Thursday, April 30, 2009

We want to be like Russia!

'Free enterprise is culturally mainstream, for the moment. Asked in a Rasmussen poll conducted this month to choose the better system between capitalism and socialism, 13% of respondents over 40 chose socialism. For those under 30, this percentage rose to 33%. (Republicans were 11 times more likely to prefer capitalism than socialism; Democrats were almost evenly split between the two systems.)'

I am almost speechless. Almost. A third of young Americans think socialism is a better system than capitalism. I wish they could meet my wife. Her views on socialism, like those of most Russians, are not fit to print in a family blog. First hand experience has a way of bringing stuff to your attention which obviously eludes pampered little shits living light years away from the nearest actual socialism. Still, what do they teach in US schools? Presumably zero twentieth century history. And half of ALL democrats prefer socialism over capitalism. How many of them have lived in a socialist society?

It is shocking. Even from the point of view of sheer self-interest, socialism is the worst of all possible worlds. And that would be the ONLY reason for socialism. If you are a humanitarian, a caring sort, an altruist, socialism should be absolute anathema. The first thing socialists do in a revolution is kill all the smart intellectual types, the people who went to university under the old dispensation, and who are the establishment. You know, the sort of people who tend to be democrats in the US. Yoo hoo, wakey wakey you fucking morons.

Actually, better idea. Let them have what they wish for. Socialist in haste, repent at leisure.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Global warming: is it bollocks?

'Experiments in natural science show that one-sided observations, those that take no account of the multiplicity of factors determining certain processes in the geo-system, lead to unwarranted simplifications and wrong conclusions when trying to explain natural phenomena. Thus, politicians who rely on incomplete data may take wrong decisions. It makes room for politically correct lobbying, especially on the side of business marketing of exceptionally expensive, so called eco-friendly, energy technologies or those offering CO2 storage (sequestration) in exploited deposits. It has little to do with what is objective in nature. Taking radical and expensive economic measures aiming at implementing the emission only of few greenhouse gases, with no multi-sided research into climate change, may turn out counterproductive.'

It is not widely known that at the beginning of the 20th century, large numbers of scientists were convinced that cranium size and shape determined intelligence, and that the white northern races had skulls with more brain in them than southern black skulls. Then, as scientific knowledge advanced, as 'multi-sided research' was performed, it was realised that skull shape had no determining influence on brain size nor intelligence. Obviously, scientists don't bring this up much, as it makes them look awful. Scientists can get caught up in a frenzied way, like the rest of humanity does, and lose their objectivity. They have over 'global warming', and so far, seem resistant to calming down and being scientists again.

We're waiting.

Pelosi and Torture

'“The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists,” Goss wrote. “I do not recall a single objection from my colleagues.”

Pelosi dismissed such criticism, telling reporters the 2002 briefing was strictly classified, and she was hamstrung from raising objections with officials or even sharing information with other lower-ranking committee members.'

Nancy Pelosi, a bird-like woman with a permanently surprised look on her face, always comes across to me as someone not just promoted above her level of competence, but promoted WAY above her level of competence. Watch this video of her 'answering' questions about her knowledge of the use by US agents of waterboarding. Its funny AND sad. I'm not sure whether she has the same lawyer as Bill Clinton, but it comes across as about as convincingly as 'I never had sexual relations with that woman'.

Question: the CIA asked legal counsel whether waterboarding constituted torture or not. What did Nancy Pelosi think they wanted to know that for?

Somebody somewhere has the minutes of that briefing. Ms Pelosi better hope they are still classified.

But its the 'she was hamstrung from raising objections with officials' that made me laugh out loud. Democrats in the CIA spent most of the last four years leaking stories to the press in the hope of making the Bush Presidency look bad. Remember Valerie Plame and the Yellow cake? She got outed because she used her position in a completely corrupt way, for political mischief-making. Sadly for her, that was a double-edged sword. But there was nothing poor little ranking member of the Intelligence Committee Pelosi could do about this 'nightmare'? Not even one teensy weensy quiet word to the right journo?

Yeah, she didn't do that because in 2002 everybody wanted those bastards tortured. Its only now, in hindsight that the political benefits of being against the 'torture' seem so attractive, that Ms Pelosi has realised that she was never complicit in the waterboarding decision-making. Pathetic. Nobody will believe her. But its part of a much wider attempt by the Dems to whitewash their behaviour from 2001/2002, when they got on board with all sorts of thing they now wish they'd been against. "Hey, lets invade Afghanistan!". "Well, alrighty then!". "Hey, lets torture the high-level Al Qaeda people we capture!". "Sure, seems like a plan!". "Hey, Saddams a festering scab with dangerous friends. Lets invade!". "Like your thinking, he IS dangerous!". And so it goes...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pants on fire

'Conservative leader David Cameron has pledged to "replace Labour's spendaholic government with a new government of thrift"...

"On my watch it will be simple: if you do more for less you get promoted; if you do less for more, you get sacked."'

Oh yeah, thrift. I remember that. About a thousand years ago, the Conservative party believed in that, and as I recall, actually tried to practise it while in government. Ah, those days of yore. But lo the many years now we have got used to Conservative ministers led by Mr Cameron frantically outbidding Labour, and promising to spend our money on this and that absolutely necessary thing. And that was consistent right up til about last week. So, first of all, I'm getting an 'Obama promise' sort of feeling here. You know, the ones that virtually never actually pan out in real life. Promises that aren't even really worthy of being called aspirations- more like vague gesturings towards.

I believe that today, when David Cameron got up, he really really wanted to lead a thrifty government. Just like a year ago he got up wanting to lead a green government, and a few months after that he wanted to lead a compassionate government; and a few months after that he got up wanting to lead a financially competent government. But I believe in my secret heart of hearts that David Cameron just wants to lead a government. Any old government. And I bet you all our money that when he gets into No 10, he forgets all about that old thrifty bollocks.

David Cameron is not a conservative. He doesn't seem to emanate any sort of conservativeness at all. Like George W Bush and John McCain and the US treasury, he doesn't seem to mind whether our tax pounds get spent at a greater or lesser rate. Just doesn't impinge on his daily musings at all. After all, its just revenue right? Revenue gets adjusted, yada yada. The simple basic truth that they are taking OUR money, and spending it as THEY like doesn't have any impact any more. When a reasonable sounding request comes in for expenditure, these guys just tick the box. The revenues will come in, and if they aren't sufficient, we'll make the pips squeak a little bit more. No biggie.

So, do I regard David Camerons serious-face lecture on thrift important and interesting? Not even a bit. Listen to this:

'... the "culture of thrift" must also apply to the civil service, promising "a new fiduciary responsibility on senior civil servants - a contractual obligation to save the taxpayer money" and a "proper finance director" for every government department...'

Oooooh- fiduciary responsibility- that'll fix things! Thats not new and different. New and different is what Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan propose in their book "The Plan". Raise the revenue locally, and spend it locally. Don't let it anywhere near Whitehall. Allow local authorities to govern again. Don't tax people nearly so much in the first place. That would be a significant change. Will David Cameron do that? I'll let you be the judge.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hunting the torture-mongers

'The CIA's use of waterboarding to interrogate terrorism suspects was approved by Condoleezza Rice as early as 2002, a senate report reveals.

As national security adviser, Ms Rice consented to the harsh interrogation of al-Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah, the Senate Intelligence Committee found.'

Eyes widen in shock, long-drawn-out oohs and ahhs. What did she know and when? We sternly ask, seeing ourselves as the latter-day Woodward and Bernstein, intrepid seekers after truth. Thats the truth being hidden by THE MAN, in case you were wondering. There is nothing as tenacious and dogged as a lefty seeking some hideous new evil performed by Americans, Britons or Europeans.

I am currently reading 'United in Hate', Jamie Glazovs somewhat crazed diatribe about the psychology of western fans of Communism/Fascism and now Islamism. What the book lacks in clear and scholarly argumentation, it somewhat makes up for in anecdote and episode. I only understand dimly the psychological arguments being made, but what is clear is that for lovers of Communists/Fascists in the twentieth century, and Islamists in the twenty first, our crimes always mushroom to dominate all available space, and the crimes of the objects of their affection diminish down to virtually nothing.

