Thursday, March 26, 2009

Obama- he's only just begun

'He slams Cheney for thinking the justice system can’t handle these terrorists, and then in the next breath admits that the justice system can’t handle these terrorists. After all, what does the justice system consist of if not Miranda rights, and treating all suspects impartially (like the shoplifter down the block), and the whole panoply of protections we offer criminal defendants? If the terrorists deserve habeas corpus rights, then why don’t they deserve Miranda rights? And who gets to decide exactly what they deserve — the president? And on top of everything, Obama even recognizes the need for preventative detention. What “mechanism to make sure that they are not released and do us harm” does he think he’s going to “figure out”? By this point I can’t even imagine what Obama thinks he disagrees with Cheney about.

The fact is that Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo has solved nothing but a cosmetic problem — just like the decision to drop the term “enemy combatants” without changing anything substantial about their legal status.

Obama is emerging as a master of cosmetics. But he shows little sign of really understanding the questions that his predecessors faced, nor of how difficult those questions are. Now he has to focus on them, understand them, and come up with answers — and he will still need to put the matter before Congress so the people can choose where to strike the balance. Let’s hope he’s precocious enough to accomplish all of that in his freshman year.'

Thats absolutely not good enough. Even Obamas supporters say that two years campaigning for president constitutes his valid experience for the role. He campaigned for two years without EVER considering the real facts about Guantanamo, the people incarcerated there and what other provisions for keeping those people might be available. Now, we are told, that he's in charge, he's finally got around to actually thinking about the subject. Seriously?

By now, my feelings on this subject are well known. Non-uniformed combatants who plan to, and then procede according to their plans to use innocent bystanders as cover, deserve one fate alone: a bullet in the back of the head. In every conflict since the invention of the Geneva conventions, that has been the rule. No point having rules of war if there is no downside to breaking them. A quick death by summary execution is not nearly the worst fate that could befall islamist terrorists- being a prisoner is most Arab countries can be far far worse.

Having Gitmo never struck me as sensible. Exactly as could have been predicted, all those who wish for political reasons for the west to fail and be conquered by those it has 'oppressed' use Gitmo as an example of menacing tyranny, rather than what it is: almost ludicrous civility towards an implacable enemy. To the unobservant, Gitmo is a concentration camp. In reality, it is a gentle resting place for terrorists in between periods of martial engagement. The foods great, the Korans are free, and anti-US Imams are on tap. You might have to put up with some weird light shows and loud music occasionally, but nothing you wouldn't experience at an Iron Maiden concert.

But this article clearly demarcates what the real concerns are- how to square a fight against an enemy which plays by no rules, let alone Queensbury rules with our traditions of civil rights and personal freedoms. And President Obama, the greatly esteemed law professor (hollow laughter), has no answers and no interesting thoughts that might lead to any.

Stuffed shirt. All mouth and no trousers. Take your pick...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama and Afghanistan: whole new ****up

'The Army’s new counterinsurgency manual explains why this works. “Ultimate success in COIN [counterinsurgency] is gained by protecting the populace, not the COIN force. If military forces remain in their compounds, they lose touch with the people, appear to be running scared, and cede the initiative to the insurgents. Aggressive saturation patrolling, ambushes, and listening post operations must be conducted, risk shared with the populace, and contact maintained…These practices ensure access to the intelligence needed to drive operations. Following them reinforces the connections with the populace that help establish real legitimacy.”

David Kilcullen, an Australian counterinsurgency expert and advisor to General Petraeus, said something similar in an interview published in yesterday’s Washington Post when asked which lessons learned in Iraq can be applied in Afghanistan. “I would say there are three,” he said. “The first one is you’ve got to protect the population. Unless you make people feel safe, they won’t be willing to engage in unarmed politics. The second lesson is, once you’ve made people safe, you’ve got to focus on getting the population on your side and making them self-defending. And then a third lesson is, you’ve got to make a long-term commitment.”'

'President Barack Obama has said that the US must have an "exit strategy" in Afghanistan, even as Washington sends more troops to fight Taleban militants.

He was speaking in a CBS interview, as the White House prepares to unveil a comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan.

Mr Obama said preventing attacks against the US remained its "central mission" in Afghan operations.'

Do you think President Obama has read the new US Army counterinsurgency manual? Do you suppose he knows anything about counterinsurgency practise or the psychological conditions which must prevail for a counterinsurgency force to prevail?

