6th and last time ever because, sadly, it was Spamalot London's final performance.

I said hello to Sanjeev Bhaskar's wife, Meera Syal, by the stage door just before we went in to see Nina Söderquist who had invited us into her dressing room (which was like Grand central Station) just before the show so we could say goodbye. She is going back to Sweden today!

Then the final performance started before a packed house; couldn't see a spare seat anywhere. It was difficult to believe, as each hilarious scene rushed by, that it was the last time I would ever see them performed, from my favourite seat in the Upper Circle (the best seats in the house in terms of view but certainly not comfort!)

Sanjeev was the 4th King Arthur I had seen play the part (after Simon Russell Beale, Peter Davison and Alan Dale) and it was very interesting to see how each actor had interpreted the role. I found Sanjeev's ad libs such as saying 'Britons' in an Indian accent particularly funny as was his expression after Patsy's line "It's not the sort of thing you say to a heavily armed Christian."

However, I have to hand it to Simon Russell Beale, my first King Arthur, who I feel captured exactly the right frailty, regalness (or is it regality?) and incompetence of the 'real' King Arthur. He had a great singing voice too, and he had the timing of the lines just right. Well he is a BAFTA award-winning actor and he has been described as the greatest stage actor of his generation, so that's as you would expect I suppose - no offence to the other King Arthurs, mind.

I've never been to an end of show performance before, so I don't know if what happened last night was the norm, but Sanjeev made a touching speech at the end of the show (just before the final 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life'). He thanked all the present and past cast, present and past audiences and he asked all the crew to come on stage - that's the lighting, costume, make up, wigs people etc. He also said that we should study our programmes and make a mental note of the cast because they are special, and to follow and support the careers of all of them. What a lovely thing to say! I second that totally; what a professional bunch of people the cast of Spamalot were!

It was clear that there was a lot of affinity between all the cast, that everyone had a lot of fun being in the show and that the after-show party was going to be full of some very emotional goodbyes.

In the heat of the moment, Sanjeev forgot to acknowledge two people, without whom there would have been no Spamalot in the first place. So let me do that for him now: Thank you to Eric Idle and John du Prez for creating a brilliant and extremely special experience for all concerned (especially me!)

I hear the cow, a Knight of Ni! costume as well as the huge Holy Grail display from the front of the Palace Theatre were sold on eBay. The best I could manage as a souvenir was a few bits of confetti from the final final wedding scene.