As I've mentioned before, General Pinochet in Chile killed 2,279 people, mostly communists and labour organisers. At exactly the same moment, Pol Pot was killing 1.5 million (some estimates say 2.5 million) Cambodians in the name of communism. Guess who still crops up incessantly as one of the most murderous men of the 20th century, in words that denote special evil? I'll give you a clue- I haven't heard Pol Pot mentioned for years.

Al Qaeda in Iraq murder whole villages because they won't hide them or cooperate with them- they are Patriots, don't you know? Freedom fighters, defenders of their homeland just doing what the MinuteMen did back in the late 18th century. Meanwhile, the US tortures a few very, very bad men; gets excellent demonstrably useful information out of them which saves lives, and what happens? The US and international left want war crimes tribunals and congressional investigations.

If you were a dazed survivor of one of those tragic Iraqi villages, and you happened to read about these shenanigans in the New York Times, you probably wouldn't be able to work out how the priorities and broad-brush realities came to be so out of kilter. They wouldn't be alone.

BBC abuse of language

'The initial signs are that Mr Zuma will promote a new conservatism in South Africa, digging deep into the nation's cultural and religious roots and threatening Western-styled liberal values enshrined in the constitution.'

Conservatism means evil to the squishy shits of the BBC website. Liberal means good.

So, lets see what the morons regards as conservative:

- offering prayers to ancestors
- denouncing same-sex marriage as a "disgrace to God"
- promising a referendum on the death penalty
- condemning political rivals as "witches" and "snakes"
- and defending polygamy as "African"

Uh huh. Offering prayers to ancestors? Not something the Conservatives in Purley would get on board with... Same-sex marriage- most people in the world other than tiny elites in Europe and America think same-sex marriage is a disgrace, whether they invoke God to give it emphasis is really by the by. Same goes for the death penalty- a great majority of the world believe in it. But democracy isn't democracy when the elites know better. Condemning political rivals as witches and snakes? Our politicians call each other much worse things, but they use euphemisms, and name calling is definitely not just a conservative thing. Why is polygamy conservative, whereas gay marriage isn't? If a straight man can get ten wives, why shouldn't he? If we are going to be all liberal about it, I mean? If I want to marry a goat, why would a 'liberal' protest? I mean, why stop with butt buddies?

I am so sick of the blatant and childish bias of the BBC website. They just can't help using loaded and pejorative language. I despair for a once great institution.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

It takes two to reset

'Pushing the 'Reset Button' on Russian Relations
But the question remains: "reset" to what?

Barack Obama's meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the G-20 summit in London has been hailed by many as a first step toward repairing the damage in the relationship between the United States and Russia, after several years of escalation toward a "new Cold War." '

It really shocked me when super lightweight Hillary Clinton gave Sergei Lavrov the reset button. Its the kind of thing a 3rd grade teacher would think was a great idea 'to get things off on the right foot'. To the men at the top in Russia, hardened by the hand-to-hand combat of Russian power politics, it must have seemed beyond surreal.

What has driven Russia's anti-US and anti-NATO hostility over the last four or five years? President Bush insisted on treating Russia as it actually is- a large country with virtually no real power. Rather than do what Britain did to France in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and helpfully maintain the glorious illusion that it was still a great power by handing it bits and pieces of territory to govern; President Bush treated Russia as it is- a paper tiger, full of rusting old factories and huge armies of drunks. And boy, the truth hurts. As soon as Putin could afford a few thousand rubles for some aviation fuel, he started the 'probing' cold war-era overflights of British airspace with ancient prop planes, just to show 'em! How sad and how indicative.

I presume the new Obama doctrine is to salve the wounded pride of the Russians by pretending they are not a regional nuisance but a real world power. Given all the reasons given in this piece about why it is convenient for the mafiocracy in charge of Russia to stoke anti-Americanism, the new policy should get the US exactly nothing. I can only assume that Obama and Clinton don't actually care what Russia does or thinks, and that the reset gimmick was purely for internal US consumption. See what we're doing, folks? We're showing the Russians its OK to come out and play now that the dastardly Bush has been stabbed through the heart with that stick.

Trouble is, that gimmick will soon be forgotten as the litany of unfriendly and provocative acts from Moscow continues. So why bother? Russia is not getting more powerful, and the men running it aren't getting more legitimate. A far more principled policy would be to hold Russia to the same standards over Chechnya as Clinton, Reid and Pelosi have held Bush over Iraq. But that would take bottle and a genuine commitment to human rights. Clinton knows the flinty faced apparatchiks of the Kremlin would probably have thrown her out into the parking lot if she'd come with that message. Still, it would have made good TV...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

India- peeved by the American oaf

'All of these concessions and wasted opportunities would be brilliant maneuvers if they actually yielded anything; after all, the point of Realpolitik is to get the most from other countries while giving the least from one’s own. It’s all right to give as long as you get. Instead, the story of the early Obama Administration’s foreign policy is one of apologies and concessions for nothing in return, as others have noted. Pakistan and Afghanistan are merely pointless fronts in this aggressive policy of preemptive surrender.' [Hat Tip: Instapundit]

Ooooooooooouch. It gets worse.

'Obama had three foreign policy goals for the region: First, win the war in Afghanistan (and Pakistan, when he focused on the topic); second, shore up the global economy there with his emphasis on government spending; and, finally, bringing China and India on board with a global carbon emissions scheme.

Today, Obama is negotiating with warlords with $25MM bounties on their heads in Afghanistan and, in an unsurprising move, disavowing “victory” there; giving up fiscal stimulus to bow to the developing world’s demands for handouts; and, oh yeah, China and India have rejected any carbon limitations scheme.'

First, having just been to India, I second all Mr Badeauxs compliments about India- it is very much a first-world democracy in the making. It is far from perfect, but it has a massive core of good intention and humanitarian values. It is exactly the kind of country the US and the EU should have as a close ally. Pakistan on the other hand is highly dysfunctional and getting more so. Pakistan is enormously devious. It has managed to play a very cunning game so far, and has yet to pay any price for it. I predict that it will, but perhaps not during Obamas brief and tedious stint in office.

Day by day, Obama is showing the veneer-thin understanding of the world which the right said would make all this stuff inevitable. Better luck next time, voters.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

How I built a school in Afghanistan

My name is Ian and I'm here to help!

'The day started badly with a rabid policeman waving his Kalashnikov menacingly at us, screaming "where's your card - get back!".

My mistake had been, foolishly, to try to drive to the front-gate of the American Embassy where we had been invited to go on a press trip.'

Imagine if news reports were written by a hybrid of Joan Collins and Abdel Bari Atwan (editor of Al-Quds, hater of Jews and Britain, where his newspaper is written and printed). You'd get something like this.

'The city keeps building ever more layers of barbed wire, blast walls, checkpoints, guns and angry policemen.

The US and the rest of Nato keep telling us how the security situation in the capital has improved.

But they are unwilling to practice the confidence they preach.'

See, its not about the actual place and the actual stuff going on- its all about those lying bastards the Americans and their blatant lies about how things are improving and whatnot. I've been in town for forty minutes- easily long enough to suss stuff out and still have time for a Pimms.

'Now whole streets of Kabul are off-limits to the majority of us who don't have "the card".

I have not actually seen "the card" but rather like the "golden ticket" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, I believe it does exist and grants almost magical access to the lucky holder.'

If the Americans had only given me "the card", I could have spent more of my dreary little trip actually writing about Afghanistan and whats going on there!

'The press officer at the US Embassy came to our rescue and persuaded the Kalashnikov-waving guard to let us through.'

Ok, I'll fess up- not having a card meant nothing at all. A press officer came and I went straight in. What do you mean, why am I still whingeing? I might have been delayed.

'We had been invited to go on a trip to Balkh Province in the north, for briefings and interviews on counter-narcotics.'

Balkh province, for those of you whose Afghan geography is rudimentary, is as far away from the shooting and IEDs as it is possible to get in Afghanistan.

'The plane arrived in good time but it became immediately clear that the US team were less keen on briefings and more on palming us off on the Afghan officials.'

I just don't know why the Americans would not want to spend massive amounts of their time with a whingeing arsehole like myself. Shocking.

'Our luggage was unceremoniously dumped on the runway and we were told the plane would leave at 2.30pm.'

And they didn't even have caviar and schnapps waiting for us in the VIP lounge...

'The US team was whisked away by beefy special agents driving super-sized armoured trucks.'

Stupid Americans with all their money and beefy guys and proper equipment!!!

'We squeezed into the back of a rather beaten-up car to make our way to see the opening of a new school, paid for with American money - donated in exchange for eradicating opium-producing poppies.'

Stupid Americans with all their humanitarian gifts and being kind to foreigners and making me feel ashamed and guilty inside!!!

'Unseemly retreat

It was now midday. We were told it would be an hour's journey. Just enough time to get there, see the project and get back to the plane.

One of the American vehicles broke down en route. Unknown to us, the agents were inside and decided to cancel the trip and beat an unseemly retreat to the airport.'

Cowardly, stupid Americans! Returning to the airport just because their vehicles didn't work! They should have run all the way, the lazy good-for-nothings.

'It actually took two hours of bone-crunching, off-road driving to get to the village. [see what a MAAAAAAAAAANNNN I am!] By the time we arrived, the whole district had gathered on either side of a long cordon to greet the Americans who had funded their new school.'

Stupid Afghans and their stupid gratitude for the stupid school built by the stupid Americans!!! GGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

'Unfortunately, I and the BBC's cameraman, Sanjay, were the only foreigners to turn up.'

Unfortunate because we didn't pay for anything in their district at all, hate the people who did pay for the school, and hate the idiot Afghans for taking the free school.

'We were greeted with silence and a look of awe and ushered through a long line of men and boys to the ribbon cutting ceremony.'

Stupid Afghans can't even tell the difference between us Queeny BBC reporters and Americans with money, muscles and decent armoured vehicles.

'Later the minister called me forward and presented me with a chapan, the full-length gold and green-striped cloak that President Karzai is often seen wearing.

I pulled it over my shoulders and smiled rather weakly for the camera.'

I didn't have the heart to tell him I've never done anything vaguely humanitarian in my life, and will be writing a hatchet-job about the people making this humanitarian gift when I get back to my cosy office in London.

'It was now past two o'clock. Our American "hosts" were absent without leave. [The meaning of the words Absent Without Leave have been changed since you last heard them, in case you were wondering] The plane was due to leave in half an hour and we were in the middle of the middle of nowhere with a story that would not even work its way onto the back pages of the local newspaper .'

Fucking bastard editor sent me all the way to Afghanistan, and all I got was this lousy gold coat... I could have been down the Groucho club doing REAL news but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...

'A few frantic phone calls established the worst. [We were all about to be beheaded by crazed Mujihadeen- oh, hang on-] The plane had already departed without us because of bad weather heading our way.'

Boo hoo. Our plane left early. Wheres mummy?

'We started to drive back. We passed along river-beds and mountain-tracks, waved at by the odd rough-looking shepherd, passing through breath-taking wilderness in a place untouched by modernity.' Yada yada yada. Had to put this in or the editor threatened to send me to Kosovo.

'We saw the rusting green remains of Soviet tanks, kept by locals as a reminder of how world-class military might had been defeated by a tenacious, low-tech insurgency.' Well, actually kept because they had no way of dismantling enormous metal objects, but whatever. Its more poetic, yannow? Some idiot historian pointed out to me a) that the Soviets didn't lose, they just left and b) that there were some things called stinger missiles that encouraged them to leave and c) that it cost America quite a few billions and the destabilisation of Pakistan to get that done, but I hate those piffling accurate details.

'Two hours later we were in Mazar-i-Sharif, attending a banquet organised in honour of the minister and the now absent American agents.'

I still wake up in the middle of night screaming, every detail seared into my consciousness like a livid wound.

'Broken brakes

Despite facing the prospect of an eight-hour road trip over a snow-bound mountain pass in the dark, we accepted the invitation.

It is the Afghan way. [Us Brits, we go native like that] You see it is not enough to throw money at good causes and leave early because of a little bad weather.' You'd think I'd know what my point is here, but I really really don't.

'Here face-time and respect matter, deeply. They are the foundations upon which friendships are built and success achieved. The Americans had shown an astonishing lack of guile.' Stupid, stupid Americans with their gifts of whole schools and their guile-deficiency. What matters is showing up to the hand-shaking, gold coat wearing bits- fuck the school!

'By now it was five o'clock [and I hadn't had a single Vodka martini]. The minister kindly gave us one of his cars and a guard and we finally started to head back to Kabul.' Stupid Afghans and their stupid generosity.

'Three minutes out of town and the driver pulled into a local garage - the car's brakes were broken.' I said to the driver, what is this, an American car? You stupid Afghan! God, this never happens at White City!

'Another hour on and we left the city - again.

I finally hobbled into bed at three in the morning. My back was sore, my neck seized-up and I could barely move my head.' I'm pretty sure that qualifies me for at least the VC. The sacrifices I've made ensuring those little Afghan shits get an education.

'We had been on the road for 21 hours and were only home thanks to the good grace, generosity and ingenuity of our new Afghan friends - and no thanks to our US hosts.' I say friends- most of the Afghans thought I was a whingeing tosser with nothing to bring to the party. And funnily enough, so did the Americans...

What do they know????? They don't even belong to the Groucho club!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Confusion over conservative criticism

'Conservatives seem deliriously drunk with their cartoon picture of Obama, to whom is glibly attributed every pathology in the book. Yes, there were ambiguities about Obama's birth certificate that have never been satisfactorily resolved. And the embargo on Obama's educational records remains troubling. But I am still waiting for hard evidence about the host of other charges that are continually being hammered against him -- from his alleged fidelity to the crypto-tactics of Chicago leftist Saul Alinsky to the questions raised by right-wingers about the production of Obama's two memoirs. Out of respect for the presidency, conservatives need to put up or shut up about these issues.'

Although some of her pronouncements are plainly intended purely to provoke and outrage, I've got a lot of time for much of what Ms Paglia says. Sadly, her list of crazed accusations launched by conservatives seems both outdated and whimsical. I have not read anywhere about Obama's birth certificate for at least a month, barring her comment. Obama's educational records? I have not read a single thing about that since the election ended. As to the Alinskyist crypto-tactics, if Obama were adhering to them, how would we know? I agree that any conservatives bashing Obama about that would be speculating with no evidence, but hardly any are doing so. Again the criticism of Obama over the memoirs was almost exclusively a campaign issue. I've picked up only a tiny drizzle of commentary about them since the campaign finished.

Missing from her list are all the issues currently dominating discussion on conservative websites- the trillions of waste in the new budget; the business-as-usual earmarks situation; the bumbling cack-handedness of the 'new' diplomacy; the divergence between Obama's publicly stated positions on things, and what actually happens in Congress and the Executive Branch; the inability to get in place credible personnel in important posts of the US government.

You might notice a discrepancy even between Ms Paglias first sentance and the things in her own list. Every pathology in the book? The main criticism of Obama from the very beginning was that he was a nothing- not experienced in any of the usual ways to take on the job he was going for. All the warnings of conservatives about that were overridden by the pompous arses of academia and big media. Of course, the conservatives were right. All the genuine conservative criticisms of Obama so far are rooted in the single great criticism: inexperience. Does Obama have time to learn? Of course not. Thats why in every election since the first one, one of the key factors in choosing candidates was age/experience. Young whippersnappers were fine, they just wouldn't get the nomination. And that was for a perfectly good reason. You don't make a two year junior lieutenant captain of the ship. You don't make a two year junior senator president. Its just stupid.

But liberals are too excited about their dreams and their fantasies about what a great black man can achieve that a mediocre white man could not. They have written a script where Obama is that great black man, and no contrary evidence is allowed to intrude into this delightful scene. Is the archetype more powerful than the facts?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Collective punishment for thee, understandable anger for me

'Human-rights groups such as the Israeli group B'tselem have described the demolition of houses as "a clear case of collective punishment which violates the principle that a person is not to be punished for the acts of another".'

Whereas murdering innocent motorists and bus passengers is apparently not collective punishment... 'Last July, Dwayat used a bulldozer to smash into cars and a bus in central Jerusalem, killing three and injuring more than 40.'

Do these people have any sense of irony?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

BDS and potential ODS

For those few among you so cut off from civilisation that you don't know what BDS was (and is), it is Bush Derangement Syndrome. Somehow, the folksy, down-home preppy George W Bush sent large numbers of lefties into a rage so profound many are still fully engaged with it - see commenter on previous post. President Bush was not a complex character - he was a well-read, God-fearing gentleman with very few genuinely conservative instincts in a job that requires more front than he possessed. On most big issues he veered towards the left of centre- the non-assimilation of immigrants didn't seem to concern him, he refused a border fence with Mexico until very very late on, government spending during his terms increased dramatically, a steady drizzle of new government programs were initiated under his aegis. Only on US security was he a stalwart conservative.

So how did he manage to turn many American and international lefties into purple-faced incoherent cauldrons?

Thats a puzzle few can really figure out. Perhaps he was too close to the east coast blue-blood archetype liberal, and his refusal to keep to the script made him much more dangerous than a southern redneck ever could be...

We shall not tarry over this psychological conundrum. Suffice it to say, it has badly affected the civility and continuity of American political life.

So, will ODS emerge? Is it already emerging? Will it be paybacks for Bush, or has it got its own peculiar pathogenesis? Will it really be mostly discreet racism?

Until a few days back, I didn't think there really was any ODS. Then I read a piece on the Pajamas Media website which argued that ODS was a scourge worth avoiding. Some of the commenters didn't agree:

The first “MUSLIM ” president Of a “CHRISTIAN NATION………. FORMED ON CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES!! Notice how he speaks: “”Tally bahn”" ………”paakey stun”

Thats definitely ODS. Many of the other comments revealed people teetering on the edge of it. Does that mean that eventually tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions of Americans will join up? Certainly not. But it did get me to thinking.

Then last night I was watching Glenn Beck on Fox. He had Daniel Hannan on, the British MEP currently doing a vastly better job of being a conservative than anybody on the opposition benches at Westminster. Glenn Beck doesn't like Britain. He only had Hannan on because he is a YouTube celebrity for saying things no American would or could say in public (mainly due to the disastrous state of American public speaking). At the end of his 'interview' (Beck doesn't listen to the answers to his questions), Beck insulted Hannan for daring to criticise an American President for his lofty incivility to our visiting Prime Minister. He said something along the lines of 'I liked you when you were criticising the EU.... remember, we kicked your British asses once and we might just do it again'.

Why do Americans feel they can insult Britain as much as they like, and not provoke anti-Americanism? Why do Americans feel that treating their pretty-much only decent ally like crap is a good plan? If Britons stop fighting alongside America, that will leave exactly no one who will. Does the increasingly brittle, coarse dialog in internal American politics feed into increasingly bizarre behaviour towards the rest of the world?

Today President Obama chose to shit on the heads of the rest of the world leaders at the G20 by having his own press conference. Thats right- all the other world leaders had one press conference, and President Obama had one by himself. He also gave a long answer to a question where he listed why America rules the world. Now anybody who knows this blog knows that I have fought tooth and nail against unreasoned, ignorant prejudice against the United States. But I can't defend that. I just can't. Its rude, its provocative and its a major hostage to fortune.

Here is a question for President Obama: will China always feel it is in its interests to fund Americas deficit spending on military programs and social programs? What will you do if they pull that rug from under you? What will THAT speech sound like? Will you use any of the same triumphalist rhetoric?

I will only defend an America I respect.