President Bush's message to the people of Iraq, and secondarily the Iranians and the Ba'athist rump was 'we are not going anywhere'. The surge was the megaphone, but additionally Bush's refusal to suggest even a vague timeline for leaving was his way of clearly stating that the US was in Iraq for the long haul.

I knew I was not going to like the Obama administration. I knew that Bush was vastly underestimated. But I didn't think Obama would be quite this bad.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Britains secret army

'Thousands of UK workers are being trained to help respond to a future terror attack as part of an updated counter-terror strategy, ministers say.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said shop and hotel workers would be among 60,000 people able to deal with an incident.'

Now do you suppose that these people have been given glocks, taught how to use them, and how to disarm someone in three swift movements?

Or do you suppose learning how to 'deal with an incident' means learning how to tell which dismembered limb originally belonged to which body?

I know our lords and masters, and the pathetic standards they keep to.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stock Phrases and their uses

'The Boston Globe tells us that a group of today’s leading appeasers (from Paul Volcker to Chuck Hegel) sent a letter to President-elect Obama just before the Inauguration (so that it was apparently drafted during the Gaza fighting), calling on him to negotiate with Hamas. They say that the president will speak with them, which is altogether in keeping with the current fad of seeking the talking cure to all the world’s maladies. The British Government is undertaking negotiations with Hezbollah. The Pentagon has approved talks with the Muslim Brotherhood. Vice President Joe Biden wants talks with the Taliban. And calls abound to avoid offending those who kill us. The pro-Israel Washington Institute wants to tone down the language we use, recommending we stop using phrases like “war on terror,” “global insurgency,” even “the Muslim world.”'

The latter list of phrases is a weird concatenation- the first two are well-known western-invented imprecision's about the world situation, but the last one "The Muslim world" is not. It is equivalently imprecise, but it is not our phrase. Indeed it is a piece of propaganda I loathe. The underlying message of the phrase is that Indonesians and Iraqis and Afghans and Persians are all the same- muslims, and that trumps any national, racial or tribal affiliations. Its close cousin is "Muslim countries"- the absolutely false contention that if a country has a lot of muslims in it, everybody else doesn't count. At least a quarter of Lebanese are Christians, but the rest are muslims, so Lebanon is a muslim country. Nobody talks about France as a Christian country, just because it happens to have more Christians than anything else. France is France.

Both of these phrases help to guide the world into thinking in the ways desired of them by islamists. If you think that the 1.2 billion muslims in the world are like one enormous happy being, joined at the level of souls, you can get away with constructing sentences like "the muslim world was angry about X" or "the muslim world will never forgive us for Y". Crucially, of course, there is no muslim world.

As I and many others have detailed over time, nation, race and sect trump common religion most of the time in the so-called muslim world. Iran and Iraq fought a gruelling eight-year war, for Gods sake. Try to get a Bradford muslim to talk about that. Saddam invaded muslim Kuwait, and was going to invade the centre of world islam Saudi Arabia until a rather large US army got in the way. Pakistan uses Afghanistan, its muslim neighbor, to enhance its prestige by attempting to make it a Pakistani proxy. Thats not very ummah'ish is it?

In fact, the islamists have had most of their recruiting and propagandising successes where islam is absolutely not the dominant force- Britain, Nigeria, Thailand, the Phillipines, Russia and the US. That's where a huge proportion of the worlds islamists reside- not in Saudi or Morocco or Indonesia or Iraq. What should that tell us?

Just like Bolshevism, islamism has never been and never will be a response by extremely poor and oppressed people to their oppressors. It is an imperial ideology fanatically adhered to by the sons of the wealthy, the bitter, ambitious, father-hating malcontents of the wealthy suburbs. Osama Bin Laden is a perfect archetype. He grew up in the lap of luxury, his head full of fantasies of religious purity and destroying the people slightly higher up the economic scale from himself. This vanguard have gone around the world busily finding people who it can exploit to achieve the ends it has fantasised about- the stupid, the impressionable, the credulous and the bitter. Why are they more successful in some countries than others? Well, how many stupid, impressionable, credulous bitter people are there in that society?

Look at Somalia. Somalia almost defines those things. Before the islamists came, Somalia was a byword for backwardness, terrible internecine feuding and ignorance. It still is, but now islamism has entered the godawful mix. Somalia is now virtually empty of professionals, middle class people and academics. Anybody with money is gone. Anybody with an education is gone. Hell, many of those with no education and no money are gone too, and are now living off the state in Germany, Holland or Britain. That's perfect for the islamists. All the kulaks are gone, now we get to tell everybody what the truth is.

I agree with the general point that we need to sharpen up our language in reference to the enemy we face- the Wahhabist islamist ideology using broader islam as cover as it spreads its reach across the world. The War on Terror was always bizarre and distracting. Global insurgency (not that I've ever seen that much) is again vague and unhelpful. If you can't name your enemy, if you are unsure who you are supposed to be fighting, you may well come to believe, as hundreds of millions in the west have already, that there is actually no enemy. They could not be more wrong.

The enemy is good at camouflage, that's all. Our language should be completely clear and precise, so the camouflage doesn't work.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Heart of the Matter

'Which brings us to the heart of the matter: the doubts about Obama himself. His famous eloquence is wearing thin through daily exposure and because his actions are often disconnected from his words. His lack of administrative experience is showing.

His promises and policies contradict each other often enough that evidence of hypocrisy is ceasing to be news. Remember the pledges about bipartisanship and high ethics? They're so last year.

The beat goes on. Last week, Obama brazenly gave a speech about earmark reform just after he quietly signed a $410 billion spending bill that had about 9,000 earmarks in it. He denounced Bush's habit of disregarding pieces of laws he didn't like, so-called signing statements, then issued one himself.

And in an absolute jaw-dropper, he told business leaders, "I don't like the idea of spending more government money, nor am I interested in expanding government's role." '

Dammit, people, pay attention! I said that stuff already. Actions disconnected from words- what kind of persons actions are disconnected from their words? Why, that would be the kind of person many thoughtful conservative bloggers, including me, described in the weeks and months leading up to that recent election: an ideologue, a stuffed shirt, an ivory-tower intellectual who has never run a lemonade stand. That is the person who some of us actually saw up there in front of the cameras. I feel virtually no pleasure in being right whatsoever.

Being right and having the vast bulk of Americans pay no attention is shitty. And I don't mean to my blog- many people, including folks like Glenn Reynolds were saying exactly the same things. Mr Reynolds has like 600,000 readers. Even that hefty swathe of Americans didn't manage to persuade their compatriots what the real facts were.

What is worrying is that during the election campaigning, Obama switched between different positions A LOT. None of his erstwhile supporters seemed to notice. Now he is doing that in office. On Mondays, the US economy is down a hole worse than the Great Depression, according to the White House. By Wednesday, its fundamentally sound and we should all stop being such worrywarts. By Friday, its back to being the Enormously Great Depression. These guys DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT.

Some honest Democrats, the ones with brains and integrity, are stating this out loud. Thats because they care about results. They do not want to arrive in two years time at elections with a completely failed executive branch. The biggest worry for these Dems is that not only is the executive branch in the hands of a know-nothing nincompoop, but that he has no discernible learning curve.

I couldn't see one during the campaigning for President- it was alleged, but I couldn't see it. All his campaign did was get quieter and quieter. All that noise and heavy breathing you heard was from the enormous Chorus in the legacy media. Whenever a blip emerged, they just clammed up and waited while the drooling media dufuses made their excuses for them, ommitted to cover the blip or changed the subject. Those strategies no longer work.

No large media outlet can hide from the American voter the enormous sums resident in the new Budget. Likewise, where that money is going. Not even Penn and Teller can make that stuff disappear.

Last night, I watched a large Russian bomber landing in Venezuela on the TV. Does that bring up any warning lights for you? During the Bush years, Mr Putin kept himself out of the Western Hemisphere. For those of you who don't know much US history, the Western Hemisphere is considered by the US to be ITS hemishpere. Hence Bay of Pigs, hence Contras Vs Sandinistas, hence US forces fighting drug cartels in Columbia etc etc. Why isn't Mr Putin afraid? Keep watching for details.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Made me laugh out loud

'Using socialism to help revive a failing economy is like putting angry weasels down your pants because you need some rest'

Read the rest- they are quite excellent.

Obama- can he do four years in this job?

Its probably a good idea to read this whole article before reading my comments- if you don't want to, Mr Krauthammer is discussing President Obamas announcement of the change of Federal Government policy regarding the use of cloned embryos for research by harvesting their stem cells.

'The other part -- the ostentatious issuance of a memorandum on "restoring scientific integrity to government decision-making" -- would have made me walk out.

Restoring? The implication, of course, is that while Obama is guided solely by science, Bush was driven by dogma, ideology and politics.

What an outrage. Bush's nationally televised stem cell speech was the most morally serious address on medical ethics ever given by an American president. It was so scrupulous in presenting the best case for both his view and the contrary view that until the last few minutes, the listener had no idea where Bush would come out.

Obama's address was morally unserious in the extreme. It was populated, as his didactic discourses always are, with a forest of straw men. Such as his admonition that we must resist the "false choice between sound science and moral values." Yet, exactly 2 minutes and 12 seconds later he went on to declare that he would never open the door to the "use of cloning for human reproduction."

Does he not think that a cloned human would be of extraordinary scientific interest? And yet he banned it.

Is he so obtuse as not to see that he had just made a choice of ethics over science?'

When he says obtuse, is he really thinking stupid?

This brings me to a topic I have not really wanted to discuss much. How smart is President Obama? How smart is he really? Is he a highly intelligent man, or does he just play one on TV?

Last night, being bored, I managed to watch President Obama discussing things with the President of Brasil for the TV cameras. What struck me instantly was the formers unease. Famously, the TV camera always reveals most when the people in front of it are trying to hide the most. Why would President Obama be uneasy? He has the top position in US government, the most powerful office in the world. I immediately thought 'He is out of his depth'. Every single word you say when you are US President is important- sometimes breathtakingly important. If you are not up to the job, if you got the job due to your acting skills and a sad lack of real-world nous on the part of the voting public, what do you do when you have to talk about real things to real people? What if you commit the US to something absolutely ludicrous? What if you piss off people whose help you need? What if the people you are talking to suss out what a sham you are, and immediately get the better of you?

If you need a teleprompter ALL THE TIME, what does that say about your ability to think (literally) on your feet? What does that say about your mental dexterity? What does that say about your real level of native intelligence and learned knowledge?

These must be worrying times for President Obama. Can he keep all the plates in the air for four more years? It must seem like forty...

Wasting their time, not preaching the word

'More than 200 people have attended the funeral and burial in north Kent of an unknown teenage girl who was decapitated about 700 years ago.

Her remains were found by an archaeologist on unconsecrated ground next to Hoo St Werburgh Parish Church, near Rochester.

Her head had been placed by her side, suggesting she may have committed suicide or been executed for a crime.'

Is it just me, or is this exactly the kind of thing the Church of England does now?

Why aren't they out there in the rough pubs and the streets and towns of England spreading the word of God about Jesus Christ?

That brought to mind this quote from a famous JFK speech at Rice University:

'We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not only because they are easy, but because they are hard...'

The Church of England chooses to re-bury 700 year old criminals not because it is hard, but because it is easy. Nobody in todays 'whatever you want to do we're cool with that' society is going to critisize this moronic activity. Nobody knows why this girl was beheaded and stuck outside the consecrated ground, but it probably wasn't for doing the washing up badly. Taking an evil person into consecrated ground is higher up the agenda for these idiots than actually doing the basic function of every Christian church- to teach society about Jesus.

How very sad.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sledgehammer smashes gnat

'An Iraqi journalist hailed as a hero in the Arab world for throwing his shoes at former US President George W Bush has been jailed for three years.'

Leaving aside the presumably inadvertant use of the word 'hero' in this sentance, how can such a nothing be worthy of three years in jail? At absolute most, this action should have warranted a stern talking to followed by a ride home in a police car. I find it absolutely incredible that Iraq has a law covering something like this. Whats the name of the statue 'Embarrassing the State of Iraq by throwing shoes Act 2008'? If it doesn't have such a statute, what law did the guy break? 'Conduct unbecoming a journalist'? 'Possessing shoes with the intent to throw'?

At the time, I was amazed at the enormous airtime given to this utterly trivial incident, and now that the guy has been put in jail it takes the whole episode to new heights of impenetrability for me. If someone can explain to me what could possibly justify giving this rude man a three year prison sentance, I'd like to hear from them.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Stock Democrat Response "I am really puzzled by the attitude of many. The vast majority of Americans set silently by and watched as Bush literally ran our Country into a depression and boldly called it a recession. Now the same public that remained passive for 8 years as America went down the tubes, are expecting that a President who has been in office for approximately 6 weeks will perform miracles and make everything better immediately. This mess was inherited by the current president and those wishing him to fail need to question if their love for their country outweighs their mean-spirited mentality. Even many in the news media cannot pass up a chance to take shots at the performance of our president. Where was this zeal when former President Bush was sending our Country on a suicide mission and our economy was spiraling out of control?"

We could call that, the standard mainstream Democrat response to criticism of President Obamas policies.

Lets Fisk it.

First, there is absolutely no mention of the policies themselves, what the policies are and what the persuance of those policies will result in.

Secondly, the situation inherited by President Obama is presented as being 100% engineered by President Bush, as though the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Community Redevelopment Act, securitised derivatives and a dangerous intransigent Saddam Hussein had no influence on events and outcomes.

Thirdly, it is supposed that the vast majority of the American people sat supinely by while the invasion of Afghanistan and the Iraq intervention occured because they were stupid and neglectful, rather than the much more likely explanation which was that they understood the necessity of those actions and agreed with them.

Fourthly, it conflates supporting President Obama with patriotism- after eight years of blood-curdling viciousness about President Bush...

Fifthly, it creates the straw man argument that the criticism of President Obama is that he has failed in six weeks to fix all the things in US society which are broken; whereas the pertinent criticism is that his policies have in no way ameliorated the existing situation, but have loaded an intolerable extra burden on the US economy and taxpayers.

Sixthly, trying to maintain that the media are against Obama is laughable- most of them still have man-crushes on him.

Seventhly, if the Iraq intervention was suicidal, how come the US won?

Eighthly (I don't think I've ever got up to Eighthly before), the US economy tanked right at the very end of President Bush's presidency. His personal or official contribution to the great credit crisis/economic meltdown? The Dumbocrats keep on saying the the reason for the cc/em was deregulation, but they get very vague when you ask them which specific regulation they are talking about. But they can count on most electors never getting quite that specific, sadly.

Lastly (or Ninthly), this commenter is not puzzled- he is enraged. He can't get his head around the fact that President Obama is now president, and that when he does things, they had better work, or the criticism will be loud and intense. Neither the commenter nor Obama can just waft along for the next eight years droning 'but Bushitler was SOOOOOOOOOO terrible, and he ate children, and murdered old ladies for fun etc'. You have to say bye byes to that drivel now, and get on with governing.

And trust me, after Bush Derangement Syndrome and its vile excesses, you'd better hope Obama gets everything right.


'...the speech to Congress was the pivot point. Before the speech, Obama was protected by a kind of political equivalent of the Star Trek Shield. His symbolizing of an historic milestone, which alone moved millions of white voters to his column, combined with his soaring rhetoric, which negated criticism from John McCain and other Republicans of the substance of Obama's proposals, to protect him through election day and into the transition.

But the magnetism of his historic moment began fading once the economic stimulus, the omnibus and the budget were on the table. As people focused more on the details and how they didn't square with what they thought he had promised during the campaign, the soaring rhetoric lost much of its power. It may even now be approaching a net negative because it throws so much more light on the inaequacies of the policies.'

At no point in the US election cycle was I actually in the United States. And yet, thanks to the wonders of the internet and the TV, I kept up with what was going on probably better than oh, 98% of Americans. How could ANYBODY who actually paid attention to the completely shameless shifts in what Obama promised from venue to venue, region to region and primary to general election think that they were voting for a straight-up guy? He lied, he was caught sneering at the poor and the rural and the God-fearing, he changed all the time. If you paid attention, you just HAD to notice that.

He never wavered from his goals though. His goals are what he is DOING now. And I can't wait to find out what the great mass of Americans are going to do and say when they find out at long long last what his goals are. Rubes!

Amazing powers of deduction

"I look at these young men and women, I look into their eyes and I see their badges today, and I know we did the right thing," Obama said, the recruits seated behind him on stage.

He said the police recruits had faced a future of joblessness, the same "future that millions of Americans still face right now."

"Well, that is not a future I accept for the United States of America," Obama said, explaining why he signed the stimulus bill on Feb. 17.

The recruit class was laid off in January before they could even start walking the beat. Mayor Michael Coleman, a Democrat, blamed city budget problems. [Hat Tip: Instapundit]

You know, it sounds really butch and manly- 'that is not a future I accept'. Grrrrrrrrrrr!!! Up and at em', boys!

But hang on a sec; How many of the 787 billion dollars in the ludicrously named 'stimulus' bill were given their value by Barack Obama? A dollar is nothing if there is no good or service produced whose value that dollar can inherit. The 787 billion is dependent on the productive part of the economy, which in the US is under seige right now from every direction. It is being tranferred to the non-productive part of the economy- the teachers, firefighters and civil servants Obama is creaming himself over. Of course, we need teachers, firefighters etc. But no sane society prioritises them over actual productive workers- manufacturers, small businesses and those providing essential services.

"I know we did the right thing." says President Obama. Of course, he also called the price-to-earnings ratio the profit and earnings ratio. What happens when you elect a junior Senator with no experience of anything, most especially business, to the highest office in the world on a whim? We'll see.

Its just custard, huh?

Pride at Mandelson custarding

Anyone like me who watched that smug shit Leila Deen launching green custard into the face of Peter Mandelson was left wondering when physical assault became part of the Democratic process in Britain?

And surely if the eco warriors can do it to whomever they please, I can play too? Given what I think of their ideas, I should really search out Leila and her lamentable friends and throw piss in their faces. According to Leila, there is a long proud history of 'direct' action in British politics. There sure is- remember when we kicked out all the Jews in the twelth century- direct action at work, people. Direct action is the resort of those who can't persuade with words, and its a very very slippery slope, which often ends in bombs underneath the drivers seat and pipe bombs up against the front door or perhaps petrol through the letter box.

Given that Leila and her peers were brought up to not respect people by default, and given their overpowering sense of rightness, and given the absence of any restraining factor in their culture like Judeo-Christian mores, how long before they decide they just HAVE to stop the evil airlines and airports by any means necessary?

Friday, March 06, 2009

The lies, in detail

'At the very center of our economic near-depression is a credit bubble, a housing collapse and a systemic failure of the banking industry. One can come up with a host of causes: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pushed by Washington (and greed) into improvident loans, corrupted bond-ratings agencies, insufficient regulation of new and exotic debt instruments, the easy money policy of Alan Greenspan's Fed, irresponsible bankers pushing (and then unloading in packaged loan instruments) highly dubious mortgages, greedy house-flippers, deceitful home buyers.

The list is long. But the list of causes of the collapse of the financial system does not include the absence of universal health care, let alone of computerized medical records. Nor the absence of an industry-killing cap-and-trade carbon levy. Nor the lack of college graduates.'

Charles Krauthammer is a class act. Beautiful, elegant prose, and a fine forensic mind. And of course he agrees with me. He has turned my generalised thesis into perfectly formed specifics. When I said that underneath Obamas honeyed words were lies, this is what I meant.

Whether Americas great lumpen proletariat will heave themselves off their sofas for long enough to forestall this enormous transformation of their society remains to be seen. If only it were a nation of Krauthammers...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Before Lad mags - a nostalgic moment

'Before they rush around us to take our money from the government, how about a conversation first, ask us what we want from journalism, what we like and don't like -- and don't assume you know the answer. (The journalists' answer is that we want sports, movie stars, bosoms, car crashes. You know that because that's most of what they give us. Maybe that's why no one is rushing to their defense. Just a thought.)'

'...thats most of what they give us.' I have often wondered just how 'responsive' the media in its many parts is. Back in the early nineties, I used to read GQ magazine. It had interesting articles about pretty serious stuff, excellent stuff about clothes and its intended audience was smart and upmarket (I presumed). And then one day a magazine called Loaded came along, full of tits, pictures of people being blown up, articles about getting drunk and being sick, accompanied by smart-alecky asides. Over a period of just a few months, every single magazine aimed at young single men cloned themselves on Loaded, including GQ. I was enormously pissed off, and wondered whether other readers were too.

The market for magazines aimed at single young men went from pretty excellent variety and spread to zero variety and zero spread. There seemed to be no logic to it, and I can't imagine that the readership of ALL the bloke mags increased. Certainly I have not bought GQ since. I have no problem (I suppose) with hard-headed business decisions to stop providing for one market, and move into another one. But can everybody do that? Isn't the old market worthy of ONE entrant? I don't think the decision was hard-headed business- it was sheep-like conformity and a feeling that being serious and excellent just wasn't 'modern' and 'up-to-date'.

Pakistans long slow slide into anarchy

'Former England cricketer Dominic Cork - who was providing commentary for the series - said he heard loud gunfire shortly after he arrived at Gaddafi stadium and rushed into the commentary box to see what was happening...'
"This is the end of cricket for a long time in Pakistan, maybe even the rest of Asia," he said.

He may be a bit over the top, but what does it say about a country when any white person, any foreigner is a target of determined, well-armed, fanatical murderers if they set foot in the place? This certainly doesn't fit the old 'its all the fault of colonialism' line. Pakistan has been free of colonial rule exactly as long as India, and India (as I can attest personally) is a wonderful place for people from anywhere to visit.

Pakistan is a violent cesspit, and its getting worse. How low can it go?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Speeches and actions

'There is strong evidence, however, that the American people are not excited about the Dems' leftward lurch. Last week, President Obama gave his first State of the Union address to an adoring Congress and unveiled his administration's first budget. What happened? His approval rating declined.' [Hat Tip: Instapundit]

Did you see the speech? It was very poor indeed. Weirdly, commentators, newspapermen, TV journalists and bloggers on both left and right in the States still hold it as a universal truth that Obama gives great speech. Are they seeing something I can't see? I don't hate Obama. I don't agree with his politics, and I think he is a shallow, vain man, but then he is a politician. Those are the starting qualifications for most politicians. But having seen many a southern Baptist sermon, and having watched some of the great orators on YouTube, I just don't get what people rave about when Obama gets on his speaking shoes.

If you mine just a little bit into Obama's words, you realise he is having to lie, obfuscate and muddy the waters most of the time, because if he said what he believed in plain language he'd never win another election. The difference between that, and great oratory is simple. Great oratory takes great themes, great emotions and great ideas, and presents them using great language and sometimes physical drama. Not all great speakers looked great while they spoke, Churchill and Martin Luther King Jr being two prominent examples. Churchill was once described as a large pile of dirty clothes with a head. But as soon as he spoke, you stopped day-dreaming or chit chatting or whatever, and you listened.

When I watch Martin Luther King speaking, every word seems important and true and necessary. Its also beautiful, like a superbly executed painting. Still, underlying the skill and the drama, there must be truth. Obama isn't talking the truth. He can't afford to. The trillions he wants to spend are not going to turn the US economy around. They are not for that. They will transform the role of government in American life. The government will take on many new roles. Once it has taken them on, who will be able to remove those roles from government. He knows nobody will be able to do that. But the American people would hate him and his Dem henchmen if he admitted that what he was doing was making the state as important in American life as it has been in Europe for many hundreds of years- with all the terrible implications that has.

The legacy that America has lived with for over 200 years is the one bequeathed to it by the English- the government works for me. I run it, I control it, I tell it what to do. Not the other way round. Russia, France, Italy, Germany/Prussia, Poland and many other european entities have had governments which directed, controlled and patrolled the life of the citizen. The state became the dominant life-form in society. Money, influence, power and prestige all emanated from it, and were bestowed by it. In the anglo-saxon world, it was possible to have all those things without being beholden to the state in any way. Aristocrats and businessmen could go through whole lives without having much if anything to do with the state. Fortunes were made and lost without the state being involved in any way at all.

Barack Obama doesn't want that to be true. Running through European history is a very broad stream of nationalism and statism. The two feed off each other. For national glory to be delivered the state must grow and grow. Only in England and America was national glory simply a result of burgeoning wealth and creativity and invention. The English and American states became powerful because their subjects were so good at making wealth, and that allowed the state to grow sizeable and effective armed forces.

Of course, we've gone astray since the collapse of Victorian England in the first world war, and the determined efforts of the communists/socialists to destroy English national cohesion by turning the poor against the wealthy. In that, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. We are gradually falling towards a voluntary communist dictatorship, as the stranglehold that communists/ecologists have on our education system drip-feeds dark lies and hate about our nation, its values and its history into childrens ears.

Its our own faults- we were not vigilant about our freedoms, we did not see the sinister nature of the very real threats in the world, and now we see how the ideas fed into the population over about a hundred years have yielded not social utopia and a workers paradise but a completely fractured social space, millions and millions of people with a void for a national identity, and amnesia and shame about who and what the English are.

Barack Obama is taking the US on a whistlestop tour of the twentieth century. Does he know where he is taking the nation? He seems to know no history whatsoever. Does he understand what Nicolas Sarkozy represents in French politics? Does he realise that EVEN THE FRENCH are having second thoughts about the wisdom of a state that dominates the life of the nation to the point where it squeezes out much perfectly legitimate activity? Does he not see the creeping Thatcherisation quietly winning hearts and minds even in sclerotic Europe? Ok, its not a fight thats in any way won yet, but both Sarkozy and Merkel are not like their predecessors in their assumptions about the utterly dominant state. Thats real measurable progress. The Poles and the Czechs never drank the cool-aid to begin with, are are consistently Thatcherite in their political philosophy AND their national behaviour.

So Obama is a throwback to the late forties, at the very least. How cool would it be if that fact was revealed in painful detail and starkness to the American voter? I wish...

Progressives and the Great Pumpkin

'I was hoping that a magic genie would be found in Baghad [sic] that would create a situation where Bush's policies didn't work but with no loss of life, damage to property, expense or harm to our nation's reputation.'

Perfectly encapsulated, the world view of the progressive.

Waiting on the magic genie.

Ask the people of Darfur about the magic genie. Ask the people of Rwanda about it. Ask the people of the Congo about it. Most pertinently, ask the people of Iraq.

Try getting rid of dictators and murderous bands of thugs with a genie.

Confusingly, this genius then continues:

'The problem is - I'm not Bobby Jindal so I don't believe in magic.

So I repeat - damn right I wanted the Iraq war to fail.

Not because I hate our country or hate the troops but for the exact opposite reason - because I love my country and I value the lives of the people sworn to protect it.'

How often we have heard that argument. I love our soldiers so much, I don't want them off fighting actual wars. Armies are for fighting, dipshit. Not only that, if you can't get on board with a war to rid the world of a textbook villain complete with moustache and handy pile of corpses, what war could you EVER support? A war on turtlenecks and bell-bottoms? A war on split-infinitives?

Sadly for the 'progressives', Darfur actually started DURING the Iraq intervention. It took immense amounts of bald-faced cheek and outright lying to triangulate support for intervention in Darfur DURING an intervention in Iraq which you didn't support.

'I wanted the Iraq war to fail because I love my country'. In no possible reality of which I'm aware does that statement mean anything credible. A beaten, humiliated United States would achieve what in the world? How would it be good for America or Americans? How would it be good for Iraq or Saudi Arabia or Jordan or Egypt or Israel? To make statements like that, you have to exclude, deny or never learn about vast numbers of things which are true. In this instance, about how the Middle East works and what Americas role is.

Have you noticed how at one moment progressives are internationalists, comparing the US unfavourably with Europe (especially Sweden for some strange reason. Highest suicide rate in the world anybody?); and then the next, they are the fieriest patriots upholding ancient American rights and traditions against the fiendish Republican amoralists. Trouble is, when you have no fixed foundation of belief, when the overall structure of your political philosophy is to hate whatever is established and entrenched, its very difficult to be persuasive. The progressives don't have any evidence to support their assertions of patriotism. Or indeed of being morally superior.

"I wanted torture to fail because I can't bear the idea of a world where America tortures people because 'it works.' That's not America to me."

America tortures people 'because it works'? I thought it tortured people so hundreds, maybe thousands of innocent people didn't die in horror.

"I assume Rush Limbaugh feels the same way, more or less, about the President's economic plan. I bet he simply can't bear the idea of a world where massive government spending is effective and therefore popular because 'it works.'"

But that last sentance really did for me- "he simply can't bear the idea of a world where massive government spending is effective and therefore popular because 'it works.'" Thats an enormous hostage to fortune you got there bud. And the 20th century track record of 'massive government spending'? Did you check that out?

Oh, and Rush Limbaughs speech? Not the greatest speech ever, like some people are saying. In fact, the guy really needs a public speaking tutor. There were more diversions from the road than the Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy. But as a plain exposition of what conservatism offers the world (not just the United States, although I don't think Rush cares that much about the rest of us) it was superb. Look around the United States, and see what hard work, fair dealing and capitalism hath wrought. And look me in the eye and say you don't want that for your own family.