Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Quibbling over Islamaphobia [Hat Tip: Mark Steyn]

I love these prissy, arch critics. They always remind me of the George Orwell quote used as the subtitle of the Mudville Gazette- "Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." Ms Gyapongs first sentance includes the completely un-substantiated slur 'According to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, its OK for Mark Steyn to use stereotypes and wrong facts to engender fear of Muslims, because fear is not the same as hatred or contempt.' So, daaaaahhhhhling, which facts were wrong? Any one will do? You go girl.

Ok, so we'll just have to take it on Ms Gyapongs word that Mark Steyn is wrong in what he says. He is a conservative, ergo he is wrong. Every time Ms Gyapong struggles towards the light, she has to rush quickly back to her sacred truths- "...even if there are even 10 per cent of Muslims (or three per cent) who hold an extremist, violent view of jihad (or sympathize with it) that's millions of people. Of course those extremists are most dangerous to fellow Muslims" So quit your whingeing, America!

I can tell by reading an author how close they have come personally to being blown up or hacked to death by an Islamist. I was two trains away from the Russell Square Islamist atrocity, and I don't really give a toss what the difference, if any, is between Islamophobia and Islamodium. There is absolutely no doubt that for billions of people all over the world, the word Islam conjurs up murderous fanatics who will kill whoever whenever they feel it appropriate. Fair? Maybe not. Justified? Certainly. Normal for human beings? Absolutely.

Muslims have the worst PR of any group or tribe or race in the world right now, and its all their own work. Go on mainstream Muslim websites and its half what they talk about- how to improve their PR image. Trouble is, for every earnest, well-intentioned discussion about getting together with other religions for mutual respect and understanding, there will be five stories from around the world of murder, intolerance and medieval torture in the name of Islam.

Its that drip-drip-drip which is why the Dems were very keen to dispel the rumour that went around six months ago in the US that Barack Obama was a Muslim. If the rumour had been that he was secretly a Sikh, what would they have done? Nothing. But to be associated with a brand that stank that much was worthy of top billing on their myth-busting website.

Could Ms Gyapong be the anti-Steyn? Unfunny, uptight and wrong even about what is in her own interests?

How we got here: the Credit Crisis

How the Credit crisis of 2008 began, laid out in detail. Although I have one gripe- 'Three months later, the Clinton administration announced a comprehensive strategy to push homeownership in America to new heights - regardless of the compromise in credit standards that the task would require. Fannie and Freddie were assigned massive subprime lending quotas, which would rise to about half of their total business by the end of the decade.' This is the absolutely critical bit, and its not attested by the specific Executive order number(s) (if thats the correct reading of this paragraph) or the bills through Congress (if not). This is the smoking gun.

Between this fact, and the inability of the statisticians analysing securitised sub-prime mortgages to come up with valid values, you have the root of the current debacle. It does seem that a socialist ideology, brought into the political arena by ACORN, is indeed the main cause of the Credit fiasco. Will the electorate care? Will it vote accordingly? Highly improbable...

Speaking truth to power #5,743

'Basements targeted'

The Russian prosecutor's office is investigating more than 300 possible cases of civilians killed by the Georgian military.

Some of those may be Ossetian paramilitaries, but Human Rights Watch believes the figure of 300-400 civilians is a "useful starting point".'

Brave, brave BBC! Taking on the mighty Georgia over its human rights abuses. Wow! I respect that sooooooooooooo much.

What were the Human Rights Watch figures for the first Chechen war again? Or the second Chechen war? They've sorta slipped my mind... oh, yeah, they don't seem to have managed to establish any.

But according to Wikipedia:

'In June 2005, Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov, a deputy prime minister in the Kremlin-controlled Chechen administration, said about 300,000 people have been killed during two wars in Chechnya over the past decade; he also said that more than 200,000 people have gone missing. Every resident of Chechnya has scores of relatives who have been killed or gone missing, he said.[30]'

So maybe half a million dead/missing? According to a guy working for the Russians? Where were Human Rights Watch and the BBC? In Chechnya, there was absolutely no question the Russians were the aggressors. After all, its called Chechnya not Russia. And yet the BBC are willing to take the word of the murderous Russian regime that the Georgians, whom the Russians hate and revile because the latter have the temerity to be independent, are actually the murderers of innocents? Honestly, I am very close to giving up on the BBC altogether.

Putin used the Second Chechen war to take powers in Russia he has never relinquished. His despotic and criminal rule was directly enable by it. It is highly probable that the apartment block explosions that were used as the pretext for launching the Second Chechen war were the work of the FSB. Certainly many Russians, even supporters of Putin, believe it to be so. Putin has never shied away from murder to progress his career, especially if he believes the fortunes of Greater Russia will be enhanced. Half a million murders is simply the price that had to be paid to enable his dictatorship.

Its so nice of the BBC to wipe the slate clean for Russia, and get on the Georgian case with such alacrity. Pathetic ass-wipes. I swear, there's not a pair of gonads in the whole organisation.

You know you're a bunch of losers when...

...You start analysing why you lost before you've even had the election.

I suddenly have a feeling that many of the people populating the right are not my spiritual kin in any wise.

Consider this stellar example:

'The listing McCain campaign has descended into a bout of pre-criminations that is delightful fodder for political reporters. Who can deny that some cretinous McCain aide calling Sarah Palin “a diva” makes good copy?

John McCain still has a chance to win, so it’d be more sensible to delay the “who lost 2008?” debate until after Nov. 4. But since it’s already in full flower, let’s consider a chief culprit in the campaign’s current low state — the candidate.'

Since its already in full flower, I'll join in? Are you serious? How about shutting the hell up and getting on with the real business at hand?

Sometimes the hail mary comes off, sometimes the unfavoured horse cuts up the inside and pips the class acts at the post, sometimes the Buster Douglas will ko the Mike Tyson; but there are usually bits of evidence which the really talented observer could have picked up on before the event which predicted the less likely outcome. I don't see the evidence that the midgets running the McCain campaign, and the wizened stultified grandees and punditry of the Rupublican upper echelons have any of the traits which militate towards an unlikely upset. They've got no fighting spirit, they've got no real emotional underpinning to their conservatism, and they don't know the intellectual basis for their political creed.

I've been watching some NFL football recently, and it brought sharply into focus where the real stuffing of America is; certainly not in its chinless wonder professional politician class. It resides in the normal, average guy, the people who do the heavy lifting, take the risks, get stuck into the messy, unpleasant jobs and succeed. If my reading of the polls and surveys is right, those people are completely fed up with their political class- the Republicans even more than the Dems but its a close run thing.

And why would you blame them? Having a wake for a political campaign before the election is held is almost surreally stupid and self-defeating. Who wants to be led by people who'd do that?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Its a question of priorities

'Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?
Ayers won’t work.'

I was just prepping to excoriate the author of this piece for missing the point, when I went ahead and read it... and guess what? I totally and completely agree with the guy. Whether or not the William Ayers association with Obama is a concern for US voters, it is not the battleground on which the election should be fought.

What are the issues that top voters minds? Job security, tax rates, home equity and calling to account those who have presided the governmental and wall street disasters over the last few years.

I agree with Mr Shortridge that defining the important issues and your own clear purpose in handling them is something McCain is failing to do. Is there time to haul this supertanker around? Maybe, but he'd have to start today. And thats not likely.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Douglas Alexander sees an oppo

'The secretary of state for international development, Douglas Alexander, called the killing a "callous and cowardly act".

He said: "To present her killing as a religious act is as despicable as it is absurd - it was cold blooded murder."'

I'm so glad that this apparently wonderful womans death has presented Douglas Alexander with another opportunity to willfully contradict the people who did it in the name of 'community relations'. I guess there is just nothing the murderous scum of the Taleban/Al Qaeda could say about their intentions and their world-view that Douglas Alexander couldn't miscontrue given ten minutes of thinking time.

Stop triangulating you ****ing moron. Taking people at face value is a service even you could render your country.

Wowsa! What a big seller!

'Publisher Karl-Dietz said it sold 1,500 copies of Das Kapital this year - up from the 200 it usually sells annually.'

Huge resurgence!

'Number 1
The Holy Bible - 6 billion
Author: Various'

If 200 is your problem, 1,500 is not your solution. BTW, just for the record, there's another name for capitalism- normal human economic activity. Another name for Communism- pointlessly rigged human economic activity. So waiting around for capitalism to 'crash'- pretty vain hope. However, do not underestimate the proclivity of the youth of Germany to get on some murderous and coercive bandwagon...

Friday, October 17, 2008

What will Mr Obama do?

'...far from preventing turmoil and devastation, "change" is more likely to strip America of the agility and means to cope when the next crisis comes.' [Hat Tip: Instapundit]

'That promised sea-change of the basic American ethos is the real crisis. There will be hell to pay, to the extent that a panicked U.S.--hounded for years by its critics at home and abroad--succumbs to the idea that democratic capitalism will no longer serve, that creative-destruction must be staved off at any cost, that enrolling in a kumbayah chorus can change the nature of mankind.'

Hope and Change are what the calculating and cynical drivers of the Bolshevik revolution promised the peasants of Russia. What did they deliver? An unfree society which murdered the Russians who disagreed with Bolshevik ideas (along with many who DID), a moribund economy which proved to be the achilles heel of the entire project, and huge amounts of broken promises and hot air. The outcomes of Communist Russia may provide the greatest contrast ever to the outcomes promised. Will Barack Obama try to take America down the same cul-de-sac? I hear him promising the same Centrally Controlled Nirvana, with the enormous benevolent face of the government looming at you from every direction, watching, patrolling, decreeing outcomes, 'creating equitability'.

As National Lampoon once said about Ben Gay, if inequity is your problem, THAT is not your solution. Of course, nobody really knows what Barack Obama will do. He is completely opaque. And that is the number one reason not to vote for him. He might turn out to be a second George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, or he might be Lenin in disguise. But when voting for someone, I'd always pick the guy whose colours were there for all to see. Tony Blair was a patriotic social democrat with a completely practical turn of mind. Which is why I voted for him twice. I felt no qualms about that because I knew what he was. I did it consciously, despite being a conservative. He was better than the alternatives.

Would I be willing to gamble on an unknown (and apparently intentionally obscure) quantity like Barack Obama. No. Its just too risky. There are many things I don't like about John McCain. But in sum, he is the better choice.

I don't think he's going to win though. America seems determined to take the riskier option. Oh well, let the chips fall where they may, and I hope in a years time the people who voted him in are still happy with Mr Obama.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So what?


The agent in charge of the Secret Service field office in Scranton said allegations that someone yelled “kill him” when presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s name was mentioned during Tuesday’s Sarah Palin rally are unfounded.

It's as if they're just making stuff up to make McCain and Palin look bad.'

Of course, even if it was true, it would be just fine. I counted exactly a zillion instances over the last eight years where Democrats and other nutjobs called for President George W Bush to be murdered/assasinated/crucified, and can't recall a single instance where the lazy media folks turned up even a diffident eyebrow. So it must be ok.

I can't believe that there are people out there who would have two sets of rules, one for Republicans and the other for Democrats. That would knock the foundations out from my world.

BBC uses Credit Crisis to Big Up China (again)

Will China bail out the West?

With nearly $2 trillion (£570bn) worth of foreign currency reserves, China is being touted by some as the potential saviour of the Western banking system.
China's booming exports have enabled it to mass huge foreign reserves

In order to bail out ailing financial firms, Western governments need money - and China seems a good place to get that much-needed cash.

Please, please, can someone who knows something about international markets go work for the BBC?

China would be much better off if it had two trillion dollars worth of national infrastructure, two trillion dollars worth of low-polluting industry, two trillion worth of well-fed, well-looked after Chinese people; rather than two trillion worth of dollars steadily decreasing in purchasing power. Having billions and billions of currency is not directly representative of wealth- go to Saudi Arabia if you don't believe me. America is not wealthy because it has lots of dollars- it is wealthy because its people produce a huge amount of goods and services. A vast majority of those goods and services are provided to other Americans and therefore Americans feel wealthy. The Chinese produce enormous quantities of low-quality products which they sell to us, and in return we give them dollars and euros and pounds. Do Chinese people feel wealthier? Only if they happen to own a bank, which is a very circumscribed group of people. The Chinese are gradually getting wealthier- of that there is no doubt- but they are starting from a very low point and they haven't gone very far yet. In a comparison between an average Chinese person and an average Briton or American or French person, the average Chinese person has vastly less means to access to high quality goods and services.

So what about all those dollars and pounds in Chinese banks? If the Chinese lend them to us, what will that achieve? I'm guessing inflation in our economies, and not much genuine gain. It seems to me that the scarcity of credit at the moment is providing a bracing challenge to businesses in the developed economies. It is sorting the wheat from the chaff. Well-run, well-capitalised businesses are hardly affected by the current situation, whereas badly-run, under-capitalised businesses are going to the wall. Whats wrong with that? Thats exactly what is supposed to happen in Capitalist economies. Workers and resources are freed up by this process to be utilised in productive enterprises- viz the Thatcher revolution.

Taking money from Chinese banks at bad rates sounds like a quick-fix, bad-judgement behaviour to me and I hope very few Central banks and/or governments take the option. But then the guys who run them probably know this much better than the BBC...
to whom this situation is simply another excuse to shit on Britain and America and tout their favourite new 'superpower' with all the schadenfreude at their disposal. Honestly, they are pouty children. Will we ever get dispassionate, well-analysed business stories from the BBC?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Christopher Buckley- what hath the father spawned?

I really wanted to critique this critique, but I just can't. I have a relatively powerful computer, with two gigs of RAM (for those who care), and I can't actually use the above page. Now THATS a stupid website. It appears that the WHOLE of Roger Kimballs blog is on the one page. I could be wrong, as I couldn't be bothered to wait the five minutes neccessary to scroll down and find out.

I will just say that an America that can't love Sarah Palin is not an America I can wholeheartedly cheer on. She is so vibrant and strong and sharp- a tremendous woman before whom many girly-men Dems would wilt. I met women like Sarah Palin in America and they always reminded me of the women who stood by the founders of the British empire- steely, intelligent and able to exert tremendous influence. An America which lauds Nancy Pelosi, Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey above the Sarah Palins is a sad and pathetic vestige of its former self.

Cheeky Icelandic bastards

'Where once [British] people were impressed to meet an Icelander (there are not that many of us), now we are greeted with a sorrowful "poor you"....But there's no chance of these compassionate sentiments being returned. To this self-declared peaceful nation it is incomprehensible that the UK government used anti-terrorism laws to freeze the assets of its banks in Britain. They even blame the British for precipitating the downfall of its biggest bank, Kaupthing, by their hasty and draconian actions.'

You have to laugh. A week ago, Icelands banks admitted that they taken the equivalent of nine times Icelands total annual GDP in deposits, and guess what? The money isn't there!!! You have to wonder which bit of this Icelanders don't understand. Er, thats our money in your bank. And its not there. In plain language, thats called stealing. Hating the people you have stolen from is just... weird. Not unusual, it has to be said, but weird nevertheless.

Let me try to explain to Icelanders of average or greater intelligence (that may be an oxymoron)- our government acted to stop you giving what remains of our money to other Icelanders in preference to us. I don't care what the name of the law was they used to do that, but if stopping you from stealing more of our money means invoking terrorism laws, hey I'm on board.

People who do stuff like this remind me that the English lag behind many nations in bald-faced cheek.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

China- polluting the world singlehandedly

What caught my eye about this graph- China is the greatest polluter on the planet. And yet, it only has the fourth largest GDP. Not only that, but America produces over five times as much, with less pollution. Who is the great polluter?

Forcing people to do the right thing

I was just about to write a post about something I don't care about very much (an American pundit castigating Britons for criticizing American race relations), when the following headline caught my eye:

"Tough times cannot be a pretext for abandoning climate-change targets"

Its the headline of an op-ed in the The Times from Oct 13, 2008. I sat musing for a few moments about how stupid I believe the massed ranks of the newspaper editors, workaday politicians and busybodies of the world are in signing up to the concrete actions required by climate-change religion when they are based on something as contentious and flimsy as anthropogenic climate-change.

But this is just my usual brain-chatter. I'm sure I've detailed before why a) if climate-change is not our fault, there's absolutely nothing we can do to PREVENT it, just get used to it and b) if climate-change IS our fault, getting the same people who are happy to see tens of thousands of people murdered in Darfur and thousands of people in the Congo die down mines to agree to changing their polluting habits is a bit hopeful.

My mind wandered to why especially in Britain, but all over the developed world, it is becoming a norm to force people to eat well, exercise, quit smoking, recycle, drink less, refrain from killing small animals and on and on. The Times is happy to tell people whose livelihoods may well have just gone up in smoke that actually, global warming means we aren't going to prioritising getting them back into work; rather, they are a necessary sacrifice on the way to Climate Nirvana (whatever that is).

How have we got to the point where it is absolutely uncontroversial to stop people from engaging in perfectly normal activities, which may be harmful to the individual involved but completely harmless to those around them? How can free societies justify that? I remember fifteen years ago the newspapers mocking Singapore for thrashing people who litter, or vandalise. Now, I can't smoke in a pub without breaking a LAW (not that I actually smoke, but its the principle). For years, the government had public health campaigns about this and that, but they didn't intrude much into the general pattern of life. Now, children are forced to eat a particular diet at school, one not of their choosing, but decreed by the state. If I don't cut back on my fat intake, my doctor can actually choose not to provide me with certain treatments.

The problem with the government employing seven million people is, they all need something to justify their salary. And that is often now patrolling the public for its own good. Those should be chilling words. In the past they have covered sordid scandals like forced sterilisation and electric shock treatment of the mentally ill; like the forced seperation of children from their parents so they could be re-socialised in the 'proper' way.

None of the three main political parties in the UK seem at all non-plussed by this chivvying-with-threats mode adopted by the government- indeed, they line up to provide it with new things we need to be chivvied about. What a terribly sad situation in a nation which once prided itself as the home of individual freedom. Will someone come along and do something about this regimentation and repression?