Thursday, November 29, 2007

The closer you are, the clearer it is

'In interviews, three former key allies of the president said they remain true to their leftist values but felt it was time to break with Chávez because of what they characterized as his lack of tolerance and his drive for more power.
"We've all been revolutionaries and we have believed in socialism all our lives, but socialism within democracy," said Ismael García, secretary general of Podemos, a party that broke with Chávez. "We have to ask him, how do you feel abandoning a constitution that says Venezuela is a state of laws, of justice for all, that it's federal, decentralized, plural and diverse?" '

And yet strangely, the left in Britain love him. But then 'democracy, a state of laws, of justice for all, federal, decentralised, plural and diverse' holds no interest or validity for them.


'The unfavourable image of the Chávez government in the outside world has been largely created by a tiny group of Caracas-based foreign journalists who repeat the hostile propaganda produced by this opposition, and fail to appreciate the quantitative and qualitative improvements that have taken place in the country over the past few years.'

Venezuela- highest murder rate IN THE WORLD

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


'Given that it is the left and the institutions it dominates -- universities, media (other than talk radio in America) and unions -- that hate America, two questions remain: Why does the left hate America, and does the American left, too, hate America?The answer to the first question is that America and especially the most hated parts of America -- conservatives, religious conservatives in particular -- are the greatest obstacles to leftist dominance. American success refutes the socialist ideals of the left; American use of force to vanquish evil refutes the left's pacifist tendencies; America is the last great country that believes in putting some murderers to death, something that is anathema to the left; when America is governed by conservatives, it uses the language of good and evil, language regarded by the left as "Manichean"; most Americans still believe in the Judeo-Christian value system, another target of the left because the left regards all religions as equally valid (or more to the point, equally foolish and dangerous) and regards God-based morality as the moral equivalent of alchemy.'

Where is the surge?

Todays Middle East news as far as the BBC is concerned:

You may not be able to see the story names so I shall elaborate. Under the mini-headline 'The struggle for Iraq are the following stories-
Iraq seeks end of troop mandate
Iraq Journalist's family 'killed'
'Shia militia' behind Iraq blast
Raids target militants in Kirkuk
Deadly blast hits Baghdad market

Surge story count = 0

Under the main Middle East heading, there is one Iraq story-
US Fire kills Iraq bus passengers

Surge story count = 0

Under the mini-heading More from The Middle East, there are three Iraq stories-
Iraqi militants attack villages
Iraq reporter faces terror charge
Iraqis return home 'in thousands'

Surge story count = 1 maybe

Under the mini-heading Your Perspective, there is one Iraq story-
Iraq Voices: Improved security

Surge story count = 1

Under the mini-heading Features, there is one Iraq story-
No plan, no peace in Iraq

Surge story count = 0

So, today, if you were just browsing through the BBC website for news about Iraq, as I'm sure many people do, you would have no idea that the surge and other new circumstances have transformed life in Iraq. In fact, from the title of the last story mentioned, you would think that things were getting worse. That story is actually a history lesson in how shit Britain and America are in planning things, but you'd have to actually read the article to know that.

I know that news is news and history is history, but there is an old quote that journalism is the first draft of history. If this is the first draft, the final version is going to be almost completely bereft of the most important information.

The most prominent story of the day is interesting in at least two ways. It recounts the tragic story of a minibus full of people racing along a road designated for passenger cars only, driving at high speed at a checkpoint, ignoring warning shots and being shot up by the soldiers at the checkpoint, killing some, perhaps all of the occupants. There have been very few stories out of Iraq with this level of detail. Thats the first interesting thing. When hundreds of shootings, bombings and murders take place each week, you can't possibly recount the details of each one on the BBC website. It is a startling revelation of how few incidents there are now that the BBC actually takes the time to recount the story at all. The second thing to note about it is that of all the myriad good news stories you could have picked from this rather boring Tuesdays haul from Iraq, its a bad news story that makes it into prominent position on the BBC website. So the hundreds of stories about neighborhoods fighting Al-Qaeda tooth and nail, the rebuilding work transforming many places around Iraq, the bustling market-places full of goods, the many arms caches being shopped by locals to the authorities and the beefing up and blooding of many new Iraqi police and army units disappear- they will never be told.

This disgusting distortion of the overall story to suit the political views of the spotty juveniles who create the BBC website is one very good reason why the BBC should be reformed with urgency.

Zionist pigs make up stories about rockets again

'Reports from the Gaza Strip say three people have been killed in two separate attacks by Israeli forces.
The militant group Hamas said two of its members were killed in an Israeli air strike near the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza....
Israel has stepped up attacks on Gaza in recent months, in what it says is an attempt to stop Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel. '

I can't remember a story on the BBC news website written from the Israeli side of the Gaza border, recording the dialy barrage of rockets. 'In what it says'? Is it possible to drip with more disdain and disbelief? The author(s) of this story probably believe that the zionists make up rocket attacks so they can quench their blood-lust by murdering poor ickle Palestinians. I sickens me that I am forced by law to subsidise this organisation, and its thinly veiled support for the dismal, hatred-loving Arabs of Palestine.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Putin finds a big boogeyman under his bed

'Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of pushing Western observers into boycotting Russian elections. Mr Putin said the goal was to discredit the parliamentary election to be held on 2 December.'

He went on to blame the US for Gary Kasparovs birth and arrest, the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, the second Chechen war, the suppression of all non-government press in Russia, Vladimir Putins happy-go-lucky interpretation of the Russian constitution, the holocaust and rainy Sundays.

Everybody laughed, before remembering the 2,600 rusting ICBMs...

