Posts tagged ‘United States’

Who wants £200 for free?

It’s not a bad offer until you learn that there are two catches:

a) You have to be a drug addict and
b) You have to agree to be sterilised and never have children again.

An American charity called Projection Prevention is offering £200 to drug addicts who agree to be sterilised. It was founded by Barbara Harris, who thought of the idea after adopting the children of a drug addict. The children’s mother was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and she had given birth to a child every year for 8 years in a row.

So far, the charity has paid money to 3,500 Americans to stop them from having children. Each person was paid 300 dollars. Projection Prevention is now bringing the idea to the UK, and they have already paid one man £200 to get sterilised.

I watched Newsnight on BBC 2 and they had a special report on the issue. The reporter said that 100 babies were being born every month to drug addicts in the UK. They then showed a baby inside a hospital incubator. It had been born 2 months premature, and it was screaming non-stop because it was addicted to heroin!

The baby was going ‘cold turkey‘ because it no longer had the heroin that it used to get from its mother.

Over 100 British drug addicts have already called the 0800 number, and I hope that more of them do the same. People who are against this idea say it is inhumane, as drug addicts are incapable of making clear decisions. They also say that the addicts will use the money to buy more drugs.

Barbara Harris feels that people who are incapable of making clear decisions should not be having babies in the first place. I’m inclined to agree with her.

The Special Relationship

I’ve just watched The Special Relationship, a film about the close relationship between Tony Blair (the ex-prime minister of Britain) and Bill Clinton (the ex-president of the United States).

The cast

The film starred Michael Sheen as Tony Blair, Dennis Quaid as Bill Clinton, Hope Davis as Hillary Clinton, and Helen McCrory as Cherie Blair.

It was directed by Richard Loncraine and is the third and final film of Peter Morgan’s ‘Blair Trilogy’, which includes The Deal (2003) and The Queen (2006).

Special resemblance

I really enjoyed it. I have to start by saying that Hope Davis looked exactly like Hillary Clinton, and her portrayal of the former first lady was amazing. She has been nominated for an Emmy Award for her role, and I very much hope that she wins it. The other actors played their parts very well, and I was impressed with how authentic their accents were. They all got the mannerisms right too.

The background

The film dealt with the Northern Ireland peace process, the war in Kosovo, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In the beginning we see Tony Blair in Washington, speaking to Bill Clinton’s special advisers. They are giving him lessons in how to win an election.

Clinton is excited by Blair because he thinks they are both alike (progressive, centre-left politicians) and sees Blair’s victory as part of a growing trend of centre-left dominance which is spreading around the world.

Politics alert!

Centre-left politicians believe in universal healthcare, stronger rights for employees, more regulation of the financial market, more environment-friendly policies, and (in America) they believe in the woman’s right to have an abortion.

Tony Blair

Blair is portrayed as a highly ambitious person (naturally) who either decided to move to from the centre-left to the centre-right, or was secretly a centre-right politician from the start. Maybe he just liked befriending powerful people? He struck up a wonderful friendship with Bill Clinton at the beginning, but to Clinton’s disappointment, he did the very same thing with George W. Bush once he became president.

<><><> The short review ends here <><><>

The special relationships

I loved the relationships between Tony and Cherie, Hillary and Bill, Tony and Bill, and Tony and his advisers (Alastair Campbell & Jonathan Powell).

Tony and Cherie

Cherie is portrayed as a smart, funny woman who isn’t too impressed with Bill’s infidelities; she is, however, impressed with the way Bill consults Hillary before he makes any major decisions. She has strong opinions and is always sharing them with Tony. They are both portrayed as adoring each other.

Hillary and Bill

Hillary trusts her husband when the Monica Lewinsky scandal begins, but feels betrayed once the truth eventually comes out. She is portrayed as being dignified and supportive.

