Letters special Let’s just get straight to it, with a letter from a chap called Frank. Indeed, it is Frank’s letter that has prompted this particular letters special:
There have been some rants in your letters pages recently about how the register should be getting out of political debate and sticking to IT.
Keep the politics.
First off, I like media organisations that wear their hearts on their sleeves. At least you have a chance of working out where they stand. None of this self-serving 'we are impartial' bollox dished up by most US media outlets.
As to the staying in politics, well since IT is causing some of the most far-reaching changes in our society since the first industrial revolution, it's practically the duty of an organisation that reports on the technology to also report on its wider social effects.
Well, Frank, in your honour (and because we can) here is a politics special, courtesy of our beloved readers. No surprise that we’ll start with your thoughts on the news that Bush’s website is only accessible from North America.
Really John, it's very simple. It's a US election, why should the rest of the world have an opportunity to be privy to the interests of outsiders and Guardian letter-writers? (Though I'm still waiting for my personal 'gram from someone British and semi-important telling me the world will end if I don't vote for Kerry.)
And if the new secrecy of the Bush website happens to involve a planned invasion of Britain, you really don't need to know that either.
"How many would-be visitors to GeorgeWBush.com - including US service men and citizens living abroad and now denied their God-given right to freely surf the Land of the Free - will wind up at the satire site, we wonder? We weep for democracy."
I suspect that U.S. servicemen connect through a private encrypted network routed inside the U.S. thus allowing them on the site. Wouldn't want our enemies to listen to our communications you know. You should stick to IT related articles. Getting into U.S. politics is not your bag.
...and you have a God-ordained monarch. How middle ages of you! :)
Yes, but we keep her strictly for ceremonial purposes...
A suggestion as to the root cause of the blockade:
I might be able to speculate for you on the lockout of GeorgeWBush.com, being a US citizen. It *might* have something to do with The Guardian, but there's a more likely to do with a series of attacks and vandalism episodes on the President's campaign assets. I don't know how much press it's gotten in the UK but there have been a string of outright attacks (for, oh, about a month now) on a few dozen campaign offices throughout the US. Mostly, they're break-ins, vandalisms, thefts. But, in a few instances, there have been shots fired on the offices during business hours and during a trade union inspired (though, not instigated) riot, one campaign worker's arm was broken. Given the fevered and oft violent pitch of some of Bush's detractors, they're probably afraid of a defacement or DoSing as the election closes down, so they're likely mitigating an attack. That's just my speculation, but given some of the things they've said about these raids, it makes sense.
A bitter defense of the northern land's pinko leanings:
As a Canadian I can assure you that our only broadsheet newspaper is not 'pinko'. The Sun is a chain of papers actually (http://www.canoe.ca/PlanetSun/home.html) and slightly right of centre by Canadian standards. Which I suppose still leaves them on the left anywhere else in the world.
Aside from the Sun(s) and National Post (http://www.NationalPost.com) EVERY Canadian newspaper is 'pinko' so if that were the reason for blocking foreign access Canada would have been blocked first.
I resent your implication that there are no 'Pinko Broadsheet Agitators' in Canada. Though originally from the UK, I assure you that anti-American sentiment increases the closer one gets geographicaly to the US.
Canada's exemption to the blocking attempts is easily explained by my 197x copy of Funk and Wagnells Dictionary (US Published). Under the heading "War", it clearly states that the USA won the war of 1812, and therefore must own Canada... Mind you it also says that they won the Viet Nam war...
It might be blocked, but we can still see the site. And it doesn't take much in the way of hacking skill, either:
I don't know if you've noticed, but https://georgewbush.com/ still works. And if you skip the host header you're still able to see the site. So whatever they tried to do, they did a crappy job doing it.
However, you can access the website by the IP address. Look it up yourself, since putting the information out publicly my be aiding and abetting terrorist activities against the Bush website....
Thoughts on the unofficial annexation of Canada:
Regarding the bush website. It's likely canadiens can still acces it because the IP ranges we get are pretty much the same as internet users in the US, making it hard to block us without blocking users in the US as well.
Bush technocrats of course think that we in Canada are just another state of course ... OH GOD>..... I've been .... ... ... ... Dubya'd! *grin* Works from up here north of the 49th. Guess we Canadians will have to troop down there to whup butt again. Care to join us fellow Commonwealth types?
Hey John, Seems to work from up here in Canuckistan as of 12:54 EST. Must be that whole longest-unguarded-border thing. Cheers, Chris
Has Canada been anexed and I was not informed ? I can access www.goergewbush.com without a problem.
It seems that us Canadians are still being granted access to good o'l GWB Jr's website. While it's mightly neighbourly of them, I think I would perfer to be blocked too.
Wellll.... FYI, we consider Canada as part of the US. (Except Quebec, quite a few of those damn cheese-eating surrender monkeys live there....) Flame On! :)
The debate over the cause and outcome of the 1812 rumpus (not the Russian one, the other one) is still going on, and has become intermingled with accusations about our sobriety, and in some places, descended into something of a UK/US slanging match:
I feel that I should point out to Mitchell, who certainly let off much built up aggression, and who knows - possibly jealousy in a recent email sent to the Reg, that the British may indeed enjoy a slight tipple or several at lunch time, but alas many people are simply following in one of the Greatest Britons of all time.
Sir Winston Churchill was renowned for drinking during the morning, afternoon, evening and night and as himself quite simply put it "I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me".
Now to me if Sir Winston Churchill succeeded in so much, so pissed, so much of the time I am left wondering - why on earth a sober Tony and Bush are doing such a dire job?
And on another note, if US citizens were angered by letters from Guardian readers encouraging them to vote and do their democratic duty, would they prefer that the US were invaded, the current regime done away with and a puppet government installed who took orders from the Kremlin? No I did not think so, and nor did the populations of the many countrys the US has sent troops to in order to stem the growth of communism and now 'The Axis of Evil'.
Just for the record, almost everyone here in the US loves Great Britain and most things British. While we would never have a Queen ourselves, we're perfectly content that you have one, and we love her almost as much as you must.
Hundreds of thousands of US soldiers, sailors and airmen died on the contient of Europe so the UK could remain a free country. We would never let anyone, paticularly the French, endanger your realm.
So, lay off the election or we'll kick your ass. Again.
Count the votes properly this time, or will send in the UN...oh, wait...Nevermind.
"The 1812 war? That'll be when the USA tried to expand into Canada and got its arse handed to it by the combined might of the British and Canadian forces, right? Guess Bush supporters not knowing history makes sense...
Did anyone else spend a brief moment trying to work out what Napoleon's invasion of Russia had to do with UK and US relations..?"
You must remember that as Americans we forget that other countries sometimes our role in history less important then their own. For us the war of 1812 was when we decided to get upity because the British were blockading our merchent vessels from landing in France, among other reasons.
We only won one significant battle and that occured after the peace treaty was signed. It seemed that at the time Britian felt it had more pressing issues then to continue thumping us.
And thus endeth our political diversion for the week. ®