The pitfalls of Suckers

Lionel Shriver in the Guardian :
"To be almost ridiculously sweeping: baby boomers and their offspring have shifted emphasis from the communal to the individual, from the future to the present, from virtue to personal satisfaction. Increasingly secular, we pledge allegiance to lower-case gods of our private devising. We are less concerned with leading a good life than the good life. We are less likely than our predecessors to ask ourselves whether we serve a greater social purpose; we are more likely to ask if we are happy. We shun values such as self-sacrifice and duty as the pitfalls of suckers. We give little thought to the perpetuation of lineage, culture or nation; we take our heritage for granted. We are ahistorical. We measure the value of our lives within the brackets of our own births and deaths, and don't especially care what happens once we're dead. As we age - oh, so reluctantly! - we are apt to look back on our pasts and ask not 'Did I serve family, God and country?' but 'Did I ever get to Cuba, or run a marathon? Did I take up landscape painting? Was I fat?' We will assess the success of our lives in accordance not with whether they were righteous, but with whether they were interesting and fun."

Found on Comment is Free, part of the Guardian website.

On the surge and its subtleties

Its a shame in a way that the surge came in Iraq when it did. Because it happened in early 2007, it is not possible to completely tease out what two other circumstances contributed to the decline in violence and the US victory against the various insurgencies. Those two circumstances are the sea change in attitudes of ordinary Iraqis to the insurgent groups in their neighborhoods, and the change in tactics from huge US bases to the tiny Combat Outpost (COP) system plus joint patrols with Iraqi forces. The surge is being credited for the change and there's no denying that 30,000 extra boots on the ground sends a strong psychological message that the US is not going away and that it refuses to lose.

Saying that, even without surge troops I feel that the COP system and the joint patrols is the right set of tactics for defeating insurgencies. If you are an ordinary non-political Iraqi and the insurgents have run your neighborhood for 3 years using you and you house as cover whether you like it or not, blowing up IED's near you and your children whether you like it or not and threatening to murder people who don't cooperate with them, you probably don't feel like you have any viable options other than cooperating with the insurgents. If a combat outpost suddenly appears a block from your house, permanently manned, and joint patrols of Iraqi/US forces sweeps by your house twice a day, sometimes more, you suddenly have another option. You can put your trust in the government and its forces, and shop the bad guys to the government forces. After the first 10 people do that, and get away with it, the whole insurgent house of cards collapses. Their threats are no longer credible. People decide they want peace, electricity, clean water and a school for their kids, and not a life of perpetual violence and threat.

Al-Qaeda in particular have completely ruined their reputation in Iraq. Now that Iraqis have a clear and vivid idea of what life under Al-Qaeda would be like, they have rejected it wholesale. Al-Qaeda have upped the murder count in response, but they must know in their hearts that they are on the slippery slopes. They are going to be squashed like a bug under foot. New jihadis keep turning up, but the mean time between arriving and dying/going to prison is getting shorter and shorter.

Outside of the Al-Qaeda/Sunni insurgencies, evidence keeps appearing that the Shia population are losing trust and patience with their own militias. As the daily evidence is that the US and the Iraqi government forces are getting stronger, and the militias prospects look bleaker, there is less and less incentive for ordinary Shia to get on board with the militias. It is certainly possible to squeeze the life out of the militias over time, python stylee. The important equation is- what can you offer me? If the militias only offer disruption, violence and trouble, and the government offer work, peace and organisation, people will gravitate away from the former to the latter. I have heard at read at least some evidence that this is happening already. Lets hope it becomes a landslide...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Suppressing free speech in Britain

'A Tory MP has resigned from The Oxford Union in protest at its decision to invite two controversial figures to a free speech event on Monday. '

'The MP, who studied at Balliol and St Antony's colleges, said the right to free speech should not guarantee access to privileged platforms.
"Nothing which happens in Monday's debate can possibly offset the boost you are giving to a couple of scoundrels who can put up with anything except being ignored," he said.
"It is sheer vanity on your part to imagine that any argument you deploy, or any vote you carry will succeed in causing them damage. '

Guaruntee access? Privileged platforms? Is it just me, or has the whole idea of free speech become bastardised beyond recognition in Britain? I have never before believed we need a bill of rights, but I'm gradually seeing one as necessary. Apart from one exception, the speech act of inciting people to murder, people should be able to say whatever they like.

Deny the holocaust if you must; propagate the 9/11 Truther myths; pray to asteroids; sing obscene ditties in the street. I'd rather have all of that than suppress any particular viewpoint. It is becoming very noticeable on the left to demand that right-wing/fascistic individuals and groups in the UK be denied any airtime, any access to the media and indeed any voice in public at all. They have no such qualms about extreme left-wing groups, strangely. Nor any such concern about Islamist groups. One of the absolutely guarunteed side-affects of suppressing right-wing political groups is to make them more attractive to poor, disenchanted white youths. 'Everybody hates us and we don't care' is a sentiment heard very often at football grounds and in poor white neighborhoods.

One of the reasons we haven't had many revolutions in Britain is we allow people to vent their frustations verbally. The more we do to cap that outlet, and the more triumphalist the people doing the suppressing, the more likely things will end badly. Very interestingly, it is often the most 'educated' people who are calling for the suppression of right wing views. Its almost become a kind of academic inquisition. The ivory tower brigade must be persuaded to give up this alarming sentiment against freedom, or perhaps its time to deprive them of some of their privileges...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Center for vigilant Freedom: a fascist front

I am completely disassociating myself from the Center for Vigilant Freedom. This is due to their decision to align themselves with European fascists. The Center for Vigilant Freedom was supposed to be about protecting freedoms all over the world from the encroachment of fascistic, Islamist or Communist subversion and coercion. You don't do that by aligning yourself with fascists, obviously. I always suspected that at least some people in the 910 Group/Center for Vigilant Freedom had far right leanings, but the full extent of this is now becoming apparent.

British civil society cannot be protected from one form of fascism by taking up another.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The stages of mourning

Reading this after linking to it from Instapundit, I was reminded of The Stages of Mourning. Are you a lefty Democrat mourning the victory of Bush in Iraq? Here's a handy guide to the stages...

Stage One - Denial and Isolation
Every single person I have spoken to who was 'against the war' denies that the surge is working/has worked. One person I spoke to in the office said "You don't believe that propaganda do you?". Another said "There's no way you can beat a peoples liberation movement by force". Deny Deny Deny. The web is littered with articles like this: and this
Deny Deny Deny

Of course, we still have Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance to go, but at least we know that in the end will come acceptance!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Just thought we'd squeeze this afterthought in at the end

'The number of violent civilian and military deaths in Iraq has continued to drop, according to recent statistics from a number of sources.
There is no single reliable source but a number of groups agreed on a marked improvement, generally attributed to the US and Iraqi troop surge in and around Baghdad that began in February. '

After having invested so much psychological capital in America losing in Iraq and it being a second Vietnam, the BBC is having a tough time relating the mountain of evidence that the various insurgencies are in a terminally late stage of losing. The BBC can't bring itselft to own up to the fact that much of what has been related from this theatre has been crap, either the simple parroting of Al-Qaeda/Sunni propaganda, or Green Zone seen-from-afar guesswork. Because they have willed US defeat, they are really having trouble getting their heads around US victory. Well, get used to it people.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ms Clinton and the fiery cauldron

'That compulsive micromanagement, ultimately emanating from Hillary herself, has come back to haunt her in her dismaying inability to field complex unscripted questions in a public forum. The presidential sweepstakes are too harsh an arena for tenderfoot novices. Hillary's much-vaunted "experience" has evidently not extended to the dynamic give-and-take of authentic debate. The mild challenges she has faced would be pitiful indeed by British standards, which favor a caustic style of witty put-downs that draw applause and gales of laughter in the House of Commons. Women had better toughen up if they aspire to be commander in chief. '

Camille might have brought up the performance of George Galloway at the Senate hearings to which he was invited a couple of years back. Completely demolished the plump, intellectually moribund senators who tried to corner him. Although I hate everything George Galloway stands for, he has been tested in the fires of Westminster cut and thrust and his steel is obviously still honed to a sharpness greatly superior to the slug-like senators. The US system in general is far more tolerant of both incoherent thought and language, and there is no cast-iron requirement for logical speech. Indeed, mangled syntax and meandering sentances make American politicians sound like 'one of the guys' and therefore are even sometimes mimicked by people who can speak as forensically as a lawyer. Sad but true.

So in regard to Hillary, I'm not sure that its a problem if Hillary is tough and rapier-like in her public performances. Much more problematical is whether people think she is sincere and down-home enough. To me, there is a robotic, cold waspishness about Hillary that makes me really not like her as person. I'm not sure if I'd vote for her because sometimes those in the highest office need the leavening of some milk of human kindness. Of the latter, I reckon Hillary has virtually none. Will Americans want that too?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stone Age man we luuuuuurve you

"Dennis Prager has a trenchant column on the 40th anniversary issue of Rolling Stone, which I'd link to directly, except it's in this nightmare digital-edition format that takes forever to load. Anyway, Dennis cites various of the great thinkers gathered to mark the anniversary, among them the anthropologist, primatologist, ethologist [sic] and UN Messenger for Peace Jane Goodall:

We seem to have lost the wisdom of the indigenous people, which dictated that in any major decision, the first consideration was, 'How will this decision we make today affect our people in the future?'"
(found at

This brought to mind the Yequana, the Easter Islanders and the Shona. The Yequana live by slash and burn. They move the whole village to a new site a little way away from the original one, chop down some jungle, make some simple gardens and when they've exhausted the soil and the local stock of edible animals, head off again for pastures new. The Easter Islanders were so dumb they chopped down all the trees on Easter Island, didn't plant any new ones and thereby deprived themselves of a) transport b) the means to catch their primary food, fish and c) building materials. They then set about murdering each other in a frenzy of 'it was your fault' blame-laying. The Shona also lived by slash and burn, but with the added frisson of raiding parties of their neighbors to capture their cattle and women.

So what can we learn from these lovely tribal people? I don't think its that much...

Slash and burn is unsustainable- as soon as the population rises to a particular threshold, the land will not be able to sustain the constant depletions and deserts will emerge. Africa is literally covered with deserts largely or partially manmade. The goat, an African favourite, ought to be renamed the 'desert-maker' as it doesn't just take leaves it destroys the plant, including most damagingly young trees. Nevertheless, you will find goats all over 'indigenous' areas of Africa.

If there were enough Yequana, the Amazon rainforest would be gone and would look something like Namibia does today.

The Easter islanders aren't the first or the last 'indigenous' people to wantonly deprive themselves of their most important commodity. They are, after all, people.

The Shona show us that blinkered lifestyles, agression and doing things the cheap 'n easy way aren't just for us in the comfy west- they're all over.

You could go on and on- what about the lovely gently Mayans and Mongols? They're 'indigenous'. The mongols may well have killed more people per capita than any other tribe of people in the history of mankind. Lovely- lets be like them.

Most of this pro-stone age propaganda relies heavily on the Native Americans. Not the real ones, but the fantasy version now completely current in US universities. According to this propaganda, the Native Americans were hippies before being hippy was cool- living in tune with nature, only taking what they needed and leaving everything else in poetic pristinity. They were virtually angels. Sadly, history records many of the actual activities of Native Americans, and the great surprise is they were very much like people in other parts of the world- willing to go to war over small things, often careless with their resources, shortsighted, wilfully ignorant. They often spent long periods of time on drugs, which I suppose could be interpreted as a good thing, as it prevented them going off to cut down the forests or murder the neighbors, but its not necessarily good.

To me, the whole debate about 'original' man and 'corrupted by civilisation' man is an argument for the sake of argument. The souls and minds of people living in stone age America and 21st century London are the same- the culture and technology are different, but that doesn't mean much. Take a child from the first and put it in the second and you'd get just another member of that society. Human beings have been around for a very long time- 4 maybe 5 million years. I'd guess for all of that time we've been brutal, non-strategic, vain, lazy and suckers for a good drug.