Tony and his staff

Alastair Campbell and Jonathan Powell seem to know about every story in the media before it’s published, and they know about all the minute details of Blair’s trips and meetings. There is one scene where the three of them are sitting in a car as it enters the White House. Blair is seated on right side of the car, but they tell him to move over to the left side, because they know that the left door will be opened first.

Bill and Tony

Bill intervenes in the Northern Ireland peace process when it looks like Sinn Fein and the IRA are about the wreck the deal. Tony returns the favour when he publicly stands by Bill at the start of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The strength of their friendship, however, is tested by the deteriorating situation in Kosovo.

Blair believes that the NATO airstrikes are not effective, and tries to convince Bill to send in ground troops. Bill is reluctant to invade another sovereign country that has not launched any attacks on the United States. The film was showing us how Blair’s way of thinking (on Kosovo) was similar to George W. Bush’s way of thinking on Afghanistan and Iraq.

Betrayal?

Blair gives a speech to the Chicago Economic Club, and he outlines a “doctrine of the international community” (which has come to be known as the “Blair Doctrine“). He said there were times when the international community had no choice but the intervene in the affairs of sovereign states.

He called for intervention in Kosovo, and was received with a positive response from the American politicians and the American media. According to the film, Bill Clinton was forced to increase America’s involvement, and eventually the Serbian leader, Slobodan Milosevic agrees to peace talks.

The end

The Clintons visit The Blairs at the end of Bill Clinton’s second term as president. Tony Blair apologises to Bill Clinton for giving the speech in Chicago, but Clinton says he doesn’t believe his apology is genuine. He also questions Blair’s true political ideology, and warns him against befriending George W. Bush.

In the last scene, we see the real footage of the Blair-Bush press conference in Camp David, where it’s obvious that Blair has ignored Bill’s advice.

Obama has delivered on one of his promises

When Barack Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States, he made a lot of promises.  His famous slogans were “Yes we can” and “Change you can believe in”. However, it was obvious from the beginning that his rivals (The Republicans) were going to try to stop him from making all the changes he promised.

He promised sweeping healthcare reforms, and delivered a Healthcare Bill. He also promised major financial reform, and managed to successfully sign a Financial Reform Bill. These were delivered to the American people despite huge opposition from the idiots on the other side (aka The Republicans) and some idiots on his own side (aka the “blue-dog” Democrats).

He has managed to put together a very good stimulus package which is helping America to slowly recover from the mess it was left in. I know that many liberals and progressives are not entirely happy with what Obama has done so far (Guantanamo Bay, anyone?), but I hope they don’t forget how bad it was under George “War president” Bush.

I hope President Obama will be given a second term in office, so he can pass stronger bills to improve the lives of the American people.

Anyway, I would like to talk about the war in Iraq. When Obama was a senator, he voted against the war in Iraq. As President of the United States, he had no choice but to continue the war in order to restore law and order in Iraq. He did, however, promise to bring all the combat troops home from Iraq, and today he has kept that promise.

The last combat troops pulled out of Iraq two weeks ago. The remaining troops, which number 50,000 in total, are there to train the Iraqi army. They will remain there until the end of 2011.

The war in Iraq was launched in March 2003 to disarm Saddam Hussein of his weapons of mass destruction. Just as so many of us predicted before the war began, there were no such weapons in Iraq.

The United States has spent $900bn (£585bn) in seven and a half years of fighting in Iraq, and more than 4,400 American troops have lost their lives. We must not forget that the United Kingdom was also involved in the war, and 179 British soldiers lost their lives in the conflict. In addition to this, over 106,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the war.

I have just watched Obama giving a speech marking the end of combat operations in Iraq. He said he was in awe of the bravery of the troops, and said they will all be looked after when they return home. He also talked about the war in Afghanistan, saying that America will not be involved in open-ended warfare. Just as in Iraq, the Afghanistan security forces will start to take over combat operations in Afghanistan in August 2011.

President Obama may not have been able to implement all the changes which he promised, but he has managed to bring the American combat troops home. I hope he is given the credit he deserves for doing something which was long overdue.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: