Thursday, May 31, 2007

You don't need a J-Dam for a bicycle thief

'Fascism and America: Comparisons between Nazi Germany and today's US government are glib, inaccurate and unworthy.'

Put that in the 'no shit sherlock' file... Where are the Marx brothers when you need them?

Is it really necessary to rebut, in a national forum, the delusional rantings of very dumb people? I get to do it here because this is just a simple blog, no great shakes in the larger scheme of things. Saying that, even I never try to rebut conspiracy theories. Thats like going into the loony bin and trying to debate contentious current affairs- pointless and aggravating. But I really don't think the Guardian should give over space to something as plainly silly as the contention that the US is in any serious way like Nazi Germany. There are zillions of really important things to discuss. Is there any way out of physically destroying Irans nuclear capabilities, say, or can we positively influence Russian politics? But discussing America's resemblance to Nazi Germany is like discussing whether the moon is made of cheese. Let the little kids discuss that at Daily Kos while the rest of us get on with genuine issues of moment.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wandering about without a clue,,2090993,00.html

'At this week's Hay festival, Charles Leadbeater, currently writing a book on the internet's transformation of creativity, explained how we are moving from the passive consumers of the 20th century to the active participants of the 21st. That had to be good for democracy, he said, because it would give more people a voice, good for equality, because it lowers the barriers that once excluded all but the elite from taking part, and good for freedom because it allows people to express themselves.'

Why is so much lefty writing impenetrable and mushy? The Internets affect on the mechanics of politics will be a lot like those of books and magazines, but the effects will happen a bit faster. Got that? Jeez Louise. I remember sitting around with web aficionados ten years ago as they droned on and on about the mystical and magical effects the internet was going to have. Just like the dotcom boom, it was 99% fluffy nothing. By 2005, we were all going to be working from home on ergonomic chairs, feeding the cat with one hand and updating the Accounts Payable with the other. Hmmmm. We were all going to using free software like Linux. Hmmmm. The internet was going to a free-thinking, uncensored place run by hippies, for hippies. Hmmmm. China, Russia, Child Porn, Jihadi videos, bestiality, neo-nazis anyone?

Life must be full of shocking surprises for some people. Everything they EVER predict doesn't happen. I guess they must predict things and then immediately forget, and never check to see whether their prediction panned out. Because there's no sign of learning...

This article is almost a parody of the complete inability of lefty thinking to explain the real world.

What is a journalists trade union for?

'In backing the gagging of dissenting voices, Pilger, Benn, Labour deputy leader hopeful Jon Cruddas and others backed a regime where criticism of the president is potentially punishable by 30 months in prison, and where the government is clearly intent on shutting down dissenting voices.
Meanwhile, the NUJ secretary, Jeremy Dear, has persistently backed Chávez against the media outlets, citing the general improvement for workers in the Chávez era as a reason for solidarity. No matter what your views on the relative gains and losses the Venezuelan people have experienced since Chávez took power in 1998, one should be able to spot, and criticise, the censor's instinct at play.'

So lets see- the NUJ under Jeremy Dear has solidly backed the Palestinians, one of whose terrorist groups has taken captive the BBC correspondent for Gaza, and whose commitment to truth in the public domain is nil. And it backs Chavez in Venezuela who is putting journalists out of business because they dare to disagree with his politics. Perhaps Jeremy Dear should quit the NUJ and start an international communist/internationalist political party, rather than turning the NUJ into one...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

All civilians are not created equal

The moonbats grip on most of the mainstream media outlets in the west has reached the Economist. I'm not the first person to notice this, in fact its been a bit of a theme in blogland for the last couple of months, but its still shocking when you come face to face with it.

"In the past fortnight, over 200 homemade rockets have been fired, killing one Israeli, while retaliatory Israeli air strikes have killed some 50 Palestinians, including civilians."

The Economist, May 26th 2007 edition.

When is a civilian not a civilian? When they are in Israel, stoopid. ALL the Qassams are aimed at large civilian targets, and ALL the Israeli air strikes are aimed at Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist targets, but lets go with the moonbat moral equivalency crap anyhow. I guess it just goes to show that Goebbels was right- repeat the lie long enough and it becomes the truth. Keep on pumping out the garbage about 'resistance' and 'holocaust' and 'massacres' and 'Jewish Nazi's' and eventually the western press will start to parrot your words. Do you suppose the current crop of journo's working at the Economist have ever considered this question- if the Palestinians had the weapons that the Israeli's have, what would they do to the Israeli's? Every honest person knows the answer to that question. It wouldn't be '50 Israelis, including civilians'. Tel Aviv, Netanya, Beersheba and Ashdod would very shortly cease to exist. How might that be reported by all the Pali-apologists? 'After 10 days of continuous bombardment, 300,000 Israeli's have died in Eilat. It is not known if any were civilians, but who really cares.'

Monday, May 28, 2007

Same ol' same ol'

'It's a harsh message for Swiss Muslims, many of whom were born in Switzerland. There are fears that the campaign against minarets will provoke growing resentment against Swiss society.
"I think Swiss Muslims will be angry and bitter over this," said Reinhard Schulze, professor of Islamic Studies at Berne University. "And we know that anger and bitterness among a community can lead to radicalisation, even to militancy." '

Let us have mosques with Minarets, or we'll start to blow shit up. Did I get that right? Just saying, because I seem to have heard this script before... Oh I remember now, EVERYWHERE IN EUROPE. The clash of civilisations is here, has been here since at least the early eighties. At least the Swiss seem to have a clear and straightforward understanding of this.

'"But we don't want minarets. The minaret is a symbol of a political and aggressive Islam, it's a symbol of Islamic law. The minute you have minarets in Europe it means Islam will have taken over. We have our civil laws here," insisted Mr Freysinger. "Banning minarets would send a clear signal that our European laws, our Swiss laws, have to be accepted. And if you want to live here, you must accept them. If you don't, then go back."'

If only the rest of Europe understood how Moslems understand the freedom we allow them: as a tacit acceptance that we agree to be dominated by them.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Todays 'Without comment'

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps
His day is marching on
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery Gospel writ in burnished rows of steel
“As ye deal with My contemners, so with you My grace shall deal”
Let the Hero born of woman crush the serpent with His heel,
Since God is marching on
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet
Our God is marching on
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free
While God is marching on
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on.

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave
He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave
Our God is marching on
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

Julia W. Howe

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Talking about next to nothing

'Chancellor Gordon Brown has admitted the government has made mistakes over its handling of the situation in Iraq. Speaking at a Labour Party hustings meeting in Bristol, Mr Brown said it was a divisive issue for the nation. He said the government and others had fallen short when it came to rebuilding the country's economy after the war. Mr Brown, who becomes PM on June 27, said economic activity, employment and security were key to achieving peace.'

I sympathise with Gordon Brown. What do you say when you can't really say anything? He can't really talk to a Labour audience about any of the realities of the Iraq situation. Because of the entrenched stupidity, ignorance and vapidity of his audience, there's nothing to talk about but the least relevant aspect of events since 2003. Just because the Iraqis showed a staggering capacity for shitting on their own doorsteps, does that mean Britain, America and all the other countries who have built brand new infrastructure in Iraq only to see it blown up, sabotaged, stolen or otherwise wasted are culpable of 'falling short'? Hmmmph. I don't think so.

What Gordon Brown should be talking about is the vision of an Iraqi future where the long-standing bad habits of a brutal and sadistic nation are overcome at long last with the help of free nations. A vision of a country that combines diverse peoples successfully, has real law enforcement, a real economy, real wealth, strong institutions, real freedom and the capacity to live peacefully with its neighbors. Thats the vision that Tony Blair and George Bush have been pursuing in the teeth of opposition from virtually every point of the compass.

Of course, Gordon Brown can't mention that because his cynical audience would screech and boo and laugh. They don't believe that nations like ours can help other nations achieve what we have. They see us as a fascistic-imperialist monster devouring its hapless prey. I pity them.

Friday, May 25, 2007

BBC non-propaganda item of the day

Very very interesting article. There seems to be a growing consensus between ex-jihadi's, honest politicians, counter-terrorism experts and a slim part of the right in Britain about the precise nature and extent of the threat.

'During his teenage years, he became involved in Hizb ut-Tahrir, a global political movement that calls for a single Islamic state across the Middle East. At the time it was headed by Omar Bakri Mohammed, before he formed Al Muhajiroun, a banned radical group whose name has featured heavily in recent terror trials.'

'...Until we start dealing with the underlying Islamist ideology - challenging it head on with a well-thought out defence of both British values and the real messages of Islam - then we will not deal with the jihadis.'

The great unwashed PC brigades manage to maintain their fantasy delusions about how George Bush invented/created Islamism in the face of clear, specific information from ex-jihadis. That should scare anyone who believes that human beings are essentially rational.

This is the first time I have read an article on the BBC website that does not toe the party line about the Religion of Peace. Long may it continue.

Iraq update

The Iraq story you won't be reading in your morning paper/hearing on your radio/watching on you TV news bulletin:

'The search, for the three American soldiers taken by terrorists after an ambush on May 12th, has involved 6,000 troops (two thirds of them American) in the Baghdad suburbs. The action has been much more aggressive than usual, because of the urgency factor. Since there have been no terrorist videos of the soldiers on the Internet, it is assumed that they are either dead, or held by terrorists who are on the run and being pressed by the search operation. Over a thousand Iraqis have been arrested so far, and two of them admitted they were part of the ambush team (but not the group that took away the three U.S. soldiers.) While many of the tips indicate the troops are still alive, it's more likely they are dead. Yesterday, the body of one of the missing soldiers was found in the Euphrates River, south of Baghdad. The searching troops are taking more casualties, but they are tearing up terrorist and criminal operations in the area. Actually, most of the bad guys caught so far have been common criminals, who are often eager to tell what they know in return for a "get out of jail" card. American military commanders and diplomats continue to remind Iraqi politicians that the biggest problem in the country is corruption. That's hard for many Iraqis to accept, since stealing whatever-you-can-get-your-hands-on has been a tradition for so long. Many Iraqis assume it's the natural order of things, and consider the Americans insane, or disrespectful, with all their talk of honest government. The message, however, is getting through, as it becomes obvious that Iraqs new democracy won't work with the traditional Iraqi attitudes towards dishonesty in politics. This new attitude is being reflected in many ways. There are more corruption investigations, arrests and prosecutions. The corruption is still there, but it's becoming politically incorrect. Meanwhile, everyone is getting more patriotic. It's no longer cool to take orders from Iran. So Muqtada Al Sadr, and his Mahdi army, are becoming less a tool of Iran, and more a mainstream Iraqi political movement. Sadr is even sitting down and cutting deals with Sunni Arab politicians. At the same time, the Mahdi Army is being purged of factions that don't go along with the new peace and reconciliation approach. Those radical factions are still killing Sunni Arabs, while Sunni Arabs and al Qaeda continue to slaughter Shia Arabs. This is not popular with Iraqis in general, and the terrorists are increasingly seen as a public menace that all Iraqis must unite to destroy.'

I don't know who writes for but it must be guys working for Military Intelligence or a US government secret agency. All I know is, what you read there will appear partially and without meaningful context about six weeks later in some of the mainstream media. Mainstream media= not fit for purpose.

United in rage

There's an argument to be made that no matter whether you voted Republican or Democrat in the last round of congressional elections, you aren't getting what you voted for. A couple of days ago, the US congress passed a law legitimising tens of millions of illegal immigrants and allowing them to claim benefits from the US government. Yesterday, Congress agreed a new bill paying out 90 billion dollars for the war in Iraq and this time without the pork-barrel earmarks. I guess there is equality in there somehow- the Dem's and the Republicans are both hopping mad.

Crazy crazy goddamn world.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Amnesty trash talk costs lives

'The continuing allegations of U.S. torture, use of secret prisons, ghost detainees, and indefinite and unconstitutional detention at Guantanamo calls into question the U.S. commitment to fight torture and adhere to international law. The U.S. now lacks the credibility needed to improve human rights abroad.'

US lack of credibility among NGO operatives and fifty cents will get you a cup of coffee. Among Amnesty Internationals many other straw men, laughable distortions and blame-America-first perspectives, saying the US lacks credibility to improve human rights in the wider world tops the league. You know what improves human rights abroad? B-52 bombers (Serbia). Apache cobras (Somalia). 155,000 brave marines and soldiers (Iraq). And you might also want to include 800 British para's (Sierra Leone). Endlessly repeating Al-Qaeda talking points about torture at Gitmo is harmful and stupid, and is getting real US soldiers killed. Every time these idiots spray their garbage across the world, Mullah Omar and the rest of those arseholes take heart and re-enter the fray knowing that their propaganda is winning them easy victories in American living rooms.

For every good thing Amnesty has done during its lifetime, fifty stupid things outweigh the good.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Traitors used to have their heads put on pikes

'Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran
May 22, 2007 6:29 PM
Brian Ross and Richard Esposito Report

The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on'

Its time for some dead crows on the fence. Motherfuckers like Brian Ross and Richard Esposito should be tried for treason and executed. Revealing state secrets to the enemy is treason. When did that stop mattering?

Game theory and Marxism

Very very interesting use of Game Theory analysis to bring a fresh look at why the marxists and 'liberals' are always very poor in their predictive powers.

Responding to the new war

'Drawing on scores of chilling examples from the ongoing insurgency in Iraq, Robb reveals how the technology that has enabled globalization also allows terrorists, criminals, and violent ideologues of every stripe to join forces against a far bigger and richer foe without revealing their identities, following orders, or even working toward the same ultimate goal. This new brand of open-source warfare enables insurgents to coordinate attacks, swarm on targets, and adapt rapidly to changes in their enemy's tactics, all at minimal cost and risk. And now, Robb shows, it is being exported around the world, from Pakistan to Nigeria to Mexico, creating a new class of insurgents he calls global guerrillas.
This evolutionary leap in the methods of warfare makes it possible for extremely small nonstate groups to fight states and possibly win on a regular basis. The use of systems disruption as a method of strategic warfare gives rise to a nightmare scenario in which any nation—including the United States—can be driven to bankruptcy by an enemy it can't compete with economically. We are staring at a future where defeat isn't experienced all at once but as an inevitable withering away of military, economic, and political power through wasting conflicts with minor foes.
How can we defend ourselves against this pernicious new menace? Brave New War presents a debate-changing argument that no one who cares about national security can afford to ignore: it is time, says Robb, to decentralize all of our systems, from energy and communications to security and markets. It is time for every citizen to take personal responsibility for some aspect of state security. It is time to make our systems, and ourselves, as flexible, adaptable, and resilient as the forces that are arrayed against us.'

I already figured this out for myself. I know, what a frickin' genius. Seriously though, my idea for combating 'instant jihad syndrome' and associated disorder is already on record here:

Every borough, every district and every village needs a hefty police reserve, on call 24 hours a day, trained to expert levels in firearm use, licensed to carry a concealed weapon, trained in police and counterterrorism work. My original estimate was two million, but I think in light of the above arguments six million is more like it (1 in 10 of the population). Four million men, two million women. There would be costs associated with the training and arming, but nothing like the costs of replacing our most expensive bridges, public buildings, nuclear power stations etc. This Police reserve would not be expected to do any regular shifts, but would meet up regularly for top-up training.

I also recommend regularising gun ownership for all citizens with no criminal record. Children should receive instruction in safe and responsible gun use, and gun owners should be offered free training in effective firearm use in emergency situations. Effectively, the front lines are now us. If you see someone conducting some kind of sabotage or terrorist attack, there's no time to call in the SAS- I must act, you must act. The criminals and often the terrorists in Britain are already armed- its only the rest of us who present a nice fat soft target to them. As this guy points out, the war has changed shape and pattern. What are we going to do about it?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

PR contest we are losing

'On May 14, at a conference sponsored by terrorism-risk insurer Lloyds, Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of the Secret British Intelligence Service MI6, said the U.S. and UK had placed themselves in a "strategically weak" position due to having the wrong strategy against terrorism, and emphasized the importance of strengthening the counter-terrorism "brand" and of undermining the viability of Al Qaeda as a "brand."'

I hope very much that this is not the first outing for this analysis. Mark Steyn long ago floated the idea of the strong horse and the weak horse. In an asymmetric war, you have to know exactly where the battlegrounds are. Number one battleground is the mass media. The eyeballs of the rich nations are where the most important battles are fought and lost. I say, lost, because both the British and American governments don't seem to be in the game. They have not figured out that it just isn't enough to keep killing large numbers of the bad guys. You have to impress on the minds of all the young boys who are coming along that the bad guys are losers. They will be much less likely to join up. But there have been very few, very tentative efforts to out-PR Al-Qaeda and all the new Jihadis-on-the-block.

The expert, judicious use of PR doesn't seem to be something that comes easily to our governments. 'Shock and Awe' comes to mind. If 'Shock and Awe' is your goal, don't tell everybody first. Its a bit like stating that a joke is funny before you tell it- if it is, they didn't need the heads-up, and if it isn't you look like an idiot. America has the most effective and well-armed forces on the planet- but has the street cred of a little old granny with a walker. Superior firepower only matters if you have the will and the confidence to use it when the situation requires. Many of the comments in the public domain from current and ex-US Generals leave the distinct impression that America's firepower is in the hands of men who often don't believe in fighting for American interests or killing evil tyrants. In fact, its uncertain whether they believe US forces should defend America at all...

All round the world, people pick up this kind of information from the internet and make their own judgement about who is the genuinely strong horse. And judging by the steady stream of recruits feeding into Iraq from Syria and Jordan, thats not us. Who exactly is going to take our nations by the scruff of the neck and require an answer? Are we going to fight or are we going to pretend to fight? Because the strong horse is not necessarily the one doing none of the dying...

Point not proven Found this on Instapundit.

'"Muslim silence" in the face of terrorism has become a predictable cliché in Western discourse. It is now widely believed by non-Muslims throughout the West that no representative of the faith of Muhammad will denounce violence against Jews, Christians, Hindus and others, even though non-fundamentalist Muslims are by far the most numerous victims of terrorism. The very existence of a moderate, pluralist Islam is so widely doubted in the West that it often appears there is no alternative to a war of extremes between those of ill-will on both sides of the cultural and religious divide.'

Anything which encompasses 1.2 billion people is going to have to be dealt with in generalities. Discussing the response of Moslems to violence perpetrated by other Moslems is always going to do a disservice to some moderate followers of that religion. Saying that, from the very beginning of Moslem violence in Britain, the response of the bombers co-religionists was characterised by denial, rationalisation, lying and a strong whiff of 'its your own fault'. I speak from personal experience, discussing these events with work colleagues who are Moslems, as well as TV and print reports.

Because of the imprint that Arab culture has made on Islam, characteristics of that culture are also characteristics of Moslems the world over to varying degrees. The visceral hatred of people who don't agree with you, the feeling that if you don't dominate others you are living in humiliation, the refusal to think about or admit to things that put you in a bad light, the feeling that you are the sole possessor of ultimate truth- all of these things feed into the insubstantial and half-hearted response of Moslems to violence emanating from their ranks. All are part of Arab culture. To the extent that they have carried across to populations in Britain, America, Indonesia, the Phillipines and many other countries, they present a permanent and unfortunate obstacle to societal harmony. Because of these latent and actual baggages, Islam is everybodies neighbor from hell.

Is it possible to exorcise those features of Arab culture from Islam? Highly unlikely, I'd say. 1400 years after Islam was founded, it still has most of its original characteristics. And if you were to detect a major trend in Islam, it would not be any kind of 'reform', but the replacement of diverse Islams around the globe with the toxic, abrasive and militant Wahhabism. So rather than seeing light on the horizon, the prospect for the immediate future darkens. The author of the above piece uses as proof of moderate Moslems peaceful intent a declaration of the Albanian Mosques of America- its going to take a little bit more than that to persuade the 6 billion of us who aren't Moslems that Islam is taking care of business and rooting out the Wahhabist jihad-mongers.

Why can't Iraqis be proud of being Iraqi?

Interesting post over at Jihadwatch. Robert Spencer seems to believe that all Moslems everywhere are Moslems first, and Iraqi's or Egyptians or Jordanians second. There is a lot anecdotal evidence coming out of Iraq that hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's are nationalists and tribe members first, Moslems second. These guys are currently fighting Al-Qaeda, militias and criminals at great personal risk right now, side by side with the Americans. Not only does the war not have the same components as Vietnam (mainly a Nationalist struggle first against the French then the Americans), it is at a very different stage. There is a strong possibility that if Iran was not working very hard behind the scenes to keep the various insurgencies and criminalities stoked, many of them would have been neutralised or just dried up and blown away by now. Thats the opposite of a Nationalist struggle- thats the undermining of a sovereign nation by a neighbor. I have a feeling that this truth is gradually seeping into the mix in Iraq- undermining both the Sunni insurgency and the Shia militias claims to be Iraqi patriots. Iraqi nationalism is still a relatively new and untested phenomenon, mainly because Iraq is a new country.

So I have to say I disagree with Robert Spencer. Iraqi's seem to like the idea of Iraq more than many people in the West and in the Middle East thought. If Gen Petraeus can keep moving in the direction he is, splitting the Sunni's from Al-Qaeda, and destroying the military capability of the Mahdi Army and Badr Brigades, a time will soon come when the only people fighting in Iraq will be a tiny Al-Qaeda rump and a few Iranian proxies. Your average Joe in Iraq will be presented with a new order, a secular and relatively peaceful Iraq. At that point both Iraq and America will have 'won'. I believe that this may be as close as a year away.

Pelosi the charlatan (Credit: Little Green Footballs)

When the history books come to be written about this period, I wonder how ham-fisted and ludicrous Nancy Pelosi's self-declared 'reaching out across the sea'-athon will appear. It reminds me of kids dressing up in their parents clothes and having tea-parties with toy china. Nancy Pelosi may have the title and the plane and the budget, but she doesn't have the experience and the intelligence to do her job. She has a fanciful notion that the only bad people in the world are Republican conservatives and Baptist preachers, and that Bashir Assad is a lovely foreign chappie that Bush is just being mean and spiteful to out of malevolence. If we just go and have a nice friendly chat with them, and show them that the Democrats are nice friendly people, not like the horrid, beastly Republicans, the Assads of the world will mellow out and join our worldwide coalition of nice people. Even Jimmah Carter isn't that naive. At least he recognised that there were some very intricate and extensive problems in the Middle East, many of them home-grown.

Nancy Pelosi seems to think that the rest of the world is Potemkin Villages, simply a pretty backdrop for playing out the vastly important dramas of Beltway theatre. Compared to this vain and delusionary vacuity, President Bush's sober and serious consideration of the well-being of Iraqi's and Syrians is on a distinctly superior moral plane. I think history will judge Ms Pelosi harshly, and President Bush much more kindly than many of his contemporaries think.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hamas and Fatah- the courageous double-act

Listening to this idiot, one phrase struck me-

"They [Ismael Haniyeh and Mahmood Abbas] have no gains to show from the courageous attempt to reach a compromise which is implicit in the unity government. Nothing to show from it AT ALL. The economic boycott goes on..."

What is it with moonbats and courage? Why is it only lefty filmmakers, terrorist politicians and anti-racism campaigners are courageous? The unity government in Palestine is in most respects like the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. It is a temporary marriage of convenience while both sides tap as many arms suppliers as they can, and train up as many bozos/cannon-fodder as they can. Where exactly does the courage come in?

As Mark Steyn likes to point out, mixing a quart of ice cream and a quart of dog shit doesn't result in something you'd want for dessert. A combined government of Hamas and Fatah isn't any more palatable because its got Fatah in it. I guess what Lord Phillips really means is, why can't we just switch sides and support the Arab terrorists. Tell you what, Lord Phillips- you go live in Gaza, and we'll stick with democratic, diverse, tolerant Israel. Enjoy!

CCTV and Policing

'A senior police officer has said he fears the spread of CCTV cameras is leading to "an Orwellian situation". Deputy chief constable of Hampshire Ian Readhead said Britain could become a surveillance society with cameras on every street corner. He told the BBC's Politics Show that CCTV was being used in small towns and villages where crime rates were low. Mr Readhead also called for the retention of some DNA evidence and the use of speed cameras to be reviewed.'

At last. I can now detect an upswell of public concern, reaching it now seems even the higher-ups in the Police, about our spied-upon society. It struck me with great force when I came back to Britain from the US how wide-spread CCTV was already in 1989, and how completely normal people felt it was. Over and and over again, I heard the same argument "Have you got something to hide? What are you doing that you don't want the cameras to see?". This makes precisely the point about why CCTV is bad. It assumes that we are doing bad things, and will wait patiently for us to do them. The presumption of guilt is now universal.

The way I see it is this: back when Policemen had a beat, and walked around the neighborhood, a great amount of petty crime was detected and/or prevented. As the 'Broken Window' theory of crime tells us, petty crime breeds hard-core crime. Once the Policemen retreated from the front lines into cars, petty criminals were free to engage in as much crime as they felt like, with very little chance of detection. This spawned a vast new generation of petty criminals who mostly got away with it. The Police were either in their stations or their cars, and simply became a fire-fighting force responding only to the most dramatic and lethal crimes. Everything else, especially crimes against property, went unsolved and often un-reported. A gulf of resentment and alienation grew up between the Police and the communities they nominally 'protected'. The streets became the de facto domain of the bully, the thug and the street gang. When a policeman was spotted it was a fleeting glimpse of him/her racing past on the way to a 'real' crime.

So local authorities filled the 'Policeman' gap with CCTV. They were the new 'beat' officers. They were the eyes on the street, awake 24 hours and no overtime bills. Well, that was the story we were told anyway. It hasn't turned out like that. As soon as the criminals worked out that CCTV is very easy to fool, CCTV's usefulness virtually ceased. The hoodie arrived. If you are wearing a hoodie and a baseball cap, CCTV can't tell who you are. So the hoodie is everywhere, as is the baseball cap. The 'Continuity IRA' man who left the taxi bomb in front of BBC television centre was caught on CCTV- sadly, as he had a baseball cap on and his collar turned up, he could have been Tony Blair or the Pope. CCTV doesn't catch criminals- it catches you and I going about our daily business watching in case we park outside the lines, jaywalk or litter.

What Britain needs is Policemen. Enough of them to patrol (on foot or bicycle) 60 million people. They should be armed, wear bullet-proof vests and tasked with retaking the streets from the drug-dealers, hoodie-gangs and feral kids. They should be equipped with cameras and microphones to record their encounters, so they don't have to write copious reports, and the form-filling that now fills their days eliminated wholesale. A policeman should primarily be a public defender, not an adjunct of the CPS. That balance must be changed. Also, the laws of Britain need to be changed so that Policemen can again do their jobs without the constant fear of ambulance-chasing lawyers.

We are constantly told that old-fashioned policing has been replaced by super-duper scientifically-proven strategic intelligence-driven policing. Bollocks. Old-fashioned policing has been replaced by CCTV cameras, while the Police spend most of their time doing paperwork and processing the few criminals who are unfortunate enough to be tracked down after the fact. But you can only do old-fashioned policing if there are enough officers to cover all the beats. New York increased its police ranks by about a third, and crime rates fell by 80%. But it cost a lot of money. Do New Yorkers think it was worth it? Hell yeah. Would it work in Britain?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Al-Nakba: the horror that is Israel

'Put simply: whilst the debate has been raging on the pros and cons of shutting down I/P [Israel/Palestine] debate on DKos in toto, in practise it has already been happening. Specifically, we refer to the recent banning of two valuable I/P contributors, Sabbah and umkahlil. A quick look back through the diaries and comments these authors have contributed will confirm that they have attempted to engage in sincere and honest debate about the conflict. They have done nothing wrong - on the contrary, they have made a valuable contribution to the site. In an unintended irony, the bannings took place on May 15 - Nakba Day. Daily Kos's own mini-purge happened on the very day Palestinians commemorate their expulsion from their homes in what is today the State of Israel.'

Why will there never be a useful contribution from the left to rational debate? They dont want to tell the truth EVER. Nakba day has nothing to do with 'expulsion from homes'. Al-Nakba (the catastrophe) was the creation of Israel. Trouble is, the original meaning of the term was just too honest! The Palestinians hated the Jews, and the creation of a separate Jewish state in 1947 was disgusting and repulsive to them, hence the term. They immediately tried to destroy Israel, with the assistance of all the surrounding Arab countries. Because they lost, hundreds of thousands of them left, fearing reprisals for all the murdered Jewish settlers and Jerusalemites. Gradually, Palestinians learned that if they were honest about their visceral hatred of Jews and Israel, even the most 'progressive' lefty in the West bridled. So Nakba day gradually ceased to be the catastrophe of Israel coming into being, and became the catasphrophe of the 'expulsions' of Palestinians from Israeli territory. The first meaning implies simple xenophobia and racism, whereas the second speaks of victimhood and persecution.

Disdain for the truth, and the belief that history is the servant of politics are hallmarks of both Arab culture and marxist culture. Just as diplomatic talks only matter if both parties believe that diplomatic talks matter, discussing history with moonbats and Arabs would only make sense if they understood that history is what DID happen, not what our politics require to have happened.

Got it in one

"Shhh. Don't tell Algore it ain't global warming.
The gravest terrorist threat in the world today is Islamophobia, foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference said this week.
“It is something that has assumed xenophobic proportions,” they said.
The ministers described Islamophobia as a deliberate defamation of Islam and discrimination and intolerance against Muslims. They accused Western media of misrepresenting Islam and Muslims worldwide, according to a report in Arab News.

pho·bia (noun) - an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation

It ain’t inexplicable. It ain’t illogical. And it ain’t fear.
It’s disgust. It’s distrust. And it’s disdain."

I'd been meaning to post about this for ages, but SondraK got there first. Its ok, because she's done it far more eloquently than I could have.

Gitmo jokes

'A Pakistani-born US resident detained at Guantanamo Bay has said he was "mentally tortured" there, according to a transcript released by the Pentagon'

Oh no!! Thats terrible. What did they do to him?

"There is extensive torture even for the smallest of infractions."
Mr Khan complained about how US guards had taken away pictures of his daughter, given him new glasses with the wrong prescription, shaved his beard off, forcibly fed him when he went on hunger strike, and denied him the opportunity for recreation.
This led him to attempt to chew through his artery twice, Mr Khan said.
Later, Mr Khan produced a list of further examples of psychological torture, which included the provision of "cheap, branded, unscented soap", the prison newsletter, noisy fans and half-inflated balls in the recreation room that "hardly bounce".

Oh my God! The humanity, the humanity...

If you are going to make up bullshit accusations of human rights abuses, at least make them abusive. Go for broke, dude!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Oh, THOSE Kassams

'An Israeli aircraft has bombed a building of the Hamas-run Executive Force in Gaza, killing at least one person and injuring about 45 others. Israel had threatened a harsh reaction to repeated barrages of Palestinian rockets over the Gaza-Israel border.'

Cognitive dissonance: up until a few days ago, the BBC completely ignored the steady downpour of Kassam rockets onto southern Israel. Couldn't be bothered when its just joooo's being targeted. Interestingly, now that Israel has decided it will start to retaliate, turns out the BBC did notice the rockets all along. I predict that the new slant of BBC stories will be "Israeli attacks on Gaza are totally disproportionate violence against the poor ickle Pali's, who just want to show us their pain". Meanwhile, Isreali's are discussing amongst themselves whether it makes sense to intervene in Gaza, when the Pali's are doing such a great job of killing each other. Many of the sense (as do I) that a full-scale Fatah/Hamas ding dong is weeks, maybe days away. As Monty Python would say, what a senseless waste of human life.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Back in Bucharest

Deja vu. Sitting in the cab stuck in Bucharest traffic, I mused. If America's cities are grids created by robots, Bucharest is a maze designed by a schizophrenic on Quaaludes. No two intersections are the same- some are so complicated even the natives are often left stranded in some piece of no-man-land, forlornly looking for a way back into the mainstream. The idea of the cross-roads does not seem to have arrived here yet. There is no parking control at all, so every pavement is an impenetrable jumble of cars. Often people have to jump over bumpers and walk on walls and lawns to walk along the street. Some are so jammed you just can't go down them. Then you have to walk in the road itself. I already have a bruise from being hit by someones wing mirror.

If I were to sum up the attitude of Romanians in one word it would be 'un-cooperative'. Today I bought an optical mouse and a mousemat. In London, a five minute transaction at most, probably a few seconds. The first question the girl at the desk (not really even a proper checkout) asked me was "Can you give me your name?". I said "Is that necessary? I just want to buy this mouse." Her next question really floored me. "Can I see your passport?" I refused. Looking disappointed, she reluctantly took the items and started writing serial numbers and various codes from the packaging onto a large format invoice. I asked her why. "Surely you need an invoice?" I said no, strangely I didn't. Finally, after some minutes of concentrated writing, she'd got all the info down. She asked me for payment, and I produced my debit card. I wasn't expecting problems as I could see the debit card paypoint machine right in front of me. Her face registered disgust- "Why didn't you tell me you want to pay with a credit card?" Yes, I should have known that this was going to cause mayhem (by telepathy presumably). She threw down the invoice and got out a different form, and the process started again. Eventually, I gave her the card, and the whole messy business came to an end.

It seemed as I sat sweltering in the enormous traffic jam that is Bucharest that there wasn't really any actual work going on in this city- just hundreds of thousands of people milling about avoiding having to buy anything because life is just too short to grind out transactions with a Romanian shop assistant. Earlier I had wandered across an enormous wasteland in front of the mirthfully named Peoples Palace built by the late Mr Ceausescu. Mirthful because the whole thing is surrounded by enormous concrete and chain-link barriers like US embassies have, and no matter how far I walked (far!) there was no public entrance. Its a very ugly building, a pallid pastiche of classical features and Soviet plebeian blandness, on an absolutely enormous scale. When a building is that large, and yet still completely fails to impress, you know the architect was uniquely pedestrian. I seem to remember hearing that Mr Ceausescu had a hand in the design... brings to mind Hitler and Speer, but without the grandeur.

The mixture of influences here is tantalising. There is a mediterraenean loucheness, but without the romantic quality that the Spanish and the Italians bring to it. There is the brutal and inflexible taint of the Turks. There is the emphatic and aggressive proletarian aspect contributed by the Russians. Also detectable is a seemingly home-grown tentativeness and bewilderment which interferes constantly with the basic tasks of life. I threw the hotel reception desk into a tiz yesterday morning by asking for a taxi. This morning, the taxi I ordered was handed off to a couple of fat EU officials as I stood waiting to get into it by the concierge. I asked him why he didn't ask the driver if he was here for a particular person, and he looked at me like I had just insulted his mother. Get me to New York PLEASE! New Yorkers may be loud and in-your-face but a straightforward question tends to get a straightforward answer. Here, the desire to obfuscate and dissemble constantly conflicts with the desire to piss off and insult, in a heady mix of uselessness.

Good luck to Donald Trump and his billion bucks. He may well rue trying to build something here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Standing the truth on its head

'A bomb killed four people and wounded 29 when it tore through a billiard hall in the southern Philippines on Tuesday in an attack military officials blamed on an al Qaeda-linked Islamist group.
The blast took place at a busy street corner in Tacurong City, officials said. Tacurong is on the troubled island of Mindanao, about 950 km (600 miles) south of Manila.'

'Mounting civilian casualties have caused an outcry in Afghanistan, with foreign forces accused of carelessness.'

All over the world, Muslim murderers kill civilians indiscriminately and utterly without concern. Many of their operations are designed exclusively to kill civilians, all in the name of Islam. NATO forces in Afghanistan try hard not to kill civilians, although because of Taleban tactics using civilians as cover its very very hard. But the press are utterly determined to give the populations of Europe and America the opposite impression. Poor ickle Muslims are forced by American imperialism to murder Thai teachers and Indonesian schoolgirls and Kashmiri postal workers, don't you know. Oh yeah, and Phillipino billiard players. Its their only means of expression. We should really be trying harder to understand them in their pain. If I hear this garbage from the MSM one more time my heads going to pop like a champers cork.

You just want to take these idiot journalists by the scruff of their necks and drag them kicking and screaming to the places where their lies enables the murderers, and show them the real impact of the terrorists.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tough questions the media aren't interested in

'» Is a timetable for withdrawal intended to hasten victory — or defeat?
» If victory, how will withdrawal help?
» If defeat, how will that help national interests?
» How will abandoning Iraq’s burgeoning government affect America’s reputation in the region?
» A Taliban spokesman recently stated Osama bin Laden is coordinating insurgent attacks in Iraq. If true, how is it possible to simultaneously fight the war on terrorism but not insurgents in Iraq?
» What are some possible worst-case scenarios of withdrawing from Iraq?
» Should such a scenario manifest, what are Democrats’ contingency plans?
» The bill mandates the last of Iraq-stationed U.S. troops to leave by September 2008. What’s significant about this date other than being two months prior to the next presidential election?'

Pretty much all these questions are relevant to Britain too. And our press are as desperately uninterested as their US equivalents...

Monday, May 07, 2007

French marxists start gearing up,14173,1639538,00.html

"Jean-Claude Dassier, the director general of the rolling news service LCI, said the prominence given to the rioters on international news networks had been "excessive" and could even be fanning the flames of the violence.
Mr Dassier said his own channel, which is owned by the private broadcaster TF1, recently decided not to show footage of burning cars.
"Politics in France is heading to the right and I don't want rightwing politicians back in second, or even first place because we showed burning cars on television," Mr Dassier told an audience of broadcasters at the News Xchange conference in Amsterdam today.
"Having satellites trained on towns across France 24 hours a day showing the violence would have been wrong and totally disproportionate ... Journalism is not simply a matter of switching on the cameras and letting them roll. You have to think about what you're broadcasting," he said."

Found this story on Little Green Footballs. I was saying to a Russian person the other day how bizarre it was that while Socialism/Communism/Marxism is completely discredited in Russia because of the experience 180 million people had firsthand, in western Europe their are millions of people who still crave for it. Presumably Mr Dassier is one of them. You can't trust a communist to tell the truth- they don't believe in the truth. They believe that truth is a construction by interested parties, especially coercive capitalists. All the more reason not to have them in the upper echelons of your news organisation. For everyone outside the fantasy world of marxism, the truth matters. Reporting facts, even bitter and distasteful ones, is essential in healthy societies. Mr Sarkozy needs to quietly and determinedly set about the marxist contagion, and start to destroy its influence in France. He knows as well as anyone what a threat it has been to the French body politic. I wish him success in the enterprise.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Democracy- only part of the solution

Excellent article about 'secularism' and 'islamism' in Turkey, and the non-obvious truths about those two strands in Turkish politics.

"So why do you think the E.U. is so opposed to military intervention?" I asked. "Surely they don't want a Taliban regime in southern Europe?"
"They want to split us up into Kurds, Armenians and Turks," he answered. "That way they can reduce our influence in the region and control the resources of the Middle East."
This is a deeply held belief. Turks are raised on an unremitting diet of this Ottoman paranoia, which is now so thoroughly merged with the secularists' legitimate concerns that it is difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. It is hardly a solid foundation for a politically mature democracy. Indeed, the concept of "democracy" is generally poorly understood. At lunch the other day, I asked our shy young waiter what he thought of Gul.
"I don't know. But democracy is good," he shrugged.
"So who are you going to vote for?" I asked.
He looked horrified. "I never vote."

What is the obsession with democracy? Why, out of all the institutions which successful rich countries have built their societies around, is democracy virtually the only one that gets airtime? Its not that I have any problem with countries choosing democracy, although it is a blunt instrument and is in no way a guarantor of good governance. By itself, democracy is no panacea. If all the parties in an election are fascistic or special interest poodles or the property of a few rich men, the results will be just as awful as if those parties took over the country by force. Zimbabwe has democracy. Every few years, they have elections and a bunch of people troop off to the polling booths. But because the forms of civil society in Zimbabwe are completely divorced from the functions, the elections have no effect on governance outcomes. The same guys are permanently in charge, as if the voting never happened. For democracy to be worth anything, many things must be true a priori.

If civil institutions are to properly fulfil their function, they must be an organic product of the society they exist in. They must have the vigourous support of the nation, and not just the ruling classes. From top to bottom, everyone must trust and believe that a particular institution capably and authoritatively fulfils the function it was founded to fulfil. People must feel that the institution is their institution, and acts on their behalf. Sadly, many countries have copied western Europe's political forms without bothering to fulfil these prerequisites. In these countries, the real functions are performed out of sight, unaccountably and almost certainly in exactly same way those functions were perfomed in the old days.

Merely grafting an institution like election-holding onto a society does nothing to improve its overall functioning. If you don't have the full suite, and broad public faith in their legitimacy, you just have a sham. Turkey is not really a parliamentary democracy. Every time the 'wrong' result occurs the Army 'changes' the result and takes over the country. The old habits of Turkish political behaviour have mutated a little, but they survive intact under the borrowed clothes of a western democracy. One day, Turkey might develop institutions that genuinely reflect the values of free and just democractic societies ruling on behalf of all citizens, but they aren't there yet.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Gen Sir Michael Rose and Sindy Sheehan

I still can't get the ex-Generals words out of my mind. I know that just having a top job does not guaruntee that a person has astute judgement and a grasp of all the relevant facts, but it worries me that the British Army, an institution I respect and revere, has men like this at its apex. These are men in whom we entrust the safety of our nation. Sir Michael, when you find that you share an opinion with Sindy Sheehan, you may want to consider revising that opinion.

