Lets Go Everywhere

Pump up The Volume

Speaking of the death penalty, here’s an article from, again, the Guardian, about 7 activists in Viet Nam who may just face the firing squad for agitating against the government.  All this comes just ahead of a major APEC – Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation – Summit to be held in Hanoi later this month, to be attended by Senior Bush, as well as Viet Nam’s official entry into the WTO.

Vietnam Puts 3 U.S. Citizens on Trial

Tuesday November 7, 2006 3:01 AM

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Three U.S. citizens are among seven people who will go on trial in Vietnam this week over an alleged attempt to take over state radio stations to call for an uprising against the communist government, a court official said Tuesday.

The seven will stand trial Friday at the People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City on charges of terrorism, an offense that carries possible sentences ranging from 12 years in prison to death by firing squad, the court’s chief judge Bui Hoang Danh said.

The defendants, who were arrested in September of last year, include three U.S. citizens of ethnic Vietnamese descent: Thuong Nguyen “Cuc” Foshee of Orlando, Fla.; Le Van Binh “Phu” of Tampa, Fla, and Huynh Bich Lien “Linda” of San Gabriel, Calif.

Three Vietnamese nationals from southern An Giang province and a Vietnamese national who is a resident of the U.S. will also be tried, Danh said.

He said the trial would last one day.

The trial comes just before Hanoi is set to host the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit later this month. President Bush is scheduled to attend the Nov. 18-19 meeting.

A one-day trial, eh? Yeah, that’ll be fair. The kangaroo courts they operate here are hardwired for conviction. Just ask Gary Glitter!!

As for Viet Nam’s WTO accession… I can’t help but feel like the country is signing away its soul, perhaps without even really knowing what it’s getting into. With a population of 84 million people, 80% of whom are farmers, they just cannot handle influxes of cheap foreign foods and goods. China will swamp the market, and what then for the farmers? Off to the factories to be worked like dogs?

Here are some pics from Vietnamese executions. The government is considering doing away with the firing squad in favour of lethal injection, apparently because some of the soldiers doing the firing get nervous and miss their target.



Sound advice from the Guardian
November 1, 2006, 7:33 am
Filed under: consumerism, freedom, Guardian, politics, protests

Buy baby buy

Life getting you down? You can always distract yourself by buying some swanky material goods

Charlie Brooker
Monday October 30, 2006
The Guardian

Damn the news, damn it to hell and back. It used to be so exciting: sieges and streakers and balaclavas and Fred West and all that. There were good guys and bad guys. It was cute. And quite funny. Not any more. Now no one’s in the right and we’re all going to die. It’s so depressing, the only sane course is to ignore it completely until it goes away.
That’s why we’re so hooked on distraction, which is available in more forms than you can shake a stick at (stick-shaking being just one example). TV provides distraction, as do sport, fashion, and coloured lists of Chantelle’s top 10 favourite cuddles.

The internet is an incredible distraction; the equivalent of one of those Pavlovian training machines that dispenses pine nuts to lab rats when they nudge the correct lever – except instead of nuts, the internet dispenses porn, chit-chat, 9/11 conspiracy theories, and YouTube footage of kittens falling over.

The greatest form of distraction, however, has to be the pursuit of swanky material goods. Nothing staves off that gnawing sense of dread quite like a spending spree. Maybe I won’t get my legs blown off by terrorists if I buy enough aspirational bullshit? That’s the spirit.

This being space year 2006, you no longer need to visit Harrods to experience the kind of opulent extravagance usually associated with billionaires and sultan’s daughters. A trip to Asda will suffice. Almost every product you can think of is available in a toffee-nosed aristocratic version, all the better to mesmerise yourself with.

Fancy some crisps? Don’t scoff bog-standard Walkers; indulge in some hand-cooked balsamic and sea salt Kettle Chips instead. You’ll still end up fat as a whale, but at least you’ll have taken the posh route.

Clothes a bit mucky? Forget ordinary washing powder. Use new “Crushed Silk and Jasmine” Bold 2-in-1. That’s right: crushed silk and jasmine. Make sure your butler programmes the spin cycle correctly when he’s using it.

Need a shave? Toss out your Bics and grab the Gillette Fusion, which single-handedly represents Consumer Product Event Horizon by combining “the comfort of five blades” (on the front) with “the precision of one” (on the back). The main cutting surface is about the size of a sheet of A4; so large you can’t get it under your nose without shearing off your top lip, which is why you need the blade on the back – it’s the only bit you can enjoy a reasonable shave with.

There’s also a battery-operated “Power Handle” option that makes the whole thing buzz like a wasp in an envelope – not to help you shave, but to offer yet more fleeting distraction from the UNREMITTING MISERY OF LIFE.

The Fusion Mk2, out next year, features 190 blades, a 30GB hard drive, a pine nut dispenser and a synthesized voice telling you everything’s OK, even though the mere existence of such a razor proves otherwise. I’ve pre-ordered mine already.