So what? Life is for living and enjoying! We have this earth to enjoy, so lets!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Here's that $4.5 billion you wanted! Enjoy!

'Liberia has found it difficult to get financial support because of a total international debt estimated to be $4.5bn.'

Why don't articles like this ever tell us:
1) Who asked for the $4.5 billion loans in the first place?
2) What was the money intended to be spent on?
3) Can we see what the money was spent on? Where are the infrastructure/hospitals/training schemes/schools?
4) Why weren't we told when the loans were TAKEN OUT?
5) Does anybody assess the wisdom of these loans beforehand or do they just plonk down $4.5 billion in the coffers of anybody who sidles up?
6) Why would anyone anywhere ever give Africans any money ever again?

Monday, November 12, 2007

The view from right here
'It really comes down to this: you are determined to see Iraq become a permanent hellhole because you hate Bush. And we are determined to see Iraq become a success, because we want to live.'

I know I've repeated this about seventeen billion times (there may be some margin of error in that guesstimate) but the Iraq intervention apparently looks and sounds completely different if you are in Iraq. Probably because for Iraqis, four years is a long time and they want their normal lives back. Lefty twats in the US are still mimbling about Valerie Plame and WMD's and all the other tired lies; meanwhile, a multi-faceted societal implosion has run its course in Iraq, the US army and Marines held their ground, the population of Iraq have turned their backs on the various groupings of criminals, religious fanatics and psychopaths, and a rebuilding of Iraqs heavily battered infrastructure is starting to gather momentum. Something tells me that in 2025, there will still be groups of aging anti-war idiots bleating on about Valerie Plame and WMD's and Bushitler. By then of course, Iraqi's will be the most envied people in the middle east, driving from their new homes down their new highways to their jobs in their new industries, helped along by the mighty hand of Uncle Sam. The wizened autocrats of the surrounding states will be dusty memories, overthrown by the various enraged populi desparate for lives something like the Iraqi ones just over the border. Its a dream, but then so were the rebuilding of Germany, Japan, Korea etc etc.

I personally won't be happy until the last New York Post editorial pundit is hung by the entrails of the last MoveOn radical. Because for me, its all about the blood!

Movies your sociology lecturer doesn't even want to watch

It has always been a commonplace amongst millions of sophomoric people all over the world that Hollywood sucks because it is a brainless bimbo hooked on sex, violence and things that go Blammmmmm! A lot of Hollywood people over the last 100 years have probably said similar things, then gone back to the office to make the next smash hit blockbuster chocka with boobs and explosions. But what happens when the mover and shaker people in Hollywood are sophomoric too? And misunderstand Hollywoods stock in trade? And decide that instead of serving up banana splits they are going to dollop out portions of cod liver oil...

The reason that only sophomoric people believe the schtick about bimbo Hollywood, is that the latter has always produced lots of different kinds of movies- from "Its a wonderful life" to "A weekend at Bernies". Its a vast smorgasbord and theres usually something for everybody. Well, used to be anyway.

Seems like the lefties of Hollywood don't have production time these days for the blast-em-ups and the giggly teen movies because they have to make IMPORTANT films about how terrible Bush's America is. And they are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. According to, movies aren't making money any more. The wicked combo of movies no patriotic American (most Americans) will knowingly watch and greedy actors who want some of the takings as WELL as getting paid an up-front salary means Hollywoods numbers just don't stack up. And guess what happens about now? All the canny producers who are in it for the money will just go do something else with their money, and Hollywood will become a boutique film production industry dedicated to making dull lectures about how eeeeeevvvvvvvvvuuuuul America is.

Good luck with that guys! Meanwhile, could somebody switch Hollywood back on? I miss Arnie and Sly...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What a patriot

'The 22-year-old McLaren driver, from Stevenage in Herts, previously cited privacy as his reason for leaving.

He was asked by Michael Parkinson: "I imagine you have been advised because of tax also?" Hamilton replied: "Also, that definitely adds to it."

Parkinson said: "I just thought you were wrongly advised in a sense when you said you were going to avoid the press. If you want to live in Switzerland then that's your problem, in my view. I wouldn't live there for £50m a week."

Good on Parky. Hamilton presumably still wants Brits to cheer him on as if he's our man. He isn't. He's just another rich scumbag in the Monaco set.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

BBC: No time for those silly fact-thingies

See what happens when I'm too busy to blog for a few weeks? There must be a word for 'pent-up urge to blog'....

'Thousands Return to Safer Iraqi Capital
By STEVEN R. HURST – 6 days ago
BAGHDAD (AP) — In a dramatic turnaround, more than 3,000 Iraqi families driven out of their Baghdad neighborhoods have returned to their homes in the past three months as sectarian violence has dropped, the government said Saturday.'

I watched a disgusting 'mutual admiration society' interview on BBC world yesterday where some haggard old bitch of a presenter interviewed one of Britains ex-top generals discussing the Iraq intervention. Just like everyone at the BBC, because she knows nothing about the military or political situation in that country in November 2007, her questions went something along the lines of-
"The complete and utter disaster in Iraq just keeps getting worse doesn't it daaaaaahling? Tell us all about how stupid Bush is..."
She then came up with something like this-
"The figures coming in about the surge don't make sense. How do you explain this American propaganda in a way that makes sense to me and my viewers?"
The generals answer went something along the lines of-
"You are both beautiful and right, daaaaaaahling. The only reason the figures 'look' like America has won is that the ethnic cleansing is finished, the death squads have killed everybody, and Al-qaeda never existed. Please go back to sleep, everything is normal."