"I answered the soldier and explained carefully to him the distinction between a "terrorist" and an occupied person in a sovereign country who is fighting for his/her freedom from an oppressive foreign country. I tried to get G.I Joe to recall his lessons about the American Revolution when our founding fathers and mothers did the same thing."

The Sunni minority ruled Iraq without pause from the point that Britain left until 2003. They did so by utilising extreme brutality and a pervasive and total climate of fear. This minority were not happy to be expelled by Britain and America in 2003, and have spent the four years since blowing up Kurds and Shia to express that unhappiness. What part of that do Sindy Sheehan and Gen Rose not understand? Let me get this right... who are the 'freedom fighters' in Iraq? In the Shia and Kurdish parts of Iraq, virtually no coalition troops have been killed. 147 British soldiers have been killed in the Shia south, mainly by Shia militias who resemble the Corsican mafia more than they do a religious organisation. The Iranians are happy to supply these Shia mafiosi with high tech IED equipment because the Iranians want dead British soldiers. But the Iranians do not have a free Iraq in mind. They have a dismembered Iraq as their goal, with the Shia portion firmly under the control of Iran. Most Shia in the south don't want this, and most Shia in the south don't belong to the Mahdi army or the other mafiosi groups. Which is why only 147 British troops are dead, and not 10 times that number, which is the casualty rate we'd expect if the Shia felt that the British army was an oppressive invading army intent on colonising Iraq.

The Kurds have not killed any coalition troops. To them, we are their bastion and salvation from the Sunni minority who savagely repressed them for many decades. So who are the 'freedom fighters' Sir Michael and Sindy Sheehan are talking about? Could they be the Sunni minority? To believe that the Sunni minority are fighting a just insurgency against the coalition as a service on behalf of all Iraqi's is not just to ignore their history over the last six decades, it is also to ignore their current actions and their stated intentions for the future. A large proportion of Sunni Iraqis were wealthy and educated, in stark comparison to the rest of the Iraqi population. They completely dominated the government, army and police in Saddam's Iraq. Does that sound like a group of people who properly represent the interests and future of all Iraq?

The Sunni insurgency is (sadly for Sindy and Sir Michael) currently winding up, mainly because the Sunni have realised that they are destined to fail. Their numbers are too few, the Shia have grasped many of the reins of government and military power, and there is no going back. The Sunni are not stupid and they aren't suicidal. They increasingly recognise that only a united Iraq in which their interests are protected by a benign central government can protect them from physical extinction. Is it just too much mental effort for Sindy and Sir Michael to get their heads around these relatively simple facts?

There are no 'patriots' in Iraq, not in the sense that there were in colonial America. There are three separate and distinct cultures who have to arrange some kind of relationship between each other that protects the future existence of all. This precludes the domination of two of them by the third, whoever that happens to be. It is the task of Iraqi's, with British and American help, to find that accomodation. Congratulations to Sindy and Sir Michael from escaping from confines of the 'BIG TWO' historical analogies beloved of the lefty eejits (Nazi Germany and Vietnam), and graduating to the American war of Independence, but you are going to have to venture a bit further into history to find an analogy for Iraq that makes genuine sense. Try India. India is a country comprised of many races and religions tied together by a shared experience of British colonial rule, and a faith in the institutions that were introduced during that era. There may need to be a period of benign imperial rule in Iraq before the Iraqi's can graduate to fully fledged peaceful co-existence like the Indians have, and Britain and America must be willing to foot the bill for that.

But the eventual settlement is worth the effort and cost.

I love America

If I hadn't been born an Englishman (the most fortunate of births), I would have liked to be born an American.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Media distortion of the Afghan conflict

'Western forces have been accused of carelessness over civilian lives when attacking Taleban fighters.'

By whom? Evidence? Times? Places? Context? Mmmmmm. Didn't think so. Hamid Karzai is not a reliable source. For one thing, he has to maintain at least the illusion that it is he who is in control of Afghanistan, not the NATO commanders. Also, he is a Pashtun and so are most of the people currently providing the cannon fodder for the Taleban.

No hint is given in this story, or any other story I have read on the BBC website, that the NATO forces in Afghanistan have strict rules of engagement which prevent many civilian deaths every day. If NATO forces see suspicious groups of men running about, they cannot engage them unless they see weapons. The Taleban know this and get women to carry weapons under their burquas, or they hide the weapons in goods vehicles. Al Qaeda and the Taleban have no rules of engagement, and if they think they can kill a few Afghan soldiers or NATO soldiers think nothing of blasting thirty innocent bystanders into the next world. Yet the stories are always framed to make NATO look like monstrous killers bludgeoning whoever gets in their way, and the Taleban/Al Qaeda tactics are ignored and glossed over. The Taleban/Al Qaeda have killed many hundreds of innocents for every NATO soldier they succeed in killing, yet this is not presented by the media as scandalous or worthy of condemnation. What has happened to the morals of our journalists and news editors? The side who are trying their best to preserve innocent life are presented as baby killers, while the baby killers get no censure at all.

If we constantly frame debate within these completely false terms of reference, we are going to make bad decisions about our future conduct.

Still wrong

'Insurgents in Iraq are right to try to force US troops out of the country, a former British army commander has said.
Gen Sir Michael Rose also told the BBC's Newsnight programme that the US and the UK must "admit defeat" and stop fighting "a hopeless war" in Iraq.
Iraqi insurgents would not give in, he said. "I don't excuse them for some of the terrible things they do, but I do understand why they are resisting."
The total number of UK troops killed in operations in Iraq stands at 147.'

My well of righteous indignation has run dry. I am trying to summon up some sort of rage or disdain for this man and his words but we are too far down the road with Iraq and the multitudinous idiocies it has spawned in political debate for me to generate much of anything. He is factually and demonstrably wrong, and given his former high position many people will pay attention to his words. But although he is more thoughtful and elegant in his presentation, a bad historical analogy is a bad historical analogy. I'll leave it at that.