Maybe I'm new to this or something, but the bubble in which our top people live seems to be so devoid of any smack of reality, so far away from the world of facts and existent things that the whole edifice of British life is about to crumble like a great over-ripe cheese. Its not of course. But its annoying when the 'great-and-good' consensus contains so little actual content. To his immense credit, I've heard more reality-based reporting from Andrew Gilligan of the 'sexed-up' dossier fame recently than from many of the remaining senior idiots at the Beeb. He may have got that story wrong, but he continues to use his brain for its intended purpose.

Why America usually wins

'How did we win this war? There are complex answers to that question, but there is also a simple one that is true and is the basis for all the complexities that spring from it: We won the war because United States Soldiers and Sailors and Airmen and Marines do not quit.'

To the jaded European ear, it may sound trite, it may sound trivial, it may even sound self-aggrandizing, but I believe its true. It is a bedrock American trait- every high-school coach and senatorial candidate sings its praises. I remember bumping into its crazier manifestations when I lived in the states, and marvelled at it. Perhaps I marvelled because while it used to be a British trait, it long ago ceased to be touted and beaten into children in my country. I brief perusal of America's record in war- forget the Vietnam myths for a moment- indicates a nation which grinds out its victories often at significant cost and perhaps with small regard given to the lives of grunts. But young Amercans keep stepping forward and getting into the humvee, the blackhawk and the F-18 and fighting the fight. Cowards they are not. It is never ever a good idea to underestimate that courage, that will, that bravado, that toughness, that will to win.

Signing up to shill

'Here the evidence provided by the Al Dura affair suggests that, in some sense, journalists are “in” on the public secret. When representatives of France2 were confronted with the pervasive evidence of staging in Talal’s footage, they both responded the same way. “Oh, they always do that, it’s a cultural thing,” said Enderlin to me in Jerusalem. “Yes Monsieur, but, you know, it’s always like that,” said Didier Eppelbaum to Denis Jeambar, Daniel Leconte, and Luc Rosenzweig in Paris.
As an echo of this astonishing private complacency, Clément Weill-Raynal of France3 made a comment to a journalist that he meant as a criticism of Karsenty: “Karsenty is so shocked that fake images were used and edited in Gaza, but this happens all the time everywhere on television and no TV journalist in the field or a film editor would be shocked.”'

Linked to this from Instapundit. My first thought after reading this piece (very worthwhile to read the whole thing) was about this The great Qana ambulance scam.
'The next day, reporters from around the world interviewed the ambulance drivers as they lay in the hospital sporting prop bandages. The one driver who spoke the best English was quoted the most in the English-speaking press. The journalists, however, were not allowed to inspect the ambulances themselves; instead, the pre-packaged video was supplied to them, freezeframes from which were used as illustrations to accompany the articles. Three patients in the same hospital were identified as also being victims of the attack, even though their injuries had actually happened elsewhere. Every single Western reporter accepted the ambulance drivers’ story without question. Emboldened by the media’s credulity, the drivers exaggerated the severity of the incident with each new interview, until it no longer even vaguely matched the staged evidence. The story was broadcast to the world, and accepted as fact.'

Now, combine those words with this:

'An incident at Ramallah, however, suggests that Western journalists have systematically submitted to Palestinian demands that they practice Palestinian journalism. On October 12, 2000, to cries of “Revenge for the blood of Muhammad al Dura,” Palestinian men tore to pieces the bodies of two Israeli reservists. Aware of the potential damage, Palestinians attacked any journalist taking pictures. And yet, one Italian crew working for a private news station, at great risk to their lives, smuggled out the footage. Eager to avoid being blamed, the representative of Italy’s “official television station RAI” wrote to the PA that his station would never do such a thing,
…because we always respect (will continue to respect) the journalistic procedures with the Palestinian Authority for (journalistic) work in Palestine…

...But on the side where modern journalism allegedly reigns, such revelations were profoundly embarrassing: even the normally timid Israeli government “temporarily suspended” the press card of Roberto Cristiano, and no one in the normally aggressive Western media objected. Cristiano had violated the basic rule of Western journalism’s omerta, and openly admitted shameful practices. The public consumer of Mainstream Media (MSM) “news” needs to ask, “How many journalists adhere to these Palestinian rules, and how much does that adherence distort, even invert, our understanding of what goes on in this interminable conflict? Can we afford this “public secret”?'

I work in the media, but I am completely shocked by this. Only one organisation that I know of ever changed its public position about the faked ambulance attack in Qana- weirdly enough a human rights group. The implications of this are huge. It means that large portions of the press have signed up to a public policy, the destruction or degradation of Israel at the expense of the Palestinian arabs. They hold that public policy as a higher order priority than reporting the facts from the Levant.

No wonder millions of people are switch off the networks, cancelling their newspaper subscriptions and turning off their radios. We need the facts, whats actually happened. We can make up our own minds who the bad guys are thanks.

What is Islamaphobia?

Here is your handy guide to the latest craze, muslim-hating:

'The term 'Islamophobia' has only very recently been coined, as recent as the mid-1990s. It is one of a whole range of expressions that has grown out of the 'politically correct' ethos of the 1990s. The spirit of multiculturalism and pluralism was the climate that enabled the birth and circulation of the term. But unlike other terms born at this time it has not become household currency; Muslim organisations alert to discrimination against Muslims appear to be the only users of the term, and there has been no shortage of occasions to use it.'

Truly, truly weird. Multiculturalism caused the creation of the word Islamaphobia? How is that?

'But it is not merely another in the range of fashionable words made up in the West during this period - such as PC or 'politically correct' itself. The wholly negative attitude towards Islam in the West has a very long history and has a palpable feel more than ever at the moment. Islamophobia is alive and well.'

I hate to blog long quotes, but theres a reason for this one -

'However, the term 'Islamophobia' does not adequately express the full range and depth of antipathy towards Islam and Muslims in the West today. It is an inadequate term. 'Phobia' is Greek for dread or horror. In the light of the present discussion, the term xenophobia - the original word on which Islamophobia is based - simply means fear of foreigners or dread of strangers. Attitudes and policies towards Muslims in Britain and Europe have a mixture of dread (phobia) and outright racism. Thus attitudes towards Muslims combine fear and active hostility. Islamophobia does not capture this marriage of fear and hostility, of dread and discrimination, of horror and harassment.
A more accurate expression would be 'anti-Islamic racism' for it combines the elements of dislike of a religion and active discrimination against the people belonging to that religion. The discrimination is racist because it is based on the belief that no matter what such a person does s/he will never be an acceptable to or in the West. But if there is still little awareness of and sensitivity to 'Islamophobia' then 'anti-Islamic racism' stands even less of a chance of widespread usage and acceptance in the mainstream media and among politicians. But the struggle is as much over discourse as over actual experience and therefore no effort should be spared to focus on every aspect of what some may call Islamophobia and others anti-Islamic racism.'

There is no mention of WHY people might not like muslims or islam AT ALL. Al Maktabi, the author, hints that its an extension of Xenophobia, pure and simple. Good one.

For as long as muslims and conspicuously muslims who involve themselves in these high profile, often virulently wahhabist pressure groups, deny the most obvious reason why people don't like them, nobody is going to take them remotely seriously. From my very first experience with the Wahhabists, I felt palpably their hostile intent and their vigorous antipathy towards mainstream Britain. Since they started blowing up tube trains and buses, and planning to blow up planeloads of people, most other British people have followed a similar path. I now very often read in the comments people leave on websites how they feel a deep unease about islam and muslims. Most of this is new, and is a complete own-goal for the islamic community.

Before 9/11, most Britons thought of islam (if they thought of it at all) as just another quaintly foreign religion of little interest or note. Muslims wore funny clothes and they seemed more fanatical about their religion than most, but who really cared. That all changed when Usama Bin Laden declared war on us and our way of life. The response of the muslims in Britain was not "Stand up for Britain and its way of life!" but "...well I agree with him about foreign policy". Thats not how to win friends and influence people. Ever since then, they have continued their utterly disastrous recipe of planning attacks on us while accusing us of racism and intolerance when we take steps to protect ourselves from them. There is only so far down that road you can go before you hit a brick wall.

The driveling of a bitter old man

'I was involved in the process of arming Saddam Hussein," [Michael Heseltine] '

It must be national pomposity day or something.

'The reason we armed Saddam Hussein is because he was seen as an absolutely fundamental interest of the west against rising Muslim fundamentalism based on Iran. We have destabilised Iraq, greatly empowered Iran and the dangers to us in that process have been very considerably increased'

What I want to know is, if Michael Heseltine armed Iraq, why were all his weapons made in Russia? His air force had only Migs, his armoured divisions only had T-72's and his infantrymen all had AK-47 and 74's. If Michael Heseltine spent billions of pounds arming Iraq, he didn't benefit our arms manufacturers one little bit in the process. Which makes him either a liar or an idiot. I'm going for pompous liar. There always was a grandiosity about Hezza, even when he was a minister. I think that's what killed his chances amongst his peers and why the top job always eluded him. Yup, MP's preferred John Major, which is startling but incontrovertibly true. Unfortunately, now he has lots of time to bitterly reminisce, his memory seems to be failing.

It is a matter of historical fact that the west gave enough assistance to Iraq at its worst moment in the Iran-Iraq war to ensure it didn't lose- a bit like we gave assistance to Russia in WWII for exactly the same reason. But to pretend that Iraq's substantial military might was a gift from Britain is preposterous- ask any officer who has served in Iraq whose arms we confronted (and continue to confront) on the battlefield: Russia's. Bought and paid for with Iraqi oil money throughout the 1990's.

Of course, what Hezza's driveling enables is this kind of rant:

'What his comments highlight above all, however, is the naked imperial cynicism and duplicity that has governed western policy towards the region throughout, as support has been switched on and off for whichever regime is seen to serve western interests, utterly regardless of human rights and democracy, and with disastrous and counter-productive results. '

I've asked people who tell me about us arming Saddam to name one weapons system (other than the hilarious RailGun) which Saddam was given or bought- one infantry weapon, one missile, one tank, one aircraft. Strangely, none has been able to supply an example yet...

Their own worst enemies

Idiotic misuse of a historical analogy number 17,938-

'Inayat Bunglawala, the council's assistant general secretary, agreed - telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme there was a danger of the terror threat being magnified "out of all proportion".
"What you had in the 1930s was all sorts of popular fictions were spread about the Jewish community that they were responsible for all ills that were occurring to Germany.
"They were made into folk-devils, and I think there is a danger that the word Muslim in the UK is becoming synonymous with bad news." '

First off, you think there's a danger of the word muslim becoming synonymous with terrorism and rank superstition? Way too late bud. We have, if anything found out too much about muslim ignorance, pomposity, self-aggrandisement and victim-culture- too much to be conned by this pathetic special-pleading.

'Muhammad Abdul Bari told the Daily Telegraph the amount of debate relating to Muslims was disproportionate. He cited Nazi Germany in the 1930s as an example of how people's minds could be poisoned against a community.'

Utterly disgusting and preposterous. How many Jewish groups were there in German universities preaching that Germany was evil and would only be worth a damn if it was (forcibly if necessary) turned into a Jewish state? How many Jews in pre-war Germany scoured libraries for instruction manuals on how to make bombs so they could blow up German trains and night-clubs? How many Jews in pre-war Germany actually blew up German trains and night-clubs?

Not only does this stupid argument not stand up, it is a gross insult to the dead of 9/11, 7/7, Madrid, Bombay, Bali and all the other places muslims have chosen to murder people on behalf of their religion in the last six years. The reason your religion is in high disrepute, Mr Bari, is that people claiming to be good pure muslims keep on murdering us and then filming it and putting it up on YouTube. This is not a PR problem- its way way past that point. Islam is in great danger of becoming a world pariah in a way that even the Jews never managed. I know and accept that most older muslims, both Sunni and Shia are not extreme, and that it is the Wahhabists who are promoting this 'pure' Islam- but to most people in the world thats a quibble on a detail.

Whoever's idea it was to start bleating about poor ickle misunderstood muslims at your Wahhabist-front organisations, I'd get someone else to head that department in future. Its a very bad idea. I'd lay low, obey the law, and not associate with Wahhabism if I were you. If not, you may will bring down an unjust but very violent backlash upon yourselves.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

China and power

Further to the previous post...

'Mr. Sharansky considers the right to make a buck or travel freely as important as political freedoms. His Gulag-mates were almost all "economic prisoners"; the dissident campaign in the 1970s was to let Soviet Jewry emigrate, not bring down the Imperium. With a power like China, the West doesn't need to play down the freedom agenda, he says: Deng Xiaoping's market reforms brought a fair measure of liberty, defusing nationalism and making Beijing easier to work with, and China can be encouraged further down this road. In his view, international donors erred by not pushing the Palestinian Authority to open the economy of the territories for business. '

China is an interesting case. China's power distribution system is tremendously tenuous. At the top you have a tiny cadre of ostensible Communists- some politicians, some Generals. They hold very powerful levers of coercive power. But all the rest of the power in the country is wielded by local politicians. This vast cohort are corrupt, and growing more corrupt by the day. The tiny cadre at the top execute a few of the vast cohort to try to stem the tide but the corruption is vast and just keeps growing. There is nothing tying the vast cohort of local officials to the tiny cadre than habit and fear of the army/secret police. The force keeping the whole ediface in place appears to be inertia and long custom. Thats not very much. One big shock and the whole thing would fly to pieces. Whether the big shock will come nobody knows. But I confidently assert that over the medium term the Chinese system is not sustainable. In a system where no institutions exist to hand legitimate power to new groups of people, pressure will build up in the system, just like it did in Russia in the early 20th century. The new wealthy and even the respectably off in China will want to assert their legitimate right to some power- and there is no mechanism to give it to them. How long they will wait before getting really het up is anybodies guess- but I don't suppose they are more patient than the Russians.

An interesting case!

Going over old ground

'The war in Iraq and the rise of Hamas in the Palestinian territories, aided by the ballot box, are Exhibits A and B in the case against the Bush Doctrine and its contention that democracy can put down roots in Arab soil.'

Is there really a debate going on along such wizened and constrained lines? Are there really highly paid, highly esteemed intellectuals and politicians who still see things in such trivial ways?

The idea that somehow having political parties and elections will make Gaza into Canada is so simplistic and clumsy that even small children would have trouble giving it serious attention. I think of the real situation like this- power courses through societies like blood through a body. In a healthy body-politic, power runs through the 'legitimate' and purpose-designed channels, and make the body powerful and successful. In an unhealthy one, power runs through secret and 'illegitimate' channels made by the people who want power more than they want a healthy society. They drastically weaken society, make it inefficient and wasteful, but they don't care, because they mostly end up with whatever power is available. Britain, America, France and all the other successful nations benefit hugely from power being channeled through the public and legitimate channels- the whole nation feels that it is successfully connected to power, even in tiny ways like going to the ballot box and voting.

In some countries, like Zimbabwe, Kenya and Nigeria, there was a time in the past when power did get channeled through the public and legitimate channels. In other countries like Syria and Egypt, there has never been a transition of power that wasn't based on simple brute force. Both sets of countries are inherently less stable than the successful nations, as a lot of energy is spent by the small ruling classes fighting to maintain control of people who don't consider their rulers legitimate, who are disconnected from the blood-flow of power completely. Nations with healthy power distribution systems consequentially build a corporate identity which includes everyone, and leverage all that goodwill and energy into growth and beneficial activity. Its obvious that without an intact and healthy power distribution system, no state can really thrive.

So what do you ACTUALLY need to be successful? You need rulers and ruled who are willing to play within the rules. You need a dispassionate and powerful system of justice to decide when the rules have been broken and effectively punish the rulebreaker. You need rules that recognise the real way that things happen, which are not simply utopian. You need a way to transfer power from one set of rulers to another which is publicly agreed by all parties. You need long-term systems of bureaucracy which enable rulers to direct activity in their societies effectively and in a timely manner. You need at least some form of public representation, so there is a visible and concrete manifestation of the great mass of the ruled.

And last of all, you need the above to be institutionalised, so they can live on through many generations.

There is no reason why Arabs can't have the above, or indeed eskimos or Mongolians or Hottentots. There is no intrinsic reason why every nation on earth can't have them. But there is always habit, and the presence of tiny but powerful groups of men who just won't allow these institutions to grow. Like Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath Party. So sometimes, America and Britain and the other healthy, successful countries will have to kill the Saddam Husseins and the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads so they can't impinge on the growth of these institutions any more. Sad but true.

And then there's Pakistan, but thats a whole nother story...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Journalists keep the stupid policemen honest

'For police investigating Madeleine McCann's disappearance on 3 May this year, the six-month anniversary will simply draw attention, yet again, to just how little they have managed to ascertain. '

How would you like to have your work scrutinized like the press scrutinizes the Police? In America, milk cartons have pictures of missing children on them. There are many many pictures. I guess that means all the Police in America are complete garbage. Or perhaps it means that finding missing people is extraordinarily difficult. But being a journalist is easy. Being a Policeman is hard. But don't expect the journalists to give the policemen any slack. No no- that would be just and reasonable.

Tough love

This is a superb speech. As someone who works in the meeeja, I can attest to the truth of this mans words. The press in Britain is different from that in the US- it is much broader, coarser and closer to the world of the person reading it. US newspapers are crap- especially local ones. British newspapers are still more interesting, although I'd say that is falling away somewhat as some of the same processes that tamed the US newspapers arrive on our shores. But as Mr Snow says, none of the problems are critical, and none are irreversable.

Hail to the Chief (s Ex-Press Secretary)!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Yes, yes and yes

I know this is a bit old, but I only just found it. It says many of the things I believe to be true.

THE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans, a handful of you this week have listened in on what passes for Congressional hearings. You’ve endured the speeches of politicians who arrived with their minds set in concrete, as bulwarks against the truth. You have watched as one of our nation’s brave, devoted, valiant soldiers was ignored and described (in so many words) as a liar.
These broadcasts brought joy to the caves of al Qaeda, the halls of al-Jazeera, and to the streets of places where 9/11 is celebrated with dancing as the day America was devastated.
If you have watched or listened to these hearings, you can bear witness now that many so-called ‘representatives of the people’ have no clue what the people believe.
These sessions should have brought the nation together to focus on victory and to sound a warning to our enemies that we are united — committed to defend freedom and to defeat freedom’s opponents.
Instead we watched as career fund-raisers and clever lawyers used the opportunity to make moves on a political chessboard.
In Arlington National Cemetery, just a few miles from here, you can visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the unidentified body of a brave soul rests and receives daily visitors on pilgrimage to honor his sacrifice. On the side of the sarcophagus you can read this inscription:HERE RESTS INHONORED GLORYAN AMERICANSOLDIERKNOWN BUT TO GOD
The Tomb of the Unknowns symbolizes a nation from which millions have arisen to fight for freedom around the world at the cost of their own comfort, safety and even breath. These are folks who know there’s something more precious than this fleeting life. With eternity in their hearts, and pictures of loved ones in their wallets, they thrust themselves into the breach where evil had threatened to break out and overwhelm. They showed themselves willing to go the distance, even to go to a nameless grave, in order to preserve something with blood that can’t be bought with money, or negotiated with subtle speech.
You can search all of the cemeteries, public parks and national monuments across this land and never find a marble or bronze tribute to a soldier who fled the field of battle because his courage failed, his hope gave out, or political expediency drove him to retreat.
You’ll find no statues honoring those who succumbed to public pressure, steered a middle course to safety, sacrificed their honor in order to achieve unprincipled consensus.
There is no tomb of the unknown politician, because the politician’s stock-in-trade is to make himself known at all costs, even if it hurts the anonymous citizen whom he is called to represent…even if it steals the glory from the unknown soldier by yanking the rug on the doorstep of victory.
There are no such memorials because Americans are a people who pay tribute to valor, boldness, integrity and victory against all odds. We are a people who treasure the rough-and-ready attitude of men who train to kill in order to protect — men who conquer in order to restore, and who never claim an inch of subdued territory for themselves.
This week’s congressional hearings might lead you to believe that the important issues in this current conflict are body counts, troop counts and withdrawal dates.
For the United States military and the people in whose name they fight, the important issue is always and only victory.
But the cynics in Congress and their publicists in the news media have seemingly convinced us that this war is un-winnable and the best we can hope for is so-called ‘peace with honor’, which is synonymous with retreat. This mindset demonstrates a colossal ignorance of history.
Rarely have we engaged in a battle whose outcome was certain from the beginning. Often war has taken us to the brink, and stretched us beyond all known human limits. Yet, by the grace of God, we have prevailed.
And in this current battle in Iraq, part of the larger war on Islamic jihad, we shall prevail…not because it seems from today’s vantage point that we can, but because we must. The alternative is too bleak for words.
Two thousand one hundred and ninety days have slipped by since lower Manhattan slipped below the cloud of dust and smoke thrown up by the falling towers. The initial shock, outrage, grief and unity have begun to fade. As a result, we now face a threat worse than any individual attack. It’s called complacency. It’s the attitude that since nothing has happened to us here since 9/11, nothing will. It’s a suicide potion that politicians, pundits and pollsters dispense, and that far too many Americans have drunk.
If you think Iraq is just a trivial civil war that we have gone to referee, then ponder what your life will be like when the kind of people who blew up and crushed 3,000 Americans in a single morning have access to one of the world’s largest oil reserves.
If they could plan 9/11 from caves and primitive mountain training camps, what will they do when they possess a land of 25 million people with factories, farms, airports, barracks and huge numbers of munitions.
This is not an intramural scrimmage. This is the most important contest the world will ever see.
We must win.
That’s not a topic for debate, or a political position. It is the most compelling fact of our time: We must win.
My fellow politicians in Congress, as we enjoy the luxury of playing the electoral game, seeking power, influence and fame; please realize that we can do that only because our military has surrounded us with a blanket of protection. The terrorists who plant roadside bombs in Iraq are eager to see how those explosive devices work against Congressional limousines here in the streets of D.C.. Shall we let them?
This week, some in Congress have appeared on global TV and questioned the integrity of a four-star general, and told our enemies that the U.S. Commander in Chief has sent his lackey to Congress to lie for him.
Whose cause do you advance with those verbal tactics?
Which side rejoices to hear such words?
What great objective can be accomplished through such speech?
They say history is written by the victors. When you envision this page of history being recorded, thanks to a grant from the National History Foundation of the Islamic Republic of America, no doubt you can already hear the accolades.
Recent polls show that 64 percent of Americans oppose the war. Let me tell you, on behalf of Gen. David Petraeus and the men and women who fight under the banner of freedom, 100 percent of our troops oppose the war. Our troops would rather be home holding their babies, mowing their lawns, taking the boys to football practice, eating a home-cooked meal.
But war has been declared on us. In time of war you do what you hate to preserve what you love.
In time of war, the question is never, ‘How soon can we bring the troops home?’ The question is: ‘How can we win?’ The question is: ‘What will it take to crush the enemy to the point of absolute surrender or impotent insignificance?’
Our troops understand what they signed up for. It’s about time our politicians figured it out.
May God continue to bless America with clear minds, selfless love, and the freedom to exercise both.